Wednesday, April 10, 2019

UK finally looking into it's role in torture of Abu Z

Well that only took 18 more here.

A memoir from one of the youngest detainees....

Saudi Arabia offers few prospects for the bright young Mohammed El-Gharani. With roots in Chad, Mohammed is treated like a second-class citizen. His access to healthcare and education are restricted; nor can he make the most of his entrepreneurial spirit. At the age of 14, having scraped together some money as a street trader, Mohammed seizes an opportunity to study in Pakistan. One Friday in Karachi, Mohammed is detained during a raid on his local mosque. After being beaten and interrogated, he is sold to the American government by the Pakistani forces as a member of Al-Qaida with links to Osama Bin Laden, but Mohammed has heard of neither. The Americans fly him first to Kandahar and then to Guantánamo Bay.
In Guantánamo Kid, Jérôme Tubiana and Alexandre Franc tell the eye-opening, heart-wrenching story of one of Guantánamo’s youngest detainees. Written in collaboration with Mohammed El-Gharani, Guantánamo Kid reflects as closely as possible his memories and experiences of life in the camp.

Read more about his memoir and buy a copy here.

And Whatever You Do....

Don't talk about the torture....

More here.
h/o to Walt

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Being released from Gitmo does not mean you are free

Not if freedom means that you are free to travel. A point that Mohamedou Ould Slahi has been reminded. You might remember Mohamedou- he was a prisoner at Guantanamo who wrote a book... a heavily redacted book (I will try to find my earlier posts about his ordeal and his book later this week....) He was finally released in 2016 and his country (Mauritania) promised that after two years his passport would be provided to him again.
Needless to say, that did not happen.
That is one of the many tragedy's that continues to haunt they former prisoners.
Andy Worthington has more here.
Here is a link to my post after Slahi republished his book.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Éirinn go Brách

Friday, March 15, 2019

A new low.... even for my country in the time of trump.

Who knew we could hit a new low in this country that keeps seemingly hitting rock bottom?

My country has now denied visas to members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) who want to come to the US to investigate our (many) war crimes in Afghanistan. 

I was a visiting professional at the ICC back during the Bush II administration (during the height of our war crimes) and while I was working at the International Court during that period the only countries denying investigators the right to enter the country and investigate war crimes were third world countries that the "western world" considered the "worst of the worst."

So here we are. 

Pompeo, our so-called secretary of state, said earlier today of the visa denial:
"This would include anyone who takes, or has taken, action to request or further an investigation, he told reporters."

That directive includes me.

I proudly took action to request and to further the investigation into the war crimes by my country in Afghanistan. 

And Pompeo will have to arrest me if he wants to stop me... because I do not need a visa to enter this country and investigate. And I will encourage other US citizens to cooperate and further the investigation into the US atrocities and war crimes in Afghanistan.

So Pompeo -- you want to keep the investigators out -- well fuck you. We will investigate from within.

Oh, and not only is Pompeo denying visas to those member of the International Court investigating my country's war crimes but he (and his peeps) are threatening economic sanctions against someone .... exactly who Pompeo has not said. I guess he still has to figure that one out.

Read more here.
(oh and by the way, when you read the part in the link about how the US did not sign on to the International Court, take note that we actually tried to sign on... President Clinton signed on and then Bush II became president and took our signature off before congressional approval took place. And shortly thereafter, Bush II engaged in war crimes against Afghanistan. 
In my book the actions of Bush II were premeditated.) 

And more from our friends down under....

The picture was so perfect it needed its own place on this blog... (See Below)
The US House may be busy bashing Trump, but nothing will happen in the senate so long as the intensely partisan Mitch McConnell remains Senate Majority Leader.  
McConnell is personally credited with packing the federal judiciary, beginning with the supreme court itself, where Republican loyalists have since signed off on Trump's "Muslim ban", and seem prepared to green-light the illicit motives underlying "national security" declarations, and such recent Trump initiatives as the rigged census questionnaire; the immigration "national emergency"; and an Army-built border wall.
If the courts rule against Mr Trump's national emergency executive order, will it make any difference? He recently openly flouted a federal court order striking down another executive order excluding aliens.
While the supreme court has unique internal dynamics, it is the lower courts that are suffering the most from McConnell's systematic stacking. Alarming appointees, chosen for conservative ideology, are being nominated and confirmed in droves; some are destined to be forever tainted as "Trump judges". 
One of the most unsuitable, Howard C Nielson, is a nominee for US District Court in Utah. Nielson once worked in the "torture memo" section of George Bush's Justice Department; his contribution was a 29-page memo implausibly (and wrongly) claiming that the 4th Geneva Convention only applied to those civilians detained on US territory, leaving US detainees in Afghanistan unprotected.  

