Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A dissappointing Book....

It has taken me a long time to get around to writing about this book. Let me start out by saying that I have great respect for both authors. The importance of John Kiriakou's whistleblowing on the torture program cannot be over stated- and the Obama administration's treatment of this hero is a shameful example of that administrations ineptitude. Joseph Hickman's exposure of the murders/cover-up at Guantanamo (described in his book Murder at Camp Delta) is a detailed investigation into the deaths of three men at Guantanamo- an expose that was promptly ignored by the corporate media, the politicians in this country of mine and of course the public- the book is a must read for anyone interested in our gulag known as Guantanamo.
Both men are heroes in their own right.

So why did they write this book? "The Convenient Terrorist" is about Zain Abidin Mohammed Husain, a man known in our press as Abu Zubaydah. [I am purposely not linking to the book- if you want to read it you will have to find it yourself!] I cannot answer that question- I can only say that these authors lacked information that would have been important in telling the complete story of Abu Zubaydah--it is information the authors probably did not know or could not say-- because it is "classified." However, that is the very reason why this book should not have been written--it is not a complete and accurate portrayal of the story surrounding Abu Zubahdah. The details that are left out not only paint a much more damning light on the whole capture of Abu Zubahdah but also miss out on painting a much more accurate and sympathetic look at the man himself. Those details and Abu Zubahdah's story must wait until this country of mine declassifies everything- and I mean everything.

Some of you may recall that I have written about Abu Zubaydah many times on this blog. Most recently last year when the judge in his federal case cowardly and shamefully refused to allow the man to have a habeas hearing.If anyone is the poster child for my country's travesty, known at Guantanamo, it would be Abu Zubaydah. The reason I have written about Abu Zubaydah so often on this blog, and the reason I am so critical of this book, is because Abu Zubaydah is a man I know a lot about. My own client-Saeed Bakhouche (also known as Razak Ali) was arrested in the same house where Abu Zubaydah was staying when they and every other Arab in the house was arrested (the non Arabs were promptly released). My client is on the "forever list" (never to be charged with a crime and never to be set free) because he is Arab and was in the same guesthouse as Abu Zubaydah (keep this in mind when you stay at an airbnb- you too could be held responsible for being associated with someone you do not know). [However, even my client was allowed a habeas hearing- even though it was a sham, complete with some of the most rank malfeasance by defense counsel, in this case DOJ, that I have ever seen or read about- and trust me I have seen quite a lot.] Because of my client I have spent a great deal of time researching Abu Zubaydah- to show the courts that not only should my own client be released- but the man that my government and military have used as an excuse to hold my client (and many others) is also not what he has been portrayed to be. But all of that information is classified. I cannot correct the mistakes in this book because I am subject to a court order protecting that information from the public.

The details that have emerged over time have not mattered to the courts and I must say that the title of the book is a very accurate title- Abu Zubaydah was and is- the convenient terrorist. My country needed, and apparently continues to need, scary people to justify our wars against Muslims.  Unfortuantely this book perpetuates many of those myths.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017

September 11 2017- and it continues.

I wonder if my remaining client at Gitmo would not have been happy to just have hurricane Irma blow the place away and put an end to the endlessness. But alas, word has it that all have survived at the gulag.

As I do every September 11th, I turn this over to my friend The Talking Dog- a person who was actually closer to the New York devastation than most of us- to put all of this in perspective.

Read was he has to say here.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

From Our Friends Down Under at Justinian...

*   *   *
The CIA's rendition plane. Yours for $27.5m
For those wanting to own a piece of history, the infamous aircraft N313P, one of the planes used for CIA torture renditions, was recently put on sale for $27.5 million. N313P ferried torture victims to US vassal states such as Poland and human rights violators like Uzbekistan, Egypt and Libya.
Neither the US government nor American courts have provided any civil remedy for the victims of such CIA operations, and both the Bush and Obama administrations invoked the state secrets doctrine - along with other shameful ruses - to block any recovery of damages by those affected.
Except for a settlement some Abu Ghraib abuse victims obtained from the US government contractor L-3 Services (and others may possibly achieve in a pending suit against the contractor CACI International), victims of US abduction and torture have only received compensation from a few of the accomplices such as Macedonia and Poland, through claims in the European Court of Human Rights.
A new avenue has now opened up, however, through which the CIA could be indirectly obliged to pay compensation, even though the former head of the CIA's Thai torture camp, Gina Haspel, is now the top official at the agency. 
CIA torture gurus: Jessen & Mitchell
When we last visited Ms Haspel (see March Fitch), she'd been evading a deposition in Salim v Mitchell, the lawsuit brought by two CIA-tortured men and the family of a third who was tortured to death (the depositions of other CIA identities were successfully taken).  
Venue for the civil damages suit lay in the progressive enclave of Washington state, due to the Spokane residency of the defendants, the CIA's contract "psychologists" James Mitchelland Bruce Jessen, who designed and implemented the (shudder) "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques" used by the CIA.
While these plaintiffs were tortured at Bagram, in Afghanistan, Mitchell and Jessen began their highly unethical experiments on Gina Haspel's turf in Thailand, with the very first man tortured by the CIA, Abu Zubaydah, as their guinea pig.  
The psychologists relied on worthless "legal" authorisations they received, some from the odious Stephen Bradbury, now Trump's General Counsel at the Transportation Department (see June Fitch). 
Thanks in part to the stubborn persistence of a long-serving federal judge, the crusty 88-year-old Justin Quackenbush, the case of Salim v Mitchell was set for trial in September, after the judge refused the defendants' motions for summary judgment.
Unmoved by the defendants' startling reliance on the Nazi-era acquittal of a gas technician for Zyklon-B, the judge ruled that the Alien Tort Statute was applicable to the charges, including torture, involuntary human experimentation and war crimes.  
The psychologists quickly settled, more here and here.  

