Thursday, May 30, 2013

Expedited hearing schedule

Last week I announced the filing of a joint motion by several of the Gitmo attorneys concerning the new policies at the base that are not only offensive (checking the men's genitals when leaving and coming back from attorney meetings and telephone calls) which has been having the desired effect (by the powers to be) of the men cancelling  the attorney meetings and not taking calls from their attorneys. You can read more about those filings here and here.
Yesterday Judge Lamberth set a schedule for the governments response and a hearing on the motions:

Docket Text:
MINUTE ORDER granting [39] Motion to Expedite. After the law clerk's consultation with all parties, and consideration by the undersigned Judge, the Court grants petitioners' motion to expedite and hereby schedules a hearing on the pending motions for counsel access for Wednesday, June 5, 2013, at 10AM. The government shall file its response to the pending motions by Monday, June 3, 2013. Signed by Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth on May 29, 2013

It would be nice to have a good showing at the hearing-  those of you in the DC area should try to attend.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Talking Dog on Obama's speech

Well here it is....As promised, the talking dog nails Barrack's speech.
And let me also add my thanks to Medea Benjamin for heckling the president and telling it like it is.
Obama is a coward and a weasel.
He claims the right to assassinate not only his own citizens but innocent civilians around the world.
But somehow he lacks the power to release innocent prisoners held by our country without due process- or any process for that matter.
He touts the rule of law while ignoring it.
His department of "justice" is ...and has been during his entire presidency...out of control-
and now he claims he is going to talk to Holder about it.
Really Barrack?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Too Muslim to release, and too dangerous to try."

Yes, a quote from my friend the talking dog....after reading the advance garbage from Obama's speech. I feel confident that the dog will do an excellent job of analyzing tonight's lip-service from Barrack. Here is a short showing of what is to expect from our friend.....


Military attorneys representing former CIA captives detained in a top secret camp at Guantanamo have called on Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to examine whether the head of the prison’s guard force is fit for command.

Col. John Bogdan, the commander of Guantanamo’s Joint Detention Group, has been singled out by the defense lawyers for revamping dormant policies, such as inspections of Qurans and gential patdowns, that gave rise to a hunger strike, now entering its fourth month.....
Separately, the attorneys, citing a law school investigation, said Bogdan may have perjured himself when he testified before the military commissions earlier this year in Mohammed’s case about secret listening devices designed to look like smoke detectors that were placed in the rooms where attorneys meet with prisoners, but were never turned on. The investigation by Seton Hall University’s Center for Policy and Research concluded that Bogdan’s testimony was inconsistent about what he knew and when he knew it. The Seton Hall report was co-written by former Guantanamo guard Joseph Hickman.
“While Seton Hall’s finding are sufficient grounds to examine COL Bogdan’s fitness to command the Joint Detention Group, his leadership should warrant further scrutiny based on the rapidly deteriorating conditions under his command and his heavy-handed response to the current hunger strike,” the attorneys wrote.


Jason Leopold has more (on yesterdays filings)

Attorneys defending more than a dozen Guantanamo prisoners have asked a federal court judge to immediately suspend a new policy enacted at the detention facility over the past month that requires the prisoners to submit to a genital search when they exit the camps to speak with their lawyers and return to their cells. 

In an emergency motion filed late Wednesday in US District Court for the District of Columbia, attorneys for Yemeni Saeed Mohammed Saleh Hatim and 12 other prisoners argued the intent of the new policy was to deny their clients access to counsel and was implemented in retaliation for a mass hunger strike the prisoners have waged since February. 

The filing also includes declarations from attorneys alleging prisoners have been subjected to psychological abuse in the form of solitary confinement, stress positions, sleep deprivation and temperature manipulation.

"Things are very hard in the extreme," Yemeni prisoner Bisheer al Marwalah told his attorney, Erin Thomas, according to a declaration she filed. "We no longer have any respect in this prison. They don't respect our life, our dignity, they don't respect our religious feelings ... As for tomorrow, we have no idea what it will bring." 


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Filings today related to the continuing torture of our clients......

So today my colleagues in the Gitmo bar filed an emergency motion for access to our clients concerning the ongoing problems caused by the military that led our clients to the current hunger strike. Because the military has used the hunger strike as a vehicle to interfere with our representation we are once again asking-probably in vein - that the federal court stop being a door mat to the government/military and actually do something to show to both our clients and the world that we still have a judicial system in these here United States of America ----

Any guesses as to what will happen next????

