Friday, October 31, 2008


Yesterday I got back from my latest trip overseas to try to find a home for Al-Ghizzawi. Another unsuccessful trip. Europe has absolutely no interest in helping the Bush administration and it is clear this must wait until Obama takes office (Please).
In my pile of mail at home there a letter from IN THESE TIMES which included a letter from my personal hero Studs Terkel. In the letter Studs announced that he was now 96 years old and did not expect to live long "No more books or articles. No more cubs games. No more bourbon.... but that doesn't mean I haven't got any fight left in me..."
and he asked me... and now I am asking you... to donate to In These Times.
As I was driving home from my office I was tired and distressed... the government filed new papers in Al-Ghizzawi's case and this nightmare that my client is caught up in never seems to end.
Then I heard the news........ Studs died this morning. For a few moments it just seemed like more bad news.... but he was 96 and had a great life and
And we should all remember his wise words... Hope Dies Last....
I will donate to IN THESE TIMES in Stud's memory and I hope you will too....
And I will keep fighting for Al-Ghizzawi and the other men at Guantanamo because "hope dies last."
RIP Studs.

HELP NEEDED (updated)

Thanks to everyone who sent me emails and suggestions and to Linda who responded below. I am providing the whole name given by the Government to Al-Ghizzawi in case this might help in piecing together what went on here:"Abdel Hamid Ibn Abdussalem Ibn Miftah al Ghazzawi." Of course his real name is Abdul Hamid Al-Ghizzawi.

I might be entering a black out zone as far as what I can talk about in relation to my client Al-Ghizzawi. The government will be filing new documents soon and once I view those documents in the secure facility I cannot discuss them.
I have this little hunch that if they try to add some new BS about why they are holding Al-Ghizzawi that the information might really relate to a person that neither Al-Ghizzawi nor I know anything about: A man who has, as part of his name, the name "Abdul Salam". It seems this name was added to Al-Ghizzawi's name sometime after Al-Ghizzawi was held at Guantanamo. Al-Ghizzawi told me that the man was in the cell next to him early on and then he was gone. Is he alive or dead? I don't know. But if any of you have time to try to figure who the men are/were with similar names that have been held at Gimo and what the facts are related to these man it could be very helpful. Some of the info can be found on government websites.


If you live anywhere near New Mexico (or can get their relatively cheaply) please do your best to volunteer. This is a state that can go with Obama but it needs volunteer help now. Please contact your nearest OBAMA campaign headquarters....I mean really, what else do you have to do this weekend?

Scott Horton Interview

Sorry if I sounded a little brain dead in this interview (tired I guess) but here it is:

Scott Horton Interviews Candace Gorman

October 30th, 2008

H. Candace Gorman, Chicago civil rights attorney representing two Guantanamo detainees, discusses the difficulty of being a defense attorney for detainees subject to shifting court rulings and legal designations, a paralyzed federal court system that is stalling habeas corpus hearings until after the presidential election is decided, back room repatriation deals between the Bush administration, potential host countries and Guantanamo defense attorneys in order to preempt unfavorable judicial decisions, the ongoing struggle to obtain health care for detainee and Gorman client Abdul Al-Ghizzawi, the latest resignation of a prosecutor – Darrel Vandeveld – in protest of the Guantanamo show trials, the weakening war crimes case against detainee Omar Khadr, the relatively light sentence against “worst of the worst” David Hicks and the possibility that an Obama victory will finally mean the closure of Guantanamo.

MP3 here. (45:49)

Candace Gorman is an attorney for two Guantanamo detainees, runs The Guantanamo Blog and has written many articles for In These Times and the Huffington Post. She is the principal in the law firm of H. Candace Gorman. The firm concentrates in Civil Rights and employment litigation. The firm handles both individual and class action lawsuits for Plaintiffs under the various civil rights statutes, anti-discrimination laws and under ERISA. In 2004, Attorney Gorman argued and won a unanimous decision before the United States Supreme Court in Jones vs. R.R. Donnelley. Attorney Gorman has lectured widely on the subject of civil rights and employment litigation.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Links to gitmo stories (updated)

(Thanks to Charley Gittings. For the link to the Greenwald story and the added information about Salon...It is nice to know I can still read it!)
So much in the news and so little time! Hats off to Kaptain Kanada for the following links on gitmo related issues. A few were covered here on the blog but these new versions add some interesting elements so I am including them anyway.