Quackenbush: opened up settlements against the CIA
The settlement against Mitchell and Jessen suggests that other men (the Feinstein Report lists over 100),  tortured by the CIA under the psychologists' protocols, could receive compensation at the expense of the agency.  
How? The psychologists wisely obtained an indemnity from the CIA, now activated by settlement of the initial case against them.
As promised, the Trump administration has now returned all copies of the Senate's full 6,700-page Feinstein Report to the Senate in the hope that the "torture report" will be undiscoverable in civil or criminal litigation. 
*   *   *
In June, the five defendants in the Guantánamo "9/ll" military commission appealed a decision of the Court of Military Commission Review that had reinstated dismissed chargesfor which limitations had run. Lawfare had more on this order and the al Qosi order, below.
The 9/11 men appealed on grounds that included a claim that one of the CMCR judges should have recused himself, and the DC court of appeals, agreeing, reversed. More here from Steve Vladeck
In the other order, the renegade CMCR remanded the al Qosi appeal to the commission with an odd sua sponte direction to determine whether the now freed "convict" might have since re-offended (i.e. become an "enemy combatant"), as indeed it appears he has, and implied his post-release conduct might affect his appeal. There was no statutory basis for the direction, and surely, post-conviction behaviour is irrelevant. 
At the pretrial hearings at another of Guantanamo's farcical military commissions - that of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the government's own witness, Ahmed al Darbi, has been testifying about the depraved treatment he received at the hands of his US interrogators. 
The prosecution must have reasoned this would lessen the effect such damning testimony would have if obtained in cross-examination. Al-Nashiri, it will be recalled, is on trial for sundry fake "war crimes" - offences not committed in a time, or a place, of war - trivial matters to the Pentagon. 
Judge Pohl: allowed prosecution to destroy protected evidence
The 9/11 defence lawyers are asking that the presiding judge, Col James L Pohl withdraw from the case, based on the secret, ex parte permission he gave to the prosecution to destroy evidence that was under a protective court order. 
In the meantime, the 9/11 prosecutors are diabolically claiming that Judge Pohl can't read the defence brief, for "security" reasons.  
The lead defendant, Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, responded:
"I'm used to the idea that they can kill me based on things I can't see. But now it seems they want to kill me based on things the judge can't see."  
Franz Kafka was, after all, a lawyer. 

Read the rest here.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

CIA psychologist abusers reach settlment...

The ACLU sued the two main psychologists who were involved in torturing men at Guantanamo. The suit has been pending with many important victories along the way- (I have been meaning to do an update on the lawsuit but was too busy)- today that lawsuit was settled.

"The lawsuit was filed in 2015 on behalf of Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud and the estate of Gul Rahman. It sought unspecified monetary damages from the psychologists, whose company was based in Spokane.
Rahman, an Afghan, was taken from his home in Pakistan in 2002 to a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan. He died of hypothermia several weeks later after being shackled to a floor in near freezing conditions.
According to the lawsuit, Salim and Ben Soud both were subjected to waterboarding, daily beatings and sleep deprivation while inside CIA secret prisons. Salim, a Tanzanian, and Ben Soud, a Libyan, were later released after officials determined they posed no threat."


READ MORE HERE....

THANKS ONCE AGAIN TO THE ACLU FOR FIGHTING FOR THE RULE OF LAW IN MY COUNTRY--- WHERE THE RULE OF LAW IS QUICKLY EVAPORATING.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

From Our Friends Down Under...



