ACT NOW: Don’t Let the U.S. Hide Shocking Details About CIA Torture

Khaled al-Maqtari (Photo Credit: Private).

Khaled al-Maqtari (Photo Credit: Private).

There are some things we do know about U.S. torture practices.

What we don’t yet know is whether the U.S. Government will ever come clean about the torture of detainees since 9/11.

In the next 7 days, we have an opportunity to win a major, historic victory against torture.

Our sources tell us that shocking, unreported details about CIA torture after 9/11 are in danger of being marked “classified” forever – when we know that it is only by shedding light on the darkest periods of our history that we are able to move forward with integrity.

Lawmakers are deciding as early as next week whether to make these details public. We have 7 days to flood the switchboards.

Help ensure that the U.S. Government does not use torture – in our names and with our tax dollars – ever again. Call your Senator now.

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5 Years: Time For Obama to Keep His Promise

A protester calling for the closing of Guantanamo in front of the White House in Washington on January 11, 2014 to mark the 12th anniversary of the arrival of the first detainees. Today, January 22, 2014, marks the 5th anniversary after President Obama signed an executive order to close the facility (Photo Credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images).

A protester calling for the closing of Guantanamo in front of the White House in Washington on January 11, 2014 to mark the 12th anniversary of the arrival of the first detainees. Today, January 22, 2014, marks the 5th anniversary after President Obama signed an executive order to close the facility (Photo Credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images).

By Rob Freer, Amnesty International USA Researcher. This post originally appeared on Al Jazeera under the title, “Guantanamo: 260 weeks and counting.”

A week, it has been said, is a long time in politics.

It is even longer for someone imprisoned thousands of miles from home with no indication of when, if ever, he will be released or brought to trial.

And if a week is a long time, what about five years?

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Guantánamo: 12 Years Too Many, No More Excuses, Shut It Down

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“In retrospect, the entire detention and interrogation strategy was wrong. We squandered the goodwill of the world after we were attacked by our actions in Guantánamo.”

- Major General Michael Lehnert (ret.), first commander of detentions at Guantánamo (2002), December 2013

By Natalie Butz, Communications Specialist at Amnesty International USA

As U.S. detentions at Guantánamo enter their 13th year, we need to take President Obama and Congress to task for their delay in closing the detention facility.

It’s been twelve years too many. The time for action is now. President Obama must transfer cleared detainees, including Shaker Aamer. There are no excuses, especially now that he has greater flexibility from Congress to do just that.

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For New Year’s, These 3 Men Get an End to Indefinite Detention!

January 11, 2014 will mark the 12th anniversary of Guantanamo. On that day, Amnesty International will be protesting in front of the White House, calling for President Obama to speed up transfers and close the detention facility.

January 11, 2014 will mark the 12th anniversary of Guantanamo. On that day, Amnesty International will be protesting in front of the White House, calling for President Obama to speed up transfers and close the detention facility.

Great news to end the year! The last three Uighurs have been released from Guantanamo, to Slovakia!

Amnesty activists have campaigned for many, many years to resolve the cases of the 22 Uighurs who have been held at Guantanamo.

The transfer of the last three Uighurs is a milestone in the process of closing the detention facility. There are now 155 detainees at Guantanamo, 76 of those are cleared for transfer. 11 detainees were transferred in 2013.

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Good News on Guantánamo!

(Photo Credit: Zeke Johnson).

(Photo Credit: Zeke Johnson).

I’m at Guantánamo this week to observe – via an audio/video feed on 40-second delay to hide classified information, including evidence of torture – proceedings in the 9/11 case.

While it’s depressing to see what our tax dollars are buying here – including the Orwellian “Camp Justice” sign in front of the tents where we stay – there has been significant progress in the past few days toward closing the detention facility and ensuring justice and security in accordance with human rights standards:

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The Plight of Guantanamo’s Cleared Detainees in A Powerful New Video

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The folks over at The Guardian released this creative animated video today based on the testimony of Guantanamo detainees who have been cleared for transfer out of the detention facility but are still held.

