Monday, September 16, 2019

Musical Interlude....

The WHO singing about Guantanamo...

Thursday, September 12, 2019

9-12 (on time) Lest we forget....

9-11 (a day late...)

On September 11th I always turn my eyes to my friend the talking dog. Who, unlike me, was actually in New York City on that day--- and within a block or so of the twin towers. This year technical problems got in the way of posting yesterday.... so with no more ado here is the talking dog.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian....

At Guantánamo, a new "9/11" judge has been considering issues such as:
Meanwhile, a lawyer for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri has been unexpectedly passed over for promotion by the Pentagon, possibly for too-vigorous representation of his client.  
The Nashiri case - probably the most lawless of all the commissions - is receiving attention in a new film about the CIA torture program; Nashiri was one of the program's first victims and received the personal attention of the former Thai torture camp commandant - now CIA director - Gina Haspel. 
And finally: it's a bit late in the day, but an Obama-bolstered DC circuit panel has brought back full habeas for Guantánamo internees, more here
Read the rest of Fitch here.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

More on the firing of Rear Adm. Ring

Rear Admiral Ring was fired earlier this year after he made public statements about the need to upgrade the medical facility at the base to comply with Geneva conventions and to accomodate the aging population at Gitmo.

Now the military is claiming that he was not fired because of those statements but because he mishandled classified information.

Since anything embarassing at the base is classified it is not hard to see how they could trump that one up...

Read more here.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Appeals court clears way for trial in Abu Ghraib suit...

A federal appeals court has cleared the way for a trial in a decade-old lawsuit accusing a military contractor of responsibility for torture of prisoners at the U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, but one judge assigned to the case warned the ruling could have "dangerous" results.  That one judge was a Trump appointee....

Read more here.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Living in the Shadow of Guantanamo...

A podcase with Mohamedou Salahi that again underscores why leaving Guantanamo does not set you free.
Listen here.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

LAWYERS RECEIVE DISCOVERY OF ‘DEPRAVED’ CONDUCT......

Guantanamo Naval Base, Cuba – The prosecution team in the Sept. 11 case argued this week that the past abuse of the five defendants at CIA black sites does not meet the standard of “outrageous government conduct” that would lead to dismissal of the charges or other serious sanction against the government.

Defense attorneys received more documents about the torture but there is a gag rule so they cannot publicly discuss. "The defense teams have received more than 15,000 pages of discovery about a program that they say subjected their clients to multiple years of torture in violation of U.S. and international law. The latest tranche included instant-messenger chats between personnel involved in the interrogations at CIA black sites.

In a meeting with reporters after Monday’s session, James Connell, the lead attorney for Ammar al Baluchi, said he could not discuss specific details of the chats. However, he referred to them as “depraved.”
Read more here.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

musical interlude.....

Thursday, July 18, 2019

A look at the "secret" world of Guantanamo

The military has for years conducted a dog and pony show for the press -- allowing them to come in and look (at certain areas) and take photos but then censoring the photos. Carol Rosenberg has been attending these dog and pony shows for years, letting the outside world see as much as the military will let her show.

This latest trip is from April of this year-- just prior to the firing of the latest commander. Nothing much seems to have changed since my last visit... you can view the photos here.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The second report---Deprivation and Dispair

As mentioned below there are two new important reports out. This is the second and it looks at the medical care of the detainees (or more precisely, the lack thereof) and the psychological trauma from the years of being imprisoned without charge and with no end in sight.
From the executive summary:

There have been many more such assertions in the intervening years and since. Following an in-depth review of publicly available information related to medical care at Guantánamo—both past and present—as well as consultations with independent civilian medical experts and detainees’ lawyers, the Center for Victims of Torture and Physicians for Human Rights have determined that none of those assertions is accurate. To the contrary, notwithstanding Guantánamo’s general inaccessibility to independent civilian medical professionals, over the years a handful of them have managed to access detainees, review medical records, and interface with Guantánamo’s medical care system to a degree sufficient to document a host of systemic and longstanding deficiencies in care. These include: • Medical needs are subordinated to security functions. For example, prosecutors in a military commission case told the judge explicitly that the commander of Guantánamo’s detention operations is free to disregard recommendations of Guantánamo’s senior medical officer. • Detainees’ medical records are devoid of physical and psychological trauma histories. This is largely a function of medical professionals’ inability or unwillingness to ask detainees about torture or other traumatic experiences during their time in the CIA’s rendition, detention, and interrogation program, or otherwise with respect to interrogations by U.S. forces—which has led to misdiagnoses and improper treatment. • In large part due to a history of medical complicity in torture, many detainees distrust military medical professionals which has led repeatedly to detainees reasonably refusing care that they need. DEPRIVATION AND DESPAIR: The Crisis of Medical Care at Guantánamo 4 • Guantánamo officials withhold from detainees their own medical records, including through improper classification. • Both expertise and equipment are increasingly insufficient to address detainees’ health needs. For example, a military cardiologist concluded that an obese detainee required testing for coronary artery disease, but that Guantánamo did not have the “means to test” him, and so the testing was not performed. With regard to mental health, effective torture rehabilitation services are not, and cannot be made, available at Guantánamo. • Detainees have been subjected to neglect. One detainee urgently required surgery for a condition he disclosed to Guantánamo medical personnel in 2007—and they diagnosed independently in 2010—but he did not receive surgery until 2018 and appears permanently damaged as a result. • Military medical professionals rotate rapidly in and out of Guantánamo, which has caused discontinuity of care. For example, one detainee recently had three primary care physicians in the course of three months. • Detainees’ access to medical care and, in some cases, their exposure to medical harm, turn substantially on their involvement in litigation. For example, it appears extremely difficult, if not impossible, for detainees who are not in active litigation to access independent civilian medical professionals, and for those who are to address a medical need that is not related to the litigation. For detainees charged before the military commissions, prosecution interests have superseded medical interests, as with a detainee who was forced to attend court proceedings on a gurney writhing in pain while recovering from surgery. These deficiencies are exacerbated by—and in some cases a direct result of—the damage that the men have endured, and continue to endure, from torture and prolonged indefinite detention.

h/o to Shelby

New reports....

There are several new reports that I want to bring to your attention. I hope to have a link to one other report relating to the health of detainees in the next day or so but meanwhile:

This report published at Common Dreams looks at the senate torture report -- which has still not been released (only a redacted summary):

In December 2014, the Bureau, alongside The Rendition Project, began a major project to trace the history of the RDI programme. The impetus for our investigation came from the long-awaited publication of a report into CIA torture by the US Senate Select Intelligence Committee. The authors of this report had high-level access to internal CIA documents, which they mined to produce a damning assessment of the torture programme's brutality, mismanagement and ineffectiveness. But they were compelled by the Obama administration, and by the CIA itself, to censor — "redact" — all parts of the report that could identify specific times and places where abuses had occurred.
This is important, because without being able to tie illegal activities to specific times and places, the quest for redress is hamstrung, and meaningful accountability — legal, public, historical — remains a mirage.
The Senate report did offer a crucial insight, however: the first complete list of prisoners held in the CIA's black sites. 119 names, each with a date of custody (redacted) and a record of how many days they were held (also partly redacted).
In the days after the publication of the Senate report, we set to work reconstructing this list to reveal the hidden dates. Figuring out a date often meant that we could match it to a flight record; matching to a flight record meant that we could determine where a prisoner was brought from or sent to. As we cross-correlated thousands of data points — from declassified government documents, footnotes in the Senate report, aviation data, records of corporate outsourcing of rendition flights, legal cases, media reporting and NGO investigations — the contours of the CIA's programme of secret detention and torture began to emerge more clearly. Rather than just understanding certain individual histories, we could begin to discern the entire scope of the programme's development.

