Wednesday, October 12, 2016

More torture stories....

And then there is Saudi detainee Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi. My government sodomized him as part of his torture. As his attorney has described- they used the largest objects they could find to insert into his rectum as part of his torture.  We have heard for years now about the fact that he has come to court hearings with a pillow to sit on became of the ongoing pain. Now, after all of these years, my government is finally going to allow surgery for this man.
You can read about the debilitating effects of this torture over the many years and the utter lack of regard by my country for this torture...  here, here and here .

The fact that we have allowed this to happen and then continued the torture all these years is unconscienable.

The after effects of torture... depression and much more.

I am sorry that I am on a string of stories about those that we have tortured. In a way it seems only fitting as I head back to our little Gulag in the sunny south. Let me just say that I report all of these accounts that I discover because I think it is important to have these in one place and it is with sorrow that I lay all of this out on these pages.

First this---

More to come.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Heartbreaking Saga of Abu Zubaydah is Even More Heartbreaking....

I have talked about Abu Zubaydah many times on this blog. He is the man that my government wrongly thought was a member of al-qaeda so we used all of the torture techniques on him... and then a few more just because we could. But it turned out he was a nobody but since we did all of those horrible things to him we do not want to release him.
As part of the dog and pony show the government conducted a "periodic review" to see if he could be cleared for release.

Read more about it here.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

U.S. Torture left long lasting damage

The New York Times has an article up today about the long lasting damage to the men who were tortured by my government.

Beatings, sleep deprivation, menacing and other brutal tactics have led to persistent mental health problems among detainees held in secret C.I.A. prisons and at Guantánamo.

Read the article hear.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

With Hurricane Matthew eyeing Gitmo many of us are wondering if mother nature will do what Obama has been unable to do.....close Gitmo.

More here.

Radar here.

More Forms of Torture Exposed- UPDATED

The Guardian reports that the techniques used by the CIA in torturing detainees also included a "modified" electric chair. These revelations came out in interviews of two Tunisian men who were released in 2015.
Read more here.

And still more here.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Andy Worthington Takes a Look back at Gitmo as the Obama Years End

I remember how excited one of my clients was when I went to visit him in the weeks after Obama was inaugerated. Obama announced that one of the first items on his to-do list was to close Guantanamo and he promised to close the place in one year. As the year went by it was clear to many of us that Gitmo was not going to be closed by January 2010. Obama was not heeding the advice of those who had practical ideas as to how to close the place- he was listening to the military. And the military has never wanted to close Guantanamo.
Obama's promise was more than 7 1/2 years ago and although more of the men have been released the place is from from closed and one of my clients still remains with no prospect of going anywhere- you see he is "too dangerous to release" but there is nothing to charge him with. He has sat in prison for 15 years and he has never been charged with a god damn thing. And he never will be charged- he has done nothing wrong.

Andy Worthington looks back over the years and looks forward to what is to come in this blog post.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Gitmo's Periodic Review Board....

The Miami Harold has put together a nifty "guide" to the periodic review board decisions.The "guide" is broken down into sections- who is cleared, who is not. Who is still there, who is not. Etc.
Click here to read the guide.

Friday, September 16, 2016

From Roger Fitch and Our Friends At Justinian

*   *   *
Cellular world at Guantánamo (photo Matt Sprake)
As Mr Obama continues his (feeble) efforts to close Guantánamo, the military jail for proxy prisoners taken - or purchased - in the "war on terror", the New Yorker has reviewed the earlier use of America's Devil's Island by Bush Snr and Bill Clinton. 
Many of those presently detained are symbolic hostages in a rhetorical war, held by mistake or in violation of the laws of war; indeed, many Pentagon "profiles" presented to Periodic Review Boards artlessly admit these "law of war" prisoners have no connection to 9/11 or the Afghan war that ostensibly authorises their confinement. Not one of them has been provided appropriate Geneva Convention rights.
Only five percent of the Guantanameros were actually captured by Americans on a battlefield, a fact that goes unremarked by the media, as well as politicians who read the Pentagon's "transparency reports."  
The 779 men and boys have been gradually released - some through death - and after the latest mass  expatriation, the count stands at 61, leaving a staff-to-prisoner ratio of 33-1 and an annual per capita cost of $6 million
With the initial PRB hearings now complete, Marty Lederman has a report on all the prisoners not subject to military commissions; the Intercept has more.  

Read the rest of Fitch's report here.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Who is left at Guantanamo?

Intercept has an article that looks at the men that remain at Guantanamo.
You can read more here.
One of those men is my client.

Lest we forget.....

Stephen Biko was an anti-aparthied activist in South Africa. He was murdered in police custody on September 12, 1977. You can read more about Biko here.
You can blow out a candle but you can't blow out a flame.....

Sunday, September 11, 2016

and on this day.... UPDATED

As I do every year I turn to my friend the talking dog- who was actually there- for his words of wisdom.
As for me. I have nothing to say.
Read his post here.

Andy Worthington has more here.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Gitmo by the numbers... UPDATED.

Five years ago Obama ordered the military to begin a review process of all of the men at Guantanamo who had not been cleared for release by his initial task force. He ordered that the process begin immediately and quickly. It took almost 3 years for the first of those men to be reviewed and yesterday the last man received his initial review. Ironically the name of the process is the "periodic review board" (PRB). The process was so periodic as to almost be non existent for most of the men until this year- when someone finally lit a fire and got the process moving.