The Kaptain also sent me the Glenn Greenwald story from Salon about the establishment for the first time of an active military unit on US soil. I let my subscription to Salon lapse (necessary cost cutting!) so I cannot link to it but it is an important read so try to find it if you can. If you live in the US you should be worried about this development which is not only being under reported but is not being addressed or discussed by our "political leaders."

Imagine if you had to explain this to your client?

There are a few men being held at Guantanamo because of supposed links to the Taliban. At the most these men were foot soldiers but even more likely is that they had no connection to the Taliban at all. So can you imagine if one of those men happened to be your client and you saw this in todays wall street journal?

from The Wall Street Journal

Oct. 28, 2008

The U.S. is actively considering talks with elements of the Taliban, the armed Islamist group that once ruled Afghanistan and sheltered al Qaeda, in a major policy shift that would have been unthinkable a few months ago.

Senior White House and military officials believe that engaging some levels of the Taliban -- while excluding top leaders -- could help reverse a pronounced downward spiral in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan. Both countries have been destabilized by a recent wave of violence.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lawyer and Prisoner Boycott Proceedings

The military judge will not allow the lawyer to withdraw and the prisoner refuses to accept that the proceedings are little more than a farce and does not want counsel. So they are both sitting quietly during the proceedings... click on the title for more.


I regularly get emails from many of you asking what you can do to help me or my clients. I appreciate all of the requests but there has been little that people can do except protest and write letters... all of which are meaningless gestures in the Bush administration. But now there is something you can do if you live in the States and it is really the only thing that will result in getting my clients out of our gulag.
Vote... and take some days off of work to do volunteer work for the Obama campaign.
If you are a lawyer you can sign up to do election monitoring... you will get training if you step in fast (the training is this week and weekend). Lawyers are needed in many of the swing states. I have shut down my practice to focus on guantanamo... surely you can take a few days off and help make sure the election is fair?
If you are not a lawyer there is still lots of work. Take a few days off and volunteer in your nearest swing state (maybe it is your home state?) If you have a car and money for gas you can volunteer to drive people to the polls. If you have a telephone you can volunteer to make "get out the vote calls". And if you have neither they will still find work for you.
If Obama gets elected we will hold his feet to the fire to close Guantanamo quickly and won't you feel good knowing you had a part in this?
Thanks again... and I still may be calling on some of you to help so please know that I appreciate your efforts.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Just When You Think You Have Heard It All- The continuing saga of the Uighers

I tried to make a link to the Westside Story song "america" because it just seems so appropriate for this posting but my technology skills have failed me again. So I ask you to hum it in your mind as you read this:

The government has now described in court pleadings to the Appellate Court that the Uighers are too dangerous to be settled in the United States because we have held them unfairly for all of these years and this of course must make them hostile to us and therefore dangerous.... but they argue that it is just fine to send them somewhere else because the Uighers will not have that same hostility to other countries.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Update on Released Algerian and Gossip about other releases...

I reported last week about the release of two men from Guantanamo but I had scant information about Algerian Mammar Ameur. I have now received more information from his counsel. Mammar (ISN 939) was housed in Camp IV and had been cleared for transfer since Nov. 4, 2005. He is now home with his family.
Those paying attention should be shocked that this man has sat in the hell hole we call Guantanamo for three years awaiting our inept State Department to get around to his release.

In other news it seems that the government is trying to get rid of as many men as possible as soon as possible. Notices (under seal) are flying left and right on the court web service. Why are they under seal? Because our courts have allowed this administration to get away with abusing this process.... the notices are advising the court that a transfer is under way. If counsel is lucky and has an order in place to let them know about the transfer they can try to step in and stop the transfer if it is to a country that might treat the client the same or worse than the US... BUT some of the judges have refused such an order...sigh.