Key Findings include

•         Identification of the 28 individuals whose renditions were facilitated using UK territory as crucial staging and refuelling posts. This includes the at least two individuals who were rendered using the British-owned island of Diego Garcia: Mohammed Iqbal Madni and Umar Faruq.
•         It identifies the individual to whom the ISC referred as the “unknown detainee” – Umar Faruq – believed to have been rendered through Diego Garcia in September 2002.
•         Included in this list of individuals rendered using UK territory or airspace is Abd Al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who was tortured in Thailand among other places while current CIA Director Gina Haspel allegedly ran the black site there.
•         This includes the use of Glasgow airport in the rendition of Ibn Sheikh al-Libi, whose torture in Egypt led to the false information which provided part of the case for the Iraq War. The ISC report revealed that an MI6 officer stood by and watched as he was rendered to Egypt in a coffin.
•         Among these detainees rendered with the assistance of UK territory or airspace was Saifullah Paracha, currently the oldest detainee in Guantanamo, who was rendered to torture and arbitrary detention for what has now been almost 19 years.
•         The report lists a total of 28 cases of UK territory or airspace being used for renditions, which compares with the 28 cases the ISC report identified in which it found the UK “suggested, planned or agreed to rendition operations proposed by others”. While the number itself may be a coincidence, the new report raises the question of whether the UK agreed to the use of its territory and airspace to facilitate these renditions as part of these plans and agreements.
•         The report names Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni, who faced severe torture after his rendition to Egypt in January 2002, and who may be one of the “29 renditees” referred to in the ISC report as having been rendered to a country believed to be Egypt.


h/o to Robert

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian

If only Barack Obama had possessed the cojones to prosecute and convict malefactors from the Bush administration for corruption and war crimes, lawless abuses of the "war on terror" and the CIA's torture regime, the Republican brand might have been so badly damaged that the party would have been unable to regroup and gain power under a Donald Trump. Leading party people would have been unavailable, in jail or tainted by disgrace.
The Obama DoJ's cautious approach was to conduct narrow investigations that declined to hold anyone responsible, and allowed Bush villains to emerge unscathed, claim vindication and hold high office again, along with sundry pardoned criminals from previous Republican administrations, e.g. odious neocons like Eliot Abrams.
The preferred instrument for these cosmetic inquiries has been John Durham, a career US Attorney who conducted superficial reviews of CIA misbehaviour at the behest of both the Bush and Obama attorneys general, each time conveniently absolving those involved.
Durham first considered the CIA's notorious destruction of torture tapes, a violation of various laws and court orders that was carefully carried out by the current CIA director, Gina Haspel. Durham's other absolution was even more shameful, letting the CIA off the hook for torture that led to death. The only CIA-related cover-up Durham didn't manage was the exculpation of the CIA's accomplices, the torture memo hacks in the Bush administration, carried out by a DoJ fixer in-house.  
Curiously, John Durham has now been selected by Donald Trump's AG to conduct an investigation where the government desires an incriminatory finding, and it involves both the CIA and FBI.  A cynic might say the CIA faces critical examination for - daring to investigate Trump
If Durham had found wrongdoing in his Bush/Obama investigations, any resulting prosecutions and convictions might have been erased by Trump. Under the uniquely-American practice of a single person setting up the whole government, the president could have proceeded to resolve all staffing problems by pardoning and rehabilitating party operatives that previous governments had convicted and put away.
As it is, Trump continues to pardon undeserving rightwing martyrs, and dodgy businessmen like Conrad Black, who perspicaciously penned an adulatory biography of the president. Having few convicted Republicans left to pardon, the president now seems set on a mischievous course of pardoning accused or convicted US war criminals. More here and here.  
He evidently admires their grit and determination, and has, as a model, Richard Nixon's "patriotic" intervention on behalf of William Calley. There's more history here, and a list of Trump's pardons for crimes he evidently finds acceptable or praiseworthy. 
*   *   *
READ THE REST OF FITCH HERE.




Friday, July 5, 2019

Not about Guantanamo...

In other news... when I am not representing my Gitmo client I am a civil rights attorney representing individuals who have had their civil rights violated by the government...a big issue here in the U S of A. On Sunday CNN headlines news channel will present the story of one of my clients... Nathson Fields. The show "death row stories" will air at 8pm eastern time (7 central). You can read a short story about this here.