Guantanamo Pretrial Motions: Make sure you enter the lottery to attend the pretrial motions held in Guantanamo. The next sessions are scheduled for 19-23 August; 16-20 September; 21-25 October; 18-22 November; 16-20 December; 13-17 January 2014. Please contact Karen Loftus or PT members who already made the trip for more details.
Rule of Law:
PT founding member, Rita Lasar and her granddaughter, Emma Barker Lasar, attended the pretrial motions at Guantanamo in June. Rita’s impressions gained during their trip were published by Common Dreams, Rolling Stone Magazine and Der Spiegel:
“I just returned from a prison where only the detainees, a judge, prosecutors, defense lawyers, witnesses, a lottery selected press pool, a lottery selected group of NGOs, and 5 lottery selected people like me, close family members of those nearly 3,000 people were killed on September 11th, 2001 can observe the so called TRIAL OF THE CENTURY.
The name of the prison is Guantanamo, but we all know it as Gitmo. Gitmo is really two places.
The one I saw is seemingly a civilized, orderly courtroom where the pretrial hearings of the 5 men accused of masterminding the events of 9/11 take place. But from the arraignment on May 5, 2012 until now the defense operates under the complete control of the prosecution, so that access to their clients is an arduous process, rules limiting all material brought into those meetings with their clients is argued over in front of the judge making it impossible for a smooth client attorney relationship, where material is removed from the prisoners’ cells without notice to either prisoner or attorney, where listening devices in rooms where attorney and client meet have been discovered, and then argued about before the judge, where in the course of the hearings someone, not the judge, who is supposed to be the only one to do so, listening in a remote spot outside of Gitmo can stop the procedures. Where only the privileged few can see what the whole would should be able to see.
If 9/11 changed the world as we have been told endlessly, the whole world has the right to see this process.
I am haunted by the other Gitmo. The one I did not see. The hidden Gitmo.
In that place over 100 men are on a hunger strike, and many of them are strapped into a chair, and force fed through a tube inserted into their nose and into their stomach.
I was shown the chair in which this occurs and was asked by our marine escort, ‘Isn’t that a comfortable chair?’
In that other other prison, there are detainees who have been cleared of all charges and eligible or release but who are still there because politicians argue about where to send them. I that Gitmo there are many men who are being held indefinitely, in a limbo more like a hell.
We, the American people, were told repeatedly after that day in September, ‘They Hate Us For Our Values.’ And I ask: ‘Are these our values?'” Rita Lasar
Peace Education Committee:
Robyn Bernstein represented September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows at a June meeting with Ms. Wilnalia Rivera, External Affairs Director to Governor Duval Patrick’s administration. Ms. Rivera listened to members of the Muslim community who had felt slighted by the Governor’s office when interfaith events were scheduled after the Boston Marathon Bombing. Please click HERE to view the complete report.
Our Partners of the Month:
Help the Parents Circle screen the film “Two Sided Story” 100 times across the United States.
From the SC:
The SC meets on the phone every fourth Thursday of the month. Feel free to contact any SC member to add to the agenda at least two days before their monthly call.
PT member Robyn Bernstein sent handmade peace lanterns to Hiroshima where they will float in the waters as part of an annual remembrance ceremony on August 6.
PT member Terry Rockefeller (back row, third from left), traveled to Yemen with Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin and others in June to connect to family members of those Yemenis held at Guantanamo prison and others affected by American drone strikes.