Saturday, December 31, 2011


I guess someone should mention this to the Afghani men being held at Guantanamo because of their connection to the Taliban.....

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday welcomed remarks from the Obama administration that the Taliban were not necessarily America's enemies.

Earlier this month, Vice President Joe Biden said in an interview with Newsweek magazine that the Islamist militants did not represent a threat to U.S. interests unless they continued to shelter al-Qaida.

"Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That's critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens U.S. interests," Biden was quoted as saying by Newsweek....

Thursday, December 29, 2011


That is what the military is doing at Guantanamo right a way they are only codifying what we all knew to be a fact: that the military commission system for trying the men at Guantanamo stinks to high heaven and has not a shred of legitimacy. The powers to be have now decreed that all legal mail between the detainees being tried in the military commission and their attorneys will be read by the military, department of justice, the janitor and whomever else is hanging about. Fitting start for the "new", gentler....kangaroo system.
read the Order here.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

From Roger Fitch and our Friends down under....

The Republican dream

Congressional fat cats ... Corporate crime and financial defalcation ... Constitutional violations ... Gridlock on judicial and ambassadorial nominations ... Roger Fitch surveys the Washington landscape 
Heedless of all this corporate crime and financial defalcation, Congress is busy stripping law courts of jurisdiction over citizens and others the government calls "enemy combatants" due to their "terrorism", although terrorism, like banking, is hardly a military matter. 
It's hard to count the ways the National Defense Authorization Act violates the Constitution, but one might start with Article III, Section 2:
"The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed."
That might permit a civilian trial at Guantánamo, except for the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution
"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed..." 
Anyway, military jurisdiction over civilians isn't a given, according to law prof Steve Vladeck.
This latest Pentagon pre-emption of civilian justice is opposed - by the Pentagon, the Director of National Intelligence, the CIA, the FBI and the Justice Department.
Japanese-Americans don't think much of it, either, but nothing seems likely to stop Congressshort of a presidential veto. 
Senator Ayotte: more torture
One senator wants to bring back torture.


Monday, December 19, 2011




WASHINGTON, D.C. — January 11 will mark the tenth anniversary of the first detainees' arrival at the U.S.-controlled detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. To remember this travesty, Witness Against Torture is planning 10 days of activities in Washington, D.C. demanding an end to torture and indefinite detention at Guantanamo, Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, and elsewhere, and that the president reject the just-passed National Defense Authorization Act.
Jan. 2-12: WAT sponsors Hungering for Justice, a 10-day fast highlighting the ongoing crimes at Guantanamo and Bagram. Dozens of activists are expected to participate in the fast in Washington as well as other cities. Locations of daily activities in support of the fast to be announced.

Jan. 3: The jury trial of 14 anti-torture activists is scheduled to begin in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Moultrie Courthouse, 500 Indiana Ave., N.W. In June 2011, the 14 stood one by one in the Gallery of the House of Representatives to petition lawmakers to uphold the Constitution by not making funding for Guantanamo permanent. WAT will stand with the 14 in the court room, outside the courthouse, and around the city as their trial proceeds.

Jan. 11: A dramatic Human Chain from the White House to the Capitol Building marks the
10th anniversary of detention at Guantanamo. WAT joins a broad coalition of human rights groups in sponsoring this vigil, which will begin after a noontime rally in Lafayette Park. During the rally and vigil, activists will be wearing orange jumpsuits and holding signs and other visuals demanding that the detention center be closed.
“Despite his campaign pledge to shut down Guantanamo, President Obama has continued the Bush administration's practice of indefinite military detention there and at Bagram,” says Jeremy Varon, professor of history at the New School and an organizer with WAT. “Now, Obama says he will sign the National Defense Authorization Act, which extends this abusive regime by allowing the president to order U.S. citizens, as well, to be held indefinitely without due process on American soil. Not one more year – not one more day – of such policies is acceptable. Witness Against Torture is here in Washington to add our message to the 'Occupy' movement's call for a return to a just political and economic system by demanding an end to the national disgrace that is Guantanamo.”
Witness Against Torture is a grassroots movement that came into being in December 2005 when 24 activists walked to Guantanamo to visit the prisoners and condemn torture policies. Since then, it has engaged in public education, community outreach, and non-violent direct action. January 2012 will be the sixth year the group has “occupied” Washington, DC to call for justice, accountability and mercy. To learn more,

Friday, December 16, 2011

Amnesty International on Guantanamo

Follow this link to Amnesty's latest report on Guantanamo....a decade of damage to human rights.

Defense department authorization act.....

For those of you who are wondering exactly how bad this new law is...the one that Obama is going to sign into law very soon I will put some links to things to read that will bring you up to date. The bottom line is that Obama not only bought into Guantanamo but has now expanded the concept to include U. S. citizens....This has been a slippery slope since 2001 but instead of slowing things down Obama has put soap on the slide.

