Frankie Boyle on Hunger Strike over Guantanamo

Frankie Boyle on Hunger Strike Over Guantanamo

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Last week comedian Frankie Boyle went on hunger strike in support of the 103 prisoners that are on a hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay.

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Frankie Boyle has now joined forces with Clive Stafford Smith; a lawyer who went on Hunger strike recently in support of his client Shaker Aamer, the only British resident to remain held at Gutananamo. It has now been over a week since Clive Stafford Smith began his hunger strike.

The Stand Fast for Injustice Campaign is run by a group called Reprive. This campaign encourages the idea of hunger striking to rally support for the prisoners held in Guantanamo who continue to be force fed by the guards to keep them alive.

As a supporter of Reprive, Frankie Boyle donated the £54,650 that he was granted following a Daily Mail lawsuit last December. It has now been reported that this week, the actress Julie Christie has this week done the same thing in an effort to further promote the injustice of Shaker Aamer’s imprisonment.

Follow what Frankie Boyle said about his hunger strike so far on his Twitter page. There is also lots more information about Clive Stafford Smith’s hunger strike on the Save Shakar Aamer campaign, as well as other related articles and an online petition.

Order Spectacle’s DVDs  Shaker Aamer: a decade of injustice ( New Version) and  Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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DMAU – Participatory Documentary

DMAU’s  research project on Participatory Documentary features a video report that introduces one of Spectacle’s participatory projects APaNGO. The video explains the projects purpose – developing a strong community based network that promotes urban participation in planning through social media.

The central aim of Spectacle’s video workshops is to train residents to film and edit video footage and through this capture and influence the changing physical and human face of their neighbourhood.” Mark Saunders, Spectacle Founder.

DMAU specialises in documentary film-making and urban research. DMAU (or Digital Media Architecture Urbanism) provide a selection of participatory media in the form of visual essays, interviews and case studies.

“Our work focuses on projects – designs and documentaries – that improve the public realm, be that built designs or temporary events and interventions, with an emphasis on work that has a positive social or environmental impact” –                                             Daryl Mulvihill, DMAU Founder.

The scope of this project spreads across various countries in the EU and works upon maintaining strong communities. It is therefore a good example of how participatory media can influence and support social development.

An accompanying interview with Spectacle founder Mark Saunders gives a broader understanding of how Spectacle works with communities to encourage social media. The interview explains the importance that participatory production workshops have, and the significance they have upon urban regeneration.

The DMAU research project explores:

“The potentials for the use of documentary practice in urban research and design projects go much further than the traditionally formatted video production. New interactive documentaries combine film with a range of other media; photography, maps, soundscapes and data visualisations to create an immersive experience for the viewer. Next to this participatory documentary has the ability to empower and engage communities by bringing their story to a wider audience. We will see how interactive and participatory documentary is not simply about producing stories. It is as much about designing a storytelling process that engages with the voices of people impacted by an event or ongoing situation.”

Spectacle now runs affordable effective Participatory Video Weekend Training Courses

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Forced Feeding is Apparently “Not Uncomfortable” for Detainees

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The Hunger strike at Guantánamo has now been going on for more then 130 days. According to official figures, 103 of the detainees are now on hunger strike, and the number of detainees being forced fed remains at 30.

Reporters were allowed into the camp on what was believed to be a well choreographed and scripted guided tour. The reporters were allowed to see the force feeding equipment and were told how the medical team used this equipment upon the detainees. According to the doctors and the nurses, no prisoners had complained about this brutal force feeding procedure.

The guards at Guantánamo have been reported as being very patient with detainees. While certain detainees have been accused of throwing feces and urine at guards. This only re-reinforces the guards strategy of not negotiating with detainees, and instead subjecting them to procedures such as force feeding.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera obtained documents that explained the force feeding procedure which could last up to two hours. These documents described how time was a significant factor in ensuring the success of the force feeding procedure.

