Guantánamo Prisoner Dies After Being Held for Nine Years Without Charge or Trial

4.2.11

The Second World War lasted for six years, and at the end of it prisoners of war were released to resume their lives. At Guantánamo, on the other hand, the prison has just marked the ninth anniversary of its opening, and on Thursday the Pentagon announced that Awal Gul, a 48-year old Afghan prisoner, who had been held for nine years without charge or trial and was scheduled to be held forever, died in a shower after suffering a heart attack. Gul had never been held as a prisoner of war, and despite the US government’s assertions that he could be held forever, no one in a position of authority — neither President Bush nor President Obama — had ever adequately demonstrated that he constituted a threat to the United States.

From what is known of Gul’s story, he had run a weapons depot in his home town in eastern Afghanistan, after the end of the Soviet occupation, and had then run it on behalf of the Taliban after their rise to power in 1996. However, in his tribunal at Guantánamo, as I explained in a profile of him two years ago:

Gul said that he had resigned from the Taliban … and, in a volte-face that was typical of Afghan politics, had begun working with the pro-US warlord Hazrat Ali, one of three Afghan commanders who had fought at Tora Bora on the Americans’ behalf [Tora Bora being the site of a showdown, in December 2001, between al-Qaeda and senior Taliban supporters on the one hand, and a proxy Afghan army directed by US Special Forces on the other]. He explained that, on Ali’s advice, he handed himself in to Northern Alliance commanders in Kabul in February 2002, in an attempt to quell rumors about his involvement with the Taliban, but was then handed over to the Americans.

Whether there was any truth to this story had still not been clearly established after nine years, when, as Navy Cmdr. Tamsen Reese, a Guantánamo spokesman, explained, Gul had been working out on Tuesday night in Camp 6, and then “went to go take a shower and apparently collapsed in the shower.” Cmdr. Reese added, “Detainees on the cellblock then assisted him in getting to the guard station,” and from there he was taken to a clinic, and then to the Navy base hospital, which is some distance from the prison blocks, where he died despite “extensive life saving measures.”

Unlike the six other deaths at Guantánamo — the three heavily disputed deaths in June 2006, which appear to have involved a secret torture team operating in a secret facility outside Guantánamo’s main perimeter fence rather than the authorities’ claim that the men committed suicide simultaneously, two other alleged suicides in May 2007 and June 2009, and the death by cancer of an unrecognized hero of the anti-Taliban resistance in December 2007 — the death of Awal Gul at least appears straightforward.

Nevertheless, the US government should be ashamed that it has presided over the death of a man whose claims that he was mistakely detained had never been the subject of a judicial ruling, despite the fact that he, along with all the Guantánamo prisoners, had been granted habeas corpus rights by the US Supreme Court two years and eight months ago.

In Gul’s defense, his lawyer, Matthew Dodge, an Atlanta-based federal public defender, said that documents in the possession of the US government proved that Gul “had quit the Taliban a year before the Sept. 11 terror attacks,” as the Miami Herald explained. Dodge and Gul’s other lawyer, Brian Mendelsohn, also stated, “Mr. Gul was kind, philosophical, devout, and hopeful to the end, in spite of all that our government has put him through … The government charged that he was a prominent member of the Taliban and its military, but we proved that this is false. Indeed, we have documents from Afghanistan, even a letter from Mullah Omar himself on Taliban letterhead, discussing Mr. Gul’s efforts to resign from the Taliban a year or more before 9/11/01. He resigned because he was disgusted by the Taliban’s growing penchant for corruption and abuse. Mr. Gul was never an enemy of the United States in any way.”

The lawyers added, “It is a shame that the government will finally fly him home not in handcuffs and a hood, but in a casket.” FBI reports, included in his habeas petition, not only stated that Gul had 18 children (seven boys and eleven daughters), but also described him as “a former Taliban commander,” and noted that, in June 2008, he told a San Diego-based FBI agent that he was “tired from war and thirsty for peace.”

