Obama Wants Gitmo Hunger Striker for Justice Tariq Ba Odah Dead
by Stephen Lendman
Odah committed no crimes. He’s victimized by US ruthlessness. He’s been lawlessly imprisoned at Gitmo since 2002 - over one-third of his life. He’s now aged 36.
He’s uncharged, untried, yet indefinitely detained because of his nationality. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) represents him.
He’s a Yemeni citizen, abducted in Pakistan, turned over to US authorities, cleared for release in 2009, yet remains lawlessly held in Gitmo hell. He hunger struck periodically throughout his ordeal.
He said vicious crackdowns were so brutal, he couldn’t continue resisting. He’d quit, then resumed again. In 2007, “he resolved to begin what has become one of the longest running hunger strikes at Guantanamo, and it continues to this day,” said CCR.
He’s force-fed twice daily - an excruciating (even life threatening) practice tantamount to torture. He’s kept isolated in solitary confinement for “non-compliance.”
He’s too weak to walk or care for himself. His normal weight is 160 pounds. It’s now 75 - less than half his former self. In April 2013, he said:
“A captive does not possess any realistic means to send his messages to the world other than to strike…Freedom should be much more precious for the human being than all the desires on earth. And we should never give it up regardless of how expensive the price may be.”
CCR advocates for his release “publicly, in international legal fora, and directly with the US government,” it said. “Despite all that he has suffered, (his) spirit perseveres, as does his commitment to continuing his peaceful protest.”
“He awaits the day that he will be able to return to his loving mother and extended family and begin rebuilding his life as a free man.”
CCR attorney Omar Farah represents him. He petitioned for immediate medical release on medical grounds. His health condition is precarious. The Justice Department’s response is under seal - a “rare and unnecessary” procedure, said CCR’s Wells Dixon.
His emaciation reached the critical point of irreparable medical harm. In June, Boston Medical Center’s Sondra Crosby told District of Columbia US District Court:
“There are limits to what the human body can endure, and at 74.5 pounds - no matter the precise nature of his underlying medical complications - Mr Ba Odah is undoubtedly reaching those limits and may soon exceed them.”
Farah issued a statement saying: “Because today’s filing is under seal, we cannot comment on its substance. However, we are deeply disappointed by this secret filing.”
“It is a transparent attempt to hide the fact that the Obama administration’s interagency process for closing Guantanamo is an incoherent mess, and it is plainly intended to conceal the inconsistency between the administration’s stated intention to close Guantanamo and the steps taken to transfer cleared men. The administration simply wants to avoid public criticism and accountability.”
It’s “unnecessary. There is nothing sensitive about this pivotal moment that needs to be withheld from the public. Mr. Ba Odah’s grave medical condition is not in dispute.”
“Given that he has been cleared since 2009, there is no dispute about whether he should be approved for transfer. All the president has to decide is whether to exercise his discretion not to contest the motion and release Mr. Ba Odah so that he does not die.”
CCR “has led the legal battle over Guantanamo for more than 13 years,” it explained. It’s “represented clients in two Supreme Court cases and organiz(ed) and coordinat(ed) (with) hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country, ensuring that all the men detained at Guantanamo have had the option of legal representation.”
It’s up against rogue state injustice - US ruthlessness against against some of the world’s most vulnerable people, targeted for their faith, ethnicity, nationality and being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Gitmo exposes longstanding sadistic US policy. It’s a microcosm of its global injustice - ravaging nations, massacring millions, imprisoning and torturing innocent victims, ravenously pursuing world conquest.
Odah is one of countless thousands suffering under the yoke of US oppression. As long as it remains unchallenged, nothing can stop its ruthless war on humanity.
Entering Hitler’s Dachau concentration camp, victims saw the slogan “Arbeit macht frei” - “Work will make you free.”
At Bush/Obama’s Gitmo Camp Delta 1, the greeting is “Honor Bound to Defend Freedom.” Orwell couldn’t have said either better.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.