Tuesday, June 30, 2015

More on Majid Kahn's torture....

Jeff Kaye has a new article on Firedoglake about the torture of Kahn...

Quite recently, U.S. authorities allowed the declassification of notes from Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) attorney Wells Dixon that described what his client, high-value detainee Majid Khan, told him about his torture at the hands of the CIA. Khan, a Pakistan citizen, is currently at Guantanamo, and awaits trial by military commission.
Dixon has described the hideous torture of his client, which comes on the heels of revelations in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence executive summary of their report on the CIA’s torture program.
According to a June 2 Reuters report, Dixon described from interview notes with Khan, CIA use of solitary confinement; sexual abuse, including frequent touching of “private parts”; threats of physical harm; being hung naked from a pole for days; so-called “rectal feeding” (a form of anal rape); denial of food; water immersion and waterboarding, among other atrocities.
According to a CCR press release on Khan’s torture, CIA doctors onsite were among the “worst torturers.” Both Reuters and CCR have noted how doctors would check Khan’s condition, ignore his appeals for help, and send him back into extreme forms of torture.
In a June 10 phone interview with Wells Dixon, Khan’s attorney revealed there was more unreported material left out of the Reuters and CCR reports. In particular, Dixon revealed that Khan told him he was “also injected with a needle to the bone, and screamed in pain, then lost consciousness.”

Monday, June 29, 2015

Brazil Please Say YES- to men from Guantanamo....

Reprieve and other advocates for men at Guantanamo have asked President Obama to officially request the resettlement of detainees in Brazil when he meets with President Rousseff tomorrow. Those of you from Brazil that check in on this blog--- can you please encourage your government to help resettle some of these men?

Read Reprieve's letter here:

There is also an op-ed in Folha de Sao Paulo by Eric Lewis and Larua Waisbich of Conectas (in Portuguese):

Thank you.....

Friday, June 26, 2015

Speaking of International Torture Survivors Day.....

There is one particular detainee at Guantanamo who might not be a survivor for very much longer:

Yesterday, the Center for Constitutional Rights (led by Omar Farah) filed a motion for release on behalf of it's client Tariq Ba Odah, a long-term hunger striker whose weight has dropped to an alarming and precarious 75 pounds, signifying a crisis medical situation.   Per prior cases, the motion argues that the law of war principles embedded in the humanitarian provisions of Army Reg 190-8 (which authorize release of severely ill prisoners) constrain the government’s detention authority under the AUMF.  Along with their Motion they presented three expert opinions which paints a very worrying picture about Tariq’s physical and mental health.  Can a human being endure being forcibly fed commercial nutritional supplement for 8+ years?  As Omar Farah remarked "Only Gtmo knows, because no ethical doctor has attempted it before."
Read more about this humanitarian disaster and about the continuing torture of this man- here.
  The filings are linked below.

Another Detainee Cleared for Release....

Saudi detainee Abdul Shalabi- ISN 42. Given his number I would guess he was one of the first to arrive-- so he has been there more than 13 years..... 

Based on  Shalabi’s PRB clearance the current breakdown of detainees is as follows:

The prison population remains at 116: 52 are cleared, 54 are awaiting clearance, and 10 are in the military commission system.

Of the 52 cleared, 43 (83%) are Yemenis and 9 are non-Yemenis.

Of the 54 still awaiting clearance, 24 are Yemenis and 30 are non-Yemenis.

Torture Survivors....

Today is international Torture Survivors day. Every man at Guantanamo (still alive) is a torture survivor.
What can you do? Speak out against torture- write to politicians and newspapers to express your disgust with torture- and demand that those that inflicted- and continue to inflict- torture are held accountable.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Another example of the "worst of the worst...."

On tuesday the "periodic review board" looked at the case of Libyan Omar Khalif Baker. Like my client Razak Ali Baker has not been cleared because he was in the same guesthouse at Abu Zubaydah- the man my government thought was an al-Qaida leader but after water boarding him about 100 times- determined he was nothing.....
As you can see from the short story here -- the stay in the guesthouse is the only "evidence" the government has on this man.

Monday, June 22, 2015

From Roger Fitch and our Friends Down Under

At Justinian.....

