Thursday, December 31, 2009


ABC reported on monday that a former gitmo prisoner was involved in the incident aboard the Amsterdam/Detroit flight on Christmas. Soon thereafter the story was widely disseminated. Only problem is that the guy they were accusing (Muhamad Attik al-Harbi) had turned himself over to Saudi officials back in February, after his picture showed up on an Al-Queda recruitment video.
Click on the title for ABCs "correction" of its sloppy journalism....

Should we hold the Yemeni's forever?

Some on the rights fringe are arguing that the 92 or so men from Yemen being held at Guantanamo should be held by us forever because Yemen has too many political problems. Many of these men have been cleared for release (for years...) and are clearly innocent of any wrong doing....minor details. Click on the title to read what Andy Worthington has to say about these men and why they should be allowed to go home.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Should we go back to torture?

Eric Lewis is one of the Gitmo attorneys. Click on the title to read what he has to say about the Detroit plane incident....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Twelve Released

Over the weekend, four Afghan detainees, Abdul Hafiz, Sharifullah, Mohamed Rahim and Mohammed Hashim, were transferred to the Government of Afghanistan. In addition, two Somali detainees, Mohammed Soliman Barre and Ismael Arale, were transferred to regional authorities in Somaliland. Finally, six Yemeni detainees, Jamal Muhammad Alawi Mari, Farouq Ali Ahmed, Ayman Saeed Abdullah Batarfi, Muhammaed Yasir Ahmed Taher, Fayad Yahya Ahmed al Rami and Riyad Atiq Ali Abdu al Haf, were transferred to the Government of Yemen.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Habeas Scorecard

The Washington Independent has started a new "habeas scorecard" keeping track of the wins and losses of the habeas corpus petitions. As of todays latest ruling in favor of the detainee (Yemeni detainee, Saeed Hatim) the score is 32 wins (for habeas petitioners) and 9 losses (for habeas petitioners...). In other words.... 4 out of 5 cases (80%) have been won by the detainees.
Click on the title for more.


Citizen Gorman here….(only kidding Judge…and DOJ)

I just have one clarification….I never argued (even implicitly) that the DOJ should not be allowed to seek court approval to designated matters “protected”…. I only argued that they should be required to follow the guidelines that they established…instead of just make it up as they go along.

Anyway it is a good thing I have a sense of humor.

Click here to read the order.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Amicus and other briefs in the Supreme Court Kiyemba (1) case

Sorry for the delay in getting these up on the blog. The Kiyemba case that is pending in the Supreme Court is looking at the issue of whether men who won their habeas case at Guantanamo and cannot go back to their home country can be released into the United States. First link is to the very readable and important amicus brief written by Charles Gittings (from the project to enforce the geneva conventions):
Supreme Court --

December 11, 2009
Kiyemba v. Obama, No. 08-1234

All the merits briefs for Petitioners and Amici are here:

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Another frustrating visit to our gulag...
while there one Kuwaiti was sent home and one federal judge found the pentagon in contempt for disobeying an order to film the habeas testimony of one of the men... but it was still disappointing in that the Judge refused to bring the man to federal court to testify again (with a camera this time) and without cross examination (because he already went through that) so that there could be a video record of his testimony. The court's rationale: "The Court rejects this request for several reasons. First, the logistical and security problems would be extremely difficult to overcome...."
Yikes.... I mean really....did she forget she entered his habeas petition?....what is the security issue here? That we might bring a guy to the US that never should have been held at Guantanamo....sigh.
There are rumors that some others will be sent home, maybe tonight ....or it might be in another 8 days or so....but of course only rumors. We shall see.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Seton Hall report on three of the deaths at Gitmo

Click here for the comprehensive report.
Click here for Scott Horton's interview of Prof. Denbeaux
For the cliffnotes version I am pasting this in from the press release (the bottom line is that there are still many unanswered questions):

The three detainees were each reported to have been found hanging in his separate cell shortly after midnight on June 10, 2006. According to the government’s own autopsies, each detainee had been hanging unobserved for a minimum of two hours. The deaths went unnoticed despite the constant supervision of five guards who were responsible for only 28 inmates in a lit cell block monitored by video cameras. According to Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), each detainee should have been observed a minimum of once every 10 minutes by the guards. Despite clear violations of the SOP, no guards were ever disciplined.


Buried in the investigation are details of a camp in total disarray. According to Professor Mark Denbeaux, Director of the Center for Policy & Research, the investigation shows “guards not on duty, detainees hanging dead in their cells for hours and guards leaving their posts to eat the detainees’ leftover food.” During initial investigation interviews immediately following the deaths, those guards on duty were warned that they were suspected of giving false statements and were even read their Miranda rights. These guards were also ordered to not write out sworn statements, even though SOPs demanded they should.


Professor Denbeaux commented, “An investigation was promised. The promised investigation was a cover up. Worse still, given the gross inadequacy of the investigation the more compelling questions are: Who knew of the cover up? Who approved of the cover up, and why? The government’s investigation is slipshod, and its conclusion leaves the most important questions about this tragedy unanswered.”

