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tv   Mansoor Adayfi Dont Forget Us Here  CSPAN  March 12, 2022 9:02am-10:03am EST

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it's slow to change. it's like turning an aircraft carrier and you know, at least we're now starting to turn but i think there's there's obviously a long way to go. so, thanks very much for your interest and great to have a lot of old friends on this call as well and look forward to seeing everybody in person. great. well, thanks mark and thanks for riding this book and i will toss it back to patty. thank you. thank you both for a really fascinating discussion a little depressing frankly. but please buy mark's book, and we're very thankful to both of you for such a wonderful program. take care. thanks. welcome
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everyone. my name is ulta lynn price and it's a great honor to be here this evening, and i'd like to thank you all for joining us. this is pilsson community book stores virtual channel. and so many of you are joining us from chicago, but i would like to welcome everyone from around the world who is joining us. and this month marks two decades something since the opening of guantanamo. thank you for joining us tonight, and we were here to remember what happened there acknowledge. what is still happening and discuss how we might change history? while at guantanamo writer advocate and former detainee monsoor adifi wrote a series of manuscripts. he sent as letters to his attorneys, which he then transformed into this vital chronicle and collaboration with award-winning writer antonio aiello. don't forget us here tells two coming of age stories in parallel.
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a makeshift island outpost becoming the world's most notorious prison and an innocent young man emerging from its darkness. this evening. i'm joined by mansura. daifi and antonio aiello as well as chicago-based lawyers, patricia, bronte and mark falcoff. i'd like to invite you all to follow the hashtag. getmo2020. twitter stream and just a heads up. we will will be dropping information in the chat and into the comments this evening so you can follow along there will be talking about some of the the artwork that was created at at guantanamo and the the creation of this book. so must wear a daifi is a writer advocate and former guantanamo detainee held for over 14 years without charges as an enemy combatant. he was released to serbia in 2016 where he's struggling to make a new life for himself and shed the designation of suspected terrorists. his published several new york
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times pieces, including a modern love column and contributed to the graphic anthology guantanamo voices and the scholarly volume witnessing torture. he participated in the creation of an award-winning radio documentary the art of guantan now guantanamo for bbc radio and the cbc podcast. love me. which aired on radio lab. in 2019 ada if you won the richard jamergolas award for nonfiction writers of social justice journalism. he and antonio are working on adapting this book for television. patricia bonte began representing men detained without charge at guantanamo bay naval station in 2005 and traveled to the prisoner over two dozen times to meet with her clients. mark falcoff is a law professor at northern illinois university college of law where he teaches courses and criminal law and procedure constitutional law and civil rights. now, i'm really grateful. i am going to pass the mic to antonio and mansour to do a
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brief reading from the book and then we will hear about mark's poetry collection. thank you so much. excellent one sword you want to to start things off before i jump into a reading with doing the the chant. yeah, would you like to welcome the the our guests so yes, of course, first of all, thank you everyone for being here tonight. and thanks to special. thanks to our guantanamu lawyers because in our heroes specially today patricia and other lawyers who? actually become part of our life and they actually did heroes because they are defending the the rule of law. and i would like to take you on before the way we were we were. welcome each other and supporting each other at guantanamoa because today we're going to talk about the poems
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from guantanamo and poets and arts and singing dancing from around the world. so basically one of the songs that's that one of the you know the stuff that's used to repeat them like every single day when someone come to the block i will leave the block or when the new group arrived at guantanamo. so it was like right hand one time. i was like but when someone hear that song, especially the brother when they arrived you know who did shackle beating tired of the long journey? they would hear us like singing for them. and there were thought you know, i think is fine. we like they used to tell us we thought that you got guys in a summer camp hearing all like people collectively hear a song in one voice. i mean collectively at least at least 200 or 250 prisoner saying at the same time. i'm not a singer. so if you didn't like my voice, excuse me.