Emptywheel has a few good posts about it...start here:

The talking dog has some thoughts on this too:

As Senator Franken said, this was not a good way of celebrating the birthday of the bill of rights.....

Thursday, December 1, 2011


what a fucking mess.  Emptywheel has more here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian

Land of the brave
Monday, November 21, 2011
Justinian in Roger Fitch Esq
Former general counsel of the CIA under investigation over drone attack "murder" remark ... War crimes don't need a war (apparently) ... Novel offences likely to remain on the books ... Ideological Republican circuit judges flout the Supreme Court ... Our Man in Washington reports  
"Aside from the humanitarian aspects, it is well known that, under excruciating torture, a prisoner will admit almost any suggested crime. Such confessions are, of course, not admissible in trials in civilized nations... Some of our leaders have found that it is easy to forgo human rights for those who are considered to be subhuman, or 'enemy combatants'." 
  Jimmy Carter, the last American president moderately attached to human rights

Friday, November 25, 2011

Military commissions are nothing more than second-class "justice" for non-citizens

Charges that Military Commissions are an Unconstitutional Second-Class System of Criminal Justice for Non-Citizens

A number of Japanese and Asian groups have filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Washington, D.C. in United States v. Hamdan, charging that Congress has created a second-class system of criminal justice for non-citizens through its much-maligned military commissions.

The brief was filed by the Japanese American Citizens League, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and the Asian Law Caucus, and was authored by law professors Jonathan Hafetz and Jenny Carroll of Seton Hall University School of Law, lawyers from Gibbons P.C., Lawrence S. Lustberg and Jonathan Manes, and Professor David Cole of the Georgetown University Law Center.

The brief charges that a system of criminal adjudication, such as the military commissions, which discriminates based upon citizenship, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. The brief places the commissions within the context of a legally dubious and at times shameful history of discrimination against non-citizens, including the internment of more than one hundred thousand Japanese-Americans during World War II, for which the United States government ultimately paid monetary reparations and issued an apology.

Seton Hall University School of Law Professor Jonathan Hafetz, co-author of the brief, stated, “The Court has a chance in this case to reaffirm the rule of law and put an end to an ad hoc system of adjudication—unequal and unconscionable—which undermines the principles for which this country and its Constitution stand.”

The appellant, Salim Hamdan, was the subject of the landmark 2006 Supreme Court decision, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in which the Court ruled that the military commissions as constituted were illegal because, among other things, they did not meet the minimum standards of fairness required by the Geneva Conventions. Although since revised, the military commissions still afford fewer procedural protections and fair trial guarantees than either U.S. federal court trials or military courts-martial. U.S. citizens are not tried by military commission, thereby setting up an unconstitutional two-tiered system. This new appeal will be the first time a federal court decides whether the new commissions are legal. After the Supreme Court’s decision, Hamdan himself was recharged under a revised Military Commission scheme and found guilty of one count of providing material support to a terrorist organization, but was not found guilty of supporting any specific terrorist plot or act. He was sentenced to 5 months beyond the 61 months he had already served at Guantánamo. Hamdan has since finished serving his sentence and returned home to Yemen, but continues to appeal the legality of his trial and conviction.

Brief co-author Jonathan Manes, a John J. Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest in Constitutional Law, Gibbons P.C., noted, “After the Supreme Court found the military commissions to be unconstitutional, Congress tried to revise them but failed to address critical deficiencies, so that they continue to target noncitizens for inferior treatment. The courts must now intervene to correct this fundamental flaw."

Seton Hall Law Professor and brief co-author Jenny Carroll agreed, stating: “Creating a process that treats citizens differently from non-citizens not only cuts against the Constitution's core promise of due process for all, but undercuts fundamental fairness and justice. You need only consider “separate but equal” and the Japanese internment policies to know that, if nothing else, the Constitution demands that our system of  justice be fair and that it apply equally to us all— not just a select few.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Contact your senators now.....

Provisions in the Defense Authorization bill would make it even close Guantanamo and send the men home who are not going to face trial.
Senator Udall has proposed an amendment which is pretty much the best we can do. This is summary of Udall's amendment No. 1107:

Here’s a summary of the Udall Amendment:

The amendment by Senator Mark Udall would strike all of the detention provisions from the Defense Authorization bill and, in their place, mandate a process for Congress to use an orderly process to consider whether any detention legislation is needed.  Under the Udall amendment, the Administration would have 90 days to report to Congress on its detention authority and any deficiencies, and Congress would have 45 days to hold hearings and another 45 days to report out any needed legislation.  Instead of the rushed and confused process that has created the current convoluted and harmful bill, Congress would follow regular order and carefully review the issue.   This is the type of approach (even if it may be opposed by sponsors of the NDAA, who don’t want the detention provisions stripped at all) that should be able to draw wide support even from Senators who may be on the fence about the merits of the issues. 

