Tuesday, December 29, 2015

I will believe it when I see it!

Rumor is that 17 will be released in January and three men are slated for the periodic review board during that same month.
Read more here.

As if he needed any help......

This article explains the obstacles that the Pentagon has put in front of Obama in closing Guantanamo. I would just add that Obama has done enough on his own to foreclose closing the place.
Read more here.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

From Our Friends Down under at Justinian....

US Supreme Court's dreadful legacy ... Fifteenth anniversary of Bush v Gore - the decision that "changed everything" ... The environmental hazards of international "trade" agreements ... Guantánamo prisoner held for 13 years in a case of mistaken identity ... Roger Fitch, Our Man in Washington 

The Pentagon has admitted wrongly holding a Guantánamo prisoner for 13 years in a case of mistaken identity. 
It seems Mustafa al-Shamiri was not "al-Qaida" after all. Even so, he was deemed one of those hapless "low-level fighters" or "foot soldiers", as the Pentagon and its faithful media stenographers categorise men who, in previous wars, were classified as combatants entitled to consideration as prisoners of war.
No journalists ever ask why men are being "cleared" for release who were never properly classified for detention in the first place, i.e. at the time of their apprehension, by following the requirements of the Third Geneva Convention and the US Uniform Code of Military Justice.
After the adoption of the Geneva Conventions in 1949, and until the war in Afghanistan, the US never failed to extend prisoner of war status hearings to opposing soldiers, even the Viet Cong.  
Before Afghanistan, the US never claimed that a country it was fighting had no government; indeed, in the years before 9/11, Taliban officials were welcomed and entertained in George Bush's home state, discussing pipelines and oil wells.
When the war broke out in Afghanistan, commanding General Tommy Franks began preparations for the treatment of prisoners of war and the conduct of the independent "Article 5" hearings required under GCIII and the UCMJ.  He was stopped by the Bush Pentagon.
The first Guantánamo commandant, Brig. Gen. Rick Baccus, had signs put-up around the camp explaining the prisoners' rights under the Geneva Conventions and was planning for the provision of the amenities allowed to prisoners of war by GCIII. He was summarily replaced by a commander who accorded no Geneva Conventions rights - not even the basic rights of Common Article Three. 
Still, no media proprietors inquired - in 2002 or afterwards - why prisoners from the Afghanistan war were different, why they were never recognised as soldiers of Afghanistan, why they were denied en masse their Article 5 hearings without which they were presumedto be prisoners of war.
In fact, the trial judge in the Hamidullin case (see previous post) did ruminate on the matter before deciding he could try the Taliban soldier Irek Hamidullin for opposing US soldiers in Afghanistan.  
Hamidullin has now been sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years for essentially nothing. No Americans were harmed.
According to one news report, the judge found Hamidullin "wasn't a lawful combatant because the Taliban and its affiliated groups lack a clearly defined command structure and don't adhere to the laws and customs of war".   
There is no such requirement, however, for government forces. Article 4 of GIII states: 
A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:
(1) Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.
More here on a man who was held in irregular detention in Afghanistan for five years before being brought to the US for prosecution for the "crime" of opposing US invading forces.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Shaker Aamer gives his first full interview

You can watch the full interview here. It is more than an hour long.

If you want a shorter version go here.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Morrocan detainee released from Gitmo still held by Morroco

It was not enough that Younous Chekkouri was wrongfully held at Guantanamo for 13 years... when he was finally released back to his homeland in Morroco he was imprisoned yet again- based on the allegation made by the US military while holding him. The U.S. in a rare apology admitted that the reason it held Chekkouri all of those years was a mistake- but that has not been enough to secure his freedom. Chekkouri has now been held in prison in Morocco for more than 3 months-- with no end insight.
Read more here.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Obama honors war criminal Dick Cheney

First he protected Cheney from prosecution and now Cheney has been honored with a marble bust in Congress--- and Biden and Obama participated in the accolades... Read more here.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Periodic Review Board....

As I have mentioned in previous posts- the term "periodic" takes on new meaning when it comes to the review of the status of the forever detainees (those detainees who have not been cleared for release nor charged with a crime but are deemed too dangerous to be released). There have only been 15 such reviews since Obama announced the process three years ago. Periodically they get around to reviewing one of the 46 men on the forever list. Andy Worthington has a breakdown of that list-- way down towards the bottom of the list you will find my client Abdel Razak Ali (ISN 685). He is dangerous because he was staying in the same guesthouse as an individual that the military thought was an al-Qaeda leader--- abu Zubaydah. Later (only after waterboarding him more than 100 times)- they realized they were mistaken about Mr. Zubaydah. That little error that has not changed the fate of my client and so he waits for his chance at the periodic review.
Read the Andy Worthington post here.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Human Rights Watch calls for an investigation into my country's torture of detainees....

In its report released this week the summary starts with this:

" It is now well established that following the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operated a global, state-sanctioned program in which it abducted scores of people throughout the world, held them in secret detention—sometimes for years—or “rendered” them to various countries, and tortured or otherwise ill-treated them. While the program officially ended in 2009, the cover-up of these crimes appears to be ongoing.
Many detainees were held by the CIA in pitch-dark windowless cells, chained to walls, naked or diapered, for weeks or months at a time. The CIA forced them into painful stress positions that made it impossible for them to lie down or sleep for days, to the point where many hallucinated or begged to be killed to end their misery. It used “waterboarding” and similar techniques to cause near suffocation or drowning, crammed detainees naked into tiny boxes, and prevented them from bathing, using toilets, or cutting their hair or nails for months. “We looked like monsters,” one detainee said of his appearance while in CIA custody.
Much new information about detention and interrogation in the CIA program became public with the release in redacted form of the 499-page summary of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report in December 2014 (“Senate Summary”). The Senate Summary reported that the CIA subjected at least five detainees to “rectal feeding,” described in one case as infusing the pureed contents of a lunch tray into the detainee’s rectum via a medical tube, done “without evidence of medical necessity.” The Senate Summary also found that during a waterboarding session, one detainee became “completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth.” The CIA forced some detainees to stand for days on end without sleep while they had broken bones in their legs and feet, even though CIA personnel knew this would cause them long-term physical injury. A CIA cable described one detainee as "clearly a broken man" and "on the verge of complete breakdown."
The US government has not adequately accounted for these abuses. It has an obligation under international law to prosecute torture where warranted and provide redress to victims, but it has done neither. No one with real responsibility for these crimes has been held accountable and the government has actively thwarted attempts on the part of victims to obtain redress and compensation in US courts.
Read the entire report here.