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so it's say like have a have a village have a believer have a which means? welcome welcome. by the one hookah. so welcome to where to guantanamo. it was a massive to encourage the people it get you know, someone solidarity and encouragement, especially the brothers who used to go to interrogation or torture. and especially the young or the old tried to you know to encourage everyone specially for those who arrived because usually they what they they have like the process station what they receive the detainees. so when we heard the you know, they there is like they would like see smooth lockdown everything. see what's saying for them? because they will take the brothers and bought them in some kind like so you're taking fine for one or two two months for interrogation. but the first thing they hear that one cinema or singing that
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some assurance. i think it's okay. you'll be fine. so later on the brother would come to us. they said you guys tricked us. we thought we are going to to a summer come here singing, but they end up in certificatement. okay. so basically this is the the institute this session. yeah, that's excellent. and i've heard months were saying it with some of his other brothers on a whatsapp and it was really hearing all the voices together was amazing and i can't imagine hearing it booming throughout the camps. so to to bring us into the book. i'm gonna go ahead and read a couple of passages that monitor and i thought would be appropriate given where we are in time 20 as we approach the 20th anniversary of the opening of guantanamo tomorrow and what some of the things were that that helped men survive little things that help them get through it. so i'm gonna read a couple of
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passages about the sea and about time and i'll just dive right in so the the first passages the setup is before one of the major hurricanes hit guantanamo and the camp was was evacuated of staff and they left the prisoners in their cells to be to whether the storm on their own. so for the first time. for the first time our blocks quieted down. no guards. no chains no banging and clanking the song of our daily lives changed that day so that the wind could sing to us without the green tarps. we looked at our window and saw the sea the vast and beautiful sea dark and angry and the seesaw is too enraged at what it saw hundreds of men in metal cages allahu akbar an afghani brother called out when you saw the sea for the first time allahu akbar brothers called out thanking allah for the wonder of this beautiful sea when the call is quieted down and we were alone in the camp.
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we faced our friend the sea in silence. we watched him flex his muscles and been the world with his strength. listen to him how and whistle and punch the rocks below with powerful waves when the cells and cages began to fill with water from the storm surge. some of us were afraid that the c1 wanted to carry us away within. it was scary how to see how the sea was how mad thisy was and how loud the wind screamed and pulled in our roof and just when we thought our friend would take us away. he calmed down and soon we caught a a glimpse of allah's tranquil beauty. those hours without the tarps were like a vacation when the storm passed the sea looked refreshed and calm the blue so deep it burned my eyes out on the horizon a huge ship sailed silently by it was such a strange and beautiful sight that lone ship on the open sea. we all waited for something magic to happen. maybe that ship would come in free us but the ship passed to and we were alone again. after three days workers returned and put up the green
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tarps blocking our view of the sea when the guards came back and the noise started again. we had loved to see and now he loved to see even more the sea had scared away the americans and left us unharmed. knowing he was there. we were a little less alone. so that the next section is about 10 years later and this is toward the end of months or detention at guantanamo and it's relevant because they they have a sense a dark sense of humor and months or gets into this, but it's a reminder of how long men more held at guantanamo without being charged with crimes. they were held arbitrarily without that legal representation and they changed so in the early years of our uncertain detention we teach each other about how how long we would be there imagining the worst. we'd say things like i think the americans will keep us here until we become old men with no
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teeth or we should put in requests now for wheelchairs by the time interrogators in the camp. admin approve them will probably need them. there are always there were almost always bitter. there's almost always a bitter truth toward jokes. after 13 years some brothers couldn't walk anymore and they did need wheelchairs and walkers. some of us had lost our teeth and now had dentures had had many teeth removed the years without toothbrushes and toothpaste and caught up with me. i had to start wearing glasses the harsh light from eight years of solitary confinement had damaged my eyes badly. many of us suffered from high blood pressure diabetes and high cholesterol. this all scared me. i wasn't worried just about my body life in prison was like having your hard drive slowly erased the longer. you stayed the more your memories were over written with new ones. it was that we all thought i talked to my family every three or four months and that helped me remember they sent me letters with news that helped too, but i
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looked for something more than i had and i got from the news or phone calls or meetings with my attorneys. an emotional bond with the outside world that had been taken away from us. i found that connection and stolen moments with a natural world like when my dear friend like with my dear friend the sea he had a magic power that healed me and took away some of my sadness i can tell to see anything and he would keep it and carried away. we all love the sea in catching just a glimpse of our friend made us happy and calm from the upper level of camp 5 delta block. some of my brothers had a view of the sea anytime. i felt hopeless or lost. i went to one of those brothers and asked to look out their window. i said to the sea nice to see you again my friend people change, but you never do sometimes i spent an hour or more just staring out at my friend lost in memories. it transported me to the beaches and who data and the carefree happiness had felt as a child in my mind. i could throw myself into the waves and try to wash away the
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difficult life. i've lived at guantanamo and i always made me feel a little better. and with that i'm gonna hand it over to to mark who i think. can speak more about the poetry in the art of guantanamo? but thanks so much. so. let me let me start off. this is an absolutely terrific memoir. i hope everyone buys it and read it. it's consistent with everything that we've heard from our clients over the past 18 years and really helps bring some coherence to the experience. just very briefly about almost from guantanamo, which is in collection of poetry that was written by detainees inside their buyer was published in two thousand seven. i'll tell just a very little bit about the genesis of the project
