Gitmo Must Be Closed

I can not even begin to imagine what it is like to be incarcerated, without trial, at Guantánamo Bay.

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I am sure readers have read the many accounts of innocent individuals scooped up by questionable security services and dumped in Gitmo, but this account is even more troubling, Salon reports:

“Mohamedou Ould Slahi began to tell his story in 2005. Over the course of several months, the Guantánamo prisoner handwrote his memoir, recounting what he calls his “endless world tour” of detention and interrogation. He wrote in English, a language he mastered in prison. His handwriting is relaxed but neat, his narrative, even riddled with redactions, vivid and captivating. In telling his story he tried, as he wrote, “to be as fair as possible to the U.S. government, to my brothers, and to myself.” He finished his 466-page draft in early 2006. For the next six years, the U.S. government held the manuscript as a classified secret.

Part three is disturbing:

“Chess is a game of strategy, art, and mathematics. It takes deep thinking, and there is no luck involved. You get rewarded or punished for your actions, your moves. [ ? ? ? ? ?] brought me a chessboard so I could play against myself. When the guards noticed my chessboard, they wanted to play me. When they started to play me, they always won. The strongest among the guards was [ ? ? ? ? ?]. He taught me how to control the center. Moreover, [ ? ? ? ? ?] brought me some literature, which helped decidedly in honing my skills. After that the guards had no chance to defeat me.

“Now you understand how chess must be played,” he commented. I knew [ ? ? ? ? ?] had issues dealing with defeat, thus I didn’t enjoy playing him because I didn’t feel comfortable practicing my newly acquired knowledge. [ ? ? ? ? ?] believes there are two kinds of people, white Americans and the rest of the world. White Americans are smart and better than anybody. I always tried to explain things to him by saying, for instance, “If I were you … or … If you were me,” but he got angry and said, “Don’t you ever dare compare me with you or compare any American with you.” I was shocked then, but I did as he said. After all, I didn’t have to compare myself with anybody. [ ? ? ? ? ?] hates the rest of the world, especially the Arabs, Jews, French, Cubans, and others. The only other country he mentioned positively was England.

After one game of chess with him, he flipped the board.

“Fuck your nigger chess, this is Jewish chess!” he said.

“Do you have something against black people?” I asked.

“Nigger’s not black, nigger means stupid,” he argued.

We had discussions like that, but we had only one black guard who had no say, and when he worked with [ ? ? ? ? ?] they never interacted. [ ? ? ? ? ?] resented him. [ ? ? ? ? ?] has a very strong personality, dominant, authoritarian, patriarchal, and arrogant. “

Guantánamo Bay must be closed.

Free Mahmoud Sarsak

The plight of Mahmoud Sarsak should make us think about what we mean by justice.

Is it right that young Palestinians are locked up, as prisoners, without a trial?

Internment, unlawful combatants, administrative detention or lettre de cachet.

Many countries do it, the UK, the US, Ireland and even France.

Whatever you call it, locking people up without trial has many names and it is wrong.

France 24 explains Mahmoud Sarsak’s difficulties:

“AFP – In 2009, Mahmud Sarsak set out from Gaza to sign on with a West Bank football team, but what he thought was the start of a dream career quickly spiralled into a nightmare.

Three years later, the young athlete is lying in a bed in an Israeli prison clinic after spending more than 80 days without eating in protest at his being held without charge.

With his case drawing more and more attention, the Israel Prison Authority on Monday told AFP that Sarsak had ended his strike.

But the Ramallah-based Palestinian Prisoners’ Club denied the claim, as did his family, although his lawyer Mohammed Jabarin admitted Sarsak was “drinking milk” in a move which he said did not amount to breaking the strike.

Sarsak, 25, was born in Gaza and dreamed of becoming a professional footballer. As a teenager, he played several times for the Palestinian national team in Europe and the Middle East, attracting favourable attention from coaches.

So when he set out for the West Bank on July 22, 2009, he felt he had a promising career ahead of him.

But he never even got there.

As he tried to pass the Erez crossing into Israel, Sarsak was arrested and has been held ever since under Israel’s so-called unlawful combatants law, which allows suspects to be held without charge under a procedure similar to administrative detention.

Israeli officials have called Sarsak an “Islamic Jihad terrorist who planned attacks and bombings,” but have not made public any charges or evidence against him.

“They want to kill my Mahmud,” says his mother Umm al-Abed, sitting outside a solidarity tent by International Committee of the Red Cross headquarters in Gaza City. “Why isn’t the world doing anything?”

FIFA on Tuesday called on the Israeli Football Association to make contact with the relevant Israeli authorities to secure the release of Sarsak and other players it said were being held.

“In a letter to the Israel Football Association, FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter expressed today grave concern and worry about the alleged illegal detention of Palestine football players,” a FIFA statement said.

Sarsak began his hunger strike on March 23 as a wave of similar protests swept through the population of Palestinians being held in Israeli jails. “

Habeas Corpus should apply to young Palestinians, Israelis or those locked up by Kings and despots across the Middle East.

B’Tselem Statistics on Administrative Detention.

How Bahrain held its opponents without habeas corpus for weeks and months.