Taking the military investigation’s findings as truthful and complete, in order to have committed suicide by hanging, the detainees had to:

  1. Braid a noose by tearing up their sheets and/or clothing
  2. Make mannequins of themselves so it would appear to the guards they were asleep in their cells
  3. Hang sheets to block the view into the cells, in violation of SOPs
  4. Stuff rags down their own throats
  5. Tie their own feet together
  6. Tie their own hands together
  7. Hang the noose from the metal mesh of the cell wall and/or ceiling
  8. Climb up on to the sink, put the noose around their necks and release their weight, resulting in death by strangulation
  9. Hang dead for at least two hours completely unnoticed by guards

Seton Hall Law student, co-author of Death in Camp Delta, and former Sergeant in the 82nd Airborne Division, Paul W. Taylor added: “We have three dead bodies and no explanation. How is it possible that all three detainees had shoved rags so far down their own throats that medical personnel could not remove them? One of the dead detainees was scheduled for release from Guantanamo Bay in 19 days. Instead he died in custody.”

The American public and the families of the dead deserve to know the truth.”

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

YES WE CAN.....but we won't (Updated)

Someone sent me an email questioning whether or not I was really wary of Obama from the beginning or whether I was not now just jumping on some anti Obama bandwagon.... I have jumped on bandwagons in the past when I realized I made a mistake... but this was not one of those times.
Read here for my post regarding Obama in early "08.


Remember it?
Well it is coming into play again... lets see where it takes us.
You see we have been holding men without charge for years, torturing them and forcing confessions....but one of those men illegally held actually had an indictment against him in NY the whole time we were holding him.
We (the US Government) ignored it and held him and tortured him and now we decided to go ahead (six years later) and try him....sigh.
His attorneys filed this... suggesting to the court that maybe this is just a bit illegal.
read more here ...what you will learn is that our government is still protecting the details of his torture and that somehow our justice department doesn't see anything wrong with holding someone for years on end (maybe forever) without charge... and when they finally do get around to the charges they think we should just sit tight and accept it....kind of like the good old soviet union....
except they didn't have our constitution.

Monday, November 30, 2009

YES WE CAN.....but we won't

I don't agree with everything Michael has to say...I for one never loved the guy....but click on the title for more.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pardoned White House Turkey Slays Nine


Pardoned White House Turkey Slays Nine


WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) - In a potentially embarrassing situation for the Obama White House, a turkey pardoned by President Obama earlier this week went on a three-state killing spree on Thanksgiving Day, killing nine.

While authorities were still piecing together the motivation behind the recidivist fowl's homicidal rampage, a chorus of Republican critics complained that pardoning the feathered killer was symptomatic of the Obama administration's misguided policies.

"First they close down Guantanamo, then they let killer turkeys run free," said House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH). "Next thing you know they'll put this turkey on trial in New York."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Latest Gitmo News

There has been some things happening related to the Gitmo detainees that is of interest. First, the Supreme Court is looking at the issue of whether the US Government is free to torture long as it is not on our soil.... Click here for more on the story. Also newsworthy is that the Algerian Government acquitted two men who were released back to Algeria from Guantanamo after seven years at the hellhole. That is good news for some of the Algerian men still being held at Guantanamo who fear going home because of the threat of further persecution. Read more on this story here. Daphne Eviatar also updated the sad story of the prisoner who died at Guantanamo earlier this year. Seems there is an ongoing investigation related to whether the man died of medical neglect. Read more about that here. Finally one more detainee had his habeas petition entered: Congrats to attorneys Buz Eisenberg and Jerry Cohen...(Farhi Saeed bin Mohammed (ISN 311) v. Obama , 05-cv-1347(GK)) .

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Appealing the Stays (Updated)

Click on the title to read about a little reported fact From AP: that most of the men that have been cleared for release by the Obama Administration have had their habeas cases "stayed".... in other words, the Judges are refusing to hear their petitions for habeas corpus. Apparently when the "king" says..."don't worry I am taking care of things" the constitutional right to a habeas hearing (upheld by the Supreme Court inBoumediene) disappears. Many of the men have been cleared since the spring and with the threat of their habeas petitions dissolved the Obama Administration has dragged their collective feet in releasing the men.
Shame on the Judges and on the Obama Administration, although I would not expect the Administration to care about such things, I do expect the judges to do their duty
Click on the title for more.
I have updated this article to make clear that the source of this story is the AP article and not any "protected" information I may or may not have.

Friday, November 20, 2009

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian


Roger Fitch Esq • November 13, 2009

Our Man in Washington

Gitmo closure looms … FBI releases documents on extraordinary rendition … Rendition lawsuits bogged down in US courts … All’s well that ends well for Ali Al-Marri

imageThe Congressional Research Service has a report out on the legal issues involved in closing Guantánamo.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Uighers in Palau

Click on the title for a transcript from the "Dateline" interview with the four Uighers who arrived in Palau earlier this month and their attorneys.

