Archive for juni, 2013

UN Secretary General Condemns Aggression on Lebanese Armed Forces

juni 26, 2013


June 25, 2013  – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the attacks on the Lebanese Armed Forces which have led to serious losses in the army. He extends his condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government of Lebanon.

The Secretary-General stresses that all in Lebanon should fully respect the authority of the State and its institutions under the leadership of President Sleiman, in particular the Lebanese Armed Forces whose role is essential to protect all Lebanese. The international community remains united in its support for Lebanons sovereignty, security and stability, the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General said in statement .
The Secretary-General reminds all concerned in Lebanon of their responsibility to avoid conflict and uphold the principles of mutual respect and coexistence in order to preserve Lebanons national unity, the Spokesperson said.


Lebanon Complaints to UN over Israeli Violations

June 2, 2013

Lebanese President Michel Sleiman ordered caretaker Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour to file a complaint with the United Nations over Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace.

The president’s office announced the order in a statement after Israeli warplanes could be heard flying over several parts of the country on Sunday morning.

“President Michel Sleiman tasked Foreign Minister Adnan Mansur with filing an urgent complaint to the United Nations about Israel’s persistent airspace violations, including over all of Lebanon this morning, including the capital Beirut,” a statement said.

Al-Manar correspondent reported that the Israeli airplanes were staging many low and high overflights on Sunday morning.

The sound of the Israeli overflights could be heard in several areas across Lebanon, our correspondent said.

Israeli warplanes regularly violate Lebanese airspace and have launched several attacks against Syrian targets in recent months, some reportedly carried out from over Lebanon.

Latest News Brazil – protests

juni 19, 2013


Brazil: Sao Paulo transport fare protest turns violent

14 June 2013

The protesters clashed with police, who fired tear gas to try to disperse the crowd.

The demonstrators were mostly university students, but the authorities said there were also groups of anarchists looking for a fight.

Protests against bus and underground fare rises in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo have turned violent.

Police fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas, and detained more than 200 people. Police say they seized petrol bombs, knives and drugs.

Violence has also been reported at protests in Rio de Janeiro.

Prices for a single ticket in Sao Paulo were raised on 2 June from 3 reals ($1.40, £0.90) to 3.20 reals ($1.50, £0.96).

The authorities say that the rise is well below inflation, which since the last price rise in January 2011 has been at 15.5%, according to official figures.


An estimated 5,000 protesters converged on the streets of Sao Paulo’s central area on Thursday – the fourth day of the protests.

Some are reported to have set fire to rubbish in the streets, while others smashed shop windows.

At least 55 people have been injured, according to the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper. It added that six of its journalists had been wounded, two of them shot in the face.

State Governor Geraldo Alckmin branded the rioters “vandals” and promised to act to avoid a repeat of the violence.

“The police acted with professionalism,” Mr Alckmin said, rejecting claims that they had used excessive force.

Brazil’s Minister of Justice, Jose Eduardo Cardozo, said the demonstrations were legitimate but resorting to violence and vandalism was unacceptable.

More than 2,000 people also took part in protests against fare increases in Rio, one of the host cities for the Confederations Cup which starts on Saturday.

Latest News Syria: no-fly zone near Jordan border

juni 15, 2013


An Israeli news source:

‘US studying Syria no-fly zone near Jordan border’

June 15, 2013

Wall Street Journal reports buffer zone near southern border with Jordan would be used to train rebels, protect refugees.

As a part of its proposal to provide military aid to the Syrian rebels, the United States is studying setting up a limited no-fly zone in Syria close to the southern border with Jordan in order to protect Syrian refugees and rebel forces training in the area, two senior Western diplomats in Turkey said on Friday.

Their comments, confirmed by a third regional diplomat, came after Washington said it would step up military assistance to rebels battling President Bashar Assad in response to what it said was proof of chemical weapons use by Assad’s forces.

‘After Syria chemical arms use, US to arm rebels’

“Washington is considering a no-fly zone to help Assad’s opponents,” one diplomat
said. He said it would be limited “time-wise and area-wise, possibly near the Jordanian border,” without giving details.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the no-fly zone would stretch up to 25 miles into Syria, and would be enforced with aircraft flown from Jordan or from Navy ships in the Mediterranean or Red Sea.

