Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Clive Stafford Smith on Shaker Aamer...

"There is one matter that is beyond all doubt: various members of the US military and the UK intelligence services will start briefing against Aamer. They will do this because they know they have done him wrong, and they hate him for it. They feel a very human urge to prove that they were justified and, in their distorted morality, that can only be true if he is a very, very bad man indeed.
They always do this. In 2009, when Binyam Mohamed was released from Guantánamo, someone at the Pentagon leaked to the BBC a classified copy of the confession tortured out of him. Binyam had been sent to Morocco where a razor blade was taken to his penis every fortnight for 18 months. Naturally he told them what they wanted to hear. To the credit of the BBC – and in compliance with the UN convention against torture – ultimately the corporation decided not to defame Binyam with this statement."
Read the whole opinion piece here.

And the talking dog has long been writing about Shaker and has hosted Andy Worthington on his trips to the U.S. over the years as he came to our country to remind the American people not only of the illegality of Guantanamo but also to advocate for the release of his countryman --shaker Aamer. Read what he has to say here.

Monday, September 28, 2015

DC Circuit grants en banc in al Bahlul.....

As Steve Vladeck reported-- on Friday, the D.C. Circuit granted rehearing en banc in al Bahlul v. United States, the constitutional challenge to the Guantánamo military commissions’ authority to try domestic offenses in the military commission. In the process, the Court of Appeals vacated its major June 2015 ruling (which had held that such jurisdiction violates Article III), and set the whole matter for new briefing and argument — the latter scheduled for December 1, 2015.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Detainee Released To Morrocco faces Torture...

And the documents to prove he is innocent of any terror related activity is held as classified by my government.... This is a potential problem for many of our remaining clients and my government has thus far refused to unclassify the documents.
Read more here.

Friday, September 25, 2015


Andy Worthington on Shaker.... complete with a song.

Click here for the full story and the song by Andy...

Could it really be true???

The Guardian announced today that Shaker Aamer- the last British detainee- is to be released. If this is true that is wonderful news....but WTF- he has been cleared for release for at least nine years and in announcing that they are going to release him they still have to go through the 30 day waiting period before he can actually be released. And they are only releasing this man who has been cleared by all of the agencies (Defense, State, Justice--- etc) for literally years because they have now determined that Britain has robust security???
Shaker was considered a leader amongst the detainees- in negotiating with the military at Guantanamo for better conditions -- in punishment for his outspokenness Shaker was placed in solitary confinement. For years. Rumor is that his mental and physical health has markedly deteriorated because of the conditions he has been subjected to.
Shaker has never met his youngest child who was born after his "detention."
Read the story here.... and let us hope that this time the rumor is true and Shaker will be home with his family soon.

For those in the NYC area....

Mohammed el Gharani and Laurie Anderson have worked together to create the “Habeas Corpus” installation, which will be shown at the Park Avenue Armory on October 2nd through 4th.

Read more about this amazing multi media presentation here.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The release of Abdul Shalabi announced yesterday...UPDATED

Mr. Shalabi was one of the long time hunger strikers- for nine years he staged a hunger strike and for nine- years he was force fed by the military. Mr. Shalabi was recently cleared by the the military for release. You can read more about Shalabi here.
Carol Rosenberg has more here.

I will just add that Mr. Shalabi is yet another of the men who was accused of being a body guard for Osama Bin Laden... as I reported in the past all of those men at Guantanamo who were accused of being body guards were accused by other detainees- the so called jail house snitches who were tortured or otherwise convinced to lie about their fellow detainees....sigh.

The prison population now stands at 114:  52 are cleared, 52 are awaiting clearance, and 10 are in the military commission system (of those, 7 are in the “active” “trial” proceedings while 3 have been “convicted”).

Of the 52 cleared, 43 (83%) are Yemenis and 9 are non-Yemenis.

Of the 52 awaiting clearance, 24 are Yemenis and 28 are non-Yemenis.
h/o to fellow Gitmo attorney Brian Foster for keeping up with the numbers.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Another Detainee Transferred....

The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of Abdul Shalabi from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

On June 15, a Periodic Review Board consisting of representatives from the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Justice, and State; the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence determined continued law of war detention of Shalabi does not remain necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States. As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, Shalabi was recommended for transfer by consensus of the six departments and agencies comprising the Periodic Review Board.

I will have more info on Shalabi when it becomes available.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Khadr's bail restrictions eased....

A judge in Edmonton Alberta eased some of the restrictions imposed on Guantanamo's child prisoner Omar Khadr. He no longer needs to wear the monitoring bracelet- he can go on the internet (since we are all being watched on the internet he will just be treated like the rest of us!) and he can travel and visit family. ONE SMALL STEP! Here is hoping he will soon be completely free.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Detainee Transfer announcement

The Department of Defense announced today the repatriation of Younis Abdurrahman Chekkouri from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the Government of Morocco.
 Mr. Chekkouri was a client of Reprieve and it has issued a press release raising concerns about Mr. Chekkouri's well being in Morocco. This suggests to me that he must have been released sometime earlier.
Reprive's statement can be found here.

