Saturday, December 29, 2012

In a similar...but different vein...UPDATED

The senate yesterday confirmed once again the laws allowing all of us to be spied on all the time without warrant...because the threat of terrorism is so great that we must give up our civil liberties...
Emptywheel has more here.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Gitmo History....

The history of the U. S. occupation of Guantanamo Bay is something that we tend to forget. To remind yourself as to why the whole base should be closed and given back to Cuba-after, of course, we release the remaining men- read this article from the guardian.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Holidays.....sigh.

Gitmo in the news

I get these updates on news stories related to Guantanamo from the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) which has been the umbrella organization for the probono effort to represent the men at Guantanamo. If you have any money left in your pocket this would be the one organization I would ask you to make a donation.

Truthdig: The Final Battle

Washington Post (Editorial): Mr. Obama’s inertia on Guantanamo

Andy Worthington: Torture, Torture Everywhere

Los Angeles Times (Editorial): Free the CIA torture report

Saturday, December 15, 2012

BIG SIGH... (updated)

Now the powers to be are saying that Latif had acute pneumonia....emptywheel has more here.

Jeff Kaye has more here.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

European Court rules for German Man tortured by US

May this please be the start of some kind of accountability.....

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


I don't know if Latif's lawyers (and the rest of us) will ever learn the truth as to how he died but they sure as hell are putting up a good fight. The question remains, how could that man have taken his own life given the security at Guantanamo. And even if he did somehow manage to deceive the military and hoard some pills (extremely unlikely) the follow-up question is -if they in fact checked on him every two or three minutes why did not one of his guards notice him dying? all disturbing questions. Truth- out has more on this man's death.

and this addendum from one of Latif's attorneys, David Remes.

The government’s storyline—that Adnan smuggled medication into his cell and used it to kill himself—defies reason. There were too many hurdles in his path. Adnan was moved three times: from Camp 6 to the psych ward, then to the hospital, and finally to his cell in Camp 5, where he died. If ordinary procedures were followed, three guards escorted Adnan every step of the way. Adnan walked in handcuffs and leg chains attached to a waist chain. He was thoroughly searched at each transfer point. He was monitored in his cell by an overhead dome camera. Guards walked the corridor. His cell was frequently searched. As Jason and Jeff show, the SOPs for administering medication to detainees are designed to make hoarding virtually impossible. Given all these controls, it is hard to see how Adnan could have smuggled medication into his cell, much less kept and used it. The military’s theory does not add up and leaves the disturbing question whether the military placed extra medication in Adnan’s cell to facilitate his suicide.

Friday, December 7, 2012


THE 7th Circuit, sitting en banc, has overruled a unanimous three-judge appeals panel, and given former Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld immunity for torture that he personally ordered.
Jonathan Hafetz, the Times and Kevin Gosztola comment on the case.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

maybe there is something here...

I received an email today from my good friends at Reprieve and they noticed something that the rest of us did not pick up on:
“The Senate bill also included a new round of Iran sanctions, a “permanent ban” on transferring detainees from Guantánamo and prohibitions on the military detention of U.S. citizens…
…The White House threatened to veto the bill over the changes to the Pentagon’s proposed budget as well as the restriction on using funds to transfer Guantánamo detainees. The administration’s veto threat came before the bill’s Guantánamo transfer restrictions became even stronger after the Senate approved an amendment from Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.).”
“The Senate bill also restricts Mr. Obama’s ability to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo Bay, whether to the United States or to foreign countries…
While the provision has been in previous years’ laws, Mr. Obama this year signaled he may be willing to veto the legislation over that restriction.”

Maybe it is just smoke and mirrors but if you feel so inclined it might be a good time to send an email to the Pres...and tell him to follow through on this long overdue threat....
you can send an email here....

Thursday, November 29, 2012


hmmmm. Now they are claiming that Mr. Latif died of an overdose of psychiatric medicine....and in the fantasy world of the military that proves it was an apparent suicide. Problem is that is no way on earth that Mr. Latif could have hoarded the medicine- sounds to me like they overdosed the guy -either to subdue him or kill him. anyway you can read more here.
And emptywheel has more here.
And Jeff Kaye has more here.

Monday, November 26, 2012

In other News....