Government trying to cut plea deals

As the January deadline approaches for closing Guantanamo alot of us our wondering just what the heck is going on with this transparent government of ours? Only a handful of men have left the place since Obama became president...and many of those that have left can thank certain Judges who ordered their release, as opposed to the Obama administration. The vast majority of the men, some of whom have been cleared for release for literally years continue to sit and wait for something to happen. Now we learn from Dafna Linzer at Propublica that the Government is trying to cut plea deals with many of the men....even though they have little or no evidence of wrongdoing for those men. I guess it might make it look good to some if the men leave Gitmo having been found guilty of something... as opposed to the reality, that many of the men have sat there for all of these years despite the fact that we have no evidence of any wrongdoing.
Click on the title for more of this story...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Andy Worthington on Democracy Now

On Democracy Now! Andy Worthington Discusses the Forthcoming 9/11 Trials and “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (Video)


I was delighted to be invited to discuss Guantánamo on Democracy Now! this morning, just an hour after the story first broke that the Obama administration is preparing to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other prisoners to the US mainland to face trials in federal court for their alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

As I explained to Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, this is good news to the extent that the whole of the “War on Terror” – with its egregious human rights violations – was supposedly justified as being necessary for the pursuit and capture of those responsible for the 9/11 attacks, and although I believe that the government will be able to avoid having to dwell on the fact that Mohammed and his co-defendants were all tortured in secret CIA prisons if the Justice Department is able to produce any evidence whatsoever of their involvement in the attacks, I explained to Amy and Juan that I was deeply disappointed to hear that it is expected that other prisoners – including Abdul Rahim al-Nashiri, another CIA prisoner, who, like Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah, was subjected to waterboarding, a form of controlled drowning – will not face a federal court trial, but will, instead, be put forward for trial by Military Commission.

As I have explained at length over the last two and a half years (and as the Commissions’ former prosecutor, Morris Davis, explained in a op-ed for the Wall Street Journal this week), the revival of the discredited Commissions, which struggled in vain to establish their legitimacy over the course of seven years, demonstrates only that the administration lacks the courage to trust the federal courts, and, as a result, is prepared to endorse the existence of a second-tier judicial system to be used in cases where it fears that the evidence will not be strong enough to secure a conviction.

I count myself fortunate to have had this interview scheduled on the day that such an important story broke, but was also glad that there was time to discuss – and show clips from – my new documentary film “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash), which I have been showing in New York, Washington D.C. and the Bay Area over the last week, and which was the initial spur for my appearance on the show.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Appealing the Stays

A little reported fact is that most of the men that have been cleared for release by the Obama Administration have had their habeas cases "stayed".... in other words, the Judges are refusing to hear their petitions for habeas corpus. Apparently when the "king" says..."don't worry I am taking care of things" the constitutional right to a habeas hearing (upheld by the Supreme Court in Boumediene) disappears. Many of the men have been cleared since the spring and with the threat of their habeas petitions dissolved the Obama Administration has dragged their collective feet in releasing the men.
Shame on the Judges and on the Obama Administration, although I would not expect the Administration to care about such things, I do expect the judges to do their duty
Click on the title for more.

Will they meet the NOV. 16 deadline?

On Monday the Obama administration is supposed to announce its plan for the 215 men still at Guantanamo. According to the administration they will have reviewed all of the files at least once by that date and they will know which men should be set free, which will be tried and which they just don't know what the heck to do with. The last public accounting was that about 50 were to be tried, 80 had been cleared for release and approximately 90 they just couldn't figure out. It will be interesting to see if they make the Monday deadline and if so where those numbers are at... Click on the title for more.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More on what is going on in the Supreme Court

Kiyemba II has now been filed in the Supreme Court. This is an issue that is of vital importance to both of my clients (and many other men at Gitmo) as it asks the Court to rule on whether or not my clients (and I) are entitled to 30 days notice before they are moved out of Guantanamo. The 30 days notice gives us time to petition the lower Court if in fact the Government/military intends on transferring the men to a place where they could face torture....I guess I mean, another place where they could face torture....sigh. Click on the title for more from scotusblog.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Obama's Guantanamo

Although the conditions of confinement for Mr. Al-Ghizzawi have improved over the course of this year there are many men at Guantanamo for whom things have not improved. Those are, for the most part, the men in Camp 5. Click on the title to read about their conditions.

Arrogance Rewarded

A few months back the Government decided it could disobey a judges order and that no one would take them to task. The order was actually entered in all of the pending cases and I volunteered to be the one to take them to task. In October I reported on the first judge that ruled on this here.... now Judge Lamberth, the second judge I filed in front of has ruled. Judge Lamberth went even further than Judge Bates by allowing me to file with him what I think the Government should have filed back in July....(instead of waiting six weeks for the Government to pretend that this is hard work!) Judge Lamberth has also sent the question of whether or not I should get costs and fees to Judge Hogan, the coordinating judge. Here is a link to the decision. It is nice when every once in a while the Government gets what it deserves.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Guantanamo Lawyers

Hot off the presses is this new book which provides stories from approximately 100 of us who are representing detainees at Guantanamo. The stories are amazing...and sad.
If you click on the title it will take you directly to NYU press....and you can order your own copy.

Monday, November 2, 2009

In Their Own Words....

Click on the title to see and hear a depressing account of what we did to men at Guantanamo and how they are trying to rebuild their lives.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Obama's Military Commissions....

Some of you have asked about the "new" military commissions that Obama signed into law last week. Click on the title for a summary by Daphne Eviatar.

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian

From Justinian......

The ACLU, for example, has a dedicated Torture Report web site, and the National Security Archive has an online Torture Archive.

imageThe Public Record, by contrast, has a handy list of 50 people suitable for war crimes prosecutions, including a number of torture abettors.

Torture is in the courts, too. Important rulings were issued on both sides of the Atlantic on the same October day.

In Washington, Judge Royce Lamberth (snap) accepted the CIA’s claims that no torture was being concealed in FOI documents sought by the ACLU.

