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This is a weak simulation of what our government does to people on a daily basis who have not only been held without charges but have been cleared for release as well.

Rapper and MC Yasiin Bey, aka Mos Def, has partnered with the Human Rights organization Reprieve to demonstrate the standard operating procedure currently being used to force-feed more than 40 inmates at Guantánamo Bay.

"Like something's going into my brain..."

But wait, there's even more bad news...

Today, a Federal judge, Gladys Kessler, declaring that she had no jurisdiction in the matter, refused therefore to rule on a plea by one of the Guantanamo captives, Jihad Dhiab, to stop the US Government from continuing to force-feed him.

Nonetheless, in a stinging criticism she felt compelled to write:

Petitioner has been detained at Guantanamo Bay for 11 years, despite having been cleared for release in 2009. At no time during these 11 years has he had any hearing on the merits of his habeas petition, nor any military commission proceeding to determine the merits of his case...

The Court also feels constrained, however, to note that Petitioner has set out in great detail in his papers what appears to be a consensus that forcefeeding of prisoners violates Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which prohibits torture or cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment...

Petitioner cites in detail statements of the American Medical Association, the World Medical Association, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism condemning the force-feeding of detainees. The American Medical Association in a letter to the Secretary of Defense on April 25, 2013, has declared that the force-feeding of detainees violates "core ethical values of the medical profession..."

And then with as much mercy as he has shown Guantanamo prisoners, she zeroed in on the person who has the responsibility for all this, shoving his own words back in his face.
Even though this Court is obligated to dismiss the Application for lack of jurisdiction, and therefore lacks any authority to rule on Petitioner's request, there is an individual who does have the authority to address the issue. In a speech on May 23,2013, President Barack Obama stated "Look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are holding a hunger strike. . . Is that who we are? Is that something that our founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave to our children? Our sense of justice is stronger than that."

Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that "the President shall be the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States ... " It would seem to follow, therefore, that the President of the United States, as Commander-in-Chief, has the authority -- and power -- to directly address the issue of force-feeding of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

It's time the White House was surrounded and shouts of "Shame!" rained down upon its elected resident.

-----

Today, prisoners in California's prison system who have been and currently are confined in solitary confinement began a hunger strike, vowing this time to continue on with it until death if their demands are not met (two previous hunger strikes met with false agreements to negotiate by California officials).

If things proceed as far as they have at Guantanamo, will California's Governor Jerry Brown imitate the President? Or will he have the sense and compassion not to have to make such a decision by agreeing to treat the prisoners like human beings?

Past performance, while not necessarily being a predictor of the future, does not suggest Brown will have such sense.  He has consistently defied Federal Court orders in regards to the suffering of California's prisoners; there is little reason to believe he will act otherwise in this matter.

Perhaps he needs to be tied down and shown this video, a bit like A Clockwork Orange. With his consent, of course.

Originally posted to jpmassar on Mon Jul 08, 2013 at 04:10 PM PDT.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, California politics, and Progressive Policy Zone.

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