From our Friends Down Under at Justinian....

Friday, March 8, 2019

Happy International Woman's Day

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

We will take whatever good news we can get! (updated)

Yes, there hasn't been much to report on the Gitmo end of things -- as my country quickly deteriorates into a banana republic.
Last month we learned that the only reporter covering Gitmo issues was probably going to leave the Miami Herald as part of a buy-out...sigh. That news was distressing in many ways not only because she (Carol Rosenberg) was the only one covering these issues but also because she actually does investigative reporting. A dying art in this here country of mine.

But today there is good news on that front:

Carol Rosenberg is joining the New York Times.

I think that will be the only good news this month (or year) so savor it.

Update: And here is the announcement from the NYT.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

this is why they kneel....

Consider this the Super Bowl edition of The Gitmo blog.

I will fix this tomorrow but til then:

Saturday, February 2, 2019

YEAR 18---

Nothing changes --- 

Read the latest from "camp justice" here.

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Dream

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

From our friends down under at Justinian....

Although not exactly on Gitmo, sometimes you have to be flexible....

Unqualified judges continue to receive important federal judicial appointments, e.g, to US Courts of Appeal. Some are scorned by the ABA, as they have tried few cases and can't write intelligible opinions.  
A few party loyalists already on the federal bench are contributing to Republican mischief, e.g, in Texas, where District Judge Reed O'Connor, appointed by G.W. Bush, accepted an "off-the-wall argument" that Obamacare is unconstitutional, simply because the mandate requiring people to have health insurance was repealed. More here.   
The decision is widely seen as partisan judicial activism: the judge is a favourite of Republicans who forum-shop for desired but politically-controversial rulings. 
O'Connor previously issued a number of orders against Obama initiatives and, in one startling decision, found that the 40-year old Indian Child Welfare Act, favouring adoptions by Native-Americans of their own kin, discriminated against non-indigenous Americans.  
*   *   *
Barr: a lot of time in the top paddock
Attorney General Jeff Sessions was also let go by Trump, in much the way the one-time reality TV star disposed of "losers" on The Apprentice
Replacing the AG offers Mr Trump another chance to hobble DoJ's investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 elections, newly confirmed in two reports commissioned by a bipartisan US senate.
Trump's choice for acting AG, Matthew Whitaker, has long opposed the Mueller investigation he would be overseeing. The DoJ Office of Legal Counsel attempted to justifyhis appointment, but there was an ethics review. Whitaker then rejected his own department's finding that he should recuse himself from involvement in the Mueller investigation based on previous prejudicial remarks.
Now there's a nominee for permanent AG, bad as the old one, and it's sad news for Guantanameros: William Barr was AG for Bush père when the notorious internment camp was first set up.  Barr's anti-Mueller views are well known; last year he sent an unsolicited memo to DOJ arguing for presidential immunity from many criminal laws, including obstruction of justice 

Friday, January 11, 2019

And to Razak Ali and the other men...

I will not give up...

To the mothers of the men being held at Guantanamo...

I usually play this song on this blog on mother's day but with my client (and the remaining men) in their 18th year without charge it somehow felt right to play this today.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

An insiders look at Gitmo....

What does the naval station at Guantánamo Bay look like? How does it feel to visit the men detained in the prison? Just two of the questions our Advocacy Program Manager Aliya Hussain asked Senior Staff Attorney Wells Dixon and Senior Managing Attorney Shayana Kadidal in “Close and personal with Guantánamo,” the 10th episode of “The Activist Files.” Wells and Shayana have been working with clients in Gitmo for more than a decade and give us an insider look into what Guantánamo was and what it has become.
From the food options on the island to the experience of meeting a client for the first time while having to deliver them shocking news, our lawyers explain why it’s crucial to keep fighting against the continued indefinite detention of Muslim men detained at Guantánamo without charge or fair trial.
TOMORROW IN WASHINGTON, D.C.: Join us for two important events to mark the 17th anniversary of the prison’s opening: Congressional briefing on Guantánamo and afternoon rally to close Guantánamo and call for a stop to the cruelty, fear, racism, and Islamophobia perpetuated by this administration.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Was there a black site at Guantanamo?

Just in time for the anniversary of Guantanamo's opening Carol Rosenberg has a new report suggesting that a black site was run out of Guantanamo. And that CIA director Gina Haspel was in charge of the site.
Wouldn't surprise me....

Read more here.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

MORE on the events sponsored by "close guantanamo now....."