The consensus of those opposing the detainee provisions of the Defense Authorization bill is that the best course now is to throw all effort into urging Senators to support the Udall Amendment, rather than seeking tweaks to the language of any of the detainee provisions.  If you get any feedback from the Senators’ offices re where they stand on the Udall Amendment, please shoot me an e-mail to let me know so I can pass it on to those working on this.

If you make calls, you might also urge the Senators to vote against an amendment offered by Susan Collins (we don’t have the Amendment #) that would make permanent some of the onerous transfer restrictions.   

Monday, November 21, 2011

Life in the kennel at Guantanamo

T/h to Jason Leopold at Truthout who has more on the Pentagaon's propaganda here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Former Gitmo military commission chief prosecutor Davis speaks out

Moe Davis was the Chief Prosecutor for the military at Guantanamo under the Bush administration-until he wasn't. Moe, who was once a fan of the commission process, changed his mind about the process after witnessing first hand the political shenanigans going on behind the scenes. Since resigning from the position in October 2007 Moe has  spoken out against the commission process on numerous occasions. In an interview with Truthout Moe points the finger at the current problem----our president. As Moe explains- "a pair of testicles fell off the president after election day." Although I agree with Moe that the president definitely didn't have the testicles after election day-having viewed him as my senator prior to his becoming president I wonder if he ever did....
Click on the link and read the whole article

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Good news from North of the Boarder

These things happen to rogue the US.
Now if we could just get his little brother out of Guantanamo and up there.
t/h the talking dog

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rules for conducting military commission tribunals....

The only thing that surprises me is that they didn't wait until the hearings are over to promulgate the rules....
here they are.
You see, in  a proceeding that resembles due process the rules are not put forth two days before things get started....but then there is nothing that resembles due process in the military commission so this really comes as no surprise.
And as Emptywheel points out...they don't even attempt to make the rules look professional.
Of thee I sing.....

Saturday, November 5, 2011

public service announcement

I rarely go off topic but today is one of those rare on the link for easy instructions on how to do your part (if you can't go out and join the crowds...or even if you can) for the occupy wallstreet movement. If everyone did this everyday we would send a message that would costs the banksters a few cents along the way:

Thursday, November 3, 2011


A new article at truthout by Almerindo Ojeda of the Guantanamo Tesimonials Project offers a possible (and disturbing) explanation for the three men who died at Guantanamo in 2006. Almerindo takes a look at what we know about the three deaths and compares it to what we know about the torture of Ali Al-Marri- a man from Qatar who came to the United States on a student visa in 2001. There are a lot of similarities and many of the questionable holes left in the militaries version fit nicely into the theory that the three men were tortured to death in a technique that is referred to as "dry boarding."
Click on the title to read the whole story.
Scott Horton at Harpers- who wrote a groundbreaking story about the deaths of these men a few months back has written about Almerindo's article here.

Monday, October 31, 2011


I have explained to people when giving speeches about Guantanamo that the Department of "justice" under Obama is actually quite a bit worse than it was under Bush. An example of this is found in the latest article at truthout by Jason Leopold regarding Abu Zubaydah. I could try to summarize what this is all about but I think it is better if you just read the article....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

what a concept.... (updated...yet again)

Only in the new U. S. of A. could this be an issue, the next man at Guantanamo who is set to have his case heard at a military commission is asking the judge to let him know if he will be released if the jury acquits him. You can read more about this odd question here. The bottom line is that in the kangaroo court also known as the military commission there is no guarantee of release if you are found not guilty. It begs the question, why go through the theatrics if nothing is going to change?
Stay tuned for the answer.....but don't hold your breath waiting.
Carol Rosenberg at the Miami Herald has more here
The military prosecution has now responded- they claim that the military commission can sentence a man to death but they cannot set a man free---and they argue that the military tribunal hearing the case should NOT be told that even if they acquit the man he will not be set free.
Sweet land of liberty......
Carol Rosenberg at the Miami Herald has the follow up here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

And Now We Are Assassinating American Kids....

I don't even have words to describe my disgust and anguish at our latest assassination by drone-
Jim White at Emptywheel has the story here and here.

From Roger Fitch and our Friends Down Under

Comforting the comfortable
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Justinian in Alien Tort Statute, Citizens United, Donald Rumsfeld, Rendition, Roger Fitch Esq, Torture, US Supreme Court

Analysing the US Supremes most recent term - plenty of goodies for big business, nothing for plaintiff lawyers ... Alien Tort Statute up for a workout ... Torture cases batted around the circuit courts ... Rendition victims lose final appeal ... Our Man in Washington reports

The US Supreme Court sits again this month, but the 2010 term is still being analysed here and here.

