Will Guantanamo Prisoner's Op-ed Force Obama's Murderous Hand?
April 17, 2013 • 9:16AM
A Yemeni national, one of the scores of Guantanamo prisoners who have been on a hunger strike since February, had a wrenching op-ed published in the New York Times yesterday. In it, he pointedly placed the responsibility for their horrendous situation where it belongs.
In "Gitmo Is Killing Me," Samir Najl al Hasan Moqbel wrote, "I've been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity.
"I've been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.
"I could have been home years ago — no one seriously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here. Years ago the military said I was a guard for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch. They don't even seem to believe it anymore. But they don't seem to care how long I sit here, either.
"When I was at home in Yemen, in 2000, a childhood friend told me that in Afghanistan I could do better than the $50 a month I earned in a factory, and support my family. I'd never really traveled, and knew nothing about Afghanistan, but I gave it a try.
"I was wrong to trust him. There was no work. I wanted to leave, but had no money to fly home. After the American invasion in 2001, I fled to Pakistan like everyone else. The Pakistanis arrested me when I asked to see someone from the Yemeni Embassy. I was then sent to Kandahar, and put on the first plane to Gitmo....
"The only reason I am still here is that President Obama refuses to send any detainees back to Yemen."
While the Obama regime likes to point to Congress as the roadblock to closing Guantanamo, The Boston Globe has pointed out that "Obama retains the ability to transfer prisoners with a 'national security waiver' — a power he has never used....
"About a third of the 88 men from Yemen have already been cleared for release. Keeping them at Guantánamo just because of their nationality flies in the face of justice....
"Now, the US military is investing in a fiber optic cable to the base and planning for specialized medical care for 'aging detainees.' That suggests that some will be held there for the rest of their natural lives."
In Moqbel's Times piece, which Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald notes, was "written" through an interpreter and a conversation with his lawyers, Moqbel described how he and others are tied down and force fed.
"It was so painful that I begged them to stop feeding me. The nurse refused to stop feeding me. As they were finishing, some of the food spilled on my clothes. I asked them to change my clothes, but the guard refused to allow me to hold on to this last shred of my dignity.
"When they come to force me into the chair, if I refuse to be tied up, they call the E.R.F. [Extreme Reaction Force] team. So I have a choice. Either I can exercise my right to protest my detention, and be beaten up, or I can submit to painful force-feeding....
"I do not want to die here, but until President Obama and Yemen's president do something, that is what I risk every day."
As Greenwald reported yesterday, "The Yemeni government not only is willing to take them, but is now demanding their release, using language notably harsh for a US puppet regime:
"Even Yemen's president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who generally enjoys close relations with the United States, has directed rare criticism at the Obama administration.
"'We believe that keeping someone in prison for over 10 years without due process is clear-cut tyranny,' Hadi said in a recent interview broadcast over the Arabic language channel of Russia Today. 'The United States is fond of talking democracy and human rights. But when we were discussing the prisoner issue with the American attorney general, he had nothing to say."'