Revolutionary News

1,000s protest NHS changes in London

Thousands of protesters have poured into the streets of London to voice outrage about the government’s proposed changes to the NHS.

The protest, backed by an unprecedented coalition of British trade unions, Labour MPs, medical staff and anti-privatization campaign groups, was organized against planned privatization and closures across London including nine accident and emergency departments, several maternity units and thousands of hospital bed.

The Save Our NHS demonstrators marched in the British capital on Saturday, holding banners with slogans including “NHS not for sale” and “Keep our NHS public”.

The protesters also handed a letter to the British Prime Minister’s office at No 10 Downing Street demanding him to halt “closures and privatization threats to the NHS”.

The rally was called after a set of closures and downgrades of A&E departments and other services at London hospitals that led to the massive 25,000-srong march to defend Lewisham hospital.

AMR/HE

US Suspends Constitution in Permanent World War on Terror

Eric Blair
Activist Post

Two disturbing developments have occurred in the last couple of days that have gone relatively unnoticed compared to the recent IRS, AP, and Benghazi scandals.

First, the senate is debating an expansion of the already broad powers of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) so the U.S. can essentially engage any area in the world in the war on terror, including America. Which brings us to the second development: the Pentagon has recently granted itself police powers on American soil.

Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Sheehan told Congress yesterday that the AUMF authorized the US military to operate on a worldwide battlefield from Boston to Pakistan.  Sheehan emphasized that the Administration is authorized to put boots on the ground wherever the enemy chooses to base themselves, essentially ignoring the declaration of war clause in the US Constitution.

Senator Angus King said this interpretation of the AUMF is a "nullity" to the Constitution because it ignores Congress' role to declare war.  King called it the "most astoundingly disturbing hearing" he's been to in the Senate.
 

 

Even ultra-hawk John McCain agreed that the AUMF has gone way beyond its authority.

"This authority ... has grown way out of proportion and is no longer applicable to the conditions that prevailed, that motivated the United States Congress to pass the authorization for the use of military force that we did in 2001," McCain said.

Glenn Greenwald wrote an excellent piece describing how this hearing reveals the not-so-secret plan to make the war on terror a permanent fixture in Western society.

Greenwald writes:

It is hard to resist the conclusion that this war has no purpose other than its own eternal perpetuation. This war is not a means to any end but rather is the end in itself. Not only is it the end itself, but it is also its own fuel: it is precisely this endless war - justified in the name of stopping the threat of terrorism - that is the single greatest cause of that threat.

A self-perpetuating permanent war against a shadowy undefinable enemy appears to be the future of American foreign policy.  How convenient for the war machine and tyrants who claim surveillance is safety.

But perhaps most disturbing of all of this is the military's authority to police American streets as if it was in civil war. For all those still in denial that America is a militarized police state, this should be the ultimate cure to your delusion.

Jeff Morey of AlterNet writes:

By making a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” the military has quietly granted itself the ability to police the streets without obtaining prior local or state consent, upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.

The most objectionable aspect of the regulatory change is the inclusion of vague language that permits military intervention in the event of “civil disturbances.” According to the rule: “Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.”

A law from 1878 called the Posse Comitatus Act was put in place to prevent the Department of Defense from interfering with local law enforcement.  But now, the DoD claims they've had this authority for over 100 years.

"The authorization has been around over 100 years; it’s not a new authority. It’s been there but it hasn’t been exercised. This is a carryover of domestic policy," said an unnamed defense official who also emphasized that all soldiers take an oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies "foreign and domestic" indicating that citizens are a threat to the Constitution.

Yet, the Constitution is a document that polices the government, not the people. In other words, the only people who can be "enemies" of the Constitution are those who took an oath to defend it. Therefore, only government officials can be an enemy the Constitution.

This follows a recent West Point study that sought to define the American people as "domestic enemies" in order to justify soldiers breaking their oath to corral pesky citizens.

