FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

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

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 The ‘rack’ and ‘head crusher’ have been replaced by smashing your head against a wall, water torture, beatings and sleep deprivation, to name a few.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:
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail