Friday, July 30, 2010

Update and Full Story on the Algerian Returned Home Despite Fears of Torture

Read more from Andy Worthington regarding Abdul Aziz Naji by clicking on the title.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Canadian Child "soldier" Khadr's letter to his attorney

As awful as so many of the stories from Guantanamo are, the saga of the Canadian child Omar Khadr is perhaps the most heart wrenching (and I say this even thought I represent two other Guantanamo men ). Khadr has been held by my country since he was fifteen years old and this is a war crime...not whatever Khadr did or is even accused of doing, but what my country has done and continues to do to this young man.
This is not only a national tragedy for my country but an international tragedy....and one that Canada is complicit in with it's Bush wannabe.... Stephen Harper.
Shame on you Harper for being such a wimp....
And to my Canadian friends....I am sorry that you are stuck with Harper...
I wish that you would all rise up angry and stand up for your child.....
But then, I wish American's could see the war crimes we are involved in.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Whistle-blower Heroes..

If you have not had a chance to take a look at the Afghanistan war log documents that were released by wikileaks (the website seems to be down right now!) click on the title to see what the Guardian has put together.

Unfortunately our Government has decided that everything that is in the slightest way embarrassing should be classified....and it is out of control. I have watched this in terms of the Guantanamo litigation where just about every court filing now is filed under seal....and the secrecy got worse under the Obama administration.

Thanks to the heroes who have opened the doors..and thanks to those of you who will be heroes in the future.

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian

Roger Fitch Esq • July 23, 2010

Rough treatment by the courts

“You have a right to a speedy trial – unless they need to torture you first” ... The media’s characterisation of waterboarding – it used to be called torture, now it’s nothing special … Americans stripped of their citizenship by transport safety bureaucrats … Our Man in Washington reports

imageLong-established legal principles are falling left and right, all in the name of … National Security.

In New York, in a shocking but not unexpected decision on the 6th amendment right to speedy trial, federal district judge Lewis Kaplan has ruled Ahmed Ghailani should stand trial in 2010 for the terrorism charges on which he was first indicted 12 years ago, in 1998.

This was so even though he has been in continuous government custody since 2004.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Algerians don't know where the Algerian is that was released from Guantanamo

Well this sure is great news....the Algerians deny that they are detaining the prisoner that was released from Gitmo over the weekend (he was forced back to Algeria against his will because he fears for his life) but at the same time they admit they do not know where he is.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Another sad case of our inhumanity.....but at least the Judge saw through it....

Yemeni psych patient ordered freed from Guantánamo



A federal judge ordered the immediate release of a Yemeni man who has spent long periods of captivity in the Guantánamo psych ward in split decisions Wednesday that upheld the indefinite detention of another Yemeni.

The U.S. District Court rulings left the so-called habeas corpus scorecard of government-detainee wins at 15-38. That means that judges have ruled more than twice as often for the release of detainees at Guantánamo, rather than holding them.

Judge Reggie Walton ruled for the government that it can continue to hold Abdul-Rahman Sulayman, 31, picked up in Pakistan and handed over to U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Chicago attorney Thomas P. Sullivan said he would soon travel to the remote U.S. Navy base in Cuba to consult with Sulayman.

In another court, Judge Henry Kennedy Jr. granted the petition of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, 34, in a single page order that instructed the Obama administration to ``take all necessary and appropriate diplomatic steps to facilitate Latif's release forthwith.'' He also ordered Justice Department lawyers to report back by Aug. 20.

Latif's attorney, David Remes, has long described the man as despairing and suicidal -- covering himself in excrement, throwing blood at the lawyer, consuming shards of metal.

Both judge's decisions were under seal Wednesday, classified for a security review, so their reasonings were not immediately known.

Of Latif, Remes said, ``This is a mentally disturbed man who has said from the beginning that he went to Afghanistan seeking medical care because he was too poor to pay for it. Finally, a court has recognized that he's been telling the truth, and ordered his release.''

Remes also urged the Obama administration to lift its moratorium on repatriations to the turbulent Arabian Gulf nation of Yemen, and not appeal the Latif decision.

``He said conditions at Guantánamo are what had driven him to these extremes. He's languished so long it would be a crime to keep him incarcerated there,'' he said.

A Justice Department spokesman, Dean Boyd, said lawyers were reviewing Kennedy's decision to decide whether to appeal it. On Wednesday, there were 178 captives at Guantánamo.

Repatriated Algerian has gone missing.....

What a shock, huh?

Whereabouts of former US detainee unknown-lawyers

WASHINGTON, July 21 (Reuters) - A man who the Obama administration transferred against his will from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba to his native Algeria has gone missing, a U.S.-based rights group involved in the case said on Wednesday.