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before i do. i just want to read a little snippet of one of the poems called ode to the sea just because to me it resonates with the passage that just heard so, um, just a small piece of this home in which the poet it initially talks about the sea as kind of emblem of hope and as a friend in some way but also as in some ways a treacherous and were not for the chains of the faithless i would have dived into you and reached my beloved family or perished in your arms. your beaches are sadness captivity pain and injustice your bitterness eats away at my patients. your calm is like death. you're sweeping waves are strange the silence that rises up from you hold treachery in its cold. both see you taught us in our captivity you have colluded with our enemies and you truly guard us. don't the rocks tell you of the crimes committed in their midst
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doesn't cuba the vanquished translate its stories for you. and that's in the little snippet and the cuban vanquished is a fun and of bilingual on there. some of the poems that we found had been generated the men at going to know. and i moved we lawyers to try to put together the book just very briefly that the real start of it happened because we have communications from our clients that end up in the security one. oh. right once when we by calling
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tonight went to read some of the collected translated letters that are clients it sent us. we found that the letters included some poems. so mixed in with the description of some of the typical indignities that the men had been suffered at guantanamo the kinds of things that you've heard about now like having their trousers taken away from them so they could not pray because they weren't dressed. sleep included within the request for english dictionaries all our clients remedies or requests for things like gamity honey. we also found a couple of poems. so that's interesting in its own right? i guess it was very interesting to me because i just finished. reading a collection of poems by brian turner who was a united states soldier that from the iraq war and in his beautiful
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poems. he was clearly created. and creating empathy and understanding someone else and this is exactly the kind of thing. i realized upon just a little bit of reflection that our clients were doing by sending their poems to us, and i thought that wouldn't it be wonderful if the american public could get a sense of their humanity and see that they're that the men there were striving to create. maybe give a little bit of an antidote to the perception that had been generated by the -- cheneys that these were the worst and worst men who would not hear the hydraulic lines of a jet to bring it down other nonsense like that after querying some of the other lawyers that we work with. i realize that a lot of them and written homes and we thought that we could perhaps try. pentagon and if we cleared enough of them we could try to put together a volume and
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perhaps get it published. so among the said i read that first day were one called shout of death by adnan motif. i know and sort of well, i can't talk about that phone because that was never cleared by the pentagon. it's still understood to be a security threat which is a little bit silly, but it was cataloging some of the abuse that on and suffered at the homes of the military at any rate. we were able ultimately to get enough homes cleared through this process that we could put together this relatively slim volume and describe some of the ways in which first present the poetry so which was beautiful and also described some of the ways some of the circumstances in which the poems were created which were fascinating the kinds of things that you read about in cancers book, but for example inscribing short poems into styrofoam cops, that would be
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passed around and eventually of course. regarded very much at the canyon to trying to to take some to tomato seeds from a lunge and try to plant them in the scrabbly soil of guantanamo. kind of hoping project. but strikers he learned much more about hunger striking in mentors, but but i'll just read this and then wrap up. congress strike poem they are criminals increasing their crimes their criminals claiming to be peace-loving their criminals torturing the hunger strikers their artists of torture their artists of pain and fatigue their artists of
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insults and humiliation. they're faithless traitors and cowards. they've surpassed devils with their criminal acts. they do not respect the law. they did not respect men. they do not spare the elderly they do not stand baby tooth child. they leave us in prison for years uncharged because we are muslim. where is the world to save us from torture? where is the world to save us from the fire and sadness? where is the world to save the hunger strikers? but we are content provided justice and white worshiping the almighty and our motto on this island is salam. i'll just say one word about adnan. adnan was unjustly in prison since 2002 at guantanamo. we eventually won the right to have a abious hearing word judge could determine whether he should be released or not. he won that atheist hearing and he was released but the obama
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administration appealed that decision and it was reverse by very concerned according to appeals and dc it was the attempt to have the supreme court. revisit the case was denied and not long after. anonymous told that the supreme court would not listening to his case on died in 2012 in one time ago, which is just the horrific faith. so that's a little bit of the story of guantanamo and one of the poets and yes, i'm just handed off to pat. thanks a lot mark. you know, i monster i just want to say thank you very much for calling the lawyers heroes but in my book the heroes are the
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men who withstood with such courage and such fortitude all the things that were thrown at them at guantanamo and yet look at you here. here you are so surrounded virtually, okay, but surrounded by americans and you have the generosity of spirit not to hold all that against you now. i don't know if i could have with stood what you did physically um at guantanamo, but i'm pretty sure that mentally it would have completely destroyed me and also that afterwards i would not want to have anything to do with people of that nationality who had inflicted that torture on me. so, you know, you're my hero and your book really it really conveys that you know it it's quite an unbelievable story. i mean, i just want to ask you like how old were you when you
