Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Role of a Judge

The role of a judge is to be impartial, fair and unbiased. To follow the laws and the constitution and to listen to all of the evidence without passing judgment until all of the evidence is heard.

Representing guantanamo detainees is not easy. I am equally sure that being a judge in these cases is also not an easy job.
But we all have a duty to do our best and to follow the rules.

In my humble opinion, this is not the role of the Judge: (you can read all five documents or cut to the heart of things and just read this.)

And certainly it is not the role of Government attorneys to be contacting judges outside the presence of opposing counsel (in this case me) to discuss rulings by the Judge or the requirements of the Government to produce discovery:

(please note that the attorney who wrote this letter is not accused of any misconduct...she had the unfortunate job of being the messenger....In my opinion this was an unfair task given to her and the letter should have been written by her superiors...but they of course did not ask my opinion.)

Thanks to Charly Gittings at the Project to Enforce the Geneva Conventions for providing the link.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

4 released today

Again none of the men released today is a client of mine. Three went to Albania (which really shows that just about anywhere is better than Guantanamo!) The three were originally from Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.
One man, a Palestinian, was released to Spain.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

OPR Report(s) Released

First, Holder deserves a lot of credit for releasing the draft reports gives the full picture of the whitewash done by Margolis... I have too much on my plate right now so I cannot give these reports the kind of look that needs to be done...suffice it to say that the original report found that Yoo and Bybee were involved in misconduct and should be referred to disciplinary committees. Emptywheel has a working thread starting with the first draft...if you have the time read the comments too as there many others going through those documents and adding important citations.
Click on the title to get to the actual reports.
And if you have time take a look at Jack Balkin's comments here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Political Hostage

You have read about Binyam Mohamed at this site over the years...most recently in relation to the British High Court forcing the release of a seven paragraph summary related to the torture of Binyam while in US custody. I just learned from Andy Worthington that Binyam has started a website.
Click on the title for more.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Inch by Inch....

Binyon Mohamed is a British resident who was held by the US at various black sites until transferred to Guantanamo. The torture he was subjected to included having a razor blade taken to his penis. He was released from Guantanamo and returned back to Britain in 2008. Binyon charged that the British Government was complicit in his torture and sought documentation that the American Govcrnment provided to the Brits regarding his torture. The British Government did not want to turn that information over. Today it was forced to release a summary (which shows that the US was threatening Binyon with sending him back to those who cut up his penis). British Foreign Secretary David Milliband made the following statement today to the house of commons. Also check out Jim Whites article on FDL pointing out that the language used by the British high court including that key phrase in describing the conduct of the US as "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment." That language parallels the language in the Convention against Torture, signed by that left wing president, Ronnie Reagan... Seems we have been formally accused of violating that little law and we are required to do an investigation... Don't hold your breath.

Click on the title for more.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Did I mention things are getting worse?


click on the title for more....

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Seton Hall's follow up...on the Deaths at Guantanamo

If you are going to spin a tale it is important to keep track of what you already said...our military is good at spinning tales but not quite so good at keeping track of its earlier spins....Seton Hall unravels the contradictions by the Defense Department as the DOD tries to react to allegations raised by Scott Horton and Seton Hall regarding the deaths of three men at Guantanamo in 2006.
Click on the title to review Seton Hall's latest report "DOD Contradicts DOD, An Analysis of the Response to Death at Camp Delta."
I cannot find a working link to the actual response by the DOD but this link will give you a summary and if someone has the actual link to the DOD response please leave it for me in the comments.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Although our Government and the press continue to ignore this story Scott Horton has been moving forward with his own investigation. Here is an interview Scott did with Rashid Mesli from the human rights organization Alkarama. Alkarama was contacted by the family of one of the three men that died at Guantanamo that June night in 2006 and asked to help arrange for an independent autopsy of their son Ahmed Ali Al-Salami. Problem was that important body parts were missing...the throat for example.
Next, Scott poses six questions for Michael Baden, former chief medical examiner of New York City, almost as an expert witness, to discuss various aspects of the military's claim that Al-Salami committed suicide, the missing body parts and the autopsy arranged by Al-Salami's family.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ya think?

Seems that good old fashion interrogations (no, not like the kind done here in Chicago) work better than torture.....

Click on the title for more.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sweeping it under the rug...

Seems the "justice" department is getting ready to release its report on the authors of our torture policies...primarily Yoo and Bybee... and it also seems that the report that is about to be released has been rewritten in the last few months to downgrade the conduct of the torturers to "bad judgment." Scott Horton has more here.
Fortunately, as Scott points out in the above article, the Spanish are still going ahead with a criminal inquiry regarding this very same conduct by these very same men in relation to the torture of five Spanish citizens at Guantanamo. In going ahead with the inquiry the Spanish Court "concluded that the American Justice Department was not involved in any credible effort to investigate or prosecute torture cases connected with Guantánamo."