Wednesday, March 22, 2023

false rumor....

 but hope dies last. 

Monday, March 20, 2023



another detainee released--- again, not my client.

I have been a little distracted and did not report it when it happened but another detainee was released on March 7th or 8th. Like my client Mr. al Sharbi has been held for over 21 years without any charges ever being filed against him.

U.S. Military Repatriates Saudi Engineer From Guantánamo Bay

Ghassan al-Sharbi had been held by U.S. forces for more than two decades without trial. Prosecutors abandoned early efforts to charge him.

Carol Rosenberg at the NYT 

has more here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian.


The morning after

The trickle down judiciary ... Novel legal theories the order of the day ... No precedents required ... Trump's debauchery of the courts is coming home to roost ... Forum shopping for "Trump judges" ... Gilead fermenting ... High noon for the Murdochs ... DeSantis' torture taint ... Roger Fitch's Letter from Washington 

Washington is pretty quiet. The supreme court has not announced any major mischief, and the Republican majority in the house have barely started their strategy of wild goose chases and investigating Democrats. 

Little seems to happen at America's longest-running injustice, Guantánamo. Lately, however, there have been developments: two prisoners, brothers, have been repatriated to Pakistan; 32 prisoners remain.  


The Rabbani brothers were held for 20 years, although Ahmed's initial detention was one of mistaken identity. They were never charged, and left Gitmo with nothing.

Another recently-released Pakistani, Majid Khan, was charged and pleaded guilty. Khan's horrific CIA torture was publicly aired at his sentencing and resulted in an earlier release. 

He's just been resettled in Belize, with a furnished house, car, laptop and phone, surely the first time the US ever provided reparations for torture. 

Meanwhile, there are credible Arab accusations of torture participation by a young JAG lawyer stationed at Gitmo in 2006. He's been identified by detainees as Lieutenant DeSantis


Monday, February 27, 2023

Attorney for one of the brothers speaks out...

 Sorry, they will always be "the brothers" to me. Always nameless (just the brothers) but no longer faceless. The brothers are now free as I mentioned in a post a few days ago. Now the attorney for Ahmed Rabbani speaks out in an editorial in al Jazeera "sorry seems to be the hardest word."

A fitting end to black history month- banned black music

The most famous of course is Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit-- But for those of you old enough to remember the smothers brothers show here is a clip to a performance by Harry Belafonte that was banned from the show and led to the show ultimately being shut down. video footage to the 1968 democratic convention in Chicago is worked in starting about half way through. (h/o to daily kos)

Sunday, February 26, 2023


 I actually keep hoping that I can use the past tense but we are not there yet since our military still insists on trying these men despite the horrendous torture that we subjected them to. To the point- the "rectal feeding" also called anal rape. This past week a doctor testified at a Guantanamo hearing about the details of that torture:

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — Over the years, the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of waterboarding and other forms of torture in its secret overseas prisons after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has been revealed in government leaks, testimony and a damning Senate investigation.But an expert’s testimony this week in pretrial hearings at Guantánamo Bay offered some of the most graphic details made public about the C.I.A.’s shadowy use of rectal feeding on its prisoners, a discredited practice kept secret long after other torture methods had been exposed.

Dr. Sondra S. Crosby, a court-approved expert on torture and other trauma, testified in a long-running defense effort by lawyers for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is accused of orchestrating the 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. The lawyers are seeking to suppress from his eventual trial admissions he made to federal investigators as tainted by torture.

She held up a tube that is designed to be put in a patient’s windpipe and said that — according to the agency’s once-secret records —C.I.A. prison staff inserted one just like it into Mr. Nashiri’s anus in May 2004. Agency personnel then used a syringe to inject a protein enriched nutritional shake into his body.

Carol Rosenberg at the New York Times has more here. [remember there is a paywall.]

Friday, February 24, 2023

The brothers are finally free


Since I started working on Guantanamo cases in 2005 (yes, almost 18 years ago) I have heard about the brothers.  The younger brother  (Mohammed Ahmed Ghulam Rabbani, 53) has long engaged in hunger strikes over the years to protest their detention of more than 20 years without charges ever being filed. Those hunger strikes have taken a toll.on him.  He also became an artist. The military has just lifted its ban on the men taking their art work with them so hopefully Ahmed was allowed to take his work with him.  We will know soon I am sure.

Not much is known about the older brother  Abdul Rahim Ghulam Rabbani, 55 who is quiet and pretty much kept to himself.

Carol Rosenberg at the New York Times has more here. (sorry there is a paywall).

Math has never been my forte but I think the count is somewhere around 32- 18 are cleared for release including my client Algerian Saeed Bakhouch. 

Thursday, February 23, 2023

One year on...


Sunday, February 12, 2023

303 Days Since my Client was cleared for release...

 Actually it was 303 days when Andy Worthington wrote his article 10 days ago. If my math is correct is is 313 days now.

And please notice when you look at Andy's article that there is no photo of my client (Saeed Bakhouch ISN 685). That is because the government does not have an accurate photo of my client! My client, a man who has been held since 2002 with no charge filed against him. A man who was identified by a fellow tortured detainee as someone he saw in Afghanistan. That identification was made by looking at a photo of someone who was not my client.

You can't make this shit up. 

How many more days?

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

May the Art go with you...

