Category Archives: Guantanamo

Another compromise? Adios due process..

When the congress critters passed the military spending bill Wednesday, they had to know that it included the following provision: None of the Gitmo detainee’s can be tried in US Courts. From Jurist:

The US Senate and the House of Representatives on Wednesday gave final approval to a defense spending bill that includes a provision preventing Guantanamo Bay  detainees from being transferred to the US for trial. The legislation would block Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other accused 9/11 conspirators from being tried in a US civilian court. The bill was approved by the House last week, prompting US Attorney General Eric Holder to send a letter (pdf) to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging them not to include the provision in the spending bill. If signed into law, the ban will remain in place until September 30, the end of the current fiscal year. Also this week, reports have indicated that the Obama administration is considering implementing a periodic review process for detainees being held indefinitely at Guantanamo.

In the first civilian trial of an ex-Guantanamo detainee, a federal jury convicted Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani last month on only one of 285 counts of conspiracy, murder and attempted murder for his involvement in the 1998 bombings of US embassies  in Tanzania and Kenya. While the Obama administration viewed the conviction and 20-year minimum sentence as a victory, opponents have cited the acquittals as evidence that civilian courts are inadequate venues for trying terror suspects. Several scholars have nevertheless maintained that federal courts are capable of serving justice. Upon taking office, President Barack Obama pledged to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay by January 2010, but he has been met with strong congressional opposition to transferring detainees to US soil.

 Even Eric Holder knows that provision is bullshit on a stick. Prisoners deserve due process, instead of that fucking kangaroo court known as the military tribunals. Another good read on Gitmo is this piece at ProPublica which questions a federal court ruling and how one judge’s opinion was whitewashed so as to weaken the judge’s argument. From ProPublica:

Legal scholars and classification experts said the drafting of a second opinion was a deception. All previous opinions in Guantánamo habeas cases have noted when material has been blacked out or removed to protect security.

Stephen Gillers, who teaches legal ethics at New York University School of Law, said Kennedy may well have had a legitimate concern about “national security issues.”

“But that concern then inspired him to participate in the creation of a parallel universe that fools everyone except a small circle of judges. We don’t allow the justice system to create false impressions,” Gillers said.

ProPublica obtained the original version of Kennedy’s opinion when it appeared briefly in the court record and conducted a line-by-line comparison with what was published five weeks later. That comparison, highlighting information that was removed, can be found here.

The Obama administration ain’t a whole lot different that Bush’s when it comes to Gitmo detainees and blaming everything on National Security or those damn terrorists.

Medical personnel helped Bushies torture.

From Jurist:

Medical personnel present as part of the Bush administration’s enhanced interrogations [JURIST news archive] were collecting and analyzing data in order to develop more effective interrogation procedures, according to a report [materials] released Monday by the advocacy group Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) [advocacy website]. The techniques used by the interrogators, including waterboarding [JURIST news archive], sleep deprivation, and prolonged isolation, were recognized as legal if medical personnel were present and responsible for ensuring the legal threshold for “severe physical and mental pain” was not crossed in violation of the US War Crimes Act [text]. The report contends the collection of data was used not to protect the health of the person being interrogated, but rather in an experimental fashion to justify and shape future interrogation procedures. If proven, the use of humans as research subjects would be in violation of the Geneva Conventions, the Nuremburg Code [materials], as well as other national and international laws. PHR also contends that while the Bush administration’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memos [text, PDF] may provide a legal defense against claims of torture, that protection would not extend to claims of human experimentation, stating:

[T]he Bush administration’s legal framework to protect CIA interrogators from violating US statutory and treaty obligations prohibiting torture effectively contravened well-established legal and ethical codes, that, had they been enforced, should have protected prisoners against human experimentation, and should have prevented the “enhanced” interrogation program from being initiated in the first place. There is no evidence that the Office of Legal Counsel ever assessed the lawfulness of the medical monitoring of torture, as it did with the use of the “enhanced” techniques themselves.