In contrast, US Southern Command responded to news of Gul’s death by issuing a statement claiming that he was “an admitted Taliban recruiter and commander of a military base in Jalalabad,” who “at one point,” as the Miami Herald put it, “allegedly operated an al-Qaeda guesthouse.” The use of “allegedly” in the second part of that claim rather undermines the credibility of that particular allegation, and as for the first, Gul’s time as a recruiter and commander clearly relates to the period before the disillusionment that he expressed, and that was confirmed by the FBI.

The Southcom statement also claimed that Gul “admitted to meeting with Osama bin Laden and providing him with operational assistance on several occasions,” but Gul himself told his tribunal at Guantánamo in 2004 that, although he had seen bin Laden on three occasions, “the first time in 1990 in a gathering for ‘rich Saudis” who had come to build a hospital and school,” he was “unaware that the al-Qaeda founder was anti-American,” and had not been involved in providing any kind of operational assistance.

Gul’s lawyers called the Southcom statement “outrageous,” and explained:

The government, through this post-death statement, makes claims more outlandish even than the government lawyers in Mr. Gul’s habeas case. We now hear for the very first time in the nearly 10 years since Mr. Gul’s arrest, that (1) he operated a guesthouse for Al-Qaeda members, and (2) that he admitted providing bin Laden operational support on several occasions. Over the course of almost 3 years in court, the government has never provided any evidence at all to support this slander. Neither Mr. Gul not any credible witness has ever said such things.

Other allegations are equally worthless. Responding to an allegation that he had trained on Stinger missiles (portable surface-to-air missiles used to bring down planes and helicopters), Gul stated that he had indeed trained to use them, but had done so in the 1980s, when the US supplied the missiles to Afghan mujahideen resisting the Soviet occupation.

The Miami Herald also revealed that, last March, District Court Judge Rosemary Collyer had heard oral arguments from both sides in Gul’s habeas corpus petition, but for some reason had failed to reach a decision in his case.

The final blow, however, came from Matthew Dodge, who explained that President Obama’s Guantánamo Review Task Force, comprising over 60 career officials and lawyers from government departments and the intelligence services, who reviewed all the Guantánamo cases in 2009, had designated Gul as one of 48 prisoners who should continue to be held indefinitely without charge or trial, meaning that, even if his habeas petiton had been granted by Judge Collyer, the decision taken by an unaccountable executive Task Force would have led to an appeal, almost certainly consigning him to continued indefinite detention, possibly for the rest of his life.

How this is supposed to constitute anything resembling justice or fairness is beyond me, and I can only conclude that, not only was Awal Gul betrayed by the US authorities, but also that any of the other 47 men designated for indefinite detention without charge or trial (whose identities have not been publicly disclosed, although they are known to their lawyers) must be reflecting today that, a year from now, or five years from now, or ten, 15 or 20 years from now, they too might die of a heart attack in the living grave of Guantánamo, only to have the US government respond by wheeling out whatever untested allegations it has on file that can be brandished to create the illusion that they were beneath contempt.

I never met Awal Gul, of course, and, as I have stated, I have no idea whether or not his story was true, but even the US government never attempted to claim that he was actually involved in any terrorist activities, and I can only state, in closing, that his sad and lonely death, in a place increasingly shorn of all hope, is a depressing indictment of the US government’s ongoing and apparently permanent inability to treat the men at Guantánamo with anything other than heartless disdain.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in July 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and available on DVD here), my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

As published exclusively on Cageprisoners.

72 Responses

  1. Virginia Simson says...

    Nine years. Think of it.

    I have followed this story and posted about him on my blog several times.

    I am so sad.

    Thank you, Andy for all that you do.

    Many of us tried to do something about it by writing to his persecutors, the judges, human rights orgs, whatever we could. I just hope his soul knew that. His soul lives on. It’s just another reason to keep on keepin’ on. NEVER AGAIN.

  2. Tweets that mention Guantánamo Prisoner Dies After Being Held for Nine Years Without Charge or Trial | Andy Worthington -- Topsy.com says...