Scotusblog has the term's statistics.

By general consensus, big business and conservatives scored well.

Some say the court is only interested in comforting the comfortable.

The court's hostility to litigation and plaintiffs' lawyers led notably to Wal-Mart v Dukes, a class-action killer and the most pro-business decision since Citizens United invented corporate free speech.

More here and here.

The decision in AT&T Mobility v Conception, an arbitration clause case, will have a devastating effect on consumer class litigation. Emptywheel has more.

A leading law dean, Erwin Chemerinsky at the University of California, and Dahlia Lithwick have more on the Roberts Court junta.

While some writers believe the Supreme Court killed class actions, others think the cause is not yet lost.

Click here for more from Fitch.........

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The continuing saga of Zubaydah....

Remember Abu Zubaydah? If you have forgotten Jason Leopold at truthout has a sad reminder for you here.
Just to jog your memory- when Zubaydah was captured in Pakistan back in the spring of 2002 we were told he was the number 3 in al-Qaeda -so we water boarded him 100 times or so and subjected him to lots of other torture because that was the only way to save our country- however sometime thereafter we realized that he really wasn't number 3---or number 33 or even number 333. In fact, we realized he wasn't really a part of al-Qaeda after all. Oops on that one.
You might also recall that our torturers videotaped their handiwork but apparently after some higher ups took a gander at those tapes they decided no one else should see them and the tapes disappeared....we have been told that the tapes were destroyed (even though there was a court order to preserve the tapes). So as far as we know there are no longer any tapes depicting the torture that Abu Zubaydah and others were subjected.
However the tapes were not the only record of our misdeeds....Zubaydah of course remembered what happened to him and he drew pictures depicting his torture. As Jason tells us in the Truthout article the pictures are (or were) pretty detailed....but of course we will never see those drawings either- you see, if his drawings still even exist (the powers to be refuse to admit whether the drawings are still in existence) they are classified (wouldn't want those to get into the wrong hands would you?....I mean that could possibly make it harder for us to keep looking forward.....).
And so, Abu Zubaydah- the man who wasn't who we thought he was but who must be forever detained without charge because.....why is it again that he must be detained forever? Partly because being the most powerful country in the world we do not admit mistakes....maybe also so that Zubaydah cannot redraw those pictures?

The Drone King- moving on to target americans....

Pretty much from the moment he moved into the white house he has been a disaster.... but who could have predicted that he would be this bad?
For more discussion and insight:
Emptywheel here , here and here.
Andy Worthington here.
and Democracy Now here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What Goes Around Comes Around

When I watched this tape of the two released American hikers who were held in Iran for over two years...and I listened to their experience and treatment I could only think- change the name of the captors from Iranian to American and this could be my client or one of the many other innocent men held at Guantanamo ...except of course for the fact that most of the men at Guantanamo are getting ready to finish their tenth year in captivity. I guess it should be no surprise that the Iranians also noted the parallel. That our prisons at Guantanamo and elsewhere have given justification to the Iranians to hold these two men (and countless other political prisoners) in conditions as bad as we hold our political prisoners is but another national shame.
I am so very sorry for the treatment of these two men as I am so very sorry for the similar ongoing mistreatment given the innocent men at Guantanamo....
Watch the video and understand that these two American's tell the story of hundreds of the innocent men that my country is holding.

t/h to Walt.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lest we forget....

Steven Biko (18 December 1946 – 12 September 1977) RIP

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Just sayin...

I don't write about this day. I mean what is there to say? We were attacked by some criminals and we decided in return to shred our constitution, terrorize a big chunk of the world and turn a blind eye to the criminals in our own country who wreaked havoc on the rule of law and our economy. So, since I don't write about this day I turn you to my friend the talking dog and to this piece on the changes since 2001-by the numbers.


By creating a new war crime.....conspiracy. It would be funny if it were not so pathetic. Read the opinion here. Some analysis here and reporting here.

For those of you without either the time or the inclination to read the opinion let me just say that the military took a bunch of ass sucking military lawyers and created the new war crime by ignoring the law they were citing.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Seems that detainees are not entitled to information about the rendition flights they were subjected to because, you know, states secrets .... and the fact that someone might actually then be held accountable. But those same documents are publicly available in a lawsuit involving money -between the owner of the plane used for the renditions and the the company that contracted to use the plane for the renditions. As emptywheel noted "sort of proves the lie behind the Jeppesen state secrets invocation. The government let all the details behind the KSM flights appear in unsealed court dockets. The only thing that separates what would have appeared in the Binyam Mohamed suit against Jeppesen and this suit is the explicit demand for compensation for a torture victim."

