Thursday, July 31, 2008

hold on to your hats....

New National Defense Strategy announced.... seems there are alot of enemies out there...
Click on the title.........

Guantanamo Comes Home? (UPDATED)

Well here is the other shoe that many of us were waiting on to fall... Attorney General Mukasey is asking congress to declare the world (Yes the U.S. is still part of the world) a battlefield so that the president can pick up anybody anywhere and declare them an enemy combatant. The ACLU is on the job and has made a call to action on this one.
Thanks to the Talking Dog (here) for the alert.
See also

Monday, July 28, 2008

PEGC Update

And for an update on everything else Gitmo click on the title and read the latest update/follow the links from the Project to Enforce the Geneva Conventions.

The District Court Litigation

For a recap on what is and has been going on at the Federal Court click on the title and go to Scotusblog. You can also go directly to a special website set up by the Court to read opinions and review documents ( Hopefully Judge Hogan will rule rather quickly on the issues before him so that we can start setting up hearings for our clients. No doubt the government will want to appeal some of his rulings... (no matter what they are) as the governments only goal is to stretch this out past the election.... but perhaps the judges have learned something from this litigation and will refuse to stay proceeding pending the proceedings?

Al-Marri's brother goes home (updated)

Again, in the middle of some night recently a plane left Gitmo with at least one man bound for Qatar. Jarallah Al-Marri the brother of Saleh Al-Marri is back home after more than six years at Guantanamo... with no charge ever filed against him. You may recall Jarallah's famous brother Saleh, who was picked up in the US where he had moved (with his family) to study. He was here on a valid visa and despite the fact that there was no evidence (other than being Muslim) that he was involved in any terrorist activity he was held in federal custody. When push came to shove and the government was forced to come forward with some evidence they dropped the charges and the president declared him an enemy combatant. The 4th circuit recently held that it is legal for the president to declare people lawfully in the United States as enemy combatants and hold them because Congress empowered the president to detain non-citizens as enemies. Yes, our congress gave Bush that power in the Military Commissions Act. Visitors to this country should be very wary.

The Department of Defense announced today that it transferred three detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; one detainee was transferred to Afghanistan, one detainee to the United Arab Emirates, and one detainee to Qatar.

Monday, July 21, 2008

So full of s**t and so little time

Today our esteemed Attorney General thought maybe he could stall this one more time by pretending like our courts have never dealt with Habeas Corpus cases. I cannot applaud Leahy's response because he has been all talk and little action but I want the world to know that this little game is not over yet...
Things are happening at the District Court level... I can't at this time say whether any of it will make a difference to my clients or the other men but if you have noticed a dirth of news here at this blog, it is because we (the habeas counsel) are jumping through new hoops. I hope to post more in the coming days... meanwhile:

Reaction Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.),
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee,
To Attorney General Mukasey's Call
For Congressional Action
On Rules For Detainee Hearings
Monday, July 21, 2008

The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Boumediene v. Bush last month reaffirmed our core American values by concluding that detainees at Guantanamo have the right to bring habeas corpus claims in federal court. I applauded that decision because I have maintained from the beginning that the provisions of the Military Commission Act that purported to strip away those rights were unconstitutional and un-American.

The Judiciary Committee has held a wide range of hearings on issues of detainee rights and procedures. Attorney General Mukasey's call today for Congress to create new rules for these habeas proceedings is the first I have heard from the Administration on this issue. Given the Judiciary Committee's long interest in this subject, it is regrettable that the Attorney General neither consulted with nor informed the Committee about this request before his speech.

The Courts have a long history of considering habeas petitions and of handling national security matters, including classified information. I have great confidence in our system of justice and its ability to handle these issues. The Administration made this mess by seeking to avoid judicial review at all costs, causing years of delay and profound uncertainty. It has been rebuked four times by the Supreme Court. Habeas Corpus is the ultimate guarantee of fairness and a check on executive excess. The Congress must not rush to pass yet another piece of ill conceived legislation. The Judiciary Committee will continue to address issues related to detainees and will review and consider any proposal from the Administration on these matters. With so little time left in this legislative session and the complexity of these issues, it may be an issue more responsibly addressed in the next Congress with a new President.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Back From Guantanamo

I am back from another trip to our gulag and I am angry. The following is from the status report I filed with the judge this morning:

Al-Ghizzawi, this mild mannered man whose "crime" was to be an Arab in Afghanistan when the U.S. offered substantial bounties without asking questions and without verifying the identity of men turned over, has now been put in a position of being forced to yell and pound on his windowless solitary confinement door to plead the military to open the little hatch in his cell door to allow some air (from the hallway not the outdoors) into his tiny cell. A plea that, by the way, has not been ignored but instead callously denied. Finally, out of desperation this past weekend, Al-Ghizzawi told counsel that he took his skin medicine (it wasn’t helping his severe itching anyway) put it in his drinking water and threatened to drink the tainted liquid if he was not given some kind of medical care for his new breathing problem and his other severe health problems.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Al-Ghizzawi's Medical Appeal

For those of you following the ordeal surrounding Al-Ghizzawi's medical problems which is now on appeal on the title to view the Motion I filed with the Appellate Court today. Many thanks again goes to Seth Farber for his assistance in drafting today's Motion.