US officials told the Journal the White House is considering proposals to arm and train the rebels in Jordan, but that Washington could decide to train rebels in Jordan without enforcing the no-fly zone.

The limited no-fly zone would cost an estimated $50 million a day, and would take a month to get up and running. However, the window of opportunity to set it up is limited.

If Russia decides to deliver the S-300 anti-aircraft missiles to the Assad regime, it would become too dangerous for US pilots to enforce the buffer zone, the officials told the Journal.

Imposing a no-fly zone would therefore require the United States to destroy Syria’s air defenses, entering the two-year-old civil war with the sort of action that NATO used to help topple Muammar Gaddafi in Libya two years ago.

Despite that, the officials said the no-fly zone would not necessitate the destruction of Syrian anti-aircraft batteries.

The area near the Jordanian border contains some of the most densely-populated parts of Syria, including the outskirts of the capital Damascus.

Washington has moved Patriot surface-to-air missiles, war planes and more than 4,000 troops into Jordan in the past week, officially as part of an annual exercise, but making clear that the forces deployed could stay on when the war games are over.

A White House National Security Council spokeswoman declined to comment on the topic.

France: UN backing for Syria no-fly zone ‘unlikely’ France said on Friday that it was unlikely for now that a no-fly zone would be established over Syria because of opposition from some members of the UN Security Council.

“The problem with this type of measure is that it can only be put in place with approval from the international community,” French Foreign Ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot told journalists.

“A decision from the United Nations Security Council is needed, and not just any decision,” he said. A Chapter 7 resolution authorizing military action was needed, and that was unlikely to be passed, he added.

Assad’s government can count on Moscow to block any such resolution if it were to be brought to a vote.

Lalliot said France had yet to make a decision on arming rebels, but that all these issues would be discussed among heads of state at next week’s G8 summit.

Apart from arming the rebels, France could also extend further help to them in the form of sharing more intelligence, providing training and planning operations, Lalliot added.

He declined to say whether that meant French military advisers would be on the ground
in Syria, although diplomatic sources have indicated some are already operating in Turkey and Jordan.

The White House said Washington would now provide “direct military support” to the opposition. It did not publicly specify whether this would include “lethal aid,” which would mark a reversal of Obama’s previous resistance to arming the rebels. But a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the package would include weapons.

Syrian rebels already receive light arms from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. They have asked for heavier weapons including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles. European countries, in particular France, have argued that the solution is to provide more weapons for mainstream rebels to marginalize extremists.

“We want anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons,” George Sabra, acting leader of the National Coalition political opposition bloc, told Al Arabiya television. “We expect to see positive results and genuine military support.”

Syrian rebel commanders were due to meet Western and Turkish officials in Turkey on Friday to discuss military assistance to the rebels. Until now Washington has been deeply reluctant to send weapons, citing a risk that they would end up in the hands of radical Sunni Muslim brigades.

One of the diplomats said that setting up a no-fly zone could also help Western efforts to monitor the recipients of any arms supplies.

Free Syria Army General Salim Idris told Al Arabiya that the Syrian opposition hopes to translate the change in American position into reality, and be given tangible access to weapons and ammunition.

He also warned that if the US backtracks on its decision to arm the rebels, Iran and Hezbollah would cement their control over the region.

US Senator John McCain, a hawk on Syria, said America needed to neutralize Assad’s air power: “They (rebels) have enough light weapons. They’ve got enough AK-47s. AK-47s don’t do very well against tanks,” McCain told CNN. “They need anti-tank weapons and they need anti-air weapons.”

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen welcomed what he said was a “clear US statement”. “The international community has made clear that any use of chemical weapons is completely unacceptable and a clear breach of international law,” Rasmussen told reporters in Brussels.


The Washington Times – May 10, 2013
‘Put down the arms. The Middle East peace process demands talk, diplomacy and politics, not military involvement, said U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’:

Photo: On April 19, 2013, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel (L) has negotiated with Israeli officials on sales of new weapons to Persian Gulf states of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates

Greece in crisis over state TV closure

juni 13, 2013


Greece in crisis over state TV closure

June 13, 2013
GREECE is facing a new political crisis as the government confronts a storm of public protest and a looming general strike over its shock decision to shut down state broadcaster ERT.

