Monday, April 21, 2014

The Torture of Shaker Aamer

It's been a while since I've looked into the atrocities of Guatanamo Bay prison, but a psychiatrist's report was recently released by the lawyer of Shaker Aamer, who said,

" – On more than one occasion an official of the United States threatened to rape Aamer’s five year old daughter, with one interrogator describing in explicit sexual detail his plans to destroy the child;

– “Welcoming Parties” and “Goodbye Parties” as Aamer was transferred among U.S. facilities. Soldiers at these “parties” were encouraged and allowed to beat and kick detainees as their proclivities and desires dictated. Here’s a video of what a beating under the eyes of American soldiers looks like.

– Aamer was made to stand for days, not allowed to sleep for days, not allowed to use the toilet and made to shit and piss on himself for days, not fed or fed minimally for days, doused with freezing water for days, over and over again. For twelve years. So far.

– Aamer was denied medical care as his interrogators controlled his access to doctors and made care for the wounds they inflicted dependent on Aamer’s ongoing compliance and repeated “confessions.”

– Aamer was often kept naked, and his faith exploited to humiliate him in culturally-specific ways. He witnessed a 17 year old captive of America sodomized with a rifle, and was threatened with the same.

– At times the brutality took place for its own sake, disconnected from interrogations. At times it was the centerpiece of interrogation.

– The torture of Aamer continues at Gitmo, for as an occasional hunger striker he is brutally force-fed."

I know I'm not exactly a prisoner at Gitmo, but I feel a resonance with the people being held there. When they say they believe the CIA interrogators use "djinn," I wonder, are these the kind of psychotronic weapons that I believe have been used on myself? I have often thought that Gitmo is being used as one big research center and their hapless prisoners are being used as lab rats.

Lawyers for Shaker Aamer claim he has suffered PTSD because of his treatment, urge his immediate release
April 7, 2014 6:06PM ET
by Peter Moskowitz @ptrmsk

The last remaining British resident being held at Guantanamo Bay is in dire need of medical and psychiatric help, according to U.S. court documents filed Monday urging his immediate release on health grounds.

The legal papers, which include a mental and physical analysis of detainee Shaker Aamer’s health by an independent American physician, provide a glimpse into life at the detention camp in Cuba, detailing the effects of isolation, alleged torture, and hunger strikes.

Aamer was picked up Afghan troops in 2001, and transferred to Guantanamo after a stint at Bagram Airfield, a U.S. military base in Afghanistan, in 2002.

He has never been charged with a crime, and was cleared for release by both the Bush Administration in 2007, and the Obama Administration in 2009. But despite the clearance, and repeated pleas from human rights groups and the British government, Aamer has remained at Guantanamo.

Now, his lawyers say that unless he is released and given intensive, long-term medical care, his conditions could become worse. As such, they have filed a motion in a Washington D.C. District Court calling for his immediate release.

Aamer’s health was documented in a 25-hour in-person review by U.S. psychiatrist Emily A. Keram on behalf of Aamer’s lawyers at legal rights charity Reprieve.

The review paints a bleak picture of a man struggling to maintain his grasp on reality as he is allegedly systematically isolated and tormented by guards.

Aamer told Keram that he was tortured both at Bagram and at Guantanamo. Upon his arrival at Guantanamo, he was allegedly kept in an outdoor cage without protection from the sun or inclement weather for an extended period. Once indoors, he said he was kept in cells isolated from other prisoners and guards for up to four months at a time.

Aamer also claimed that guards would tie up and interrogate him for 36-hours at a time without letting him take breaks for the bathroom.

U.S. military officials would not comment on Aamer’s case.

Keram’s report concludes that Aamer’s detention and treatment have left him with severe edema, liver problems, and other medical issues. The report also says that his isolation has caused him to hallucinate and have paranoid delusions. Keram believes the detainee is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The worst thing about torture is that you don’t know how to think, what to do, how to feel,” the court documents quote Aamer as saying to Keram. “It’s terrible. We believed that the people here: the CIA, the interrogators, use ‘djinn.’ (spirits) … Some of the things that happened, you can’t explain. Some people (would) think that it was drugs or something, but 95% of us believe we got possessed by djinn.”

It’s unclear whether the court filing will have any impact on the potential for Aamer’s release or that of others. While President Obama has called for closing the base, over 160 detainees remain.

According to leaked files, U.S. officials believed Aamer once met with Osama bin Laden, the late Al-Qaeda leader, and led a unit of fighters against NATO troops in Afghanistan. But his supporters say Aamer suffered terrible abuse while in captivity and that an alleged confession was made under the pain of torture.

Aamer is not the only Guantanamo detainee who has claimed maltreatment at Guantanamo. Dozens of detainees have gone on hunger strikes to protest their indefinite detention and the way they are treated. But following the latest hunger strike, the United States stopped releasing information about the protests. The U.S. has also come under fire for force-feeding those on hunger strike.

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