Lamberth refused to even look at the documents in question.


6 Uighers to Palau

Friday night six of the thirteen remaining Uighers flew off to Palau to try to rebuild their lives. Congrats to attorney George Clark and attorneys at CCR for their hard work. I guess that leaves about 215 to go....(including my two clients).
click here and on the title for more.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Supreme Court's friday conference meeting

Yesterdays conference was full of interesting Guantanamo questions. You can read more about another issue that was brought before the court this week here. We will have to wait for the release of orders on monday morning to see what, if anything, the court is going to do with all of this.

Monday, October 26, 2009

NPR's Worldview

Hey I will be back on NPR's Worldview today at noon central time. you can listen here or listen to the podcast afterward....

Saturday, October 24, 2009

More Supreme Court Activity

On the heels of the Supreme Court's granting of Cert in Kiyemba comes the next issue "Kiyemba II." In Kiyemba the Supreme Court will decide if the Courts in granting habeas cases can order the men released in the US. In Kiyemba II the Court will be asked to decide if the Courts can bar the transfer of men to countries where the men fear torture or abuse. Both of these cases are important for men like my client Al-Ghizzawi because he cannot go back to his home country of Libya without fear of prosecution, imprisonment and torture and if no third country will take him the US might become his only option.
Click on the title to read more from scotus.

Friday, October 23, 2009



Thursday, October 22, 2009



"On Tuesday, I reported a new campaign to close Gitmo (the campaign website is now live). Today, a bunch of musicians are the joining the National Campaign against Torture to FOIA information on how music was used in the government’s torture program."

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Amherst steps up to the plate!

It is nice when communities can see past the fear mongering and try to do the right thing.
Click on the title for more.

Generals New Close Gitmo Now Campaign

There is a new campaign underway to get Congress behind the closing of Gitmo...not just by allowing men to be tried here but to stop the fearmongering and allow some men that have been held wrongly all of these years and who are innocent of any wrongdoing to come these united states. We cannot ask the rest of the world to help with the closing of Gitmo when we refuse to do the right thing and take some of these innocent men into our own country. So click on the title and send a letter off today and pass the word.
Hats off to emptywheel for the link.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Our hero's....

The Supreme court has once again stepped into the mess made by our courts (mostly, but not entirely, by the DC Circuit Court) and has agreed to take on yet another Guantanamo Cert Petition. Read what ScotUS has to say and once you finish that look to see what our friend the talking dog has to say. Last but certainly not least read this latest blog from Andy Worthington. I am just back from another road trip so I have not really had the chance to think about and digest this latest twist and turn but perhaps I will have more to say on this tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Same old...same old

Click on the title for a look at the Obama administrations claim that it wasn't known in 2006 that torturing Gitmo prisoners was illegal....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gitmo Attorney asks Court to Hold Gates in Contempt

Habeas counsel David Cynamon has asked the District Court in DC to hold Secretary of Defense Gates in contempt of court for not obeying a court order to release his client.

Two Released Last Week

One to Kuwait, pursuant to court order and one to Belgium...the identity of the detainee sent to Belgium has not been released.
Click on the title for more.

Books banned at Gitmo

Although not mentioned in this article Arabic/English dictionaries have long been banned too. I am not sure if that ban is still in effect.
Click on the title for more.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


A few weeks ago I wrote about the Government's blatant refusal to follow an Order by Judge Hogan that impacted every habeas case. The judge in one of my cases entered a rule to show cause against the Government but that was only in my case. I contacted attorneys for the various media because they had an interest in this issue as well....they had intervened in the issue that was before Judge Hogan and had also fought for unclassified Returns to be filed on the public docket.
Click on the title for the link and thank you to Charly Gittings at PEGC for providing the link.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


As Andy Worthington notes in this article it has become harder and harder to main a sense of humor.... and of late it has only been my sense of humor (and of the absurd?) that has kept me focused....
Click here for Andy's look at the US congress... and click on the title for some background music.

Monday, October 5, 2009

More hidden torture tapes

The order by this Judge is particularly disturbing given the allegations that the judge concedes in the opinion... I guess we are supposed to be happy for the crumbs.
As the prisoner involved in this decision actually made accusations regarding one of my two clients I am grateful for the tiny crack that allows some of the light in...but disgusted by a judiciary that continues to fear opening the window to the known and widespread abuse. Exactly what is it they are afraid of?
Click on the title for more.

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian

Roger Fitch Esq • October 2, 2009

Our Man in Washington

Roger Fitch traces the last gasp of the Guantánamo military commissions … Government continues to ignore court orders … Habeas appeals abound … And civil torture suits gather pace

McClatchy News has more on Kiyemba I, while Andy Worthington reports the significance of the DC Circuit’s Kiyemba II mandate.

The first of only eight habeas cases lost on the merits by Guantánamo detainees is now on appeal to the DC circuit, while the government is appealing a few of the 30 it has lost.


* * *

Did you say X-Ray?

I don't even know where to start with this one.... so many of are clients are accused of saying damaging things to interrogators in the early years at Guantanamo and our attempts to get actual tapes of the conversations to review the translations are often denied by the judges as "fishing expeditions"....
click on the title to read about one of the five arabic translators at the base in 2002-2003.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

big sigh....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Len Goodman writing at In These Times

Len Goodman is a fellow habeas counsel from Chicago (and also coincidently a sole practitioner). Click on the title to read why Len is, and all of us should be, concerned about Obama's "preventive detention plan."

