Friday, May 20, 2016

Concerns about carcinogens continues at Guantanamo.....

The military continues to contend that the site where the military and civilian lawyers live and work at Guantanamo are safe- but concerns about the number of individuals who have been stricken with cancer continue. It seems that the site whether the attorneys and support staff are housed in on an abandoned airfield and is rife with chemical contamination. The military says not to worry.... however many are worried.
Read more here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

TOO SOON TO SAY WHETHER IT WILL HAPPEN

But The Guardian reports that maybe-- just maybe-- the UN Special Rapporteur on torture may be allowed to visit Guantanamo and visit the "secret" camp where the detainees who are subject to the military commissions are held. Of course he will not be allowed to interview the men.....
sigh.

Read more here.

Michael Ratner's Army

David Cole writes a nice tribute to Michael Ratner in this piece in the NY Review of Books. Although I disagree with David's conclusion that the men who remain at Guantanamo are no longer subject to torture- and I disagree that Obama has issued an extensive plan to close Guantanamo, I whole heartedly agree that Michael Ratner has had a powerful impact on a number of attorneys- and I am one of those attorneys. Like those attorneys that are mentioned in David's article the work I have done for my Guantanamo clients has been the most rewarding and the most frustrating and it has changed my life and my career.
I am proud to be a member of Michael Ratner's army and if I and the other attorneys touched by Michael can instill that same quest for justice that Michael instilled in me with the Guantanamo litigation his army will continue to grow.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Talking Dog at The Left Forum

The Left Forum starts this week (May 20-22). This year it's in New York City and my friend The Talking Dog will be participating in a panel on Guantanamo on Saturday May 21st at noon: Close Guantanamo Now or Move Guantanamo North?
War Criminals Watch has more on that and other panels of interest.
If you have never gone to the Left Forum and you are in the NYC area (or can get there) this is a must event. Past conferences have included talks by: Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Angela Davis, Harry Belafonte, Naomi Klein, Michael Moore, Cornel West, Bolivian Vice President Álvaro García Linera, Amy Goodman, Slavoj Zizek, Grace Lee Boggs, RoseAnn DeMoro, Marina Sitrin, Nnimmo Bassey, Immortal Technique and Oliver Stone.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

From Roger Fitch and our Friends Down Under at Justinian....

Ah, the law's delay.
The Libyan Salem Gherebi, one of the first Guantánamo prisoners to file a habeas petition in the United States, has been freed and sent to Senegal.  
Gherebi's case had its roots in the "West Coast" habeasfiled in January 2002 (reported here), and in December 2003, he became the first Guantanamero to triumph in a US appeals court.  
In June 2004, in Rasul v Bush (David Hicks' case)the supreme court confirmed the right of Guantánamo prisoners to habeas hearings, with venue in DC.
The 9th circuit's decision was vacated, and Gherebi'shabeas was transferred to Washington, where it languished.
Fitch earlier noted the reaction of the 9th circuit court that heard Mr Gherebi's case: 
"Under the government's theory, it is free to imprison Gherebi indefinitely along with hundreds of other citizens of foreign countries, friendly nations among them, and to do with Gherebi and those detainees as it will, when it pleases, without any compliance with any rule of law of any kind, without permitting him to consult counsel, and without acknowledging any judicial forum in which its actions may be challenged.
Indeed, at oral argument, the government advised us that its position would be the same even if the claims were that it was engaging in acts of torture and that it was summarily executing the detainees (emphasis added).
To our knowledge, prior to the current detention of prisoners at Guantanamo, the US government has never asserted such a ... startling proposition ... a position so extreme that it raises the gravest concerns under both American and international law." 

