Sinn Fein ne voulait pas que la grève de la faim s’arrête. C’est terrible. On est bien obligés de se demander pourquoi toutes ces personnes sont mortes après Bobby Sands. (…) Je ne pense pas que cela aura un effet sur la jeune génération parce que les grèves de la faim sont portées aux nues comme élément fondateur du mythe de Sinn Fein et des choses merveilleuses qu’ils ont faites. Brid Rogers (ancienne ministre de l’Agriculture irlandaise, 22.10.09)
Devenu un goulag moderne, Guantánamo confirme l’idée qu’une personne peut être détenue sans bénéficier d’aucune voie de recours. Rapport Amnesty international (mai 2005)
Ce n’est pas tous les jours qu’une belle âme est à la tête de la première puissance militaire mondiale. François Miclo
Il sera difficile de fermer le centre de détention le 22 janvier 2010. Robert Gates (ministre de la Défense, le 27 septembre)
Le gouvernement ne fait pas une fixation en ce qui concerne la date de l’échéance. Robert Gibbs (porte-parole de la Maison-Blanche, le 28 septembre)
Il va être difficile de respecter la date butoir. Eric Holder (ministre de la Justice, le 6 octobre)
Guantanamo présente aujourd’hui les standards les plus élevés en matière de sécurité et d’humanité des conditions de détention des terroristes. A moins que le gouvernement n’ait l’intention de dépenser des millions de dollars pour améliorer les conditions de détention dans les établissements de sécurité maximale, transférer les détenus de Guantanamo aux Etats-Unis signifiera automatiquement des conditions moins humaines pour les détenus et une sécurité amoindrie pour les Américains. Kirk S. Lippold (ancien commandant du destroyer USS Cole, militant d’un groupe de défense des droits des familles de militaires)
A l’heure où, contre la légende dorée de nos belles âmes, se confirme pour la énième fois que l’IRA avait bien, pour susciter l’indignation du monde contre l’épouvantail du moment Mme Thatcher il y a près de 30 ans, délibérément sacrifié ses grévistes de la faim de la prison de Maze …
Et au moment où, devant la mauvaise volonté tant du Congrès et du peuple américain que de ses alliés européens, une Administration Obama de plus en plus embarrassée commence à discrètement préparer son public pour une énième promesse non tenue, à savoir (sans parler de Bagram et des éliminations ciblées: plus en 9 mois que Bush en 3 ans!) celle de la fermeture de Guantanamo avant janvier 2010 …
Voici qu’on apprend que, contrairement à ce que nous rabâchent les mêmes belles âmes depuis huit ans, le président Bush avait non seulement parlé de fermer Guantanamo 18 fois mais libéré plus de ses prisonniers pendant les derniers mois de son mandat que son successeur en une année …
Et que, si d’aventure ils y étaient transférés, la prétendue barbarie du goulag tropical de Guantanamo ne serait rien, … face aux terriblement plus draconiennes conditions des prisons fédérales à sécurité maximale qui les attendent (isolement strict jusqu’à 23h par jour)!
traduit par Courrier international
Dans le centre de détention de Guantanamo, celui qui se présente comme le cerveau des attentats du 11 septembre 2001, Khaled Cheikh Mohammed, peut rester assis jusqu’à quatre heures par jour au soleil des Caraïbes et bavarder à travers un grillage avec le détenu occupant la cour de promenade voisine. Il peut également profiter de ces quatre heures pour regarder un film, lire des journaux et des livres ou encore jouer à des jeux électroniques. Comme les autres détenus, il a également à sa disposition des tapis de course et des vélos d’appartement.
Selon un rapport du Pentagone sur les conditions de vie au Camp 7, qui abrite 16 détenus de haute valeur, ces activités rompent le rythme d’une existence par ailleurs monotone. Pourtant, ces prisonniers pourraient bientôt ne plus bénéficier de ces avantages. Le ministère de la Justice a en effet laissé entendre que plusieurs des accusés dans le dossier des attentats du 11 septembre, ainsi qu’un certain nombre d’autres suspects, pourraient être transférés dans des établissements pénitentiaires fédéraux aux Etats-Unis. Pendant que législateurs et associations se querellent sur l’opportunité d’un tel transfèrement, personne n’accorde d’attention aux conditions d’incarcération auxquelles Mohammed et les autres détenus seront confrontés une fois aux Etats-Unis. Or ces conditions seront beaucoup plus draconiennes que celles de Guantanamo.
