Friday, June 14, 2013

Shaker Aamer: My fight for justice in Guantánamo

June 14, 2013.
Killing innocent people for an idea, whether on London's streets or from the skies of Pakistan, is always wrong
guantanamo bay protest washington
A protest against Guantánamo Bay, where Shaker Aamer is being held, in front of 
the US supreme court in Washington. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP 
Here I am in Guantánamo Bay. I was meant to be a Muslim extremist, one of the "worst of the worst", according to the former United States defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Indeed, because I am still here and 613 detainees have left, you might think that I am the worst of the worst of the worst – although perhaps the fact that I was cleared for release six years ago would give you pause for thought.

As I sit alone in my cell, I learn about acts of terrorism that take place around the world. Because the censors here do not let us have the news any more as a punishment for being on hunger strike, I have only heard the bare bones of what happened in Woolwich but, even without knowing all the facts, it is easy for me to condemn it. Just yesterday I was talking to another detainee about the murder of Lee Rigby. Neither of us could understand how anyone could think such an act was consistent with Islam. I condemn it regardless of the men's motive. I don't know what they thought might be achieved by it. Perhaps they were just mentally ill.

The same is true of the attack on the Boston Marathon in April. Maybe those who killed the innocent thought somehow that their attack was going to strike a blow against those who were fighting Muslims in Afghanistan or Iraq, or the Americans who were killing innocent children with drones in Pakistan and Yemen. But their actions were just plain wrong. You do not kill innocent people on the streets of London or Boston and say that is a jihad for justice.

It is important to recognise that the Americans do evil things as well. They say their motivation is to fight terrorism, and fighting terror is something I wholeheartedly support. But while their intentions may be good, their actions are also very wrong – when they kill a small child with a drone missile in Pakistan, or when they lock people up without trial in Guantánamo Bay. These actions are very unwise, too. They anger people who might before have been reasonable, so that more of them turn to extremism. They feed terrorism, just as once the denial of legal rights to those suspected of being Irish terrorists drew disaffected people to the IRA banner.
This piece was dictated by Shaker Aamer to his lawyer on 10 June

Read the rest here.

Shaker Aamer
Shaker Aamer is the last British resident held in Guantánamo Bay.


Comment: Why is this man still in that hell hole six years after he was cleared?


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