SERE Interrogation Procedures now available...

One of the most important documents of the U.S. torture program has just become publicly available for the first time. This is now posted on the website of the new documentary, Torturing Democracy (via Counterpunch). This document clearly specifies that the abusive interrogation techniques to be used at Guantanamo [JTF GTMO] are based upon the military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape [SERE] program. The document is notable for its documentation of the extent to which abuse was bureaucratically standardized for routine use.

Justice department killing efforts to resettle Uighers

So there you have it: A judge ordered 17 Uighers to be released into the US just over a week ago and to stop that release the Justice department filed an emergency stay with the Appellate Court saying that the men are too dangerous to be settled in the US.... and at the same time the State department is attempting to ask other countries to take the men. So what do you think? Does anyone really think that a country is going to take someone that we are saying is to dangerous to live in the US?

I personally have traveled to several countries to try to find a new home for my client Mr. Al-Ghizzawi. In my attempts to convince countries to take my client I have had to prove to them that my country is engaged in bold faced lies when they talk about how dangerous my client is. For me it is not hard to show the lie since Mr. Al-Ghizzawi was found NOT to be an enemy combatant by the military until the state department stepped in (that would be Matthew Waxman now a professor at Columbia law school) and said it was too embarrassing to have him found innocent because that would mean we have held him wrongly for all of these years.... At Waxman's coaxing they changed Al-Ghizzawi's designation to enemy... but even when I can prove the truth our arrogant state department has refused to back down and help resettle Mr. Al-Ghizzawi...
I actually had a European country willing to take Mr. Al-Ghizzawi just over a year ago. There was only one precondition.... the US had to ask this country to take him. Bush's arrogant man in the state department, Mr. Bellinger, refused to ask.... Bellinger announced they would only turn Al-Ghizzawi over if that country asked the US to turn him over and refused to ask the country to take him. I guess asking showed weakness... like maybe we needed help.
For those interested in such things Bellinger is number 2 on my list of lawyer war criminals... Waxman remains number one.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Get it in writing....

As a lawyer I always advise people to get it in writing.... seems a lot of people forget what they said when it gets to be the time when the buck must stop. I guess the lawyers for the CIA thought the same thing so they asked the White House to sign off on the approval to torture. Hats off to the talking dog for passing on the news.

Click on the title to get directed to the story.


Roger Fitch Esq • October 8, 2008

Our Man in Washington

Not only is the economy unravelling at a rapid rate, but so too the well laid extraordinary legal regime of the Bush administration. All that remains are a few well worn Republican dirty tricks to rort the ballot

imageIn a manoeuvre emblematic of George Bush’s lawless approach to law enforcement, military commission charges have been referred against a Tanzanian, Ahmed Ghailani, for civil offences.

As the Miami Herald noted, there’s a valid indictment against Ghailani in US District Court in New York for his alleged role in the 1998 bombing of the US Embassy in Tanzania (see my post of June 2), but the Bush administration prefers a military commission.

No doubt, it’s because the Pentagon intends to use evidence tortured from Ghailani or others.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Improper defendants???

A couple of days ago I received the email below from the department of injustice telling me that they intend on seeking dismissal of all defendants other than the secretary of defense.... in other words they don't think I should be able to name Bush, Rumsfeld and others that I have claimed are responsible. Just a little house cleaning before the election??? (by the way as best as I can tell the email went to all of the attorneys representing men at guantanamo.)

Respondents intend to file a motion to dismiss improper respondents in each of your cases. An improper respondent is anyone other than the Secretary of Defense in his official capacity. The basis of the motion is similar to those previously filed before Judges Leon and Sullivan (see e.g., 04-cv-1166-RJL Dkt#128). Please advise if you oppose the motion by noon October 14, 2008, ET. Thanks.

The inconventient existence of Abdul Al-Ghizzawi

Thank you Dan Feges at Pruning Shears for this story about my client Al-Ghizzawi. Click on the title to go directly to the article.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Appeals Court Enters Stay

The appellate court has entered a temporary "stay" on the release of the 17 Uighers which was scheduled for Friday. Both sides have been given a short time to file briefs after which the Court will hear argument.
As it was the Appellate Court that originally ordered these men released it would be a shame if this new panel now took sides with the government.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The U.N. has declared this.....