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  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Virginia. It is good to hear that there are people who care, like you and the others who provided the comments posted below. The indifference about Guantanamo appals me in general, but I always feel it particularly acutely when someone dies at the prison.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Bee Bumble wrote:

    Disgrace…

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Jorge Guillermo Gajardo Rojas wrote:

    If not a disgrace is a Crime.The words must be coherent with facts.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Bee Bumble wrote:

    It is both…

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Foj Freud wrote:

    a crime for a fact united snakes

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Vikki Cvichiee wrote:

    Mr.Worthington, why weren’t you able to make his release?

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Jorge Guillermo Gajardo Rojas wrote:

    In a civilized country the secretary of State could made a statment and civil justice would open a inquiry.
    And american authorities are worried about human rights violations at Cuba in the same island where Guantanamo is located.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Susan Hall wrote:

    This is such an atrocity, I cannot even write about all the feelings and opinions I have in regards to it. Certainly the US Presidents Bush & Obama should be held responsible since it is probable that the situation of Awal Gul’s life caused him unendurable pain. Much less than this has triggered such a condition of heart failure for human beings. SHAME SHAME SHAME, first on the main leaders of the US, then on the legislators, then on the US public, finally on the military and finally on all countries around the world who know it is taking place. I would be proud of my relatives (& do have them) in the military if they refused to take part in injustice where they were expected to torture, incarcerate & kill uncharged people, especially for over months-years-decades; that was done centuries ago in the Middle Ages in the Times of the Black Plagues and Torture Chambers.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Bee Bumble wrote:

    Well said…I am too angry to be as articulate as you at this time…

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Newsom Cheryl wrote:

    America’s chickens will someday come home to roost…

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Bee Bumble wrote:

    Pride comes before a mighty fall…

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Tashi Farmilo-Marouf wrote:

    Very sad. Thank you for writing this.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Gerda Van de Windt wrote:

    Thank you for posting this Andy. I’ll share

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Ghaliyaa Haq wrote:

    Ya Allah! :’-( This ENRAGES me! May Allah(swt) make him shaheed and grant him the highest places in Jannah – ameen. Woe be those who allowed this to happen.

    And to think I grew up so brainwashed as to think that American didn’t do these things. Only once an adult was I able to look into the REAL history and see that America has been doing this from before it was “America”…. yes they still brainwash children.. but I do my best to show them the truth (according to their ages… so as not to give them more than they can handle at their young ages.) My daughters were all given the truth as well, alhamdulillah. And all of them are better for it – because they all realize that what they were taught is not the truth. Now they care about the plight of others. They are good people – I’m proud of them.

    But this… after taking exercise? No way. Andy thanks for writing this up – and I will share/dig/post etc. Bless you.

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Ghaliyaa Haq also wrote:

    Susan Hall: Please do not include all of the American public – believe me, this particular American has been working full time on this, and on supporting the Muslim prisoners both in the US – and outside of the US. There are others who do so as well. Especially to put us ahead of the military is a little much. I can understand if you say the military, and the majority of the American public who seem to be addicted to greed, their toys, and don’t pay attention to the rest of the world – and those who think that Muslims are better off in prison – because of prejudice and fear – and who are too lazy to do the actual research to know that there is nothing to fear…. argggghhhhhh…….. anyway I agree with you.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Nancy Vining Van Ness wrote:

    thanks, Andy, for this article and your continuing work to make these prisoners’ stories known and to help us work for justice for them.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph wrote:

    Not good. Such a tragedy. And 18 children.

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph also wrote:

    The others weren’t suicides. There’s no way.
    I’m also curious to know whether lorazepam, valium or klonepin were routinely handed out to prisoners. Al-Hanashi, who died in June 2009, seems to have interesting toxicology.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, everyone. A lawyer friend — a Guantanamo lawyer — just wrote to say, “So glad you wrote about the death of Awal Gul. A sad and terrible thing. A forgotten man in a forgotten and neglected place. Other than you, no one seems to be getting the message out any more.”
    I’ll be glad to let him know that you and others are helping get the message out, and that 296 of you have shared this article so far.

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    On Common Dreams, CrazyLiberal wrote:

    It is truly outrageous, shameful, but sadly predictable that career militarists and closet sadists at Southcom would continue to slander an uncharged detainee who has died in their illegitimate custody.
    Southcom still has not been held accountable for the credible evidence of torture committed by soldiers under its command.