Clive Stafford Smith- attorney for Binyam Mohamed puts it even more succinctly: "When they screw our tortured clients, they assert “National Security”, but when it is a matter of money, they don’t. — Reprieve’s Clive Smith

I wonder if any one will be able to get a judge to care....... or at least be embarassed......
The guardian has more here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Truth Shall Set You Free??

The Military it seems is always striving to reach a new low so it should be no surprise that they have barred this 19 year veteran from reenlisting for having the nerve to discuss his experiences at Guantanamo with Truthout..... read about it here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


First is another good article from Jeff Kaye on water torture and Rumsfeld:

The second is an article in Esquire about the unfortunate Mr. Noor Uthman- AKA ISN 707-a man who pled guilty a month or so ago in the military commission-the only way out of Guantanamo these days.... and is now serving his 34 months for providing meals at a camp unconnected with either the Taliban or al-Qaeda and which closed in 1999 when the camp refused to be connected with Osama Bin Laden. Poor Mr. Uthman, like my client Razak Ali, had the misfortune of being in a guesthouse in Pakistan that was raided in March 2002- and like my client Noor has not been shown to have any connection to any illegal activities that may or may not have been going on upstairs in that house (although the article suggests certain bomb making capabilities were taking place at the house other evidence suggests that nothing was going on at the house.) It is a long article but worth the read.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Washington, August 2, 2011 –

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) approved a Resolution today regarding the situation of the detainees at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The resolution urges the State to close the detention facility without delay and to arrange for the trial or release of the detainees.

The Commission again concludes that the failure of the United States to give effect to the Commission’s precautionary measures has resulted in irreparable harm to the fundamental rights of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

The United States has recognized the detainees’ right to judicial review of the basis for their ongoing deprivation of liberty. However, the U.S. courts generally defer to the Executive in the course of these reviews, which renders the right illusory.

“Once again, the Commission urges the United States to close the Guantanamo Bay facility without delay and arrange for the trial or release of the detainees,” the Resolution states. It specifies that the trials must be conducted expeditiously, while respecting the defendants’ rights to due process and to all of the judicial guarantees.

The Commission also urges the United States to reveal the identities of those detainees who have been cleared for transfer and to ensure that they and all similarly-situated detainees are afforded an adequate, individualized examination of the factual basis for their transfer to a particular country before an independent and impartial decision-maker.

In its Resolution, the Commission insists on the importance of conducting a visit to the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and being able to freely interview any person detained there. The U.S. government has invited the IACHR to visit Guantanamo in the past, but it indicated that personal interviews with the detainees would not be permitted, a condition that the Inter-American Commission does not accept.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

Useful links:

Resolution 2/11 Regarding the Situation of the Detainees at Guantanamo Bay, United States, Precautionary Measures 259-02

Breaking Hicks.....

For those of you unfamiliar with David Hicks he is an Australian man who was held at guantanamo. The only way he could bust out of the hellhole was to plead guilty to things that were not illegal....a familiar theme for those who have managed to leave Gitmo after being charged in a military commission. David Hicks has written a book. If you are reading this blog from somewhere in the United States I will just tell you now you cannot buy his book in this here land of the free....everywhere else in the fuckin' world the book is available - you cannot even buy the book from Amazon or on your kindle... Anyway, the powers to be in Australia are now trying to take away any profit that he makes from the book and there will be a hearing later this month in the Australian courts....hopefully the Aussie judges have a bit more backbone than the judges in my country that are hearing Gitmo issues.
just sayin.

Read more here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A couple of articles and a video to check out....

First there is this excellent article by Jeff Kaye:

And Time asks this question Was Torture worth it?
the article also highlights the panel discussion that Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick moderated which featured John Yoo; then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; the head of the American Civil Liberties Union, Anthony Romero; law professor, David Cole; and former New York City and L.A. police chief Bill Bratton.

Click here for the video.....a must see!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

John Walker Lindh

I am providing a link to this article by the father of John Walker Lindh. I have read the story about John several times and I have often thought that this could be the child of so many of us....a young man pulled to Islam and its teachings who then finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. My country has grown so intolerant and the need for "bad guys" never greater....and so we tortured this young man and made him our homemade scapegoat for the crimes of people we either could not catch or couldn't be bothered catching.
The article ends with John's father saying "My hope and prayer is that at some point rational, fair-minded officials in the American government will see the wisdom in releasing John from prison, rather than making him serve the entire 20-year sentence."
I wish the same for John. Unfortunately there are no rational, fair-minded officials in our government .....only wimps.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Click on the title to read an article by an intern at the World Can't Wait. Marie is a student from France who has been spending most of the year trying to figure out what makes Americans tick. As Marie describes it-

The purpose of this article is not to find an answer for each question I had or wondered. Neither is it to explain all the issues of Guantánamo, but rather to show what People really think and to speak up for what I believe is faIr and that which represents my values.