Monday, September 28, 2009

75 cleared to go....

I am not allowed to say whether or not both or either of my clients are on this list. Ironically the Government posted this list of the numbers of released by country at the prison but they refused to give this same information to the habeas counsel. Transparency.
Click on the title for more.

One of the (many) heartbreaking stories from Gitmo

Click on the title to read...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Three released yesterday...

Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed, a Yemen native, was returned to his homeland. A federal court in May ruled that Ahmed could no longer be detained at the military detention in Cuba facility and ordered him released.

The two other detainees, whose names were not disclosed for security reasons, have been sent to Ireland. In July, the Irish government agreed to accept the two Uzbek prisoners, one of at least four European nations that have said they would take detainees.

Andy Worthington has on the title.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Talking Dog interviews Lt. Col. Stephen Abraham

The talking dog interviews another in a long line of military attorneys who have helped shed light on Guantanamo. Col. Abraham is well known for his declaration before the Supreme Court in the Boumediene case, a declaration that led the way for the supreme court to reverse its earlier decision not to hear the Boumediene case. Col. Abraham is perhaps lesser known for his role in my own client's case (Al-Ghizzawi): he sat on the original Combat Status Review Tribunal panel for Mr. Al-Ghizzawi, that was the panel that determined that Mr. Al-Ghizzawi was not in fact properly designated as an "enemy combatant." Unfortunately, and unbeknown to the panel members the military decided to review Mr. Al-Ghizzawi again, this time with the "rubber stamp" panel.... you can read more about that sinister move here.
Click on the title to read the talking dog's interview of Stephen.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Part 2 of the Interview

Again from Chicago's own North and Clark.
Click on the title for the link directly to the interview.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Order for Rule to Show Cause Against Government, entered

Last month I filed a Motion in the District Court for a Rule to Show Cause against the Government for its blatant and intentional violation of an Order entered by the Court that applied in every pending habeas case. Today one of the judges ruled and agreed with me. You can find the order here. (Tip of the hat to the talking dog....for finding the order on the public docket..a docket I didn't even know existed.) Although the Government violated the Order in every case it seems that at least for now we are going to have to deal with this case by case...but we will.
And my apologies to the punctuationists of the world...I couldn't help myself.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


In honor of national punctuation day I will refrain from posting....

Another Interview

This time from Chicago's own North and Clark.
Click on the title for the link directly to the interview.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Torture doesn't work.... (Upated with better link....)

Just in case you were wondering...
click on the title to read a paper by Prof. Shane O'Mara at Trinity College.
Tip of the hat to EmptyWheel
and to the anonymous Lee.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Eid at Guantanamo

Moazamm Begg discusses what it was like to be in US custody both at Guantanamo and other sites during Ramadan and Eid.
Click on the title to read his account.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ambassador Fried Speaks out about the resettlement problems

Special ambassador Fried has the task of finding homes for the men at Guantanamo who cannot go back to their home countries...a task made all the more difficult by our Congress which has refused to allow any of these wrongly held men to settle in our country. Click on the title to read more.

Another Habeas Win

The score is now 30 wins, 7 losses. Yesterday Judge Kollar Kotelly entered the habeas petition for Kuwaiti, Fouad Al Rabiah. I will provide a link to the opinion as soon as it is available. Here is the breakdown:

Writ granted – 30 (20 are still at Guantanamo)

17 Uighurs - Urbina (4 released to Bermuda)
5 Bosnian-Algerians - Leon - (4 released - 3 to Bosnia and 1 (Lakhdar Boumediene) to France)
Mohammed el Gharani (Chadian) - Leon (released to Chad)
Yasim Muhammed Basardah - Huvelle (Yemeni)
Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed - Kessler (Yemeni)

Abd al Rahim Abdul Rassak Janko – Leon (Syrian)

Khalid Abdullah Mishal Thamer Al Mutairi - Kollar-Kotelly (Kuwaiti)

Mohammed Jawad - Huvelle (Afghan; released to Afghanistan)

Mohammed Al-Adahi-- Kessler (Yemeni)

Fouad Al Rabiah – Kollar-Kotelly (Kuwaiti).

Writ Denied - 7
Belkacem Bensayah (Bosnian) - Leon
Hisham Sliti (Tunisian) - Leon
Muaz Al Alawi (Yemeni) - Leon
Ghaleb Nassar Al Bihani (Yemeni) - Leon
Hammamy (Tunisian) – Leon

Waqas Mohammed Ali Awad (Yemeni) - Robertson

Fawzi Al Odah (Kuwaiti) - Kollar-Kotelly

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Closing Gitmo

Click on the title to read more about what the Government is saying about closing Gitmo...funny thing this Government of transparency....some of us have asked the Government to tell us some of the very numbers that they reported to the press in this article but they refused...seems they are more willing to tell the press what is going on than the attorneys representing the men at Guantanamo.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Andy Worthington interviews Col.Lawrence Wilkerson, Part 2

Part one is posted here.
Click on the title to read part 2.... and yes, Cheney is seriously crazy.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

32 Years Ago Today

Friday, September 11, 2009

More on the Spanish Investigation of US Torturers...