The transfer of Abdul Aziz Naji to Algeria, announced by the Pentagon on Monday, brought the number of remaining detainees at Guantanamo to 178, down from 245 when U.S. President Barack Obama took office last year.

Naji's case has been closely watched because he is the first detainee to be involuntarily repatriated by the Obama administration, according to Human Rights Watch.

Naji, who has been held at Guantanamo since 2002, told his lawyers he did not want to return to Algeria because he feared persecution from the Algerian government and Islamist militants there.

The New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents many Guantanamo detainees, said Naji's lawyers and family have been unable to locate or contact him since he was repatriated by the U.S. government.

"His whereabouts and well-being in Algeria are currently unknown," it said in a statement. "Mr. Naji has disappeared since his return to Algeria, and is presumably being held in secret detention by Algerian state security forces."

Pardiss Kebriaei, a lawyer with the center, said: "We know that he's been transferred. But as for where he is ... we don't know. It's very concerning."

Other former detainees sent to Algeria were taken into custody for questioning by authorities upon their return but subsequently released, rights groups say.

The U.S. government had alleged that Naji belonged to the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group in Pakistan, but the Center for Constitutional Rights said he has "long been cleared of any connection with terrorism."

The Pentagon said the transfer was coordinated with the government of Algeria to ensure it took place under "appropriate security measures."

Before Naji's involuntarily return, 10 Algerians had agreed to go back, Human Rights Watch said.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, speaking of the 10 repatriated to Algeria, said, "None, in our view, has appeared to be mistreated." (Reporting by Adam Entous; editing by Todd Eastham)

One Habeas win, one habeas loss

Today J. Kennedy ruled in favor of the habeas petition for Yemini, Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, ISN 156 (congrats to the Covington Team).
Unfortunately Judge Walton today denied the habeas petition for Yemini, Abd Al Rathman Abdu Abu Al Ghayth Sulayman (ISN 223)
(condolences to Sulayman and his counsel... I am not sure who his counsel is.)

37 habeas wins, 15 losses and one loss vacated by the DC Circuit Court.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Detainee Transfer Announced by Pentagon (Updated)

Today's announcement is just a bit disconcerting as the Obama administration has for the first time released a Gitmo detainee to a country where the detainee fears he will be prosecuted or otherwise harmed....this is particularly ironic because there are men at Guantanamo who do not fear being returned to Algeria (one happens to be my client) but instead of releasing someone like my client the administration chose to send back a man with legitimate fears of being prosecuted.
ScotUS has more here.
Fire dog Lake's Jeff Kaye has a more in-depth story here-(complete with an interview by The talkingdog of one of the Algerian man's attorneys- Ellen Lubell.)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Judges? We don't need no damn judges...we have the Executive


Speaking of Surviving......

I guess we must still wait for the punchline but it seems that Appellate Court Judge Bybee is claiming that when he was head of the Office of Legal Counsel he did not give approval for "certain" torture techniques used . We will have to wait to see what happens next as this opens the door for prosecution (under the theory adoped by our current and former administrations) for those accused of committing these war crimes. To clarify: these actions were always illegal, but both Bush and Obama claimed that they wouldn't go after individuals because they had approval from the executive for these war Bybee is saying "NO, there was no approval."

hmmm. The question is whether Bybee is throwing the other torturers under the bus to save himself? Which in turn brings us to the other question....who will throw Bybee under the bus...?

stay tuned.. and click here for the story.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

RIP Charly Gittings

During the night my friend and the friend of many of us, Charly Gittings, died. He was diagnosed with lung cancer just about a year ago and he fought the good fight as long as he could. He asked me, and his many other friends, to carry on certain battles: to keep his project alive "the project to enforce the Geneva Conventions" and to do our best to bring our war criminals to justice. I made the promise to him that I would do everything I could to make sure our war criminals were prosecuted....and I will. I hope others will work on finding a home for his Project.

I would like to share some of the thoughts from his friends with you, I hope they do not mind:

"Our loss is also the loss of the world; peace, justice and honor will be just a bit further away from our grasp";

"If I were to do an eulogy for Charles Gittings, I would say he was a stubborn, obstinate—even prickly—man who knew his duty and always performed it faithfully. In my personal experience, he managed to sway many people, among them military officers, to accept his point of view. He contributed a great deal to our understanding of war crimes, he documented his findings meticulously and he ended up being in the right. I can't think of a better epitaph. This man made a difference";

"I join in lamenting the loss of a sweet-tempered, hard-working, gentle giant who never tired of seeking rights for those that so many sunshine patriots despise.