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first came into united states custody? well, thank you patricia, basically. just let you know most of my friends as a porters are from the united states and my close crazy friend are partner antonio. so basically alhamdula aden hall in igraz your head against anyone and handle. i had a look at americans through guantan on channel or through the boys administration or trump's demonstration their species. i think america is bigger than this. i admire the value the the people and the system they have because i believe it's one of the most powerful country ever exists not because it's power but i hope america will play and crucial role for balancing the world. so when when i was sold to the cia, i wasn't 18 years old full
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of energy. and how long were you so you were in a cia secret prison before you came to guantanamo? yeah, isn't the black son of the black size basically tonight in the black side. how long were you there? do you know whatever two months? yes the beginning. i know they were thought they were there was sold as al-qaida middle east middle. asia egypt egyptian, not even a cider. so basically i was so twice from one lord to another then to the americans basically because when when americans said americans not the people, i mean the the cia and their impression in afghanistan them the airplanes used to throw. a flyers referring a large bounty of money, you know some have guns so their own neighbors, you know, you know some of them rivals you could
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somebody get like 5,000 10 15 100 200 thousand dollars. it means you know like like changing so basically yes. yeah, well, so that's really interesting point because a lot of people when they find out what i was doing down at guantanamo, they asked me well, how did your clients end up getting picked up like as though there must they must have done something wrong, but in many cases what they did wrong was get sold by someone else for for cash money that the united states was offering for people, right? yeah, i mean if when you look at the report from seton hall university and seo that 86 person what either mistaken identity or solve for bounty money right here is let us, you know, 15 scenaries over 20 languages spoken when i say 15 language, you know, those men were in big club in the battlefield right afghanistan
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pakistan iran united boss near muritania, africa many countries were either sold for bounty money or were handed people to the to the americans and brought him to guantanamo. ironically one of the things i was talking to them together. i said look at least we you said yes, what about those? people who use who was recruited by the cia and sent to afghanistan working for the cia. they were cut by polybenelocardia. they were imprisoned probably been prison. i met a team who were sent to assassin laden they were cut they were protagon tournaments years and years. right, so it just it's so crazy also a group of afghanis who was fighting with americans against polident. americans so for american military give them a new weapon that woman stole it and sell it so they were brought to go and i was it just so crazy upside down
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world. trust me. right. no, i do trust you. well, so you mentioned interrogations. how long did they continue interrogating you after you got to guantanamo until that day integration never stop, you know? you mean the whole time the 14 years you were there the full the whole time, you know in 2000 when? uh obama was elected on the democrats came to power in 2009, right everything exchange, you know instead of torture of uses the intergetters build a new place and they put like furniture tvs peace be three. they would brought for now. that's like they tried with some like bridge your friendship. and they say it's more effective effective than torture because detainees a prisoner. sorry talk freely. whether they were trying they don't we are trying to set to get inside your head 14 years and the report has antonio.
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they said it was hard to to to assess his mindset. i said really really for 14 years you get my -- in the black socket edition worst way but the way by 2015 kristina 14, i i reverse i started torturing the intergetters and the psychologist. you know the beginning they were they used to interrogate me to wheelchair the little card. i have to i had to admit to everything the problem is was giving in the details, so i didn't have i can't make right. so we 2000 40 i started when they when the new intergetters came to to talk to us. i used to go. what's your name? i am i am for i am a card documentary now. i've insider i am 55th brigade and so on. come on, man. please don't say that. you have to change i said no no. no, this is who i am, you know, this is so they over and over again. the psychologists came to talk to me. they told me you lived in some
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kind of the logical status and you have to change you have to you are not that person. i said no. no, this is who i am. this is what now they they try to convince me. they even threatened me. they said we're going to put you in the second psychiatrist you facility are going to give you some medicine and they come to talk to my brothers tell monsters to stop tell him convince him that he's not that person. that's it. no that what have we but have you been doing from for the last 14 years now in 2016, you know, i'm not changing. so so is the king what intelligence do you think they were hoping to learn from you after 14 years of isolation at guantanamo? what did they think you knew? you know, i think it is high highly classified and as you know what this especially at lawyers, what does this mean competition highly highly classified. so when i come to read the report as you see the beginning i was al-qaida. these are nine of insider commander by the end i said it is actually unclear if he
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actually joined al-qaeda and none of all kinds of commanders all kind of a members recognize him as member of al-qaida. i told him no no no. no you can attack that from me. i am happy to be a general you cannot take it. so crazy. i said look either you see he's not al-qaida. or said he's a card. i said no. no, we we cannot tell the world. we detain an innocent man for 14 years. we have to say something right. this is something some of the moments we live with the people at guantrum. it's upside down world. you know, it just like a show diagram for dog, but the reality this is the reality. yeah, well so monster you speak english very well. how did you learn english? it did the guards encourage you in that? actually, the rules are going 10 ammo the guards are forbidden to teach us english and i'm not allowed to talk to us more than two minutes when i used to talk about guard i said, why can't can you teach him english? they said look they said if you
