Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Mauritanian...

 I guess the movie is coming out soon. And yes, maybe it will rekindle interest in closing the place but please remember that it was the Obama administration that appealed the release of this man -- causing him to stay in Guantanamo for another six years - while that played out. So, although I remain somewhat hopeful that the place might actually close under Biden - I am only somewhat hopeful.

Read an account of the movie here.

h/o to Walt for the link.

And if you do not have the book yet, what are you waiting for? or better yet buy it from your favorite independent book store- they can order it if they don't have it in stock.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

It is a step forward anyway...

 On Friday (Feb. 12), White House press secretary Jen Psaki, when asked whether President Biden will close Guantánamo by the end of his presidency, told reporters, "That certainly is our goal and our intention,” and announced that there would be "a robust interagency policy" to work out how to do so.

Haven't heard that in a while (that someone wants to close the place.

Read more here

Friday, February 12, 2021

Musical Interlude

 It has been a while since I have done one of these but what better time? And so I dedicate this to the  criminal trump team as they start the defense of the criminal former president.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

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

 It seemed to some a redneck revival, a white trash liberation movement with a Confederate battle flag as standard and MAGA hats as the uniting and distinguishing symbol: people that the US class system used to sort-out. 

No longer. Racist thugs, fake patriots and the religiously-deluded now get a pass. 

The insurrectionary rabble comprised more than ignorant buffoons and the usual hate-group suspects. It provided cover for real villains: rogue police, Army reservists, and serving and retired soldiers (including with sniper training). About 20% of those charged had military training.

The attacking mob also contained a lawless lawyer, a disturbed doctor and intruders who knew the capitol layout, e.g, the woman who stole Nancy Pelosi's laptop with a view to selling it to the Russians. 

Indeed, there's evidence that "foreign actors" may have helped fund the rally-riot, in addition to shell companies and dark money connected to, well, Donald Trump. Was it all an autogolpe?

Incredibly, the rally that set-off the Capitol assault was promoted by the Republican Attorneys General Association, proof of the bad lawyering in Republican circles. 

The insurgents may have had inside help (more here), e.g, from Congresswoman Lauren Boebert of Colorado; there was suspicious reconnaissance inside the Capitol on the day before the attack. Boebert is one of congress's two QAnon supporters (the other: barking-mad Georgian Marjorie Taylor Greene).

Even saner members of congress are in legal peril, if they conspired with the Capitol attackers: some congressional ties to extremists are under scrutiny.

*   *   *

"People who say Trump has no empathy are wrong. He has the utmost empathy for degenerate, corrupt, disgraced politicians who perhaps remind him of himself" - Preet Bharara, former Manhattan US Attorney.

Trump's last days offered his venal band a final feeding opportunity, and enterprising mates like Rudolph Giuliani offered themselves as brokers in the business of pardon-trafficking.

On the morning of January 20th, the outgoing president issued 143 pardons and commutations, many as sleazy as expected (more here), including crooked Republican politicians and the odd bent Democrat, e.g, the former mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick; Trump had previously commuted the sentence of Rod Blagojevich, the Democrat governor of Illinois serving time for trying to sell Barack Obama's senate seat.

Prosecutors were outraged: pardons included commutation of sentences and foregone restitution in Medicare rort convictions that took years to obtain.

Can pardons be undone? Sometimes. President Biden might have tried to recall pardons not yet accepted, from January 20th. In any case, given Trump's incompetence, some of his pardons may turn out to be ineffective.  

*   *   *


Sunday, January 31, 2021

An Open Letter to Biden from former detainees at Guantanamo

 I joined with several attorneys to write a letter to Biden about Guantanamo last week and I hope next week to have a link to that letter. But a group of former detainees joined together to write their own letter. 

(h/o to Walt)

President Bush opened it. President Obama promised to close it, but failed to do so. President Trump promised to keep it open. Now, it is your turn to decide.  

Read the rest here

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

And Biden's first moves...

 offering a glimpse of hope to the men at Guantanamo we have learned this today:

February: Restoring America’s Place in the World

Biden will sign an EO to direct agencies to “recruit and retain employees to confront 21st Century challenges, including through reskilling, professional development, and possible reserve corps to fill mission-critical gaps” … He will sign a “forever wars'' executive order, which will initiate a “review of CT operations and options to [responsibly] reduce such operations; reinstates transparency measures on civilian casualties; reinstates the policy of closing GITMO; initiates a process to migrate substantial use of force operations to Title 10” … He will sign a memorandum to strengthen U.S. efforts to promote human rights of LGBTQ people overseas … He’ll hold an NSC meeting at the State Department.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

trumps last mark on Gitmo...

 I guess his criminal and failed presidentcy would not be complete unless he could do one last thing. So the pentagon has now blocked a rule that would have allowed an independent medical exam of one of the men tortured and held at Guantanamo. Read the rest here and h/o to Walt for sharing the link.

Late news... Andy Worthington event...

 Maybe it will be recorded. But here is the link.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

From Roger Fitch and his friends down under at Justinian.

 As America prepares to inaugurate a lawyer president, it's time to reflect on the 32 lawyers - all men - among the shameful cohort of 126 House Republicans who supported the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (under indictment himself) in his failed attempt to overthrow the election in the supreme court.

The AGs of the four defendant states, all with Republican legislatures, forcefully responded to the disgraceful supreme court litigation brought by the attorneys general in 18 other Republican states.