Federal death sentence for the Boston bomber - rarely used
The US has performed badly again in the UN's annual review of its human rights record, more here.
Al Jazeera has more.
The US imposition of the death penalty has been highlighted by the conviction of the "Boston bomber", who received the federal death sentence in Massachusetts, a state strongly opposed to the penalty, and one where it has not been imposed since 1947.  
The federal death penalty has been imposed just three times in 30 years, and there is some talk that capital punishment could finally be abolished in the US.
The UN has also issued its guidelines on habeas corpus, just in time for the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.
It's a timely issue in the US, where the habeas action of Abu Zubaydah, the CIA's first (post-9/11) torture victim, has seen an extraordinary delay of nearly seven years in DC district court. 
*   *   *
Years after his plea bargain (Fitch of October 2012), and following 13 years of gratuitous torment by successive American and Canadian governments, Omar Khadr has finally been bailed by an Alberta court, pending his appeal of fake war crime convictions at the Pentagon's dodgy Court of Military Commission Review.  
More here and here
Khadr's chances look good, as the DC Circuit has just issued its long-awaited decision in Al Bahlul, striking down "conspiracy" and other US-invented "war crimes" as offences triable by military commission. Steve Vladeck comments.  
*   *   *
Government declassifications have led to more damaging revelations by Gitmo internees of their abuse, e.g. that of Majid Khan, the "High Value Detainee" presently awaiting a military commission sentence pursuant to a plea deal, and Shaker Aamer, the last British resident still held
Marty Lederman explains the significance of ending the gag orders against Gitmo internees talking about their mistreatment, now that the US Senate's Feinstein Report on the same torture has been released. 
*   *   *
In the same week that the author of Boumediene, retired justice John Paul Stevens, called for reparations to some Guantanameros, the City of Chicago set-up a fund to pay the victims of past torture by the Chicago police.
US cities and towns pay out millions in civil damages and settlements every year for police negligence and misconduct, but Chicago's program will be the first systematic fund.


The Periodic Review Board

Little did we know that the title would truely describe this review process for the men at Guantanamo who are awaiting clearance. Every once in a while (i.e. periodically) a random detainee is reviewed-- most who are reviewed are then cleared-- My remaining client has been waiting for his name to show up in this random process for more than four years.
Read more about this review process here.

More on the Torture of Majid Khan

Wells Dixon discusses the torture of his client as recently disclosed in newly unclassified documents. Wells is one of the attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights who has long been representing men at Guantanamo.
Read his account here.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Senate votes to make illegal torture even more illegal.....

Or something like that. I mean WTF-- are they trying to claim that they didn't know torture was illegal so they are passing something now? Or are they claiming the law wasn't clear enough--so let's start over?
And what about all those war criminals in this country that engaged in torture- does this somehow give them an out--because the law was not clear enough.
Jeez-- how stupid can we get as a country?

Read more about this shenanigans here. and here.

And what about the clowns who refused to say torture is illegal....? More here.

Monday, June 15, 2015


One of the more frustrating aspects of representing detainees is not being able to tell them all of the details that we (the lawyers) are privy too- some of the information that we cannot share with our clients actually came from our clients in the first place. It is complicated and stupid but these are some of the rules that we had to agree to in representing our clients because the pentagon has classified everything that comes out of our client's mouth and it is a secret until it is unclassified.

Now it seems that CIA is allowing some of the men to actually talk about what happened to them-- not everything mind you....(as shown by all of the redactions in the Guantanamo Diary)  but some things that happened to detainees are coming to light -- whether this is an actual change in the rules needs to be further explored.

With this in mind take a look at this article in the Atlantic.

More on the CIA torture plan....

The Guardian has an interesting and disturbing article up on the CIA torture which also has been characterized as human experimentation.
First you should look at the CIA's policy on human experimentation (which is still in effect).
you can read that here.

Then go on to read the whole article at the Guardian, here.

"After reviewing the document, one watchdog said the timeline suggested the CIA manipulated basic definitions of human experimentation to ensure the torture program proceeded.
“Crime one was torture. The second crime was research without consent in order to say it wasn’t torture,” said Nathaniel Raymond, a former war-crimes investigator with Physicians for Human Rights and now a researcher with Harvard University’s Humanitarian Initiative."

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Six released to oman-- UPDATED

Apparently all of the men are Yemeni nationals. More details to follow but here is the pentagon notificayion:
Detainee Transfer Announced

The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of Idris Ahmad 'Abd Al Qadir Idris, Sharaf Ahmad Muhammad Mas'ud, Jalal Salam Awad Awad, Saa'd Nasser Moqbil Al Azani, Emad Abdallah Hassan, and Muhammad Ali Salem Al Zarnuki from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to Oman.

