Monday, June 30, 2008

Obama and FISA...fading into the right wing...

The Rude Pundit (
on FISA: "The truly complex, difficult position is to say, 'No, you sons and daughters of bitches, you don't give up the very things that make us Americans.' See, 'Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death' isn't a conditional phrase. It ain't 'Well, Give Me the Liberties You Think I Oughta Have As Long As It's Balanced With Your Tortured Legalistic Definitions and Limitations On the Constitution, But, Hey, As Long As You Tell Me We're Still Free, It's All Cool, Yo.'" And he goes on to say what Obama should be saying.
I wish I knew how to make real links so you could just click on them but I only seem to be able to do that on occasion... maybe it is a full moon thing...but you can click on the title to get to rudepundit and you can paste the link to sideshow into your browser.

Redacted Parhat Decision Released

Last week I wrote about a decision by the DC Court of Appeals in one of the Guantanamo cases. The Circuit Court ordered the release of Uigher Parhat because the Government did not show by a preponderance of the evidence that this man was/is an enemy to the United States. Click on the title to read the decision. I am still reading so I cannot comment further except to say that it looks like at least one panel of the DC Circuit Court has figured out that the DOJ has little, if any, credibility.

Sunday, June 29, 2008



I think it's incredibly important to make as much noise as possible between now and then to give us the best possible chance to get telecom amnesty stripped. I've also added the link to FaxZero and Senator Obama's fax # to my "Join The Fight Against Retroactive Immunity" section. Please spread the word if so inspired. Thanks, Dan Fejes Pruning Shears

Justice Scalia and the Urban Legend

Thanks to Seton Hall for once again examining the facts surrounding the Guantanamo Myth that claims (according to Justice Scalia's unsupported and unsupportable ramblings in his Boumediene dissent) that 30 men released from Guantanamo have "returned" to the battlefield. Click on the title to read the report.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

21st anniversary of the Convention against torture

Click on the title to read a little more about Thursday's anniversary on cab drollery which also noted that Friday was the U.N. International Day in Support of Victims of Torture.
So how did I celebrate these particular milestones?
I watched the confirmation of charges at the Internatioal Criminal Court in The Hague against two accused war criminals from the Congo: Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui. As I listened to the horrific crimes these men are accused of masterminding I couldn't help but think of two other men who I hope will be siting in those same seats one day: Bush and Cheney. In fact Mr. Ngudjolo Chui often sat with that same dazed and cocky expression we often see on Bush's face and Mr. Katanga sat the whole time with a sneer on his face that rivals Cheney's permanent expression.
If you want to read more about these war criminals (the Congolese torturers not the US ones) paste the link below into your browser and follow the links on that page:

I will write more about my 3 months as a visiting professional at the International Criminal Court in the coming weeks, my visiting position ends on the 4th of July.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Canadian Court holds Canada implicated in US torture of then 16 year old Khadr

A Canadian judge released another interesting decision in the Omar Khadr saga today. Pursuant to the Supreme Court of Canada's earlier order to disclose documents to Khadr's attorneys the Judge ordered Canada to give the lawyers a document which indicates that when Canadian agents went to gitmo to interrogate Khadr in Feb 2003, a US official at gitmo described certain treatment that they (the US officials) had inflicted on the 16 year old Khadr in order to "prepare" him for the Canadian interrogations. The judge then proceeded to find that this treatment constituted torture. The Judge went on to find that Canada is "implicated" in that torture since they continued with the interrogation despite knowledge that this torture had been inflicted. The Judge does not disclose what the treatment was, but he has ordered Canada to disclose the document to Khadr's attorneys.

So basically a judge has found that the US tortured Omar at Guantanamo when he was only 16.

Decision is here, interesting part starts at para 72 and continues to at least 88:

Monday, June 23, 2008

Parhat Victory

Although we do not know the details yet there was a victory in the DC Circuit Court on friday and the order (but not the details) was released today. Click on the title to read the Order and as soon as the censors release the details I will post a link to that as well.
Listen to the NPR story here:

Thanks to PEGC for providing the link ( )

Denied without prejudice

The Supreme Court just denied Al-Ghizzawi's original habeas petition without prejudice... meaning he is free to pursue in the District Court...

Friday, June 20, 2008

An Open Letter to My Senators (Obama and Durbin) on the so called "FISA Compromise"

As an attorney representing two men being held at Guantanamo I have been subjected to government surveillance of both my work and home phones. I take this so called "compromise" personally. Click on the title to see the letter that I have sent to my two senators... and please contact your representatives and senators this morning and tell them you oppose this bill strongly. Now.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


If you haven't actually looked at these you should (click on the title). Pay special attention to Page 9... where we model our torture after the N. Koreans (diet manipulation) and pages 13-16 where we talk about how to cover this up.... you know... so history won't figure this out.
I have to admit I can't read it all at once so I may add some other pages to highlight later.


