Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New York Times weighs in on our latest motion....


“A new legal challenge represents the sharpest test yet at the prison of America’s commitment to fundamental principles of due process.”

Read More...

Saturday, January 13, 2018

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian

A UN special rapporteur on torture recently found that, even now, Guantánamo is a nonconforming site, while the US remains in violation of the Convention Against Torturebecause of its policy of impunity for historic violations, e.g. the CIA's ghastly Rendition, Detention and Interrogation Program.
Extrajudicial "renditions" are still with us, and Mr Trump is reportedly considering outsourcing overseas snatches to mercenaries, not unlike the corporate kidnappers who assisted George Bush's "national security" abductions.
The Bush bail-ups have recently been the subject of a Commission of Inquiry in North Carolina, and law profs from the University of North Carolina and Duke Universityparticipated in hearings on the role of a local CIA front company in the agency's torture program.  
Testimony was duly taken, but nothing seems likely to embarrass or shame Aero Contractors Ltd, an NC-based aviation firm that still harbours one of its "torture taxis" in a North Carolina hangar subsidised with public funds. 
A report will be forthcoming.
*   *   *
Flying high at Gitmo's Camp Justice
National Public Radio has gone to Gitmo to cover the "9/11" trial, while it still can: Republicans hope to abolish the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
In the 9/11 case, the military commission is still trying to decide when the war purporting to provide  jurisdiction for the "war crimes" prosecutions actually began. The Pentagon claims its so-called war with al-Qaeda began in the 1990s, based on a unilateral bin Laden fatwa; in fact, only states can declare wars.
In a new military commission, the Pentagon has brought "war crimes" charges against the "Bali bomber" Riduan Isamuddin, with "overt acts" of conspiracy alleged to have begun even earlier, "in the mid-1980s".  
Such arguments previously proved efficacious with chief judge James Pohl in the case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the severely-tortured man charged with "war crimes" that are unconnected to any war.  
Backdated wars are logically consistent with "retroactive re-characterization" , one of the feints the US tried in its failed attempt to convert civilian "material support for terrorism" into a war crime. It also fits in with the Pentagon's opportunistic re-designation of Guantánamo artworks as government property.
Other new 9/11 commission developments include the production of the document the CIA gave to FBI agents who conducted so-called "clean team" interrogations, more here. The memo was produced after motions by Mustafa al Hawsawi, whose (shudder) "rectal rehydration" by CIA medicos resulted in permanent injuries requiring surgery.
Meanwhile, Just Security has reviewed the case that broke the commissions: Nashiri's.  
READ THE REST HERE

Thursday, January 11, 2018

More on today's filings...


Gitmo Attorneys File Major New Challenge to Trump’s Guantánamo
Trump’s Blanket Refusal to Release Any Detainee Amounts to Arbitrary Detention, Lawsuit Says

January 11, 2018, Washington, D.C. – Today, on the 16th anniversary of the Guantánamo prison’s opening, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Reprieve, and co-counsel filed a major challenge to Donald Trump’s continued detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. The collective filing, on behalf of 11 men, argues that Trump’s proclamation against releasing anyone from Guantánamo, regardless of their circumstances, which has borne out for the first full year of the Trump presidency, is arbitrary and unlawful and amounts to “perpetual detention for detention’s sake.”

“It’s clear that a man who thinks we should water-board terror suspects even if it doesn’t work, because ‘they deserve it, anyway’ has no qualms about keeping every last detainee in Guantanamo, so long as he holds the jailhouse key,” said CCR Senior Staff Attorney Pardiss Kebriaei, who represents Sharqawi Al Hajj, one of the prisoners participating in today’s filing. “Continuing, still indefinite detention after all this time is unprecedented and experimental. Another three or seven years under President Trump may mean a death sentence for men like Sharqawi Al Hajj, who is in poor health and damaged by past torture.”