Khadr: 10 years at Guantanamo on a bizarre murder charge
The Canadian government has paid former Guantanamero Omar Khadr compensation of $10.5 million for its violation of his rights, and apologised
Some media were mystified by the mean-spirited reaction of Canadian citizens to the Khadr payout and apology. It was hardly unprecedented: a Toronto paper cited Australia's (apology-free)  settlement with Mamdouh Habib.
The best exposition of Khadr's case can be found in a 2013 video presentation by his Pentagon-appointed appellate counsel, Sam Morison. In 2017, Fitch found only one Canadian report that acknowledged the elephant in the room, the bizarre murder charge against a combatant legally responding to an attack: 
"Under the laws of war, a combatant who kills another combatant cannot be charged with murder. That's called combatant immunity. Non-combatants who kill a combatant can be charged with murder, and they are entitled to the procedural protections owed to a criminal accused. Mr Khadr was treated neither as a combatant nor as an accused criminal. Instead, the United States invented a new war crime called "murder by an unlawful alien enemy combatant". 
The new offence made it lawful for US soldiers to kill Mr Khadr, but made it a war crime if he killed a US soldier. This ersatz war crime was invented by the United States after his capture and then applied to his actions retroactively. No system governed by the rule of law does this." 
The widow of the US soldier who, even if Omar Khadr threw the grenade, was legally killed, has lost her suit to freeze the compensation payout pending a proceeding to enforce a default Utah judgment for $US 134 million. 


*   *   *
READ THE REST HERE

Monday, July 24, 2017

A break from our usual programing to give you this news bulletin.......


Friday, July 7, 2017

Freedom to get back to torturing....

At Guantanamo this past week there was a celebration over the 4th of july weekend- and it seems they celebrated by bringing in one of the bands whose music was used to torture detainees. I guess this makes it official- the gloves are off again.

Read more here.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Some countries actually apologize for their misdeeds....UPDATED

Not the US of course.
But it seems Canada is preparing to apologize and pay a settlment to Omar Khadr for it's role in the detention of Mr. Khadr at Guantanamo for 10 years. The Canadian government also held Mr. Khadr in a Canadian prison for several years and then under house arrest. Khadr was 15 years old when he was captured by the US. There has never been any real evidence that the child was engaged in any combat but of course we here in the US like to blame people without evidence. However, even if he was engaged in combat he was still a child and we actually have rules for dealing with children in combat situations.... Ahhh, but who needs damn rules.

But anyway, not to be outdone, the widow of a man killed at the time Khadr was captured is sueing him to collect any monies he gets in the settlment. They of course wont get any of Khadr's money but that is not stopping them from suing him.

Read more here.

Seems that the deal is done and Mr. Khadr will finally be compensated for Canada's complicity in his torture. Now if only my country would start paying those it tortured.
Read the update from Intercept here.

unknown individuals unintentionally listened to GITMO attorney/client meetings

Well of course both of those things cannot be true- if we don't know who did it how can anyone say it was unintentional. The farce continues....

Read the latest on the surveillance by the military/ spy agencies on attorney/client meetings at Guantanamo here.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Let me pretend to be optimistic....

And the 4th continues....

The 4th in the time of trump....

Monday, July 3, 2017

Happy 4th.... i guess.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

From our Friends Down Under at Justinian.....

It's bad enough that Gina Haspel, ex-commandant of the CIA's Thai torture camp, is the agency's new chief (although she is currently at risk of German arrest). Sadly, a leading member of the "dirty dozen" - the torture-counselling lawyers who greased the way for Gina's torture regime - will be general counsel at the Department of Transportation.  
Stephen Bradbury is arguably the most culpable of all George Bush's "torture memo" men.  


Roger Fitch has much more to say about my corrupt government..... read the rest here.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

This is not good.....UPDATED

As my friend The Talking Dog points out in this updated post- we cannot look away for even a moment. These are dangerous times in this here U.S. of A .--with the lunatic at the helm.

Friday, June 23, 2017

And speaking of torture......

OK- so I wasn't speaking of torture (this time) but I am now.... It seems we just can't stop doing the torture thing. Now it is Yemen, and it sounds like alot of the same things that went on at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and a miriad of other places that we invaded and tortured men and women.

Read more here.

ILLEGAL RECORDINGS OF ATTORNEY CLIENT MEETINGS APPARENTLY CONTINUE

This has long been a concern to those of us who are representing men at Guantanamo- is the military/government listening to our conversations with our clients? There are very few rights that our clients have- they cannot see the evidence against them (if it is classified); they cannot confront witnesses; they cannot participate in their habeas hearings; even our fucking notes from meeting with our clients are reviewed. But at least we can pick and choose what to put in our notes and we were promised (sigh) that our conversations would not be recorded. In fact, it wasn't just a naive dream that the government would not listen in to our conversations, the promise was recorded in a court order. Ahh, but as I learned during my very first visit to Guantanamo almost eleven years ago to the day- "Court orders don't work here--- we consider those advisory."