The prison population stands at 115:  53 are cleared, 52 are awaiting clearance, and 10 are in the military commission system (of those, 7 are in “active” “trial” proceedings while 3 have been “convicted”).

Of the 53 cleared, 43 (81%) are Yemenis and 10 are non-Yemenis.

Of the 52 awaiting clearance, 24 are Yemenis and 28 are non-Yemenis.
h/o to Gitmo attorney Brian Foster for the stats...

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Force Feeding Tapes

Today the government turned over to a Judge 8 redacted tapes showing the torture--I mean force feeding-- of men at Guantanamo. Now we must fight to get those tapes released to the public so that the world can see that the torture of the men at Guantanamo continues to this day.
Read more here.

My Friends the Dutch....

It seems that the Dutch are inching a little closer to taking two detainees from Guantanamo. When I was living in the Netherlands a few years back I lobbied hard for the settlement of two men (pulling hard for one of the men to be my client) but the Government would not budge. Seems now that they are considering taking two men--- but only if Obama gets off his butt and pushes harder for closer of the gulag.

"The Hague (AFP) - The Netherlands will only consider a US request to take in two detainees from Guantanamo Bay once Washington has taken "meaningful steps" to close the notorious military jail, the Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said Monday."

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A day late....

Yesterday I forgot to link to the talking dog's page for his annual summary of all things September 11- from his vantage point in New York city where he was on that day and remains today.
So here it is.

Lest we forget....

Steven Biko died 39 years ago today. Read more about his life and death here.

Friday, September 11, 2015

a comment about Hassan and the other men released....

Perhaps it is to keep up the false pretense that all of the men that have been held at Guantanamo are "bad" but I have to mention this very disturbing fact which was highlighted in my last post: each and every man that has been released from Guantanamo under the Obama administration has been "cleared" by all of the government agencies. In other words, these men should not be treated as criminals when they are finally on the plane to be set free. Mr. Al-Ghizzawi was treated in the same fashion as Mr. Hassan.... as have all of the other men cleared and released.
This has been my country's last inhumane measure before these men are finally free and I am deeply ashamed.

A botched translation led to this man being held at Gitmo for 14 years....

One of the many incredible stories of the men at Guantanamo....

As for Hassan, on June 12, 2015, Gitmo guards came into his cell at night. Once again they took off his clothes and put him in a diaper. Once again they stripped him of his senses with a blindfold and earmuffs, and once again they led him onto a plane for a long journey. Only this time, when the plane landed,he was in Oman. The country had welcomed him on humanitarian grounds. Reprieve and the U.S. government wouldn’t comment on his exact whereabouts in Oman, and local reporters say the government in Muscat has warned them away from trying to interview former Gitmo detainees. But more than a decade after he arrived at Gitmo, Emad Hassan was finally free, and nothing seemed lost in translation.

Read the entire story here....

A policy no more....

A few months ago I reported about the loosening of some of the rules regarding the release of notes taken by attorneys with their clients. Under a new policy that was announced in January the government allowed notes to go uncensored that detailed the torture of Majid Khan as told by Mr. Khan to his attorney. (You can read that here.)
It was apparently a short lived policy. Abu Zubaydah's attorney tried to have declassified 116 pages that delayed the horrific torture that Abu Zubaydah was (and continues to be) subjected over his 14 years of "detention." My government does not want us to see those details and so we only know a small summary of those details-- for example--that Abu Zubaydah was water boarded 83 times in a single month- lost an eye, was kept in small coffin like boxes...--
So much for that policy. You can read more here.

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian...

The American Psychological Association has decided to do the right thing and stop assisting US government interrogations, following a damning independent investigation. TheGuardian and Just Security have more.  
Only one person voted against the change - Larry James, a former member of the Behavioural Science Consultation Team (BSCT), military psychologists who collaborated in the brutal interrogation of helpless prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo. 
James: wants to keep psychologists on the interrogation teams
Many "Biscuits" have had ethics charges brought against them, and one of them took themilitary Fifth Amendment.  
Following cancellation of the CIA's contract with the firm of torture-architect psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, West Coast civil rights figure Stephen Yagman has filed suit under the False Claims Act for recovery of the $81 million Mitchell-Jessen were paid for their (dirty) work.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Another small step towards justice for Maher Arar

As the Globe and Mail pointed out over the weekend Canada's RCMP has indicted the Syrian who allegedly tortured Canadian Maher Arar. Of course the torture was done at the behest of my government and I doubt that the Canadian's will actually go after any of those responsible in my country- at least not while Bush wanna be Stephen Harper is Prime Minister....

"So Mr. Arar must be particularly pleased that the RCMP has now charged a Syrian man in absentia with the very crime of torturing him. Whether or not the charge against a Syrian intelligence officer named George Salloum, whereabouts and condition unknown, leads to a trial in Canada, its existence alone is a critical step in Mr. Arar’s determined efforts to clear his name, and a deserved slap in the face of those who continue to deny him justice."

Read the rest here.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Happy labor day...........