Dignity and Justice for Detainees week (click on the title for more)...

Maybe Judge Urbina knew tha when he ordered the 17 gitmo prisoners released to the US...

but clearly other judges never heard of it...

Transcript from Hearing

"Because the Constitution prohibits indefinite detention without cause, the Government's continued detention of Petitioners is unlawful. Furthermore, because separation-of-powers concerns do not trump the very principle upon which this nation was founded, the unalienable right to liberty, the Court orders the Government to release the Petitioners into the United States."

-- Hon. Ricardo M. Urbina, U.S. District Judge, ruling from the bench.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

TWO "RELEASED" 17 ORDERED FREE (updated with Order)

Over the weekend two men were released: Mammar Ameur, 939, an Algerian and Mustafa Ibrahim, 719, from the Sudan. I know that Mustafa was not cleared for release but I do not have the details on Mammar. Mustafa had been held in camp 4.

More importantly a judge today ordered 17 men, all Uighers, to be released into the US. These men, like my client Mr. Al-Ghizzawi should never have been held at Guantanamo after being found not to be enemy combatants back in 2004.

Here is his order:
Docket Text:
Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Ricardo M. Urbina: Motion Hearing held on 10/7/2008. Motion [133] for judgment on 5 Detainees' Habeas Petition Order Release Into the Continental United States, heard and GRANTED; Motion [134] for Immediate Release on Parole Into the Continental United States Pending Final Judgment DENIED as MOOT; and Motion [172] for Immediate Release on Parole Into the Continental United States Pending Final Judgment and for Final Judgment on Their Habeas Petitions by the remaining detainees DENIED as to the first part and GRANTED as to the second part. Oral Motion by Defendant for a Stay of the Court's decision pending review and to seek an appeal, heard and DENIED. Oral Motion by Defendant for one (1) Week Administrative Stay, heard and DENIED. Court rules that the Uighurs Detainees be released into the United States and brought to this Court on Friday, October 10, 2008, at 10:00 a.m. A Hearing regarding conditions of their release is scheduled for 10/16/2008, at 2:00 p.m. The Court directs that a representative of Homeland Security be present for the hearing scheduled on Friday, October 16, 2008. (Court Reporter Catalina Kerr.) (jwd )

Like Mr. Al-Ghizzawi the petitioners and two or three other men were all reclassified as enemy combatants thanks to Matthew Waxman, now a professor at Columbia law school, so that our government could avoid the embarrassment of admitting it was holding "non enemies."

A hardy congratulations to the Bingham team for their hard work. Now it is time to get Mr. Al-Ghizzawi out of that hell hole.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Circuit Court

Well no sooner did I write about the lack of movement by our courts when the Circuit Court decided to throw out Al-Ghizzawi's appeal for medical care and for his medical records. As his first of two appeals on the same issue was filed almost 2 years ago I guess I cannot feign surprise. Seems the appellate court does n0t think they have jurisdiction (despite the Supreme Court's holding in Boumediene) but hey, they go on to say that even if they did have jurisdiction Al-Ghizzawi has not shown irreparable harm in not getting medical care...sigh.
I guess that is because he is still alive.
It is clear... only by dying can Al-Ghizzawi show the irreparable harm necessary to convince the court.
Well I guess it is time to try the Supreme Court again.