I am so sorry to lose Charly";

"It fell to me, in the last year of a life that began in 1914
that Charlie gave me the rare honor of allowing me to serve as his attorney of record in SCOTUS in the KIYEMBA .
Until then I had admired his Project from afar, with a occasional grumble at the failure of the elite of the American Society of International Law to have founded a
project to enforce the Charter of the United Nations, the terms of which are under our Constitution THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND";

"On a rainy evening sadly comes a long expected visit. but with it bittersweetly, the balm of these remembrances.

Five years ago I wandered into a Guantanamo case, filed a motion, and about ten seconds after it hit Pacer, had the lion heart at my ear. On that shining day when we grasped victory, and on the dark ones when the Circuit snatched it back, he was there. He never tired. I can hear him still.

Well done, thou good and faithful servant -- Atque in perpetuum, frater, ave atque vale."

TO read Charly's biography click here.

The talking dog has more here.

And to check out the Charly Gittings memorial blog click here.....

And so Charly, rest in peace and please know that your friends that will continue to do their best to prosecute those who have violated our laws.

Andy Worthington updates....

Andy has updated his four-part definitive Guantanamo prisoner list, bringing the project up-to-date with new links to the last six months of habeas results, releases (just 17), torture revelations and the ongoing failure of the Obama administration to close the prison.

Click on the title for more.........

Andy has also completed the most recent of six lists providing links to all his articles in chronological order, covering Jan-Jun 2010 (the lists start in May 2007), which is a useful resource as well:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Detainee Transfer Announced by Pentagon

This is the official announcement:

The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of one detainee from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the Government of Yemen.

On May 26, 2010, a U.S. District Court ordered the release of Mohammed Odaini from custody at Guantanamo Bay. As a result, the Department of Defense has transferred him to his native country. In accordance with Congressionally-mandated reporting requirements, the administration informed Congress of its intent to transfer Odaini at least 15 days before his transfer.

The suspension of Yemeni repatriations from Guantanamo remains in effect due to the security situation that exists there. However, the Administration respects the decisions of U.S. federal courts, which ordered the release of Odaini. As with all transfers, the U.S. Government will work with the Yemeni Government to the fullest extent possible to implement appropriate security measures.

Since 2002, more than 595 detainees have departed Guantanamo Bay for other destinations, including Albania, Algeria, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belgium, Bermuda, Chad, Denmark, Egypt, Georgia, France, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Palau, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Somalia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom and Yemen.

Today, 180 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay.

Andrew Napolitano: Bush and Cheney Should Have Been Indicted for Torturing, for Spying and Arresting Without Warrants

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Well, this is something you don't see every day. Ralph Nader hosted this interview segment with Fox News' Judge Andrew Napolitano and discussed his book, Lies the Government Told You. I'm surprised the judge is going to be allowed on Fox after making the statements he did about Bush and Cheney during the interview.

Nader: What about the more serious violations of habeas corpus. You know after 9-11 Bush rounded up thousands of them, Americans, many of them Muslim Americans or Arabic Americans and they were thrown in jail without charges, they didn't have lawyers, some of them were pretty mistreated in New York City. You know they were all released eventually.

Napolitano: Correct.

Nader: Is that what you mean also about throwing people in jail without charges violating habeas corpus?

Napolitano: Well that is so obviously a violation of the natural law, the natural right to be brought before a neutral arbiter within moments of the government taking your freedom away from you. And the Constitution itself, as the Supreme Court in the Boumediene case pretty much said, wherever the government goes, the Constitution goes with it and wherever the Constitution goes are the rights of the Constitution as a guarantee and habeas corpus cannot be suspended by the president ever. It can only be suspended by the Congress in times of rebellion which in read Milligan says meaning rebellion of such magnitude that judges can't get into their court houses. That has not happened in American history.

So what President Bush did with the suspension of habeas corpus, with the whole concept of Guantanamo Bay, with the whole idea that he could avoid and evade federal laws, treaties, federal judges and the Constitution was blatantly unconstitutional and is some cases criminal.

Nader: What's the sanction for President Bush and Vice President Cheney?

Napolitano: There's been no sanction except what history will say about them.

Nader: What should be the sanctions?

Napolitano: They should have been indicted. They absolutely should have been indicted for torturing, for spying, for arresting without warrants. I'd like to say they should be indicted for lying but believe it or not, unless you're under oath, lying is not a crime. At least not an indictable crime. It's a moral crime.

Nader: So you think George W. Bush and Dick Cheney should even though they've left office, they haven't escaped the criminal laws, they should be indicted and prosecuted?

Napolitano: The evidence in this book and in others, our colleague the great Vincent Bugliosi has amassed an incredible amount of evidence. The purpose of this book was not to amass that evidence but I do discuss it, is overwhelming when you compare it to the level of evidence required for a normal indictment that George W. Bush as President and Dick Cheney as Vice President participated in criminal conspiracies to violate the federal law and the guaranteed civil liberties of hundreds, maybe thousands of human beings.