D’après ce que l’on sait des restrictions imposées dans les prisons fédérales à sécurité maximale, Mohammed et les autres suspects y seraient soumis à un strict régime d’isolement. S’ils se retrouvaient, par exemple, à la prison fédérale de Florence, dans le Colorado, ils seraient enfermés vingt-trois heures par jour dans des cellules dotées pour tout mobilier d’un lit en béton. En cas de bonne conduite, on ne les autoriserait à se dégourdir les jambes qu’une heure par jour dans une cour minuscule. Ils n’auraient pas ou peu de contacts humains en dehors du personnel pénitentiaire. Et le Comité international de la Croix-Rouge, seul organisme disposant d’un droit d’accès au Camp 7, ne pourrait plus les rencontrer. La prison de Florence, dotée de 490 places, abrite quelques-uns des criminels les plus endurcis du pays, parmi lesquels le Français Zacarias Moussaoui, Ramzi Yousef, condamné après le premier attentat contre le World Trade Center en 1993, ou encore Theodore J. Kaczynski, dit “Unabomber”.
Partisans comme adversaires de la fermeture de Guantanamo soulignent que les conditions sévères qui attendent les détenus à Florence ou dans d’autres prisons fédérales ne représentent qu’un aspect mineur de tous les problèmes soulevés par la décision du président de fermer Guantanamo. Le centre de détention situé sur l’île de Cuba “présente aujourd’hui les standards les plus élevés en matière de sécurité et d’humanité des conditions de détention des terroristes”, souligne Kirk S. Lippold, ancien commandant du destroyer USS Cole, qui milite aujourd’hui dans les Military Families United, un groupe de défense des droits des familles de militaires. “A moins que le gouvernement n’ait l’intention de dépenser des millions de dollars pour améliorer les conditions de détention dans les établissements de sécurité maximale, transférer les détenus de Guantanamo aux Etats-Unis signifiera automatiquement des conditions moins humaines pour les détenus et une sécurité amoindrie pour les Américains.”
L’American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), principale association américaine de défense des libertés civiles, déclare que son objectif prioritaire est d’obtenir que les détenus de Guantanamo soient jugés devant un tribunal fédéral. “Les protections sont bien plus grandes dans le système fédéral”, souligne Anthony D. Romero, directeur de l’ACLU. “L’absence de tout fondement juridique à Guantanamo en fait un trou plus noir encore que la prison de Florence.”
Obama’s Gitmo blame game
October 6, 2009
Greg Craig, the top in-house lawyer for President Barack Obama, is getting the blame for botching the strategy to shut down Guantanamo Bay prison by January — so much so that he’s expected to leave the White House in short order.
But sources familiar with the process believe Craig is being set-up as the fall guy and say the blame for missing the deadline extends well beyond him.
Instead, it was a widespread breakdown on the political, legislative, policy and planning fronts that contributed to what is shaping up as one of Obama’s most high-profile setbacks, these people say.
The White House misread the congressional mood – as it found out abruptly in May, when the Senate voted 90-6 against funds for closing the base after Republicans stoked fears about bringing prisoners to the U.S. The House also went on record last week opposing bringing Gitmo detainees here.
The White House misread the public mood – as roughly half of Americans surveyed say they disagree with Obama’s approach. A strong element of NIMBY-ism permeates those results, as Americans say they don’t want the prisoners in their backyards.
But most of all Obama’s aides mistook that political consensus from the campaign trail for a deep commitment in Washington to do whatever it takes to close the prison.
“The administration came in reading there to be wide support for closing Guantanamo at home and abroad, and I think it misread that attitude,” said Matthew Waxman, a Columbia law professor who held Defense and State Department positions on detainee policy. “In general, they were right….but there was very little willingness to accept the costs and risks of getting it done.”
The White House declined to make Craig available for an interview, or discuss the Gitmo deliberations in detail, but several allies and even some critics scoffed at suggestions that Craig bears the main responsibility for the missteps.
“This clearly was a decision that had the full support of the entire national security team,” said Ken Gude, who tracks Guantanamo issues for the liberal Center for American Progress think tank. “It’s typical Washington that someone has their head on the chopping block, but it’s ridiculous that it’s Craig.”
“The implication that this was the brainchild of the White House counsel is not really credible,” said Elisa Massimino of Human Rights First.
When Obama signed a series of executive orders on Guantanamo during his second full day in office, what grabbed attention was not his promise to close the prison but his pledge to do it within one year.
During the presidential campaign, Obama talked almost daily about closing Guantanamo, but he rarely offered a timeline. His Republican rival, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), spoke in a far greater specificity, proposing to move the Gitmo prisoners to Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas.
However, back in July 2007, Obama co-sponsored an amendment offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) that called for Guantanamo to close within a year. Obama’s primary rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) was also a co-sponsor.
Some Bush administration officials contend that the one-year timeline was driven by a naïveté on the part of Obama’s aides.