So it seems the military apparently decided not to take the "advice" of the judges. Will the judges do anything about this?
Probably not- I mean why would the judges in DC start caring about this sort of thing at this point??

Read more here.

Monday, June 12, 2017

NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS....

So far nothing has changed at Guantanamo under Trump- except one major change-- no one is leaving.
Carol Rosenberg updates us on her take of things at our Gulag under Trump...

Read about it here.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Friday, June 2, 2017

PRESIDENTIAL COPIES OF TORTURE REPORT BEING GIVEN BACK TO THE SENATE

It is looking more and more like the full Ttorture Report will never see the light of day... Several copies of the report were in the hands of Obama but of course he never sought the public release of the report. Now the Trump people are giving the copies of the report back to the republican held senate. You can bet those will be locked away forever....
You can read more here.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day 2017

Friday, May 19, 2017

Saturday, May 13, 2017

My Tinpot leader...

As my good friend The Talking Dog said to me the other day "...we are condemned to live in interesting times." Indeed we are. I naively thought that Guantanamo would be the grand symbol of the demise of our democracy but truth be told we should never under estimate the American people. 
Read More from The Talking Dog and follow his rant:

I'm coming into the party a bit late, so I'll jump in with this piece noting that top Congressional Democrats are calling for a report on Jeff Sessions role in the clusterfuck known as the Jim Comey firing. Thing is, right now we not only have Dick Nixon, without the brains or experience, but on coke, in the Oval Office, but an entire party of treasonous enablers whose sole concern is that they can get right wing judges and policies and more tax cuts for the rich. They (Paul and Mitch, and your committee chairmen, I mean YOU) don't give two shits about the fact that a hostile foreign power has undertaken to interfere in the entire gigantic project known as democracy in the West, through the simple expedient of computer hacking and other activity designed to selectively disrupt elections (though, fortunately, so far at least, only English speaking countries have been stupid enough to actually fall for it.)
And so here we are. This President, thus far, has sacked three high profile officials (former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara and now former FBI Director James Comey) whose portfolios included investigation of his own campaign, its officials (including presumably himself) and their involvement- up to and including deliberate collusion- with Russia and its operatives in order to at least disrupt and quite possibly to change the outcome of the recent national election. And Comey was ignominiously sacked for made up cause, notwithstanding that Comey's own actions probably handed Trump the presidency.Even still it seems, Comey was taken aback by a demand for a pledge of personal loyalty, not to the Constitution, but to der Führer. The relevant movie, it seems, not being All the President's Men, but simply, The Godfather, as nothing short of kissing the Don's (funny that) ring would suffice.

WTF indeed---- THE REST IS HERE.

Want to follow the dog? His tweet is here.

And for more on the Tinpot Leader go to Intercept here.

And for you young kids, "What is a tinpot dictator?" According to wikipedia
  1. An autocratic ruler with little political credibility, but with self-delusions of grandeur.

Monday, May 8, 2017

More on Life After Guantanamo....

Now a look at the men who were from Russia but left Russia because of persecution....
Read their story here.

Monday, May 1, 2017

100 days of Trump at Guantanamo's Helm....

Nothing good has happened to the 41 men still being held at Guantanamo.... but I guess the good news is that nothing worse has happened to those men. It is status quo. I for one do not know how those men can maintain anything like a sense of sanity with the lunatic in the white house.

Truthout has more on the first 100 days of Trump and Guantanamo here.

Gitmo by the numbers....

As per the last update on March 8, no new positive decisions, the PRB has:

  • declined to grant new hearings on file review to two detainees (ISNs 708, 1460).
  • conducted full second hearings for Saifullah Paracha (ISN 1094) on March 21 and for Haroon al Afghani (ISN 3148) on March 28.
  • conducted initial file reviews for six detainees (ISNs 1456, 1461, 10016, 10019, 10023, 10029).
  • conducted a second file review for one detainee (ISN 569).

The prison population remains at 41:

  • 5 are cleared, 26 are awaiting clearance, and 10 are in the military commission system (of those, 7 are in “active” “trial” proceedings while 3 have been “convicted”).

    • Of the 5 cleared, 1 (20.0%) is a Yemeni and 4 are non-Yemenis. 
    • Of the 26 awaiting clearance, 10 (38.5%) are Yemenis and 16 are non-Yemenis.
    • Of the 10 in the military commission system, 3 (30.0%) are Yemenis and 7 are non-Yemenis.

PRB Data

The PRB has approved for transfer 38 of the 64 detainees for whom it has issued decisions (59.4%).