a word on palin

As many of you know I am not the biggest Obama fan... but I guess I will vote (I have to admit I am still thinking about that one for the first time in my so called adult life). Assuming I vote and as I could never vote for McCain, Obama will get my vote. So there you have it.
That being said, when McCain announced his running mate my first thought was that naming a woman was a good political move... trying to capture some of those Hillary supporters who were mad at Obama (by the way I am not particularly mad at Obama I just do not think you pluck someone up and make him president just because he gives a good speech).
It was not until I watched the VP debates that I realized that palin was not in the race to capture the Hillary voters (ok, duhhhhh). As I watched palin's "cute" smiles and that wink (was someone telling her in that little box on her back to "wink now"?) I knew she was in the race to capture a certain male voter... no serious Hillary supporter could possibly give her the time of day... but it wasn't just any male voter McCain was aiming for...and that is the funny part .... you see, I could actually picture McCain telling palin to wink and in my mind I could hear McCain saying...."they will love that" ...and "smile again" "do that grin where you stick your tongue between your teeth is so cute." I can picture and hear all of this in my mind because McCain is such a known sexist. This isn’t about a running mate, this is McCain waiving his little Bunny in front of the crowd. Problem is that the men McCain is trying to impress are men like himself….and if they bother to vote they would have been voting for McCain anyway.
So anyway click on the title and sing along.
I will be back with more Guantanamo news later.... including news about more releases...(no not my clients).

Saturday, October 4, 2008

As I Was Saying...

The New York Times today reports on what many of us habeas attorneys have been talking about for quite awhile and what I reported about just recently. The District Court judges continue to disregard the U.S. Supreme Court and refuse to move forward on the Habeas Petitions for the Guantanamo prisoners. CLICK ON THE TITLE TO READ THE STORY.

Are the judges hoping for another congressional intervention? Why are they so afraid to rule? (they cannot all be hoping for seats in the circuit or supreme court!).

After practicing law for more than 25 years I cannot point to a more disappointing display by our judiciary in my lifetime. I am not saying that the courts as a whole have not done worse... but in my lifetime this is the worst.

Shame on all of them...

Friday, October 3, 2008


And just when you thought you knew more about our current VP then you ever wanted to know... you learn there is more that you need to know,including:
* How Cheney killed a State Department proposal to close secret CIA prisons, deleting it from the agenda of an NSC meeting.
Click on the title.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Bail out help needed

Of course when Bush pushes the panic button, which he regularly does, I automatically wonder what part of our constitution will be voted obsolete this time. I read that the Senate bill passed today would:
  • Make permanent authority for undercover operations.
  • Make permanent authority for disclosure of information relating to terrorist activities.
Does anyone have any details on these provisions?

By the way I have sent my letters to representatives and congress to stop this bill in its tracks. What about you?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

British soldiers face Prosecution if they hand prisoners over to known torturer: US

So now the British are telling their soldiers they can't turn over prisoners in Iraq to the US without themselves facing prosecution because they know, as we all know, that the US tortures prisoners. Soldiers who turn prisoners over to the US would be in violation of both the Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights which forbids the turning over of prisoners to groups known to torture.
Click on the title to read the legal opinion rendered to the British Parliament by Michael Fordham QC.
A synopsis of the opinion can be found in the Guardian:

The conclusion reached by Fordham and his colleague Tom Hickman is that an offence would definitely have been committed. If acted on, the opinion could mean that UK troops would not be allowed to "render" detainees to the US military until it was clear that they would no longer face the possibility of torture or ill-treatment.

What prompted the inquiry was a statement made in February this year by Ben Griffin, a former SAS soldier who was on active service in Iraq. In his statement, Griffin said that he was "in no doubt" that individuals handed over to the US military "would be tortured". He cited what had happened to those detained at Guantánamo Bay, Bagram airbase and Abu Ghraib prison.

The opinion adds: "UK forces operating in Iraq are potentially also subject to UK criminal law, tort law and Iraqi law. Notably, the Criminal Justice Act 1988 makes it a criminal offence for a public official, whatever his nationality and wherever located, to commit an act of torture."


Death throes of the Bush regime … Key case to test concept of “enemy combatants” ... Last minute election tricks in the Republican armoury … Cheney ordered not to destroy his papers … The 20 most corrupt members of Congress.

imageEven in its dying days the Bush administration seeks to vindicate a frightening principle and make it a permanent feature of American law.

It’s the notion that a US president, on his own say-so, can seize and indefinitely detain anyone, anywhere in the world, including US citizens and those on US soil, for any reason he chooses – without “second-guessing”, as the Bush lawyers call judicial review.