The tour showed prisoners mouths being covered with a mask while a tube (at least 61cms long) would be snaked down their nose until an x-ray or test dose of water confirmed the tube to be in the stomach of a prisoner. After being force fed, a prisoner would be kept in a dry cell without any water to ensure they did not vomit for 45-60 minutes. If the detainee was to vomit, this force feeding procedure would have to be repeated.

It was also reported that while this procedure was carried out detainees would be heavily drugged, hence their lack of complaints regarding the force feeding procedure. The identity of the detainees are being shared with the top officials at the Pentagon who apparently, do not care about violating medical ethics that force feeding concerns.

Order Spectacle’s DVDs  Shaker Aamer: a decade of injustice ( New Version) and  Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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

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The Amnesty Group at Lewes Priory demands the release of Shaker Aamer

The case of Saker Aamer, the last british resident in Guantanamo, has not only upset people close to him. The amnesty group at Lewes Priory School found the indefinite detention and torture of Shaker Aamer wrong and wanted to do something about it. They decided to start a petition at their school which almost all students signed.

After the petition was signed they got the opportunity to visit the House of Parliament to speak with Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt about the release of Shaker Aamer.

Order Spectacle’s DVDs  Shaker Aamer: a decade of injustice ( New Version) and  Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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Is the UK really trying to bring Shaker Aamer home?

shaker postcard z 2011

The situation in Guantanamo is now getting worse. Prisoners claims that they are now being held in solitary confinement and are treated like dogs. They continue their hunger strike and 23 prisoners are being forced fed in a  room where they are being strapped down in a chair while a tube is being forced down their nose. This despite the AMA’s, American Medical Association, criticism of force feeding, saying it is horrible and violates core ethical values of the medical profession. Four prisoners are so weak that they are being shackled in the hospital to prevent them from dying.

Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantanamo, fears that he might die in the prison. He hopes he does not, he hopes he will be released before that so he is able to hug his children. A wish that seems will not come true in the near future.

According to the Pentagon, the UK is in no rush to get Shaker Aamer out of Guantanamo. This despite the Parliamentary debate about Shaker Aamer’s release and claims made by foreign secretary William Hague and defense secretary Philip Hammond that they are trying to lobby their counterparts in the US over Shaker Aamer.

At the same time it seems that UK might not meet up with those “conditions”  US have for releasing a prisoner to the country. These claims are being dismissed by Shaker Aamer’s UK lawyer Clive Stafford Smith who says that UK has the best record of taking care of released prisoners.

It seems like there are a lot of excuses to not release Shaker Aamer to the UK, and it also seems like it is getting more and more urgent to get him out of the prison. The question is is it only the US who is the problem or does the UK government have an interest in ensuring a key witness to Government collusion in torture never gets freedom, justice and his day in court.

Order Spectacle’s DVDs  Shaker Aamer: a decade of injustice ( New Version) and  Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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

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Obama finally speaks about Guantanamo

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Due to the growing hunger strike at Guantanamo President Obama has now been forced to react. In a recent press conference Obama admitted that the prison had to be closed. He also mentioned that he did not want the prisoners to die and that we had to reflect on why America is doing what they are doing.

Meanwhile the decision to send more doctors and nurses to Guantanamo are now being criticized by AMA, American Medical Association, who claim that it “violates core ethical values of the medical profession”. But US officials seem to be more afraid of the bad publicity of a detainee dying than from torturing the prisoners by forced feeding.

With all of this attention on the prison and a renewed promise from Obama to close Guantanamo, let us all hope that the prison will be closed sooner rather and later.

If you are from the UK, keep on pressuring your MP’s to engage in debates regarding Shaker Aamer’s release. If you are from outside the UK, put pressure on your government to demand Obama close the prison forever and ensure that the prisoners get a new life.