In Algeria the criminal court refused to find the former gitmo detainee guilty once again- this being the second trial by prosecutors against former Gitmo detainee Sofiane Hadarbache. Both times the court found him innocent of ties to terrorism. I know very little about Mr. Hadarbache except that he had head injuries from a military strike in Afghanistan and his habeas attorney is fellow Chicagoan Tom Durkin. Funny how the somewhat dysfunctional government of Algerian can manage to have these trials when we can't.....I guess that just proves that our courts are more dysfunctional than Algerian's.
Odd thing but I had to go to Canada for that news story.....
Speaking of dysfunctional- I hope that one day my remaining Guantanamo client- who also hails from Algeria- will reach a similar fate....that is if he can ever get the hell out of Guantanamo. I have been working on his appeal over the last month and things will be slow here over the next week or so as I finalize and file his brief.


As Jason Leopold reported today- the government is now claiming that Latif died of apparent suicide. We do not know what makes it "apparent" after three months while at the time of his death the cause was unknown and was not an apparent suicide. We do know more about Latif's last few days and they were troubling days- he was not getting his medication and threw a rock at a spotlight. That being a big military threat the powers to be came out in full force to show their strength against Latif and the other men locked up on the Island military base -with no where to go....good show guys...Seems somehow the military was able to subdue him.
emptywheel has some commentary.

Friday, November 9, 2012

yeah ...well the election is over, after all......

Speculation was that after the election the autopsy report for Latif would be available- right on schedule I would say...
of course they aren't releasing the report publicly- not unless forced to I guess.
Anyway, click on the link and read the latest from Jason Leopold.

Emptywheel has more here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Maybe he will live up to his 2008 promises now....?

Just wonderin....
not expecting much- but wondering...

Monday, November 5, 2012

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian

Supreme Court timebombs

New term for US Supremes ... Certiorari petitions ... Critical mass theory of constitutional change ... Presidential election and the court ... Judicial techniques ... Conspiracy as a war crime ... The CIA agent who didn't torture winds-up in jail ... Our Man in Washington, Roger Fitch, reports 
THE Supreme Court's new term has started and it's well-covered, as usual, by ScotusBlog, the brainchild of Tom Goldstein.
The court has begun grants of certiorari petitions (including a rare handwritten one), but the vast majority are denied, such as the attempts by two Republican statesto thwart voters.
However, in Texas voter cases, the court could decide to use voter litigation to throw out a whole section of theVoter Registration Act, i.e. the provision that is applied to (mostly) southern states with a history of discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities.
Balkinblog has more.
One case likely to be granted certiorari is the "Pay for Delay" generic drug case.
The government wants the court to  consider the "reverse payments" drug companies make to potential competitors.
Then there's "marriage equality" cases. Eight different petitions concern the federal Defence of Marriage Act.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Because they can....(updated)

The drone king's "justice" department filed an appeal yesterday to Judge Lamberth's ruling in September allowing men at Guantanamo who lost their appeals to continue having visits with their attorneys under the existing protective order. I wrote about the Judge's ruling here. In a nutshell the drone king would like to turn Guantanamo back to the good old days when attorneys were not allowed- Judge Lamberth in a surprisingly strong decision shut the government's request down.
This appeal is just another example of the drone king's gutlessness.
ScotUS has more here. According to scotus sources the appeal cannot go forward unless the solicitor general approves and that hasn't happened yet? So perhaps the notice of appeal was put in as a place marker while the solicitor ponders the ramifications.....or maybe there is a little battle going on and the DOJ decided to put some pressure on the solicitor...all just speculation on my part. I never heard of this "rule" before.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Adnan Latif- though the eyes of Jason Leopold

Sorry for my delay in getting this powerful story about Adnan Latif up here on my blog. Emptywheel has a take on this article as well here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

DC Circuit nicks away at Military Commissions

Well I am pleased that the DC Circuit did not find a way to screw this one up. In a nutshell this is what the decision means:  You can't use a 2006 law to make conduct that occurred back in 2001 criminal-UNLESS it was already a crime back then. (duh) 
Material support for terrorism was not a war crime in 2001- and it still isn't.
here is the decision...
Emptywheel has more here.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

