Wednesday, August 10, 2022

You really cannot make this shit up

 In today's news one of the detainees is seeking release- he has been cleared and the Judge is holding the government's feet to the fire to get him out of Guantanamo. The prisoner Majid Khan says that he is being held in solitary confinement and this is what the government said in response:

According to the Biden Justice Department, Majid Khan is not held in solitary confinement because he “socializes with F.B.I. agents, prison guards, military lawyers and top prison officials during ‘religious feasts, social meetings and meetings regarding detention-related issues,’ Colonel Jemmott said in an affidavit.”

oh man. The guy would probably prefer solitary confinement than to be "socializing" with those guys...

read the rest here.

Friday, July 29, 2022

just a little fact... missing

 Seems that one of the prisoners facing the death penalty reported that he was water boarded while being interrogated but that little detail was left out in official reports...Carol Rosenberg at the New York Times reports :

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba — A prisoner accused of plotting Al Qaeda’s bombing of the U.S.S. Cole warship in 2000 told federal interrogators years later that he was waterboarded by the C.I.A., an interpreter testified Thursday. But that detail was omitted from the official account of the interrogations that prosecutors want to use at his death-penalty trial as evidence that he confessed.

At issue in the hearings is whether the military judge will accept a 34-page memo written by agents who questioned the prisoner, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, at Guantánamo Bay for three days in early 2007. The account of the interrogation is considered critical trial evidence. Defense lawyers say it is tainted by torture and want it excluded.

“He talked about the waterboarding,” said John J. Elkaliouby, who worked for the F.B.I. as an Arabic linguist from 1994 to 2015. “He said, ‘I was waterboarded by the C.I.A.,’ and I reported that to the whole team.”

read the rest here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Time for a musical interlude--

 and what could be better than Joni Mitchell -- after 20 years of no public singing...

Sunday, July 10, 2022

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


The Revolutionary Tribunal

The US Supreme Court has become a Republican law enforcement tribunal ... Abortions, guns, religion, environment ... Cherry-picked legal reasoning ... Historical inaccuracies ... Worse to come ... Same sex marriage in Texas ... Washington correspondent Roger Fitch files 

"[I]n future cases, we should reconsider all of this Court's substantive due process precedents, including Griswold [contraception], Lawrence [same-sex relationships], and Obergefell [gay marriage] ... Because any substantive due process decision is 'demonstrably erroneous' ... we have a duty to 'correct the error' established in those precedents".
Clarence Thomas, concurrence overruling Roe v Wade. 

"The majority has overruled Roe and Casey for one and only one reason: because it has always despised them, and now it has the votes to discard them. The majority thereby substitutes a rule by judges for the rule of law." 
Dobbs dissent

"They did it because they could. It was as simple as that."
Linda Greenhouse.

The supreme court's first full term with three Trumpistes ended with a week from hell.

No longer a court, it's become a revolutionary tribunal, a Comité de Salut Public of six instead of twelve. 

Six radical justices, led by Alito and Thomas, achieved a trifecta: public funding for religious schools (the First Amendment separation of church and state notwithstanding), unlimited guns on the streets of "blue" states (despite long-standing regulations in those states) and then, the greatest prize of all for dutiful evangelicals and right-wing Catholics, the end of legal abortions in Republican-ruled states, whether regulated, medically-required or any other reason, including rape and incest.


Tuesday, July 5, 2022

more on the first plea deal for a "high value detainee"

 As we approach another grim milestone in Guantánamo’s history — 20 and a half years of its existence, on July 11 — there is, at least, some mildly positive news from the prison’s largely dysfunctional military commission trial system, where Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, a “high-value detainee,” and one of the last prisoners to arrive at Guantánamo, in April 2007, recently agreed to a plea deal that could see him leave the prison by 2024.

read the rest here.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

July 4th... sigh.


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Afghani detainee is home now...

 36 men remain. including my remaining client who was cleared for release earlier this year and is ready willing and able to go to his home country of Algeria. The only incentive is reducing the number of detainees and that apparently is not enough.

The afghani who is now home is home because there was a court order -- but even that didnt do the trick until his attorneys and the judge kept on the government by requiring them to come in and explain the progress- repeatedly.

Read about the latest release here.

h/o to Walt.

Monday, June 20, 2022

two things need to be further explained...

In my post about my client's 20 years at Guantanamo I mentioned his black feet and the "socks." Let me explain a little further. It seems one of the torture methods was to soak the socks in a chemical that burned my clients feet and of course caused excruciating pain. His feet were still blackened from that chemical the last time I saw him.

