The situation is getting desperate in Guantanamo with many of the hunger striking inmates prepared to die, federal public defender Carlos Warner told RT, stressing that his client is calling on the Obama administration to either ‘respect or kill’ them.
RT: When did you last speak to your client and how bad did he say the situation was there?
Carlos Warner: Actually, I have late breaking news from the island. It came in just a few minutes ago from Colonel Wingard. If you are interested I have a statement from Faiz al-Kandari.
RT: What did he say?
CW: Are you interested?
RT: Very much so.
CW: He said:
That was his statement as of today. I saw him last week. I have many clients there but I did see him last week and it was a shock to see what I saw. He was a man who was down more than 30 pounds less than a month ago. He refused all nourishment. His cheeks were sunk in. He was exhausted, weak, he could not stand. It was a scary, scary meeting for me.
“I scare myself when I look in the mirror. Let them kill us as we have nothing to lose. We died when Obama indefinitely detained us. Respect us or kill us. It is your choice. The US must take off its mask and kill us.”
RT: And his message is respect us or kill us. Will his wish come true or will he now be prepared to die?
CW: Well, I think many of the men, the ones that are indefinitely detained have zero hope. They have no hope because of the administration. I think many of them are ready die. The question is how and when will they die? They have no hope of being released from that place and unless a human being has some hope, it is very difficult to live. And many of them are prepared to die.
RT: Has this man been cleared for release years ago, and if so why hasn’t he been released?
CW: Faiz is not on the list of 86 innocent men who are cleared for release and those 86 men, it was unanimous decision by the US government, our government to release them. But Faiz is not on that list. But let’s be clear, everyone in Guantanamo is indefinitely detained. No one is being released - cleared for release or not.
RT: Why not? Clearly the US must have justified legal reason for keeping these people locked up?
CW: Yes. The reason is very simple and it is at the foot of President Obama. Now you’re talking to a federal defender. What that means, I come from the far left. I’m a liberal and I believe in President Obama and I’ve voted for him twice. But this is a broken promise, one he has chosen not to abide by. He looks at the republicans in congress and says it is their fault. Well, as of today, there isn’t one person in the administration I can contact to address these problems. There is nobody in the entire Obama administration I call and say, let’s stop the hunger strike. I’m forced to do that at the base with young officers.
RT: If people do start to die, do you think there will be more attention from the mainstream media?
CW: These are men. They are not animals. These are people that we have grown to know and respect and I do not want to see any of them die. I don’t want to see them die over this or any other protest. They should get processed. They are at the end of their rope. When people die, if the strike has not ended, then sure there is going to be more attention. But let me tell you, as a human being I do not want to see my clients die and the fact that they are in this condition is one of the most heart-wrenching things I have had to experience as a lawyer.
RT: Will their desperate actions achieve anything?
CW: It is up to the world. The military is telling them to look away from Guantanamo, everything is fine, nobody is striking, there is only 10-15-20, and now I heard it’s over 30 today. The only way this changes is if the world pressures United States, internally as well. We need the citizens of the United States to stand up and demand that the president Obama follow through with his promise. And his promise is to close the Guantanamo. He made that broken promise and as you can hear from the mouth of Faiz, it is killing people in Guantanamo now.
Follow RT's in-depth timeline on Guantanamo hunger strike.