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teach you english you live go antenna mo and you will join a terrorist and like and you will help them i said and do you think the terrace well, wait for for one to come and help them it is right, but after you know the good when the golden age starts that one term in 2010. yeah, you know the process we want to and we said to negotiate with the combat mistration generals and kernels they come to location of what was because obama failed to cross the detention. i want to come us down right of them have it. we were enforce feeding a hunger strike. also most the brother was so tired and they couldn't take it no longer we said, okay, let's get our brother. it was also division among us some of the the brother were against it. and we told them you know, we have to vote. of the brothers who went to continue the protest. the majority, you know, like 80% of brothers and said we cannot take it longer, please. so we stop the hunger strike the first feeding and we start initiating with the
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demonstrations, but roofing the life on the detention giving more freedom and you know access to tvs newspaper communication with the families classes art class english classes, you know, brooklyn the food and this stuff. i'm the lower managed. so when i moved to the community living i found myself become like an angry man. not an angry like in a bad way it is that sister 2002 in 2010. we have been fighting and deacting to whatever these they threw at us so that i went through stages of hate fear grudge. hope you know it just it is there unstable and also devastated physically mentally. it's like when i said with myself i said is my life going to be that way? and i was afraid it's like i don't want to be that person for the rest of my life and i knew the only way.
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so to get out with that like education, so i started focus on learning reading as much as i can. i had i got the book. it's not that book. actually it's like call around the world in an 80 days. yeah, and it was like read it with the guards like it's translated into arabic and we had only one direction in the black. so i used to come to the cart back them like hey, can i read with you can fix help me and so on some of the gas said yes something no some of them like please the cameras hide from the cameras, right? so it's been like five six months try to finish the book because i think it a lot of help i didn't get a lot. so that does end up detaining and my brothers used to make fun of me mansour why our character finish your journey that god finish in 80 days and you haven't sickest one. i said look when i found my sweetheart and the journey will will finish because right oh, my
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screen is frozen. oh, so i'm sure what was the last thing you said? i said i used to tell my brothers when i when i found myself when i find my sweetheart, i finished the book because the man in the story found that the woman he loved in the story. yeah. so this just one of the stories of course, the first gift i got is to us one of the guards i get very most worster dictionary because he saw me every time like looking for dictionaries and so on so he brought me a gift and so like okay, this is a gift. this was like country band, but he was nice and at that time the rule were relaxed in 2010 11 12. we call it the golden age right from then i took it start learning english with the girls. listen to the tv sometime about the headset like set under the tea for our just listening. i i didn't understand but you know what i want to learn. yeah, so so you mentioned monster that you eventually were able to experience calm, you
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know living with your brothers when that happened. did you ever regret all the years? non-cooperation that had landed you in solitary confinement for so long no, no, i didn't think i will ever even think about regretting them because okay. you know, i think it was i think i did the very right decision. you know, i was one of the tip of the speed of the brothers once and i'm not just me a group of us. we call it the red eyes. because i saw the brothers who you know was said as compliance they were right and came for oh white clothes food and so on but they lived in fear and that fear it's worse than shackles were that chance was that initosure? you know, they live in that fear of being transport to the blocks or that the cages. it wasn't but there was me a kind of achievement not art
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classes. and so when we when we negotiate with the campsics actually handela we achieved a lot in just in three years art classes english classes, you know, the things we got from the chemistration. so basically we went also set about compliant that would they cause compliant is about like they want to change us. they want to return something warrant. they want to say something. we you know admit to something whenever did at the same time. sometimes they would come to stop making protesting and making posts to the hunger strike. we're doing this stuff. we're going to move you to come for that way used to do this. no, i'm not gonna stop listening everyone move to come for and the first day in 2018. three one day started around announcing about making like propaganda about camphor. i called the brother. i said look. no one should go unless we all go and live there which needed the same and i called the commander. i told him tell general mirror. we're not going there and they
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actually between the block list. they said he is an instigator because yeah what they did they created going to come for like to be the first one to know what behind that was like four or five hundred brothers only like there was one seven brothers in kempor. so basically someone has to stand someone had to do something and i found myself. i couldn't just i'm not that i proceed with kids said and was not where i can run. i'm travel man. so not a bad person. just as our nature, you know where we live by our code like integrity transfer transparency courage and our specialty and so on and when someone came to i was like at that time. right or wrong like the thing they used is wrong and certain speed have been done there. so like no this strong. i'm not gonna do it you can you cannot do that so they took it as you know fighting or they they classify us al-qaida cell
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operating second one, right? right. so for the benefit of the viewers who might not realize this the general miller that monster was negotiating with he is the same guy who was then later sent to abu gray prison in iraq, and he he had the marching orders to get my eyes. i'll be great which obviously he did quite well and we all know what the result was that of that was so i just want to interject that i'm sure was your family able to visit you when you were guantanamo. i think i have to ask one of the lawyers particia. she as the best one who can answer that question. how long you know the only the only people who actually managed to break all they didn't need any kind like cia classified clearance or high clearance to come to guantanamo break all the law rules.
