I Grew Up in Guantanamo: Now That You Have Heard My Story, You Cannot Turn Away

Fahd Ghazy has been illegally detained at Guantánamo since he was 17. He is now 30 years old. He has been cleared for release since 2007. He is represented by the Center for Constitutional Rights.

 

 

by Fahd Ghazy, long-term uncharged prisoner at Guantanamo, December 9, 2014

To begin, please forgive me for not saying the right things or making the right points. There are different cultures between us and many different experiences.

It hurts me that I do not have the privilege to express myself. I want to have the honor to speak out in my own voice and reach you directly — you who are thinking people. I want to say thank you for caring. You are willing to view me as a human being and that is something so precious to me.

My exposure to the world came through Guantanamo. I was 17 when they sent me here. At that time, I had rarely seen a television or heard a radio. Every significant event in my life, from funerals, to my own wedding, to the birth of my beloved daughter, Hafsa, happened in the Diwan of my own home. Now I am almost 31.

That means I grew up in Guantanamo. I grew up in this system. I grew up in fear. I hope that helps you to understand me.

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All Who Oppose War Crimes: “We Are Bradley Manning”

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Statement of the Center for Constitutional Rights:

He Should Never Have Been Prosecuted

August 21, 2013 – Today, in response to the sentencing of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement.

We are outraged that a whistleblower and a patriot has been sentenced on a conviction under the Espionage Act. The government has stretched this archaic and discredited law to send an unmistakable warning to potential whistleblowers and journalists willing to publish their information. We can only hope that Manning’s courage will continue to inspire others who witness state crimes to speak up. Continue reading

“There’s a North American strategy to take away the right to mass protest.” — Michael Ratner

Citizen Action Monitor, July 27, 2011

We use the word – in the US we call it “it chills your rights” — because it’s basically sending a message to the next demonstration, you come out there, you’re not going home tonight. You better bring your toothbrush. And that’s a bad message for peaceful demonstrators, a really bad message. And it’s a way of undercutting mass protests because, as I said when I began, what they’re afraid of most, I think, in this economic downturn, the austerity measures, is mass protests, which we started to see in Madison, Wisconsin, in the United States, and which we’re starting to see in Canada, which we have certainly seen across Europe. I remember when they were happening in Europe over the years, I kept saying, when are we going to start having this? And now, of course, austerity is kicking in, in the States. We’re seeing it happen here as well.” — Michael Ratner from an interview with Paul Jay of the Real News Network

Watch the full 10:50-minute interview with Michael Ratner here, followed by my transcript of selected portions of the interview, including added subheadings and text highlighting to facilitate browsing.

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France court orders block on ‘copwatch’ website

October 17, 2011
Jennie Ryan

The Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris  on Friday ordered  French Internet service providers to block access to Copwatch Nord Paris I-D-F, a website designed to allow civilians to post videos of alleged police misconduct. The decision was applauded by the police union, Alliance Police Nationale (APN), which argued that the website incited violence against police. Jean-Claude Delage, secretary general of the APN, said that “[t]he judges have analyzed the situation perfectly—this site being a threat to the integrity of the police — and made the right decision.” Opponents of Internet censorship were also quick to comment on the judgment. Jeremie Zimmermann, spokesman for La Quadrature du Net, a Paris-based net neutrality organization, called the order “an obvious will by the French government to control and censor citizens’ new online public sphere.” The site was ordered to be blocked immediately.France does not have an equivalent to the US First Amendment [text], which prohibits the government from making any law “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” In August, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit  ruled that there is a clearly-established First Amendment right  to film police officers performing their duties in a public space. The Center for Constitutional Rights  filed an amicus brief  in the case arguing that concerned individuals and cop-watch groups have a right to record the activity of police in the public. The case stems from a 2007 incident when police officers arrested Simon Gilk after he openly recorded three police officers arresting a suspect on the Boston Common.

Social isolation prison units for Muslims, in the name of the US “war against terrorism”

CMUs: The Federal Prisons’ Experiment in Social Isolation

By the Center for Constitutional Rights   http://www.ccrjustice.org

What is a Communications Management Unit (CMU)?

In 2006 and 2008, the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP or “Bureau”) secretly created the Communications Management Units (CMUs), prison units designed to isolate and segregate certain prisoners in the federal prison system from the rest of the BOP population.

Currently, there are two CMUs, one located in Terre Haute, Indiana and the other in Marion, Illinois. The CMUs house between 60 and 70 prisoners in total, and over two-thirds of the CMU population is Muslim, even though Muslims represent only 6 percent of the general federal prison population.

Unlike other BOP prisoners, individuals detained in the CMUs are completely banned from any physical contact with visiting family members and friends. Other types of communication are also severely limited, including interactions with other prisoners and phone calls with friends and family members.

Individuals detained in the CMUs receive no meaningful explanation for their transfer to the unit or for the extraordinary communications restrictions to  which they are subjected. Upon designation to the unit, there is no meaningful review or appeal process that allows CMU prisoners to be transferred back to general population. Many CMU prisoners have neither significant disciplinary records nor any communications-related infractions.

However, bias, political scapegoating, religious profiling and racism keep them locked inside these special units. The Bureau’s purpose and process for designating federal prisoners to the CMUs remain undisclosed. Continue reading

New York City: 2.8 million police stops from 2004-2009, driven by racial profiling

Police stop and frisk in New York City

New York Times, October 27, 2010

Many Police Stops in New York Unjustified, Study Says

By AL BAKER and RAY RIVERA

Tens of thousands of times over the past six years, the police have stopped and questioned people on New York City streets without the legal justification for doing so, a new study has found.

And in hundreds of thousands of more cases, city officers failed to include essential details on required police forms to show whether the stops were justified, according to the study written by Prof. Jeffrey A. Fagan of Columbia Law School.

The study was conducted on behalf of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is suing the New York Police Department for what the center says is a widespread pattern of unprovoked and unnecessary stops and racial profiling in the department’s stop-question-and-frisk policy. The department denies the charges.

The study examined police data cataloging the 2.8 million times from 2004 through 2009 that officers stopped people on the streets to question and sometimes frisk them, a crime-fighting strategy the department has put more emphasis on over the years. Continue reading

Attention Left, Liberal and Radical Groups – Pennsylvania Has Been Monitoring You

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Bill Quigley, Legal Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights; Professor, Loyola New Orleans

October 6, 2010

Thank you, Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR), for reminding us how many bad-ass, dedicated, and creative groups we count as allies in our efforts to create a more just world!

Our friends at MoveON.org, the Ruckus Society, Immokalee Workers, the new SDS, Jobs with Justice, the Brandywine Peace Community, ANSWER, PETA, Stop Huntington Animal Cruelty, MOVE, The Yes Men, Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, Climate Ground Zero, the Rainforest Action Network, pro-Palestinian Groups, Puerto Rican nationalists, prisoners’ rights organizations, citizen conservation groups, and immigration activists opposing Arizona’s crazy attempts to criminalize all non-citizens should know – Pennsylvania has been monitoring you.

Just over a month ago, ProPublica broke the story that Pennsylvania’s Office of Homeland Security contracted with the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR), a private Israeli-based company, to assess terrorist threats impacting law enforcement priorities in Pennsylvania.

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