Shaker Aamer: 10 Years on

 

The Independent has drawn attention today to the “decade in detention without trial” of Shaker Aamer, cleared for release in 2007. The article emphasised Shaker’s current declining health and concerns about the amount of time he has endured in solitary confinement.

As a British resident, Shaker looks to be spending his tenth year in Guantanamo Prison where his recent hunger strike draws ever more concern about just exactly what it means to have been “cleared for release” in the United States of America. While this is a case that has drawn minimum media attention in the past ten years, what seems to be lacking is not just a public awareness of the issue but an informed public response to it.

One reader’s comment on the Independent article, with more than 10 ‘likes’, has expressed hostility about the idea of British taxpayers money being used on “lawyers looking after his interests” with a reluctance to accept Shaker as a British resident. This kind of prejudice dominating the response to the Independent article is disconcerting, especially given that we know of the torture received by Shaker in Guantanamo Prison and the trauma that has befallen his family for ten years now, particularly his son, who has never seen him. Shaker was abducted while residing in Afghanistan to build wells and a school for children as a charitable act. The real issue here is one of humanity and a huge injustice in the legal system of America – not one to do with terrorism or a bigoted gripe about who is paying for Shaker’s lawyers, who he has only had very little contact with anyway. He is a British citizen, it must be remembered.

The article brings little more to light than a reminder and a vague description of a decline in Shaker’s situation. Perhaps more prominent are the superfical and racist comments brought about by the article from an audience that seem unaware of the plight of Shaker, Omar Khadr and others suffering the injustices of Guantanamo.

It is interesting that fifty years after Stanley Milgram‘s experiment into obedience to authority; there has been no shift in human development. We still believe in upholding the justice system even when it is killing innocent people and destroying lives. We need to stop putting our trust in Government actions simply because it is easier to ignore them. Progress comes with education, so if you want more information about the save Shaker Aamer campaign, spend just five minutes getting to know his case and just why we need to call for his release today.

Please join the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign

Watch video- Omar Deghayes, former Guantanamo Bay detainee, describes his interrogation by British Intelligence agent, “Andrew”, and others (MI5 and MI6) while held illegally in Pakistan.

Order Spectacle’s DVD Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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Or visit our Guantánamo project pages for more information and videos.

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UK’s secret policy on torture: a threat to national security




Today the Guardian exclusively revealed  the UK’s secret policy on torture.
The document shows intelligence officers were instructed to “weigh the importance of information sought against the pain inflicted”.

One section states: “If […] that information will be or has been obtained through the mistreatment of detainees, the negative consequences may include […] adverse effects on national security if the fact […] were to be publicly revealed”

Not only does this document expose the UK’s complicity with torture, which it acknowledges is illegal under UK and international law, but it also attempts to justify the need for keeping the policy secret because it may increase the threat from terrorism. In other words it is not the illegal torture policy that is a problem- just people finding out about it.

In other words, as any criminal will surely agree, the real crime is being found out.  The document attempts to blame the messenger or whistle-blower for any potential negative “blow back” rather than the torture policy itself.

Behind this lies a remarkable confidence that both the victims and the perpetrators of torture will keep silent or will not be believed if they speak out.
This policy of secrecy would explain why credible witness and UK resident Shaker Aamer is still in Guantanamo. It would appear he will be held until tormented into insanity.

Please join the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign

Watch video- Omar Deghayes, former Guantanamo Bay detainee, describes his interrogation by British Intelligence agent, “Andrew”, and others (MI5 and MI6) while held illegally in Pakistan.

Order Spectacle’s DVD Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

Click Guantánamo for more blogs
Or visit our Guantánamo project pages for more information and videos.

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British MPs view film highlighting the reality of Guantanamo

Ekklesia

A new way of thinking

A powerful new documentary on the United States’ detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has been shown to MPs at the House of Commons.

The film screening this week was followed by a question and answer session with a panel of commentators including former Guantanamo prisoner Moazzam Begg, lawyers Tom Wilner and Gareth Peirce, and former Guardian newspaper journalist, Victoria Brittain.

‘Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo’ gives a vivid and penetrating account of the torture, extraordinary rendition and the network of secret prisons employed by the Bush administration in its infamous ‘war on terror’.

Proceed to Ekklesia to read full article.

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Guantánamo comes to Westminster: Hard-Hitting new Film on detention camp

Green MP to co-host screening and directors’ Q&A with former Guantánamo detainee and international lawyers


Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo

Tomrorrow, Tuesday June 21, at 6 pm

The Atlee Suite

Portcullis House, opposite the Palace of  Westminster

RSVP: caroline.lucas.mp@parliament.uk


Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo gives a vivid and penetrating account of the torture, extraordinary rendition and the network of secret prisons employed by the Bush administration in its infamous ‘War on Terror’.

Stories from Guantánamo Trailer at The Spectacle Catalogue

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Bring Shaker Aamer Home: Parliamentary Screening of “Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo”

On Tuesday June 21, at 6 pm, there will be a special Parliamentary screening of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” in the Boothroyd Room in Portcullis House, opposite the House of Commons.

The screening will be followed by a Q&A session with US attorneys Brent Mickum and Tom Wilner, who are both visiting London for this event, British lawyer Gareth Peirce, former Guantánamo prisoners Omar Deghayes and Moazzam Begg, journalists Victoria Brittain and Andy Worthington and film maker Polly Nash.