How About Shaker For the Nobel Peace Prize? UPDATED

Shaker Aamer is the last British resident held at Guantanamo. He has also been a leader to the men held at the base and an outspoken critic of Guantanamo....from the inside. I ask everyone reading this site- and there are so many of you from all over the world who read this site over the weeks and months of the year- to submit Shaker's name for the Nobel Peace Prize- this coming year. (this years nominee has already been selected).
 I will give you more details as to how you can submit his name in nomination over the coming weeks. Of course you can always go to the Nobel Peace Prize website on your own. The big thing is that we need former Nobel Peace Prize winners to submit his name- also members of government (from any country and from all levels) professors and leaders in the NGO community and just everyday people like us...the more the merrier...
For now, I ask that you read his story....through Andy Worthington.
As for me-I sent my letter to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (and former winner of the Noble Peace Prize) seeking his support.
In time I will give you more instructions on how to get Shaker's name before the committee....perhaps this is the only real way to close Guantanamo.

The talking dog has more on this idea that actually originated from the dog after I fretted about the fact that the peace prize given to Obama could not be taken back.

Friday, October 5, 2012


h/o to D. Remes

Guantánamo Detainee Numbers—october 5, 2012
Population When Obama Took Office—242
Present Population—166
( 242 - 72 transfers - 4 deaths  = 166 )
Approved for transfer
Indefinite detention
Referred for prosecution
Breakdown of Population of 86 Approved for transfer
DOJ list
Formerly sealed case (Ameziene)
Separate group of 30 Yemenis approved for transfer if outside conditions allow
*In January 2010, the President halted the transfer of Yemenis to Yemen.
Historical Numbers
Detainees ever at GTMO
President Bush
President Obama
Military Commissions
President Bush
Hicks, Hamdan, Bahlul
Hicks and Hamdan
–Currently at GTMO
President Obama
Qosi, Khadr, Mohammed, Kahn
Qosi, Khadr
–Currently at GTMO
Mohammed, Khan
© 2012 / David Remes / / 202-669-6508

Thursday, October 4, 2012

From Roget Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian

Epic injustice for child soldier

THE Guantánamo prisoner Omar Khadr has been repatriated to Canada, after more than 10 years of patently unlawful American detention. Here's a chronology of his life.
After a year of stonewalling, the Canadian government has agreed to the return of a citizen who is apparently the first person convicted in a military trial for simply killing an enemy combatant - an act that has always been regarded as lawful in war (see post of November 2010).
Omar Khadr's offences seem as much political as military.
In 2002, a child of 15, he found himself, at his father's direction, in an Afghan house that exchanged fire with US soldiers. He had little choice but to defend himself, but an American died.
That a Canadian should actively resist American soldiers offended both governments: he must be punished, and so he was sent to Guantánamo.
All "terror" detentions at Guantánamo have been unlawful, one way or another.
No prisoner has been provided the independent prisoner of war determination required by both the Geneva Conventions and the US Uniform Code of Military Justice.
All have been detained and/or treated in ways that violate multiple international treaties. Omar Khadr's case is one of injustice on an epic scale.
It's hard to know where to start.
First, he was a 15 year old boy caught in a war on his father's initiative. Both Canada and the US seem to have forgotten they are signatories to the "Child Soldier Protocol" that provides that children engaged in war should be regarded as victims whose rehabilitation is paramount.


Saturday, September 29, 2012


Omar Khadr one of Guantanamo's more famous children has finally been repatriated to his home- Canada.
Khadr was 15 years old and badly wounded when he was brought to Guantanamo- now ten years later he is finally released to finish his prison sentence in Canada. Under Canada law he should be released very soon despite the fact that he has a long sentence- because Canadian law recognizes that a sentence like his-imposed on a child is not only illegal but unconscionable. Hopefully Bush wannabe Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper will not interfere with Khadr's release and rehabilitation. If Khadr had been held in virtually any other country he would have been treated as a victim instead of a war criminal.
Shame on the US (of course) but also shame on Canada for allowing Khadr to be imprisoned for these many years.
Read more here and here.