New Detainee Filings on GTMO Counsel Access Issues

By Wells Bennett
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 9:22 PM
Today, counsel for Saeed Mohammed Hatim filed an “Emergency Motion Concerning Access to Counsel,” both in the Yemeni detainee’s recently reactivated habeas action, and in In Re: Guantanamo Bay Detainee Continued Access to Counsel, a separate matter on the district court’s miscellaneous docket. In the latter, the filing was made both on Hatim’s behalf and that of various other detainees, who suffered or might suffer infringements on their counsel access rights.
The gist of the motion—which cites a number of declarations and exhibits—is that certain GTMO protocols, including body search procedures, chill detainees from meeting with lawyers. From Hatim’s filing:
Most Guantánamo detainees are held in two closely-adjacent prisons, known as Camp 5 and Camp 6. (The so-called “high value” detainees are held in a separate facility.) Historically, counsel have met with their clients either in Camp 5 or Camp 6, i.e., in the prisons where they are being held, or in a separate nearby facility known as Camp Echo. Ex. A, Declaration of David H. Remes, ¶ 5 (“Remes Dec.”). Camp Echo contains huts where meetings between detainees and counsel can take place. Compared to meetings in Camp Echo, meetings with counsel in Camp 5 or Camp 6 are more convenient for the detainee and the prison staff because they do not require that the detainee be transported by van from his prison camp to Camp Echo. Detainees have telephone calls with their lawyers in another facility, Camp Delta. Id.
Counsel for Hatim travelled to Guantánamo in late April 2013, to meet with Hatim and other clients. Ex. A, Remes Dec. ¶ 9. The meeting with Hatim was to take place on May 1, two days before a prehearing conference in Hatim’s habeas case. Among other things, counsel ntended to consult with Hatim concerning his newly-reactivated habeas case. Id. The Government scheduled the meeting for Camp Echo, which would require that Hatim be transported by van from his cell in Camp 6. Hatim reported that he would meet with counsel in Camp 6, but not at Camp Echo. Id. ¶ 10. Counsel was ready, willing and able to meet Hatim in Camp 6, but the Government refused, stating that it would not allow meetings in Camp 6 “in any circumstances.” Id. ¶¶ 11–12.
The Government neither then nor now has provided any justification for its refusal to allow Hatim to meet with his counsel in Camp 6, which constituted a reversal of long-standing practice.
As explained below, detainees have substantial reasons for not meeting in Camp Echo, and it is now clear that many detainees will forgo counsel access rather than meet in Camp Echo or have telephone calls in Camp Delta.
First, as has widely been publicized, there is an ongoing hunger-strike at Guantánamo, involving up to two-thirds of the non-“high value” detainees. As a result, many of the prisoners are physically weak and debilitated; indeed, at least 30 have gotten so close to death that they are being force-fed through a tube shoved through the nose and down into the stomach. See Exs. A–G. (declarations of detainees’ counsel). In these conditions, a trip to Camp Echo or Camp Delta in a van may be so painful that a detainee will decline to speak with counsel rather than to take the trip to Camps Echo or Delta. The Government has recently made the trip even more painful because it has begun using a smaller van, which forces the detainee, while shackled, to be in a crouched stress position. Ex. A, Remes Dec. ¶¶ 29–34; Ex. G, Declaration of Anne Richardson (“Richardson Dec.”) ¶ 9.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, the procedure for a trip to Camp Echo has recently been changed in a highly significant way. Under the new policy, any trip to Camp Echo (or Camp Delta) requires an intrusive body search of the detainee, which involves touching and holding a detainee’s genitals and buttocks. Ex. A, Remes Dec. ¶¶ 14–18. Detainees are searched in this manner at least twice for each trip that they take from Camp 5 or Camp 6, and a guard told one detainee that he would be subjected to four genital searches for each trip to Camp Echo or Camp Delta to talk with his lawyer. Ex. B, Declaration of Jennifer R. Cowan (“Cowan Dec.”), ¶¶ 7–8, 12. The Government had previously recognized that such searches offend and humiliate Islamic detainees and had banned them at Guantánamo: “Due to cultural sensitivities, modified frisk searching procedures are in place that respect the detainee’s groin area, and guards are not allowed to conduct frisk searches of this area. Guards are limited to grasping the waistband of detainees’ trousers, and shaking the pants.” Ex. A, Remes Dec. ¶ 37 (quoting Review of Department Compliance with President’s Executive Order on Detainee Conditions of Confinement, at 25 (2009)). The new search procedure, however, “does include the buttocks and groin area” and applies whenever a prisoner leaves his camp to go to another facility, such as Camp Echo or Camp Delta.2 It is obvious that the new search procedures, another reversal of long-standing practice, are intended to be an obstacle to counsel access. See Ex. A, Remes Dec. ¶¶ 15–18; Ex. B, Cowan Dec. ¶¶ 10–16; Ex. C, Declaration of Erin Thomas (“Thomas Dec.”) ¶ 9; Ex. D, Declaration of Darold W. Killmer (“Killmer Dec.”) ¶¶ 7, 13–14.