They were lawyers not low level soldiers.... click on the title and read what McClatchy has to say. (I have joined the protest against citing to the AP check out "UnAssociated Press" .)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


It has been less than a week... the Supreme Court has again declared that the men at Gitmo have rights, not very many mind you... but a few important ones. Like the right to know why they are being held and the right to defend themselves against whatever accusations might be made against them.... rights that have been accepted by civilized countries for hundreds of years, and known in the legal world as the writ of habeas corpus.
Now that our Supreme Court has again told our nation (and the world) that Habeas Corpus still exists in the United States... if only by a thread ... we have people like John McCain threatening new legislation so we can continue to hold men indefinitely without charge ... And we have a judiciary in the District Court of D.C. wondering how can they handle this "massive" litigation. (This "massive litigation" is less than 300 men... small beans for our federal court.)
One thing that has been clear over these many years is that our federal courts are in mortal fear of ruling on these cases. They are in fear of challenging our executive...
The last few days have shown that the district court in DC would very much like an out... they don't want these cases and they don't want to rule on these cases... They remain paralyzed and it is unclear who will provide the necessary guidance to get actual movement on the habeas cases.

Back at the beginning of 2005 the then commander at Guantanamo, Major General Jay Hood, acknowledged to The Wall Street Journal that: “Sometimes we just didn’t get the right folks,” and that the reason those “folks” were still in Guantanamo was that “[n]obody wants to be the one to sign the release papers . . . . There’s no muscle in the system.” General Hood added that there were “significant numbers of men here” who he expected would be transferred to their home governments or released, and that ‘[i]f that doesn’t happen, I’m going to be doing some yelling.” (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 26, 2005).

General Jay Hood left his post at Guantanamo that same year and he never did do any yelling... there is still no muscle in the system and if the last few days are any indication our judges in the District Court don't want to be the ones to sign the release papers...

And so, despite the wonderful and eloquent decision of Justice Kennedy, the question for me remains:
Will Mr. Al-Ghizzawi remain in Guantanamo without charges? Will Mr. Al-Ghizzawi ever get a Habeas Corpus hearing?
Will Mr. Al-Ghizzawi ever see anything resembling justice at the hands of my country?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Returning to The Battlefield.... The Myth Lives On

In March of 2007 I wrote a piece for HuffingtonPost on the Myth of the return to the battlefield. I started out by saying:

Why bother to do fact checking when it is so much easier to just write down whatever you are told? Every time I read or hear about the ever-changing number of Guantánamo prisoners that have "returned to the battlefield" I try to research this issue yet again. The Pentagon, Cheney, Rumsfeld and various others have, at different times, claimed that 12, 4, 15, 10, 7 and even twenty-some Guantánamo prisoners have "returned to the battlefield." The administration and the military frequently use this "fact" to bolster their rationale for keeping the Guantánamo facility open. However, when asked for the identities of these men things get a little hazy... for some reason they don't want to tell us. They want us to just trust them on this one... Been there, done that. Since the government provides few specifics to support this claim it is hard to challenge them. That should not mean however that journalists have to keep covering the lies as though they are true.

I then went on to check the facts.... click on the title if you are interested in knowing.

One thing has changed in the intervening fifteen months. One man, who had been cleared by the military and released three years ago was involved in a suicide bombing a month or so ago. I guess it was bound to happen...that one of the men held at Guantanamo would eventually be involved in violence. But again, and despite Scalia's great fear of the men held at Guantanamo, this is the only man we know of who actually was set free and engaged in violence. I for one find this pretty amazing.

More than 500 men have been quietly released from Guantanamo in the middle of the night and sent home. Why? Because they should not have been held by us in the first place. These are men who were picked up in return for bounties. The military's own records confirm that the vast majority of them were no where near a battlefield. In fact, our military often didn't even know their names or what they were accused of doing. Frankly, we didn't care. Our government wanted it to look like we were doing something.

Our Supreme Court has spoken and as a friend of mine pointed out "I hope that people will take careful notice of the court's words. A fragile line was drawn between freedom and tyranny." It is time we take our fragile line and try to move forward as a country.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Voting Republican

Yesterday we saw many of the right wing nuts explaining why the Supreme Court was wrong in their decision to uphold our Constitution. With that in mind I share this about voting republican.

And a few words from Dylan...