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it was our family and friends animals iguana cats. all right princess, right? yes. so, how long was it the time you got to go on tonamo till you were first able to speak to your family by phone? until 2011 oh my god, nine years you went nine years. my family first learned about me to in 2007 when when the brothers yemi brother left guantanamo. i told him before he left please. can you tell my family and right so i received the message? they said yes, we we had no idea where we were missing. we thought you you died or so, basically not the young government upon from not the icrc not the american government. no one told my family. i wasn't what time so are you able to visit with your family now in person? no, not yet because huh?
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you see behind me his life after going down, basically. tell me about that. it is the dress of the story of the book. i think we are goingshallah depend on the my friend and partner and tony were trying to get it done. so this our next project after guantanamo so far? no, we haven't haven't met my family and you know, especially because the switch situation in yemen, i'm a situation and live after going tenamo patricia, as you know, as we there's some of the cases. and like by the way, i finished my university last year in september and my thesis was about rehabilitation and reintegration of former guantinople detainism to social life the labor market. you know, there is a privacy you you got an a degree with honors right in business administration. is that right? yeah again with nrn was the the students of the year too in the my faculty. see that's totally amazing to me that you were able to do that. so you got your ged while you're
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still at guantanamo, right? yeah. yeah, i don't like i focus on i focus on education. and i try to rule in colleges even my lawyer and the heart he really works so hard to to get me a car role in college in the united states. he applied for many colleges. i was i was i was accepted what by one of the colors but the government said no he cannot. so it was like a good news, but then when they said no, it was like so i started working my ged and i but they refused to give me the certificate. they said no there was some names and we cannot and classify again. it's the same percent of the same story. that's ridiculous. i'm sorry it just we're saying about the hunger strike. can you? tell people what it feels like to be on hunger strike because i
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don't think many if any of us have ever experienced that a hunger strike mr. hunger strike a crazy guy. you know i used. so when i arrived has got something called hunger strike oliver heard of someone who wouldn't even like stop eating for days as we said we start feeling like during the day and ate like during the one son during manson sit down, right? so at montana when we like we have before guantanam. we had been through a lot torture abuses beating and it is accumulated accumulated and it never get anywhere any better. when you're actually going to namo it was also as you know, like if that and so we within what to do. i mean we get beaten. anyway, you do something only do anything.
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so one of the days like especially when it comes to matter of religious separation, you know, this is really serious and it hurts us so bad. like that's the creating the quran you mean? yeah second the quran or marking us were praying or stopping us for praying or refuse to give us water for preparing for for pray. so one day one day. attacked with a brother while he was praying, you know, everything we start it was like the first spot spark at guantanamo. we reacted we fight with the shout with the guards and and we went on hunger strike. so when i heard the brothers hungry strike, it's like, what's me hungry? sorry. i said yeah, you cannot eat because people in england that done it brothers in palestine, you know and irish people and the same thing gandhi and said, okay. yeah.
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like there and when i discussing about the idea and arabs talk a lot. you know what the afghanist said about arab. they said if you find 10 arabs you'll find anything commander means 10 arabs they become like each one one commander and have yes, it was much. a lot of discussion between us and so on but and i think the second day one of my neighbors the youngest detaining use of he started in hunger strike. so for me, i cannot eat while someone is not eating like i guess a cat so i just joined them then people joined us. so how we introduce to mr. hunger strike, you know, we spent the first time hunger said nine days as i can tell you a short course as we i wrote the story clearly in the book. i wrote the story while i was in hunger strike, too. so what i wrote it was really like painful to write it, but i was also like in my 35 days of hunger strike. so it is i can say it is a slow journey toward death.