Hunger Strike Song

A little light reading while we await Obama's "big speech" on how he wants to do the right thing....

Major study sheds new light on CIA secret prisons
Today sees the launch of the “Global Rendition System” database and interactive map – the most comprehensive resource so far created illustrating the CIA’s programme of renditions and secret prisons as part of the ‘war on terror’.
On the eve of President Obama’s major speech on counter-terrorism policy, the database illuminates the transportation network used to implement the US Government’s programme of “rendition, detention and interrogation”, which traversed Asia and Europe in a string of secret prison sites, ultimately sending over 800 men to Guantanamo Bay – where 166 remain.
The database – a collaboration between Reprieve and the Rendition Project based at Kingston and Kent Universities – uses data from freedom of information requests, legal cases, published first-hand accounts, investigations by NGOs and authoritative news reporting to detail dozens of prisoner transfers between secret “black sites”. Through analysis of more than 11,000 flights by over 120 aircraft, linked to more than 50 private companies, the site reveals the roles of different countries and shows how companies tried to cover their routes by filing false flight plans or by switching aircraft halfway.
Reprieve and the Rendition Project compiled documents from Reprieve’s Renditions Inc. investigation with previous work by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in Warsaw, the Human Rights Monitoring Institute in VilniusAccess Info Europe and other NGOs and investigators worldwide. All of the site’s source material is made publicly available and search results can be downloaded for further research and analysis. The data is plotted on an interactive map – users can zoom in on countries, flight routes and known or possible prisoner transfers, and move through the network via studies of individual cases and summaries of corporate complicity.
A recent report by The Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment – chaired by former Bush-era officials – heavily criticised the US’ programme of rendition and torture, pointing out the key role of European countries noting that the “CIA created its own…‘black sites’ in…Poland, Romania and Lithuania.”

Monday, May 13, 2013

What a shock...not

So a month into the hunger strike and they changed the protocals for the forced feeding at our little gulag....

Guantanamo Bay, Cuba - Hunger striking Guantanamo prisoners who are force-fed a liquid nutritional supplement undergo a brutal and dehumanising medical procedure that requires them to wear masks over their mouths while they sit shackled in a restraint chair for as long as two hours, according to documentation obtained by Al Jazeera. The prisoners remain this way, with a 61cm - or longer - tube snaked through their nostril until a chest X-ray, or a test dose of water, confirms it has reached their stomach.
At the end of the feeding, the prisoner is removed from the restraint chair and placed into a "dry cell" with no running water. A guard then observes the detainee for 45-60 minutes "for any indications of vomiting or attempts to induce vomiting". If the prisoner vomits he is returned to the restraint chair.
That's just a partial description of the "chair restraint system clinical protocol" which medical personnel are instructed to follow when administering a nutritional supplement to prisoners who have been selected for force-feeding by Guantanamo Commander Rear Admiral John Smith.

Read the rest of Jason Leopold's article here....which includes the new "handbook."

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Listen to what I say.....not what I do......

A stupid little lying pervert of a man....