I also want to explain what I meant when I mentioned the court transcript from the "hearing." I said, "if he did not change that too." What I was suggesting was that the judge changed the official transcript from the hearing. I did not say that lightly or facetiously.  The judge actually had the transcript changed - a couple of the more outrageous statements the judge made were taken out of the official transcript. I actually wrote down those quotes during the hearing and wanted to use them in one of my many many motions following the hearing. Both were missing. I filed a motion asking for the recording because the transcript had been altered but the judge said there was no recording. That too was false.

twenty years and still counting....


On June 18th, 2002, my client left for Guantanamo Bay from Bagram airbase. He had been picked up at a guesthouse in Lahore, Pakistan 3 months earlier and spent the three months being tortured at various military sites in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The flight to Guantanamo took 24 hours with a stop somewhere in between where he switched planes. On the plane he was strapped to the floor of in a semi-prone position with no ability to move. He was hooded and bound the entire time. No food, no water, no bathroom. On June 19, 2002 he landed at Guantanamo.

According to my client, “When I arrived at Guantanamo I was sent to a room where a person looked over my body. The person asked what caused the incisions on my back but I told him I was hooded and could not see what was used on me. The person also asked about what had caused my feet to be black and I told him about the socks. I also showed him the other scars on my body. I was not provided any medical attention for my wounds.” The medical records also showed numerous cigarette burns on his body but Mr. Bakhouch was not asked about those. Presumably, the medical staff knew those were caused by cigarettes being snubbed out on his body.

 Mr. Bakhouch has now been at Guantanamo for over 20 years. He has never been charged with anything. He is cleared for release, but who knows when or if that release will actually happen.

 The military does not have an accurate photo of my client. The official photo is of a man who I believe (but I am not 100% sure) was released from Guantanamo very early on. That man was from Saudi Arabia. According to my records, that man was at Bagram at the same time as my client. The information that was gathered by the military about my client was based on interviews with other detainees who were showed the photo of this other man.

I put together all of this information and much much more at my clients “habeas hearing.” I put that in quotation marks because this was not a hearing in the normal legal sense. My client was not allowed to attend and much of the information I learned about his plight was gathered from classified information which I was not allowed to share with my client. I was not allowed to show him the photo of the man the government claimed was my client. I was the only person at the “hearing” that had ever seen or met with my client.

 I do not usually talk publicly about my personal feelings about judges; however, I will break with that tradition in this case. Let me start out by saying that I have great respect for the judiciary, and I know most judges work extremely hard and care a great deal about the independence of their office. Win or lose I respect every judge I have ever been in front of, except for this particular judge. Judge Leon is a sorry excuse for a judge. He made it clear from day one that he was not going to rule for my client no matter what the evidence. He even said at the beginning of the hearing (and I am paraphrasing although the transcript is cleared, and I could look up his actual quote- if he did not change that too) I could just rule now against your client now just because of the guesthouse he was arrested at. I was tempted to let him make that ruling but I wanted to make my record. And when he ruled against my client his ruling was replete with false facts. I filed at least three, maybe four,  motions to reconsider to force him to get the facts right. And when the facts were all (or mostly) corrected the judge was forced to rule consistent with his threat at the beginning of the hearing. Mr. Bakhouch has been held these 20 years because of the guesthouse he was arrested at. That was the only evidence against Mr. Bakhouch and there were many other people staying at that same guesthouse who, like Mr. Bakhouch, had no connection to terrorism.

 And so, Mr. Bakhouch has wasted over 20 years of his life sitting at Guantanamo without any charges ever filed against him, because he was staying at a guesthouse in Lahore Pakistan where another man was arrested that my government wrongly thought was a terrorist.

 If my client should ever be released I will have much more to say about this disgrace but for now this will suffice.

Monday, June 13, 2022

New Photos from the early days of Guantanamo

 I know that not everyone can access the New York Times because of the paywall. But if you are able- this is worth looking at. 

These are photos, just now released, from the arrival of the first men at Guantanamo in January 2002. 

There is of course always good reason why the government withholds photos and information. And no, it has nothing to do with security. It is because of the shameful methods of our treatment of these men and the dishonesty in the reports. 

Imagine if the reports that I saw in relation to my clients could have been shared widely. Not only would I have had the help of others in researching the lies but the ugly lies would have knocked the narrative out of the governments claims that most (or even many) of the men at Guantanamo were terrorists. 

Again, thanks to Carol Rosenberg for staying on this story all of these years.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Of Course She Did....