The socialist and moderate leftist parties supporting the coalition government were to hold an emergency meeting to decide their response as Prime Minister Antonis Samaras refused to back down.

“We are eliminating a hotbed of opacity and waste,” Samaras said at a European Investment Bank event in Athens. “We are protecting the public interest.”

The broadcaster’s television and radio stations were abruptly pulled off air late Tuesday and its nearly 2,700 staff suspended as part of the conservative-led coalition government’s deeply unpopular austerity drive.

“The ERT lockup amounts to a coup d’etat,” leading union GSEE said in a statement. It announced a 24-hour general strike on Thursday, the third in the crisis-hit country this year.

There was also a protest by journalists in neighbouring Cyprus, where there are fears that budget-straining broadcaster RIK could go the same way as the government looks to slash spending in the island’s own austerity drive.

The Samaras administration quickly presented legislation creating a new broadcaster called New Hellenic Radio, Internet and Television (NERIT) to replace the 60-year-old ERT.

“You can’t fix a car while it is running, you have to take it off the road,” government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou told journalists.

“It is a temporary postponement…. Everything will pass by parliament, I assure you it’s all legal,” he said, promising a “restart” during the summer.

But the sudden shutdown of ERT caused uproar, with journalists kicking off a 24-hour strike Wednesday while defiant staff staged sit-ins at the organisation’s offices in Athens and Greece’s second-largest city Thessaloniki.

Riot police were stationed outside ERT offices around the country to prevent “any destruction”, said Kedikoglou, himself a former journalist at the organisation.

The government has imposed sweeping public cutbacks demanded by the debt-laden country’s international lenders in return for a massive bailout.

However, the spokesman insisted ERT’s closure was not part of Greece’s bailout obligations.

“This has nothing to do with the troika,” Kedikoglou said, referring to Greece’s creditors, the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.

Greece is caught in a six-year recession which austerity critics say has been exacerbated by successive pay and pension cuts imposed at the behest of its EU-IMF creditors.

Unemployment is steadily rising and now exceeds 26 percent, with half of young people out of work.

ERT employees, stunned by the sudden loss of their jobs, were defiantly transmitting rogue broadcasts on the Internet and the Communist party channel, vowing to resist the shutdown.

“We are not leaving the building,” Panagiotis Kalfayiannis, the head of ERT’s main union, said. “We are going to Greek and European justice. Even if they want to destroy democracy, rules still apply and I am going to fight.”

Thousands of people rushed to ERT’s main headquarters in Athens and its Thessaloniki offices on Tuesday to show their support for the broadcaster.

The European Union said it did not question the government decision but that public broadcasting was “an integral part of European democracy”.

The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s representative on media freedom, Dunja Mijatovic, also warned that ERT’s closure could deprive citizens of a diversity of views.

“Public service broadcasting plays an indispensable role in a country’s democracy. It is the only information source that by law has the obligation to provide objective news and unbiased information to citizens,” Mijatovic said.

Media observers acknowledge that ERT has a long history of mismanagement and heavy-handed political meddling, but say the Samaras administration is not free of blame.

Recent controversial decisions include the appointment of a former deputy minister’s daughter as a show host, and the ousting of two journalists who had criticised the public order minister on air.

Messages of support for the broadcaster have poured in from the Greek diaspora – for whom ERT is a vital link to the homeland – and the Orthodox Church.

The government said ERT would reopen with around half its current employees. All 2,655 current staff would be compensated and allowed to reapply for a job at the revamped organisation.

The shutdown followed months of work stoppages by ERT employees in protest at plans to restructure the broadcaster called for by Greece’s creditors.

Athens has pledged to cut 4,000 state-sector jobs this year and another 11,000 in 2014 to keep drawing rescue loans under the EU-IMF package.