The West Point Terrorism Center wrote that "conspiracy theorists" who worry that local law enforcement will be steadily replaced by federally-controlled law enforcement could potentially be a domestic enemy:

Some groups are driven by a strong conviction that the American political system and its proxies were hijacked by external forces interested in promoting a “New World Order,” (NWO) in which the United States will be embedded in the UN or another version of global government. The NWO will be advanced, they believe, via steady transition of powers from local to federal law-enforcement agencies, i.e., the transformation of local police and law-enforcement agencies into a federally controlled “National Police” agency that will in turn merge with a “Multi-National Peace Keeping Force.” The latter deployment on US soil will be justified via a domestic campaign implemented by interested parties that will emphasize American society’s deficiencies and US government incompetency.

So, as the US military claims to have the authority to be a "National Police" force, researchers who claim there is an agenda to do just that are now labeled as domestic terrorists?

Does this make any sense? Will oath takers see through these ridiculous interpretations and engage the real domestic enemy to the Constitution? Or will they just follow orders when the time comes to crack down on Americans?

Read other articles by Eric Blair Here

Obama’s media shield law makes prosecuting journalists even easier

United States President Barack Obama is encouraging Congress to take up a media shield law that was abandoned at the start of his administration, but critics of the bill say it might make it even easier for journalists to be subpoenaed by the government.
After the Associated Press revealed on Monday that they are the target of a US Department of Justice probe, Obama asked lawmakers to consider a would-be media shield law that fell apart in Washington after the start of his first presidency in 2009.
The AP wrote this week that the Justice Department subpoenaed two months of phone records likely in an attempt to try and find out with whom the news agency spoke with before publishing a May 2012 article that exposed a Yemeni terror plot foiled by the Central Intelligence Agency. Attorney General Eric Holder called the disclosure of classified information to the AP one of the biggest leaks ever suffered by the US and said publically that it put the American people at risk. On Thursday, Pres. Obama commented that "leaks related to national security can put people at risk," but suggested that reviving a media shield law that died in Congress could perhaps strike the balance between the public’s right to know and the safety of the nation.
"So the whole goal of this media shield law that was worked on, and largely endorsed by folks like the Washington Post editorial page and prosecutors, was finding a way to strike that balance appropriately," said the president. "And to the extent this case … has prompted renewed interest about how do we strike that balance properly, I think now is the time for us to go ahead and revisit that legislation. I think that's a worthy conversation to have and I think that's important."
Now as the White House shifts focus from one scandal to another, free speech advocates are concerned that the shield law, as written, wouldn’t do much more than current legislation in terms of thwarting future subpoenas sent to journalists. Trevor Timm, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a board member of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, wrote in a blog post this week that the media shield law touted by Pres. Obama during his days as a senator in Illinois failed to take shape after he secured his spot in the Oval Office.
“As a Senator, Obama was a vocal supporter of a robust shield law; he co-sponsored a bill in 2007 and campaigned on the issue in 2008,” Timm wrote. “But when the Senate moved to pass the bill as soon as Obama came into office, his administration abruptly changed course and opposed the bill, unless the Senate carved out an exception for all national security reporters.”
