tv Democracy Now LINKTV January 22, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PST
01/22/15 01/22/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica this is democracy now! >> cooled down to the point i wish o king most of the time -- i was shaking most of the time. the next 70 days, i would not know the sweetness of sleeping. interrogation 24 hours a day, i was living literally in terror. >> autonomy diary. it has just been published to rave reviews.
sales are brisk. what is shocking? it is a new book about rendition, persimmon without charge. written by man still knocked locked up. today, the story of mohamedou ould slahi. we will hear excerpts of his prison diary and speak to his attorney. >> there is no reason for him to be in guantánamo. he is never been charged with a crime. he has been in guantánamo for 14 years. it is not that they haven't found the evidence against him there isn't any evidence against him. >> will also speak to larry siems who edited the prison diary and colonel davis, the former chief military prosecutor at guantánamo. he knew mohamedou ould slahi and says he is no more a terrorist than forest gump. than halfway around the world and massive hunger strike is underway at what some are calling the guantanamo bay of
the pacific, taking place at an offshore detention center housing men and women seeking asylum in australia. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the justice department is poised to announce it will not print civil rights charges against ferguson, missouri police officer darren wilson for shooting unarmed african-american teenager michael brown. "the new york times" reports eric holder will have the final say, but will almost certainly side with investigators who are recommending no charges. a wider justice department probe into ferguson police over reports of racial profiling in traffic stops and use of excessive force remains underway. meanwhile, a judge has rejected in naacp legal defense fund request for a new grand jury to consider criminal charges against darren wilson.
the group raised concerns over the actions of prosecutor bob macola including his decision to let a witness provide false testimony. newly released video from a police dashboard camera shows officers in new jersey shot and killed an african-american man who had his hands in the air. the video from december 30 shows police officers braheme days and roger worley pulling over a car for rolling through a stop sign. officer days, who is standing next to the passenger side, then warns there is a gun in the glove compartment, and appears to reach into the window and remove something. officer days then warns the passenger, jerame reid, not to move, saying -- "i'm going to shoot you," and "if you reach for something, you're going to be (expletive) dead." read appears to say "i'm getting , out and getting on the ground," before standing up with both hands empty and raised in the air. >> keep your hands right there.
you reach for something, you're going to be [bleep] dead. he's reaching. show me your [bleep] hands. >> both police officers have been placed on paid leave amidst a probe. in eastern ukraine, a mortar blast aboard a bus has killed up to 13 people in the progression rebel stronghold of donetsk. each side in the conflict has accused the other. the bombing comes after ukrainian forces announced it would surrender the donetsk airport to the rebels. in yemen shiite rebels have reportedly reached a deal to retreat from key positions including the president's home. in return for increased political power. but witnesses say the rebels still surround the residence of u.s.-backed president. the head of germany's anti-islam movement has step down after
controversy over a photo that showed him posing as adolf hitler. he had also come under fire for his messages on social media referring to immigrants as scumbags and trash. newly until documents show an elaborate plot between argentina and iran to shield iranian officials accused in a 1994 bombing in exchange for iranian oil. the transcripts of secret communications are part of the program by prosecutor who was found dead of a gunshot wound sunday hours before he was due to testify on his findings. officials have called his to a suicide amidst initial claims his apartment was locked from inside, but a locksmith who was called to the scene says the service door was easily opened and there are reports of a third entrance through a neighboring apartment. in what the white house has called a departure from diplomatic protocol, republican house speaker john boehner has invited israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu to address a joint session of congress on iran. boehner's announcement comes one
day after president obama vowed in his state of the union address to veto any new sanctions on iran. boehner acknowledged he did not tell the white house before inviting netanyahu. >> i did not consult with the white house. the congress can make this decision on its own. i don't believe i'm hoping anyone in the eye. there is a serious threat that exists in the world, and the president last night kind of papered over it. and the fact is, there needs to be a more serious conversation in america about how serious a threat is from radical islamic jihadists and the threat posed by iran. >> protesters interrupted a supreme court hearing wednesday to mark the fifth anniversary of the court's decision in citizens united. it opened the floodgates for unlimited political spending. seven people were arrested after they rose to their feet one by one, shouting "overturn citizens united" and "one person, one vote."