READ THE REST HERE

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

RIP Michael Ratner

It is with great sadness that I share the following news from the Center for Constitutional Rights:

May 11, 2016, New York – The Center for Constitutional Rights is sad to release the following statement on the occasion of the passing of the Center’s president emeritus Michael Ratner:

From Attica to Assange, Michael Ratner has defended, investigated, and spoken up for victims of human rights abuses all over the world. For 45 years, Michael brought cases with the Center for Constitutional Rights in U.S. courts related to war, torture, and other atrocities, sometimes committed by the U.S., sometimes by other regimes or corporations, in places ranging from El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Cuba, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Guatemala, to Yugoslavia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Iraq, and Israel. Seeking to hold Bush administration officials accountable for torture, he turned to filing cases under the principle of Universal Jurisdiction in international courts—in Germany, Spain, Canada, Switzerland, and France. Michael dedicated his life to the most important fights for justice of the last half century.

When Michael decided to take on U.S. policies of indefinite detention at Guantanamo in January 2002, it was not a popular position. With Michael, the Center for Constitutional Rights was the first human rights organization to stand up for the rights of Guantanamo detainees, and Michael was a founding member of the Guantanamo Bay Bar Association, a group that grew to over 500 attorneys from all over the country working pro bono to provide representation to the men at Guantanamo that has been called the largest mass defense effort in U.S. history. Michael acted as counsel in the landmark case Rasul v. Bush, and after two and a half years of litigation, CCR and co-counsel won the first Guantanamo case in the United States Supreme Court.

As an attorney, writer, speaker, educator, activist, and as the President of the Center for Constitutional Rights for so many years, Michael Ratner’s passion was not just for the law but for the struggle for justice and peace. Michael’s work on Central America, Haiti, surveillance, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, whistleblowers, war powers, and Palestine will not soon be matched.


Michael’s leadership and generous spirit have shown the way for new generations of social justice lawyers. He helped found the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, bringing CCR’s style of lawyering, which he helped shape, to Europe, where the legal culture was less familiar with public interest lawyering and filing suits to press for social change. He worked with CCR and the Bertha Justice Institute on programs to educate junior lawyers, working in partnership with front-line organizations around the world and fostering artistic partnerships that bring the issues he championed his entire life to a wider audience. Michael’s legacy is the sea of people he has touched—his family, his clients, his allies, his colleagues, and all of the young lawyers he has inspired. Today we mourn. Tomorrow we carry on his work.
-------------------------------------
My friend, the Talking Dog interviewed Michael many years ago: read that interview here........ 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Talking Dog will be at the Left Forum-Corrected

The Left Forum starts in a couple of weeks (May 20-22). This year it's in New York City and my friend The Talking Dog will be participating in a panel on Guantanamo on Saturday May 21st at noon: Close Guantanamo Now or Move Guantanamo North?
War Criminals Watch has more on that and other panels of interest.
If you have never gone to the Left Forum and you are in the NYC area (or can get there) this is a must event. Past conferences have included talks by: Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Angela Davis, Harry Belafonte, Naomi Klein, Michael Moore, Cornel West, Bolivian Vice President Álvaro García Linera, Amy Goodman, Slavoj Zizek, Grace Lee Boggs, RoseAnn DeMoro, Marina Sitrin, Nnimmo Bassey, Immortal Technique and Oliver Stone.

The passing of Daniel Berrigan...

There was probably no other activist more influencial in opposing the Vietnam War and inspiring others (including myself) into a life of activism and a dedication to human rights. RIP Daniel.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

Abu Zubaydah.... the Al-Qaeda "leader" who wasn't....

Rebecaa Gordon has written alot about U.S. war crimes and of course one of the worst was our treatment of Abu Z- a man who was said to be the number 2 in Al- Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden's right hand man. We water boarded him almot 100 times- we confined him in a coffin- and we have kept him in solitary confinement for years and years.... and of course he will never be charged with a crime because my country was wrong about who he is (and was). Read more about the war crimes against this man here. And pick up a copy of Gordon's book "American Nuremberg: the U.S. officials who should stand trial for post 9-11 war crimes."

And speaking of war crimes and Osama Bin Laden. Seymour Hersh has a new book out about the hit on Osama Bin Laden. Yes, that too was a war crime- "he was a prisoner of war" and we executed him. Read more about Hersh's book here.

