What the Guantanamo Hunger Strike is About

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Many of the 166 Guantanamo Bay detainees are now on a hunger strike and have been since early February. Karen Greenberg, director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University, discusses the strike and talks about a new report that found that the U.S. did engage in torture after 9/11. 


Karen Greenberg

Comments [26]

Cindy from Essex County, NJ

@Ben from Brooklyn:

Even if you are a POW or "enemy combatant" you should have the right to be tried in a court for any crimes you may or may not have committed. We currently have 166 people who have sat in a jail for 10 YEARS and they have had NO TRIAL. Even American soldiers who have committed war crimes during the Iraq & Afghanistan campaigns have been tried in a court.

Thank goodness for people like Ms Greenberg who are willing to fight for the rights of things like due process. The Egyptian caller should have been told than anyone sitting in a US jail is afforded legal representation at every stage of the process. On the same week that this Op-Ed was published, the NY Times also had a piece about a young man in the Bronx accused of murder who sat in jail for FOUR YEARS while waiting for his trial to begin. His attorney had been representing him for the entire duration. Also understand that these attorneys don't spend every moment with there clients; they take on other cases and represent more than one defendant. More time maybe spent with the Gitmo detainees because of the international impact and the amount of travel that's involved.

But there's also another angle in this issue, and that's the fact that the US may have basically been suckered into taking many of these suspected terrorists. During the War on Terror, over 700 people were taken to Gitmo. 600 were repatriated and/or tried in the nation of their origin. The problem with these remaining 166 is that their native country either won't try them (lack of evidence) or repatriate them. Also, I find the force feeding of these detainees interesting - if they were terrorists as the US claims, then let these men die as they are a threat to society. But the US doesn't want them to die because the US can't prove that they are terrorists. Instead we are stuck with a bunch of men that we can't do anything with. And our idiot Congress keeps passing resolutions tying the hands of the military courts to do anything with these people.

Apr. 18 2013 02:47 PM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

@ED, I would have none at all. If the entire lot were to be found guilty of capital offenses and where the punishment is death, then so be it. As long as they get a "fair" and speedy trial.

What is going on now in Guantanamo is a disgrace - detaining someone without charge for 10+ years, whilst having the means to do so, is beyond the pale.

And for you to make jokes about "Bic Macs and fries" is rather disappointing coming from you. "Martin" and John, probably not but I had slightly more respect for your views until now.

Apr. 18 2013 11:35 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Those nazis supporting and defending those terrorist captives in Guantanamo should exercise a level of compassion for the victims of the terrorists.

Apr. 18 2013 11:29 AM
oscar from ny

Those nazis holding those terrorist captive should exercise a level of compassion

Apr. 18 2013 11:16 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Sheldon from Brooklyn,

"That's my point ED, and they got what they deserved."

Would you have any objections if some of the detainees in Guantanamo were executed too?

OK with you to execute the Blind Sheik, 1993 WTC bombers, 20th 9/11 hijacker?

Apr. 18 2013 11:16 AM
John A

Thank-You for this segment. KG and the Constitution Project are both world-class.

Apr. 18 2013 11:11 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

That's my point ED, and they got what they deserved.

Apr. 18 2013 11:10 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Sheldon from Brooklyn,

"Even the Nazis got trails (sic)".

AND some of those nazis were put to death.

Apr. 18 2013 11:04 AM
Ben from Brooklyn

I'm a Democrat and a Liberal but ever so grateful for the last caller, the Egyptian who asked why the lawyer being interviewed by Brian is spending so much time on these Gitmo detainees.

Are these people in despair? Of course. But if you read the history behind the fellow who wrote the very sad and moving Op Ed in the New York Times, you will learn that evidence shows he was from Yemen and was offered a "job" performing violent jihad in Afghanistan. He did weapons training in Yemen and then he shipped overseas. His passport and visa were obtained by an Al Qaeda operative.

So then he was caught. And perhaps some of those facts are wrong -- he said, she said -- but if you do weapons training and then travel overseas to fight in a war, there is a chance you will be caught and imprisoned, and this is probably your best end.

