Wednesday, April 29, 2015

How Guantanamo was chosen to house the detainees....

My friend Professor Peter Jan Honigsberg of the University of San Francisco Law School (and the founder and director of the Witness to Guantanamo Project) has written an interesting piece at Huffington Post on how Guantanamo was selected as the cite for the prisoners being held at Guantanamo. You can read it here.
Perhaps most interesting to me is that the powers to be (the ones that made the decision) specifically ruled out Western Europe and its protectorates' "because they are subject to the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights."
In the legal world I think this could arguabley show the premeditated intent in engaging in torture.
Thanks Peter for an eye opening article.

Andy Worthington, Clifford Sloan and the rumor about the release of prisoners

Andy Worthington has a good piece about the rumors regarding upcoming releases and specifically in regards to Shaker Aamer and within that context he also cites from an interview with former Gitmo "ambassador" Cliff Sloan.
Read it here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Yes, it makes me wanna holler....


The former Romanian president Ion lliescu admitted on Monday that he allowed the CIA to have a "quiet place to work" in his country but claims he didn't know what the CIA was doing at that "quiet place".... It is not clear whether he ever bothered to ask what they were doing. And my guess is that is was not all that quiet where the prisoners were actually held...
Anyway you can read the rest here.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Good news.... bad news....

Well let's look at the good news first:

A Canadian judge ordered Khadr (the kid who landed in Guantanamo at age 15) to be released while his case is pending.... unfortunately little Bush (prime minister Stephen Harper) will not stand for this and is determined to appeal the order.  OHHHH CANADA.....  
read more here.

The rumor is still out there that the Pentagon is going to try to get as many men out of Guantanamo as possible in the next few months. (Read here)...unfortunately Carol Rosenberg has discovered that the rumor is probably false. (Read here)

At the same time that the rumor is being squelched the British press is reporting that the last remaining Brit being held (Shaker Aamer) is soon to be released... We can only hope.
.Read more here.

And finally, Carol Rosenberg takes a nice look at Slahi's diary---and the looking glass quality of the whole Guantanamo experience. Here.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April fools day is long past... so is this for real??

According to the Washington Post the pentagon is poised to start releasing prisoners at a quicker pace than it has in the past (sigh...) if this report is true approximately 10 will be released before June including one to Mauritania... which I am guessing  would be the only Mauritanian at the prison (otherwise this is an extremely cruel joke)- the esteemed writer of the Guantanamo Diary-- Mohamedou Ould Slahi--
Also discussed in the article is the long awaited release of Shaker Aamer. Read more about Shaker here.
Anyway, rumors are always afloat--- read the whole article here....

Amnesty International calls out Obama for giving amnesty to torturers....

.Amnesty International on Tuesday issued a 140-page analysis accusing the administration of effectively turning a blind eye to the scathing report issued by Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee more than four months ago. 
Pointing to a lack of prosecutions for anyone participating in the interrogation and rendition program, which many people call torture, the group chided the administration for refusing to do a full internal analysis of how it could have been carried out in the first place

Guantanamo's longest hunger striker would like to go home.....

Nine years. That is how long Abdul Rahman Shalabi, has been on a hunger strike. Think about it: nine years of feeding tubes being stuck down your nose and into your stomach twice a day --and why has this man been held all of these years? 

"A man held captive as a suspected Osama bin Laden bodyguard since the day the prison opened at Guantánamo went before a multi-agency parole board Tuesday seeking release to his native Saudi Arabia to marry, finish college and join his brothers in business."

He has been held because he is suspected of being a body guard for Osama Bin Laden. OMG- how many men at Guantanamo have faced that same accusation? I would guess hundreds. And how did those accusations come about? I would guess the same way the accusation came to be made against my client Al-Ghizzawi. A mentally compromised individual accused countless men of being body guards to Osama-- why? Yes, because he was mentally compromised by the same conditions all of these men have been subjected to and it was his way of getting a few extra perks. And our military long knew about this man's mental state and yet they have let those same baseless accusations keep so many of these men in detention without charge for all these years.[Fortunately I was able to prove long ago about the unreliability of this individual as it related to my client] 
As for the man who made these baseless accusations? He has has long been released. 

Shame on Obama and his military for holding not only Abdul Rahman Shalabi - but others as well- for more than 13 years based on these cruel and unsupported accusations by a mentally ill detainee.

Read the rest here.

Read more here:

Monday, April 20, 2015

Another Forever Detainee is Cleared....

A federal parole board has cleared another Guantánamo “forever prisoner” — a 37-year-old Yemeni who the U.S. profiled as having met Osama bin Laden — for release from the detention center in southeast Cuba.
“I am against violence. I don’t have the least intention to spend any more time with other detainees,” Mashoor al Sabri told the board last month. Although a Yemeni citizen, he said he was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, and would like to return to family there, in Mecca, notably an ailing mother with high blood pressure.
Read the rest here.