Friday, April 22, 2016

RIP PRINCE


A brief interlude to acknowledge the passing of an artist.
http://mashable.com/2016/04/22/prince-purple-monuments/#EYHGAay5V5q6

JAILED WITHOUT TRIAL FOR LIFE

This article comes from Juan Cole's blog and asks the question "With nine months left until a new president is inaugurated, the question is: Can this country’s signature War on Terror prison ever be closed?"

Detailed breakdown of the Gitmo Stats.....

Reflecting the recent announcement that the PRB has declined to approve for transfer Sharqawi Abdu Ali al Hajj (ISN 1457), a Yemeni whom the government has also referred to as “Riyadh the Facilitator” the following is the latest breakdown of the population.

The prison population remains at 80: 26 are cleared, 44 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 26 cleared, 21 (80.8%) are Yemenis and 5 are non-Yemenis. 

Of the 44 awaiting clearance, 19 are Yemenis and 25 are non-Yemenis.


PRB Data

The PRB has approved for transfer 20 of the 28 detainees for whom it has issued decisions (71.4%).

Of the 44 detainees who are PRB-eligible and still awaiting clearance:

·         Eight were denied clearance in their initial appearance before the PRB and are in various stages of file review (ISNs 28, 29, 242, 522, 569, 1094, 1457) or have received a subsequent full review (ISN 131);
·         Three have had their initial hearings and are awaiting decision (ISNs 508, 762, 841);
·         18 are officially in the PRB process with (at least tentatively) scheduled hearing dates (ISNs 27, 44, 63, 685, 694, 696, 702, 753, 760, 837, 838, 839, 840, 975, 1453, 1461, 1463, 10025);
·         15 are not yet officially in the PRB process.

For these purposes, a detainee is “officially in the PRB process” when he has received formal notification of the process and has been assigned a PRB hearing date, based on either (a) the detainee appearing (even if only temporarily) on the PRB web page tracking individual detainees’ proceedings, (b) my personal knowledge regarding our PRB-eligible clients, or (c) information provided to me by counsel for other PRB-eligible detainees.


Cleared Detainee Data

15 of the 26 cleared detainees currently at the base were cleared by the Obama Task Force.  The other 11 were cleared by the PRB, which means 9 PRB-cleared detainees have been released.

Specifically, of the 26 cleared:

11 are Yemenis approved for “conditional detention” by the Obama Task Force (ISNs 33, 40, 91, 223, 240, 440, 498, 509, 550, 728, 893)
1 is a Yemeni approved for transfer by the Obama Task Force (ISN 153)
3 are non-Yemenis approved for transfer by the Obama Task Force (ISNs 38 (Tunisia), 257 (Tajikistan), 309 (unknown/UAE))

2 are Yemenis approved for “conditional detention” by the PRB (ISNs 31, 37)
7 are Yemenis approved for transfer by the PRB (ISNs 41, 128, 235, 434, 441, 576, 836)

2 are non-Yemenis approved for transfer by the PRB (ISNs 1045 (Afghanistan), 1119 (Afghanistan))

H/O TO FELLOW GITMO ATTORNEY BRIAN FOSTER FOR KEEPING TRACK OF THIS.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Maybe 9?

I have not seen an official announcement but the general concensus is that nine Yemeni were transferred to Saudi Arabia. One of the nine is the long term hunger striker Tariq Ba Odah. I understand that his health is pretty dire.

With those nine gone here are the latest stats:


The prison population now stands at 80: 26 are cleared, 44 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 26 cleared, 21 (80.8%) are Yemenis and 5 are non-Yemenis. 


Of the 44 awaiting clearance, 19 are Yemenis and 25 are non-Yemenis.

H/O to fellow gitmo attorney Brian Foster for keeping track of all of this.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

More Detainees released?

Unconfirmed reports have 12 detainees transferred to Saudi Arabia. More news to follow.