Details of the events are below:
Friday January 11, 12.15 pm-1.45 pm: Seventeen Years of Guantánamo
New America, 740 15th St. NW #900, Washington, D.C. 20005
Tom Wilner and Andy Worthington, with Laura Pitter, the interim deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Americas program, discuss the prison’s present and future, in a panel discussion moderated by New America’s David Sterman, asking, "What will happen to the prison and its detainees in the remaining years of the Trump administration? Will anyone else be released? Will the prison ever close?"
See the event page here, and please RSVP if you’re coming along.
Friday January 11, 2.30-4pm: Rally to Close Guantánamo - Rule of Law, Not Rule of Trump
Outside the White House, Lafayette Square, 1608 H St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20006
Andy Worthington joins speakers from 12 rights organizations at the annual vigil outside the White House calling for the closure of Guantánamo: Amnesty International USA, the Center for Constitutional RightsClose GuantánamoCODEPINK: Women For PeaceCouncil on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Defending Rights & DissentJustice for Muslims CollectiveSeptember 11th Families for Peaceful TomorrowsTorture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC), Voices for Creative NonviolenceWitness Against Torture and the World Can't Wait.
See the event page on Facebook here.
Please also check out Witness Against Torture’s page about their Fast for Justice, a week of events in Washington, D.C. involving fasting and political actions.
Sunday January 13, 5-7pm: Andy Worthington Talks at Revolution Books NY
Revolution Books, 437 Malcolm X Boulevard/Lenox Ave (at 132nd Street), New York 10037
As Revolution Books states, "Andy Worthington, the British journalist who has covered the men imprisoned in the U.S. torture camp at Guantánamo since 2006, speaks on the state of the prison under Trump; the 40 men who are still held, and on what released prisoners have encountered as they've been scattered across the world. Andy, a member of The Four Fathers, may sing for us. Q&A to follow."
See the event page on Facebook here.

Join "Close Guantanamo Now" events in DC and NYC January 11th.....

Events marking the 17th anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo

Dear friends and supporters,

Seven years ago, on January 11, 2012, the 10th anniversary of the opening of the prison at Guantánamo Bay, the attorney Tom Wilner and I set up the Close Guantánamo campaign, to maintain the pressure on Barack Obama to fulfill the promise to close the prison that he made when he first took office three years before.

As we all now know, Obama sadly failed to fulfill his promise, and we’re now nearing the start of Donald Trump’s third year as president, in which Obama’s failed promise has been discarded as though it never existed.

Donald Trump is an enthusiast for keeping Guantánamo open, an imbecile who lacks the ability to understand that the prison’s very existence is fundamentally, devastatingly wrong, as its creator, George W. Bush, finally recognized in his second term in office, and as Barack Obama also recognized throughout his presidency, even though he lacked the political will to follow through adequately on this recognition.

To mark the disgraceful 17th anniversary of the opening of the prison, where 40 men are still held, mostly without charge or trial, our co-founders Andy Worthington and Tom Wilner will be in Washington, D.C. for two events — a panel discussion and a vigil outside the White House — and Andy, who is visiting from the UK, will also be in New York for an event two days later.

All the details can be found in our latest article, Close Guantánamo Events Marking the 17th Anniversary of the Opening of Guantánamo.

If you’re in Washington, D.C. or New York, we hope to see you — and we hope we can count on your support throughout 2019 as we continue to make the case for why Guantánamo must be closed.

If you can make a donation to support our work it will be very greatly appreciated. To do so, visit the homepage of our website, and click on the ‘Donate’ button to make a payment via PayPal.

If you can make a regular monthly donation, that would be especially welcome. Please tick the box marked, "Make this a monthly donation," and fill in the amount you wish to donate every month.

Many thanks!

The "Close Guantánamo" team

P.S. Please, if you will, also ask your friends and family to join us — just an email address is required to be counted amongst those opposed to the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, and to receive updates of our activities by email. Please also join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, January 4, 2019

January 11, 2002

That is the day Guantanamo opened for business with the first detainees. 20 arrived that first day. They were placed in cages.
Now 40 remain. Many sit in solitary confinement. Most have never been charged with a crime.
Why do they remain at Guantanamo? Because the military can.
It is the symbol of the military's strength in this country.
No politician -- not even the fucking president-- has been allowed into the base to talk with any detainee.
No court -- not even the fucking U.S. Supreme Court -- has been allowed access to these men.
And now we celebrate the 18th year of military control.
Go to D.C. ?..If you dare and raise your voice in protest.
Or sit home and watch a fucking football game.