As a reminder:

Greece: The Rise of the Junta

…Using a NATO plan to protect Greece against a communist invasion, a handful of  junior officers led by Colonel George Papadopoulos, fearful of the upcoming election and the rise of the left, overthrow the Greek government and declare martial law, outlawing strikes, labor unions, long hair on men, mini-skirts, the peace symbol, the Beatles, Sophocles, Tolstoy, Aeschylus, Socrates, Eugene Ionesco, Sartre, Chekhov, Mark Twain, Samuel Beckett, free press, new math and the letter Z…

… In June of 1967 the Junta announces Army Order No.13 which states that it is forbidden “…to reproduce or play the music and songs of the composer Mikis Theodorakis, the former leader of the now dissolved communist Organisation, the Lambrakis Youth because this music is in the service of communism … to sing any songs used by the communist youth movement which was dissolved under Paragraph Eight of the Decree of 6 May 1967, since these songs arouse passions and cause strife among the people. Citizens who contravene this Order will be brought immediately before the military tribunal and judged under martial law.”  A short time later Theodorakis himself is arrested…

… In another major even of 1969 Kosta-Gavras releases his film Z about the assassination of Grigoris Lambrakis. The movie has been filmed in Algeria since it obviously could not be filmed in Greece. It is nominated for a large number of top awards, including an Oscar for Best Picture, winning the Oscar for Best Foreign Film It also wins the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Picture, and is named best picture by the New York Film Critics Circle Awards and National Society of Film Critics Awards . The film also is nominated for a Golden Palm award at the Cannes film festival. The soundtrack, by Mikis Theodorakis, who is under arrest at the time, becomes a hit record though of course like the film it is banned in Greece. The film ends with a list of things banned by the Junta which include the peace movement, strikes, labor unions, long hair on men, mini-skirts, the peace symbol, the Beatles, Sophocles, Tolstoy, Aeschylus, Socrates, Eugene Ionesco, Sartre, Chekhov, Mark Twain, Samuel Beckett, free press, new math and the letter Z , which means ‘he lives’…

… On March 26, 1970 the regime closes the daily newspaper Ethnos…

… In October of 1971 Vice-President Spiro Agnew visits Greece, under heavy security. Two years later he becomes the first Vice-President to resign due to criminal charges, which include extortion, tax evasion and bribery. Two months after his visit the government of Greece announces that negotiations are taking place to make Athens the home port for the US 6th Fleet. A year later the agreement is signed. The Nixon-Agnew election campaign also receives a half a million dollar donation from the Junta, alleged to have come from the CIA, though a senate investigation of the donation is cancelled at the request of Henry Kissinger…

Photo: Greece, November, 17 1973

Syria: Etienne Davignon, Guy Verhofstadt, European Union, Bilderberg Group

juni 10, 2013


Belgian former Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt who is actually president of the European Group of Liberals, dreams of a federal European superstate: “A federal EU is the only option. The EU should have its own president, foreign minister, army and prosecutor” – Verhofstadt on Lybia: “The weak position of the EU makes me sick” – Verhofstadt on Syria: “The time for peace talks is over, we need action now. If the UN doesn’t react, then NATO should.”

In 2004, Verhofstadt was suggested as a candidate to replace Romano Prodi as the next President of the European Commission.
In the 2009 European Parliament election, he was elected a member of the European Parliament for the term 2009–2014. He also has been put forward as the possible candidate for replacing José Manuel Barroso as the president of the European Commission by a coalition of greens, socialists and liberals.
On July 1, 2009 he was elected President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe group in the European Parliament.
Verhofstadt is also a member of the Club de Madrid, an organization of more than 80 former statesmen. The group works to promote ‘democratic governance and leadership worldwide’.

Since 2012 is Verhofstadt a Board Member of the Brussels-based, Brussels-quoted Sofina holding (petroleum gas and oil platforms). He can look forward to a fee which is in line with that of the other directors, who last year received an amount between 42.000 134.000 euros. The Belgian industrialist Viscount Etienne Davignon is Honorary Director of Sofina.

Current directorships and offices held by Davignon: Chairman of Compagnie Maritime Belge, Compagnie des Wagons-Lits, Recticel, Sibeka, SN Airholding and Palais des Beaux-Arts (Belgium), Vice-Chairman of SUEZ-TRACTEBEL (Belgium), Director of Accor (France), Cumerio, Real Software, SN Brussels Airlines (Belgium), and Gilead (United States).
He is Chairman of the Bilderberg Group and of CSR Europe.
According to the Suez website, Davignon holds 11,111 Suez shares, which are currently worth more than 350,000 euro.