Order Spectacle’s DVDs  Shaker Aamer: a decade of injustice ( New Version) and  Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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Guantanamo hunger strike keeps on growing

The US officials has now admitted that 100 of the detainees are hunger striking, 21 are being force fed and five of those are hospitalised. One of the prisoners who are being force fed admits that he has lost 30 pounds the last two month, and one of his fellow inmates are now weighing as low as 77 pounds.

A medical team of 40 people have now been sent to Guantanamo as back-up due to the growing hunger strike. US authorities claims that the medical reinforcement has been planned for weeks, but many believe that they are sent because the health of the prisoners are getting worse.

Losing this kind of weight is dangerous and since many of the detainees have  bad health since before, this hunger strike might kill them. One of the inmates whose life is at risk is the last British resident in Guantanamo, Shaker Aamer. He has also said in a statement to his lawyers that even though he can not say names or number, people are dying in Guantanamo.

Last week MP’s debated about Shaker Aamer’s release, and almost all of them could not understand why he had not been returned to his family. There was also raised a question about his health and if he would survive the hunger strike. Many of the MP’s also questioned the fact that Shaker has all of a sudden just been cleared for release only to Saudi Arabia, even though the documents about his release have other information.

Caroline Lucas, MP, said that she believed the only reason why Shaker would be sent to Saudi Arabia is to prevent him speaking out about his abuse, an explanation that is shared with many others.

The EU-parliament has also raised their concerns regarding the hunger strike and are now putting pressure on the US government, especially President Obama, to close down Guantanamo. They also say that they are willing to accept cleared prisoners in to EU member countries, but that the US have to keep their promise to still contribute with costs, not only for the move but also thereafter.

Now that all this focus is on the prison once again, I can not help but wonder what is going to happen. And most of all, what are the countries going to do if US refuses to close down Guantanamo. Are we just going to forget about the prisoners or is someone actually going to do something and really force the US to close it down. Let us just hope that someone does something soon, because I believe that soon it will be too late.

Order Spectacle’s DVDs  Shaker Aamer: a decade of injustice ( New Version) and  Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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New playground in Battersea Park

Demolished adventure playground

The adventure playground in Battersea park has now been demolished for three month. Before the demolition Wandsworth council claimed that the One O Clock club had to be closed because of the protesters, but is now going to be opened as a cafe instead.

The rebuilding of the playground has started and the main part is for younger children. There will be a part aimed for older children, but to access this part you need to pay.

So is this new playground really going to be better and safer then the last one? It will probably be safer in the sense that less people are going to be able to enjoy themselves at the playground. And is it really okay to put an age limit on having fun and play and excluding older kids by forcing them to pay? Should it not be free for all or is this part, made for older children, really going to be such a magical place that is worth paying for?

Of course it is just another depressing aspect of the gentrification, privatisation and commodification of the Battersea / Nine Elms area.

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Yesterday’s debate regarding the release of Shaker Aamer

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If you are interested in more information about yesterday’s debate regarding the release of Shaker Aamer in Parliament there is a transcript from the debate available here and also a video from Parliament TV available here

Order Spectacle’s DVDs  Shaker Aamer: a decade of injustice ( New Version) and  Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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Shaker Aamer talks about the hunger strike

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Shaker Aamers attorney, Clive Stafford-Smith, recently released a statement where he recounted his phone conversation with Shaker Aamer.

Most of the prisoners in Guantanamo have been on a hunger strike since the 7th of February this year. One of those prisoners is Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison. He has during the strike lost 32 lbs which is seriously affecting his already poor health.

The hunger strike was allegedly started because the guards were searching through the prisoner’s Korans and disturbed the detainees during prayers. According to a top Pentagon official the searches will continue since it is alleged that the detainees might hide improvised weapons, food, medicine etc. in them. He fails to acknowledge that prisoners who are devoted Muslims thinks that hiding things in the Koran is an insult to the holy book, just like the searching through them.

To read the statement please click here.

Order Spectacle’s DVDs  Shaker Aamer: a decade of injustice ( New Version) and  Outside The Law: Stories from Guantánamo

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

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