When Obama entered the White House in early 2009, he walked away from a Senate where a shield law he advocated for had just started to take shape. Before long, though, his own administration asked for Congress to make adjustments before it ended up on the president’s desk. That original law would, in theory, put in place safeguards that would help prevent journalists from being compelled to testify who their sources are. Once in the White House, though, Obama did an about face.
In September 2009, Charlie Savage wrote for the New York Times that those safeguards “would not apply to leaks of a matter deemed to cause ‘significant’ harm to national security.”
“Moreover, judges would be instructed to be deferential to executive branch assertions about whether a leak caused or was likely to cause such harm, according to officials familiar with the proposal,” Savage wrote.
One of the bill’s authors, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York), had sharp words for the president at the time. “The White House’s opposition to the fundamental essence of this bill is an unexpected and significant setback. It will make it hard to pass this legislation,” the senator said. Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pennsylvania), a co-sponsor, called the changes “totally unacceptable.”
“If the president wants to veto it, let him veto it,” Sen. Specter told the Times in 2009. “I think it is different for the president to veto a bill than simply to pass the word from his subordinates to my subordinates that he doesn’t like the bill.”
Ultimately, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the shield law after some minor tweaking in December 2009, but as Savage explained in the Times this week, “a furor over leaking arose after WikiLeaks began publishing archives of secret government documents, and the bill never received a vote.”
Speaking to the Washington Post about what the passing of that version would have done in regards to the AP probe, Sen. Schumer said, “at minimum, our bill would have ensured a fairer, more deliberate process in this case.”
"While it is unclear whether the bill would change the outcome in the AP phone records case since a national security exception may have applied, the bill would have set up a legal process for approving the subpoenas that would guarantee consideration of the public’s interest in protecting the freedom of the press," Schumer weighed in. "Prosecutors would have to convince a judge that the information at issue would “prevent or mitigate an act of terrorism or harm to national security.”
For the Freedom of the Press Foundation, Timm wrote this week that the latest version of the shield law wouldn’t do much more. Under the Sept. 2009 request sent from the White House, the shield law once supported by Pres. Obama would include an exception where journalists could be subpoenaed if it means national security is at risk.
“Now, it’s important to remember: virtually the only time the government subpoenas reporters, it involves leak investigations into stories by national security reporters. So it’s hard to see how this bill will significantly help improve press freedom,” wrote Timm. “Worse, there’s a strong argument that passing the bill as it ended in 2010 will weaken rights reporters already have and make it easier for the government to get sources from reporters.”
“The difference is that instead of DOJ unilaterally making that determination,” the Justice Department would “have to convince a judge that this was the case,” University of Minnesota Law Professor Jane Kirtley explained to the Post.
On Thursday, Sen. Schumer and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) announced they would co-sponsor a media shield bill — but that the national security exemption ordered by Obama in 2009 was once again present.
“The government has a legitimate interest in preventing and investigating leaks of classified information," Graham and Schumer wrote. "At the same time, the public has a legitimate interest in a robust free press.”
“This bill strikes a fair and reasonable balance between those interests, and we urge you to join us in advancing it,” they wrote