The filing argues that continued detention is unconstitutional because any legitimate rationale for initially detaining these men has long since expired; detention now, 16 years into Guantánamo’s operation, is based only on Trump’s raw antipathy towards Guantánamo prisoners – all foreign-born Muslim men – and Muslims more broadly. CCR notes that Donald Trump’s proclamation that he will not release any detainees during his administration reverses the approach and policies of both President Bush and President Obama, who collectively released nearly 750 men. Trump’s blanket policy guarantees three, or even seven, more years of imprisonment unless the courts intervene now.

“President Trump has said torture works. He’s wrong. Prisoner abuse like waterboarding, sleep deprivation, dog leashes, sexual humiliation all send us tumbling into the filth where our sworn enemies live, and it legitimizes their struggle in the eyes of their followers even as it delegitimizes us in the eyes of the world,” said Mark Fallon, former NCIS Deputy Assistant Director for Counterterrorism, who served as the Deputy Commander of the DOD task force President Bush established to bring suspected terrorists to justice before Military Commissions at Guantanamo Bay, and author of Unjustifiable Means: The Inside Story of How the CIA, Pentagon and US Government Conspired to Torture.  “Guantanamo Bay serves as a symbol of torture, injustice and oppression. The prison should be shuttered, the rule of law should be restored and we should adhere to our obligations to hold those responsible accountable.”  

Some of the men participating in today’s filing have been detained in Guantánamo for nearly 16 years without charge or trial—detention that has spanned three presidential administrations and five presidential terms. Two of the petitioners have in fact been approved for transfer, narrowly missing their chance at release in the final days of the Obama administration. 

Reprieve attorney Shelby Sullivan-Bennis, who represents prisoners at Guantánamo, said, “Since Guantánamo opened, it’s been clear to all – including U.S. officials – that the detainees were being held on the basis of mistakes, faulty evidence, and forced ‘confessions’. The U.S. has had 16 years to build a case against these men, and yet 28 of 41 prisoners are held without charge or a trial of any kind – a shocking violation of America’s founding principles. If the president won’t close Guantánamo, then the other branches of government must take action instead to finally restore the rule of law.”

Speakers at a press conference this morning announcing the filing included Ms. Kebriaei; Mr. Fallon; Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director Baher Azmy; and habeas attorney Thomas Anthony Durkin, Partner, Durkin & Roberts, Chicago, Illinois. Ambassador Lee Wolosky, former U.S. Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure, was also present and addressed Guantanamo policy generally. Neither Ambassador Wolosky nor his law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner LLP, is involved with the court filing, nor is Mr. Fallon.

Also today, human rights activists, torture survivors, Guantánamo attorneys, 9/11 family members, and members of diverse faith communities rallied outside the White House to mark the 16th anniversary and the continued operation of the Guantánamo Bay prison. Read the coalition press release about today’s rally here.

Read today’s filing here and visit CCR’s resource page for more information, bios, and graphics.

The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the legal battle over Guantánamo for 16 years – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country, ensuring that all the men detained at Guantánamo have had the option of legal representation. CCR is responsible for many Guantánamo cases in many venues, representing men in their habeas cases in federal court and before the military commissions and Periodic Review Boards, the families of men who died at Guantánamo, and men who have been released and are seeking accountability in international courts.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change. Visit www.ccrjustice.org and follow @theCCR.


Reprieve is an international human rights organization. Reprieve’s media team can be contacted on media@reprieve.org.uk, or +44 (0) 207 553 8140.  

It violates our constitution to hold these men for so long with no charge- nevertheless conviction.

