Thursday, March 31, 2011

LGC Newsletter – March 2011

LGC Newsletter – March 2011 NEWS: Guantánamo Bay: In early March, President Obama approved the resumption of military trials at Guantánamo Bay. Having pledged upon becoming president to close Guantánamo by early 2010 and allow civilian trials for prisoners, he has broken these promises and demonstrated that his administration has no intention to do either. Instead, he is keenly following the policies of his predecessor. In over nine years, only one prisoner has had a civilian trial. The shambolic trials held before military tribunals thus far, including that of child soldier Omar Khadr, have almost always resulted in plea bargains in which the defendant pleads guilty in return for a reduced sentence without any disclosure of any evidence against him or any real attempt to allow him to defend himself. The whole procedure is deeply unfair and flawed. Guilty pleas may arise as a result of the terms of the bargain, which are always kept secret, the possibility of early release, which often comes with conditions and does not ensure release at all, or the realisation that a fair trial at a Guantánamo Bay military court is impossible. Obama suspended the use of military trials on his first day as president when he signed an order for Guantánamo Bay to close by 22 January 2010. As well as lifting this suspension, he has now also signed an executive law to legalise the almost decade-long policy of indefinite arbitrary detention at Guantánamo Bay. Still expressing his verbal wish to see Guantánamo Bay close, his actions demonstrate otherwise. Amnesty International has issued the following relevant document: Extraordinary rendition: With the forthcoming Gibson Inquiry due to start proceedings soon, an inquiry whose stated aim is to “draw a line” under the past government’s policy of involvement in torture, new claims have emerged against the British government. A Kenyan national, accused of involvement in planning attacks in Uganda last year, was kidnapped and rendered to that country last summer, where he was held and tortured for two months, before being charged. He and his lawyers claimed that during that time he was questioned by an MI5 agent: At the same time, former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf has stated that the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence services, had never been told by the British government – or that it had a policy to this effect – not to use torture when interrogating British nationals. Several claims have been made against the British government by individuals, both British and foreign nationals, while held in Pakistan. Furthermore, this month, the Foreign Office published guidance for all Foreign Office staff overseas on how to report torture or mistreatment they become aware of: LGC Activities: Ten people attended the March Shut Down Guantánamo! Demonstration which was held in solidarity with American political and death row prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal. The next demonstration is at 12-1pm on Friday 1 April outside the US Embassy, Mayfair and then from 1.15-2.15pm at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park. This demonstration is in solidarity Bradley Manning, accused of illegally providing military information to Wikileaks. Please join us if you can. This month the LGC launched a new letter-writing campaign for Shaker Aamer: Each month we will send a letter to the American president signed by UK nationals and residents to the let the American government know that we would like Mr Aamer back. In over 9 years of imprisonment, he has faced no charges and is unlikely to face a military tribunal. It is unclear why the US refuses to release him. More than 100 people from all over the UK added their names to the letter in March – thank you very much! If you have not yet added yours, please e-mail the LGC to do so. The LGC now has a new website: at which we hope to update information about our campaigns and actions regularly. The LGC can also be followed at: and on Facebook:!/pages/London-Guant%C3%A1namo-Campaign/114010671973111

1 comment:

  1. the work of Edmund Clarke (Guantanamo: If the light goes out) might be of interest