This is from Chris Floyd's site... but because I couldn't figure out how to do a link to the actual Dylan blog I just copied the whole thing... you tube and all. Click on the title and you can go to the frontpage of Chris Floyds' site.

Foreign Policy and Military Procurement in Perspective
Preview content | Read more... And now, a few words on foreign policy and military procurement from a prominent American currently visiting Europe (Vienna, June 10):

Thursday, June 12, 2008

So What Does It Mean?

I will not give a long scholarly analysis. It is not my style.

The short and sweet version is that the Guantanamo prisoners have the right to ask the Federal Court in DC (which is where my clients' cases are filed) to rule on whether they are being properly held. This means the government is going to have to charge the men with something and explain why the men should continue to be held. This is difficult for the government because there is no rhyme or reason why many of the men (like Mr. Al-Ghizzawi) are being held.

I also filed an original habeas petition for Mr. Al-Ghizzawi last summer in the Supreme Court. That petition has been sitting quietly in the background all these months. This afternoon I asked the very nice clerk at the Supreme Court if there was any word on what will happen with that petition. I received a response a few hours ago telling me that the petition is set for the judges conference on June 19th and that an order will probably be entered on June 23rd.

In my dream of dreams the Supreme Court will rule on the petition and order that Mr. Al-Ghizzawi be set free... but my best guess is that the Court will send the petition back to the District Court for a prompt hearing.... prompt is not a word that is usually associated with anything gitmo, but I hope for the best. As Studs Terkel said "Hope dies last."

I am scheduled to visit with Mr. Al-Ghizzawi the week of July 14th.

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Gitmo Prisoners (click here for link to opinion)

Court gives detainees habeas rightsThursday, June 12th, 2008 10:08 am Lyle Denniston Print This Post

In a stunning blow to the Bush Administration in its war-on-terrorism policies, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign nationals held at Guantanamo Bay have a right to pursue habeas challenges to their detention. The Court, dividing 5-4, ruled that Congress had not validly taken away habeas rights.


Hey lots of events for you londoners... click on the title to see what REPRIEVE has up it's sleeve when Bush comes to town to visit with the queen and Gordon Brown on Sunday.

Later in the evening there is a benefit for Repreive as part of the Massive attack for Meltdown 2008

With a showing of "Taxi to the Darkside" at the Southbank centre, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room at 6:30 pm sunday.

I am making a special trip to London for these events (I am actually in The Hague so it is not too far) and hope to see any of you there who happen to be around the London area.

Mozamm Begg, a released Gitmo prisoner and Clive Stafford Smith the Executive Director of Reprieve will also be there.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

More on Destruction of Interrogation Documents

I haven't copied the whole blog but you can click the title above and go to it. There are two interesting things that I didn't catch in the news accounts... one is that the Khadr team sent a letter to the Supremes asking them to consider the handbook with instructions to destroy notes in their up and coming decision (link to the letter near the bottom here) and second is an affidavit from counsel about the handbook if counsel can't get a copy of the handbook to the court. If you want to see the affidavit you will need to click on the title and read the post... the link to the affidavit is at or near the end.

New claim in detainee cases

Email thisShare on FacebookDigg This!

Lawyers for a young Canadian being detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, moved on Monday to complain to the Supreme Court that military officials are encouraging interrogation teams to destroy notes about their activities, suggesting that this raises new issues about the adequacy of Pentagon procedures for deciding who is an enemy and must remain in captivity. A key issue now before the Court in the pending cases on detainees’ legal rights, the letter filed Monday said, is whether the prisoners will have a real opportunity to challenge the reasons for their confinement. That is threatened, it added, by the potential loss of interrogators’ documents. The letter, sent to the Court’s Clerk, can be downloaded here.

Human Rights Watch Report on Conditions at Gitmo

Washington, DC, June 10, 2008) – More than two-thirds of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, including many cleared for release or transfer, are being housed in inhumane conditions that are reportedly having a damaging effect on their mental health, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.

The 54-page report, “Locked Up Alone: Detention Conditions and Mental Health at Guantanamo,” documents the conditions in the various “camps” at the detention center, in which approximately 185 of the 270 detainees are housed in facilities akin to “supermax” prisons even though they have not yet been convicted of a crime. These detainees have extremely limited contact with other human beings, spend 22 hours a day alone in small cells with little or no natural light or fresh air, are not provided any educational opportunities, and are given little more than a single book and the Koran to occupy their time. Even their two hours of “recreation” time – which is sometimes provided in the middle of the night – generally takes place in single-cell cages so that detainees cannot physically interact with one another.