Well it is a dirty job but someone has to do it and so far it doesn't look like it is going to be us (in the US) so go for it Spain!
click on the title....

Remember 9-11, Remember Guantanamo

Click on the title to read Andy Worthington's thoughtful op-ed in The Guardian which ends with this sentence:

On the eighth anniversary of 9/11, however, justice is being delivered neither to those regarded as genuinely dangerous, nor to those whose significance has been exaggerated.

medical malfeasance

As many of you know one of my two clients at Guantanamo has serious health issues. He suffers from Hepatitis B and TB, he now also suffers from high blood pressure and constant headaches. He has received little help for his conditions and has been accused of causing his own health problems because he will not allow the medical staff that has abused and ignored him all these years to do a biopsy on his liver (as an aside the medical staff told him that the biopsy could result in severe and permanent injury). Daphne Eviatar has reported on medical/ethical issues in a couple of good articles at the Washington Independent. This first one discusses the possibility that the Gitmo detainees were used for psychological experiments. It is a disturbing account but one that my own investigation has shown to have existed in relation not only to my client with health problems but other men at the base as well. My client is greatly concerned about his medical problems and in discussions with the medical staff he has been repeatedly alarmed by the doctors and nurses of possible illnesses he could be suffering from. At one point he was told he probably has AIDS and another time he was told that his headaches are probably a sign that he has a brain tumor. This cruelty is of course beyond the pale but it also points to the techniques used by the medical staff to manipulate the prisoners and add to their sense of total helplessness. This other article discusses the concealment by the defense department of detainee deaths. This is another subject that I will be further exploring when my two clients are eventually released from the hell hole called Guantanamo. As I discussed in my article published in the ABA Litigation magazine a month or so Libyan client had the name of another detainee tacked on to his name in his early days at Gitmo. He said the man whose name he received had been in the cage next to him for awhile and then the man disappeared and the missing mans name was added to his day I will find out what ever happened to that man. If you want to be even more appalled read some of the related stories of medical malfeasance at Gitmo as reported by the Washington Independent that are listed on the side of the two articles linked to above.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A short move from the Gitmo agenda...

I guess everything is related anyway....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Who is doing the reading at Gitmo?

There has been alot of discussion of late about the reading material at Gitmo so I just wanted to weigh in (again). First Marbury reported that the Gitmo library has 13,500 books. A nice even number but a rather meaningless number without knowing what languages the books are in. The number also becomes less meaningful when you learn that it is not just a library for the prisoners....but for the military and contractors too. I will explain more in a minute. The second part of the story is the top 3 list... which Juan Carlos has commented on here. I also weighed inon an aspect of this story a few years back when I visited my Algerian client Razak Ali for the first time and we discusssed his favorite books the Harry Potter series. Book five of the Harry Potter series had been out for several months when I visited Ali but it was not available at Guantanamo in Arabic only in English. Ali had heard some reports about what happened in the book (from the guards) and I was searching my brain trying to remember what happened in book five as opposed to the other four books. When I went back home I started searching for an arabic version and a kind person found two copies for me. I "donated" the books to the library but it was almost a year before the book made its way to Ali.
So one thing to keep in mind when you read these reports of the great library at Guantanamo is that the military lies...more than it tells the truth. For years, yes years, the library for the prisoners consisted of a box of books being passed down the halls of the prison and they were the same books year after year. The prisoners could take out one book (or magazine) per week.

Another thing to keep in mind that most of the men at Guantanamo still do not read English. It is not because they didn't want to do something useful while detained indefinitely. It is because our military thought it would be dangerous for them to learn english. The military only started english classes about a year ago and those lessons were only available to the men at camp 4 until more recently. So keep in mind that there are several different languages spoke by the men at the base and very few books available in languages other than English. The fact that the books in the Guantanamo library are not just for the prisoners is probably also reflected in the top 3 books but I can't say that for sure.

A good start for the week...

Today Andy Worthington reports that Spain is moving ahead with its investigation of our war criminals...
Today the Government declassifed Al-Ghizzawi's Traverse so I can now start to publicly unveil the lies that have kept him locked up these 7+ years...(stay tuned for more on this....)

Monday, September 7, 2009

29 to 7 detainees winning....

Friday, September 4, 2009

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian

Roger Fitch Esq • August 31, 2009

Our Man in Washington

The report on CIA torture is the talk of the town … Despite heaps of redactions the dump of torture documents is a goldmine … A laundry list of US war crimes

imageThese days, nearly everyone agrees that Barack Obama isdancing with George Bush.

Like Bush, Mr Obama pointlessly appeals uncongenial court decisions and invents presidential powers.

Obama cynically exploits miscarriages of justice begun by the Bush Gang in the alleged name of fighting terrorism.

Indeed, the Bush policy of calculated cruelty is in danger of being permanently institutionalised for people – including US citizens –with Muslim names.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Andy Worthington interviews Col.Lawrence Wilkerson

Click on the title to read this interview by Andy of the chief of staff to Colin Powell when he was secretary of state. In the course of his interview Col. Wilkerson repeats what so many people have said about the men being held at Guantanamo (but is always ignored by the media):
" I received one particular assessment from a person for whom I had no reason whatsoever to believe that he would give me an inaccurate portrayal — and one reason was, that was his character, but another reason was that he had no dog in the fight — and his estimate of the number of people — I think it was 741 or 742 that we suddenly had on a piece of paper somewhere — of any significance was as follows. He said, “I’ll tell you right now that 700 of them haven’t done a damn thing except get in the way of somebody capturing them.”

