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      The Declaration of No Human Rights

      By Shaker Aamer, Illustrations: Tom Scotcher

      November 10, 2014

      I have been in Guantánamo Bay for 12 years now. George W Bush's administration cleared me to leave in 2007, Barack Obama's in 2009. I am still here. By generously providing me with additional time in a "Single Cell Operation" [that's solitary confinement by another, more obfuscatory, name], the US military has allowed me time to make a closer study of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), as it was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948.

      Various senior members of the Bush administration periodically asserted that international human rights and humanitarian law was "outmoded" and needed to be updated to face modern challenges. However, the longer I have remained in this terrible prison, the more I have come to realise that the US has already amended the UDHR by imposing their own addendum to each Article. Here, then, is a recently declassified copy of the Declaration of No Human Rights (DNHR):

      Article 1.

      In its original format, Article 1 reads as follows:

      "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

      By its actions in Guantánamo Bay, however, the US has inserted an addendum to Article 1 that reads as follows:

      "BUT, all Muslim men held in Guantánamo Bay are considered to be something rather less than human, the worst of the worst of America's enemies. Indeed, the detainees should have fewer rights than the iguanas that roam the naval base. Because these 148 men are not considered human beings, they should be subjected to as many indignities as the perverse human mind is capable of imagining."

      Article 2.

      Original:

      "Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status..."

      Addendum:

      "This rule shall not be applied to the US naval base at the tip of Cuba, which the US coerced from Cuba in 1903. This should be given a special status with rigid distinctions made on whatever grounds the American military can dream up, but especially on grounds of religion."

      Article 3.

      Original:

      "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person."

      Addendum:

      "Everyone who is Muslim, and insists on growing a beard, has the right to three inedible meals and 24-hour detention in a cell."

      Article 4.

      Original:

      "No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms."

      Addendum:

      "But any inmate of Guantánamo Bay has to be shackled and cuffed for any step he takes outside of his cell."

      Article 5.

      Original:

      "No one shall be subjected to torture."

      Addendum:

      "But everyone in Guantánamo shall be subjected to as many different forms of torture as Donald Rumsfeld or whoever is playing the part of Donald Rumsfeld can imagine, and this shall continue until they are released."

      Article 6.

      Original:

      "Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law."

      Addendum:

      "Everyone in Guantánamo Bay should be recognised only as a number and will be referred to as a 'package' when being taken from one 'reservation' to the next."

      Article 7.

      Original:

      "All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law."

      Addendum:

      "The men held in Guantánamo are not equal before the law and therefore are not protected by any law at all."

      Article 8.

      Original:

      "Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law."

      Addendum:

      "But with respect to those Muslim men with beards who are in Guantánamo, it would be less embarrassing to President Barack Obama if everyone would turn a blind eye to the injustice they face daily."

      Article 9.

      Original:

      "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile."

      Addendum:

      "In light of this rule, the US prefer it if the world (and particularly the media) would ignore the fact that the men in Guantánamo have been arbitrarily detained and exiled for many years."

      Article 10.

      Original:

      "Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him."

      Addendum:

      "Still, hundreds of men shall be held beyond the law on an island prison for over a decade. None of these men shall be brought before an independent and impartial tribunal, since the dozen men charged will be put before what Lord Bingham has called a 'kangaroo court'. These are the fortunate few. The others will never be charged at all."

      Article 11.

      Original:

      "Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence."

      Addendum:

      "Those held in Guantánamo are guilty until proven guilty, and are also guilty after proven innocent. It would be inconvenient to be as liberal as a medieval king, so we will not guarantee basic rights recognised since the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215."

      Article 12.

      Original:

      "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation."

      Addendum:

      "Surely the UN was kidding here? The authorities at Guantánamo Bay shall interfere with each detainee's privacy, family, home and correspondence in every way possible. They will censor a young son's correspondences to his father because it says, 'I love you.' They will degrade the detainees' honour and reputation as much as possible, including watching them shower or use the toilet. They'll insist on groping the detainees' genitals in a 'scrotum search' any time they leave their cells."

      Article 13.

      Original:

      1.    "Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state."

      2.    "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country."

      Addendum:

      1.    "Guantánamo detainees shall occasionally have the right to freedom of movement within their cells. Should they leave their cells, they have the inalienable right to be shackled tightly."

      2.    "Guantánamo detainees can leave their cell to go to the small rec cage for two hours daily, although the authorities reserve the right to take detainees they don't like there in the middle of the night."

      Article 14.

      Original:

      "Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution."

      Addendum:

      "The only asylum we recognise for most of these detainees is the mental asylum they will end up in if we are allowed to continue abusing them."

      Article 15.

      Original:

      "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality."

      Addendum:

      "Shaker Aamer had better be told that he needs to be sent to Saudi Arabia because that is the only way to ensure that complicity by British intelligence agents in his torture never gets to a British court of law."

      Article 16.

      Original:

      "The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State."

      Addendum:

      "But this really must not be allowed with Guantánamo prisoners. While lots of delusional radicals like UK Prime Minister David Cameron seem to think Shaker should be reunited with his family in London, this shall be refused indefinitely. Guantánamo shall continue to tell him that he cannot be returned to Britain and can only live in Saudi Arabia without his family."

      Article 17.

      Original:

      1.    "Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others."

      2.    "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property."

      Addendum:

      1.    "Guantánamo detainees do not have any right to property, including pictures of their children, family and legal correspondence, medical prescriptions, hygienic items, and even their own underwear."