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because every single cell dying slow on your body because you're not eating and every the function the functionalities in your body starts chatting down standing here and talking moving thinking everything everything. so we did hunger strike 100 maybe of times. literally, i spend the first meeting three years people don't say. oh three years. no, it's not nothing compared to the brothers who's been 10 15 years on first feeding. i mean 10 15 it literally well, and it wasn't just like force feeding like you would get in the hospital, right? i mean they use they deliberately used large tubes right and didn't lubricate them. for example. no, you know the first the first feeding was another story the way the way it started then and you are you're not getting first feeding all the time. for example, i when i was transferred one to guantanam i was with him around 119 or 20 pound.
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so this is the way they consider. if you go if i go like under 100 pound until like 80 89 and now they will start feed me until i reach 120 then they will stop. yeah, okay. under 100. it was also a way of torture and i was debating also talking to doctor. so either let us die or feed us properly because what you did is torture they said no. no our law is to to keep you at this weight 120 if you go like that the rules if the law if you go under 100 pound and they let you go like some of the brothers literally went into 82 pound or 85 pound little league. so and so it was also for us we try to maintain the way not to go to the way they wanted because we need to keep our hunger strike.
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it was also battle with the with the doctors. sometimes they would use really large tubes but us under like we as hunger strike we are being punished all the time starter confinement. level four we have really like shirt and pants and i sumat. and a blanket from one element of clock until six o'clock and norik no shower. that's it, you know because you are you're on hunger strike you are being punished. right well, so then eventually lancer you in 2016 you get transferred to serbia, right? yes, you know the many brothers who were at guantanamo got sent back to their home countries. why didn't that happen with you? you know, especially yemenidate ye many brothers or yemeni prisoners because the situation in yemen yemen collapse into a civil war.
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and it was and say it was and said to send us as there. some of us forcibly released like in my case. i was forcibly released to to serbia refused. i want a hunger strike basically, right and i would say you have no choice. they told me the icrc when they come to meet me icrc on international committee for the red cross. they told me we come to talk to you today. we have question for you first we need to we are going to tell you that. the new law by the us government if anyone accepted by any country, he would be forced to release. they told us all of us specially because one of the brothers and the fcc remember refused to live to monthly go. right, right, then. he told me i'm here to ask you one question. do you think if you go to serbia, it will be a threat for your life there. i said, i don't know and i don't want to go. will you guarantee my life there you and us government they said no, so i'm not going.
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but i was shipped to serbia anyway, and when i arrived in serbia, the serbian told me no, we were expectingly one detainee to be here and they told my lawyer the same thing so basically you know this one of the problems when i i highlight in my thesis about the rehabilitation orientation was like there is no you can't rehabilitation or integration. so those countries eastern europe kazakhstan senegal and albanians in the countries. we are living quantum of 2.0. i mean when it free and we see if in the -- of guantanamo, you know guantano stigma a lot of difficulties challenges. newly the status health care no access to like education when i get my education i had to go hunger strike the first time for 48 days the second time for 25 days. i'd like to i think antonio. there was arrested i was beating i was you know integrated. oh. crazy well so monster you've
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been through everything you've described do you got sent to a country with a history of antagonism toward muslims that's putting it mildly. um and yet you got your university degree you are an advocate for detainees still at guantanamo and detainees who have been sent to other places like the united arab emirates. what's next for you? what's next i wanted to drive my friend antonio crazy and to get the -- tv showed done. okay the book done and we work on another audio story too. we are working on also. i'm trying to finish my master degree. oh and most importantly to find my sweetheart and my part in my wife. yeah, i'm looking for her. i didn't she hasn't found him yet. come on. i'm waiting. yeah, okay. ladies get on it.
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well it um, mark what's importantly i'm trying to get out from this country and to go to where i can you know move on with my life. right, right market antonio. do you have any questions that we would put we should put two months or oh, i'm hearing very there you want to go. yeah, so mantra, i think my questions, you know, i'm i'm so deeply. you know involved in and what you've been through at guantanamo, but i'm still. want people to understand what you're going through in serbia and what you're going through just as far as the stigma of guantanu and i think this is an important question because it doesn't just apply to you. i think it applies to everybody and i think the united states has done a really good job of trying to just forget the
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prisoners who were detained at guantanamo and once they're released, you know to let them go and say kind of wipe their hands and and say well we've been they've been released they've been placed in other countries. we're no longer accountable and i've read a couple of things recently at the united states has said explicitly that they're not accountable for prisoners who have been placed in other countries, you know, the terms are up, you know, they're kind of it's kind of out of their hands and yet you can't leave sure. yeah. and it seems to be that you can't leave serbia it probably because the united states won't let you leave serbia. so can you talk a little bit about just your situation and you know your troubles trying to you know, relocate adam survey and also some of your other friends who suffer from even worse circumstances than you suffer from. you know antonio for the last five years as you know, i let through uncertainty and i was threatened to be deported. i was accused being like for talking to the media accused of
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being doing some propaganda for terrorism. it was arrested over and over again. i was asked to shut my mouth. i was asked to stop talking to american lawyers. but one thing if if i really not want to know. just to go to do what the writing so basically the you know, i'm not allowed to leave even belgrade unless i have to report through this before why when where how and this question and anyone i get in contact with as you know, get either arrested called by the police. and targeted so basically even the way the serbian media presented me as al-qaida as a killer as a terrorist as they and told me stupid go back to guantanamo as you see in their newspaper. so the even the the media in this country is play a major rule how they present us to the society. i have tried, you know, one of the things that really hurting
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me so much that i found a woman. i wanted to get married to i wasn't allowed to travel because i didn't have travel document. the reason i tried with my own country five yemen embassies different maybe since around the world no travel document. also the signal we live in you know, because as i told you those countries they didn't have that recognize and they didn't know what does it mean rehabilitation orientation. they don't know what mean to speak with 15 years in jail. and it was a matter of money and don't get favor for the dynasty and when specially when trump came when trump come to presidency he closed the office that state department. so serbian government told me literally they told me everything exchange now trump is in power and everything went worse, you know was evicted my stabbing start. and now i'm trying to get to leave this country.