Verhofstadt pleads for the supply of heavy weapons to the so called ‘Free Syrian Army’. It is part of Verhofstadt’s idea of a Greater Europe and an European army. On 20 February 2009 the European Parliament voted in favour of the creation of Synchronised Armed Forces Europe (SAFE) as a first step towards a true European military force. SAFE will be directed by an EU directorate, with its own training standards and operational doctrine. There are also plans to create an EU “Council of Defence Ministers” and “a European statute for soldiers within the framework of Safe governing training standards, operational doctrine and freedom of operational action”.

Syria: Belgian Involved in Fighting with Terrorist Groups Killed

juni 10, 2013


A Belgian Involved in Fighting with Terrorist Groups Killed in Syria 

Jun 10, 2013

Italian news agency AKI said a twenty-year-old Belgian youth has been killed in Syria after entering Syrian and joining the armed terrorist groups in it.

The agency quoted local sources as saying that the youth, named Tariq, is a brother of a young man who has just been arrested on his return to Belgium from Syria last week.

There is uncertain information proving that the two brothers are belonging to a newly dismantled extremist cell called “a Sharia for Belgium.” According to the agency.

Earlier, Belgian officials exchanged accusations over the phenomena of young Belgians going to fight alongside the armed terrorist groups in Syria.

A number of ministers of the current Belgian government have faced sharp criticism for doing nothing in this regard. Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders criticized the refusal of Belgian Interior and Justice Ministries to provide him with information about the youth who went to or preparing themselves to go to Syria.

The issue of the Europeans who went to fight in Syria under the name of Jihad and finding more effective means for tackling this issue was repeatedly reviewed by the European Ministers but in vain.

It is supposed that 80 to 100 Belgians, mostly extremists and underage, have joined the armed terrorist groups in Syria.

Ghossoun /

Qatar: troops, training, communications and strategy

juni 8, 2013




As a reminder: 26 October 2011

‘Qatar admits sending hundreds of troops to support Libya rebels’

Qatari chief-of-staff reveals extent of involvment, saying troops were responsible for training, communications and strategy

Qatar has admitted for the first time that it sent hundreds of troops to support the Libyan rebels who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

The Gulf state had previously acknowledged only that its air force took part in Nato-led attacks.

The revelation came as Qatar hosted a conference on the post-Gaddafi era that was attended by the leader of Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, who described the Qataris as having planned the battles that paved the way for victory.

Abdel-Jalil also said he was asking Nato to extend its mission beyond the end of the month, when it had been due to end, until the end of the year. Help was needed because regime loyalists posed a threat from neighbouring countries, he said.

Gaddafi relatives and other key figures have fled to Algeria and Niger, amid speculation about the whereabouts of the deposed leader’s son Saif al-Islam.

A Libyan military official with the NTC told Reuters that Saif and the former intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi are proposing to hand themselves in to the international criminal court. A spokesman for the ICC, however, said it had received no confirmation of the claim.

The Associated Press meanwhile reported an adviser to Niger’s president, Mahamadou Issoufou, as saying Senussi was in their country.

It also has emerged that now the fighting is over, Qatar is to lead international efforts to train the Libyan military, collect weapons and integrate often autonomous rebel units into newly established military and security institutions – seen by the UN and western governments as the key challenge facing the NTC.

Qatar played a key role in galvanising Arab support for the UN security council resolution that mandated Nato to defend Libyan civilians in March. It also delivered weapons and ammunition on a large scale – without any clear legal basis.

There were repeated rumours about and occasional sightings of Qatari special forces in Libya during the war. Until now, however, there had been no official confirmation of actions that were not explicitly authorised by the UN.

The Qatari chief-of-staff, Major-General Hamad bin Ali al-Atiya, said: “We were among them and the numbers of Qataris on the ground were hundreds in every region. Training and communications had been in Qatari hands. Qatar … supervised the rebels’ plans because they are civilians and did not have enough military experience,” AFP quoted him as saying. “We acted as the link between the rebels and Nato forces.”