house republicans have dropped plans to vote today on a bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks following dissent from women within their own party. republican leaders planned to vote today on the 42nd anniversary of roe v wade, but republican women raised concerns, particularly over a requirement that rape and incest survivors seeking an exemption to the ban report to police first. half of the u.s. senate has refused to formally it knowledge the existence of man-made climate change. 49 republicans voted against the measure. noting human activity significantly contributes to climate change. the senate overwhelmingly did approve a resolution acknowledging climate change is not a hoax, just one person voted against it, mississippi republican senator roger wicker. in north dakota, nearly 3 million gallons of saltwater created as a byproduct of oil
drilling have leaked from a pipeline. according to the associated press, the spill is the largest since the state's oil boom began and nearly three times worse than the previous record. this comes after up to 50,000 pounds of oil spilled into the yellowstone river in eastern montana were residents of glenn died in this running area have been told not to drink their water. the new republican chair of the senate intelligence committee has asked the obama administration to return all copies of this in its landmark report on cia torture. senator richard burr has indicated he will return a secret cia internal report known as the panetta review, which found the agency inflated the importance of information gained through torture. the commanding u.s. navy officer in charge of the naval base at guantanamo bay has been fired due to a "loss of confidence in his ability to command." unnamed officials told the ap the commander, captain john r. nettleton, is under investigation in connection with
the mysterious death of a man whose wife nettleton was having an affair with. and the new york times is reporting new york state assembly speaker sheldon silver be arrested today on charges of corruption. silver has been speaker for over 20 years. and those are some of the headlines, this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. after a seven-year legal battle, the diary of a prisoner held at guantanamo bay has just been published and has become a surprise bestseller. the diary was written by mohamedou ould slahi, who is been held at the base for more than 12 years. he was ordered released in 2010 but is still being held. later in the show, we will be joined by his lawyer nancy hollander and larry siems, who edited the diary. >> first, let's turn to a new video produced by the guardian.
it features interviews with nancy hollander, larry siems and mohamedou ould slahi' us brother. it begins with the actor dominic west, best known as detective to mimic nolte and "the wire." reading the dire writings of mohamedou ould slahi. >> the cell was cooled down to the point i was shaking most of the time. for the next 70 days, i would not notice -- notice weakness of sleeping. interrogation one for hours a day, i was living literally in terror. >> there's no knees and reason for mohamedou ould slahi to be in guantánamo. he is been a for 14 years. it is not that they have not found the evidence against him there isn't any evidence against him. mohamedou ould slahi started writing in 2005.
he had prepared 90 pages in a notebook the guards had given him. that was the beginning of this manuscript. >> for a number of years, his attorneys conduct litigation and negotiations to get it classified. >> mohamedou is somewhat of a modern renaissance man. he is from the country mauritania, a very poor family but he won a scholarship to study in germany as a very young man. >> mohamedou had joined al qaeda in the early 1990's, like many young men. uganda afghanistan as a student. to join the fight, yet a train in an al qaeda camp. you train and sworn loyalty, but he broke all ties after the communist government collapsed and various factions started
shooting each other, mohamedou essentially said, i am out. >> mohamedou was at his mother's house in november 2001. he gets a call from the police to come and be interviewed. i'm sure, he told his mother i'll be right back. he disappeared. his family has never seen him again to this day. >> there were four of them when i stepped outside the door with my mom and my aunt. both kept their eyes staring at me. it is the taste of helplessness we see your beloved fading away like a dream and you cannot help him. >> he realized he wasn't going home when he got on an airplane, was stripped of his clothes in august 2002, he landed in cuba in guantánamo. his family, of course, had no idea what happened to him. >> was only when his younger
brother, who lives in germany, picked up der spiegel and sans article in october 2002 that mohamedou was in guantánamo, did the family know where he had been held. >> we were all speechless. how can a government lie to us for so long? and play such 30 games with us? we were all so completely disheartened. >> they were trying to frighten him so he would tell them what they wanted to hear. crooks they would say, we know what you did, we just need you to tell us. >> we know you were involved in 9/11. we know you know these people. >> they were on this fishing expedition. >> there was no truth to tell them, that is what they kept saying. >> i'm going to do everything am allowed to to break you. you will never see her family again. my answer was always, do what you got to do, i have done nothing.
as soon as i spit my words, he went wildly crazy as if you wanted to devour me alive. >> mohamedou was subjected to hold ist of torture techniques that had been approved by the secretary of defense. >> significantly, they included what in guantánamo was known as the frequent flyer program. they called it that because they would not let people sleep and they proceeded to torture him.