Read more here:

Detainee appeals to Pakistani High Court for Help

On April 14, lawyers for Ahmad Rabbani (aka Mohammed Ahmad Ghulam Rabbani), one of the last few Pakistani prisoners in Guantánamo, “filed an emergency application with the Islamabad High Court, demanding that the Pakistani government intervene immediately in his case,” as the legal action charityReprieve (which represents Mr. Rabbani) explained in a press release.

Read the rest here.

Guantánamo torture case appealed to SCOTUS

And this from the Center for Constitutional Rights:

Last Friday, CCR urged the U.S. Supreme Court to review its case seeking compensation for former Guantánamo prisoners who were tortured. Celikgogus v. Rumsfeld was filed against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other high-level government officials and Guantánamo personnel for authorizing and condoning torture. All of the clients were released without being charged with any crime, yet they were subjected to torture and other abuses, including solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, being prevented from praying, forcible shaving, and being medicated against their will. They continue to suffer the effects of this treatment years after being released; one is even immobilized. A district court dismissed the case in 2013, and the appellate court in 2014 affirmed the dismissal, claiming that the torture and religious humiliation these men endured were incidental to the “need to maintain an orderly detention environment.” The court also noted that this treatment appeared “standard for all” U.S. military detainees in Guantánamo, Iraq, and Afghanistan—as if the mere prevalence of torture justifies it. The Supreme Court has not heard a Guantánamo case since 2008, and to date none of those tortured at Guantánamo have been compensated for what they endured. CCRs pursuit of this case all the way to the highest court in the nation is emblematic of its longtime commitment to hold accountable, in whatever venue possible, those who created, designed and implemented U.S. torture – from Guantánamo to Abu Ghraib, CIA black sites, extraordinary renditions and elsewhere.
Thank you CCR.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

More reviews on Slahi's Guantanamo diary...

The book has been described as "a vision of hell, beyond Orwell, beyond Kafka." (John Le Carre') And it is being translated into more languages as I type.... so if you have not bought a copy yet check in your local books stores and get get it now.... no matter where you are in the world it should be available in your language if not now, soon.
Here is a recent review.
Here is how you can buy a copy in the U.S.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Meanwhile.... back at the military commissions...

In the dysfunctional military commissions a military judge has ordered an MRI of abdul al Rashim al-Nashiri's brain. His lawyers have long argued that he suffers from brain damage because of the severe torture he was subjected to-- including water boarding, a mock execution and anal rape.

Read more here.

Friday, April 10, 2015

A new commander for the Gitmo base.....UPDATED.

He takes over in July. We shall see what we shall see. The base has had more than its fair share of bad commanders but there have been a few that were not too bad....Time will tell.
Read more here.
More on the new commander here.
We can only hope he will remember his own words as he embarks on this "mission:"

Your legacy is a lot like what you put on the Internet, it is always out there for all to see,” Ponds said, according to a university news release. “Be mindful of what you say and do and what you leave behind for others to see and remember.”

Read more here:

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Defense department's insubordination on closing Guantánamo

Wells Dixon, is a fellow Gitmo attorney who works at the Center for Constitutional Rights.
His article at "The Hill" questions the failure of the DOD to follow Obama's directive to close Guantanamo:

American military doctrine is clear: when a superior officer identifies a lawful strategic objective, forces under his or her command must work to achieve it without delay.  When it comes to Guantánamo, however, the Pentagon continues to obstruct President Obama's mandate to close the prison.  Their defiance is tantamount to insubordination.

Read the rest here.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Catching Up..... again.

A lot has been happening.... and yet nothing really changes in the Gitmo world.
The military commission is at a standstill again. Read more about that here.

Jeff Kaye has written a book about the high dose "antimalarial" drugs given to the detainees when they landed at Guantanamo and the psychological impact of those drugs. That drug being provided at such high doses caused psycholigical trauma for the men that lasted for weeks and the drug was not given to them because of any threat of malaria. Read more here.

In really good news--- at least for now--- a French court has summoned one of the Guantanamo (and Abu Ghraib) torturers-- the infamous Gen. Geoffrey Miller for an inquiry. I'm guessing Geoffrey Miller will not be going to France (or the rest of Western Europe) soon.... Read more about that here   and here.

And wait... did I hear that my temporary home from a few years ago is thinking about taking on a Gitmo refugee or two (or maybe more....)? That is the rumor. I tried hard when I was there to convince the government to accept some men.... but of course that was mostly during the Bush years and no country in western europe was willing to help Bush......but it would be great if that wonderful country would be willing to lend a hand now. Read more here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

If Obama is really sorry he didn't close Guantanamo on day 1---

Some advice to Obama on how to close it now....

Read it here.