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No-one’s really bothered, keep going

“Public opinion has on the whole shown little concern about the welfare of the British detainees, or the legal terms of their detention. But the issue is clearly of sensitivity to Muslim opinion in the UK and abroad.”

The source of this quote is a memo circulated to the junior Foreign Office ministers, the Foreign Office press office and the department’s senior legal advisor, Sir Michael Wood on 4 January 2002, and refers to a number of British citizens and residents who at the time were being detained by US forces. The objective nature and breezy tone of the memo betrays a shocking disregard for the suffering of prisoners who, as revealed in several of the other documents, were witnessed by British Intelligence to have been in a rapidly deteriorating state.

What is more alarming is that the message was a clear signal to indulge in the illegality, secret acts of abduction and flying prisoner from cell to cell, on the grounds that they were getting away with it.

First hand video testimony of this process from Omar Deghayes documents the horrifying results of these decisions.

The memo is among 900 classified documents disclosed during high court proceedings this week as part of the official inquiry into the Labour government’s rendition of UK citizens, and goes on to say that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office should be, “seen as applying our normal standards of consular assistance as far as possible,” wholeheartedly asking its recipients not to be forthcoming about the fact that their government was knowingly allowing its people to be tortured.

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Or visit our Guantánamo project pages for more information and videos.
To order Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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Omar Deghayes, former Guantanamo Bay detainee, describes his interrogation by British Intelligence

VIDEO INTERVIEW: FORMER GUANTANÁMO DETAINEE ON BRITISH COMPLICITY IN TORTURE

Omar Deghayes, former Guantanamo Bay detainee, describes his interrogation by British Intelligence agent, “Andrew’, and others (MI5 and MI6) while held illegally in Pakistan, before being sold into US custody and rendered to Bagram prison in Afghanistan and subjected to torture. This is an extended rough cut from Spectacle’s film: “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo”

WATCH Omar Deghayes’ interview

For related interviews and extras visit Spectacle’s Archive Page

For further information on the Guantanamo Project visit Spectacle’s Project Page

To find out when/where screenings of “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo” are taking place visit Spectacle’s Events Page

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Human Rights Watch report “Cruel Britannia: British Complicity in the Torture and Illegal Treatment of Terror Suspects’

VIDEO INTERVIEW: FORMER GUANTANÁMO DETAINEE ON BRITISH COMPLICITY IN TORTURE

Human Rights Watch report “Cruel Britannia: British Complicity in the Torture and Illegal Treatment of Terror Suspects” seriously undermines British Government denials of Intelligence service complicity in torture. Testimonials of Pakistani torturers included in the report allege that U.S. and British officers were “perfectly aware that we were using all means possible to extract information.”

This corroborates the statements of numerous ex-terror suspects who have come forward about their experiences. Omar Deghayes, former Guantanamo Bay detainee, describes his interrogation by British Intelligence agent, “Andrew’ and others while held illegally and subjected to torture in Pakistan and Bagram prison in Afghanistan.

His full interview, describing his first-hand experience can be viewed online:

Omar Deghayes on Torture and British Intelligence

This interview is an extract from the newly released documentary “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo’ (Spectacle 2009, Directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington) which is now available on DVD:

BUY DVD – Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo

Other excerpts and extras can be found at:

http://www.spectacle.co.uk/outside-the-law-stories-from-guantanamo

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Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo is now available to buy on DVD

Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo is now available to buy on DVD on the Spectacle Catalogue page.

Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo is a new documentary film telling the story of Guantánamo, focusing on the stories of three prisoners, Shaker Aamer, Binyam Mohamed and Omar Deghayes. A powerful rebuke to the myth that Guantánamo holds “the worst of the worst”.

The Spectacle Catalogue page contains videos produced by Spectacle, Despite TV and others and all the titles are available to buy on both video and DVD.

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Overwhelming support for Omar Deghayes account of torture

In the last few days an overwhelming amount of evidence has come to light about the complicity of British intelligence officers, and  the British government, in the torture of terror suspects.

Reporting in The Guardian, Ian Cobain has gathered a dossier of case studies and reports that support the account given to Spectacle by Omar Deghayes, a former Guantanamo detainee.

Omar Deghayes told Spectacle that he was visited numerous times by British intelligence officers while being tortured in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In a striking parallel to a case mentioned by Ian Cobain, Omar was first visited by an officer called ‘Andrew’.

From The Guardian:

‘Jamil Rahman, a British citizen from south Wales, was detained in his wife’s family’s village in northern Bangladesh in December 2005 and says he was tortured by Bangladeshi intelligence agents before being questioned by two MI5 officers who called themselves Liam and Andrew.’

The first thing Omar said to ‘Andrew’ was he was a British citizen, he then asked why the British were colluding with his maltreatment. Later on when Omar was moved to Bagram in Afghanistan, he says his torturers were given false information by British intelligence officers to further intimidate him. Furthermore  the British  interrogated him themselves in an area of the prison where they could have clearly seen prisoners being maltreated.

This claim has  now been supported by Pakistani intelligence officials who told New York based Human Rights Watch that not only were British Intelligence agents aware of torture but they were ‘grateful’ for it.

Surely it is time to stop referring to ‘claims’ of torture and admit that British officers directly used torture to gather ‘information’ from ‘terror’ suspects. Regardless whether or not they physically carried out the torture themselves this is still a crime against humanity.

To watch an edit of Omar’s torture testimony please visit Spectacle’s Guantanamo Project Page

To watch other footage from Spectacle’s Guantanamo project please visit our Archive

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