>> blindfold him if he tries to look. one of them hit me hard across the face and quickly put the goggles on my eyes and a small bag over my head. they tightened the chains around my ankles and wrists. afterwards, i started to bleed. i thought there were going to execute me. >> just as mohamedou had this remarkable journey, his manuscript has a fairly remarkable journey. he writes it in 2005. >> we would get the book and bits and pieces. >> every utterance of a guantánamo prisoner is deemed classified from the moment of its creation. >> what you have to do is send it back to what is called a privileged team. they read it and decide what can be made unclassified.
>> what i got in the summer to 25 -- 2012, was the version that was the for public release that had these layers of censorship, grafted onto it, you know, the physical impression of a page full of the reductions in brick wall. the amazing thing about mohamedou in his writing, he is incredibly strong, clear voice. >> they brought me a trust sports walkup lakin's myself. when the guards noticed my chessboard, they all wanted to play me. and when they started to play me, they always one. the strongest among the guards taught how to control the center. after that, the guards had no chance to defeat me. >> he just hopes that someday he will be released. he is in what i would consider a horrible legal limbo, and it is
just tragic. she needs to go home. if he gets out, he can come live with me. i would be happy to have mohamedou in my house. he is just as jerry good, warm caring human being. and somehow, that strength keeps him going. >> what is remarkable about his book is we have a voice that has come out of this void and it is such a remarkable, humane, and i think, ultimately, forgiving voice. it is a wonder. >> a folktale tells us about a roost would almost lose his mind whenever he encountered a rooster. why are so afraid of the rooster, the psychiatrist asked him.
the rooster thinks i am corn. you are not corn. you're a very big man. nobody can mistake you for a tiny ear of corn for the psychiatrist said. i know that, doctor, but the rooster doesn't. for years, i've been trying to convince the u.s. government that i am not corn. >> the actor dominic west reading the diary of guantánamo prisoner mohamedou ould slahi. that video was produced by the guardian. when we come back, we will be joined by mohamedou ould slahi's attorney nancy hollander, the editor of "the guantánamo diary," larry siems and colonel davis. back in a minute. ♪ [music break]
case of mohamedou ould slahi, a man who is been held at guantánamo for 12 years without charge. his writings were published this week as the book "guantanamo but diary." it was initially classified by the government and heavily red acted. >> it was held for more than seven years before it was released. we're joined by nancy hollander mohamedou ould slahi's lead lawyer, larry siems is editor of "guantánamo diary," and colonel morris davis is the former chief military prosecutor at guantánamo bay. he resigned in 2007, shortly shortly after he met with mohamedou ould slahi. we welcome you all to democracy now! colonel morris davis, talk about who mohamedou was, how you met him there, and did your resignation have anything to do with him? >> i met him early in 2007 as we
were preparing the prosecution of the military commission cases at guantánamo, we were interested in potentially finding a detainee or detainees would be corporate in witnesses. i was told slahi and his partner lived in a compound of their own, that the two of them were candidates, potential candidates to cooperate with the prosecution. so i met with mr. slahi probably three or four times over the course of several months, and got to know him probably as well as any of the detainees i had contact with at guantánamo. >> and what was your impression of him? how did he affect you? >> it was an interesting contrast. he and tariq lived together in a compound of their own. at the time back in 2007, guantánamo was supposed to be the supersecret facility at you
could not really talk about, but you could go out on google earth and you could see the compound where they lived in a vegetable garden that was between their two huts where they lived. a sharp contrast maybe five foot 610 pounds last time i saw mr. slahi and tariq was probably six feet tall and weighed over three and 50 pounds. just the physical appearance was like the odd couple. personality as well. tariq was polite, but did not carry conversation, where with mr. slahi, it wasn't getting him to talk, who's getting him to stop. he was very gregarious. he was very articulate. very bright. he was a was a pleasure to meet with. every time i went, i mentioned the article i wrote for the guardian, every time i went, he had to make tea using mint leaf from the garden.