As directed by the president's Jan. 22, 2009, executive order, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted comprehensive reviews of each of these cases. As a result of that review process, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, these men were unanimously approved for transfer by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force.

In accordance with statutory requirements, the secretary of defense informed Congress of the United States' intent to transfer these individuals and of his determination that this transfer meets the statutory standard.

The United States is grateful to the Government of Oman for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the Government of Oman to ensure these transfers took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.

Today, 116 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay.


 AP story on Oman transfers:

The U.S. administration official, speaking on a condition of anonymity without authorization to go on the record, said the Pentagon has sent no further transfer notification to Congress, which is required 30 days before detainees can be moved.

The break in the six-month lull in transfers does not appear to signal the start of any flurry of releases. According to officials familiar with Guantánamo policy, no further transfers are imminent, and the weekend releases were not a new decision but a leftover piece of a deal negotiated last year, when Oman agreed to accept 10 men. Four Yemeni detainees were resettled in Oman in January.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Abu Zubaydah's Eye.....

There are so many sad and infuriating situations at Guantanamo and Abu Z. is one of them. This is the man that was water boarded almost 100 times because my government thought he was Al-Qaeda and thought he had information. Oops on that one- he was not al-queda- and he had no valuable information. But he was tortured to the point that the torturers were afraid they could be held liable if Abu Z. was ever set free and allowed to talk freely about what he had been subjected to. The torturers were assured at the highest levels of my government that Abu Z. would never be set free.... so far those assurances have held.

In addition to all of the torture techniques that were utilized on Abu Z. during those two + years of extreme torture (not to be confused with the day to day torture of being held in isolation at Guantanamo) Abu Z. lost one of his eyes. We still do not know when or how this happened-- although this statement from war criminal John Yoo may explain what happened:

"In 2003, John Yoo, then a senior lawyer at the Justice Department, wrote a memo, now declassified, in which he said that “to put out or destroy an eye” could be legal as long as no specific intent to cause the prisoner severe pain could be proved."

The fact that this man (John Yoo) is teaching young lawyers instead of sitting in a prison cell is appalling. 
Anyway, read the rest of this article discussing the treatment of Abu Z and the lingering questions about his missing eye. HERE. Abu Z needs to be moved out of Guantanamo and to a safe haven.
(and the slimebag Yoo needs to be moved from his safe haven to a place less hospitable.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Moazamm Begg writes about Khadr

In a moving account, former guantanamo detainee Moazamm Begg writes about his detention along side the young and very wounded Omar Khadr while both were held at the U.S. base in Bagram. Omar had just turned 15 years old when they were locked in a cell together.
Read his account here.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Attempts by the FBI to infiltrate Gitmo Military tribunals leads to more delays....

When will this farce ever end?
Read more here.

The Children of Guantanamo...

Omar Khadr was not the only child held at Guantanamo.... and there are still other young men being held who have been at the base since they were seventeen and eighteen. Read more here.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Musical Interlude

Voted the Number One Protest Song by Rolling Stone magazine... the unofficial U.S. anthem.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

More details emerge regarding tortue of CIA detainee Majid Khan.

June 2, 2015, New York – Today, unclassified information detailing the CIA’s torture of Guantánamo prisoner Majid Khan was made public for the first time by Reuters, including the fact that he was waterboarded on two separate occasions. Khan’s attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), J. Wells Dixon, commented:

“Majid Khan’s personal experiences, notes of which were cleared by the government for release, confirm that the CIA has repeatedly and continuously lied about the torture program. As layers of secrecy have been peeled away throughout the Obama administration, we see more and more evidence of CIA savagery and treachery. 
Read the rest here.

Don't ask for Justice-- demand it!

Those are the words of Shaker Aamer as he thanks British members of parliament and others for championing his cause:

Britain's last Guantanamo Bay detainee pleaded his innocence last night as he thanked campaigners who have highlighted the scandal of his ongoing captivity.
Shaker Aamer remains in legal limbo having spent 13 years in military prison without charge or trial. 
In declassified extracts from the 48-year-old’s letters, shown to the Daily Mail, he told his campaigners: ‘Don’t ask for justice – demand it.

Read the rest here.