No, I am not talking about Obama--I don't have any evidence that Obama is a pervert- no, I am talking about Col. Bogdan the current commander of the Guantanamo task force. Bogdan is the tough guy wannabe who oversaw the men's Qorans searched back in February---I guess things were just a tad too quiet and the little man was hoping for a bit more excitement in his current assignment. The search resulted in a hunger strike- now at least 130 of the 166 men are on a hunger strike- many of the men have been on that strike since February. The little man and his friends tried as hard as he could to play down the number of hunger strikers but as it sometimes happens- the truth- this time about the size of the hunger strike, found its way out of our gulag.
The search of the Qorans which led to the hunger strike took place right around the same time microphones were discovered in the Camp Echo meeting rooms- these are the rooms we attorneys are forced to use to meet with our clients. It apparently irritated the little man that word got out about the microphones and about the real size of the hunger strike. So, the little man decided to add to his credibility by claiming that he only just learned about the microphones-coincidently- right about the same time the microphones were discovered.... and oh yeah, the little man also claimed that no one was listening to the attorney conversations that were taking place in the rooms with the microphones. 
The little man is apparently also a lying sack of shit.
With word out about the new horrors at the camp the International Red Cross made a visit to see first-hand. The lying little man, apparently enraged that the international red cross delegates came on the scene to see just WTF he was doing to the detainees at the base, oversaw the camp raid hours after the delegates left the base. The lying little man even approved the unarmed hunger strikers being shot at- with rubber bullets. All of our clients were placed in solitary confinement- where they remain to this day. They are allowed two hours outside- but they are back to the caged outdoor time- with only two men outside at a time. I remember those days when my other client, the one who is now a free man, was housed like that under Bush- he deteriorated quickly (mentally and physically) under those conditions.
But the strike continues. The men though weakened physically are strong in their resolve. 
The lying little man apparently next decided that it was the attorneys that are the problem (not his treatment of the men, his violation of the constitution, court orders, various treaties or military laws) and therefore it became the lying little man's new job to find ways to keep the attorneys out of Guantanamo-- so he approved the pulling of the contract for the small commuter plane that we use to get to the base from Fort Lauderdale.  Fortunately the lying little man is stupid too- it is not just the attorneys who use those planes. The stupid lying little man was forced to reinstate the contract.
Stuck with us attorneys still being allowed onto the base it was next announced that the attorneys could no longer use the military flights into and out of the base. (Some attorneys would fly one way on the military flights and one way on the commuter plane-so as not to spend an entire week at the base.) With this new rule we can only fly on the commuter plane-which runs on Mondays and Fridays. What this of course means is that for many of us who only have one client at the base we have to spend an entire week at the base for a one day visit (showing again how stupid the lying little man is---why would he want all of us attorneys hanging out at the base for an entire week at a time?)  Fortunately we are a tough bunch and those of us that can take the week off have been down at the base regularly.
This of course has apparently pissed off the stupid lying little man even more. So the stupid lying little man gave some thought about what else he might do to keep the attorneys away- and word has it that the new- really perverted idea- came from him:
"About two weeks ago, the military made a shocking threat: A detainee who wants to leave his camp for any reason is subject to a body search that includes searches of his genitals."
So the stupid lying little man is a pervert too. Big surprise, huh? And as perverts are want to do the stupid little lying pervert of a man found what he hopes is the perfect threat to the Muslim men at Guantanamo- having their testicles subject to a physical exam if they want to visit with their attorneys---because, oh yeah, I forgot to add the fact that attorney visits are no longer allowed to take place at the camps where the men are housed- we can now only meet at Camp Echo---the place with the microphones. 
And so I wonder- will this outrage be enough to get even one of those judges in DC to stop acting as a doormat for the Department of Defense and Department of "justice?" 
Stay tuned---but don't hold your breath.

For Razak's mother and the mothers of all the men at Guantanamo

Saturday, May 11, 2013

From Roger Fitch and our Friends Down Under at Justinian

US soldiers are special: they can shoot, but they can't be shot

US government has its very own radical Islam website ... Judge overrules some of the FBI's denial of rights to Boston bombing suspect ... Canadian to appeal Guantánamo conviction ... Guilty plea to invalid charges ... Pentagon citing Civil War precedents in Bradley Manning stitch-up ... 

Relying on the Al Bahlul precedent, Canadian Omar Khadr plans to appeal his Guantánamo convictions in the US, testing whether a guilty plea can prevent a subsequent legal challenge where the underlying charges are found invalid. 
Since his release from Gitmo pursuant to a plea deal, Khadr has been confined in a maximum security Canadian prison. In addition to his meritless MST and conspiracy convictions, he has the distinction of being perhaps the first "combatant" ever convicted of a "war crime" of "murder" for killing a uniformed soldier in lawful combat.  
To be fair, the dead soldier was an American; and that, of course, changes everything. US soldiers are special:  they can shoot, but they can't be shot.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Talking Dog Interviews Jan Kitchel

Today's interview is with Gitmo attorney Jan Kitchel. The one question I have for him ---and I will get the answer--is just how long the district court judge has been sitting on his client's habeas case--- it sounds to me from reading this interview that he had the hearing quite a while ago....

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Sen. Levin asks Obama to appoint someone to oversee process for transfer of detainees...