guantánamo it was oh dzhokhar and humid and am always in uniform and i'm not a teacher grew to begin with, but i would have to sit and drink hot tea and sweat in the sun and chat with mr.s. >> nancy hollander, you have been slahi's legal representative since he was allowed legal representation since 2005. can you tell us how you came to work on this case and how it is that he is been held for 12 years and has yet to be charged with anything? >> i came to work on this case because a lawyer in france sent me an e-mail saying he had heard from a lawyer in mauritania that the family of mohamedou. he was in guantánamo and other the prisoners could have lawyers would i consider seeing if i could represent him. i found him, found that he had been assigned to another lawyer
by the center for constitutional rights. that lawyer was sylvia royce. although sylvia left the team better on them at the beginning, the two of us made arrangements to go to guantánamo. and our first visit was perhaps the one that sticks in my head the most. it was our very first visit to guantánamo for both of us. we walked into the hut. the guards opened the door and there was mohamedou. he did not move. we stood there for a moment and i realized, to my horror, that he was chained to the floor with chains around his ankle and could not move. so he could just stand there and smiled. and we walked into his embrace. he hugged us. i think we were the first people he had hugged in several years.
and then he gave us these first 90 pages as a way for us to know about him, to know something about him and what had happened to him. and that is how this book began. we encouraged him to keep writing. he continued to write. he is never been charged with black you are saying he has never been charged with a crime. nancy hollander, can you describe what happened to him when the u.s. detained him, first before guantánamo, and then at guantánamo? in his book, he says one of the interrogators said, "i know i can go to hell for what i do to you." >> what that guard was referring to was specifically not letting him pray. one of the things that was on the list of special interrogation techniques that the secretary of defense donald
rumsfeld approved specifically for mohamedou is that he not be allowed to pray. he was also put in what they call the for gawre fire program, which meant he was not allowed to sleep. he was interrogated around-the-clock and maybe he would get an hour or two of sleep, then they would wake him up. this went on for almost two months or maybe even longer. they dragged him out on a vote. first, they came into his cell with a dog terrified him, put a foot over him, put goggles on put your muffs on, dragged him. we were able to learn from his medical records that he complained that his ribs were broken. in fact, they were broken when a beat him. they took him out and as he says in the book, he was afraid they were going to dump them in the ocean or take them to some other place. for a long, long time they did not tell him he was back in guantánamo.
they beat him. they terrified him. they put ice down his clothes. they kept him in cold rooms. then they kept him in hot rooms. they knew he had a back issue from a previous injury, and that the doctor in guantánamo had ordered that he not have to stay in certain positions. and they used that. those were the positions they put him in, precisely, with a new he was not supposed to be in. it goes on and on of what they did to him. >> nancy, even before slahi got to guantánamo, he entertained for almost a year. he was picked up on his way, i believe from canada, to mauritania, picked up in senegal and attained in mauritania, then sent to jordan under the cia's extraordinary rendition program for 7.5 months. then to bagram and then from there to guantánamo. can you describe what happened
in the course of his going to guantánamo? >> he was picked up twice, first in senegal when he left montréal , he flew to senegal and that is where his family was going to meet him to drive home in mauritania. he was detained there. later, he was detained again in mauritania. finally, he was at his mother's house -- this was the third time -- and he got another call from the police station. the police chief. they said, would you come and talk to us? bring your own car. were sure you won't be staying long. and he never went back. they took into jordan. he was there for seven and a half or eight months. he was interrogated there. he was not tortured in the same way, but he was put in a cell where he could hear other people screaming and crying and he was terrified every moment that he was there.