  • 38 detainees have been cleared.  36 of these men have been released; 2 remain. 
    • 31 detainees were cleared after a first hearing.
      • 29 have been released; 2 remain.
    •   7 detainees were denied after a first hearing, granted a second hearing via file review, and cleared after the second hearing.
      • All 7 have been released.
  • 26 detainees were denied clearance and are in the file review/second hearing process.
    •   4 detainees are awaiting decision on a second full hearing (ISNs 1017, 1094, 1457, 3148).
    •   1 detainee is awaiting decision on a second file review (ISN 569).
    •   9 detainees are awaiting decision on initial file review (ISNs 1456, 1461, 10016, 10017, 10019, 10021, 10022, 10023, 10029).
    •   3 detainees were denied after a second full hearing, and are awaiting further file review (ISNs 27, 28, 841).
    •   1 detainee is awaiting a fourth file review (ISN 242).
    •   8 detainees are awaiting a second file review (ISNs 63, 682, 685, 708, 1460, 1453, 1463, 10025).


For more details, see the PRB web pages tracking detainees’ initial hearings, file reviews, and second hearings.

h/o to fellow Gitmo attorney Brian Foster for keeping track of all of this.

Friday, April 21, 2017

AND WHAT ABOUT THAT DETAINEE LIBRARY???

For many years I tried to explore the so-called "35,000 library books" for the detainees. One funny thing is that the number has not changed over the last 7 or 8 years, despite the fact that books are regularly donated to the library. The other funny thing is that the books are not generally available to the men. Although my information is a little out dated it still appears that a small number of books are rotated through to the men. If I send a book I can notify my client and he can ask for it. But if I don't notify him he of course will not know the book and will not see the book.
And the standards for what books can be made available at the "detainee library" are crazy. We can't have the men reading "The Gulag Archipelago"  (too much similarity to the soviet system) or "The Trial"- (again too many parallels to our system which allows the men to be held for unknown crimes.)
But it is quite OK to have the Harry Potter series.

Well anyway, someone has tried to figure out the warped and secretive library for the men at Guantanamo. You can read about it here. And maybe the books that make it to the library pass this test "the library only allowed materials that were “culturally sensitive, non-extremist in nature, and generally non-controversial.”

But mostly it seems that the people doing figuring out which books the men can read and which are too "controversial"... havent read the books themselves.

Medical perils for Gitmo Attorneys

I reported on this last year- a number of the attorneys working on the commission cases have been diagnosed with cancer- three have died. It seems that the location of the housing and offices for the attorneys is in close proximity to a toxic waste dump.
Now several of the attorneys have sued. You can read about the lawsuit here and review the complaint here.

The military has refused to do a legitimate study of the contaminated area because- the military like my president- doesn't make mistakes and should not be questioned.

No one should have to risk their life while representing these men.

Friday, March 31, 2017

TALKING DOG INTERVIEWS JEFF KAYE

Earlier this week I posted a review of Jeffery Kaye's book "Cover-up at Guantanamo." Now the talking dog has interviewed Jeff.

read the interview here.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

A MUST READ...

Jeffrey Kaye is a psychologist in private practice in California. . Over the years our paths have crossed as he investigated and wrote about Guantanamo- torture and interrogation abuses. Now he has a book out- which you can get as an ebook or in paper: "Cover up at Guantanamo: The NCIS investigation into the "suicides" of Mohammed Al Hanashi and Abdul Rahman Al Amri."

The book is as riveting as it is disturbing. Many of us have looked into the questionable deaths of the three men that died together in 2006 but sparse attention has been paid to these two men. Now with Jeff's book their deaths raise more questions than answers-- and as usual with the military-- the cover up runs deep. We will probably never know the full story surrounding any of these deaths but it is not for Jeff's lack of trying.

You can read more about the book at Guantanamotruth.com which also has many of the underlying documents that Jeff uncovered.

You can also visit Jeff's Blog: Invictus

You can order the book here.

 As we monitor the new war crimes by our current lunatic in the white house we cannot lose focus of the war crimes that preceded him.

My thanks to Jeff for sticking with this investigation and helping to spread the truth.

Friday, March 24, 2017

GORSUCH DOESN'T LIKE ME AND 'MY KIND'

It seems that Trumps new supreme court nominee doesn't like alot of things about the attorneys who stepped to the plate to represent the men at Guantanamo- not only did he disparage us back when we started our representation in the 2004-1005 time period- but he claimed that we were engaged in a campaign of fabricating abuse and torture. He apologized this week for some of the comments that he made... but not all of them. He has not apologized for his comments claiming that we (the attorneys representing the men at Gitmo) were fabricating the abuse and torture of our clients. I guess that is not too surprising given his role in both the abuse and torture of those men but he is certainly not a man that I want to see in the supreme court.
Read more here.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Gitmo Petition in the Supreme Court

One of the men who has long been before the military commission has filed a Petition with the Supreme Court asking to have his case moved to the federal court system -- for many reasons-- including the torture he was subjected to over the years while in CIA and military custody.