Shaker Aamer is one of the people featured in the video. He has been detained for over 11 years without charge, despite being cleared to leave and despite UK Prime Minister David Cameron personally asking President Obama to return him to the UK. You can read Cameron’s letter to Amnesty International here.

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4,000 Days in Limbo at Guantanamo

Obaidullah, from Afghanistan, has been in U.S. military custody since July 2002 (Photo Credit: Amnesty International).

Obaidullah, from Afghanistan, has been in U.S. military custody since July 2002 (Photo Credit: Private).

By Rob Freer, Amnesty International Researcher on the USA

Imagine this.

You are 19-years-old, asleep in your family home in a remote rural village. In the middle of the night, foreign soldiers burst in.

They put a hood over your head and force you to sit against a wall. You are terrified.

After a few hours, bound hand and foot and still hooded, you are taken to a military base.

There you are physically assaulted, interrogated, threatened with a knife and deprived of sleep and food. You fear you will be killed.

After what you think is about 48 hours – your disorientation makes it difficult to know for sure – you are bundled, still hooded and shackled, into a helicopter and flown to another, larger military facility. There the interrogations and abuse continue.

Three months later, you are taken from your cell, your head is shaved, you are put into shackles and blacked-out goggles, and you and some others are thrown into a transport plane and tied down like cargo.

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Guantanamo Bay: When Will We Wake Up?

Demonstrators take part in a rally to call for the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention center (Photo Credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images).

Demonstrators take part in a rally to call for the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention center (Photo Credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images).

By Saira Khan, Intern at Amnesty International USA’s Security & Human Rights Program

I was born and raised in New York. My mother is originally from Pakistan and my father is from India. My parents and I are Muslim. From a young age, I had the impression that most Americans did not know much about my culture or religion.

During the September 11 attacks, I was in fifth grade. I can distinctly remember a classmate calling me a terrorist in the following days. While I knew that he did not realize the gravity of his accusations, I also understood that his words represented a new perspective held by many Americans regarding Muslims. As I have gotten older, this stereotypical outlook has been reinforced through my personal experiences.

Many Americans assume that all of the prisoners at Guantanamo must be guilty of something, and therefore are deserving of the conditions in which they live. The reality is that most detainees in Guantanamo Bay detention facility have never been charged, and none fairly tried. Yet they are all still being punished. I’m concerned that the passive acceptance of Guantanamo in our country is a manifestation of latent discrimination toward Muslims. This is a travesty, especially for America, the supposed “land of the free.”

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‘The Agency That Shall Remain Nameless’: Things Left Unsaid at Guantanamo

"...there is still a length of heavy chain bolted to the floor in front of each of their seats should it be deemed necessary. They are not in prison uniform, they all wear white clothing, with turbans or headscarves..." (Photo Credit: Michelle Shephard-Pool/Getty Images).

“…there is still a length of heavy chain bolted to the floor in front of each of their seats should it be deemed necessary. They are not in prison uniform, they all wear white clothing, with turbans or headscarves…” (Photo Credit: Michelle Shephard-Pool/Getty Images).

By Anne FitzGerald, Director of Research and Crisis Response

In the military commission court - a prefabricated industrial building on a decommissioned airfield surrounded by razor wire – we observers sit behind four layers of soundproof glass, watching proceedings via a 40-second delay. The delay allows the court to cut audio to the gallery, in case someone lets slip any classified information. But even 40 seconds late, the tension is clear between secrecy and the open examination of evidence that marks a fair trial.

The five 9/11 defendants - Yemeni nationals Walid bin Attash and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Saudi Arabian Mustafa Ahmed al Hawsawi, and Pakistani nationals Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ammar al Baluchi (Ali Abdul-Aziz Ali) – have been in the court three of four days this week. None seem to be taking part in the ongoing hunger strike.

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