Hunger strike

Faces from GITMO

As a months-long hunger strike persists in the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Molly Crabapple’s drawings of seven detainees—one of whom was released last week—challenges us to remember their history and humanity.

By Molly Crabapple with Creative Time Reports
September 3, 2013

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America wants to forget about Gitmo.

Sure, we gloat about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. When I visited Guantanamo in June to cover the 9/11 military commissions for VICE, I drew him through three layers of bulletproof glass. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is a mass murderer, and we caught him. U-S-A Number One.

But KSM-style terrorists are rare at Gitmo. Out of the 164 men held in the island prison, the chief prosecutor at Guantanamo Military Commissions, Brigadier General Mark Martins, told me that 144 would never be charged with any crime.

During the invasion of Afghanistan, the United States offered locals $5,000 bounties for turning in terrorists. Instead, we got a mixture of Taliban draftees, guys who shot rifles at Islamic training camps in the 1990s, Uighurs fighting China and, above all, Arabs in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Read In Between The Lines, There Was An Uprising In Guantanamo Bay Yesterday

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After a mass hunger strike by 44+ of the 166 detainees that started Feb. 6th and years of peaceful resistance, prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have had enough of the torture, indefinite detention and horrid conditions. The lawyers of the inmates insist that the hunger strike in more widespread and nearly every person at the prison is refusing to eat.

Inmates covered security camera’s and windows and used broomsticks, mop handles and makeshift batons made up of tape and water bottles to clash with guards. 

The violence erupted during an early morning raid at Camp 6 when guards attempted to end communal living and place all inmates in single cells. According to military officials, guards shot 4 ‘non lethal’ weapons at the inmates, 1 of which was injured. Though this should be taken with a grain a salt considering that Guantanamo Bay is where the military is known to torture inmates.

It should also be noted that 87 of the prisoners at Giztmo are cleared for release and 46 other prisoners cannot be prosecuted for a ‘lack of evidence’ according to the U.S. government. In other words, over 80% of the inmates being held at Guantanamo Bay would otherwise be free.

In January of 2013, Obama signed the NDAA 2013 which allows him to indefinitely detain American citizens without charge or trial, which is literally contradicts the constitution, and banned the government from closing Guantanamo Bay. 

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