Sunday, October 31, 2021

This is just some of the torture my country inflicted on men at Guantanamo...

 Again from the New York Time's Carol Rosenberg:

Mr. Khan gained attention with the release of a 2014 study of the C.I.A. program by the Senate Intelligence Committee that said, after he refused to eat, his captors “infused” a purée of his lunch through his anus. The C.I.A. called it rectal refeeding. Mr. Khan called it rape.

The C.I.A. pumped water up the rectum of prisoners who would not follow a command to drink. Mr. Khan said this was done to him with “green garden hoses.”

“They connected one end to the faucet, put the other in my rectum and they turned on the water,” he said, adding that he lost control of his bowels after those episodes and, to this day, has hemorrhoids.

He spoke about failed and sadistic responses to his hunger strikes and other acts of rebellion. Medics would roughly insert a feeding tube up his nose and down his throat. He would try to bite it off and, in at least one instance, he said, a C.I.A. officer used a plunger to force food inside his stomach, a technique that caused stomach cramps and diarrhea.

The intelligence agency declined Thursday to comment on the descriptions offered in the hearing but noted that its detention and interrogation program ended in 2009.

Mr. Khan also said he received beatings while nude and spent long stretches in the dark and in chains — at times shackled to a wall and crouching “like a dog,” or with his arms extended high above his head and chained to a beam inside his cell.

Before the C.I.A. moved him from one prison to another, he said, a medic inserted an enema and then put him in a diaper held in place by duct tape so he would not need a bathroom break during flights. For one brutal transfer, he said, guards used duct tape to blindfold him. Once in his new cell, he removed the diaper but found peeling the tape off his face “especially painful because it ripped off my eyebrows and eyelashes.”

read the rest here.

Friday, October 29, 2021

musical interlude


Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Happy Birthday Talking Dog....

 a mere child!

Some of us use our birthdays to do a real reflection on our lives and our world. I don't count myself in that group but I am so very grateful for my dear friend "the dog" to remind us what is really happening and what is really important.

From the dog's birthday of the plague year post (2nd edition):

Meanwhile, stuff is happening! In hobby-horse news, a GTMO detainee has prevailed in a habeas case for the first time in over a decade. This comes just as the same detainee (and another) were approved for transfer, bringing to 13 the number of men officially held at GTMO even though our government says its OK to release them. Cause for optimism, in that front. Literally 1/3 of the men at GTMO are now “cleared for release” (actual release… pending?), with 12 “eligible for [kangaroo court] military commissions” and 14 still in the “forever prisoner” category. What does this mean in the great scheme of things? Well I’ll tell you.

If we can somehow get it together and clear out and close down GTMO via some mechanism other than the natural death of the last prisoner, it will mean that our government (whichever party pulls it off) has managed to overcome the almost infinite structural obstacles to accomplishing anything constructive, particularly when there are bullshit media elements as well as presumably the Christianist elements of the military industrial complex who are standing in the way. And aside from it being morally and legally necessary to close down one of our premier symbols of “executive overreach” (by which I mean war crimes, torture, racism, etc.), it will at least take away a major “what about your red Indians” talking point by the world’s dictators, who rightly tell us to fuck off when we dare criticize their human rights records.

Read the whole bday post here.

Read the whole thing!!

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Habeas WIN (not my client!) UPDATED

 Federal Judge Mehta has granted the great writ in Asadullah Haroon Gul’s case. All of the details are still classified and we will wait with baited breath to see whether Biden will do the right thing and honor the Court's decision and set Mr. Gul free -- or do as his predecessors have done and fight and appeal. But for now it is a win and for that we are all happy. One of the snags in Mr. GUl's case is that he is Afghani and it is uncertain how he could be returned to his homeland. You can read more about Mr. Gul and his case here.