The report lists a series of recommendations, including investigations by the US Attorney General, the US Office for Human Research Protection (OHRP), and the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture [official websites]. PHR also calls on the US Congress to amend the War Crimes act to ensure its compliance with the Geneva Convention.
This report is the latest incident in a long string of medical condemnations of Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] and the medical professionals working in it. Last April, the International Committee of the Red Cross [official website] released a report [text, PDF] alleging that medical professionals violated codes of medical ethics [JURIST report] by participating in and assisting in ill-treatment of Guantanamo Bay detainees. In September 2007, doctors from 16 countries wrote a letter [JURIST report] condemning the US military for its treatment of detainees, particularly the policy of force-feeding to counteract hunger strikes. A month earlier, a commentary [text] published in the Journal of the American Medical Association [journal website] asserted that force-feeding was a violation of medical ethics [JURIST report]. 

So much for that medical oath…

One small step for humankind..

A Federal Judge has ordered the release of a Russian gent being held at Gitmo for eight years. From Jurist:

A judge for the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Thursday ordered the release of Russian Guantanamo Bay  detainee Ravil Mingazov. Judge Henry Kennedy Jr ordered the government to “take all necessary and appropriate diplomatic steps to facilitate Mingazov’s release forthwith.” Government lawyers are currently reviewing the 44-page ruling, which has not yet been declassified. Mingazov, a former ballet dancer, was captured in Pakistan in 2002 and turned over to US authorities. The Pentagon claimed he was captured in a raid on a suspected terrorist safe house and that he had attended a terror training camp, but Mingazov denied the claims. Mingazov is seeking release to a country other than Russia, after Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported in 2007 that seven former Guantanamo detainees suffered abuse and torture at the hands of Russian law enforcement agencies following their release from US custody in 2004.

Thursday’s ruling brings to 35 the number of Guantanamo detainees who have prevailed in habeas corpus proceedings in federal court. The government has prevailed in only 13 cases. In March, the DC court denied the habeas petition of Yemeni Guantanamo Bay detainee Makhtar Yahia Naji al Warafi on its merits, allowing the US government to prolong the detention indefinitely. Earlier that month, a federal judge ordered the release of Mauritanian Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who had been accused of planning the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Slahi has been in US custody for over seven years and brought a habeas petition, claiming that he had been tortured in prison and had made confessions under duress. In late February, a DC judge ruled that the government can continue to hold indefinitely two Yemeni Guantanamo Bay detainees, even though Fahmi Salem Al-Assani and Suleiman Awadh Bin Agil Al-Nahdi had been cleared for release by the Bush administration two years ago.

It’s a damn shame that it takes a judge to do the right thing…Wtf ever happened to doing whats right morally? So far 35 prisoners have been prevailed and that is a good thing ain’t it?

Senate passes bill to allow Gitmo prisoners to be tried in US

The yahoo’s in the House passed their version last week. From Jurist:

The US Senate voted 79-19 Tuesday in favor of a bill permitting Guantanamo Bay detainees to be brought to the US for trial. The measure was part of a $42.7 billion spending bill for the US Department of Homeland Security.While the detainees still may not be released on US soil or housed in US jails, the bill requires the Obama administration to develop a plan for the anticipated closure date of Guantanamo Bay in January 2010. Navy Rear Admiral Tom Copeman has announced that he can clear the base of all detainees given only 10 days notice and appropriate logistical support. Meanwhile, a group of retired generals has launched a national ad campaign in support of closing the facility. Tuesday’s bill also extends the life of the E-Verify program, which permits employers to check on the immigration status of their new employees. The bill will now go to President Barack Obama for his signature.

This doesn’t mean the US can now house prisoners in the US proper..Oh hell no..the assholes in congress won’t allow that. My thought is they don’t want the scrutiny that would come with incarcerating them in US prisons.

Obama administration denies UN rights groups access to Gitmo

I would not of believed this if someone had told me about it. I had to read it with my own two eyes. From Jurist:

The US government has turned down requests from two separate UN investigators to visit the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, the Washington Post reported Thursday. UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak and UN special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism Martin Scheinin had each requested access to the facility as well as detailed information about the detention center and detainees. Nowak also requested interviews with several high-value detainees, but the requests were denied. US officials have said they are willing to cooperate with UN investigators but are unable to share secret intelligence information. While UN officials concede that the Obama administration is no longer engaging in many of the controversial practices of the Bush administration, Scheinin indicated that he is concerned that other countries are still citing US policies to justify abusive practices. Also Thursday, US Vice President Joe Biden said that Guantanamo will close by January.

Kinda makes me about you m’dear reader? What do they have to hide? Evidently quite a bit. Same shit just a different administration.

ps..out of town so please bear with me with regard to posting..I have no access to a computer except at night..very late at night.