then suddenly, another plane comes. he thinks he's going home. in fact, he ends up in afghanistan for a couple of weeks, and then goes to guantánamo. at that time, the government was claiming it was taking people from the battlefield in afghanistan -- which wasn't true , only about 5% of the people in guantánamo were ever actually on the battlefield -- that he came from afghanistan in a harrowing airplane ride to guantánamo and was interrogated as soon as he got there. and then was interrogated and tortured. even after he agreed to tell them whatever they wanted to hear, they continued with what he called the recipe of torture. he was never charged, never charged with a crime. >> i want to turn to a comment from slahi's brother. he spoke to the bbc and said he
was most upset with the mauritanian government about what happened to his brother. what i think they sold him to the americans and they lied the whole time to us. they told us mohamedou was still in prison in mauritania while he was being tortured in guantánamo bay. i read the news in der spiegel magazine while i was at university in germany. i could not believe it. my mother had been taking food and money to the jail every day because they told her mohamedou was in there. i called my family and told my brother was actually in guantánamo bay, but they did not believe me. they did not believe me until 2002 when they got a letter from my brother from the prison in guantánamo. >> that is yahid, the brother of mohamedou, who is still in prison at guantánamo, over 12 years without charge. colonel morris davis, you referred to slahi as a kind of forest gump. what do you mean? >> as was mentioned earlier, he
went to germany, was in and around hamburg. the hamburg cell of al qaeda was affiliated with 9/11. he was in montréal, which was in and around the millennium bombing plot. he turned up in places where there were significant events related to terrorism that were taking place, kind of like forest gump. anytime there was historical event, somewhere in the picture, you would see him in the background. slahi was kind of the same way. he showed up at the right time in the right places, but when we were looking at him potentially being a cooperating witness myself and some other members of the prosecution team went out to the national counterterrorism center with a group of other people and we had a briefing from the agency who spent years investigating slahi's case. we went through the whole litany of where he is shown up. their conclusion was, there was
a lot of smoke and no fire. odd circumstances were he showed up in places, but absolutely no evidence he had ever engaged in any acts of hostility toward the united states. the conclusion was, there were simply nothing that we could charge him with. as you said, for more than a dozen years, his been sitting up guantanamo. one of the real our knees is, there have been six men convicted of work times -- war crimes. five of those six are back home in their home countries. it is a sad commentary on america where your better being convicted war criminal that someone who is never been charged at all. >> colonel morris davis, could you explain how it is he was initially --slahi was initially considered high valued target, but then when it came to the point where an attempt was made to charge him or prosecute him, as you point out, there wasn't sufficient evidence.
could you talk specifically about the role of colonel stuart couch and his role in this? >> i became the chief prosecutor in september 2005. i was the third chief prosecutor. there clearly up to the 6th two prosecutor. when i came on board, the jenna colonel couch had been a member of the prosecution team for a year or two before i got there. one of the cases he a been assigned was the slahi case. after reviewing the evidence, he was convinced there was insufficient evidence to bring charges and also convinced slahi a been tortured. for both reasons he concluded it was a case that could not be prosecuted and when i came on board, he briefed me on the case and i came to the same conclusion. that was reinforced later as i said when we got the briefing at the national counterterrorism center and all of the agencies involved agreed that just wasn't the case to be had against slahi . but again, he showed up at
places like montréal and hamburg were there significant events and i think that is what led to the suspicion he had to be a high-value detainee, that he was in and around these places for significant events that took place and if only we could torture him and he would spill the beans and we would find bin laden and anything would work out fine. it simply wasn't the case. >> justice down in. eight years ago you quit as the chief military prosecutor at guantánamo, having decided not to bring charges against him and he is still there. actually there for more than 12 years, which brings us to larry siems, the editor of this astonishing book called "guantánamo diary." sometimes we get on the air and say a book has just cannot to rave reviews, and we interview the author. we can't because he is at guantánamo. we can talk to you him who worked on the text. the cover of "guantánamo diary,"
you see his handwriting. it is in english. where did mohamedou learn english? >> it is his fourth language. he spoke arabic and french. he studied in germany and so he was fluent in german. he learned english in u.s. captivity. this is a link which he learned from the united states, from his captors. >> larry, on the back of the book, they describe the work as "a vision of hell beyond orwell." could you explain how you first came across his writing and what made you decide to work on this text? >> i actually came to mohamedou 's story through another set of documents entirely, the u.s. government's own documents. from 2009-2012, i worked with the aclu on this project called the torture report. the aclu asked committed 100,000 pages of formerly classified government documents about the