US top general warns of sexual assault crisis in Army

US top general warns of sexual assault crisis in Army

Italians protest austerity in force

Thousands of Italians have taken to the streets in the capital Rome to protest against tough austerity measures adopted by the government of Prime Minister Mario Monti.

Thousands of anti-austerity demonstrators gathered in Rome's Piazza della Repubblica on Saturday, expressing their anger at the government’s massive spending cuts.

Deep recession and the government’s highly unpopular austerity measures have caused widespread public anger across Italy.

The government is implementing the belt-tightening measures to tackle its debt crisis.

The eurozone’s third-biggest economy is estimated to shrink 1.8 percent this year amid rising unemployment and low consumer and investor confidence.

Figures from Italy’s National Institute of Statistics (Istat) showed that the unemployment rate in Italt was predicted to rise from 10.7 percent in 2012 to 11.9 percent this year and 12.3 percent in 2014.

Italy started to experience recession after its economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the third quarter of 2011, and by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of the same year.

Over the past decade, Italy has been also the slowest growing economy in the eurozone.

The worsening debt crisis has forced the EU governments to adopt harsh austerity measures and tough economic reforms, which have triggered incidents of social unrest and massive protests in many European countries.

YH/HN

‘Only way to end Gitmo strike fairly is to set cleared inmates free’

As the Guantanamo hunger strike enters day 100, the inmates’ lawyers have revealed details of abuses their clients are subject to, while the prison authorities keep denying they are resorting to practices violating human rights.
A fair trial would have been a natural step. To have all of the parties heard and resolve the crisis, believes Clive Stafford Smith, founder of legal group Reprieve, and an attorney for several detainees in the Guantánamo Bay camp.
Follow RT’s day-by-day timeline of the Gitmo hunger strike.
RT spoke to the activist who was first to reveal some of the harsh methods allegedly used in Guantanamo, including degrading body searches, which inmates have to undergo just to phone their representatives.
RT: Why haven't the U.S. authorities tried to negotiate an end to the hunger strike - instead of using controversial tactics like force-feeding or denying drinking water?
Clive Stafford Smith: Of course in order to negotiate an end to the strike, we have to give justice to these prisoners. And we are talking about 96 of the 166 prisoners, who have been cleared for release, and that’s 52 per cent of them, including most of the people I represent. There’s only one way to end this strike fairly, and that’s to take prisoners who’ve been cleared for release and set them free. And Shaker Aamer, the last British resident, he could come back to London tomorrow if only President Obama would show him redemption and use the National Defense Authorization Act to let people go free. That’s the only way to solve this problem.
RT: Is it not possible though, because Washington is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Here we have people who were scooped up from places like Afghanistan, put into Guantanamo Bay. Even if they weren’t radicalized before they arrived, they may have become radicalized because of their prison experience. 
CSS: I’ve been radicalized, I’m radicalized for justice not for violence. And that’s true for all the people I’ve represented. Every single prisoner, who’s been set free in Great Britain, and there’s been 14 of them, has behaved impeccably, when they came back here. Unless you think it’s wrong to go around telling the truth, giving speeches and writing books. None of them have done any criminal offense, save for one who got a traffic ticket one time. And it would be so perverse if we argued that we can snatch innocent people, abuse them for 11 years and say, because we’ve abused them, they might hate us, therefore we keep them forever. That’s ridiculous.  

Activists demand the closing of the US military's detention facility in Guantanamo during a protest, part of the Nationwide for Guantanamo Day of Action, April 11, 2013 in New York's Times Square. (AFP Photo)

RT: The hunger strike has gone on for 100 days. It is a long time without food. What can you tell us about the health conditions of your clients?

CSS: Well I can, and I’m actually glad that a standard operating procedure for Guantanamo Bay was leaked this Monday. I have a copy of it. It’s not classified. And it corroborates everything my clients have been telling me about how the force-feeding is being done. And you know what’s really worrying about this is General Bantz Craddock of SOUTHCOM - back when they changed the protocol to make it more painful for prisoners - said they were doing it to make it “inconvenient” for the prisoners to keep on hunger striking. In the earlier days they used a smaller tube up one’s nose, it’s a 120cm long, and they would leave that tube in for weeks at a time. Now what they are doing is they are using larger tubes and they are sticking those up one’s nose twice a day and pulling them out again.
RT: You revealed that Guantanamo detainees undergo full body cavity searches before they can contact their representatives. Camp authorities claim everything they do is lawful and justified.  Isn't this just normal practice in prisons?
CSS: No, it’s not normal practice. But let’s face it – when my clients are coming to have a telephone call with me they can’t smuggle anything on a telephone line. And so the idea that they threaten the prisoners with full body search, and I won’t go into the really graphic part, but it’s basically a sexual assault, is just a threat to try to get them not to talk to us and frankly the reason for this is fairly obvious. That there’s been an awful lot of information coming out of Guantanamo Bay that doesn’t suit the authorities. Now they say what they say is the truth, we say what we say is the truth. Of course, the natural thing to do about this is to have a proper trial, but we are not allowed one of those. I’m confident that my clients are telling me the truth and just want that truth to come out of there.
RT: How long has the practice of body searches been in place and has it prevented inmates from contacting their lawyers?
CSS: The threat of the anal cavity search only came about ten or twelve days ago, and yes indeed it has. Last Friday two of my clients refused to have a call with me for the simple reason that they didn’t want to go through that process. I had one of the other lawyers from Reprieve, who was at the base last week and twice prisoners didn’t want to come out for a visit, because of what they’ve been threatened with. This is just not civilized. I speak as an American when I say we should not be doing this sort of thing. We are upholding the rule of law, not trying to suppress it. 
What’s sad about it is of course people at Guantanamo have studied what Muslim man are particularly sensitive to. And so one thing that obviously a conservative traditional Muslim male is not used to is having a stranger basically assault them sexually. And this is something which is far more humiliating for someone from Yemen, than it would be for someone perhaps from America. And these things have been studied rather carefully, so it’s a great tragedy that the US has used studies on how to be sensitive to Muslims and turned these around to use them to humiliate them.

