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Surviving Guantánamo

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On the 10th anniversary of the US military prison at Guantánamo Bay, in commemoration of all the prisoners who have suffered, we invite you to listen to  former detainee Qari Mohemmed Saad Iqbal Madani.

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Guantanamo Photo: Getty/Shane T.McCoy/AFP

Without having being charged nor having committed a crime – and even after the authorities admitted that they had “made a mistake”, he was told that he would still have to go to Guantánamo Bay for a duration or he would have to lie and claim having a link with Osama Bin Laden, so that the authorities would in turn be able to save face.

‘I spent one year Bagram Air Base, then I was transferred to Guantánamo Bay; I was not allowed to sleep. I was not allowed to use the bathroom.
For six months they kept me in a refrigerator naked. It’s hard to explain. After spending 6 months in a refrigerator I have lost my hearing. The way I was treated…animals are not even treated this way…’

Watch the interview.

(This is crossposted on Roqayah Chamseddine’s blog The Cynical Arab)

Roqayah Chamseddine

Roqayah Chamseddine is a Lebanese-American writer based in Sydney. She writes the Sharp Edges column at Shadowproof and politics at Paste Magazine. She tweets at @roqchams.

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8 Responses

  1. pabelmont on January 13, 2012, 3:10 pm

    Why be surprised? Why should torture be used (only) to learn secrets or to compel false confessions or accusations? Torture can be used to cover-up for a bad arrest, to cover-up anything, or just for fun (surely, someone out there thinks torturing other people is fun), or to send a message to someone else; — oh! so many reasons.

    And if the torturers know they are immune to punishment, it only gets worse. And they always believe that.

    And now, Americans, it has come home to native soil with NDAA 2012 s. 1021, which allows the armed forces to arrest anyone anywhere upon (no one knows how slender and unsupported or knowingly-false) a statement of suspicion that such person is a terrorist. And will they torture YOU if they take YOU? why not? Who’d ever know?

  2. Dan Crowther on January 13, 2012, 3:58 pm

    Where are the mainstream liberals on this? Oh yea, there’s a democrat in the white house… A national disgrace, an international scandal ..Madani should get the Bush’s pad in kennebunkport as partial restitution

  3. irena on January 13, 2012, 8:16 pm

    To think that he isn’t the only one…the look on his face before he broke down. What are we doing? What?

  4. Bumblebye on January 13, 2012, 10:01 pm


    The same people who let the troops think it’s ok to abuse at Guantanamo let them think it was ok to abuse at Abu Ghraib, and let them think it was ok to piss on dead Taliban. The Dersh was all over the msm arguing the legality of torture, as was Rumsfeld. Bush marked his x on all the relevant docs. That this man (along with many others) was known to be totally innocent MUST make his treatment a blatant war crime for which there ought to be prosecution. Why are they above the law???

  5. Graber on January 13, 2012, 11:24 pm

    They did pharmaceutical testing on him?

    • iRevolt on January 14, 2012, 12:21 am

      Yes, and many others.

    • Avi_G. on January 14, 2012, 1:14 am

      It’s no biggie. Pharmaceutical companies constantly use people in Africa as guinea pigs and if the military uses its own soldiers to test experimental drugs, then why not a dark-looking Terrrrist with a scary beard? All’s fair in love and war.

  6. john h on January 14, 2012, 12:23 am

    Do not ever tell me the US is a Christian country.

    Do not ever tell me about shared values.

    Do not ever tell me we are hated because we value freedom.

    Do not ever tell me we are defending against terrorism.

    Do not ever tell me about a Judeo-Christian heritage.

    Do not ever tell me about justice and human rights.

    Do not ever tell me about exporting democracy.

    Just tell me the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

    But don’t just tell me, tell everyone what hypocrites and liars you are, what cruelty and injustice you have committed in my name, and how it is such a mockery of your people and their naive trust in you.

    And don’t bother to tell the world that is not Western. Most of their people already know. Every day they have to live with the results.

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