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Americans have only seen Guantanamo detainees as one-dimensional
caricatures. But a new American Civil Liberties Union video shows the
full range of their lives before, during and after their captivity. The
video, "Justice Denied: Voices from Guantanamo,"
is part of an ACLU initiative against the practice of detention without
due process that violates fundamental principles of American justice.
Despite plans to close Guantanamo, the Obama administration has
continued this unconstitutional practice.
The five men featured in the video
were all held at Guantanamo for years without any meaningful
opportunity to challenge their detention. They were denied their due
process rights, which might have established the lack of evidence
against them much earlier and spared them years of torture, abuse and
imprisonment. The men were eventually released, and as they explain in
the video, are now attempting to put their lives back together.
"I experienced sadness in a state
that I have never had, cruelty in a depth that I'd never seen in my
life," Omar Deghayes tells the camera. He had graduated from law school
in England and was studying the legal system in Afghanistan when he was
captured and sent to Guantanamo for nearly six years. "You will not
leave a similar person anymore. You will leave as broken, physically
broken, psychologically broken."
Ruhal Ahmed and Shafiq Rasul grew up
together in England. They went to Pakistan for a friend's wedding and
took a short trip to neighboring Afghanistan where they were captured.
It would be two and a half years before they could go home.
"Guantanamo Bay was hell for us,"
Shafiq says. But Ruhal says their friendship helped them survive the
brutal experience: "Anything that happened to me I could relate to
somebody that was very close to me. Being friends from a young age -
who else would you want in that kind of situation?"
Back home in England, Shafiq and
Ruhal say the American leaders who allowed the injustices of Guantanamo
should be held accountable. But they do not hold a grudge against the
"The drinks we drink, Coca Cola -
it's American. We still drink it," Ruhal says. "We still go to the
movies. So we don't hate Americans as American people."
Omar says he feels the same way, but
he wants Americans to know exactly what happened at Guantanamo: "I want
the people themselves, the people in America, the good people - which I
met many of - to realize what ugly things were done to others in their
The new ACLU video, "Justice Denied: Voices From Guantanamo," can be viewed online at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=vm-tFt3Itoc
For more information on the ACLU's efforts to fight indefinite detention without charge or trial, see: www.aclu.org
The American Civil Liberties Union was founded in 1920 and is our nation's guardian of liberty. The ACLU works in the courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to all people in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.(212) 549-2666
"Sinema has always been and will always be all about Sinema," said the head of one political advoacy group. "She doesn't care who her policies hurt. She doesn't care that she stood in the way of voting rights and abortion rights, as long as she got the headlines she wanted."
Independent U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and right-wing Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia took heat Tuesday for high-fiving over their shared support of the filibuster while "rubbing elbows with Wall Street CEOs and celebrities in the lap of luxury" at the World Economic Forum's annual summit in Davos, Switzerland.
Sinema—who left the Democratic Party last month—and Manchin sat on a panel with Democrats including Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Rep. Mike Sherill (D-N.J.), and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a multibillionaire. Also on the panel were Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Rep. Mária Salazar (R-Fla.).
At one point during the panel discussion, Manchin asked Sinema, "We still don't agree on getting rid of the filibuster, correct?"
"That's correct," the former far-left antiwar activist replied. The two senators then proceeded to high-five.
\u201cAt the World Economic Forum in Davos, surrounded by the super rich, Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin agree that they won\u2019t end the filibuster. Then they high-five.\n\nBoth have used their position to hurt working people, and the planet, and make their rich friends richer.\u201d— More Perfect Union (@More Perfect Union) 1673981616
"Sinema has always been and will always be all about Sinema. She doesn't care who her policies hurt. She doesn't care that she stood in the way of voting rights and abortion rights, as long as she got the headlines she wanted," Sacha Haworth, spokesperson for the Replace Sinema campaign, said in a statement. "Now, she's on stage in Switzerland, in front of an audience of billionaires and Wall Street CEOs, bragging about her obstruction and giving high-fives. It's no wonder she's so unpopular among Arizonans of every political stripe."
The Replace Sinema campaign is a Change for Arizona 2024 PAC project focused on "defeating her in a potential three-way general election and replacing her with a real Democrat."
Defending her support for the archaic Senate rule historically used to uphold white supremacy and, more recently, to stymie key Biden administration agenda items, Sinema said that "we had free and fair elections all across the country, so one could posit that the push by one political party to eliminate an important guardrail and an institution in our country may have been premature or overreaching in order to get the short-term victories they wanted."
Replace Sinema noted that the senator is "schmoozing with CEOs, securing more dark money, [and] ignoring her constituents" while "rubbing elbows with major players who ran well-funded campaigns to defeat any tax increases for billionaire corporations and Wall Street." These include members of the Business Roundtable, "including JPMorgan Chase's CEO, the head of Blackrock, the CEO of Hewlett Packard, and an executive at Bain & Company."
"Where's Kyrsten Sinema today? Is she doing her job in Arizona or in Washington?" Replace Sinema asked in a statement. "Nope. She's in Switzerland, of course. At the famous Davos World Economic Forum, where billionaires and Wall Street execs can sidle up to global leaders and hang out with celebrities in the elitist, most rarefied of settings. As far away from her constituents as possible, and in the lap of luxury. Just as Sinema likes it."