‘Environmental genocide’: Native Americans quit talks over Keystone XL pipeline

Leaders from 11 Native American tribes stormed out of a meeting with US federal officials in Rapid City, South Dakota, to protest the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which they say will lead to ‘environmental genocide.’
Native Americans are opposed to the 1,179-mile (1,897km) Keystone XL project, a system to transport tar sands oil from Canada and the northern United States to refineries in Texas for various reasons, including possible damage to sacred sites, pollution, and water contamination.
Although the planned pipeline would not pass directly through any Native American reservation, tribes in proximity to the proposed system say it will violate their traditional lands and that the environmental risks of the project are simply too great.
Russ Girling, CEO of TransCanada, the company that hopes to build the pipeline, has promised in the past that Keystone XL will be “the safest pipeline ever built.”
The Indian groups, as well as other activist organizations, doubt the claim, saying the risks involved in the project are too high.
In an effort to ease their concerns, officials from the Department of State agreed to meet with tribal leaders on Thursday in the Hilton Garden Inn in Rapid City, Michigan.
Before the talks could begin, however, tribal leaders walked out, angered that the government had sent what they considered low-level representatives.
In a press conference following the walkout, tribal leaders took turns criticizing the project, as well as the Obama administration.
"I will only meet with President Obama," Bryan Brewer, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, told the Rapid City Journal.
Others mentioned environmental concerns with the proposed pipeline, which echo the concern of environmental groups across the country.

President Barack Obama speaks at the southern site of the Keystone XL pipeline on March 22, 2012 in Cushing, Oklahoma (AFP Photo / Tom Pennington)

Casey Camp-Horinek, an elder with the Southern Ponca Tribe based in Oklahoma, compared the pipeline and other environmental damage to the historical events that had decimated her people during European colonization.
"We find ourselves victims of another form of genocide, and it's environmental genocide, and it's caused by the extractive industries," she said.
Charles LoneChief, vice president of the Pawnee Business Council, headquartered in Oklahoma, said the public was misinformed about the pipeline's environmental risks.
Unlike a traditional crude oil pipeline, Keystone XL will pump oil that is collected from tar sands. To turn this substance into a transportable liquid, oil companies must add chemicals that environmental groups warn are highly toxic.
"That gets into our waterways, our water tables, our aquifers, then we have problems," LoneChief said.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that the Keystone XL pipeline will increase annual US carbon pollution emissions by up to 27.6 million metric tons – the impact of adding nearly 6 million cars on the road, according to the Environment News Service.
Robin LeBeau, a council representative for the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe based in South Dakota, pledged to protest against any construction, even if that meant standing in front of bulldozers.
"What the State Department, what President Obama needs to hear from us, is that we are going to be taking direct action," she said.
I believe this is going to be one of the biggest battles we are ever going to have, LeBeau added.
This is not the first time that Native American groups have spoken out on the project.
Leaders from ten Canadian and US indigenous groups gathered in Ottawa, Ontario in March to protest the construction of pipelines.
“Tar sands pipelines will not pass through [our] collective territories under any conditions or circumstances,” the tribes said at a press conference.

Russia says CIA spy agency ‘crossed red line’ on provocative recruitments

Russia says the US spy agency CIA ‘crossed a red line’ by ignoring Moscow’s warning against its recruiting Russian security service employees as spies.

The spokesman for Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Nikolai Zakharov, said Thursday that in October 2011 the FSB officially warned the CIA station chief in the country that “if provocative recruitment efforts aimed at Russian security service employees continued, the FSB would take ‘mirror’ measures.”

“The CIA crossed a red line and we were forced to react,” Zakharov stated.