      2.    "At every chance possible, Guantánamo guards shall raid and search detainees' cells, taking everything they can. If the detainees irritate the guards with their peaceful hunger strikes, even the mats on which the men sleep should be taken, forcing the detainees to sleep on the bare concrete."

      Article 18.

      Original:

      "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion."

      Addendum:

      "It would be absurd for the world to think the US military is going to apply this to Guantánamo. Prayer time shall be interrupted regularly and other Islamic religious requirements shall be ignored or wilfully violated."

      Article 19.

      Original:

      "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

      Addendum:

      "But we will censor every word that a detainee says, and every time his opinion is heard in the outside world, he shall be punished. In particular, Shaker Aamer shall be held in isolation most of the time, because he keeps on trying to express himself and this can be quite embarrassing to the military."

      Article 20.

      Original:

      "Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association."

      Addendum:

      "If the men in Guantánamo attempt to peacefully assemble, they shall be punished and placed in isolation (which should never be called that, because it looks bad, so let's call it a 'single cell operation' or SCO). If the man who is trying to peacefully assemble is Shaker Aamer, he shall be FCE'd immediately and put back into his SCO. (FCE means a 'Forcible Cell Extraction', which covers up the fact that we'll just beat him up.)"

      Article 21.

      Original:

      1.    "Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives."

      2.    "Everyone has the right to equal access to public service in his country."

      Addendum:

      "There'll be no representation for the detainees. Detainees will not be allowed to go back to the country where they lived. Far better that they are allowed to gradually fall apart here in Cuba."

      Article 22.

      Original:

      "Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality."

      Addendum:

      "BUT everyone at Guantánamo is ordered to mind his own business, or suffer the consequences. Okay, so we've wasted $5 billion of US taxpayers' money on the place so far, and are currently spending $2.7 million every year per prisoner in Guantánamo, but we would not want this spent on anything constructive; better by far that their culture should be mocked as much as possible."

      Article 23.

      Original:

      "Everyone has the right to work."

      Addendum:

      "The men in Guantánamo would like to work. After all, it'd be nice to have something to do. It'd be nice to earn a little money in order to buy clothing that fits, for example. But we can't let that happen. These men are Muslims. We can't trust them with the work programmes we provide in other prisons."

      Article 24.

      Original:

      "Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay."

      Addendum:

      "Sure, but not in Guantánamo. We'll interrupt their sleep as much as we possibly can, sometimes even moving them from cell to cell to keep them awake. But, again, let's not call this 'sleep deprivation'; we'll call it the 'frequent flier programme' as then maybe the media won't work out what we're doing."

      Article 25.

      Original:

      "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services."

      Addendum:

      "You've got to be kidding me if you think this kind of socialist 'benefits programme' is going to be in the DNHR. Medical care shall be denied to the maximum extent possible and doctors shall take their orders from the military. If a detainee is prescribed medication, these will be given out at random, on a whim. Detainees will routinely be given old, worn, and ill-fitting clothing (one of our favourite ways to irritate people is to give small-sized clothing to larger men)."

      Article 26.

      Original:

      "Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental states."

      Addendum:

      "The only education provided to Guantánamo detainees shall be regular lessons on doing precisely what they are told, when they are told to do it. Friendships between guards and detainees are strictly forbidden."

      Article 27.

      Original:

      1.    "Everyone has the right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits."

      2.    "Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author."

      Addendum:

      1.    "The authorities at Guantánamo will snatch the photos detainees' children have taken for their fathers. When a father draws a picture for his children, to show his love from afar, this picture will be destroyed. Detainees have the right to always give up their works of art to the authorities."

      2.    "Books will be censored or not allowed in. For example, The Innocent Man by that little-heard of American author John Grisham, shall be banned."

      3.    "The detainees do have the inalienable right to be subjected to our experiments, both to assess the best way to break them during interrogation sessions, and to see what impact the involuntary and secretive use of drugs might have on them."

      Article 28.

      Original:

      "Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized."

      Addendum:

      "Every man detained in Guantánamo is entitled to the prohibition of any rights set forth in the original UDHR, unless those rights have been reinterpreted in the Guantánamo Declaration of No Human Rights. If the men demand that the United Nations come to Guantánamo and enforce the UDHR, we can all be very sure it will not be permitted."

      Article 29.

      Original:

      1.    "Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible."

      2.    "In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society..."

      Addendum:

      "A Guantánamo detainee shall be duty bound to do precisely as he is told. His personality should be developed to ensure he expresses no personal opinion whatsoever, but becomes an automaton guided solely by the authoritarian will of the United States of America."

      About Shaker Aamer:

      Shaker Aamer is a British resident whose wife and four children live in London. He says that it was while doing charity work building girls' schools in Afghanistan that he was sold for a bounty to US forces and taken to Bagram Airbase. There, he reportedly witnessed torture before being rendered to Guantánamo. He has never been charged by the US with any crime, and has never received a trial. He was cleared to leave Guantánamo in 2007 by the Bush administration and in 2009 by the Obama administration, yet still he remains detained in the prison.

      Topics: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, shaker aamer, Guantánamo Bay, GTMO, gitmo, Torture, prison, detainees, lawyers, satire, Cuba, Barack Obama, camp x-ray, the United States of America, terrorism, Islam, Reprieve, solitary confinement, The Declaration of No Human Rights

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