The University of Nottingham's Amnesty International Society's held a protest against the continuing human rights abuses at Guantanamo Bay. On Saturday the 10th of March folks dressed in orange jump suits re-created a Guantanamo scene on Long Row in Nottingham with people caged in.
It is now over five years since the first detainees were transferred to the detention camp and despite widespread international condemnation, hundreds of people from more than 30 nationalities remain there: without charge and with little hope of obtaining a fair trial. Alan Simpson, MP for Nottingham South, joined in the protest about half way through.
Links: Amnesty International Society | Amnesty International | The National Guantanamo Coalition | UK Feature article: Tackle the Shackles, Close Guantanamo | Other articles: Sheffield G8 Events: Guantanamo Bay orange jump suits | The Road to Guantánamo
Enough is enough! Guantánamo Bay is a symbol of injustice and abuse. It must be closed down.
Following the spectacular success of the earlier AIUK silent protest in Central London outside the US embassy, The University of Nottingham’s Amnesty International Society thus staged a similar silent protest in Long Row East in Nottingham city centre [next to the City Hall], where each participant was decked out with a Guantanamo Bay style orange jump suit.
Concurrent with this demo, a contingent of the orange ones, went to the local Starbucks Coffee House, in Clumber Street. Starbucks has an outlet in Guantanamo Bay. They proudly support the US military.
A company spokesman has said: “We refrain from taking a position on the legality of the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay”. The company also states: “Starbucks has the deepest respect and admiration for U.S. military personnel. We are extremely grateful to the men and women who serve stateside and overseas. We sincerely appreciate that they are willing to risk their lives to protect Americans and our values of freedom and democracy.” So, there you have it.
Anyway, the organisers had asked, and gained permission from the authorities, a month ago. However, I saw the first two policemen, come round the corner on patrol, and their faces were a picture of suprise. So, nobody had told them ........ As usual, the Community Protection officers and the Police Community Support Officers [half-constables] just had to get involved also. Clearly, since those protesting needed support and protection.
I understand many signatores where collected for the petition, and a large number of leaflets handed out, explaining what it's all about.
"Starbucks does not physically operate a store or sell coffee to military troops on Guantanamo Bay; rather our coffee is served in dining facilities operated by Naval Supply (NASUP), headquartered in Virginia Beach, Virginia"
However, Starbucks also say that they "... refrain from taking a position on the legality of the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay" and that "Starbucks has the deepest respect and admiration for U.S. military personnel."
They certainly aren't bothered about minor irritations like torture and detention without trial getting in the way of their profits. For people who, like the worker at Starbucks, don't know much about Guantanamo, here are some facts:-
There are approximately 460 prisoners held at Guantanamo, and about 300 others have been released (without charge) or transferred to other governments.
Inmates are classed as "enemy combatants" rather than prisoners of war (POWs) in order to evade the protections of the Geneva Convention.
According to the US Administration, the prisoners in Guantanamo may never be granted a trial, either military or civil, and may be detained until the end of the war on terrorism (i.e. indefinitely).
There have been 41 'official' suicide attempts at the camp. Defense lawyers contend that the actual number of suicide attempts is higher.
At times as many as 131 inmates have been on hunger strike. Force-feeding methods including the use of a restraint chair have been used to keep them alive.
The use of certain interrogation techniques and the dehumanising conditions prisoners have to endure have been labelled as torture by many, including Amnesty International.
No one in Guantanamo Bay has been convicted of an offence.
For information on other actions linking Starbucks with Guantanamo see the following links:
Don't get too excited though. After undergoing the hell of Guantanamo and procedures such as 'waterboarding' (near drowning whilst immobilised) I think I'd sign whatever the CIA gave me too. It's rather handy that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed seems to have 'fessed up to just about every terrorist act going:
· I was member of al-Qaida council
· I was director for planning and execution of 9/11, from A to Z
· I was commander for foreign ops
· I was directly in charge ... of cell for biological weapons, and follow-up on dirty bomb ops on American soil
· I was responsible for shoe bomber operation to down two US planes
· I was responsible for Bali bombing
· I was responsible for second wave attacks after 9/11: California; Chicago; Washington; Empire State, NY
· I was responsible for operations to destroy American vessels in the Hormuz, Gibraltar, and Singapore
· I was responsible for planning operation to destroy Panama canal
· I was responsible for planning assassination of ex-US presidents, including Carter and Clinton
· I was responsible for planning operation to destroy Heathrow, Canary Wharf and Big Ben
· I shared responsibility for assassination attempt on John Paul II in Philippines
· I was responsible for operation to assassinate President Musharraf
Reliable evidence though? Hardly. That's probably why he was tried in total secrecy.
How much longer will this shit go on?