On May 14, Russian authorities detained a US diplomat, identified as Ryan Fogle, on allegations of attempting to recruit a Russian national to spy for the CIA. Fogle was ordered to leave Russia.

The FSB said at the time of capture that Fogle had been carrying “special technical equipment and written instructions for recruiting a Russian citizen.”

Zakharov also stated that in 2011, the FSB had named Russian officers who had been approached by the US spy agency, and the CIA operatives who had targeted them, adding that the US director of national intelligence, James Clapper, had been “made aware of this issue.”

“The CIA did not take our concern over the situation into account” and went on with its efforts to recruit Russians, the FSB spokesman said.

Zakharov said in December 2012 another US diplomat, who was a third secretary at the US embassy in Moscow, had been caught red-handed when he was trying to recruit a Russian agent.

The diplomat, identified as Benjamin Dillo, left Russia on January 15 after being declared persona non grata.

However, the US embassy did not comment on whether an employee was expelled in January.

The Russian Federal Security Service said it knew Fogle worked for the CIA when he entered Russia in April 2011.

“In the hope that the CIA leadership would draw the necessary conclusions, we did not make this case public. But apparently the adherence by the FSB to the principles of professional ethics was not properly appreciated,” Zakharov said.

The issue of Fogle came days after Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State John Kerry said in Moscow that the relationship between Moscow and Washington was improving.

MR/HSN

Pentagon plans to fight ‘War on Terror’ for another 20 years

Even after cutting off the head of al-Qaeda, the United States Department of Defense doesn’t believe an end to the war on terror is in sight. On Thursday, one Pentagon official predicted the mission against al-Qaeda could continue for another two decades.
Speaking to the Senate Armed Services early Thursday, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations Michael Sheehan said the Pentagon has no plans to pull out of its almost 12-year-old war overseas.
When asked for his take on how long the war on terror could go on for, Sheehan told lawmakers, “At least 10 to 20 years.”
According to US President Barack Obama, the last combat troops will move out of Afghanistan in 2014. If remarks from Sheehan and others are at all accurate, though, in reality the war could last through the 2030s.

Michael A. Sheehan, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict. (Image from defense.gov)

Sheehan was being grilled by members of the Senate committee on Thursday over not just the future of the war, but what rules are in play to continue the operation. Congress granted then-President George W. Bush the power to go after al-Qaeda in 2001 by signing the Authorization to Use Military Force, a legislation that essentially gave the go-ahead to use America’s might by any means necessary to avenge the attacks of 9/11. Nearly 13 years later, though, some members of the Senate saw that the overly broad powers extended to the commander-in-chief through the AUMF are being used to justify a widening war that now has soldiers targeting insurgents in venue like Yemen and Somalia.
The scope of America’s counterterrorism program, Sheehan said, stretches “from Boston to the FATA,” referring to the region of Pakistan considered a hotbed of terrorism. Because of that widening arena, some senators said it’s time to rewrite the law.
“It has spread throughout North Africa, throughout the Maghreb,” Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) said during the hearing. “The situation’s changed dramatically.
But while some lawmakers suggested it was time to revise the AUMF, Pentagon officials said the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act updated the law to grant the president power not just to target overseas terrorists, but suspects believed to be associated forces.
Robert Taylor, the acting general counsel of the Department of Defense, said that the NDAA’s update to the Bush-era bill means that even suspects born after the September 11 attacks could be targeted as warriors in the war on terror.
“As long as they become an associated force under the legal standard that was set out,” Taylor testified, according to Wired’s Spencer Ackermnn.
Sen. Angus King, an Independent from Maine, suggested the Pentagon was uninterested in changing the AUMF because they are using it to justify a war that wouldn’t otherwise be legal.
“This is the most disturbing hearing I’ve been to in some time,” King said. “You guys have rewritten the Constitution today.”
“You guys have invented this term, associated forces, that’s nowhere in this document,” King said. “It’s the justification for everything, and it renders the war powers of Congress null and void.”
“I assume [the AUMF] does suit you well because you’re reading it to fit everything, and it doesn’t, the general rule of war applies,” King said.
Even McCain, who has been by and large considered a hawkish member of the Senate, spoke out against the Pentagon’s reluctance to re-write a law that they are using to justify a war that could take US troops to all corners of the globe for the unforeseeable future.
“For you to come here and say, ‘We don’t need to change it,’ I think, is disturbing,” McCain said.
Before stepping down as secretary of defense, former Pentagon chief Leon Panetta said in late 2011, “We're winning this very tough conflict.” Osama bin Laden was executed five months later, and the Central Intelligence Agency and DoD have continuously utilized strikes to weaken al-Qaeda substantially since.