On January 11, 2018 my client Razak Ali joined the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and 10 other "detainees" in asking the Court to step in and finally set them free. My client has never been charged with a crime and never will be. The sole reason my client has been detained all of these long years is that he was in a guest house where another man- a man my government wrongly thought was a member of al qaeda- came to stay a few short days before their arrest.
Below is the press release from the CCR and below that are links to several of the pleadings filed today:
On January 11, 2018, the Guantánamo Bay prison starts its 17th year. The prison has now spanned three administrations and five presidential terms. Forty-one men remain detained at Guantánamo. All but one has been imprisoned for more than a decade, and the overwhelming majority of prisoners have not been charged with any crime.
Donald Trump has already demonstrated his hostility towards Muslims and his impetuous policy-making in the name of national security with initiatives like the Muslim Ban. Trump has said he will not release any prisoners, and boasts that he will transfer new terror suspects to the island prison. Unlike previous administrations, which purported to base detentions on individualized determinations about national security, this is yet another example of a policy position based on little more than executive hubris and open animus.
On January 11, CCR and co-counsel filed the first major challenge to Trump’s Guantánamo policies, in federal court in Washington, DC. This collective filing is on behalf of nearly a dozen prisoners who are detained without charge, all for more than a decade. In this court filing, we argue that the petitioners’ perpetual detentions violate the Constitution and the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), and ask the court to intervene on behalf of the men who have been deemed “forever prisoners.”


Attachments 


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

And yes, the torture continues....

In recent weeks the U.N. special rapporteur on torture is still trying to get in to visit the men being held at Gitmo because the torture continues. My country (of course) continues to block the visit.

Read more here and here.

Monday, January 8, 2018

A few More events on the anniversary of the opening of Gitmo---

Washington, DC: Rally to Close Guantanamo and Stop Torture
WHEN: January 11, from 11:30 am to 1 pm
WHERE: Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C.
Human rights activists, torture survivors, Guantánamo attorneys, 9/11 family members, and members of diverse faith communities will gather to rally at Lafayette Square, at the north side of the White House, to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo Bay prison. The event will begin with an interfaith vigil, and the program will begin at noon. We’d love to see counsel turn out (with signs?!) in support. Looks like it’ll be a warm afternoon.

Washington, DC: Guantanamo Under Trump
WHEN: January 11th, 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
WHERE: New America, 740 15th St., NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20005
Andy Worthington – Karen Greenberg – Thomas B. Wilner – Moderated by Peter Bergen
“What will happen to the prison and its detainees in the remaining years of the Trump administration? Will Donald Trump reverse course and increase the number of detainees held there? Will the prison ever close?” RSVP on the New America website.

Boston: Interfaith Vigil to Close Guantánamo and Stop Torture
WHEN: January 11, 6:00 – 7:00 PM
WHERE: Phillips Brooks House, 1 Harvard Yard, Cambridge MA 

Manhasset, NY: Observance of a Week of Action to Close Guantanamo
WHEN: January 11 from 7:30 – 9:00 pm
WHERE: UU Congregation at Shelter Rock, 48 Shelter Rock Road, Manhasset.
Co-sponsored by the Reconstructionist Synagogue of the North Shore, the Islamic Center of Long Island, The Interfaith Institute of the Islamic Center of Long Island, and the Social Justice Committee of the UU Congregation at Shelter Rock.

New York City: Against a Forever Cage: 16th Anniversary of Indefinite Detention
WHEN: Thursday, January 11 from 5-6:30 pm
WHERE: Washington Square Park, under the Arch

Los Angeles: Close Guantanamo Now Rally
WHEN: January 11, Noon to 2 pm
WHERE: Downtown Los Angeles Federal Building at 300 N. Los Angeles St., Los Angeles, CA  90012

Seattle: “Guantanamo, Lawlessness, and the Myth of American Exceptionalism”, an evening with Jonathan Hafetz, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Center for Democracy
WHEN: January 11, 7-9 pm
WHERE: University of Washington Law School, Room 138; 4293 Memorial Way Northeast, Seattle, WA


Back to searching the men's groin areas....

Today when the men who have charges at the military commission were being brought to court they were subjected to searches of their genital area. This was a tactic the military used a few years ago to dissuade the men from seeing their attorneys. It was eventually stopped.

It is ridiculous to think that the men have anything hidde on their bodies- they are under constant surveillance. This is just another tactic to harass the men- and perhaps convince them to stay away from the military commission hearings.