So I admire the lawyer with the heart of gold. I'd love to have her babysit my children. But lord PBS just aired the "Central Park Five" this week and I bet we could find 1,000 US citizens at Rikers right now who did a lot less wrong than any of the Gitmo detainees and could use some legal help.

I don't understand why we are giving more than a base level of legal services and radio time to people who chose to fight and now are feeling "despair."

Apr. 18 2013 10:57 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

We live in a world where one can be detained indefinitely - for years, without due process, without trial, without being formally charged, and no one cares. Even the Nazis got trails.

This is the same gov't that wants to take away your guns? Perhaps the NRA isn't as "crazy" as they are portrayed.

Apr. 18 2013 10:53 AM
Amy from Manhattan

The caller Sam doesn't seem to know that the US offered a bounty for turning in people as "terrorists" or "Taliban." In a very poor country, people turned someone in for the bounty, because they had a grudge against them, or because they wanted their land, not because they were actually terrorists. Many of these people have been released; at this point, I'm not sure how many have been cleared but have no place that will accept them where they'll be safe.

Apr. 18 2013 10:45 AM
john from office

jgarbuz, I was edited out of the comment section. WOW

Apr. 18 2013 10:45 AM
Lenore from Manhattan

Karen Greenberg is exactly right. This whole system--or "system"--at Guantanamo and indefinite detention is completely unconstitutional and also violates basic international human rights. Eliminate it--that's the answer to this horrible problem. Try the detainees fairly in civilian courts or release them to countries that won't torture them (as we did).

Apr. 18 2013 10:44 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Devils Advocate Karen Greenberg, When you are kind to the cruel, you are cruel to the kind.

Apr. 18 2013 10:44 AM
Bonnie Brady Wyman from Manhattan

Where can we appeal to get these people fair trials and either freed or sentenced? I feel sick listening to this interview.

Apr. 18 2013 10:43 AM
JR from Queens

Who is this idiot Sam and how the hell does he know ? I think he needs to spend some time in Gitmo and see what he thinks...

Apr. 18 2013 10:42 AM
mick from Inwood

Why are these people still in indefinite detainment? This is an inhumane process. If this is a country based on the rule of law, those approved for released should be released, those who have not been tried should be tried. Only the convicted should remain imprisoned. If we cannot do this, then we have ceded all moral standing in the world. The politicians in this country who are bent on keeping these people imprisoned indefinitely should have their staff members read them Machiavelli's warning to his prince: if you leave people hopeless you have created an enemy that cannot be stopped unless you kill them all.

Apr. 18 2013 10:42 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Sam, You are The Man!

The guest sounds like Pamela Gellers evil twin.

Apr. 18 2013 10:41 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To john of office

Those same kind of Jewish lawyers in Israel is why Israel is always being attacked.

Apr. 18 2013 10:39 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Have the detainees watch The View.

Apr. 18 2013 10:37 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

If they want martyrdom so that they can get their 70 virgins in Paradise, why should we give them that pleasure? I don't want to reward them. I want them to have hell on earth - IF THEY ARE GUILTY.

Apr. 18 2013 10:36 AM
Amy from Manhattan

I know it sounds like a contradiction in terms, but is it possible to do force-feeding in a more humane way?

Apr. 18 2013 10:34 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Place 10 steaming hot Big Macs and fries in their cell and a fan to blow the smells in their direction.

Apr. 18 2013 10:34 AM
Paul Stetzer from NYC

I think the better question has to do with the USofA government denying habeas corpus. How can our government imprison people for more than a decade with NO charges?!?

Apr. 18 2013 10:33 AM
Jane from Brooklyn

"Should the prisoners be allowed to die" -- framing the question skirts a major issue surrounding the hunger strike, which is the brutal manner in which they have been force fed. Some would say it constitutes torture, it is at the very least cruel.

Apr. 18 2013 10:29 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Many of the 166 prisoners in Guantanamo are on a hunger strike?

How is that a bad thing?

Apr. 18 2013 10:17 AM

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