“To a certain extent, they had drunk a lot of the far-left Kool-aid: that everybody, or most people, at Guantanamo were innocent and shouldn’t be there, and the Bush administration was not working very hard to resolve these issues, and that the issues were fairly easy to resolve once adults who were really committed to doing something about it in charge,” said one Bush official who met with Obama’s aides during the transition on Gitmo. “It became clear to me they had not really done their homework on the details.”
But even back on Jan. 22, 2009, the same day Obama signed the orders, Craig acknowledged some of the difficulties involved – including that some of the detainees can never be tried, a problem Craig called “difficult” and “most controversial.”
Now Obama’s decision to set a one-year deadline is being widely second-guessed. Craig supported the idea – and Craig’s allies say that a deadline was needed to persuade foreign governments that Obama was serious. They note that President George W. Bush talked on at least eight occasions about his desire to close Guantanamo – and left office with 250 prisoners there.
“Simply reasserting the intention to close Guantanamo would not have been sufficient in the international community,” Gude said. “They had to have a firm date and they had to have a timeline.”
Gude had advocated an 18-month timeline to “build in a cushion” but he said the only real mistakes the White House made involved failing to anticipate the resistance in Congress – particularly surrounding the Senate’s sharp rejection of Obama’s $80 million request to close Gitmo.
“They made that request without much supporting information and opened the door for Republicans in Congress to make it a Congressional issue and they did it very successfully,” Gude said. “The White House didn’t have a plan to support Democrats who were willing to back up their proposal and it all fell apart.”
Craig’s backers contend that, if that was the White House’s key misjudgment, other top officials share responsibility for the breakdown.
“It seems very unlikely to me that Greg Craig, by himself, engineered a DOD appropriations request,” one lawyer close to Craig said.
In retrospect, there were early signs of possible trouble ahead. Within hours of Obama signing the orders, McCain warned of a backlash and said the time frame the president set out would be “very difficult” to achieve.
A McCain adviser said the Obama team should have known. “I don’t think they realized how much heat McCain took from conservatives” during the GOP primary, said the aide, who asked not to be named. “Had they been aware of that I don’t think they would have handled it this way…..It shouldn’t have surprised anybody.”
Today, the National Security Council and Obama senior adviser Pete Rouse are effectively in charge of closing Gitmo, though Press Secretary Robert Gibbs denied Craig had been stripped of his responsibilities on the prison. “There are number of people that are working on it, Greg being one of them,” Gibbs said.
A review of Guantanamo prisoners is also nearly complete, with about 80 detainees up for release and State Department envoy Dan Fried lining up places to receive them.
“Our friends and allies have accepted or agreed to accept more than 30 of the remaining detainees at Guantanamo who cannot be sent home due to humane treatment concerns, and are seriously considering taking others,” said a White House official who asked not to be named.
But it’s been slow. Obama’s administration has transferred 17 Guantanamo prisoners to other countries so far – compared to 19 by the Bush administration in the first nine months of 2008.
Obama aides have blamed the delays on disarray in government files about the detainees, but several former officials said that is not directly linked to the thorniest questions such as where to locate detainees in the U.S. “Those issues that have been kicked down the road are by far the hardest,” Waxman said.
Voir par ailleurs:
THE HUNGER STRIKE: Special Investigation
By Staff Reporters
THE LIVES of six of the 10 1981 hunger strikers could have been saved in a deal which was acceptable to the prisoners, according to former taoiseach Garret FitzGerald, left.
In an interview in today’s Irish News, the architect of the Anglo-Irish Agreement also reveals for the first time that the Irish government had a mole within the Maze prison.
The then Fine Gael leader says he believes a deal proposed by the British after the death of the fourth hunger striker in 1981 was vetoed by the Sinn Fein leadership – a claim rejected by Martin McGuinness.
“[The prisoners] were keen to accept [the deal] – we had our sources within the prison,” Dr FitzGerald says.
However, he did not elaborate on the status of the mole and whether he/she was a prisoner or a member of staff.
In today’s special investigation, Mr McGuinness also reveals for the first time that he was the conduit for the offer from the British government which he says was passed to him from the intermediary Brendan Duddy.
Mr McGuinness, who has never previously confirmed if he played a role during the hunger Strike, reveals that the message was then passed to Gerry Adams in a phone call and on to Danny Morrison who took it to the prisoners.
However, Mr McGuinness disputes claims that there was a deal on the table that was acceptable to the prisoners and accuses Sinn Fein’s political opponents of attempting to portray Margaret Thatcher as being someone who was anxious to solve the dispute when she was “a ruthless, hypocritical enemy”.
A bitter divide has developed within republicanism since the publication of the book Blanketmen by former IRA prisoner Richard O’Rawe, in which he suggested that the Sinn Fein leadership blocked the deal for political reasons.
The strike resulted in not only the death of 10 IRA and INLA prisoners, but led to serious street violence which caused dozens of deaths.