And for more discussion on what this case means and what could come next read this.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian

 ≈   ≈   ≈

Blowback from the "war on terror" of the early 2000s still affects the supreme court docket: one of the first cases argued in the court's new October term was that of Abu Zubaydah, the long-suffering, much-abused Guantánamo internee

Zubaydah's detention and mistreatment was one of the earliest emanations of that time when George Bush, aided and abetted by congress, effectively blew up the rule of law, and consequently, federal criminal (and sometimes civil) justice: not just through torture, but in the torture cover-up, repeatedly claiming, in shameless bad faith, the so-called state secrets privilege

The Zubaydah case, now in the supreme court, directly confronts the question, how does the privilege apply when the "state secret" - the fact that Poland assisted CIA torture - is not a secret at all

The Poles themselves have already acknowledged their participation and even paid damages to Zubaydah, in the European Court of Human Rights; however, they haven't gone so far as to give tours of the former US torture facilities, as the Taliban are doing in Afghanistan.

An amicus brief filed by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism demonstrates why the case does not in fact involve state secrets, more here, oral argument here

Although the justices appeared unlikely to rule in Zubaydah's favour on the state secrets issue, they seemed genuinely astonished that the prisoner's habeas petition had not been acted upon since 2008

The court will also hear another "state secrets" case this term, involving FBI surveillance.

Nine important cases are already on the supreme court's docket for the October term, including a case in which, surprisingly, public defenders joined the enemy gun camp in opposing New York's concealed-gun regulations

Berkeley law dean Erwin Chemerinsky has a preview of the supreme court's term, and a new book warning of the right-wing court's ominous agenda; the Nation's Ely Mystal, a Harvard lawyer, also paints a bleak view of the likely regressive direction of the court's new conservative supermajority. 

Berkeley's Chemerinsky: court's ominous agenda

In its recent recess orders overturning Biden administration executive orders, so at variance with the court's deferential treatment of Trump's orders, the majority seems to be siding with Republican party policy, issuing transparently partisan decisions; so far, the court has favoured Trump executive orders 28 times compared to zero for Biden. More here

If these shadow docket decisions are any indication, Donald Trump's ideological judicial appointments portend a partisan court that will be anti-progressive, anti-regulatory and pro-corporate, a rubber stamp for Republican causes and initiatives that will last for years.

The court has also weaponised lower court orders of Trump-appointed judges, as in the case of states' meddling in immigration, here and here. The district court judges, both sitting in Texas, ruled in response to red border states who oppose the Biden administration's immigration policies, policies heretofore considered exclusively within the purview of the federal government.

This latest supreme court mischief has only increased calls for judicial reforms, including additional members for the court.


Monday, October 11, 2021

Abu Z at the Supreme Court...

 My friend the Talking Dog has posted about the oral argument at the supreme court last week.

... here is an excerpt.. 

All of which is a long-winded explanation for my fascination with the Supreme Court’s taking up this issue now, at a time when the Biden Administration (like the Obama Administration, and for that matter, Dubya’s Administration) was committed to closing GTMO “if it could.” We will doubtless pass 20 years of GTMO when the decision comes down. Will the Court actually follow the law, and, for example, conclude that holding prisoners of war from the Afghan conflict, at least those who aren’t charged with war crimes, is illegal, now that the Afghan war is finally over? Will the Court find that state secrets does not apply when something is no longer secret nor an actual matter of national security? Let’s just say that my knowledge of the subject tells me that this isn’t how you bet. This Supreme Court, one third of whom was appointed by Donald Trump, might just want to keep the GTMO/Muslim prisoner demonstration project alive and well, in case someone like Trump (or perhaps Trump himself) decides to rev it up again for use against whatever enemies of the state happen to need disappearing.


Saturday, October 2, 2021

wrongful conviction day continued

 No wrongful conviction day would be complete without this song....

Wrongful Conviction Day

 That is the thing, right. There are the wrongly convicted. We have thousands here in the U S of A. I represent a few of them- but there are not enough attorneys with the time and inclination to handle these cases - and so the wrongly convicted sit in prison - trying on there own to represent themselves. But our system is to complicated for them to be successful.

But then there are the Guantanamo prisoners. They are not wrongly convicted because they have not been convicted of anything. The vast majority have never even been charged with any criminal act. 

This is really fucked up.