FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Shaker Aamer: Held in a Gulag for Over 11-years

by GAVIN PHILLIPS

Madness would surely engulf most of us long before we had endured more than a decade of torture and false imprisonment. Never see your family, over a 1000 days in solitary confinement and over 11 years in a Gulag – regular torture sessions included.

But Shaker Aamer has endured, he has prevailed against the most barbaric State condoned War Crimes ever committed since medieval times. The ‘rack’ and ‘head crusher’ have been replaced by smashing your head against a wall, water torture, beatings and sleep deprivation, to name a few.

Aamer’s ordeal began with a good deed and a twist of fate which landed him in the wrong place at the worse time. Aamer moved his family temporarily from England to Afghanistan in July 2001 to help a charity build a girls school in a culture that is dismissive of educating woman.

After 9/11 American forces, desperate for any information about the 9/11 attacks, would pay criminal gangs in Afghanistan to bring them anyone that maybe affiliated with Al-Qaeda. These gangs simply began rounding up anyone they thought could be sold to the Americans. Aamer got his family out of Afghanistan, but he was kidnapped by one of the gangs and eventually sold to the Americans. He was transported to to Bagram Prison run by the US in Afghanistan.

Aamer recalls being relieved that he was being handed over to the Americans. But this was short lived as his captors began accusing him of being affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

It was while at Bagram that Aamer tells of his first torture sessions, which included frostbite induced cold water torture, hog tying and sleep deprivation.

After weeks of this Aamer was taken to a room where he says a British intelligence officer was present with about ten other US interrogators. Aamer’s head was bounced off a wall while the men shouted at him that he’d better confess or they would kill him. No surprise then that Aamer falsely confessed to whatever they wanted.

Aamer states that there were at least two British intelligence officers at Bagram. The fact that a British agent was actively participating in Aamer’s torture is probably one of the reasons he still sits in Guantanamo. As Aamer states, ‘British intelligence officers were complicit in my torture’.

According to Aamer, another reason for his continued forced imprisonment maybe the fact that he witnessed the torture of Ibn Shaikh al-Libi in Bagram. Al-Libi gave false information to the CIA about Iraq supposedly training Al-Qaeda in how to use chemical weapons. This was used by George Bush and Colin Powell to justify invading Iraq.

Aamer is supported by several other torture victims who state that British intelligence officers were colluding with the US while they were being tortured. One of the most well known is that of British Resident Binyam Mohamed. Whilst being tortured by the Americans in Pakistan in May 2002, Mohamed says he was visited by a British MI5 agent. He also states that British intelligence was supplying his torturers in Morocco with information about his time in England.

In a judicial review (July 2008) of Mohamed’s case, Lord Justice Thomas and Mr. Justice Lloyd Jones ruled that, “by seeking to interview BM in the circumstances found and supplying information and questions for his interviews, the relationship between the United Kingdom Government and the United States authorities went far beyond that of a bystander or witness to the alleged wrongdoing.”

Aamer has been cleared twice for release, in 2007 and 2009, but still he is kept in Guantanamo. His lawyer Stafford Smith, head of the legal charity Reprieve, said: “It seems highly probable that the British security services are in bed with the Americans on trying to keep Shaker from coming back to the UK, since Shaker is such an important witness against them for their complicity in torture.”

In an unforeseen way, Aamer has done us a great service. When an innocent man is continually tortured and imprisoned many years after being cleared of any crime, and kept there to cover up State War Crimes, we know our government has become criminalized.

England is a country that prides itself on the rule of law, but whose government participates in torturing innocent men to illicit false confessions, that is a government without any law. The only question that remains is, just how far down the abyss of ethical bankruptcy is it willing to go? Or has it already bottomed out?

The Tony Blair and Gordon Brown governments did nothing to free Aamer. Cameron has carried on this debauched tradition with aplomb. Oh, he can mouth platitudes with the worst of them. In response to a letter to him from Johina Aamer , one of Aamer’s four children, Cameron writes (June 2013),

“Despite efforts to secure his release, it remains the case that he has been cleared for transfer but not for release.

“It also remains the case that any decision regarding your father’s release remains ultimately in the hands of the US Government.”