 Back in September I wrote about the military refusing to let men who have been held without charge for years--- some more than two decades- take their art work with them when they leave. I mean shit- that is all some of these men have. Literally. 

And so I was pleased to learn near the end of last year that a complaint was filed with the UN special Rapporteur on Human Rights about this unconscionable practice. A short time after the complaint was filed we learned that the special Rapporteur was coming to the US - to Washington to meet with US officials and also to Guantanamo. The visit is going on as I type.

Next we heard from Carol Rosenberg at the NYT that the ban that was put into effect during the trump administration has been lifted and the men will be allowed to take their art work with them if they are lucky enough to get out of the hellhole. 

Rumors from good sources say that the special rapporteur is negotiating this. 

Sunday, February 5, 2023

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian.

 Republicans seem to regard the January 6 coup attempt as a dress rehearsal for another (successful) Putsch, and their pseudo-legal sedition continues, e.g, in US courts. A Democracy Docket report details an extensive attack on democracy through extensive litigation brought by Republican election deniers and vote suppressors. Thus far, the courts have protected democracy.

The full report of the January 6 Committee has now been released, although both the New Yorker and Washington Post  identified significant omissions, e.g, the role of social media.

The report's executive summary stated a devastating case against Donald Trump, in 17 specific findings, referring four criminal charges against Trump to the Attorney General. Also referred: Trump's lawyer, the troubled John Eastman.

No other dodgy lawyers were referred, but many lawyers' testimony was revealed, both as subjects and witnesses; the executive summary also alluded to unlawful interference in the committee's activities by legal counsel for some witnesses

Some lawyers are already being investigated by DoJ: in a DC proceeding, a federal court unsealed documents that incriminate several lawyers, including drafts of an autobiography the DoJ quisling Jeffrey Clark is writing, more here


Friday, February 3, 2023

Ted Olson on Guantanamo


This excerpt is from an op-ed in the wall street journal by Theodore B. Olson. The whole op-ed is worth reading (but it is behind a paywall). You can read the entire op-ed if you have a subscription (but why would you???).  

In retrospect, we made two mistakes in dealing with the detained individuals at Guantanamo. First, we created a new legal system out of whole cloth. I now understand that the commissions were doomed from the start. We used new rules of evidence and allowed evidence regardless of how it was obtained. We tried to pursue justice expeditiously in a new, untested legal system.

It didn’t work. The established legal system of the U.S. would have been capable of rendering a verdict in these difficult cases, but we didn’t trust America’s tried-and-true courts. In the 20 years since this ordeal began, no trial has even begun. There have been years of argument in pretrial hearings, which have produced no legal justice for the victims of 9/11. Instead of helping Americans learn more about who carried the attacks out and why, they have produced seemingly endless litigation largely concerned with the treatment of detainees by government agents and the government’s attempts to suppress certain information.

Our second mistake was pursuing the death penalty through the commissions. Death-penalty cases are the most hotly contested legal proceedings, given their irreversible nature. We doomed these newly created commissions to collapse under their own weight.

Attorney Olson was solicitor general at the time of the early legal battles relating to Guantanamo. He lost most of the bogus arguments he made on behalf of the government. It is nice to have attorney Olson recognize that habeas counsel were correct when arguing that the military commissions have no place in our legal jurisprudence. Too bad it took him 20 years to admit it. However, it did not require a great legal mind to come to that conclusion. It was a no-brainer. What attorney Olson does not mention in his op-ed is the reason why a new legal system needed to be created. The reason that the commissions were created "out of whole cloth" is that none of these men would have been convicted had they been tried in our federal courts. Our government (CIA, FBI, DOD, DOJ) screwed up any potential that these cases could have been tried in our federal system not only because of the torture of the men but because of the lack of any credible evidence that could have been utilized in federal proceedings. Not only was evidence compromised in the collection process but also most, if not all, of the evidence contained no indicia of reliability. This was a sham process to try to get around the fact that there was no reliable evidence to convict these men.

Slowly but surely... if we are lucky, the truth will come out.

h/o to Eric for sending.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Majid Khan released to Belize

Congrats to Mr. Khan and the lawyers that worked so hard on his behalf these 16 years:

February 02, 2023, Belize City, Belize – Today, more than 16 years after he was brought to Guantánamo Bay and almost a year after he completed a military commission sentence there, pursuant to a plea and cooperation agreement with U.S. authorities, Majid Khan was transferred to Belize.  He is the first of the prisoners transferred from secret CIA detention to Guantánamo in September 2006 to be released, and the first third-country resettlement by the Biden administration. Mr. Khan and his legal team are deeply grateful to Belize for offering him a chance to begin a new life.

Carol Rosenberg at the New York Times has more here.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

No Surprises Here- Lindsay Graham is a hypocrite.

 Lindsay Graham has long been one of the strongest supporters of keeping Guantanamo open. He staunchly rejected any attempt to bring the men at Guantanamo to the US to face criminal charges in an actual court of law. He is a major part of the problem that has led to men like my client being held at Guantanamo for more than 20 years without charge.

The New York Times is now reporting that Graham was in favor of federal trials for these men while trump was president but now is back to opposing federal trials. Why? Because he does not want the prison closed and he felt confident that trump would never close the prison. He does not have that same confidence when it comes to Biden. sigh. 

Read more here.