Wednesday, December 11, 2013
This is probably old news to those of you who follow Guantanamo news but last week the U.S. released two men to Algeria. For these two men it was distressing news as they both have legitimate fears of going back to Algeria. One of the men fled Algeria two decades ago to avoid political prosecution and the U.N. agrees with his fears. See also this account from Carol Rosenberg. Then there is my client who is also from Algeria. My client's only fear about returning home is that the stuff our country has made up about him might land him in prison in Algeria if he returns home. He is willing to take that chance as he just wants to get the heck out of the hell hole we call Guantanamo. Unfortunately last week the DC Circuit Court upheld the district court's denial of his habeas petition. Although I was not surprised that the panel decided the way it did--they have found reasons to deny every single Guantanamo habeas petition that went up to the circuit court but this is especially frustrating because the DC Circuit is willing to disregard those government documents that show the government is wrong in favor of non-evidence that shows the government is correct. Anyway, the last three pages of the decision have warmed my heart as it gives my client a shot at a cert petition before the Supreme Court-- In his concurrence,which is essentially a dissent (but for technical reason that I won't go into here it is called a concurrence) Judge Edwards said "The troubling question in these detainee cases is whether the law of the circuit has stretched the meaning of the AUMF and the NDAA so far beyond the terms of these statutory authorizations that habeas corpus proceedings like the one afforded Ali are functionally useless." So thank you Judge Edwards and I shall run with your words. As Studs Terkel was fond of saying, "hope dies last."
Posted by H. Candace Gorman at 11:33 AM
The "commander" of Gitmo- the now notoriously perverse Col. Bogdan- the man responsible for the current conditions and policies at the base (genital searches for detainees who want to visit or accept a call from their attorneys; genital searches before phone calls with family- an event allowed only twice a year; the taking of all of the mens personal papers,including legal papers and family photos; the unethical force feeding of protesting detainees).. the list goes on but I will get to the point... Bogdan stated on 60 minutes "that Guantánamo guards suffer nearly twice as much Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as combat troops." It was one of those statements that actually had a ring of truth about it---I mean these young kids at the base must see what we are doing -holding the men in these horrific conditions- indefinitely- with no charges pending against them...It is heartbreaking, infuriating and depressing. Couple that with the new protocals of searching the mens genitals before they can talk to their lawyers or families and I could actually see how the contradiction of the values of these mostly very young soldiers who want to protect "their country" could be upsetting to them when they see what "protecting their country" means to the powers of this country.... Anyway, it seems that the notoriously perverse Col. Bogdan was either not exactly telling the truth (or if he was telling the truth it is not the kind of truth our government would want to make known....) The military has now retracted the statement of the perverse Col. Bogdan as it seems he just made up that particular fact- as he seems to just make up most of the facts he throws around to justify his perverse actions. Anyway, the DC Circuit is reviewing the practice set up by Col. Bogdan earlier this year--to search the men's genitals and maybe they will have a ruling some time in the not too distant future...and maybe just maybe they will understand what a pervert this guy is and stop the policy- which would be nice as I would like to visit with my client again.
Posted by H. Candace Gorman at 11:03 AM
Definitive Report on the Hunger Strike probably the reason the Military will no longer discuss hunger strikers...
The Guantanamo Testimonials Project out of U.C. Davis is probably one of the most comprehensive sources here in the U.S. regarding all things Guantanamo. On November 20, 2013 the Project posted this report on the latest hunger strike by the men at the base. It took less than two weeks for the military to decide that it would no longer provide any information about the hunger strikers: “JTF-Guantanamo allows detainees to peacefully protest, but will not further their protests by reporting the numbers to the public,” Filostrat said. “The release of this information serves no operational purpose and detracts from the more important issues, which are the welfare of detainees and the safety and security of our troops.” My guess is that this is not a coincidence. The facts as outlined in the report from the Guantanamo Testimonials Project show in hard cold numbers the extent of the hunger strike and the unethical response by the military to that peaceful process. Truthout has more here.
Posted by H. Candace Gorman at 10:15 AM
You can read the story here and keep this fact in mind--- that Nelson Mandela was on the U.S.lists of terrorist-- when this same government (my government) makes its absurd claims about the men held at Guantanamo. As one of the other attorneys from the Gitmo bar mentioned,these government officials that considered Mandela a terrorist are the same people/agencies that have claimed that all the men at Guantanamo are terrorists....and these are the same people/agencies that have claimed that the men released from Guantanamo have high recidivism rates. Unfortunately my country has come to believe that anyone who questions authority (especially the authority of the U.S.)is a terrorist---which of course put Mandela at the top of the list--- but that list also contains the names of former Guantanamo "detainees" who dare to speak out in protest about their captivity and dare to challenge the U.S. government with their words (not with guns or drones)....My government claims that those former Guantanamo detainees have returned to the battlefield--that is because the battlefield is not in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, etc.... the battlefield is in the hearts and minds of people around the globe that challenge corrupt authority. It was probably words like these that kept Mandela on the U.S. list of terrorists for so many years: “If there is a country that has committed unspeakable atrocities in the world, it is the United States of America. They don’t care,” he said."
Posted by H. Candace Gorman at 9:40 AM