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Red Cross arrives at Guantanamo hunger strike crisis

It's up to Americans to stop the torture and close Guantanamo Bay Prison
It's up to Americans to stop the torture and close Guantanamo Bay Prison
Witness Against Torture

With at least eleven United States captives with forced tubes snaked up their noses and into their stomachs and at least thirty-one detainees on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay due to human rights abuses, the International Red Cross has arrived there.

The United States is holding many prisoners in the infamous military torture center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba without charge.

They have given up hope due to Americans failing to to resolve their fate.

"America should take off its mask and just kill us," a prisoner told Carlos Warner, a public defender representing 11 Guantanamo detainees who spoke to CNN's Christiane Amanpour.

Warner said the situation at Guantanamo is "dire."

Vomiting blood

Today marks Day 4 of citizens fasting in solidarity with the prisoners at Guantanamo, an initiative started by Witness Against Torture (WAT).

“One of our clients already suffers from other medical conditions that were worsening and now he has started vomiting blood," WAT said Thursday. "We’re at a loss for words when we write to them."

Over 100 civilians are participating in the fast this week, according to WAT.

Vigils have been held in Erie, PA, Washington DC, Chicago, NYC, Los Angeles, Northhampton, Toledo, and many other places.

[Click here for photos from Guantanamo Hunger Strike Emergency Response Vigils and to send photos and reports to Witness Against Torture for the organization to share.]

"It really helps to be able to tell them that others, through WAT and other organizations, are bringing awareness to their suffering. So, thank you.”

The ICRC said Wednesday it changed plans to send its team to Guantanamo on April 1 and was going sooner.

"However, in an effort to better understand current tensions and the ongoing hunger strike, we have decided to start this visit one week earlier," ICRC spokesman Simon Schorno said.

There are 166 captives remaining in Guantanamo, including the five men currently on trial for the Sept. 11 attacks.

Over half the population at Guantanamo have been cleared by the Pentagon for transfer, yet they remain behind bars due to Congress-imposed restrictions or they cannot be returned to their countries of citizenship for fear they will be tortured or killed upon their return.

"It leaves them with the prospect of the only way we leave Guantanamo is death," Warner told CNN. "And unfortunately, I think the men are ready to embrace this."

Wednesday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said President Barack Obama’s team is closely monitoring the hunger strike and remain committed to closing Guantanamo Bay.

Last week, however, the White House announced beefing up the facility with 50 million more dollars going there for new additions to house "special" detainees indefinitely, detainees that could include Americans kidnapped from their communities, according to Obama's National Defense Authorization Act.

[See: Obama administration gives $50 million to keep Guantanamo open indefinitely]

Barack Obama demonstrated beyond doubt last week that his rule on torture and indefinite detention is worse than Bush's regime.

Obama approving the spending of millions more of taxpayers' money to build a new facility at Guantanamo to indefinitely detain "special" prisoners prompted Joe Scarborough to tell Americans watching him on national TV, "He promised it would be closed a year from when he was sworn in. It's because it represents everything that’s wrong with the country.

If it’s so immoral, then close it, Scarborough asserted.

“There are no excuses for it,” said Frank Jannuzi, deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA. “We do believe one way to realize the closure of Guantanamo is by first ... reducing the population there,” starting with those who have been cleared for release.

"We live in surreal times," human rights journalist Andy Worthington wrote Saturday. "President Obama, who promised 'hope and change,' has, instead, proven to be a worthy successor to George W. Bush as a warmonger and a defender of those in positions of power and authority who authorized the use of torture."

If, as social psychologists say, a nation's prison system reflects the health of that nation, this is the sickest nation in the world:

The U.S. has more prisons, prisoners, prisoners in torturous solitary confinement, kidnappings to place people into prisons, prisoner indefinite detentions and tortured prisoners than any other nation in the world. These numbers of human rights abuses have risen during the brutal Obama regime. (Obama worse than Bush proven by Guantanamo)

A fomer official from the Guantanamo prison said last week that it is up to the American people to close the facility.

[See: Official: Closing Gitmo is up to American people]

WAT is supporting Americans to affect that change Obama promised to be elected.

"This week of fasting and vigils in response to the Hunger Strike at Guantanamo has offered a number of examples of how these two work together, each enhancing the other," Amy Nee Walker with WAT wrote. "Consider orchestration and participation in a vigil, or demonstration, as an act of resistance.

"Standing outside, holding a sign, I often feel restless, frustrated, futile. Giving my mind to contemplation of the men unable to bring their message to a public space, reflecting on their poignant poetry and letters, on what I know of their lives, I find the energy and focus to sustain my action.

"Only contemplating their lives, however, without actively responding, has a withering effect leading to anger at the injustice and despair at the broken laws and lives."