Qatar, whose gas reserves and tiny population make it one of the richest countries in the world, has long pursued an activist foreign policy, promoted by al-Jazeera, the Doha-based satellite TV channel.

But there was still surprise when it sent most of its air force to join Nato’s operation and delivered large quantities of what were described as defensive weapons but which included Milan anti-tank missiles to the rebels.

Qatari special forces are reported to have provided infantry training to Libyan fighters in the western Nafusa mountains and in eastern Libya. Qatar’s military even brought Libyan rebels back to Doha for exercises. And in the final assault on Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziya compound in Tripoli in late August, Qatari special forces were seen on the frontline. Qatar also gave $400m to the rebels, helped them export oil from Benghazi and set up a TV station in Doha.

Libyan gratitude is clear. The maroon and white flag of Qatar is often flown at celebrations and Algeria Square in central Tripoli has been renamed Qatar Square in honour of the country’s support in toppling Gaddafi. Some, however, express concern at the emirate’s support for Islamist elements such as the 17 February Martyrs Brigade, one of the most influential rebel formations, led by Abdel-Hakim Belhaj.

Ali Salabi, an influential Libyan Islamist cleric, lived in exile in Qatar for years before this year’s revolution. For some analysts the emir’s strategy is to support democratic forces selectively in the Arab world, partly to improve the country’s international standing while diverting attention from the Gulf, where anti-regime protests have been crushed in Bahrain and bought off in Saudi Arabia.

Photo: Qatar, Arab League, John Kerry

Crackdown on peaceful protesters in Istanbul: Noam Chomsky

juni 3, 2013


Outspoken American linguist and political philosopher Noam Chomsky has condemned the brutal police crackdown on protesters denouncing the demolition of Taksim Gezi Park, saying it recalled “the most shameful moments of Turkish history.”

“I would like to join Amnesty International and others who defend basic human rights in condemning the brutal measures of the state authorities in response to the peaceful protests in Taksim in Central Istanbul,” Chomsky said in a written statement June 1.

“The reports of the past few days are reminiscent of some of the most shameful moments of Turkish history, which, it seemed, had been relegated to the past during the progress of the past years that has been welcomed and praised by all of us who wish the best for Turkey and its people,” he added.

The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality had planned to replace the little green patch surrounded by multi-storey hotels with a reproduction of the Artillery Barracks (“Topçu Kışlası”) that used to occupy the sight. According to the project revealed by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the barracks would be converted into a shopping mall and could also serve as a residence with social facilities.

However, the plans stirred huge debate among Istanbul locals, who objected to the conversion of one of the last green areas at the heart of the city into yet another shopping mall.

Turkey explodes – Une colère sans précédent contre Erdogan

juni 3, 2013


Turkey explodes

The resistance to construction projects in Gezi Park in Istanbul, has been transformed this weekend into a global questioning of the policy of the Turkish government.

Photo: Protesters clash with riot police near the office of Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, Istanbul, June 3, 2013, during a demonstration against the demolition of the park (Gurcan Ozturk, AFP)


La Turquie s’embrase – Une colère sans précédent contre Erdogan

La résistance face aux projets de construction dans le parc Gezi, à Istanbul, s’est transformée, ce week-end, en une remise en cause globale de la politique du gouvernement turc.

Photo: Les protestataires se heurtent à la police anti-émeutes près du bureau du Premier ministre turc Tayyip Erdogan, Istanbul, 3 juin 2013, lors d’une manifestation contre la démolition du parc (Gurcan Ozturk, AFP)

Guantanamo: the promises of Obama

juni 1, 2013


The hunger strike at Guantanamo and the promises of Obama


The hunger strike in the prison has gone on for 100 days. The United States and President Obama are in the worst possible way dealing with the issue. It is known that 90% of the detainees were never officially charged with any crime. After five years of government, it is past time for the president to fulfill his campaign promises.
(By Steven Hsieh, of AlterNet)
Last Friday (17th) marked the 100th day since the beginning of the hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, which recaptured international attention to the prison that President Obama promised to close when trying to get elected five years ago.

Military officials said 102 of the 166 prisoners are participating in the strike. Lawyers for the prisoners say that number is close to 130.

