Saturday, December 20, 2014

YES!

The military just announced the release of 4 men to Afghanistan. One of the men is Shawali Khan- the client of my friends Len Goodman and Kent Spriggs. I also had the honor of working  on Shawali's habeas hearing-- I went to Guantanamo to handle Shawali's direct exam from the base while Len and Kent were in the courtroom in DC. Like so many of the men at Guantanamo the fact that Shawali was held for all of these years was a travesty and I wish him the best of luck.
Carol Rosenberg has more here.

The announcement from the military is below.

Detainee Transfer Announced

The Department of Defense announced today the repatriation of Shawali Khan, Khi Ali Gul, Abdul Ghani, and Mohammed Zahir from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
As directed by the president's Jan. 22, 2009, executive order, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted a comprehensive review of this case. As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, these men were unanimously approved for transfer by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force.
In accordance with statutory requirements, the secretary of defense informed Congress of the United States' intent to transfer these individuals and of his determination that this transfer meets the statutory standard.
The United States is grateful to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for its willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to ensure these transfers took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.
Today, 132 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay.



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A NEW ROUTE TO GUANTANAMO OPENED UP

The only way habeas counsel have been able to get to the base to visit clients has been through a small commuter/cargo plane that takes over three hours to get from Ft. Lauderdale to the base (except for a short period of time when the military allowed us to take a military flight--but I never got to experience that travel arrangement as it required flying to the DC area and being available for a flight around 4:30 am---anyway that arrangement did not last very long).
Today the US government has finally decided to resume diplomatic ties with Cuba. The AP has more here. So will we get to fly to mainland Cuba and work our way to the base? Time will tell.
I don't know if we have ever recognized Cuba during my lifetime--I was pretty young during the cuban missile "crisis" and all I remember about that event is the basement bombshelter that my father built so we could hide when the bomb hit.! Anyway I am anxious to visit Cuba and perhaps find a new route to visit my client that does not require flying on a substandard aircraft. This is also very timely as the substandard commuter/cargo airlines has recently restricted the schedule of flights to the base to once a week. That means when we fly to visit our clients we have to stay on the base (on the lawyers side of the base!) for an entire week. It kind of puts a dent on the rest of our work week!
We shall see.....

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Imagine that....

Seems one of the CIA's black sites was right there at Guantanamo. I think that explains alot--it might even explain those deaths back in 1985--the three men who supposedly committed "suicide" on the same night.
Read more here.
It would be nice to read the whole torture report instead of just the summary!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Happy International Human Rights Day......

We of course don't celebrate this particular holiday in these here United States-- but to those of you that are so fortunate as to live in a country that celebrates human rights, have a nice day!

I will note that the U.N. special rapporteur on counterterroism and human rights is celebrating this day by calling on the US to prosecute those responsible for the torture and other human rights violations that were unveiled in yesterdays report.

"The summary of the Feinstein report which was released this afternoon confirms what the international community has long believed - that there was a clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the Bush administration, which allowed to commit systematic crimes and gross violations of international human rights law."

Read his entire statement herehttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/10/un-us-torture_n_6300864.html
Jim White at Emptywheel has more here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Summary of the Torture report has been released

Today the senate released the summary of the torture report. You can find it here. They missed releasing it on international human rights day by a day! It is a big file (500ish pages) and it is heavily redacted. We still have to push for the full report which is several thousands of pages. And of course we still have to push for accountability. These were crimes against humanity and the the torturers and the higher ups (BUSH and CHANEY TO NAME TWO) should pay for these crimes. Sen. Feinstein's summary of the summary is here.
According to Feinstein these are the Key findings:
The study’s 20 findings and conclusions can be grouped into four central themes,
each of which is supported extensively in the Executive Summary: 2
1. The CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” were not effective.
2. The CIA provided extensive inaccurate information about the operation of the
program and its effectiveness to policymakers and the public.
3. The CIA’s management of the program was inadequate and deeply flawed.
4. The CIA program was far more brutal than the CIA represented to policymakers and
the American public.

One of the key findings in my opinion is one shared with bmaz at emptywheel and that is that they knew it was torture and they knew it was illegal before they started and when they were doing it-- and they did it anyway:

Here, from page 33 of the Report, is the language establishing the above:
…drafted a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft asking the Department of Justice for “a formal declination of prosecution, in advance, for any employees of the United States, as well as any other personnel acting on behalf of the United States, who may employ methods in the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah that otherwise might subject those individuals to prosecution. The letter further indicated that “the interrogation team had concluded “that “the use of more aggressive methods is required to persuade Abu Zubaydah to provide the critical information we need to safeguard the lives of innumerable innocent men, women and children within the United States and abroad.” The letter added that these “aggressive methods” would otherwise be prohibited by the torture statute, “apart from potential reliance upon the doctrines of necessity or of self-defense.”
AND BY THE WAY-- THE GOVERNMENT NOW ADMITS THAT ABU ZUBAYDAH  WAS NOT PART OF AL-QUEDA -- they tortured the man and produced false information from the torture that was then used to scare the American people and falsely imprison many others....and now they admit that he was a nothing. I will have more on this later. Meanwhile the Intercept has a very good working summary here.