To learn what people think about Guantanamo Marie headed to DC last week to participate and observe at the demonstration described here. Wouldn't it be nice if everyone would take the time to reflect on these issues....?

As for me-I begin my latest journey to Guantanamo tomorrow....In my worst nightmares I never thought my clients would be in that hell hole for so long....and as we know from Marie's wonderful article there are too many Americans who could care less.

Thank you Marie.


From Roger Fitch and our Friends Down Under

The post-legal society

Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Justinian in Guantanamo, Habeas, Roger Fitch Esq, War crimes, material support

Reinventing the Constitution ... New war crime propped up by discredited 1818 case ... Pentagon stacks military commission review court ... Rogue circuit court circumvents habeasfor Guantanameros ... CIA homicides investigated by grand jury ... Our Man in Washington reports

George Bush's quest for a stripped-down, bare-bones constitution is progressing nicely under his nimble successor, Barack Obama.

Evidently, the powers-that-be decided a smooth Democrat - a "constitutional law professor" - was best-equipped to carry out a project begun by clumsy Republicans and stalled by cautious courts.

The results so far have been impressive.

The 1st Amendment's guarantee of speech has been ingeniously reinterpreted, loosing rivers of corporate cash in public elections.

The 2nd (guns) has been turned 180 degrees and the 4th (search and seizure) is on the way out. The 8th(excessive bail, cruel and inhuman punishment) is pretty much a dead letter.

Demolition of the 5th (due process) and 6th (speedy trials, impartial juries, right to confront witnesses) will be difficult and take longer, but hope springs eternal in America's governing class.

In fact, we already live in a post-legal society, according to a well-known internet scribe.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Thank you Witness against Torture and World Can't Wait

Thanks to the men and women in DC this week reminding our senators and representatives that Guantanamo must be closed and torture must stop.
Witness Against Torture demands:
  • Close the prison at Guantánamo Bay;
  • Free all prisoners who have been cleared for release, ensuring their safe resettlement and providing asylum in the U.S. for those unable to go elsewhere;
  • Produce charges against all other prisoners and prosecute them in U.S. courts;
  • Open all detention centers to outside scrutiny. That includes accepting the oversight of the International Committee of the Red Cross of all facilities; and
  • Conduct a comprehensive criminal inquiry against all those who designed and carried out torture policies under the Bush administration.

Monday, June 20, 2011

A plea to the Algerian People

A few weeks ago I wrote an op-ed that I hoped to get published in an Agerian newspaper-to explain the horrific plight of my Algerian client at Guantanamo. Although my letter did not get published a very helpful individual living in Algeria was able to get a story published about my client and the op-ed that I wrote. The article appeared yesterday in the Oran Daily, the best and biggest circulation french-language paper inAlgeria.
If you read French you can read the article here:

If you do not read French- I have posted a translation here. Thanks to Jack B. for the translation.
When my laptop is back in a working state I will post the original letter.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Catching up....

It has been a busy time and I haven't had the time to put up links to some interesting articles out there. First two by retired Col. Moe Davis. You might recall that once upon a time he was the chief prosecutor of the military commissions at Guantanamo. He eventually retired in disgust and now speaks out openly against the mess we call Guantanamo. The following two articles pretty well sums up his latest positions:,1518,760142,00.html

My friend Almerindo Ojeda at the the UC Davis Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas released a new study further exposing the number and treatment of children at Guantanamo:

I just want to point out that until yesterday I could not blog about Almerindo's study or refer to it because of my security clearance in the Guantanamo cases but new guidelines made available to habeas counsel yesterday makes clear that we have no restrictions on secondary reporting.
Jeff Kaye wrote about the ongoing attack by rightwing nuts to Scott Horton's award winning investigative story on the deaths at Guantanamo five years ago:
And Andy Worthington has been updating his amazing research on the men held at Guantanamo. He has now finished the fourth part of a five part series on the unknown men held at guantanamo. This link will take you to part four and from Andy's webpage you can get to the other three parts of the series.
I will be adding to this list in the coming days as I find other articles I was saving to put up when I had the time.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Update on latest deceased detainee.......