Since the hunger strike began 100 days ago, international groups, including the European Parliament, the Commission on Human Rights and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and several nations with prisoners at Guantanamo pressured the Obama administration to release the detainees or close the prison.

Here are four of the most disturbing facts about the situation in Guantanamo.

1. The torture of forced feeding

Thirty of the 166 prisoners held at Guantanamo are being forcibly fed – a practice that is considered torture and a violation of international law by the human rights office of the UN. Earlier this week, the ACLU (abbreviation for “American Civil Liberties Union”), and also a considerable number of human rights organizations sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, highlighting the order on forced feeds at Guantanamo.

While the military says it would be “inhumane” to let prisoners starve, several medical groups and human rights organizations disagree.

“Under these circumstances, to go ahead and feed people by force is not only an ethical violation, but can be raised to the level of torture or ill-treatment,” said Peter Maurer, coordinator of the International Committee of the Red Cross.The military forced feeding procedure involves pushing a tube in the nose of the prisoner through the sinuses, throat and into the stomach. The process inflicts great pain and discomfort.

According to an analysis of military documents made by Al Jazeera, prisoners are shackled and forced to “remain seated wearing masks over their mouths for about two hours” as a nutritional supplement is pushed into their stomachs.”  At the end of the feeding, the prisoner is removed from the chair and led to a ‘dry cell’ no running water,” says the Al Jazeera account. “Then a guard watches the prisoner for 45-60 minutes ‘to oversee any indication of vomiting or attempts to induce vomiting.  If the prisoner vomits, they fasten him in his chair.”

 2. Alleged attempts to “disintegrate” the strikers

There were several allegations that guards at Guantanamo are abusing the strikers with the purpose of “disintegrating them.” Lawyers of Yemeni prisoner Musaab al-Madhwani say the guards chase strikers denying them drinking water, forcing them to drink from unsafe water taps, and maintaining their cells at temperatures “extremely icy,” reported Agence France-Presse.

Another lawyer told Russia Today that guards are pulling prisoners on the strike out of general living spaces and forcing them to live in individual cells to weaken them mentally.

3. Over half of the Guantanamo prisoners had their cases clarified to be released. Ninety percent were never accused of any crime

Of the 166 prisoners at Guantanamo, 86 have had their cases dismissed to be released, but legal and bureaucratic barriers still keep them imprisoned indefinitely.

First, Congress imposed restrictions on transfers of detainees, requesting evidence that the possible transfer never would offer any kind of threat to U.S. national security in the future. At a press conference last month, President Obama reiterated this fact, saying that he “would need help from Congress.” Yet, as several analysts have pointed out, Congress also secured from Obama the power to transfer prisoners, a power he never exercised.

Complicating the process are 56 Yemeni detainees at Guantanamo. As explained byAlex Kane, Yemen is “a powerful U.S. ally who also has problems with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a group that planned attacks against the U.S.. After a terrorist plot that supposedly originated in Yemen was intercepted, the Obama administration has decided to prevent the repatriation of prisoners to Yemen. ”

4. No chance to escape but a coffin

The hunger strike began as a response to the abuse of personal items such as prisoners’ Korans, committed by prison guards. But many analysts, organizations and prisoners pointed out that this was just the last straw. The strike is the frustration of prisoners being kept away from their families in inhumane conditions, some held for more than 11 years.

“These men are not starving to become martyrs … They do it because they are desperate,” said Wells Dixos one of 5 lawyers representing Guantanamo detainees. “They are desperate to be free from Guantanamo, they see no other option than to leave in a coffin.”

Samir Naji Al Hasan Moqbel, explained in a phone conversation published in the opinion page of The New York Times, that the hunger strike is conducted as a last resort:

“The situation is now desperate. All prisoners are suffering deeply … I’ve vomited blood.

“And there is no end to our forecast imprisonment. To refuse eating and risking my life every day is the choice we made.”

“I just hope that, because of the pain we are suffering, the eyes of the world will return to Guantanamo before it’s too late. ”

* Steven Hsieh is an editorial assistant, writer for the website AlterNet.
Carta Maior

Translated from the Portuguese version by:

Lisa Karpova