Monday, April 15, 2013

Hunger Striker Speaks Out

This editorial in the New York Times by a prisoner at Gitmo is going to get a lot of pixels.

One man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago.

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.

The prisoner, Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, dictated his story over an “unclassified” phone line through a translator.

I am certain the orcosphere will attack the Times for giving the man the opportunity to speak; how dare they let a dangerous terrorist mock the First Amendment?  Except if the man’s story is to be believed, he was in the wrong place in the wrong time and no one has been able to prove he’s guilty of anything more than that.  But, hey, it’s not like we lock up innocent people, right?

All Gitmo has done is give our enemies something to point at and call us hypocrites for demanding that other countries live up to our standards of justice when we don’t do it in Cuba.  (Funny how we always seem to have these double standards when it comes to anything to do with Cuba; i.e. the worthless and counterproductive embargo that was meant to put an end to a dictatorship when we have robust trade and friendly relations with equally repressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia and China.)

President Obama was right to try to close Gitmo as his first executive order more than five years ago.  The fact that Congress won’t allow it is testimony to the cowardice of the big bad butch Republicans who are afraid that a 135-pound laborer from Yemen will take over the Supermax prison in Colorado and turn it into a terrorist cell.