More on the men released to Uruguay

Free at last.

Read the update here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Preparing for the torture report....

Well I am not sure the summary (the full report is thousands of pages long and we will probably need a crowbar to get that released any time soon) will really be released tomorrow--but that is todays rumor. So, in preparing yourself I suggest you start with emptywheel's  "torture facts" for a little background.

WAR IS OVER.... (if you want it.....)

Well, keeping with all things Kafka that has surrounded Guantanamo let me place this in the hopper-- The U.S. and Nato held a ceremony today ending the "Afghan Mission." I wonder if the shooting will stop? I wonder if the drones will stop flying?  I wonder if that means they will let all of the prisoners of war go home?
Of course none of this will happen.

Read more here about this end of the war.

And of course the war really isn't over. They couldn't even announce the ceremony or have the ceremony on the day the war is really supposed to be over because of the ongoing violence--sometimes referred to as war.

And while you are thinking about the absurdity of this ceremonial end of the war watch this:




The war will only be over when we demand it be over.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Thank You Uruguay- six men transferred yesterday-UPDATED

Department of defense press release:

The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of Ahmed Adnan Ahjam, Ali Hussain Shaabaan, Omar Mahmoud Faraj, Abdul Bin Mohammed Abis Ourgy, Mohammed Tahanmatan, and Jihad Diyab from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to the Government of Uruguay.

As directed by the president's Jan. 22, 2009, executive order, the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force conducted a comprehensive review of this case. As a result of that review, which examined a number of factors, including security issues, these men were unanimously approved for transfer by the six departments and agencies comprising the task force.

In accordance with statutory requirements, the secretary of defense informed Congress of the United States' intent to transfer these individuals and of his determination that this transfer meets the statutory standard.

The United States is grateful to the Government of Uruguay for its willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the Government of Uruguay to ensure these transfers took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.

Today, 136 detainees remain at Guantanamo Bay.


Emptywheel has more here-- including the statement from the attorney for one of the men.
Carol Rosenberg from the Miami Herald has more here
Glenn Greenwald at Intercept has more here. (including a great photoe capsulizing how things never changed from Bush to Obamam.....)

Friday, December 5, 2014

The murder of unarmed people of color in the US...

Every once in a while I go off topic and this is one of those times. Actually there is alot of similarity between the plight of the Guantanamo detainees and the mass incarceration and murder of men of color in this country. In fact, I believe that most of the men at Guantanamo would have been summarily executed by Drone if the drone use was as widespread 13 years ago as Obama has made it now.
So with this in mind I leave you with this musical interlude. I usually post this song on September 10 in rememberance of Biko's murder but it seems very appropriate today.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Transparency---Obama Style

Yes, once again showing his true colors Obama's department of justice filed an emergency motion to keep the force feeding video tapes out of public view---so that the world cannot see the torture inflicted on the men at Guantanamo who have engaged in a hunger strike. Read the spineless motion here.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Updating our unlawful definitions.....

Hats off to hullabaloo.


Secrecy News

DoD Updates Doctrine on “Detainee Operations”

When it comes to Department of Defense doctrine on military treatment of detained persons, “unlawful enemy combatants” are a thing of the past. That term has been retired and replaced by “unprivileged enemy belligerents” in a new revision of Joint Publication 3-13 on Detainee Operations, dated November 13, 2014.
Among other changes, the revised Publication adopts Article 75 of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions which provide minimum standards for humane treatment of detained persons. It also presents expanded discussion of biometric capabilities that are applicable to detainees.
The previous edition of Joint Publication 3-13, published in 2008, is available here for comparison.

European delegation to visit Guantanamo tomorrow....

I can't help but wonder if they will get the usual PR tour given to the press and US politicans. Read more about this visit here.

Friday, November 28, 2014

U.S. not in compliance with Convention Against Torture.......UPDATED

UN panel raps US record on torture--
From Associated Press
November 28, 2014 8:50 AM EST
GENEVA (AP) — A U.N. panel has concluded that the United States falls short of full compliance with an international anti-torture treaty.
The report by the U.N. Committee Against Torture cites police brutality, military interrogations, maximum security prisons, illegal migrants and solitary confinement among areas of concern.
Alessio Bruni of Italy, one of the panel's chief investigators, told reporters Friday in Geneva "there are numerous areas in which certain things should be changed for the United States to comply fully." The U.N. Convention Against Torture took effect in 1987, and the United States ratified it in 1994.

The U.N. committee's 10 independent experts are responsible for reviewing the records of all 156 U.N. member countries that have ratified the treaty against torture and all "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."

THE CONCLUDING OBSERVATIONS CAN BE FOUND HERE.

EMPTYWHEEL HAS MORE HERE.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Talking dog interviews another Gitmo attorney

Click here for the latest talking dog interview. Attorney Jon Eisenberg has been at the forefront of a number of the issues confronting the Guantanamo detainees. His account is both frustrating and inspiring.
Dare I say "happy thanksgiving?"