This article explains the Petition and also links to the actual documents- some of the documents are redacted but the Petition itself seems to be fairly readable.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Trumps Supreme Court Nominee....

Just in case anyone really thought that Trump made a mistake and appointed someone who would be fair and just.... Read this.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

TRUMP SPEAKS....

Or I guess more accurately-- Trump Tweets....
Up until now Trump has been pretty quiet about Guantanamo. That ended in the wee hours of the morning today.

"  122 vicious prisoners, released by the Obama Administration from Gitmo, have returned to the battlefield. Just another terrible decision! "

So where does one start when you are dealing with a lunatic? I guess with the facts.

First, the total number of men released by the Obama administration is 161. For Trump to suggest that 80% of the men released by Obama have "returned" to the battlefield is ludicrous.

Second, 96% of the men held at Guantanamo were never on a battlefield.

Finally (for now- because I will get back to this) what my military considers to be the "battlefield" is an ever expanding view- men who publicly condemn and protest my government and its policies are considered to be on the battlefield. The battlefield is public opinion.

Trump is a dangerous person but unfortunately he is not the only dangerous person in this here country of mine. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Torture Summay in Graphic Novel...

The 2014 torture report (summary) released by the Senate Intelligence Committee is a 500-plus-page denunciation of the CIA’s use of EITs, or enhanced interrogation techniques, during George W. Bush’s presidency. Now Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón, the pair behind the best-selling graphic novel adaptation of the 9/11 Commission Report, have illustrated the torture memo in powerful, disturbing detail. Here’s an excerpt from their haunting book.
Take a look here.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Could one of the remaining Algerians be on his way home?

There are two Algerians still at Guantanamo- one is Mr. Barhoumi who was cleared for release and set to be sent home but unfortunately the Obama administration couldn't get their collective act together prior to the end of Obama's administration. The other is my client. Both were arrested the same day at the same guesthouse. Mr. Barhoumi was cleared for release but my client was not. The answer to the question as to why my client was not cleared would require the reading of tea leaves or maybe a ouiji board. Neither man had any ties to any terrorist activity or organization. Both were held all of these years because they were staying at the same guest house in Pakistan where another individual- a person our government thought (incorrectly) was a terrorist- was also staying. (makes you want to check the guestlist when staying at B&Bs!) Anyway, there are rumors that the Algerian government is in talks about one of the two men- if I were to guess I would guess Barhoumi since he has been cleared...but I can always hope maybe my client is being discussed too!

More here.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

LIFE AFTER GUANTANAMO

I read with sorrow the life of Hedi Hammami- a Tunisian that was held in Guantanamo for 8 years before being released to the country of Georgia in 2010. Mr. Hammami and my client Al-Ghizzawi were released to Georgia at the same time- there was also a third man released to Georgia at the same time. I met the other two men when I went to visit my own client in the days following their release. All of them were hopeful they could get their lives back together and the country of Georgia was a very gracious host but none of the men felt comfortable in that country. I think my client lasted the longest- 4 years. Hedi left for Tunisia first- about a year and a half after his release to Georgia and the third man left for his home country shortly after Hedi.

The New York Times has a follow up on the struggles of Mr. Hammami in Tunisia.
Read the story here.

Friday, February 17, 2017

ON STRIKE

NEW YORK—The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) is organizing a day of action for the legal community to express our solidarity with the growing movements against the new regime and its white supremacist agenda. On February 17 at 1 PM EST, lawyers, legal workers, law students, and law professors will gather in front of courthouses across the country in coordination with the nationwide #GeneralStrike planned for the same day.
“We are facing unprecedented attacks on our most fundamental human rights and are seeing the unfolding of authoritarianism before our eyes. The legal community has no choice but to show up, to defend our communities and to fight back by holding our institutions accountable,” said NLG President and LatinoJustice PRLDEF Associate Counsel Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan.
In the three weeks since Donald Trump has taken office, we have seen a flurry of executive orders targeting immigrants and intensifying law enforcement; racist, unqualified millionaires appointed to the nation’s highest positions; assaults on the press, and “alternative facts” presented as truth. However, we have also witnessed communities engaging in profound organizing and direct action—from the streets to airports and schools—to reject the current administration and disrupt business as usual. On February 17, we’re taking the resistance to courthouses.
“It is crucial for the legal community to come together to provide support for resistance movements against the current administration. We must fight back against the legitimization of racial and religious bigotry, xenophobia, Islamophobia and misogyny that violate the core principles of democracy,” said NLG Executive Director Pooja Gehi.