Is the ball rolling?

We shall see... but the judge who was assigned to coordinate the Guantanamo cases is making some promising first moves:
Based upon the parties’ representations during the hearing held on July 8, 2008, the
filings the Court received following the hearing, and the entire record herein, the Court enters the
following schedule to initially govern this consolidated proceeding:
(click on the title to read the cliff note version...)

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Yes, of course I must say something.
This law is another unconstitutional bill passed by our pathetic congress.
The fact that it is unconstitutional goes without saying... the same as the Military Commissions Act that was passed in 2006 to take away the writ of habeas corpus from the guantanamo prisoners... but what you should be asking yourselves is why is our congress intent on passing laws that it knows are unconstitutional?
If you are benevolent (which I am not) it is because they just don't want to deal with it and they would rather pass that particular buck on to our judiciary.
If you are less than benevolent (which I surely am) it is because they are complicit in the illegal shenanigans that have been going on in our name these many years... and they want more time to pass because... well, you know, Americans have alot of things on their collective minds.. like TV... and maybe we won't remember these illegal shenanigans next election time.
Sad part is... most Americans will not.
But to all of you who say you care...
you cannot be couch "carers" ... ok so I made up a god damn word....
you on the other hand have made up an excuse.
I got off my ass.
You have not.
sending emails does not change the course of a nation.
And you do not have to be a lawyer to make change.
Shame on all of you.


A little late but 4th of July greetings from our friends at Justinian (click on the title to read the entire piece):

Roger Fitch Esq • July 4, 2008

Our Man in Washington

Roger Fitch in Washington celebrates Independence Day with the latest talk on torture as Addington and Yoo front the House Judiciary Committee … No surprises in Roberts’ and Scalia’s dissents in the most recent habeas decision … The Bush-Chaney team have only 200 days left in which to wreak havoc

imageIf you believe The New York Times a debate is still raging over how much drowning is torture – particularly in the case of the “9/11” military commission defendant Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

According to the Times, KSM had a fairly rough trot:

“The intensity of his treatment – various harsh techniques, including waterboarding, used about 100 times over a period of two weeks – prompted worries that officers might have crossed the boundary into illegal torture.”

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day

Click on the title to remind yourself why it was we wanted independence... (I sure wish I knew how to put that picture on here).

Thursday, July 3, 2008

And then of course there is this...

A number of you have emailed me in the last day about the "chinese torture" manual... or what my friend Seth at refers to as "Chinese imports, or yesterday's news today!":

As Seth mentioned in the above piece, this is a bit of old news that the NY Times is finally getting around to reporting but I invite everyone to read the talking dogs take on this and also click on the title to read what balkinization has to say.

Two Algerians Released (updated)

The government announced that it released two Algerians. One is Mustafa Hamlily (705), the other is Houari (ISN 070) .

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

This, From Yemen on line..

There have been rumors of an agreement in the past so we don't know if this will turn out to be true or not:

YemenOnline- July 02, 2008- The United States of America has agreed to
extradite the Yemeni nationals who are being held without charge in
Guantanamo Bay. The prisoners held in the US controlled detention camp
will be returned to Yemen (about 100 Yemeni nationals). The release,
however, is conditional. The US has coordinated with the Minister of
Endowments and Guidance, Hamoud al-Hitar, to have rehabilitation
programs to discourage the former detainees from extremist Islam. The US
has acknowledged Yemen's success at rehabilitating suspected terrorists.
However, some say the inhumane hardships faced in Guantanamo Bay may be
difficult to erase from their psyche.

Several dozen Yemeni citizens were arrested by American forces and
detained in Guantanamo Bay for suspicion of terrorism. Some were and are
still being held for over six years with no trial and no charges. Their
cells are kept alight and at uncomfortable temperatures to deprive them
of sleep. They are barred from having lawyers but are subjected to
grueling interrogations. Allegations of physical torture are not
uncommon. Accounts of the desecration of the Koran are rampant. It would
be Hamoud al-Hitar's job to ensure that the extradited prisoners would
be able to recover from prison life and reestablish themselves in

(Click on the title to go directly to the source.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Gitmo Days Off

Ok, I know I have trouble separating the real from the surreal but here is the latest message from the good people at Gitmo: (By the way... my trip for the 14th is safe unless they decide to celebrate Bastille day!).

"Good afternoon
I have listed below upcoming holiday periods. Please do not request to visit with your clients during that time.
July 4 - Independence Day
September 1 - Labor Day
October 13 - Columbus Day
November 10 - 11 - Veterans Day
November 27-28 - Thanksgiving
December 25 - 26 Christmas
December 31 - January 1 - New Years Day
Also, I have again attached the habeas visit coordination form you should be using to request visits with your clients. Thank you
I laughed out loud when I saw Columbus day on the list... for many reasons... but the one I was actually thinking about was when my brother (who is also an attorney) didn't show up for work his first day as an attorney. He was rudely awakened by his boss who wondered where he was. Seems no one takes that day off except students… and I guess the “folks” down at gitmo….sigh.