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Inanna wrote:

    Yes! And how can the rest of the world put up with this?! I am ashamed of my government.

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    Sundome wrote:

    Isn’t this what our constitution is to protect us against? I may start calling Obama Zero, like the right wing does. He died under Obama’s watch.

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    sincerious wrote:

    I guess George Bush was right; our Constitution is just a goddamned piece of paper. There seems to be bipartisan agreement on this.

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    Smarter wrote:

    “‘Outrageous': Guantánamo Prisoner Dies After Being Held for Nine Years Without Charge or Trial”

    It seems he died of old age. Life-expectancy in Afghanistan is 45 years, less than his 48 years. Guantanamo couldn’t save him…

    As luck would have it, he was never convicted of the terrorism he was suspected of (lucky he didn’t get sentenced, he might have gotten life in prison!). He ran a hardware-shop in his own country, and was arrrested plus kept prisoner abroad to his death because of that.

    Strange world, strange rules, strange effects of lies we’re living with. And accepting.

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    stardust wrote:

    Sixty career officers, intelligence people, etc., …………………………
    A man comes forward on his own to clear his name, and you killed him.

    I suppose in your polluted career minds, that if you kill them all off in your death camp, then that solves the problem of having to have real JUSTICE and real LAW.

    There is a bigger problem, you know, because this is the moment when YOU sixty career criminals have lost all credibility, and humanity.

    “Home of the Brave..” I think not. Cowards come in all levels of this corrupt nation.

    The TRUTH shall set you free…. but .not in Guantanomo….only DEATH will do that. I am so ashamed of this nation.

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    dkshaw wrote:

    Land of the Fear, home of the Hate.

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    MADDY wrote:

    Our country can not speak out against any other country,- as we are much the terrorist as they. We, along with Israel are supposed to be Hollier than thou, and broken all the rules.

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    Nietzsche wrote:

    Nobody who has read Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the United States” will be surprised at this.

  31. Andy Worthington says...

    Hymenaea courbaril wrote:

    I mourn him, as well as all those who have perished and continue to die in these ultimately meaningless conflicts which we conjure upon our fellow humans. Afghanistan is one of those places that have many ghosts.

    Lately I’ve been reading a book about the country. These kinds of changes of allegiance– they happen all the time there. This guy was not a major figure, I am sure, just another person caught in the ebb and flow of things.

    What a waste. May the spirit of those slain, including Awal Gul, be at peace.

    The book I referred to is written by a brit, John C. Griffiths. “Afghanistan: A History of Conflict”. Worth your time. I’ve learned a lot, and had many of my misconceptions shattered.

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    Obedient Servant wrote:

    I’m sure that some lonely Democratic Elected Misrepresentative will use this tragedy as a rallying cry to urge the Obama maladministration to switch exclusively to free-range detainees.

    It’s bleeding obvious that the despotic Unitary Executive acts (or procrastinates) in the belief that time is on its side.

    Attrition is its ally; every detainee who dies in captivity makes the ugly and intractable dilemma of administering the illusion of justice a tiny bit smaller. To practitioners of amoral, faux-pragmatic realpolitik, this must be seen as a microscopic victory, or at least an advance.

    Reprehensible.

  33. Andy Worthington says...

    vdb wrote:

    the man’s death is “assymetrical warfare”.
    he only died to make the US look bad.

  34. Andy Worthington says...

    jimmytwoshoes wrote:

    We are sick.

  35. Andy Worthington says...

    Mairead wrote:

    After the end of WW2, the Nazi and Japanese records were combed for the names of those responsible for atrocities. And they were then hunted down. Not many really suffered for what they did, but some did, and I suppose the rest at least lived in fear.

    I hope the same will happen after this reign of horror is ended. Only with a greater success rate.

  36. Andy Worthington says...

    Zamboni fahrer wrote:

    That the USA, thanks to Bush and Obama now holds people indefinitely without charge or trial is a MASSIVE, MASSIVE STAIN on the USA’s world standing. The USA can now count itself among the worst nations in the world in terms of human rights…North Korea, China, Belarus, and Russia and the USA are the biggest torturers and jailers in the world.