Monday, February 13, 2017

UGH......

Well as we welcome the 4th week of the Trump presidency I guess the only question is, Why did this take so long?

"Eleven Republican senators are calling on President Donald Trump to expand the use of the Guantanamo Bay prison facility.
The group, led by Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas, is also urging the new administration to suspend the review board set up by the Obama administration to approve prisoner transfers out of the facility.
"We want to express our support for maintaining and expanding the utilization of the detention facility during your administration by detaining current and future enemy combatants who pose a threat to our national security," the senators write."

Read the rest here.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Rumor has it that Trump is readying a new executive order....

And that the executive order is about his plans for Guantanamo, and like everything else he has done this is not good!

We will have to wait to see but reportedly his plan is to start sending ISIS prisoners to Gitmo so he can torture them and learn "information."

I blame Obama for not holding any of the war criminals accountable thereby leaving the door open for the next criminal president-- Trump.

Andy Worthington has more on the executive order here.

Friday, February 3, 2017

STILL AT A LOSS...

as to what to do. I mean fuck he has only been president for two weeks and look at this mess.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Presidential score card....

My friend thetalkingdog is trying to keep track of the lunatic... but face it, this is a difficult task.

Oh, I don't twitter but you might want to keep track of this twitter account:


Oh my....

Seems the CIA has named its first female CIA officer to be a deputy chief. Is this how we want to shatter that glass ceiling??  Seems she once ran a CIA prison in Thailand where the prisoners were waterboarded. Oh and she also helped to destroy the video tapes of the waterboarding  after a court order to preserve the tapes. I guess she is the perfect choice for trumps CIA.


Read more here.

From Our Friends Down Under at Justinian


From Roger Fitch.... *   *   *
Gitmo: 41 left
January 11th marked the 15th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo Bay prison and, in the parallel universe that is Gitmo, it seemed perfectly natural that two men held in mistaken identity were among the last of the men released by the Obama administration. One of these was the only one still held who had been captured by Americans on a battlefield.
The final Gitmo transfers began in late December and continued right up to Obama's last day in office
The final count as the clock ran out on 20 January was 41 prisoners; the cost of maintaining them now works out to $US 10.85 million each per year.  
The Post reported on the five men cleared for release who were still at Guantánamo when the Obama administration expired. There were last minute court challenges in Washington on behalf of two of those stranded, but both (here and here) were unsuccessful.    
Among those released on the last day was the only remaining European prisoner, Ravil Mingazov.  
Mingazov is the former Russian ballet dancer-soldier that Fitch once paired for exchange with the US ballet-dancing soldier Bowe Bergdahl. Rejecting Fitch's advice, the Pentagon exchanged five other Guantanameros for Bergdahl, who now faces a court martial for desertion in Afghanistan.
Bergdahl is currently seeking dismissal of the charges in light of the highly prejudicial comments on his case made by the new commander-in-chief - unless the 25th Amendment facilitates another person playing that role. 

Read the rest of this here -- including a comprehesive look at my new president.



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dark Times in the good ole U.S. of A--UPDATED

It is hard to keep track of all of the things that trump is doing- which I guess is part of his point. Anyway, as EmptyWheel has pointed out- Trump fulfilled another campaign promise on Sunday- he killed the 8 year old American daughter of Anwar al-Awaki (Obama killed American al-Awaki in 2011 and then two weeks later killed his 16 year old (American) son). I wrote about those killings by Obama here.

On the campaign trail Trump promised to go after the families of terrorists and so he has lived up to that promise...even though this particular  "terrorist" was already dead for more than five years by the time Trump got around to killing his 8 year old daughter. I wonder if it is as meaningful to kill the 8 year old daughter of an accused terrorist when her father is long dead?  Maybe someone can ask Trump?

Read the rest here.

By the way- I mention that these murders were of Americans not because I believe that American lives have more worth but there was a time when in this here country of mine the President couldn't just kill it's citizens without some kind of process. We have long killed those in other countries without any kind of process but Bush, Obama and now Trump have approved the killing of Americans too. No one is off limits anymore. Trump of course is the first of these presidents to pledge to kill the families of "terrorists." so I guess that sets a new standard.

Update: The military is now throwing Trump under the bus, "U.S. military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations."

Read More Here.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Trump and Gitmo, Torture and Black Sites.....

Trump is a dangerous lunatic and he is proving just how dangerous he is with his statements concerning torture, the men who are still at Guantanamo, and his attempts to resurrect the "black sites."  Right now it is uncertain whether the Trump administration will continue with the periodic reviews of the men still being held (without ever having been charged with any crime). The word right now is that the reviews are being halted- at least for a time. But no official word has come out.

