Saturday, November 26, 2011

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian

Land of the brave
Monday, November 21, 2011
Justinian in Roger Fitch Esq
Former general counsel of the CIA under investigation over drone attack "murder" remark ... War crimes don't need a war (apparently) ... Novel offences likely to remain on the books ... Ideological Republican circuit judges flout the Supreme Court ... Our Man in Washington reports  
"Aside from the humanitarian aspects, it is well known that, under excruciating torture, a prisoner will admit almost any suggested crime. Such confessions are, of course, not admissible in trials in civilized nations... Some of our leaders have found that it is easy to forgo human rights for those who are considered to be subhuman, or 'enemy combatants'." 
  Jimmy Carter, the last American president moderately attached to human rights

Friday, November 25, 2011

Military commissions are nothing more than second-class "justice" for non-citizens

Charges that Military Commissions are an Unconstitutional Second-Class System of Criminal Justice for Non-Citizens

A number of Japanese and Asian groups have filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Washington, D.C. in United States v. Hamdan, charging that Congress has created a second-class system of criminal justice for non-citizens through its much-maligned military commissions.

The brief was filed by the Japanese American Citizens League, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, and the Asian Law Caucus, and was authored by law professors Jonathan Hafetz and Jenny Carroll of Seton Hall University School of Law, lawyers from Gibbons P.C., Lawrence S. Lustberg and Jonathan Manes, and Professor David Cole of the Georgetown University Law Center.

The brief charges that a system of criminal adjudication, such as the military commissions, which discriminates based upon citizenship, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. The brief places the commissions within the context of a legally dubious and at times shameful history of discrimination against non-citizens, including the internment of more than one hundred thousand Japanese-Americans during World War II, for which the United States government ultimately paid monetary reparations and issued an apology.

Seton Hall University School of Law Professor Jonathan Hafetz, co-author of the brief, stated, “The Court has a chance in this case to reaffirm the rule of law and put an end to an ad hoc system of adjudication—unequal and unconscionable—which undermines the principles for which this country and its Constitution stand.”

The appellant, Salim Hamdan, was the subject of the landmark 2006 Supreme Court decision, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in which the Court ruled that the military commissions as constituted were illegal because, among other things, they did not meet the minimum standards of fairness required by the Geneva Conventions. Although since revised, the military commissions still afford fewer procedural protections and fair trial guarantees than either U.S. federal court trials or military courts-martial. U.S. citizens are not tried by military commission, thereby setting up an unconstitutional two-tiered system. This new appeal will be the first time a federal court decides whether the new commissions are legal. After the Supreme Court’s decision, Hamdan himself was recharged under a revised Military Commission scheme and found guilty of one count of providing material support to a terrorist organization, but was not found guilty of supporting any specific terrorist plot or act. He was sentenced to 5 months beyond the 61 months he had already served at Guantánamo. Hamdan has since finished serving his sentence and returned home to Yemen, but continues to appeal the legality of his trial and conviction.

Brief co-author Jonathan Manes, a John J. Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest in Constitutional Law, Gibbons P.C., noted, “After the Supreme Court found the military commissions to be unconstitutional, Congress tried to revise them but failed to address critical deficiencies, so that they continue to target noncitizens for inferior treatment. The courts must now intervene to correct this fundamental flaw."

Seton Hall Law Professor and brief co-author Jenny Carroll agreed, stating: “Creating a process that treats citizens differently from non-citizens not only cuts against the Constitution's core promise of due process for all, but undercuts fundamental fairness and justice. You need only consider “separate but equal” and the Japanese internment policies to know that, if nothing else, the Constitution demands that our system of  justice be fair and that it apply equally to us all— not just a select few.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Contact your senators now.....

Provisions in the Defense Authorization bill would make it even close Guantanamo and send the men home who are not going to face trial.
Senator Udall has proposed an amendment which is pretty much the best we can do. This is summary of Udall's amendment No. 1107:

Here’s a summary of the Udall Amendment:

The amendment by Senator Mark Udall would strike all of the detention provisions from the Defense Authorization bill and, in their place, mandate a process for Congress to use an orderly process to consider whether any detention legislation is needed.  Under the Udall amendment, the Administration would have 90 days to report to Congress on its detention authority and any deficiencies, and Congress would have 45 days to hold hearings and another 45 days to report out any needed legislation.  Instead of the rushed and confused process that has created the current convoluted and harmful bill, Congress would follow regular order and carefully review the issue.   This is the type of approach (even if it may be opposed by sponsors of the NDAA, who don’t want the detention provisions stripped at all) that should be able to draw wide support even from Senators who may be on the fence about the merits of the issues. 

The consensus of those opposing the detainee provisions of the Defense Authorization bill is that the best course now is to throw all effort into urging Senators to support the Udall Amendment, rather than seeking tweaks to the language of any of the detainee provisions.  If you get any feedback from the Senators’ offices re where they stand on the Udall Amendment, please shoot me an e-mail to let me know so I can pass it on to those working on this.

If you make calls, you might also urge the Senators to vote against an amendment offered by Susan Collins (we don’t have the Amendment #) that would make permanent some of the onerous transfer restrictions.   

Monday, November 21, 2011

Life in the kennel at Guantanamo

T/h to Jason Leopold at Truthout who has more on the Pentagaon's propaganda here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Former Gitmo military commission chief prosecutor Davis speaks out

Moe Davis was the Chief Prosecutor for the military at Guantanamo under the Bush administration-until he wasn't. Moe, who was once a fan of the commission process, changed his mind about the process after witnessing first hand the political shenanigans going on behind the scenes. Since resigning from the position in October 2007 Moe has  spoken out against the commission process on numerous occasions. In an interview with Truthout Moe points the finger at the current problem----our president. As Moe explains- "a pair of testicles fell off the president after election day." Although I agree with Moe that the president definitely didn't have the testicles after election day-having viewed him as my senator prior to his becoming president I wonder if he ever did....
Click on the link and read the whole article

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Good news from North of the Boarder

These things happen to rogue the US.
Now if we could just get his little brother out of Guantanamo and up there.
t/h the talking dog

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Rules for conducting military commission tribunals....

The only thing that surprises me is that they didn't wait until the hearings are over to promulgate the rules....
here they are.
You see, in  a proceeding that resembles due process the rules are not put forth two days before things get started....but then there is nothing that resembles due process in the military commission so this really comes as no surprise.
And as Emptywheel points out...they don't even attempt to make the rules look professional.
Of thee I sing.....

Saturday, November 5, 2011

public service announcement

I rarely go off topic but today is one of those rare on the link for easy instructions on how to do your part (if you can't go out and join the crowds...or even if you can) for the occupy wallstreet movement. If everyone did this everyday we would send a message that would costs the banksters a few cents along the way:

Thursday, November 3, 2011


A new article at truthout by Almerindo Ojeda of the Guantanamo Tesimonials Project offers a possible (and disturbing) explanation for the three men who died at Guantanamo in 2006. Almerindo takes a look at what we know about the three deaths and compares it to what we know about the torture of Ali Al-Marri- a man from Qatar who came to the United States on a student visa in 2001. There are a lot of similarities and many of the questionable holes left in the militaries version fit nicely into the theory that the three men were tortured to death in a technique that is referred to as "dry boarding."
Click on the title to read the whole story.
Scott Horton at Harpers- who wrote a groundbreaking story about the deaths of these men a few months back has written about Almerindo's article here.