    Since 2001 the USA has lost any credibility or moral authority worldwide. How can the USA lecture China about human rights with Guantanamo open!?

    How can Obama lecture Hosni Mubarak of Egypt about “treat the demonstrators nice” while signing orders for Guantanamo detainees to be held, indefinitely without any trial? What a fucking outrage.

    The arrogance, exceptionalism, and hypocrisy of the USA is DISGUSTING.

    Close Guantanamo USA, you assholes!

  37. Andy Worthington says...

    vdb replied:

    “the USA has lost any credibility or moral authority”

    would that be the moral authority that wiped out most of the native tribes?
    or the moral authority that practiced slavery?
    or the moral authority which produces and sells the vast majority of the world’s weaponry?
    or is it the moral authority which still believes in capital punishment?

    so much choice!
    see ya in church on sunday!

  38. Andy Worthington says...

    minitrue wrote:

    And what will be the fate of Bradley Manning?

    Does anyone remember the Horst Wessel Song? Beginning to seem appropriate.

  39. Andy Worthington says...

    vdb wrote:

    the supreme court may have re-established Habeas Corpus but no one can find it.
    it is being indefinitely detained at an undisclosed location with no recourse to itself.

  40. Andy Worthington says...

    jareilly wrote:

    Even if Gul was a Taliban fighter or leader (before switching sides) so, what? Why is that a crime, punishable only by the US military with life in prison without parole, without due process, arraignment, habeus corpus, visitation, trial, without charges or a conviction. Without even an investigation.

    Then this same process, that arbitrarily imprisoned 100s, caused 7 deaths inside Gitmo, also resulted in the arbitrary release of several people who actually were violent enemies of the US and who actually did return to Afghanistan to shoot at Americans.

    So, if Gitmo is so vitally necessary to our national security, if the creation of any entirely new, entirely baseless, entirely specious rubric of “law” is necessary, then how come it doesn’t even function effectively against its declared targets?

    This guy died so some mid-level military security hack could save his career, nothing more. That is who we have become, now with Barack Obama’s open and enthusiastic encouragment.

  41. Andy Worthington says...

    Archie1954 wrote:

    This article is just another nail in the coffin of American exceptionalism. The idea that the US is the leader of the free world is now laughable. The US is no better than the the old USSR was. No better and perhaps a whole lot worse.

  42. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Michael S. Kearns wrote:

    Thanks Andy for your fine work. Looking forward to working with you however I can…

  43. Andy Worthington says...

    Joan S. Livingston ‎wrote:

    9 years: was there even a charge? And when will this hellhole ever be closed?

  44. Andy Worthington says...

    Joan S. Livingston ‎also wrote (in response to 20, above):

    Mul: Many people commit suicide by stabbing themselves multiple times in the back. Happens all the time.

  45. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph ‎wrote:

    Joan. Yeah, right. Sorry correction: clonazepam, lorazepam and pseudoephedrine, plus intravenous puncture marks and other suspicious stuff. My opinion? This sounds like murder. Even heart patients kept in Gitmo, or Abu Ghraib or elsewhere sounds homicidal.

  46. Andy Worthington says...

    Mui J. Steph also wrote:

    Not a lucky way to start the new year.

  47. Andy Worthington says...

    Kunle Balogun wrote:

    Thanks Andy, is there any other ways this mess can be stopped? many souls died unjustly. are we going to allow this to continue?

  48. Andy Worthington says...

    Jon Elliott wrote:

    Question: Would you rather be dead or would you rather have spent 9 years in Gitmo while looking forward to spending the next 40 years in that tropical wonderland? Me?….put some peanut butter on it & gimme a gun

  49. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks again, my friends. Joan and Kunie, I wish I had an easy answer as to how to close Guantanamo. More campaigning, and more publicity seems to be the only possibility. Many of us are making plans, but the urgency only increases whenever someone dies, and the authorities respond with such callous indifference and black propaganda.