abuse of detainees in guantánamo and afghanistan, iraq, and the cia black sites. it was just raw data. my job was to try to go through that and find stories weaved -- weaved together stories of individual characters to find human beings that were in these documents. one of the people that emerged most clearly was mohamedou ould slahi. as we said, mohamedou was one of the most abused prisoners in guantánamo. he was one of two prisoners designated for the special project interrogation by defense intelligence agents. that interrogation, the plan of which was signed by donald rumsfeld himself, that plan was written, revised meticulously -- involved everything nancy described, extreme isolation sleep deprivation, cold rooms loud music and a strobe lights, death threats, threats -- ultimately, a threat to his
mother. his chief interrogator came to him posing as a navy captain who was an emissary from the white house, handing him a letter that said mohamedou, we have your mother, we're bringing her to guantánamo. she will be the first woman in guantánamo and you can imagine what will happen to her in guantánamo. all of those things were calculated and written out ahead of time and government documents. meticulously detailed as torture perversely prone to do, and all of the daily reports from those interrogations. we had all of those documents by 2008 2 thousand nine. mostly because of two large government investigations. one by the justice department was prompted by fbi agents inside guantánamo, complaining about the treatment the pentagon interrogators were starting to meet out in guantánamo patterned on the cia's black site enhancement interrogations. from a senate armed services committee report -- both reports have many pages about guantánamo, about mohamedou's
story. i knew the broad outlines. i also had from those documents hints of his voice. you realize how absolute the censorship is around guantánamo. one of those things are part of the reason is to keep us from hearing those voices. in those documents, there were two in particular transcripts from his hearings before review boards in guantánamo. one of them was from 2005. he is quite a humorous guy. he makes a couple of good jokes. then he tells the presiding officer, oh, by the way, i have written a book. they sent the book to washington. it is classified, but it will be cleared for release. when it is cleared, you should read it. i think it is interesting. as nancy said, it is held for seven years. after the process of the litigation and negotiation nancy's team carried out in 2012 after this report, i got a call
saying, we have this manuscript and would you like to see it? i said, yes, please. >> take it from there. how much was redacted? with the able to see the final edited version? >> there over 6000 black are reductions vary from one word to many pages. i was not able to communicate with him. i sent him a letter to one point introducing myself and saying i've been asked to work on this and i hope we could correspond in a never heard anything. i have no idea if you received that letter. when i finished my draft of an edit of the manuscript, i officially petitioned the pentagon to be allowed to visit him just once. using whatever security protocols they wanted, just like it's it with him and make sure that he -- just so i could sit with him and make sure he approved of the final manuscript. he had a basic right of any
right or to have the final say about how his words appear in print. for years i have worked for the free expression director of an american center and above all i am free expression advocate. i thought he of the right to do that. the pentagon refused to allow me to visit him, citing, as they have done for every analyst and writer who is try to visit a detainee citing quite ironically, the geneva conventions prohibition on making detainees into public curiosities. that was their basis for denying me the right to visit him. >> mohamedou's mother died in 2013. nancy, can you talk about mohamedou's reaction and what he tried to do to see his mother? >> it was really tragic because we found out from his lawyer in mauritania that his mother had died. his family was really afraid to tell him that she had died.
they were afraid of how -- he was very close to his mother. of course, that is what the government knew and that is why they came up with this fake letter in the beginning. they were afraid to tell him. we actually had the responsibility of telling him. we arranged for a phone call. to arrange for a phone call from counsel, you have to have an emergency and then it takes about 15 days to get the call. we were able to make a call to him. it was a call with someone from the government on the line, so it was not a privileged call. attorney/client privilege. but we actually told him about his mother. he was very upset. he was upset both, of course, that she had died, and that his family had not told him. they were so conflicted, they were so afraid that it would take him over the edge to know she had died. as you can see, he dedicated
this book to her which i assume he would want to do. it is really important to see that even though he wrote the book in 2005, if you read the little afterward, he wrote that in 2014 and gave it to another member of our team, linda, when she went to visit him. he is still a forgiving person. he still wants to sit down and have a cup of tea with the people who are mentioned in this book. it is so incredible that he is so compassionate come even to this day. i think that humanity in him is what keeps him going. >> his relationship with his torturers, larry. "the new york times" review of books -- in the review of his book said, he comes across as fair to all, even to his torturers. yet, you're described him as one
of the most abused prisoners in guantánamo. >> that is one of the most extraordinary things about this book. if you hear you're going to read a diary about one of the most abused prisoners in guantánamo you're braced for a lot of darkness. no question about it. mohamedou the story thatmohamedou tells is very very dark. but his personality is the opposite. he is an optimistic person. he is a curious person. he is constantly pulled out of himself by his surroundings, by the people he interacts with. he likes people. he has a fundamental ethic of treating everyone as an individual, no matter who they are or what team they are supposedly playing for. he says he understands human beings are made up of a combination of good and evil, everybody is, it is just a question of what percentage. and his interactions -- the amazing thing about this book is how it gives us the human drama of guantánamo. it is a very very human drama.