"And of course," the group added, "Sinema will get to spend time with her Wall Street allies who have lobbied for many of the same special tax breaks and loopholes for corporations and billionaires that Sinema has championed."
"After health insurance companies raised prices 24% last year and made nearly $12 billion in profits last quarter, 38% of Americans now report they or a family member put off needed medical care because it was too expensive," said Sen. Bernie Sanders. "We must end this corporate greed."
Nearly 40% of people in the United States said they or a family member delayed medical care last year due to the prohibitively high cost of treatment under the nation's for-profit healthcare model, according to a Gallup survey published Tuesday.
As U.S. residents faced soaring prices for private insurance, the percentage of them forgoing medical services as a result of the costs climbed 12 points in one year, from 26% in 2021 to 38% in 2022. Of those who reported postponing treatment last year, 27% said they or a family member did so "for a very or somewhat serious condition," up nine points from the previous year.
"After health insurance companies raised prices 24% last year and made nearly $12 billion in profits last quarter, 38% of Americans now report they or a family member put off needed medical care because it was too expensive," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted in response to the new findings. "We must end this corporate greed. We need Medicare for All."
Gallup has been collecting self-reported data on this issue since 2001. The firm's latest annual healthcare poll, conducted from November 9 to December 2, found the highest level of cost-related delays in seeking medical care on record, topping the previous high of 33% (2019 and 2014) by five points and marking the sharpest annual increase to date. The proportion of people who said they or a family member postponed treatment for a serious condition in 2022 (27%) also surpassed the previous all-time high of 25% (2019).
\u201cThe number was up 12 points from 2021.\n\n27% said the delayed medical treatment "was for a very or somewhat serious condition."\n\nhttps://t.co/tlcR97pdbe\u201d— More Perfect Union (@More Perfect Union) 1673977118
Lower-income households, young adults, and women in the U.S. are especially likely to have postponed medical care due to high costs.
According to Gallup:
In 2022, Americans with an annual household income under $40,000 were nearly twice as likely as those with an income of $100,000 or more to say someone in their family delayed medical care for a serious condition (34% vs. 18%, respectively). Those with an income between $40,000 and less than $100,000 were similar to those in the lowest income group when it comes to postponing care, with 29% doing so.
Reports of putting off care for a serious condition are up 12 points among lower-income U.S. adults, up 11 points among those in the middle-income group, and up seven points among those with a higher income. The latest readings for the middle- and upper-income groups are the highest on record or tied with the highest.
Another recent survey found that just 12% of Americans think healthcare in the U.S. is handled "extremely" or "very" well. Such data provides further evidence of the unpopularity of a profit-maximizing system that has left 43 million people inadequately insured, kicked millions off of their employer-based plans when the coronavirus caused a spike in unemployment, and contributed to the country's startling decline in life expectancy.
Last week, prior to the publication of Gallup's poll, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) wrote on social media: "If you don’t believe corporate greed has deadly consequences, take a look at the decline in American life expectancy. We need Medicare for All, and we must raise the minimum wage."
\u201cIf you don\u2019t believe corporate greed has deadly consequences, take a look at the decline in American life expectancy. We need #MedicareForAll, and we must raise the minimum wage.\u201d— Ro Khanna (@Ro Khanna) 1673449140
While the current, profit-driven U.S. healthcare system—which forces millions to skip treatments to avoid financial ruin and allows the pharmaceutical and insurance industries to rake in massive profits—is deeply inefficient and unpopular, polling has consistently shown that voters want the federal government to play a more active role in healthcare provision, with a majority expressing support for a publicly run insurance plan.
Recent research shows that a single-payer system of the kind proposed in Medicare for All legislation introduced by Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) could have prevented hundreds of thousands of Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. over the past two and a half years.
Not only would a single-payer insurance program guarantee coverage for every person in the country, but it would also reduce overall healthcare spending nationwide by an estimated $650 billion per year.
"Millions of Americans across this country are avoiding seeking lifesaving medical care because they're afraid it will bankrupt them," Khanna, a universal healthcare advocate, tweeted last week. "In many cases, their fears are well-founded. We need Medicare for All."
"Now is the time for Congress—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—to have the courage to take on the lobbyists and powerful special interests," said the incoming Senate HELP Committee chair.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday evening is set to deliver a speech in Washington, D.C. about "the state of the working class" and how to address the urgent and overlapping crises it now faces.
Sanders (I-Vt.) is the incoming chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee—a development that has healthcare industry lobbyists worried, particularly given his support for Medicare for All and recent remarks about corporate greed, union-busting, high prescription drugs prices, and the use of subpoena power.
"Before we can effectively go forward in terms of economic policy, it's necessary to know where we are at," Sanders said in a statement promoting the event. "And for working families in this country, the situation is not good."
"Now is the time for Congress—Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—to have the courage to take on the lobbyists and powerful special interests," he added, "and show the American people that our government can work for them, and not just the 1%."