  50. Carlyle Moulton says...

    Andy.

    This speech by Fozia Siddiqui is interesting.

    I suspect that it is not a very good translation. In some places it is confusing as to whose words Fouzia is quoting, Aafia herself, Aafia’s mother, Ahmed or the boy dumped in Ghazni with Aafia and pretending to be Ahmed.

    However some things are clear:-

    1/ The Pakistanis stopped Aafia’s family from reporting her kidnap by threatening to do Aafia harm if they complained;

    2/ At some stage Americans in an American court admitted to having Aafia in custody but claimed that it was protective custody for her benefit;

    3/ That in 2008 Aafia was dumped in Ghazni with a boy who was not her son Ahmed but pretended to be Ahmed and who had been given instructions to lead her towards the Governor’s palace;

    4/ That an anonymous phone call was made to Ghazni police warning of a dangerous suicide bomber fitting Aafia’s description accompanied by a boy intending to attack the governor’s palace and suggesting that she was extremely dangerous and must be killed;

    5/ That a phone call was made to the police to verify that the dangerous suicide bomber had been killed and when the answer was negative a squad of US soldiers rushed to the police station with the results that we now know;

    6/ That the authorities at the Bagram prison admitted that they played tapes of a woman being tortured to torture the men.

    I think it would be worth contacting Fouzia Siddiqui in conjunction with a competent translator to clarify all the confusing aspects of her speech or perhaps the English translation thereof.

    On the issue of Awal Gul, the US cannot afford to release him and others like him precisely because of the injustices of their treatment of him and the other prisoners to be detained indefinitely.

  51. Carlyle Moulton says...

    I think that it’s a fairly safe to bet that Aafia Siddiqui will not get out of FMC Carswell psychiatric prison alive, that relatively soon she will die either from alleged suicide or from a mysterious medical condition. She will never again get to speak to her lawyers, to any of her family or to anyone independent of the US authorities. The US simply cannot allow her to tell the story that she would tell.

  52. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Carlyle. I’d seen a link to this speech, but didn’t have the time to investigate further. I’m still in Poland, where I’ve been touring my film “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo” for the last week, and haven’t had much time to do any reading or research. It’s all been very worthwhile, however, and I’ll be reporting developments very soon.
    I very much hope that your second comment will not prove to be accurate, but I completely understand your fears …

  53. Carlyle Moulton says...

    Andy.

    I also hope my predictions in comment 51 are wrong.

    However it seems clear that senior people in the American government have made an irreversible decision to protect the illusions that the US does not torture and does not kidnap innocent people by sacrificing those innocent people that it has kidnapped, tortured and imprisoned.

    In any case I do not believe that the Americans see any Muslim or Arab as truly innocent. Unless they go to extremes to distance themselves from the actions of the terrorists from within their culture they are deemed by the Americans to bear collective guilt for every “terrorist” action by other Muslims and Arabs. Aafia Siddiqui is not just a Muslim but an extremely devout one and in the view of Americans this makes torturing her and convicting her with fabricated evidence justifiable.

  54. Andy Worthington says...

    Sadly, it’s hard to argue with that, Carlyle. America seems to be as unmoored from the rest of world opinion right now as it did in the worst days of Bush and Cheney.

  55. Andy Worthington says...

    Also on Common Dreams, momo wrote:

    when is enough enough? our politicians are criminal stooges for a corporate elite that effectively bribes them to kill and imprison men, women and children around the world and siphon wealth from the productive classes to that elite. bush, cheney, obama, bernanke, giethner, paulson, blankfein… need i go on? they should all be tried in international courts for a host of crimes from economic fraud perpetrated with intent to impoverish billions of people, to theft and destruction of natural resources, to human rights violations and murder – all, ultimately, in pursuit of personal wealth.
    i am ashamed to be an american — not because i have taken any active part in these crimes, but because, like most of you, i have not taken an active enough part in stopping them, no matter what the personal cost.

  56. Andy Worthington says...

    Smarter replied:

    I feel with you. Very much so: The shame of not knowing what to do efficiently, or not being able to do enough to stop my every move of consumption exploiting people and planet, paying less than real costs. “Externalizing” the real cost by postponing them into the future or after the “creditors” – the poorest people and the ecosystems on the planet – dies.

