Thursday, December 12, 2013
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
This is probably old news to those of you who follow Guantanamo news but last week the U.S. released two men to Algeria. For these two men it was distressing news as they both have legitimate fears of going back to Algeria. One of the men fled Algeria two decades ago to avoid political prosecution and the U.N. agrees with his fears. See also this account from Carol Rosenberg. Then there is my client who is also from Algeria. My client's only fear about returning home is that the stuff our country has made up about him might land him in prison in Algeria if he returns home. He is willing to take that chance as he just wants to get the heck out of the hell hole we call Guantanamo. Unfortunately last week the DC Circuit Court upheld the district court's denial of his habeas petition. Although I was not surprised that the panel decided the way it did--they have found reasons to deny every single Guantanamo habeas petition that went up to the circuit court but this is especially frustrating because the DC Circuit is willing to disregard those government documents that show the government is wrong in favor of non-evidence that shows the government is correct. Anyway, the last three pages of the decision have warmed my heart as it gives my client a shot at a cert petition before the Supreme Court-- In his concurrence,which is essentially a dissent (but for technical reason that I won't go into here it is called a concurrence) Judge Edwards said "The troubling question in these detainee cases is whether the law of the circuit has stretched the meaning of the AUMF and the NDAA so far beyond the terms of these statutory authorizations that habeas corpus proceedings like the one afforded Ali are functionally useless." So thank you Judge Edwards and I shall run with your words. As Studs Terkel was fond of saying, "hope dies last."
Posted by H. Candace Gorman at 11:33 AM
The "commander" of Gitmo- the now notoriously perverse Col. Bogdan- the man responsible for the current conditions and policies at the base (genital searches for detainees who want to visit or accept a call from their attorneys; genital searches before phone calls with family- an event allowed only twice a year; the taking of all of the mens personal papers,including legal papers and family photos; the unethical force feeding of protesting detainees).. the list goes on but I will get to the point... Bogdan stated on 60 minutes "that Guantánamo guards suffer nearly twice as much Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as combat troops." It was one of those statements that actually had a ring of truth about it---I mean these young kids at the base must see what we are doing -holding the men in these horrific conditions- indefinitely- with no charges pending against them...It is heartbreaking, infuriating and depressing. Couple that with the new protocals of searching the mens genitals before they can talk to their lawyers or families and I could actually see how the contradiction of the values of these mostly very young soldiers who want to protect "their country" could be upsetting to them when they see what "protecting their country" means to the powers of this country.... Anyway, it seems that the notoriously perverse Col. Bogdan was either not exactly telling the truth (or if he was telling the truth it is not the kind of truth our government would want to make known....) The military has now retracted the statement of the perverse Col. Bogdan as it seems he just made up that particular fact- as he seems to just make up most of the facts he throws around to justify his perverse actions. Anyway, the DC Circuit is reviewing the practice set up by Col. Bogdan earlier this year--to search the men's genitals and maybe they will have a ruling some time in the not too distant future...and maybe just maybe they will understand what a pervert this guy is and stop the policy- which would be nice as I would like to visit with my client again.
Posted by H. Candace Gorman at 11:03 AM
Definitive Report on the Hunger Strike probably the reason the Military will no longer discuss hunger strikers...
The Guantanamo Testimonials Project out of U.C. Davis is probably one of the most comprehensive sources here in the U.S. regarding all things Guantanamo. On November 20, 2013 the Project posted this report on the latest hunger strike by the men at the base. It took less than two weeks for the military to decide that it would no longer provide any information about the hunger strikers: “JTF-Guantanamo allows detainees to peacefully protest, but will not further their protests by reporting the numbers to the public,” Filostrat said. “The release of this information serves no operational purpose and detracts from the more important issues, which are the welfare of detainees and the safety and security of our troops.” My guess is that this is not a coincidence. The facts as outlined in the report from the Guantanamo Testimonials Project show in hard cold numbers the extent of the hunger strike and the unethical response by the military to that peaceful process. Truthout has more here.
Posted by H. Candace Gorman at 10:15 AM
You can read the story here and keep this fact in mind--- that Nelson Mandela was on the U.S.lists of terrorist-- when this same government (my government) makes its absurd claims about the men held at Guantanamo. As one of the other attorneys from the Gitmo bar mentioned,these government officials that considered Mandela a terrorist are the same people/agencies that have claimed that all the men at Guantanamo are terrorists....and these are the same people/agencies that have claimed that the men released from Guantanamo have high recidivism rates. Unfortunately my country has come to believe that anyone who questions authority (especially the authority of the U.S.)is a terrorist---which of course put Mandela at the top of the list--- but that list also contains the names of former Guantanamo "detainees" who dare to speak out in protest about their captivity and dare to challenge the U.S. government with their words (not with guns or drones)....My government claims that those former Guantanamo detainees have returned to the battlefield--that is because the battlefield is not in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, etc.... the battlefield is in the hearts and minds of people around the globe that challenge corrupt authority. It was probably words like these that kept Mandela on the U.S. list of terrorists for so many years: “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care,” he said."