Friday, September 21, 2012


So today the Bush  I mean Obama administration released the names of those men that Obama's task force cleared for release back in 2009. This would be the list of those who were cleared by all of the big name groups (FBI, CIA, State Department, Military etc) and are still sitting around year after year with no charges against them and no prospects of getting out alive- the ones who were cleared and have been transferred are off of this list- as are the men who were cleared and are now dead. This list had been protected by the Obama administration with the threat to us attorneys of being held in contempt of court and losing your security clearance if you had dared to mention to anyone that your client was "cleared." Latif- the man who died earlier this month was cleared for release- but his attorneys could not even mention it after he died....until they got permission and of course being dead means no longer being on the list.
Some years ago I had a battle with the DOJ over this issue-they threatened me with contempt of court after I learned that my client was cleared from a reporter before the government told me and I wanted to talk about it. The judge said no I couldn't talk about it. Later I asked the judge could I please-please- just tell my clients wife that he is cleared so that maybe she would wait for him- he still said no. Many months later I was talking to my clients brother on the phone and the brother told me how happy they all were that my client was cleared for release. I asked him how he knew and he told me that the ICRC told the whole family. So this was just another bullshit rule placed on the attorneys to make our representation more difficult.
so I leave you with this:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Death at Guantanamo Bay

From the New York Times:

Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a Yemeni citizen and one of the first detainees sent to Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in January 2002, died there earlier this month. There is no official autopsy report yet, but in his decade in prison he had gone on hunger strikes and made several suicide attempts.
Amnesty International
Adnan Latif, left, with Hussain Almerfedi, another Yemeni man imprisoned.

Click here to read the entire Editorial


by Baher Azmy

BEFORE he died on Sept. 8, Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif had spent close to 4,000 days and nights in the American prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. He was found unconscious, alone in his cell, thousands of miles from home and family in Yemen. READ THE REST HERE

Tuesday, September 11, 2012





Adnan Latif's death in U.S. custody at Guantanamo is a tragedy. It could have been avoided. Adnan spent more than ten years in Guantanamo nearly a third of his life but, like mosGuantanamo detainees, he was never charged with a crime or accused of violating any law.

Adnan was slightly built and gentle, a husband and a father. He was a talented poet, and devoutly religious. The Administration cleared him for transfer back in 2009, but he was a Yemeni, and the Obama Administration will not send Yemenis home even if, like Adnan, they have been cleared for transfer by a unanimous decision of all responsible agencies after a comprehensive review of the evidence.

Because Adnan was from Yemen, he remained imprisoned for three more years after being cleared not for anything he supposedly did, but simply because of where he came from.

More tragic ironies abound. In 2010, a federal judge ruled that he should be released, but a divided appeals court overturned that ruling in a widely criticized decision a year later. Three months ago, the Supreme Court declined to restore the ruling, and instead let his case go back to district court for a new hearing that, sadly, will now never occur.

Amnesty International was about to launch a new worldwide campaign on his behalf.

Adnan consistently denied the government’s claims and maintained his innocence. He said that he was in Afghanistan when the United States began bombing in October 2001 because he was seeking free medical treatment for injuries he had suffered in a car accident as a teenager.

Fleeing Afghanistan, Adnan was captured and brought to Guantanamo, and held on claims that he was part of the Taliban. He was among the first detainees to arrive in January 2002. The military and the Administration cleared him for transfer, yet fought in court to keep him imprisoned.

Adnan endured great suffering at Guantanamo physical and spiritual and lived in constant torment. He complained of physical pain, impaired hearing and vision, untreated rashes, open sores, and unexplained bruises. He protested what he saw as the injustice of his confinement by hunger striking and injuring himself. He became mentally fragile and was at times sedated, placed on suicide watch, and sent to the prison’s psychological unit.

Adnan spent more than ten years in a foreign land separated from his family, his loved ones, and his home. He was charged with no crimes. He was cleared for transfer because the government did not believe his detention was necessary for our national security.

Yet he could see no end to his confinement.

However he died, Adnan’s death is a reminder of the injustice of Guantanamo, and the urgency of closing the prison. May this unnecessary tragedy spur the government to release the detainees it does not intend to prosecute.
David Remes
S. William Livingston
Alan Pemberton
Brian E. Foster
James M. Smith
Philip A. Scarborough
Roger A. Ford
Marc D. Falcoff