    Yet we ARE waking up. Momo – no more time to save. Just do right.

  57. Andy Worthington says...

    momo replied:

    agreed. but it’s important that we act collectively and not feel as individuals an onus to be morally perfect and beyond reproach as the only — or even an effective — route to counter the world’s evils; it’s true, they’ve got us right where they want us, but we’re smarter and more decent than they are, and in the end i’m confident that’s worth something.

  58. Andy Worthington says...

    oxygen wrote:

    add me in also and how is everyone? I am just morphing over from the huffpost where apparently she’s sold out and I thought she wasn’t -had been there since she opened in 05

    by allowing this type of torture and detention we are lowering the whole world’s standards and it is going to come back to haunt all of us – why doesn’t Obama care ? I voted for him and now am very disappointed in him and his leadership examples

  59. Andy Worthington says...

    bardamu wrote:

    If the US government had legal cases against these people, they would try them, and do so publicly: it would be the easiest, most straightforward way to pretend to be humane.

  60. Andy Worthington says...

    Galenwainwright wrote:

    Yet at the same time, the US is all happy-happy at the prospect of having former General Omar Suleiman, one time ‘go-to’ man in Egypt for torture of both Egyptian citizens and CIA rendition victims, as new Vice President, and as appointed/anointed President to be.

    It’s getting to the point I want to puke every time I hear the word ‘democracy’…

    Non Serviam – I will not serve.

  61. Andy Worthington says...

    genie wrote:

    It is sad how the U.S. government uses any connection to the Taliban to charge Afghanistan and Iraqis as having a connection to terrorist. This prisoner was accused of being connected to the Taliban due to having helped them during the war against Russia just as humanitarian Rafil Dhafir was charged with being connected to the Taliban due to being a history buff and interviewing a Taliban leader during the war against Russia.Dhafir got 22 years. (America donated millions of our tax revenue to the Taliban government shortly before 9-11.) All these things need to be made public for people to be outraged. But Americans would need to let go of their belief that the U.S. officials in government are infallible unless they raise their taxes to help the poor. It is OK for their government to raise taxes to kill and maim the poor in Iraq and Afghanistan and imprison and torture innocent Afghans and Iraqis.Americans don’t care about anything but their tax money not going to the American poor. The Bush/Cheney wars are the first time taxes went down during war let alone two wars. What ever happened to shared sacrifice.Most Americans know those wars were counterproductive. All the dead soldiers, civilians and innocent prisoners lives have been wasted.

  62. Andy Worthington says...

    Angry Kraut wrote:

    “The Second World War lasted for six years, and at the end of it prisoners of war were released to resume their lives.”

    Well, not quite.

    * Stalin hung on to his German PoWs for some time — some of them were held in Russia as long as ten years.

    * About 700,000 Germans died of hunger and exposure after the war in Eisenhower’s concentration camps, while donated food rotted in warehouses, as documented by James Bacque in “Other Losses”.

    * Many Russian soldiers that had been captured by German forces and were working in Germany wanted to stay in Germany (for very good reason), but the Anglo-Saxons gave them back to Stalin in “Operation Keelhaul”; most did not survive.

  63. Andy Worthington says...

    abuelo wrote:

    thanks again Andy. Your stories should be a lot better known than they are. Maybe only a small number of u.s. people care much about these prisoners. But they should be able to see the disasters down the road: everything about our “justice” system lies in rags, shreds, and tatters. Nothing is left. we do not have a right to a trial by a jury of our peers, no presumption of innocence, no habeas- what we now have seems to be in no way I can see different from the Moscow trials. No wait- there is a difference- rigged and predetermined they were, but at least they held their show trials. our fellow citizens have taken all this without a murmur, probably because all our victims so far are Muslims, and have had that terror label around their necks, and too many people are willing to accept these presidential decrees as an acceptable alternative to jurisprudence as we once knew it.

