Innocent Men, Cleared For Release, Rot In Guantanamo Bay
Hunger Strike Threatens Lives Of 130 Prisoners
With Yemen, home to many of the detainees, wanting its citizens back, and with rehabilitation centers in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait ready for the others, there is no excuse for President Obama to be holding people in the US prison at Guantanamo Bay who have been determined to be innocent and have been cleared for release.
At least 130 of the 166 Guantanamo Bay detainees and possibly as many as 135 are currently on hunger strike (the US government says only half the detainees are) and some are already near death, according to one of their lawyers, Carlos Warner, who was interviewed by the Talking Dog web log. The hunger strike is in protest of harsh new procedures put in place by a new commander at the prison who "decided to law down the law," Warner said in the interview. He said the hunger strike was sparked when guards conducted an aggressive shakedown of detainees' cells during which they took away all personal belongings, such as sleeping mats and pictures of loved ones, and searched detainees' Korans for weapons and contraband such as drugs, which they consider to be a sacrilege.
At least 86 current Guantanamo Bay prisoners have been cleared for release. President Obama blames members of congress for preventing their release, but in fact there is nothing from preventing him from sending them to the rehabilitation centers or to Yemen but his lack of political courage.
Many of the innocent people in Guantanamo Bay ended up there when their countrymen turned them over to US authorities to collect bounties of up to $25,000 offered by the George W Bush administration.
Each Guantanamo Bay prisoner costs taxpayers $800,000 per year, compared to a $25,000 annual cost to house someone in a federal prison, according to Human Rights First, which maintains an impressive fact sheet about the prison.