International Action Center co-director Sara Flounders was interviewed by RT News on Jan. 29 regarding the trials held by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; U.S. secret prisons; and the use of torture by the U.S. Her comments also included the case of Aafia Siddiqui and other Muslim political prisoners. The six-minute video segment can be seen at tinyurl.com/atf88t8.
Pretrial hearings began at a war crimes tribunal at Guantanamo Bay on Jan. 28 for five defendants facing trial in the 9/11 attacks. Among them is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged “mastermind” of the attacks, who was tortured by waterboarding at least 183 times during his incarceration. Four others are charged with lesser crimes, and all five defendants have been in U.S. custody for a decade now.
Flounders issued a background statement on behalf of the IAC Jan. 29 which put in context the current situation facing the 9/11 prisoners and others held by the U.S. around the world:
“According to U.N. investigations in 2010 there [were] more than 27,000 prisoners held by the U.S. in more than 100 secret prisons around the world and on 17 ships as floating prisons. These are almost entirely Muslim prisoners.
“According to the Center for Constitutional Rights, 92 percent of the prisoners held just at Guantanamo are not ‘Al-Qaeda fighters’ by the U.S. government’s own records, and 22 were under 18 years of age when captured.
“Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the five now on trial at Guantanamo, was subjected to waterboard torture 183 times. He wore a camouflaged vest to court to make the point that he was once part of the U.S.-armed-and-paid mujahideen force in Afghanistan in the 1980s and the U.S. proxy army in Bosnia in 1990s. The U.S. can be expected to treat its proxy army in Syria and Libya in the same way.
“U.S. government-targeted kidnappings and assassinations today continue through daily drone attacks with Hellfire missiles in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Mali and as far away as the Philippines. Again, thousands of civilians, including youth and women, are among the victims.
“President Barack Obama had promised to close Guantanamo Prison as one of his first acts as president in 2009. Yesterday [Jan. 28] it was decided instead to close the office and eliminate the special envoy, Daniel Fried, whose role was to close the prison at Guantanamo. Fried’s role will now be to intensify the sanctions on Iran and Syria.
“Close Guantanamo and ALL U.S. secret prisons! End the drone wars! End the sanctions!”