Posted by H. Candace Gorman at 9:40 AM
Friday, December 6, 2013
Saturday, November 23, 2013
The first of the periodic review board (PRB) hearings took place last week. The title is misleading in that it suggests that these reviews of the detainees who ARE NOT cleared for release would take place periodically to ascertain whether the detainee should now be cleared for released (for whatever good that does as the cleared guys are not going anywhere). The rules for these reviews were set up back in 2011 and we just now had the very first hearing....One day my remaining client will have such a hearing...but at this pace I am not holding my breath. Carol Rosenberg has more here.
Posted by H. Candace Gorman at 1:16 PM
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
From Truthout: "One of the remaining hunger-strikers, Moath al-Alwi, a Yemeni national who has been in Guantanamo since 2002, is one of the four dozen prisoners designated for indefinite detention. He wrote an article that was published in Al-Jazeera America and translated into English from Arabic by his attorney Ramzi Kassem. Al-Alwi writes that he still is being force-fed, which gives him "bouts of violent vomiting" and "sharp pains in my stomach and intestines." He says the "U.S. military prison staff's intent is to break our peaceful hunger strike." Like many prisoners, al-Alwi has been subjected to invasive body searches by prison guards. Al-Alwi explained that some prisoners ended their hunger strike because of the "brutal force-feeding practices and the cruel punishment inflicted by the prison guards and military medical staff." Others did so because they wanted to give Obama more time to close the prison. Some of the remaining strikers weigh as little as 67 pounds. Despite this, al-Alwi proclaims, "We will remain of hunger strike. We pray that the next thing we taste is freedom. ... May God continue to sustain us all until we achieve our goal of justice." READ THE REST HERE.
Posted by H. Candace Gorman at 9:52 AM
Saturday, November 16, 2013
In keeping with our transparent government the reviews of the men who are not cleared for release will be conducted in secret. My remaining client is one of those men who will be reviewed in the secret proceeding. I have not received notice of my client's review and from what I understand from other counsel is that the proceedings are moving at a snails pace... Carol Rosenberg reports on the attempts by the press to witness the proceedings-- "WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon has begun notifying would-be observers that it plans to hold the first session of the long-awaited parole-style boards at Guantánamo in secret. President Barack Obama ordered his administration to set up the so-called Periodic Review Boards March 7, 2011. In July, Defense Department officials said the boards would review the files of 71 Guantánamo prisoners’ cases — 46 so-called “indefinite detainees” and 25 men once considered candidates for war crimes trials. Now, as the administration is poised to hold the first hearing — on Nov. 20 at Guantánamo, with 33-year-old captive Mahmud al Mujahid’s plea for release — the Pentagon says it’s unprepared to let reporters watch. Read the rest here.
Posted by H. Candace Gorman at 12:25 PM
Thursday, November 14, 2013
The anniversary of the first men being held at the gulag is January 11th. In 2014 that will be the 12th anniversary and the articles are starting to come out: RT in Gitmo: Is there end in sight for US ‘Gulag’ 12 years after opening?
Posted by H. Candace Gorman at 6:46 PM
As Moe Davis points out in this article "Twelve years ago, on 13 November 2001, President George W Bush signed an order authorizing the detention of suspected al-Qaida members and supporters, and the creation of military commissions. To borrow a line from the Grateful Dead: "What a long, strange trip it's been."
Posted by H. Candace Gorman at 6:42 PM
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
An explanation of the guided tour given to journalists and politicians at Guantanamo. I would just point out that the photo's that the journalist claims are of camp IV are really camp V.....other than that mistake it looks pretty much like the tour given over the years at our little gulag. Read the article here.
Posted by H. Candace Gorman at 3:43 PM
Monday, November 11, 2013
Sunday, November 10, 2013
"Two recent stories about Guantánamo from two of the country's most respected news organizations highlight just how little attention the American press has paid to the facts about the extralegal prison, and the general lack of understanding about the core legal and Constitutional issues involved." Read the rest of this important article by Tom Wilner here.
Posted by H. Candace Gorman at 12:27 PM