“Guantanamo detainees who have not even been charged with a crime are being warehoused in conditions that are in many ways harsher than those reserved for the most dangerous, convicted criminals in the United States,” said Jennifer Daskal, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch. “Security measures don’t justify locking people in windowless cells 22 hours a day, for months and years on end, with almost no opportunity for human interaction, physical exercise or mental stimulation.”


Monday, June 9, 2008


Somehow I missed this yesterday but now we learn that the prosecution manual calls for the destruction of interrogation notes. I guess they are trying everything they can to make sure they win (getting rid of the prosecutor, the judge and now the evidence).... but why bother? The administration has claimed that even if someone manages to be found innocent in this kangaroo court they will be held forever.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Sometime between now and I am told June 23rd (technically it could be as late as June 30th) the Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act.... the law that stripped my clients and the other men being held prisoner at Guantanamo of the writ of habeas corpus. We wait with baited breath. I should mention that I also have pending an original habeas petition for Mr. Al-Ghizzawi that the Supreme Court is apparently holding pending its ruling in Boumediene. In essence I have argued to the Court that regardless of how they hold in Boumediene they (the Supreme Court) has original jurisdiction under the Constitution to decide habeas cases and they should hear Mr. Al-GHizzawi's.This week the Supreme Court will issue opinions on Monday the 9th of June and Thursday the 12th of June. If you click on the title at 10:00 am Eastern time you can read live blogging from SCOTUSBlog as the decisions are read. Today four cases were decided but none had anything to do with GITMO.

Saturday, June 7, 2008



Roger Fitch Esq • June 2, 2008

Our Man in Washington

Guantánamo unravelling … Bush admin sacks judge mid-trial for being too fair and independent … Canadian Supreme Court finds Gitmo process illegal … Administration planning election year war crimes spectacular … CIA station chief in Milan still on the run

imageThe end of May saw a sensational development in the Guantánamo saga.

The Bush Regime did what even Charles Stuart never attempted: it sacked a judge mid-trial for showing fairness and independence and a disinclination to admit evidence derived from torture – the very thing the White House wants.

The Pentagon claimed that Omar Khadr’s Judge, Peter Brownback, was planning to retire, yet the Toronto Globe and Mail wondered, “why the judge would retire in the middle of an ongoing military tribunal case”.

Everyone seemed to forget that s.949b of the Military Commissions Act forbids “unlawfully influencing” a military judge.


Thursday, June 5, 2008

More On Detainee Interrogations Abuses

Pentagon Makes Public the 2003 Working Group Report on Detainee Interrogation

The Department of Defense has posted the 2003 Working Group Report on Detainee Interrogations in the Global War on Terrorism (pdf) and comments from the Military Services' Judge Advocates (pdf) today on its Freedom of Information Act electronic reading room.

While much of this information may already be in the public realm, it is important that these documents in full are now directly available to the public through the Pentagon's own website. The Army Judge Advocate General's memo to the Air Force's general counsel (pdf) is exceptionally enlightening. On the first page it states that the Army JAG's "concerns center around the potential Department of Defense (DOD) sanctioning of detainee interrogation techniques that may appear to violate international law, domestic law, or both."

(Thanks to POGO for the links...)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Can we make it 500 next time.... instead of 34??

I reported a few days ago about the 34 men and women who protested against our legal black hole... Guantanamo... outside the U. S. Supreme Court. It was a peaceful protest. These people were trying to bring to the attention of the sleeping masses a serious crime that is going on in our name. Since the Supreme Court is our only institution listening this was clearly the most appropriate place for these individuals to express their frustration with our lawless administration.
80 were arrested and 34 stood trial. These individuals represented themselves without attorneys so they could have the opportunity to speak to the court about the injustice at Guantanamo. They were found guilty. Many have or will spend some time in jail....
These men and women did what they did because they were unable to continue to sit out what is happening to our country... and to the men being held illegally at guantanamo.
Click on the title to read the story of one of those individuals...
And again, to those of you who put your own liberty at risk to bring attention to those being held at Guantanamo and elsewhere... without charge, without trial, without recourse...
I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Gregory Garre has been nominated by Bush to be the next Solicitor General after Paul Clement and Thomas Hungar announced almost simultaneously that they were both leaving... Now Paul is gone and Thomas is leaving soon. In 2004 I argued before the Supreme Court in a civil rights case and the solicitors office filed a brief in support of my position and was given argument time. Greg Garre was the assistant solicitor who argued for the office. Greg did a good job and is a nice guy unfortunately he has been just a tad too willing to argue an unrestrained view of executive power... which is too bad... he should remember the Constitution comes before the President.
(by the way I won the case I argued up there unanimously... not bad for a civil rights case!)