 Carol Rosenberg reports:

Gina Haspel Observed Waterboarding at C.I.A. Black Site, Psychologist Testifies

WASHINGTON — During Gina Haspel’s confirmation hearing to become director of the C.I.A. in 2018, Senator Dianne Feinstein asked her if she had overseen the interrogations of a Saudi prisoner, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, which included the use of a waterboard.

Ms. Haspel declined to answer, saying it was part of her classified career.

While there has been reporting about her oversight of a C.I.A. black site in Thailand where Mr. Nashiri was waterboarded, and where Ms. Haspel wrote or authorized memos about his torture, the precise details of her work as the chief of base, the C.I.A. officer who oversaw the prison, have been shrouded in official secrecy.

read the rest here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian


SCOTUS hollows out America

US Supreme Court ... Overturning Roe v Wade and other travesties ... Using religious beliefs to alter secular law ... Gutting civil rights remedies ... Looser gun regulations ... The malignant Fifth Circuit ... From Our Man in Washington, Roger Fitch 

"…[I]t's time to discuss religion whether we like it or not, because it's no longer knocking on the door: Sam Alito just sent it in the house with a no-knock warrant and stun grenades that threaten to catch the place on fire" - Thom Hartmann

With Trump gone, the focus in Republican psychopathology has turned to individual supreme court justices, e.g, the ethically-challenged Clarence Thomas, yet one should never forget his fellow-traveller, Sam Alito, because Justice Alito is one angry man

There's been an unprecedented leak of Alito's draft majority opinion in the forthcoming abortion decision, Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health, set to overrule Roe v Wade, and the justice's grasp of history has been faulted: resurrecting ancient common law, he applies a legal narrative more consistent with the 17th century than a US history with remedies for "quickening".  

Some see an intellectually-dishonest exercise designed to mask Alito's orthodox, powerful, but legally-irrelevant Roman Catholic beliefs: consider his alarming footnote on a shortfall in adoptable infants. 

It seems a foot in the door for a faith-based system in the US where religiously-defined morality displaces law, a nation where religious adherents become the most sympathetic plaintiffs before a court that intends to use religious belief to alter secular law.

Overturning Roe v Wade is, in this analysis, but one front in a religious war against America, and the draft opinion suggests that the conservative justices don't plan to stop with Roe. The impression that they don't mind being an extension of the Republican Party has lawyers wondering what's coming next

Dobbs will have consequences, as many civil rights will be threatened, e.g, same-sex marriage. The leak itself may affect decisions in other cases: e.g, guns and environmental protections..

Most fundamentally, the Dobbs draft endangers the right to privacy first formulated in 1890 by the revered future supreme court justice, Louis Brandeis, and the 1923 decision adopting it. 

Alito: intellectually dishonest

According to law prof Melissa Murray

"A decision overruling Roe v. Wade would threaten an entire line of jurisprudence rooted in the 14th Amendment's guarantee of liberty ... [going] back to a 1923 decision guaranteeing parents the right to raise their children free of undue state intervention, and it includes the right to marry, the right to engage in adult sexual relationships and the right to use contraception." 

Besides birth control, medical assistance in pregnancy is in question, even after miscarriages, and creation of life in vitro

Sherry Colb believes IVF treatment won't be a problem: for Alito: 

"... women are soil where men can plant their seeds, and soil has no right to uproot the plants that start growing. People who seek IVF, by contrast, do not challenge the role of women in our society. IVF places women in a state of pregnancy, which is where [Alito] wants them."

≈   ≈   ≈


Sunday, May 29, 2022

memorial day 2022 part 2


memorial day 2022


Sunday, May 22, 2022

Under the Torture Convention statements made while tortured should not be used....

 I have been a little slow to get this up but I was glad to see my senator (Durbin) and senator Leahy push Biden on what he is going to do about the men at Guantanamo who were tortured and made statements. The bottom line is that those statements should not be used.

This is from their statement and press release:

Durbin, Leahy Seek Clarification of Administration's Position on Use of Torture-Derived Evidence

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, are calling on the Biden Administration to uphold U.S. obligations under the Torture Convention by putting an end to the repeated efforts by Guantanamo military commission prosecutors to use evidence derived from torture.  Guantanamo Bay military commission prosecutors again argued in court that evidence obtained through torture can be used in the capital case against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is currently being held at Guantanamo.  In a letter to Attorney General Garland, Defense Secretary Austin, and Secretary of State Blinken, the Senators argue that, despite the Administration’s pledge to “eradicate torture in all its forms,” the military commission prosecutors are not adhering to U.S. obligations.