Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"Outside the law: stories from Guantanamo"

“Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” is a new documentary film, directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, telling the story of Guantánamo (and including sections on extraordinary rendition and secret prisons) with a particular focus on how the Bush administration turned its back on domestic and international laws, how prisoners were rounded up in Afghanistan and Pakistan without adequate screening (and often for bounty payments), and why some of these men may have been in Afghanistan or Pakistan for reasons unconnected with militancy or terrorism (as missionaries or humanitarian aid workers, for example).

I’m pleased to announce that, via YouTube, a short trailer (1:16) is available for the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo,” co-directed by filmmaker Polly Nash and journalist Andy Worthington, author of The Guantánamo Files, for a showing near you check Andy's website:

Sunday, March 14, 2010

and just a reminder....

If you are not following the emptywheel's investigation of torture you should...because at least for now this is the only real investigation going on.
for an update click on the title.

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian


Salim Hamdan’s successful Supreme Court advocate, Neal Katyal, now appears in the Supreme Court to oppose detainees’ rights, apparently willingly, in his new capacity of Deputy Solicitor General.

Nevertheless, some of the dimmer opposition senators are making much of the fact that DoJ dares employ lawyers who once represented Gitmo prisoners. Can they be trusted?

imageFor the right wing it’s proof that Obama’s lawyers are soft on terrorism and frightfully unpatriotic.

In a lurid McCarthyesque video put out by Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz (pic), these nine lawyers are called the Al-Qaida Seven.

But as National Institute of Military Justice director Eugene Fidell reminds us, the military lawyer who fiercely represented Roosevelt’s despised “Nazi Saboteurs” became Truman’s Secretary of War.

In fact, at least 34 of the 50 largest American law firms have represented Gitmo prisoners or filed amicus appeal briefs in their support.


Friday, March 12, 2010

Who's Afraid of Lawyers?

Click on the title to read Gitmo Attorney Len Goodman's op-ed in the Chicago Tribune on the latest attacks against those of us representing men at Guantanamo.
And always looking on the bright side read David Coles op-ed in the Washington Post on this same subject.....

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010


No sooner had I jumped all over the ABA (in an earlier post) for ABA President Carolyn Lamm’s statement on behalf of the Guantanamo attorneys when I found out that, despite the poorly drafted statement from Lamm, the ABA has been actively writing letters condemning the use of Military Commissions for the men at Guantanamo. Hopefully someone will talk to Lamm about her talking points….meanwhile, I am now resolved to finding out exactly what position (if any) the ABA has taken on all of these subjects (torture, indefinite detention, rendition, trials...etc) and I will report back….giving credit where credit is due.


Speaking of inconvenient truths (were we not?) The American Bar Association (ABA) is the largest bar association in this country. Much to its shame the ABA has pretty much stood on the sidelines while the rule of law has dissolved these past ten years, rarely taking a public stand regarding such issues as the illegality of “torture” “rendition” or “indefinite detention without charge.”

So I guess it should come as no surprise when the President of the ABA, Carolyn Lamm, decided to make a statement in support of those of us representing Guantanamo detainees that she would do so in such a way as to reinforce the stereotypes of the ignorant rather than as an opportunity to educate the American people as to why Guantanamo and these policies are wounding our legal system.

Here is what Ms. Lamm had to say:

"A fundamental tenet of our justice system is that any one who faces loss of liberty has a right to legal counsel. Lawyers have an ethical obligation to uphold that principle and provide representation to people who otherwise would stand alone against the power and resources of the government--even to those accused of heinous crimes against this nation in the name of causes that evoke our contempt. The American people understand this obligation, and the corollary principle that representing a client is a commitment to a legal system that requires justice, not to any one client's political, economic, social or moral views or activities. Impugning the character of lawyers who have sought to protect the fundamental rights of unpopular clients is a divisive and diversionary tactic." (my emphasis)

Maybe someone with more time on their hands could point out to Ms. Lamm that we (the Guantanamo Attorneys) are fighting for our Constitution and the rule of law. Perhaps Ms. Lamm does not know that the men at Guantanamo have not been charged with any crime...nor will the vast majority of them ever be charged.... As to Ms. Lamm’s characterization of our clients as taking part in the name of "cause[s] that evoke our contempt" Yikes....I don't even want to know what she is referring to there… but suffice it to say that if she is suggesting that our clients have been engaged in any type of terrorists activity let me remind her that in this country a person is innocent until proven guilty…at least that is how is used to be.

Thanks for your help Ms. Lamm

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Until today I never censored a comment on this blog and I hope I will never have to do so again. I will not allow any comment on here that suggests that it is ok to harm government employees...or anyone else for that matter.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Wing Nuts latest attack....

Several of you have email me today to send me some of the articles and to get my opinion regarding the latest attack by the right wing nuts against the Gitmo lawyers. Once again they are focusing on the big firms that are representing or that have represented Guantanamo prisoners...but now they have upped the attacks by going after current Department of Justice attorneys who have either represented Guantanamo prisoners or who have worked in big firms that have represented Gitmo prisoners (and believe me there are not enough of them in the DOJ). ThinkProgress looks at some of those attacks here.
This was actually a tactic raised a few years ago which I reported on in the HuffingtonPost here. That attack was quickly put down by the organized bar and I expect the same will happen this time around.
Meanwhile I will just add a little fuel to the fire by pointing out that several of the big law firms that have or still are representing prisoners at Guantanamo also have partners from the far right wing.... Bush's Attorney General Michael Mukasey comes to mind as an example.... perhaps Mr. Mukasey and others should resign if they think it is improper for members of their firm to be protecting the Constitution in this manner.
And if Attorneys like Mukasey think it is ok for their firms to engage in this work (and certainly they knew when they joined their firms of the probono work that their firm were engaged in) then perhaps they should make a public statement supporting the work of their firms.
Just thinkin out loud........

Monday, March 1, 2010

Kiyemba vacated

Well the good news is that today the Supreme Court vacated the DC Circuit Court ruling in the Kiyemba case. The bad news is that the Guantanamo prisoners have a meaningless right to Habeas Review.
It is meaningless because the Judge's cannot order release here in the United States.
So, we....(the habeas counsel and our clients)...have come full circle... sort of: The Supreme Court said yes...our clients are entitled to have an attorney and a review of their status...yes they are entitled to habeas corpus....but "no comment" on whether a federal court can ORDER their release.
If you did not throw your pen up in the air and sigh....you should have.

Click on the title for more.........