Saturday, January 13, 2018

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian

A UN special rapporteur on torture recently found that, even now, Guantánamo is a nonconforming site, while the US remains in violation of the Convention Against Torturebecause of its policy of impunity for historic violations, e.g. the CIA's ghastly Rendition, Detention and Interrogation Program.
Extrajudicial "renditions" are still with us, and Mr Trump is reportedly considering outsourcing overseas snatches to mercenaries, not unlike the corporate kidnappers who assisted George Bush's "national security" abductions.
The Bush bail-ups have recently been the subject of a Commission of Inquiry in North Carolina, and law profs from the University of North Carolina and Duke Universityparticipated in hearings on the role of a local CIA front company in the agency's torture program.  
Testimony was duly taken, but nothing seems likely to embarrass or shame Aero Contractors Ltd, an NC-based aviation firm that still harbours one of its "torture taxis" in a North Carolina hangar subsidised with public funds. 
A report will be forthcoming.
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Flying high at Gitmo's Camp Justice
National Public Radio has gone to Gitmo to cover the "9/11" trial, while it still can: Republicans hope to abolish the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
In the 9/11 case, the military commission is still trying to decide when the war purporting to provide  jurisdiction for the "war crimes" prosecutions actually began. The Pentagon claims its so-called war with al-Qaeda began in the 1990s, based on a unilateral bin Laden fatwa; in fact, only states can declare wars.
In a new military commission, the Pentagon has brought "war crimes" charges against the "Bali bomber" Riduan Isamuddin, with "overt acts" of conspiracy alleged to have begun even earlier, "in the mid-1980s".  
Such arguments previously proved efficacious with chief judge James Pohl in the case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the severely-tortured man charged with "war crimes" that are unconnected to any war.  
Backdated wars are logically consistent with "retroactive re-characterization" , one of the feints the US tried in its failed attempt to convert civilian "material support for terrorism" into a war crime. It also fits in with the Pentagon's opportunistic re-designation of Guantánamo artworks as government property.
Other new 9/11 commission developments include the production of the document the CIA gave to FBI agents who conducted so-called "clean team" interrogations, more here. The memo was produced after motions by Mustafa al Hawsawi, whose (shudder) "rectal rehydration" by CIA medicos resulted in permanent injuries requiring surgery.
Meanwhile, Just Security has reviewed the case that broke the commissions: Nashiri's.