WASHINGTON – Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., this week urged the White House to appoint an official to spearhead an interagency effort to oversee the process of relocating detainees at Guantanamo Bay who have been cleared for transfer. Levin fought for a national security waiver that provides for the transfer of detainees in appropriate cases. More than 80 detainees who have been cleared for transfer are still awaiting departure from Guantanamo. Expediting this process is critical to advancing the goal of closing GITMO, as the president has called for.

The text of Levin’s letter to the White House follows:

May 6, 2013

Ms. Kathryn Ruemmler
Assistant to the President and
  Counsel to the President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC  20500

Dear Ms. Ruemmler: 

                At a press conference last week, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to close the detention facility at Guantanamo (GITMO) because, as he pointed out, it is expensive, inefficient, damaging to the United States’ international standing, reduces the cooperation of our allies in countering terrorism, and serves as a recruiting tool for extremists.  The President said he had asked his staff to review all options for addressing the GITMO issue and expressed the desire to re-engage with Congress on this.

                I recognize that Congress has made the process of relocating GITMO detainees to third countries more difficult by imposing certification requirements on such transfers.  However, more than a year ago, I successfully fought for a national security waiver that provides a clear route for the transfer of detainees to third countries in appropriate cases, i.e., to make sure the certification requirements do not constitute an effective prohibition. 

I urge the President to appoint an official inside the White House to spearhead an interagency effort to determine which of the more than eighty detainees who have already been cleared for transfer by the Guantanamo Detainee Review Task Force meet the certification (and waiver) requirements, and to actively work for their transfer.  High level leadership on detainee transfers is critical to advancing the goal of closing GITMO.  

                Thank you for your assistance in this matter.


Carl Levin

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Abu Zubaydah v Poland

Another extraordinary rendition case has been launched in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that will be relevant to those following Guantanamo detainees:  Abu Zubaydah v Poland involves the CIA’s black sites. The filings are available here.  A press release by Interrights, co-counsel (with Joseph Margulies and the Polish firm Jankowski & Co.) describes the significance of the case as follows:

The case is of interest because the complaint alleges that, through both its acts as well as omissions – including by agreeing to house the secret detention centre, turning a blind eye to normal protections and oversight, and otherwise participating in and facilitating the extraordinary rendition of Abu Zubaydah into and out of Poland – the Polish authorities are responsible for multiple violations of Abu Zubaydah’s rights.  

This case is also important because it is the most significant (and potentially only) European investigation into black sites underway.   The decision may help to shape the investigation, particularly because it focuses on the benchmarks for effective review. It follows El-Masri (decided by the ECHR in December 2012).  Related cases, Abu Zubaydah v Lithuaniaal Nashiri v Poland, and al Nashiri v Romania, are still pending before the ECHR.    
Abu Zubaydah is a stateless Palestinian born in Saudi Arabia who was transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2006 and remains in indefinite detention.   He has not been charged with a crime by a military commission or court.

Donate for full page ad at New York Times

WORLD CAN'T WAIT is helping to organize a campaign to raise funds to run a full time ad on the 99th day of the Guantanamo detainees hunger strike. Please donate what you can.

Text content of the ad is here, posted as a sign-on message.  World can't wait expects to have a beautiful, arresting ad design for the print-one that will make people think about Guantanamo and the men who continue to suffer there.  You can donate online here,   Online or check donations to Alliance for Global Justice, the fiscal sponsor of World Can't Wait, makes your donation tax-deductible.


Monday, May 6, 2013


(updated to add link to Judge Lamberth's opinion from yesterday...)

So what happened to the buck stops here Barrack?....

Does he really think this is the fault of congress?

At least the pressure is stepping up....even Ralph Nader found time to write a letter to Obama!

And the Yemen human rights minister is in DC to talk....

I mean- even the Chicago Tribune has an editorial today asking Obama to close the place...(although in typical fashion they managed to get most of the facts wrong....)

When I saw this headline I thought a solution was at hand....but then I read the article and realized no one was suggesting sending the DC judges to Gitmo in a trade....

Of course the American people still don't get it....if only someone could do a reality tv show about Gitmo maybe people would understand why this place is unacceptable...

Meanwhile- if I want to go check in on my client I have to take an entire week off because of the plane schedules...Judge Lamberth entered an Order YESTERDAY- expressing his concern about attorney access....sigh. Concern of course does not equate with change but at least he is checking into the mail situation as many of us have had the letters we write to our clients withheld for unknown reasons....just another awful day in the life.