Above the Law catalogued the craziest things in the Texas AG's nutty lawsuit, where even fake states filed a brief. All the motions from 26 other parties were dismissed as moot when the Texas motion was denied. The Post identified the various villains who pleaded.

Ultimately, nearly 90 judges rejected the claims of election fraud brought by Trump and his followers. Nevertheless, the litigation strategies and public statements of Trump's lawyers exposed the collateral damage his refusal to acknowledge the rule of law has caused to the legal profession itself. 

In many of the federal cases (certainly, the supreme court stunt), Republican lawyers may have violated Rule 11, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. That's the rule that forbids frivolous proceedings and requires attorneys to shun litigation without legal foundation or valid evidence. 

The fact that the chief legal officers of 18 states were prepared to risk violating Rule 11 is a professional scandal. Sanctions and even disbarment should be an option.

Civilian lawyers behind the Republicans' spurious and bad-faith court actions in multiple jurisdictions should also face disciplinary action. One such action was a last-hour lawsuit against the Vice President in his capacity of Senate President. 

Gohmert: among the dimmest of Republican representatives 

It was brought by Representative Louis Gohmert, who's often described as "the most offensive and ignorant person in congress". The case was speedily dismissed by a Trump-appointed judge. 

Finally, Trump voters in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Arizona sued Vice President Pence; both houses of Congress; and even the Electoral College itself, seeking to preliminarily enjoin the counting of electors certified by their states. Their motion was denied in scathing terms by the DC judge, who added:

"… at the conclusion of this litigation, the Court will determine whether to issue an order to show cause why this matter should not be referred to its Committee on Grievances for potential discipline of Plaintiffs' counsel."  


Some of the latest news...

 Well I received two separate inquiries about what is going on at Guantanamo right now so I am providing these links which in turn were sent to me by CCR. So h/o to CCR for collecting all of these:

Amnesty International issued a report, Right the Wrong, Decision Time on Guantanamo. They also launched a global petition;

Al Jazeera English: Al-Qahtani must be released and Guantanamo closed


Al Jazeera English: Will Joe Biden close Guantanamo Bay?


Common Dreams: As 'Dark Stain' of Guantánamo Begins 20th Year, Groups Demand Biden Close Offshore Prison


Newsweek: Biden Must Succeed Where Obama Failed, and Finally Close Guantanamo | Opinion (Mohamedou Slahi)


Open Society Foundations: Torture’s Terrible Toll


Just Security: On Guantanamo’s 19th Anniversary, A Renewed Call to Close It


UN News: Close ‘disgraceful’ Guantánamo camp – UN experts urge incoming US administration 

Monday, January 11, 2021

The Talking Dog on the Guantanamo anniversary (link Fixed..)

 I always try to check in with the dog on this occasion. He does not disappoint...

Click here for his latest.

19 years and still counting

 As the 19th year of captivity for my client, Razak Ali, ends and he begins his 20th year I am looking at the events of these last few years with a new sense of outrage. Our criminal president has pardoned war criminals and yet we have held men (like Ali) for over 19 years without any charge ever being filed against them. Today 40 remain at our gulag. What has happened in my country did not just occur in these last four years -- although these last four years have definitely excelerated our fall. 

I have been preparing a post on how we have treated our war criminals compared to our duty under international law (not to mention our own domestic law) and how other countries (namely Australia) have treated their war criminals. I have been distracted by certain events but I will get back to that post.

 Meanwhile remember today - we started our republic's death march on this day in 2002.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

no surprises here...

 h/o to the disaffected lib....

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Hope dies last and all...

 So, once again I find myself up in the U.S. Supreme Court with my client's case. Here is the link to our latest attempt at justice for Mr. Razak Ali.

Monday, January 4, 2021

Guantanamo's 19th anniversary is next week--

 Monday January 11th is the day. Here are some activities you can join in - either in person or by zoom:

  • Monday January 11 Events:
  • Rights or Rightlessness? The Lives of Men Imprisoned at Guantánamo
    Monday, January 11, 5:00–6:30 p.m. EST 

    Guantánamo, extreme as it is, can and must be situated in a broader history of U.S. detention camps and harms of the carceral state. What lessons can we learn from Japanese-American camps during WWII, the detention of Haitian refugees at Guantánamo in the 1990s, and the last 19 years of the military prison itself, to work towards the closure of the prison?

    Speakers include:

    Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Guantánamo Bay prison survivor and author of the best-selling book, Guantánamo Diary (2015)

    Baher Azmy, Center for Constitutional Rights Legal Director

    Dr. A. Naomi Paik, Associate professor of Asian American studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and author of Rightlessness: Testimony and Redress in U.S. Prison Camps since World War II (2016)

    The conversation will be moderated by Justice for Muslims Collective Co-Founder and Co-Director Dr. Maha Hilal and Center for Constitutional Rights Advocacy Program Manager Aliya Hussain

    • 8:00 pm ET: First Virtual WAT Circle for WAT fasters and solidarity activists
  • Fast for Justice: Monday through Friday, January 11-15, at 8 pm ET each night RSVP to be sent the Zoom link.
    • 8 pm ET Zoom circles Monday through Friday will be like our morning gatherings in DC: opening with a reflection or song, and checking in with each other and sharing around the circle around a specific theme .
    • Friday night Zoom circle is a celebration, including poetry and music with the Peace Poets. 
    • Fasting: In solidarity with the men detained in Guantanamo, especially the hunger strikers. You decide how to fast: Liquid only? Ramadan? Lenten? Other? Not this year?