Saturday, August 29, 2009

NPR's Worldview interview

Sorry I was traveling back from Guantanamo and did not learn the time of the interview until it had passed. I understand you can click on the link below and hear it. I will be trying later today and if it is more complicated than it seems I will update with further instructions.

Listen Archived Anytime Online

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Click on the title to read the talking dog's great post on what has been going on the last few days in the torture biz.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I am in Guantanamo this week seeing my two clients but sometime during the week I will be on NPR's Worldview. So have a listen.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Government's hearsay problem

For the legal buffs out there: Judge Walton (who is not the judge in either of my two client's cases) issued an important ruling yesterday about the Government's attempt to use hearsay instead of real evidence (like witnesses) in the habeas cases before him. Click on the title to read the scotus analysis and for a link to the actual opinion. Seems the Government is going to have to live with the same rules as the rest of us mere mortals.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

six soon to be released?

Since Obama took office only 10 men have left Guantanamo. One in a box. Now there is news that six may be released in short order. Click on the title for the report from the Miami Herald.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another Habeas Win

Judge Kessler just issued a ruling granting the habeas petition for Mohammed Al-Adahi (ISN 033).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Guantanamo and the Courts

I was exchanging emails with Andy Worthington regarding the sorry state of the "justice" department under the Obama administration and I thought many of you could benefit from the two articles that Andy wrote on this subject. Start with this one. And then move on to this one. If you have room left for a little more disgust then you can try Andy's latest article which is what got me onto this topic today in the first place....
I never had great expectations from the Obama administration but I really did not expect things to be as bad as they are....but they are.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

State department interferes with military attorney's representation of his client

I just want to remind you that this is the Obama State department (sigh).

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Talking Dog interviews Karen Greenberg

Another great interview by the Talking Dog. Karen Greenberg is the author of The least worst place: Guantanamo's first 100 days.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


This is about as important as it gets in regards to Gitmo right now. The house passed a bill that will make it virtually impossible to move the men out of Guantanamo anytime soon. We need to get everyone writing to congress, newspapers etc getting the word out about this disaster. This is a paraticularly good project for our university students and law students out there to be working on collectively. Click on the title to read the bill and please talk to everyone you know to get the word out. This bill has to be stopped in its tracks.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Jawad attorney's claim military paid witnesses

Click on the title for more on the continuing saga of the young man (Jawas) being held at Gitmo since he was 12 or so years old....but that the military just does not want to let go of.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Gitmo cases are still being stayed

Click on the title to read about the lack of progress in the Gitmo Habeas cases. In the case of Al- Ghizzawi I made the mistake of agreeing to a short stay so that the Obama administration could review his file. Now that it is clear that the Administration is unable to move these men out in a safe and quick process I asked to get Al-Ghizzawi's case back on track for a habeas hearing. My request was met with a court order asking for a status report on September 20...sigh.

Habeas Attorney's are a help not hindrance in resettlment process

The Obama administration has taken the approach that the habeas lawyers should be muzzled from helping in their clients resettlment efforts... click on the title to read why they need our help and why they should be seeking us out instead of slamming the door.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Reminder: Chicago event tonight...

Admiral Don Guter will also be joining Amnesty International’s panel discussion following a screening of “The Response” – a 30-min courtroom drama based on the actual transcripts of the Guantanamo military tribunals tonight starting at 6:30.

Click on the title for all the details....

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Could they be coming to their senses? (UPDATED)

Apparently the Government has changed its collective mind and is now willing to release the young Jawad to his native Afghanistan.
Click on the title and click here for a report from ScotUS.

Well, whether the Government is coming to it's senses or not...the good judge never lost her senses! Click here to read more . The bottom line: the judge has ordered the release of the young Jawad....his life will forever be shattered but we all wish him the best.......... Read more about today's court hearing here.

Another Habeas Win

Judge Kollar-Kotelly has granted the habeas petition of Khaled Al Mutairi who went to Afghanistan in 2001 to build a mosque with money from his parents. He was accused of being associated with Al-Wafa and Al-Qaida, although the government's only evidence was his own admission that he donated money to Al-Wafa (unaware of any terrorist connections) and the appearance of his name on various lists of prisoners held in Pakistan.
Congratulations to Al Mutairi's counsel David Cynamon and Matthew Maclean.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Let The Games Continue...(updated)

The Government has now abandoned the Habeas case of Mohammon Jawad (the Guantanamo prisoner who might have been as young as 12 years old when we sent him to Gitmo)....but it is not because they are conceding they have lost his case (the only evidence they had against him were statements tortured out of him). No apparently the DOJ still believes it don't need no stinkin evidence...they just want to get him out of the reach of his habeas judge and into another court room. Judge Huvelle, Jawad's habeas judge saw what was coming and was holding the government's collective feet to the fire (if anyone can provide a link to the transcript from the hearing on July 16th I would be happy to post it for all to is a must read!)but the DOJ continues to be the slick SOB's of the past eight years so we will have to wait it out to see what happens here.
Here is the link to the transcriptMany thanks to RM for providing the link.