for me, i think the revelation of the book is that this is our drama as well. the characters in this book are american servicemen and servicewomen and intelligence officers is voices we have never heard before, who were put in these positions. in his portraits of our brothers and sisters and sons and daughters, you know, a remarkable. you realize how much we have put on them and how much they must the suffering for what we have asked them to do. >> let's go back to mohamedou ould slahi in his own words. this is colin firth reading an excerpt from "autonomous diarrhea." -- "guantánamo diary." >> i leave this judgment to the reader. as i'm writing this, united states this people are still facing the dilemma of the cuban detainees. in the beginning, the u.s. government was happy that it secret operations.
since it thought it had managed to get all the evils of the world in gitmo and circumvented u.s. law and international treaties so that it can perform its revenge. but then it realized after a lot of painful work, it had gathered a bunch of nonconfidence. now the us government stuck with the problem, but it is not willing to be forthcoming and disclose the truth about the whole operation. everybody makes mistakes. i believe the u.s. government knows -- owes it to the american people to tell the truth about what is happening in guantánamo. so far i've cost $1 million at least to the taxpayers. detainees are costing more or less the same. american state and have the right to know what the hell is going on. many of my brothers are losing their mines. so i write these words, many brothers are hunger striking determined to carry on the matter what. i am very worried about these
brothers i'm helplessly watching who are sure to suffer irreparable damage, even if they decide to. it is not the first time we've had a hunger strike. i personally participated in a hunger strike in september 2002 but the government didn't seem to be impressed. the brothers keep striking for the same old and new reasons and there seems to be no solution in the air. the government expects them to pull magic solutions out of their sleeves, but the forces understand the situation more than any other bureaucratic washington, d c and then of the only solution is for the government to be forthcoming and release people. what do the american people think? i'm a virgin no. i would like to believe the majority of americans want to see justice done and are not interested in financing the detention of innocent people. i know there's a small minority that believes everyone in this cuban prison is evil and we are treated better than we deserve
but this opinion has no basis but ignorance. i'm amazed that someone can build such an incriminating opinion of the people that he or she doesn't even know. >>: for reading an excerpt from "guantánamo diary." i want to end with nancy hollander. in 2010, the washington post wrote -- can you explain that? >> well, i'm not at liberty to talk about mohamedou's living conditions. i can tell you that when he was tortured and when they finally brought him this fake letter from his mother, he said, i will tell you anything you want. then he told them anything they
wanted to hear. it was really information they fed him. you did this, did new? we just need you to tell us you did it. so said, i did it. it was all lies because he hadn't done any of it. he lives in guantánamo in a prison, in a prison cell every single day of his life. since 2010, since the day that judge robertson ordered him to be released, he should have been released. the government of the united states should stop fighting against that release and really some now. >> quickly, what seems to be at issue? is it the case that the u.s. government still says that he has maintained his links to al qaeda, whereas he says he is severed them? how is it he is still detained years after a judge has said -- a u.s. judge said he should be released or there's nothing to charge him with? >> you are correct that the
government maintains that when swore allegiance to fight in afghanistan in 1990 which i might add, the u.s. supported that fight financially and militarily, that that was it. that he still maintains the government -- the government still maintains he is part of al qaeda. the court of appeals has made the test so broad and so lose that it is honest impossible to fight against -- almost impossible to fight against that. the government keeps forcing the standard to be looser and looser. it is really the government -- the obama administration and the military that need to step up and stop fighting these habeas cases, where the district judge found in 2010 after mohamedou up
and held for many years, the government had gathered all the evidence it was ever going together, that it did not have the evidence to even object to this habeas which is a very low standard. the government needs to step up and release him. >> larry siems? >> for me, to what extent has he been held all this time, simply so he is not able to tell the story of what happened to him? guantanamo is a story about secrecy and a created in secrecy, it was created in order to allow abuse to happen. then it was perpetuated in order to cover up those abuses that happened. i think it is being prolonged to prevent accountability for those abuses. all that time, we're perpetuating and prolonging grievous mistakes and it needs to stop. >> we're going to leave it there. larry siems is the editor of "guantanamo diary." we hope soon to be speaking with