Andy Worthington has this update on the man that the military claims committed suicide at Guantanamo last week. Carol Rosenberg at the Miami Herald has this interview with the man's attorney. Not only did the military have the incorrect name for this man-his real name is Hajji Nassim- but also the shocking information that the man suffered from serious mental health issues- since he was a very young man. His mental health issues were so serious that his attorney had arranged to bring a psychiatrist to the base to evaluate his condition.
Hajji's remains have now been "repatriated" to Afghanistan.
Seems that is the only way anyone gets repatriated from Guantanamo these days.
RIP Hajji.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Jason Leopold at truthout has a very disturbing story today about Abu Zubaydah- as though being waterboarded 83 + times, placed in coffin like boxes, threatened with execution and other forms of torture -was not enough..... Seems we also removed one of his eyes. Was it gouged out? Damaged so badly during his torture that it was surgically removed? Or perhaps just removed for the heck of it? Who knows if we will ever learn the truth about that one.
Because I-as a habeas attorney with a security clearance- am not allowed to comment on wikileaks, I took out the link in Jason's article to the picture that led him to uncover this story. I did that because I am trying to be as cautious as possible about the wikileaks but I will say that the government did allow me to utilize a picture that the government claims is of my own client- in a public document that originated from wikileaks...
but anyway, that is a whole other story....for another day.
Click on the title to read Jason's investigation of Abu Zubaydah's missing eye.

Another Death....another lie

The military announced the death of a 37 year old Afghani man by the name of Inayatullah who was found dead in an outdoor area at the gulag. The military claims he committed suicide. Like most events at Guantanamo we will probably never learn the truth but I will tell you this- it is impossible to fathom how someone could commit suicide in the outdoor area- a place where the men are under constant watch. Perhaps that is why they are now trying to change the story to say that he died in his cell.
The Guardian has more here.
Rest in peace Inayatullah.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Scott Horton wins award for investigative piece on Gitmo "suicides"

In keeping with Scott's own style Foreign Policy asks six questions of Scott:

Last night, Harper's Magazine writer Scott Horton (pictured above left) won a National Magazine Award in the reporting category, beating out the favorite, Michael Hastings's Rolling Stoneprofile of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who lost his job as commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan. Horton's winning entry was "The Guantanamo 'Suicides': A Camp Delta Sergeant Blows the Whistle." The piece is an investigation of the suspicious deaths of three inmates at Guantánamo. I have known Horton since the mid-1990s, when we met in Central Asia. He was an unusual hybrid of corporate lawyer and human rights defender. His writing career began a bit later -- in the early years of the Bush administration with an email blast called "No Comment," a compilation of links and short commentary on national politics that he distributed to friends and interested colleagues. Its searing approach attracted much attention, led to the blog being absorbed by Harper's, and now recognition for this breakthrough article. Horton conducts his own email interviews in a "Six Questions" format, so I asked him to submit to the same. His replies follow.

O&G: In your main piece, you tell the story of Col. Michael Bumgarner. Can you catch us up as to what has happened in the meantime with the Justice Department's treatment of the three men's deaths, and in addition with Staff Sgt. Joseph Hickman, the main whistle-blower in your story?

Sergeant Hickman continues to serve with his unit, as do several other guards that night whose observations supported the article. In fact, after the story appeared a source in the office of Secretary of Defense told me that an effort would be made to "reach out" to these "disgruntled soldiers," but I'm sure the Pentagon discovered the same thing I did: These soldiers were not remotely "disgruntled." They were and are all proud to serve and proud of their service at Guantánamo, which won them commendations. They were concerned about telling the truth, however. There is no sign of any further examination of the facts by the Justice Department -- though it did use dubious national security claims to block a congressional investigation when a House Judiciary subcommittee attempted to look into it.

What more do we know now about Camp No, the black site at Guantanamo where the men appear to have been taken? Is this a CIA-run section of the camp?

I am still investigating Camp No. In the meantime I have developed more evidence that Camp No was used by the intelligence community in connection with interrogations -- including by the CIA from 2003 through 2006. But it's not clear that the CIA was the only agency authorized to use Camp No.

Click here to continue reading the interview.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

For those of you in the San Francisco Area....


Friday, May 13
Protest University of California complicity in torture
Fire, Disbar and Prosecute war criminal John Yoo
Berkeley Law (Boalt Hall) Graduation
9:00 am
The Greek Theater (UC Berkeley campus)

And this from Juan Cole

Listen to Lawrence Wilkerson (former aid to Colon Powell) discuss the delusional Donald Rumsfeld and suggest that Rumsfeld should in fact be waterboarded to determine for himself whether or not waterboarding is torture.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wax vs. Yoo

Federal Public Defender Steven Wax debated John Yoo at an Alaska bar event last week. Read a summary of it here....but I can tell you without your even looking at the summary that this was no even battle....Yoo never had a chance in debating Steven......
Good job Steven.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Doesn't really matter for my clients....they had nothing to do with him anyway. I don't suppose this means we can move on????