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maybe i'm lucky but some of the brothers as you know from they were in synagogue. they were deported back to libya where they end up like spending another two years in jail torture brothers in united arab emirates. they were released from guantanamo as a wrist tournament agreement between the united states and and united are emirate government. they end up in jail for five years, even they wanted to go back to one time when i talked them. they said well light was worse than one time the way they were treated. oh, then they they sent back, you know our immorality to months ago or three months ago. send them back to yemen without coordination without yemen government or what they listed with the united states or in geos or the lawyers with anyone. they were handed over to counterterism forces in yemen. actually the united militia in yemen. then some of them even listened to 24 hours. they were kidnapped by the militia end up in jail and i
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work with baptist in those cases. so we have to again to fight for those brothers now we are trying to to find some kind help and support for the for the brothers and this those cases and there is other cases in kazakhstan in some of the cases in bulgaria and albania and sort of archia. and there is a lot. refuse to get involved and sometimes we let it just a minute to talk to those government to do something about it. and you know we didn't know what to do. we didn't know who should we talk to and we found out like sometimes helpless and we have sometimes just to talk in the media about to highlight those cases. and i hope that by the administration come to something. about it. they said after they might be released some of the guantanam president. they might look at the the cases. so i'm telling you i think you will aware of my case sometime. i get angry and mad at you and
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fight with you sometimes i'm sorry, but it's all part of the relationship. it's all part of every day of life. well, i i think i need to turn the mic back over to alta to close this out. but monsoor, thank you very much for sharing your story in the book and with us tonight. yeah, i would like to say just one word for the viewer, please join us today in the tweetstorm get which one hashtag go to too many tony and please we have last year. i was sent a letter to mr. biden for the closure of guantanamo eight point plan if you can endorse the letter. and help us to you know, create some kind of pressure to close the guantanamo. i think one time can be closed by you and i really thank america i'm special. thanks to the lawyers guantanamo patricia. my thanks to my disease lawyer and the heart to endless jacob and to the americans people
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really i really admire them and thank them for because the people who protest and fight for the course of guantanamo most of them, i'm reckons and thank you so much for doing this and it's not about us. sorry. it's not about guantanamo. it's about us all humanities about our humanity. you know and calling for that the justice for guantanamo actually were fighting for the justice for american justice system that has been abused and misused for for a long time. thank you so much, right. i just put the link for the close one time low letter into the chat if that if it's possible to tweet that out. monster, thank you so much, you know as a translator myself this the literary quality of this book and the human quality really moved me, and i'm so so grateful months were you mentioned to me when we first discussed this event? you said that guantanamo is not just a place. it's an idea. it is in the people and it is
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everywhere and i found that so powerful on this day before the 20th anniversary of when this prison was opened and i would like to thank everyone for joining us today. thank you mark falkoff for being the conduit of poetry poetry that is still considered a security threat by our government patricia bronte. thank you for your legal work and your expertise and tonio aiello. thank you for bringing helping bring months or story to life and everyone. please head over to pilson community to get your coffee. poems from guantanamo edited by mark falkoff and don't forget us here by mansoor adifi, and thank you all so so much and stay safe out there.
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kelly thanks for joining us and congratulations on the book. it's about flat earthers and i guess the first question i've got is how did you find yourself on the flat earth beat? when did you start writing about flat earthers and people who believe the earth is flat and how did you come to decide there was a book here. huh? well, my day job is as a reporter at the daily beast where i cover extremism and fringe internet communities and a lot of that involves passively monitoring the weird parts


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