Friday, September 27, 2019

In Other Gitmo News......

Remember Omar Khadr? The 15 year old canadian kid that was tortured and held at Guantanamo until finally released in 2015? Well he is still trying to have his appeal heard by the military. His attorney finally filed in federal court and the DC Circuit has ordered the military to respond. As usually happens with the military they take baby steps when pushed. The military has now appointed a panel to hear his appeal. Read the rest here.

The (IMHO) notorious Col. Bogdan has landed a cushy job at UNC Charlotte as Vice Chancellor for Safety and Security. That must make the students and faculty feel safe! Read more here.

The periodic review boards have been doing their thing.... which is nothing. More here.

And of course secrecy is still the name of the game with all things Guantanamo, even after more than seventeen years. Read more here.

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian

As everyone knows, the Guantánamo internment camp is a colossal waste of public money, at a cost of $13 million a year per prisoner. Sadly, the people who facilitated it remain unpunished. Seventeen years after the shocking Yoo-Bybee "torture memo", its authors are still enjoying comfortable positions as a tenured Berkeley law professor, and 9th circuit justice, respectively, while their partner in crime, Gina Haspel, has been made CIA director and sanitised by the Wall Street Journal, which often prints John Yoo op-eds.
The results of their gruesome handiwork continue to seep out: declassified CIA cables obtained by the Intercept cast new light on the torture of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the lead defendant in the Pentagon's 9/11 commission. An FBI agent is testifying about CIA "black site" procedures in the related al Baluchi case.
The 9th circuit has meanwhile ruled in a case brought by Abu Zubaydah, a Guantánamo prisoner and the first person subjected to George Bush's "enhanced interrogation". The court held that Zubaydah's ordeal at the CIA's black site in Poland was not entitled to protection as a state secret, paving the way for his lawyers to question the men who designed the torture, i.e. James Mitchell (see below) and Bruce Jessen. Both men have settled civil damages claims in a law suit indemnified by the CIA. 
The 9th circuit called Zubaydah's treatment "torture", but the Pentagon prefers other words for the "tendency to deviate from ethical standards under the pressure of circumstances and in the absence of external oversight". 
In a new directive it's called "behavioural drift", unethical or abusive behaviour "commonly observed in detention and other settings in which individuals have control or power over others' activities of daily living or general functioning".
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Waterboard display at the International Spy Museum
Washington has a tasteless new Spy Museum, and two CIA ruffians, the contract "psychologist" James Mitchell and interrogation-tape destroyer José Rodriguez, have contributed audiovisuals for the museum's popular Guantánamo exhibit, to provide a "balanced" view of the CIA's  at times controversial aggressive debriefings.
The museum's exhibits include demonstration water-boards and a mock-up of the house where Osama bin Laden met his extrajudicial end
It's an upbeat American foil to Lithuania's grim "KGB museum", with its Soviet torture exhibit; Donald Rumsfeld made a solemn pilgrimage there in October 2005, as the CIA tormented Abu Zubaydah nearby.
Postscript:  Donald Trump has nominated an actual torture proponent to lead US human rights policy.