You can read more here.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

January 11 2018 marks the beginning of 17 years of Guantanamo Detentions

Yes, 17 years. And there is no end in sight.
My own client will start his 17th year in June. We have gone through two completely hapless presidents- Bush and OBama -- and now we have a dangerous moron. I suggest to all of you that although it is easy to be complacent this is not the time. The new administration is trying to take the Guantanamo experiment one step further- to include citizens in the policy of indefinite detention without charge. Please stand up and be counted.

Here are some events over the Next Week in DC.
I will post more as I learn of more:

  
Tuesday, January 9th, 6:30 pm
UNJUSTIFIABLE MEANS BY MARK FALLON
Kramer Books, 1517 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036
“President Trump wants to bring back torture. This is why he’s wrong…In Unjustifiable Means, Fallon reveals this dark side of the United States government, which threw our own laws and international covenants aside to become a nation that tortured—sanctioned by the highest-ranking members of the Bush Administration, the Army, and the CIA, many of whom still hold government positions, although none have been held accountable.”  –kramers.com
Wednesday, January 10th, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
THERE IS A MAN UNDER THAT HOOD: CLOSING GUANTANAMO AND ENDING TORTURE
Impact Hub, 419 7th St., NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20004
PEACE POETS – ANDY WORTHINGTON – ALIYA HUSSAIN – BOOK LAUNCH
Sponsored by Witness Against Torture & Center for Constitutional Rights
Please join us for a performance, speakers, and book launch on the eve of our annual January 11 demonstrations against Guantanamo. The book — “There is a Man Under that Hood” — sets the words of Luke Nephew’s (Peace Poets) remarkable poem of that title to images of anti-torture demonstrations: photographs taken or curated by Justin Norman (WAT). The afterword is written by Omar Farah, Senior Staff Attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights.
 
Thursday, January 11th, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
RALLY TO CLOSE GUANTANAMO AND STOP TORTURE
White House, Lafayette Square, Washington, DC 20006
Hosted by a coalition of 15 organizations
Please join human rights activists, torture survivors, Guantánamo attorneys, 9-11 family members, ex-military officials, and members of diverse faith communities in Washington, D.C. on January 11, 2018, the 16th anniversary of the opening of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, as they rally to close the prison, end indefinite detention, dismantle Islamophobia, and call for the immediate transfer of the cleared detainees.
 
Thursday, January 11th, 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
GUANTANAMO UNDER TRUMP
New America, 740 15th St., NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20005
ANDY WORTHINGTON – KAREN GREENBERG – THOMAS B. WILNER – MODERATED BY PETER BERGEN
“What will happen to the prison and its detainees in the remaining years of the Trump administration? Will Donald Trump reverse course and increase the number of detainees held there? Will the prison ever close?”  –newamerica.org

2018 Fast for Justice
Witness Against Torture will be hosting activists for the entire week, Jan. 7 – 14, for its 2018 Fast for Justice.  Click here for the tentative schedule.  For RSVP or further information:  please email witnesstorture@gmail.com.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Time in Washington....

The Slippery Slope We Warned You About....

There are a lot of reasons why I and other attorneys decided to represent the men at Guantanamo. Foremost, to me anyway, was the fact that as an attorney I swore to uphold the constitution. The detention of the men at Guantanamo was an affront to our constitution. Another reason was that if we do not stop these illegal detentions of non-citizens eventually it will be applied to citizens.

For over three months a U.S. Citizen has been "detained" in Iraq without legal counsel and without charge. A judge held yesterday that this had to stop...finding the Trump administration's position both disingenuous and  troubling.

Read the rest here.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Dedicated Gitmo Attorneys...

There have been hundreds of us over the years. Here is a profile on one of the newer additions...

h/o to Don.

Secretary of defense visits Gitmo

You wouldn't think this would be news but it is the first visit by a secretary of defense since January 2002- when Rumsfeld went to the base after the first "war on terror" detainees began arriving. sigh.

Read more here.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The men Obama left behind.

One of the more disgusting aspects of the trump administration (in regards to Gitmo) are the men who were set to be released but bureaucratic reasons kept them from being released under Obama leaving them at the mercy of the trump administration...

More here.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Human Rights Interlude continues

Human Rights Musical Interlude