These are the numbers- reflecting the fact that as of yesterday, all PRB-eligible detainees still in the prison have received their first PRB hearing.

I just want to add this short article that describes the man who was the last to have a PRB. This young man is the youngest man at the camp and although we do not know for certain his age at capture was somewhere around 15. 
Shame on my country for holding him all of these years and concocting the wild story about him to justify his continued detention.

The prison population remains at 61: 20 are cleared, 31 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 20 cleared, 12 (60.0%) are Yemenis and 8 are non-Yemenis. 

Of the 31 awaiting clearance, 13 (41.9%) are Yemenis and 18 are non-Yemenis.

PRB Data

The PRB has approved for transfer 33 of the 52 detainees for whom it has issued decisions (63.5%).

A total of 64 detainees received PRB hearings.  Their outcomes and current status are as follows:

·         33 detainees were cleared.  20 of these men have been released; 13 remain.  (See “Cleared Detainee Data” below for details.)
o   29 detainees were cleared after a first hearing.
§  17 of these men have been released; 12 remain.
o     4 detainees were denied after a first hearing, granted a second hearing via file review, and cleared after the second hearing.
§  3 of these men have been released; 1 remains.
·         19 detainees were denied clearance.
o     1 detainee was denied after a first hearing, was granted a second hearing via file review, and is awaiting the second hearing, which is scheduled for October 18 (ISN 28).
o     1 detainee was denied after a first hearing, has received two file reviews, and is scheduled to receive a third file review on October 18 (ISN 242).
o     2 detainees were denied after a first hearing and have received their initial file reviews (ISNs 508, 522).
o     4 detainees were denied after a first hearing and are awaiting their initial file reviews, which have been scheduled (ISNs 29, 569, 1094, 1457).
o   11 detainees were denied after a first hearing and are awaiting their initial file reviews (ISNs 27, 63, 682, 685, 708, 1017, 1453, 1460, 1463, 3148, 10025).
·         12 detainees are awaiting the results of their first hearings (ISNs 560, 696, 841, 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

7 of the 20 remaining cleared detainees currently at the base were cleared by the Obama Task Force.  The other 13 were cleared by the PRB, which means 20 PRB-cleared detainees have been released.

Specifically, of the 20 cleared:

·          5 are Yemenis approved for “conditional detention” by the Obama Task Force (ISNs 240, 440, 498, 550, 893)
·          2 are non-Yemenis approved for transfer by the Obama Task Force (ISNs 38 (Tunisia), 309 (unknown/UAE))

·          7 are Yemenis approved for transfer by the PRB (ISNs 44, 128, 131, 434, 838, 839, 840)
·          6 are non-Yemenis approved for transfer by the PRB (ISNs 244 (Morocco), 694 (Algeria), 702 (Russia), 753 (Afghanistan), 760 (Mauritania), 975 (Afghanistan))

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

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Closing of Camp 5- Updated....

Carol Rosenberg had a piece out over the weekend (Miami Herald) about some changes at Gitmo- the downsizing of the base. Seems they have closed the notorious camp 5 (not quite as notorious as Camp 7 but that is a different story). Camp 5 was most recently used as the prison for those on extra punishment. It opened a few months before Camp 6 back in 2005. You can catch a few glimpses of the place in Carol's article here. I will see if I can find some other photos and link to them.
It really added insult to injury to house the men at Camp 5- men who were never charged with anything (nevertheless a crime) were stuck in Camp 5 because they were troublemakers for the most part- they refused to just accept their unjust "detention."

Here is a photo montage of Camp 5.

Good riddance Camp 5!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


I am talking about the military (but I could just as well be talking about the Court as the judge in Abu Zubaydah's case has refused to give the man his habeas hearing). This week Mr. Abu Zubaydah was seen in public for the first time since he was "arrested" in 2002. In the intervening (almost 15 years) he was tortured repeatedly and kept in isolation. His torture resulted in his losing an eye and of course he was water boarded almost 100 times, beaten, confined in a coffin like box and a multitude of other torture techniques. Why? Because someone thought he was a bad guy--- but they were wrong. However the military does not say "I'm sorry." The military digs in....

So. Getting back to Mr. Abu Zubaydah. He has been held all of these years without charges. Why? Because there is nothing they can charge him with. Unfortunately his judge has been a coward and has refused to allow his Habeas case to be heard and so now Mr. Abu Zubaydah has been allowed to seek relief in a hearing that allows the release of men no longer consider a "threat." So what does the military say about the long tortured Mr. Abu Zubaydah? He should not be released because even though he has shown a "high level of cooperation" while being held at Guantanamo. Part of the military's statement read as follows:

Abu Zubaydah “possibly” had some advanced knowledge of the bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and the USS Cole bombing in 2000, the profile continued. He was also “generally aware” of the impending 9/11 attacks and “possibly coordinated” the training at Khaldan camp of two of the hijackers.

And so this is how it goes---  we made a mistake. A mistake that has caused damage to this man that can never be repaird. So will my country try to hold him forever? Well apparently that is the game plan for now.

You can read more here.
and here.