Friday, July 24, 2009


Several of you have sent me emails and left comments on this blog asking me what is going on with my clients and with their cases. I will try to provide a brief update. Al-Ghizzawi is still alive. When I saw him in May he looked better than he had looked since first being locked up in Camp 6. This is not to say that he is not still a very ill man, he it. But he is no longer subjected to 22-24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every week of the year…in solitary confinement and that has helped.
I will see both of my clients again in August.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Finally an investigation of one of the many war crimes?

Late last year I noted a report from McClatchy news about the destruction of the war crimes site in Afghanistan where thousands of men were massacred after being taken prisoner. Seems now that Obama might want to do an investigation of that atrocity. It is well known that american forces stood by and looked the other way while Dostum's men stuffed thousands of men in shipping containers. When the men started screaming for air soldiers took their machine guns and shot holes in the containers....when all was said and done thousands of men were dead from suffocation and bullets. Some of the survivors ended up at guantanamo and were ultimately released because of course they were guilty of no wrong doing. An investigation will be difficult with the actual site having been destroyed last year but it is time to take the statements of those who survived and figure out what role our military/government played in this crime.
Click on the title for a link to Scott Horton's take on this ....and follow his links to the stories reporting this massacre. Click here to read the emptywheel's take on this.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July 31 in Chicago-

Amnesty International USA invites you to witness "The Response" - a 30-min courtroom drama based on the actual transcripts of the Guantanamo military tribunals and meet producer/writer/actor Sig Libowitz along with actress Kate Mulgrew, Candace Gorman, Chicago-based lawyer and activist best known for representing two Guantanamo detainees and attorney Gary Isaac of Mayer Brown, author of numerous amici brief in the Gitmo cases. Doors open at 6:30pm for a cocktail reception, followed by a 7:00pm film screening and panel discussion at the University Center (525 S State St, Chicago - adjacent to Harrison CTA Red Line Stop). Event is free and open to the public - RSVP's are strongly encouraged - Co-sponsored by the University of Maryland School of Law, American Constitution Society, Jenner & Block, Mayer Brown, Chicago Lawyer's Committee, Chicago Council of Lawyers, Public Interest Law Initiative & ACLU - Illinois.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

my experiences representing gitmo prisoners

Last year the American Bar Association's Litigation Magazine asked if I would write an article about my experiences representing two men at Guantanamo. Last week it was published. Click on the title to read what I had to say.... this is reprinted by permission from the ABA.
Thanks again to PEGC for taking the pdf and providing a link to the article.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Talking Dog Interviews Charles Gittings

Click on the title for the interview. As many of you know Charly is the founder of PEGC, the project to enforce the geneva conventions.
Charly is also someone who has been a great help to me and to this blog (small example... I can't post PDFs on blogspot so when I have a PDF that I want to bring to your attention Charly posts it on his blog and then gives me the link). Like many of the friends that I have made through my Guantanamo work I have not met Charly and only know those things about him that have come up in our emails.
So read the interview yourself and I am sure you will agree that Charly is one amazing man. Thank you Talking Dog for another great interview and thank you Charly for your dedication not only in your attempts to bring our country in line with the geneva conventions but in continuing to expose the illegal actions of our Government and "the war on terror"....

From Roger Fitch and Our Friends Down Under at Justinian

Roger Fitch Esq • July 1, 2009

Our Man in Washington

“Terrorist Incapacitation” – the new gloss for indefinite detention … If tax lawyers can be indicted for fraudulent advice, why not John Yoo for torture advice? ... Suppressed report on “interrogation policy” due to see the light of day

imageMichael Jackson’s death provided the perfect cover for a Friday afternoon “bad news dump”, e.g. the strategically leaked report that the Obama administration is drafting a Bush-like executive order to allow indefinite detention of terrorist suspects.



If you only have time to read one of these click on the title and read the "torture documentaries" by Julia Lesage.... it is long but well worth the read....
If you have more time below are some interesting links that came my way while I was taking a little time off....

Saturday, July 4, 2009



Saturday, June 20, 2009

For Al-Ghizzawi

I am taking a real vacation so there will not be much going on here except on the odd day.... but good things are maybe happening so I will leave you with this....
and say no more for now.

Maybe not the cleanest version but what the heck...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Government of Transparency

Yes, our new government of transparency is threatening to take me before one of the judges for publicly disclosing information I received from a non government source. Oh well.... hopefully our constitution is still somewhat in effect.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Oh man, We cannot do this to people...Urgent request

As I mentioned, I have been holed up at the secret place for the last is a miserable experience.... but I smiled as I watched the reports about the four Uighers finally finding a home in Bermuda (click on the title for one of the stories).... now the Bermudians (?) are getting whipped up into a frenzy and threatening to call a no-confidence vote on the current administration for allowing these men, who have been accused of nothing and found to be totally innocent....into the country. Please write letters (to the editor) to your local papers speaking as loudly as possible in praise of the humanitarian decency shown by the Bermuda government. Statements should praise in particular premier Dr. Ewart Brown.
I guess I should not have to mention this but this request goes beyond the Uighers. If Brown gets a no confidence vote for doing the right many countries do you think will be willing to help us close Guantanamo by taking the innocent men that have long been held?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

chipping away at the torture lawyers....

Speaking of Torture...

Check out this from the emptywheel.... and this second post that followed.
Click on the title for the post.