the author, mohamedou ould slahi . larry siems is a former director of the freedom to write and international programs at panama can center and, nancy hollander they give for joining us mohamedou ould slahi's lead and thank you to colonel morris davis, former chief prosecutor at guantánamo bay resigning surely after he met with mohamedou ould slahi. we will be back in a minute with what some are calling the guantanamo bay in the pacific. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
2009. this is democracy now! democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with nermeen shaikh. >> a massive hunger-strike is underway at what some are calling "the guantanamo bay of the pacific." the manus island detention center is paid for by the australian government and run by an australian contractor transfield services, but located off-shore on papua new guinea's soil. the inmates are not accused of any crimes -- they are asylum-seekers from war-ravaged countries who are waiting indefinitely for their refugee status determinations. eighty detainees recently signed a letter to the australian government saying, in part -- "here a disaster is about to happen, please prevent this disaster." they are asking the united nations to intervene against the australian federal government's plan to resettle them in papua , new guinea where they says they could face persecution. some have barricaded themselves behind the detention center's high wire fences, others have resorted to increasingly drastic measures such as drinking washing detergent, swallowing razor blades, and even sewing their mouths shut to protest
their confinement. >> for more we're joined by alex kelly, social justice bill maker and wednesday she organized a demonstration in new york city. and jennifer robinson is an australian human rights lawyer and director of legal advocacy for the bertha foundation. she is also co-founder of international lawyers for west papua. alex kelly and jennifer robinson, welcome to democracy now! jennifer, explain why you are outside the australian consulate last night and what is going on for what many in the united states may never have heard of at manus island. >> as an australian, i feel a moral obligation to stand up and say, not in my name. you australian government is definitely detaining asylum-seekers wouldn't -- with conditions in inhumane conditions. both sides of the divide have continued this practice. it is time to say, enough is
enough. >> what is the status of manus island? why do they keep potential asylum-seekers there? >> a strong intercepts people seeking asylum. australia is concerned about the number of asylum-seekers coming and therefore, intercepting them sending them for processing and resettlement so they will never get to australia. this is in breach of our international obligations. >> alex, explain who these asylum-seekers are how many are packed into this prison, and what is the response in austria. >> 100,000 people curley being detained. we have people there from syria sri lanka, pakistan, afghanistan, somalia and these people -- some have been there for up to 18 months with into evidence detention. -- with indefinite detention. no one has been processed and resettled. this latest protest is in
response to the idea they will be resettled and papua, new guinea. among the detainees, we know there are those that are homosexual that if leather home countries because of persecution and now they're very frightened of being resettled in police new guinea -- police, new guinea were being homosexual is a crime. there's been ongoing violence, self harm, -- >> how long are people held? >> it is indefinite. in some detention centers in australia, people been in their front to four years. quirks and evidence of a hunger strike? >> it is still continuing. the australian government is saying it is over, but i have seen messages saying it is continuing within the compound. >> alex, you much of the conflict between the locals and the detainees. could you explain what happened? today to have died at manus
island? what happened? >> there is the ongoing tension since the detention center was established. a lot of the community is living in poverty. it appears there's been a lot of excitement over tension from people operating the center is spreading rumors, we found out about the tensions. last february, there's a tragic incident where there were guards attacked detainees and one detainee died. we still have not asked the scene any prosecutions in response to the death of the man. two people have been arrested but there are allegations austrians are involved. >> jennifer robinson, what is the law? you have been to png. >> i have been there and spent time in fiji settlement camps. i can speak from first-hand experience that png is not suitable of accepting
asylum-seekers for refugees. 90% of these people have been determined to be refugees in the past. the conditions are terrible. australia -- it is unlawful for austria to continue to send asylum-seekers to conditions the u.n. has determined to amount to inhumane treatment. the problem is enforcement. the high court of australia has continually found it is permitted under the terms of australian law. when we had the malaysian solution, he was challenged before the high court and found to be inappropriate because we had a provision in our law you could not send a asylum-seekers to a country that did not meet certain human rights standards. in response, the asylum government remove that from our law. this is a clear breach of our international obligations. what we can do within australia's court is limited. >> jennifer, what are the implications the fact is detention facility is run by an australian company? >> austria's libel as is the