They go on to discuss how these crimes have gone on unpunished and how the practices have continued under Obama and that as long as our citizens are willing to accept government deception and as long as the Justice Department and the lawyers in this country are not going to pursue these cases in court it's never going to stop. It's a topic that our media is happy to help brush under the rug as well.

UPDATE: If you would like to watch the entire hour long interview from Book TV, C-SPAN has it available in their video library here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Omar Khadr speaks out.....

Click on the title for Carol Rosenberg's latest on Omar Khadr.
Emptywheel has more here.

Yes. not only will we survive but we will make it right....

Click on the title for more..........

Friday, July 9, 2010

Carol: Welcome back to the Gitmo beat!

The Military has decided not to illegally ban one of the top Gitmo reporters who reports on all things Gitmo.
Click on the title for the story from the Miami Harold about the reinstatement of Carol Rosenberg.
Click here for a further discussion from emptywheel.

Another Habeas Win- UPDATED

It was just pointed out to me that the scorecard now reads 37-13...the Government has one less win because of the Circuit Court's reversal in Bensayah (discussed here).
Tip of the hat to Roger Fitch.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

You Can Run But You Cannot Hide (updated)

Last month I reported on the complaint filed against James Elmer Mitchell, one of the architects of the CIA torture program. I am happy to report that the American Psychological Assn has now filed a letter supporting the complaint against Dr. James Mitchell. I hope to have a link to that letter shortly.
On a separate but related note the Center for Justice and Accountability filed a complaint against one of the other masterminds of the CIA torture program Dr. John Leso. Details here.
Thank You PEGS for the link.

Another Habeas Win

Today Judge Friedman issued an order granting the writ to Yemeni Hussain Salem Mohammad Almerfedi, ISN 1015. The merits hearing in his case occurred on March 3-5, 2010. Judge Friedman ordered that an unclassified version of his opinion is to be provided to him by July 22.

The scorecard is now 37 habeas wins, 14 losses.

Congrats to Brian E. Foster and the Covington team.

Plea deal for Gitmo detainee

Yesterday the military announced that it reached a plea deal with one of the Guantanamo detainees. When I read the announcement I knew it stunk to high heaven but it wasn't until last night that I went and read as much as I could find on Ahmed Mahmoud al Qosi....

I don't have time to link to the NY Times database right now but you can go to it yourself and paste in his name and do a search....probably wikipedia has links too. It is shameful that this is an example of what our government calls a "war crime."

Roger Fitch at Justian has more here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Canadian Court coming through for Khadr?

I will try to have a link to this decision later today but the Federal Court of Canada issued an Order yesterday which suggests that they may be getting close to restoring an earlier order requiring the Government of Canada to request Omar Khadr's repatriation from gtmo....stay tuned.

Thanks to PEGC we now have a link to the decision. CLICK ON THE TITLE

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th continued....

Happy 4th........

Saturday, July 3, 2010

On the eve of the 4th ....

I would like to share a few items out there in the news that you might not have seen from some of the websites that I look at regularly.
First, from Pruning Shears: Why looking back matters
From Scotusblog: an interesting piece on the DC Circuit trying to stop a DC District Court judge from doing her job: Major fight brews on munaf
From Informed Comment (where you can find out more in depth analysis of all things mideast):
From the Talking Dog: More from the department of "Duh"
And finally from No Comment: a little piece about the country that we broke ties some 234 years ago....Britain moves forward on torture probe...
Seems even the Brits understand that looking back matters.

Finally a DC Circuit opinion helpful to detainees (Updated)

Today the DC Circuit released a declassified version of an opinion from last week in which they reversed a decision by Judge Leon denying the Great Writ. In trying to explain the decision I made a leap that was not correct...... Bensayah was one of several Algerians being held and the Government's case was primarily one suggesting that he was suspicious and that should be enough to hold him: The Government claimed Bensayah had ties to an al-Qaeda operative (but now the Government has given up on the theory that the accused operative was actually connected to al-Qaeda) and Bensayah used fake id's to travel (on occasion) because his Algerian passport had expired and he couldn't go back to Algeria. The Government apparently rested much of his case on the ties to the al-Qaeda operative but more recently the government has backed off substantially on its allegations regarding that other the bottom line was that Bensayah was being held because he allegedly had ties to someone no longer considered to be connected to al-Qaeda and that he didn't have a current passport so he used fake id's ...on occasion. Of course when Judge Leon ruled the Government had not yet acknowledged that the other individual had no connection to al-Qaeda. Anyway it is nice that the DC Circuit has decided not to rubber stamp every Government win in the district court (fortunately there are not many Government wins.....)
Thanks to Mark Fleming and the Wilmer Hale team for this great victory.