Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Time off for torture....

During the more than three years he spent in C.I.A. prisons before being sent to Guantánamo Bay, Majid Khan says he was hung from his wrists, naked and hooded, for two straight days, causing wild hallucinations.
Mr. Khan, a confessed Qaeda courier, was held in almost total darkness for a year, fearing he would be drowned in an icy tub and isolated in a cell with bugs that bit him until he bled. In 2004, his second year of C.I.A. detention, the agency “infused” a purée of pasta, sauce, nuts, raisins and hummus up Mr. Khan’s rectum when he went on a hunger strike, according to a Senate Intelligence Committee report....
...As part of the sentencing process, his lawyers are arguing that the treatment Mr. Khan endured in C.I.A. custody also needs to be taken into account and are asking the military judge in the case to grant Mr. Khan time off his prison term as a form of credit for what the C.I.A. did to him.
Read the rest here..
h/o to friend Don

Friday, June 14, 2019

Hope for the future...

As Studs Terkel was fond of saying "hope dies last." It is with that saying in mind that I provide this link as to what my (democratic controlled) house of representatives is working on.

First this,
On Wednesday, the House Armed Services Committee sits down to markup the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)—the must-pass legislation that determines defense policies and budget. In the markup process, the Committee will consider, debate, and vote on amendments to the draft bill, which was prepared by Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA). The baseline draft bill, which is also called the chairman’s mark, touches on key issues ranging from the militarization of the southern border to deterring Russia and reemphasizing the nation’s commitment to protecting human rights....

One of the big issues is Gitmo.
Guantanamo Bay
The chairman’s mark rescinds  restrictions on the president’s authority to transfer prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, bans bringing new detainees to Guantanamo for detention or trial by military commission, requires the Attorney General to submit a plan—other than continued law of war detention—for the remaining detainees, and expresses concern about the ability of the United States Government to provide adequate medical care for the aging detainee population.
The mark largely omits controversial restrictions on the president’s authority to transfer detainees from Guantanamo to third countries or to the United States. During the Bush administration, the president was able to transfer detainees both abroad and to the United States without Congressional restrictions and indeed transferred hundreds of detainees. During the Obama administration, however, Congress passed restrictions on transfers that infringed on the president’s authority to determine the appropriate disposition for law of war detainees by requiring an onerous certification process for foreign transfers and an outright ban on any transfers to the United States, even for a criminal prosecution or emergency medical treatment. Additionally, past defense authorizations have prevented the building or modification of facilities for housing detainees in the United States.
By contrast, Section 1032 of the Chairman’s mark largely reverts to the Bush-era policy of leaving maximum flexibility for the Commander in Chief by imposing no restrictions on transfers to the United States or on foreign country transfers other than a ban on transferring detainees to Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.
Reflecting the strong consensus among national security leaders that Guantanamo is harmful to U.S. national security interests, Section 1033 prohibits transferring any additional detainees to Guantanamo for law of war detention or military commission proceedings who were not already detained at Guantanamo in law of war detention or military commission proceedings on or after May 2, 2018.
Section 1033 also requires the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, to submit a disposition plan to the defense committees within 60 days of enactment identifying a disposition for each individual still detained at Guantanamo Bay as of the date of enactment other than simply continuing to hold the individuals in continued law of war detention indefinitely.
The Chairman’s mark (Section 1034) also contains a set of Findings and a Sense of Congress concerning the ability of the United States Government to meet its obligation to provide adequate medical care to detainees at Guantanamo given the limited medical facilities at the isolated military base, the logistics challenges of providing care on base, and the increased costs of providing care there—all of which will be exacerbated as the detainee population ages.  
The Chairman’s mark also directs the Comptroller General to provide an independent study to the defense committees no later than September 1, 2020 on the quality of detainee medical care at Guantanamo. The report must address several specific areas of concern, including the current state of health services, the medical needs of the detainee population, and any impediments to detainees receiving proper care at the facility. Notably absent from the Chairman’s mark is an authorization for the construction of an $88.5 million wheelchair accessible facility the Pentagon requested from Congress.   
Furthermore, the Chairman’s mark expresses concerns over the stalled repatriation process for detainees who have been cleared for transfer by either the Periodic Review Board or the Guantanamo Review Task Force. The mark notes that no detainees have been transferred since January 20, 2017, despite at least five detainees having previously been approved for transfer.
The bill orders an unclassified report to explain why none of the cleared detainees have been transferred and why the process has stalled. The mark also notes that the lack of transfers is not only problematic from a policy and human rights perspective but that it is also having a negative effect on the functioning of the ongoing periodic review board (PRB) process.

Read the rest here at Just Security.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Gitmo Detainees are still trapped in a legal black hole....

Following Justice Breyer's statement yesterday in an order denying the writ in Al-Awli's case the Los Angelos times, in an editorial, encourages the court to hear an appropriate case challenging the life-time detentions of the 40 remaining men without charge.

Read Justice Breyer's statement here ... unfortunately you have to scrowl down to page 9 in the list of orders.

Read the editorial at this Link.

Hope dies last and all.... My client Razak Ali's appeal is in the works.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Pardoning of War Criminals

Trump has announced that he is going to pardon various US war criminals. It is not surprising, given who he is. But it is disturbing.

The irony (well actually there are several ironies involved with this) is that he was planning on making that announcment on Memorial Day... He missed that deadline.

The only good news is that will make him a war criminal too (for what it is worth...).

Read more here.

And for those of you who think our congress does nothing....

They are busy thinking about whether or not detainees at Guantanamo who need medical care that is unavailable at Guantanamo should be allowed to come to the US for that care....

Read more here.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

John Walker Lindh

John Walker Lindh is about to be --- or has been --- released from prison.
He never should have been imprisoned -- partly his conviction was to justify -(or hide) the torture that we subjected the men who were in, or around, our "war" zones.

If Obama had any strength of conviction he would have pardoned John long before the end of his presidency. Obaama was (and is) a coward and he did not.

I hope that one day I will gather the strength to discuss the plight of this man, but for now all I can say is:

John, I am sorry for how our country treated you. You will never be the same, nor will any US citizen who has been paying attention to what happened to you (and so many others). I hope as you move on in life you will work to change this country. That is really all we can do. Change it...or leave.

Leaving is the easy way out.

Let us both work to change things.

Read more about John here.