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Nationwide Protests Call for Guantanamo To Be Shut Down

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Guantanamo Bay is back in the headlines again, largely thanks to a mass hunger strike that threatens the lives of 166 detainees languishing at the prison camp. Earlier today, activists in the U.S. tried to capitalize on the growing attention to Guantanamo and held a day of action to send a message to the Obama administration: shut the prison down.

The hunger strike has been ongoing since February, and was sparked by searches of the detainees’ cells and their Qu’rans. Detainees have also reported being abused by prison guards and punished for speaking out to their lawyers.

The day of action was organized by Witness Against Torture, the Center for Constitutional Rights and World Can’t Wait. Protests took place in cities ranging from Albany to New York to Chicago to San Francisco. The New Haven Independent covered the action in that city here; Fox News Radio has a report here as well.

“Right now, men detained at Guantánamo are engaged in a large-scale hunger strike that started in early February. Some are in critical condition,” reads a call for action put out on Facebook by the Center for Constitutional Rights. “The unfolding crisis at Guantánamo cannot be divorced from the fact that the vast majority of the 166 remaining prisoners have been imprisoned for more than 11 years without any charge or fair trial, and with no end to their detention in sight.”

Meanwhile, more disturbing news about intrusions on lawyer-prisoner conversations at Guantanamo has emerged, thanks to ProPublica. Cora Currier reports:

The long-troubled military trials at Guantanamo Bay were hit by revelations earlier this year that a secret censor had the ability to cut off courtroom proceedings, and that there were listening devices disguised as smoke detectors in attorney-client meeting rooms.

Now, another potential instance of compromised confidentiality at the military commissions has emerged: Defense attorneys say somebody has accessed their email and servers.

“Defense emails have ended up being provided to the prosecution, material has disappeared off the defense server, and sometimes reappeared, in different formats, or with different names,” said Rick Kammen, a lawyer for Abd Al Rahim Al Nashiri, who is accused of plotting the 2000 attack on the U.S.S. Cole.

The lawyers say they don’t know exactly who is accessing their communications. And it’s not yet clear whether the emails were intentionally grabbed or were scooped up mistakenly due to technical or procedural errors.

Either way, the lawyers are concerned.

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