  64. Andy Worthington says...

    redjeff wrote:

    It seems that if you are Taliban, or were Taliban, or know somebody who was Taliban, or know how to spell “Taliban”, you too could be an enemy of the United States, which means you need not be charged, only punished. Guilt, nay, death by association.
    It’s too late for justice on this issue, and Americans will pay 1000 times for what they have done in Guantanamo, Bagram, and an archipelago of black sites around the world, to people who happened to be “driving while Muslim”. We could and should immediately release all remaining prisoners to whereever in the world they wish to live, dismantle all the prisons, starting with Guantanamo, and turn the land of the naval base back over to Cuba. End the Empire.

  65. Andy Worthington says...

    wolfgang wrote:

    This is what happens when you, the voters, proceed to select and elect those with no moral compass to the Congress and the Executive.

  66. Andy Worthington says...

    Reverend_Boomerang wrote:

    I have to live with the double shame of knowing that these atrocities are committed on my native soil and with my Amerikan dollars. How I have been punked by two different governments that are supposed to be polar opposites yet are exactly the same. How I have been lied to, used, ashamed and how sick I am of it all! I wish I had words to express my disgust and disillusionment but hard as I try, I can’t come up with any so I hang my head low in shame and in sorrow for the human race.

  67. Andy Worthington says...

    Chelseagirl wrote:

    This is terribly sad.

    Well, we have Bush and Obama to thank for this man dying in that stink pit without a trial.

  68. Ihsan khan says...

    Ya Allah give him the Highest place in Jannat

    I want to say to the Human right agency that is this the right of a human such as Malim Awal Gul,that he was held in jail for 9 years and nothing was proved against him.
    America the president of America the Human rights did nothing for his poor 17 children and 3 wives and an Old weak,tired mother who all wait for him for 9 years what will they do after them and who will take care of them.

    Please help his family and investigate about his profile of life about his death from America and the President.

  69. The Only Way Out Of Guantánamo Is In A Coffin - OpEd says...

    [...] Algerian who was repatriated against his will in January. Since then, an Afghan prisoner, Awal Gul, died in February after taking exercise, and on Wednesday the US military announced that another Afghan prisoner, Inayatullah, who was 37 [...]

  70. Statement by Lawyers for Adnan Latif, the Latest Prisoner to Die at Guantánamo says...

    [...] Last May, when the eighth prisoner died at Guantánamo – a man named Hajji Nassim, known to the US authorities as Inayatullah, who had serious mental health problems – I wrote an article entitled, The Only Way Out of Guantánamo Is In a Coffin, which was horribly accurate, as the last two prisoners to leave Guantánamo had left in coffins. The other, Awal Gul, had died in February. [...]

  71. geral says...

    Cold blooded murder by the most ruthless homicidal sociopaths on earth: fbi/cia/dod.

    For Our Brothers:

    See my reports on USA’s efforts at
    *world inhumane domination; note that all USA prisoners of war are microchipped

    http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/brainscanofsosbe.html

    and most are targeted for assassination (usually by drones) after learning of
    activities and associates of the subject.

    United States assassins now use torture & threat of torture (fear) pervasively:

    http://www.boell.org/downloads/Lingis_on_torture.pdf

    http://barcelona.indymedia.org/newswire/display/470971/index.php

    or:

    http://austin.indymedia.org/article/2013/07/19/save-species-itself

    *
    http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/part4-worldinabo.html

    The united states of america is now forever known as the BEAST, the BrainEntrAinmentSTate, a country w/o conscience, a people w/o heart who are cursed with a national character predominantly w/o soul :

    http://www.governmentattic.org/docs/USMC_NeuronalEntrainment_NonlethalApplications_1998.pdf

    http://www.sosbeevfbi.com/hightechassau.html

    http://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/story/age-madness-critical-review-fbicia-operations/9375

    America is Dead:

    http://la.indymedia.org/news/2012/09/255780.php

  72. freedetainees.org – Guantanamo’s secretive review boards says...

    […] the men designated for on-going detention in March 2011 – who now number 46 men, because two have died – and 25 others, who were among 36 men recommended for prosecution by the task […]

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, filmmaker, photographer and Guantanamo expert
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