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Joe Margulies is one of the habeas counsel who has been around since the beginning. As he contemplates the fact that we, the very men and women representing the men at Guantanamo, cannot look at the newly disclosed documents he also sheds a reflective view on what all of this means.
And Clive Stafford Smith, another of the habeas counsel who has been around since the beginning of the Guantanamo litigation reminds us that so many of the claims now released against our clients (that I have not been allowed to even view) are based on nothing more than ignorant gossip...something there is no shortage of here in my country.
Meanwhile we wait. Will the attorneys for the Guantanamo men be the only ones that cannot participate (meaningfully) in the dialog surrounding the wikileaks disclosures?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


As most of you know, we, the habeas attorneys, have been gagged from talking about the wiki-leak documents. Several of us are discussing a court challenge to the gag order. For me this is particularly frustrating as I have discovered more lies by the government both to the court and to me....and to bring them to the court's attention I must fly to DC and file the documents from the "secret place."
So, for a few thousand dollars I can fly to DC, prepare the document and then file it as a classified document despite the fact that the big dark classified secrets are available in several different languages all over the f'in internet.
great country!

BTW- please don't send me any links or emails with or about- classified documents.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Seattle church campaigns to free Guantanamo prisoner

Adnan Latif was in the wrong place at the wrong time when Pakistani authorities .arrested him, his supporters say.

Nine years later, it seems he’s still in the wrong place: detained at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Soldiers there keep him isolated in a psychiatric ward and frequently beat him, according to his lawyer, David Remes. Because Latif joined a hunger strike in 2007, they also continue to force feed him through his nose.

In August 2010, a judge ruled there was no evidence that Latif, originally from Yemen, had ever raised a hand against the United States and ordered his release. But the Obama Administration has appealed the order and is fighting to keep him locked up.

Local activists are now fighting back, hoping to free a man they say is not only innocent but also mentally ill, the result of an earlier accident, or perhaps, incarceration.

“I’m outraged that he’s being so badly treated and there’s no justification for it,” said Betty Blakney, co-chair of University Temple’s social justice committee.

Members of University Temple United Methodist Church have taken up Latif’s cause and started a letter-writing campaign for his release. They also plan to meet with their members of Congress about Latif’s case.

Forty-one church members signed a March 27 letter to Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Rep. Jim McDermott urging they take action to release Latif, who was 24 at the time of his arrest. They plan to ask other University District churches to do the same.

Political realities

David Remes, Latif’s attorney in Washington, D.C., said he welcomes the effort. But he and Jamie Mayerfeld, a political science professor who teaches a course on Guantanamo Bay at the University of Washington, say political barriers stand between Latif and freedom.

Foremost among them: President Obama has continued the Bush Administration policy of indefinite incarceration without trial, Mayerfeld said.

Of the 779 people who have been incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay for suspected terrorism since it opened in 2002, only a half-dozen have been convicted, Mayerfeld said. Today 172 people remain at the prison. Of these, 57 are Yemenis cleared for release by the Obama Administration.

In an email, Lt. Col. Tanya J. Bradsher, a Pentagon spokesperson, confirmed 172 detainees are housed at Guantanamo Bay, approximately half of them hailing from Yemen.

But Latif and his fellow Yemeni prisoners can’t get out because they have nowhere to go and no way to get there. President Obama banned returning any Guantanamo Bay prisoners to Yemen in January, after the Christmas Day incident in which a Yemeni man tried to blow up an airliner. Then Congress passed a law prohibiting the transfer of any Guantanamo Bay prisoner to any country, Remes said.

“Adopting” a prisoner

Latif first came to the attention of the University Temple community after several church members attended a workshop on torture at Garfield High School on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Professor Mayerfeld led the workshop and raised the idea of churches “adopting” a prisoner by writing letters. University Temple members followed up with Mayerfeld, who suggested Latif because his case is so egregious.

In 1994, at the age of 18, a car accident left Latif with a severe head injury and blindness in one eye. His family was destitute, so the government of Yemen paid to send him to Jordan for an operation, Remes, his lawyer, said.

The operation was only partially successful, however. In 2000, Latif met a man who promised him free medical help in Afghanistan. He was arrested near the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan border in 2001 after the U.S. invasion, Remes said, and his life has been a living hell ever since.

As a result of his head injury or his incarceration, Latif is mentally ill and suffers from a number of physical ailments, Remes said. From many hunger strikes, he weighs less than 100 pounds and has to wear what’s called a suicide smock because he’s tried to kill himself so many times.

When he gets out of control, a prison response team in black riot gear beats him until he’s subdued, Remes said. Bradsher, the Pentagon spokesperson, declined to comment on Latif’s condition.

Defining torture

Torture is a loaded term, said Remes, who represents 17 other Yemeni prisoners at Guantanamo. But the conditions are clearly cruel, inhumane and degrading violations of the Geneva Conventions.

Latif should be released, he said. The Department of Defense recommended it in 2004, the Bush Administration approved it in 2007, and the judge ordered it last year in response to a habeas corpus petition, Remes said.

“It’s incomprehensible they’re holding this poor man and that [the Obama Administration is] continuing to fight for the right to hold him.”