Sourced from The Irish News
Deal with British government vetoed by IRA says FitzGerald
THE HUNGER STRIKE
Dr Garrett FitzGerald is convinced that, if the IRA had allowed them, the 1981 hunger strikers would have accepted either of two deals on offer to them in the days and hours before Joe McDonnell became the fifth man to die.
The former taoiseach bases this belief on, among other things, intelligence supplied to him by a heretofore-undisclosed Irish government source in the Maze prison in 1981.
Now 83 years old, Dr FitzGerald admits the 1981 Hunger Strike changed his view of relations with Northern Ireland in a way that ultimately led to the Anglo-Irish Agreement of 1985.
Elected to the Dail in 1969, the future taoiseach was already the intellectual driver of Fine Gael when he first took his seat.
His two major areas of expertise were the Irish economy and foreign affairs through which he had a special interest in the north.
He served two periods as taoiseach, leading coalition governments from July 1981 to February 1982 and later from December 1982 until March 1987.
On his first day as taoiseach he was thrown into the maelstrom of northern politics and one of the defining periods in Irish republicanism.
After receiving his seal of office from President Patrick Hillary on June 30 1981 Dr Fitzgerald and his Labour tanaiste Michael O’Leary were faced with the prospect of further hunger strike deaths.
At the time the Catholic Church’s Irish Justice and Peace Commission was working towards a possible solution to the standoff between republican prisoners in the Maze and the British government.
“Despite an IRA statement [describing a British response to an Irish government statement as arrogant] the prisoners wanted the commission to continue its involvement,” Dr FitzGerald said.
While there was contact between the British government and the republican movement, Dr FitzGerald is adamant that his government never spoke to the IRA.
“The only contact ever with the IRA was at the Europa hotel when one of the IRA stopped one of our officials and talked to him, looking for us to let them run free – they were having some negotiations about a ceasefire – to let them do what they want and not arrest them to which we paid no attention,” he said.
Dr FitzGerald believed it was a mistake by the British government to maintain contacts with the IRA.
He believed that any contact with government encouraged the IRA to believe that its campaign of violence would eventually lead to negotiations.
“Unless they were willing to have a settlement they should not have been involved,” he said.
On taking up the position of taoiseach Dr FitzGerald was briefed about the situation in the north.
He believed the efforts by the Irish Justice and Peace Commission (IJPC) would lead to a solution before the next death – that of McDonnell.
At Dr FitzGerald’s request the IJPC was granted a meeting with NIO minister of state Michael Allison who gave the impression that he wished to be conciliatory.
Mr Allison cleared the way for the IJPC to visit the prisoners who afterwards issued a more conciliatory statement than the messages coming from Sinn Fein outside the prison.
The prisoners said they were not seeking special privileges over other inmates.
Dr FitzGerald said at this stage on July 3 he believed events were moving towards a solution to the Hunger Strike without any more loss of life.
Around this time Dr FitzGerald said Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams was contacted by Britain’s MI6 and a deal parallel to the IJPC was worked out.
“He was delighted the British were running to him and he did get an additional offer to the IJPC offer. It is my recollection that he got an offer on [access for prisoners to] the Open University which wasn’t in the IJPC offer,” he said.
Mr Adams contacted the IJPC to notify it of his talks and urge that it contact the NIO to cancel a planned meeting, clearing the way for him to continue negotiations. The commission refused to do this, believing they could achieve a protest-ending deal, Dr FitzGerald said.
“I felt that the deal which had been worked out [by the IJPC] we were talking about finishing – and which the prisoners accepted – that should go ahead and I kept on to the British about that,” he said.
“But [the British] had interfered with that and I didn’t trust the IRA about it.
“The fact was once the prisoners had a separate position from the IRA and were not pressing for the fulfilment of all five demands there was clearly a chance of moving.
“If the British had not intervened and brought the IRA back in again a deal could have been done.”
Even after the IJPC pulled out, the former taoiseach believed the prisoners were ready to accept the new deal if they had been allowed to do so by Sinn Fein.
“They were keen to accept that. We knew that. We had our sources within the prison,” he said.
“As well as from the commission, we knew something was happening in the prison from other sources.”
Dr FitzGeral added: “[Richard] O’Rawe’s account seems to me to be, within his framework of knowledge, honest and accurate.”
Dr FitzGerald said he would co-operate with any official inquiry although he felt it was pointless as he believed the leadership of the IRA would not provide an accurate account of what happened.
Following the death of McDonnell, Dr FitzGerald still believed a solution could be found because the prisoners had indicated a willingness to accept the ICJP deal.
For 10 days he pursued the ICJP deal with Britain but no agreement was reached. All negotiations over a possible solution ended and in total 10 men died before the Hunger Strike was ended.