Hunger strikers won’t stop until they get a fair trial - former Gitmo inmate

Murat Kunaz a former prisoner in Guantanamo says that the inmates currently on hunger strike will not voluntarily eat again unless they get a fair trial and the detainees cleared for release are discharged.
Follow RT’s day-by-day timeline of the Gitmo hunger strike.
Kunaz, who languished in Guantanamo for five years even though the American authorities knew he was innocent after 4 months, told RT that he was tortured to sign papers saying he was a member of Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. 
RT: How did you end up in Guantanamo?
Murat Kunaz: I was sold for bounty, $3,000 dollars to the American government, but as soon as the American government found out that I was innocent and not a terrorist, they let me go back home. They knew I was innocent 4 months after I got arrested, but I stayed 5 years in Guantanamo altogether. They always forced me to sign papers saying that I should agree that I am a member of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and every time I refused to sign those kinds of papers they tortured me in different kind of ways like water-boarding and electric shocks. They thought that I would agree to sign those papers. 
RT: Why, if they knew you were innocent after four months, were you only released after 5 years? 
MK: I was from the beginning innocent, so they could have let me go home any time if they wanted. The German government had to agree that they wanted to take me back, so as soon as they did this I was allowed to come back home. 
RT: But why did it take so long if they knew you were innocent? 
MK: Because once you are in the system it’s very difficult to get out even if the government knows you are innocent. 95% of those prisoners have never had a trail and they still won’t get one in the future. That means they’ll be staying there all their life, even though they are innocent. 
RT: Did you ever go on hunger strike when you were in Guantanamo? 
MK: Yes, I went on hunger strike a couple of times during my time in Guantanamo. If you have been on hunger strike more than 3-4 weeks, they start force feeding you and that means you get handcuffed and shackled to a chair so you can’t move and you get fed food through a pipe up your nose and into your stomach, so they can keep you alive for many months or years of course.
RT: What is driving prisoners to take these desperate measures? 
MK: I can understand those detainees, they have been there more than 11 years, and they still haven’t had a trial. I think it will be their last hunger strike for most of the detainees. I believe they will never eat regular meals there again. They’ll have to be force fed or else they will die. 
RT: Did anything change in Guantanamo when the Obama administration came into power? 
MK: Yes, a little bit. There were small changes, a couple of things. It was very important for us to get medication for sick prisoners. We had some prisoners who were very sick, they needed medication that they weren’t getting. So, when we started hunger striking they started giving out medication for those sick people. 
RT: What needs to be done to close Guantanamo? 
MK: Of course more pressure needs to be put on the president of the USA, Barack Obama, including the hunger strike. So if this continues things might change. 
RT: What do the inmates of Guantanamo want? 
MK: They want to be tried. This is all they need. As soon as this happens they will be happy. 
RT: How long do you think this hunger strike will go on for?
MK: We can’t compare this hunger strike now with other ones, which went on for one or two months - this hunger strike is already over three months. Even the American government has to take it very seriously now because more than 80% of the prisoners are on hunger strike.
RT: Have you spoken to anyone else who has been in Guantanamo?
MK: I have talked to a couple of prisoners who were released after I got released, so they told me a couple of things were much the same, after Barack Obama, a couple of things got changed but nothing much.

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