So, as I sit and wait to hear whether my client will even have a chance of getting out of there, I leave you with this statement from the Center for Constitutional Rights:

January 25, 2017, New York – In response to news reports about a new executive order concerning Guantanamo and the CIA torture program, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:

We have fought to close Guantanamo Bay and to end torture there since the prison was established in 2002.  We will continue to fight for the men held there today, and anyone who may be brought there in the future, regardless of who is president.  We will not stop until the prison is closed.

The suspension of all transfers from Guantanamo would place the U.S. in violation of the Geneva Conventions.  As Navy Admiral Patrick Walsh concluded in 2009, transfers must continue in order for the U.S. to comply with Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.  

The suspension of transfers pending further review by the Trump administration is also unnecessary.  A comprehensive review process already exists, approving detainees for transfer only by consensus of all relevant military, intelligence and law enforcement agencies.  Second-guessing transfers approved through that rigorous inter-agency process serves no security purpose, but would impose punitive, indefinite delays in the release of detainees, many of whom have already endured fifteen years of imprisonment without charge or trial.

The Center for Constitutional Rights also reminds the administration and members of Congress that torture is absolutely prohibited in all circumstances by U.S. and international law, including the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture.  The United States cannot legalize torture by enacting or repealing its laws.


This statement is available online here.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Gitmo by the Numbers...

The final report of the Gitmo numbers from the Obama administration:

The prison population now stands at 41:

  • 5 are cleared, 26 are awaiting clearance, and 10 are in the military commission system (of those, 7 are in “active” “trial” proceedings while 3 have been “convicted”).

    • Of the 5 cleared, 1 (20.0%) is a Yemeni and 4 are non-Yemenis. 
    • Of the 26 awaiting clearance, 10 (38.5%) are Yemenis and 16 are non-Yemenis.
    • Of the 10 in the military commission system, 3 (30.0%) are Yemenis and 7 are non-Yemenis.


PRB Data

The PRB has approved for transfer 38 of the 64 detainees for whom it has issued decisions (59.4%).

  • 38 detainees were cleared.  36 of these men have been released; 2 remain.  (See “Cleared Detainee Data” below for details.)
    • 31 detainees were cleared after a first hearing.
      • 29 have been released; 2 remain.
    •   7 detainees were denied after a first hearing, granted a second hearing via file review, and cleared after the second hearing.
      • All 7 have been released.
  • 26 detainees were denied clearance and are in the file review/second hearing process.
    •   1 detainees was denied after a first hearing, was granted a second hearing via file review, and is awaiting decision from the second hearing (ISN 27).
    •   3 detainees were denied after a first hearing, were granted a second hearing via file review, and are awaiting the second hearing (ISNs 1017, 1094, 1457).
    •   4 detainees were denied after a first hearing, have received initial file review, and are awaiting decision (ISNs 63, 685, 1463, 3148).
    •   2 detainees were denied after a second hearing, and are awaiting file review (ISNs 28, 841).
    •   1 detainee was denied after a first hearing, was denied after a third file review, and is awaiting a fourth file review (ISN 242).
    •   1 detainee was denied after a first hearing, was denied after a first file review, and is awaiting a second file review, which has been scheduled (ISN 569).
    •   2 detainee were denied after a first hearing, were denied after a first file review, and are awaiting a second file review (ISNs 1453, 10025).
    •   3 detainees were denied after a first hearing and are awaiting initial file reviews, which have been scheduled (ISNs 682, 708, 1460).
    •   9 detainees were denied after a first hearing and are awaiting initial file reviews (ISNs 1456, 1461, 10016, 10017, 10019, 10021, 10022, 10023, 10029).

For more details, see the PRB web pages tracking detainees’ initial hearings, file reviews, and second hearings.


Cleared Detainee Data

3 of the 5 cleared detainees remaining at the base were cleared by the Obama Task Force.  The other 2 were cleared by the PRB:

  •  1 is a Yemeni approved for “conditional detention” by the Obama Task Force (Tawfiq al Bihani, ISN 893)
  •  2 are non-Yemenis approved for transfer by the Obama Task Force (ISNs 38 (Ridah bin Aleh al Yazidi, Tunisia), 309 (Mjuayn al-Din Jamal al-Din Abd al Fadhil Abd al Sattar, unknown/UAE))
  •  2 are non-Yemenis approved for transfer after a first PRB hearing* (ISNs 244 (Abdul Latif Nassir, Morocco), 694 (Sufyian Barhoumi, Algeria))

*Barhoumi was previously referred for prosecution by the Obama Task Force.  Nassir was slated for indefinite detention.


H/O to fellow Gitmo lawyer Brian Foster for keeping track of all of this.