Cameron gives us the most nauseating boilerplate excuse. There are many ways that he could put pressure on the US to release Aamer. But Cameron has neither the inclination nor the fortitude to make a stand against Washington’s worst human rights abuses. He has proven that, like Blair and Brown, he is Washington’s obedient serf.(read the recent story of the illegal arrest of David Miranda at Heathrow airport, no doubt on Washington’s orders).

Cameron is hoping you will forget about Aamer. It is up to us to hold him accountable for the office that he holds and maintain the rule of law.

Aamer’s wife and children have not seen him for over 11-years. His youngest child Faris, has never seen his father. Aamer needs our help and support to set him free. With your help, we will see that justice is done.

Gavin Phillips can be reached at photoshopgav@gmail.com.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
August 26, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Paul Buhle
In the Shadow of the CIA: Liberalism’s Big Embarrassing Moment
Andrew Levine
How Donald Trump Can Still be a Hero: Force the Guardians of the Duopoly to Open Up the Debates
Rob Urie
Crisis and Opportunity
Louisa Willcox
The Unbearable Killing of Yellowstone’s Grizzlies: 2015 Shatters Records for Bear Deaths
Charles Pierson
Wedding Crashers Who Kill
Richard Moser
What is the Inside/Outside Strategy?
Dirk Bezemer – Michael Hudson
Finance is Not the Economy
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Bernie’s Used Cars
Margaret Kimberley
Hillary and Colin: the War Criminal Charade
Patrick Cockburn
Turkey’s Foray into Syria: a Gamble in a Very Dangerous Game
Ishmael Reed
Birther Tries to Flim Flam Blacks  
Brian Terrell
What Makes a Hate Group?
Howard Lisnoff
Trouble in Political Paradise
Terry Tempest Williams
Will Our National Parks Survive the Next 100 Years?
Ben Debney
The Swimsuit that Overthrew the State
Ashley Smith
Anti-imperialism and the Syrian Revolution
Andrew Stewart
Did Gore Throw the 2000 Election?
Vincent Navarro
Is the Nation State and Its Welfare State Dead? a Critique of Varoufakis
John Wight
Syria’s Kurds and the Wages of Treachery
Lawrence Davidson
The New Anti-Semitism: the Case of Joy Karega
Mateo Pimentel
The Affordable Care Act: A Litmus Test for American Capitalism?
Roger Annis
In Northern Syria, Turkey Opens New Front in its War Against the Kurds
David Swanson
ABC Shifts Blame from US Wars to Doctors Without Borders
Norman Pollack
American Exceptionalism: A Pernicious Doctrine
Ralph Nader
Readers Think, Thinkers Read
Julia Morris
The Mythologies of the Nauruan Refugee Nation
George Wuerthner
Caving to Ranchers: the Misguided Decision to Kill the Profanity Wolf Pack
Ann Garrison
Unworthy Victims: Houthis and Hutus
Julian Vigo
Britain’s Slavery Legacy
John Stanton
Brzezinski Vision for a Power Sharing World Stymied by Ignorant Americans Leaders, Citizens
Philip Doe
Colorado: 300 Days of Sunshine Annually, Yet There’s No Sunny Side of the Street
Joseph White
Homage to EP Thompson
Dan Bacher
The Big Corporate Money Behind Jerry Brown
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
DNC Playing Dirty Tricks on WikiLeaks
Ron Jacobs
Education for Liberation
Jim Smith
Socialism Revived: In Spite of Bernie, Donald and Hillary
David Macaray
Organized Labor’s Inferiority Complex
David Cortright
Alternatives to Military Intervention in Syria
Binoy Kampmark
The Terrors of Free Speech: Australia’s Racial Discrimination Act
Cesar Chelala
Guantánamo’s Quagmire
Nyla Ali Khan
Hoping Against Hope in Kashmir
William Hughes
From Sam Spade to the Red Scare: Dashiell Hammett’s War Against Rightwing Creeps
Raouf Halaby
Dear Barack Obama, Please Keep it at 3 for 3
Charles R. Larson
Review: Paulina Chiziane’s “The First Wife: a Tale of Polygamy”
David Yearsley
The Widow Bach: Anna Magdalena Rediscovered
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail