Guantanamo Bay

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#31
Heres the latest piece of Upside Down land spin:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5069230.stm

Guantanamo suicides a 'PR move'

11 June 2006

A top US official has described the suicides of three detainees at the US base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a "good PR move to draw attention".

Colleen Graffy told the BBC the deaths were part of a strategy and "a tactic to further the jihadi cause", but taking their own lives was unnecessary.

But lawyers say the men who hanged themselves had been driven by despair.

A military investigation into the deaths is under way, amid growing calls for the centre to be moved or closed.

Speaking to the BBC's Newshour programme, Ms Graffy, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy, said the three men did not value their lives nor the lives of those around them.

Detainees had access to lawyers, received mail and had the ability to write to families, so had other means of making protests, she said, and it was hard to see why the men had not protested about their situation.

The men, two Saudis and a Yemeni, were found unresponsive and not breathing by guards on Saturday morning, said officials.

They were in separate cells in Camp One, the highest security section of the prison.

...
And, as Clive Stafford Smith, one of the Human Rights defence lawyers, looking after the interests of the Guanamo detainees, mentioned (on BBC Radio4, the other day), Guantanamo is only a sort of figurehead. There are probably other, secret prisons out there, holding unknown numbers of detainees, under conditions which are completely hidden from outside observers.
 

rynner2

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#32
Detainees had access to lawyers, received mail and had the ability to write to families, so had other means of making protests, she said, and it was hard to see why the men had not protested about their situation.
How nice! I do hope they are allowed conjugal visits as well, and can go down the local shop once a week for some ciggies! 8)


But seriously, if they don't protest, it's clearly because they despair of anything happening, and they probably also believe that anything they write would be censored anyway.

And if they do protest, then someone is preventing us hearing about it.

And what use are lawyers to them when it looks as if they'll never be brought before a legitimate court?
 

GNC

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#33
The American authorities' attitude to these men's deaths has been vile, I thought.
 
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#34
gncxx said:
The American authorities' attitude to these men's deaths has been vile, I thought.
I still remember the Bobby Sands affair.

I was on a kibbutz in Israel, around the time he died and the woman in charge of looking after the volunteers (who'd been in Auschwitz), asked me how they could have let such a thing happen... :(

Probably looked a lot different from inside Britain, at the time.
 

stu neville

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#35
Yep - the line was very definitely of the "(the authorities) will not surrender to attention-seeking blackmail" variety. Even those in the press a bit more sympathetic to Sands' protest spun the "Poor soul, he's just misguided..." line.
 

ted_bloody_maul

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#36
Guantanamo inmate killed himself 'unaware he was due to be freed'


ONE of the three Guantanamo Bay detainees whose suicides were described by American officials as 'a good PR move' was unaware he was due to be released, the US Defence Department has said.

The deaths of Saudi Arabians Mani al-Utaybi and Yassar al-Zahrani, and a Yemeni, Ali Ahmed, who hanged themselves by nooses made from sheets and clothing, led to fresh calls from Europe for the camp to be closed.

An influential US senator has also called for the government to move faster in determining the fate of hundreds of detainees who have been imprisoned for up to over four years with no end in sight.

About 460 people are being held on suspicion of links to al-Qaeda and the Taleban at the camp on an isolated US military base in south-eastern Cuba.

Only ten have been charged and many claim they were not involved in al-Qaeda or were low-level Taleban members who never intended to harm the US.

None of the three who committed suicide early on Saturday had been charged, but the camp commander said killing themselves was an 'act of asymmetric warfare waged against us'. US authorities allege that Ahmed, 28, was a mid to high-level al-Qaeda operative with ties to key al-Qaeda facilitators and senior membership.

Zahrani, 21, was accused of being a frontline fighter for the Taleban who facilitated weapons purchases for its offensives against US and coalition forces.

The US military accused Utaybi of being a member of alleged militant missionary group Jama'at Al Tablighi. But the 30-year-old, born in Al-Qarara, Saudi Arabia, had been due to be freed with 141 other prisoners, according to US lawyer Professor Mark Denbeaux, who represents some of the detainees.

Utaybi been declared a 'safe person' but the US needed a country to send him to, Prof Denbeaux said. 'His despair was great enough and in his ignorance he went and killed himself,' he said. 'A stench of despair hangs over Guantanamo. Everyone is shutting down and quitting.' Prof Denbeaux said he was frightened by the depression he saw in one of the men when he visited the jail on 2 June.

However, the US Defence Department said Utaybi had been recommended for transfer to another country for continued detention.

International demands to close the prison grew over the weekend.

The Danish prime minister, Fogh Rasmussen, who supported the US president, George Bush, in the Iraq war, said the detention centre's procedures violated 'the very principle of the rule of law' and weakened the fight against terrorism.

The EU's External Relations Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, condemned the existence of the camp. 'Guantanamo should be closed. This is an occasion to reiterate that statement,' he said. Cully Stimson, Mr Bush's deputy assistant secretary of defence for detainee affairs, yesterday tried to pull back from the earlier comments about public relations and 'asymmetric warfare'. 'I wouldn't characterise it as a good PR move. What I would say is that we are always concerned when someone takes his own life, because as Americans, we value life, even the lives of violent terrorists who are captured waging war against our country,' he said. Relatives of two Saudi detainees said the men could not have committed suicide because they were strict Muslims.

Islam prohibits suicide and sets out harsh punishments in the afterlife for those who take their own lives. The men's families said they had probably been killed. 'I am confident my son did not commit suicide,' Talal al-Zahrani, Yassar's father, said. 'The story of the US administration is a lie.' Zahrani's brother, Ahmed, also said it was unthinkable that Yassar would kill himself. 'It's impossible for Yassar to commit suicide,' he said. Fares al-Utaibi, Mani's brother, also suspected foul play. 'We are 100 per cent suspicious about his death,' he said. Katib al-Shimary, a lawyer for Saudi detainees at Guantanamo, said he held the US authorities responsible for the deaths. 'We lost confidence in US jails after Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo,' he said. The Saudi government declined to say if it would ask for an inquiry into the deaths but pledged more efforts to bring back all Saudis detained at Guantanamo, estimated at up to 103.

Saudi Arabia has freed at least eight detainees handed over to it from Guantanamo after they completed their jail sentences. In May, the kingdom said it had received 15 Saudi detainees and might put them on trial.

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/interna ... =866682006
 

rynner2

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#37
US Guantanamo tribunals 'illegal'

The US Supreme Court has ruled that the Bush administration does not have the authority to try terrorism suspects by military tribunal.
Justices upheld the challenge by Osama Bin Laden's ex-driver to his trial at Guantanamo, saying the proceedings violated Geneva Conventions.

The ruling is seen as a major blow to President George W Bush - but it does not order the closure of Guantanamo.

Mr Bush said he would respect it but also protect Americans from "killers".

The Cuba-based facility currently holds about 460 inmates, mostly without charge, whom the US suspects of links to al-Qaeda or the Taleban.

Profound implications

Osama Bin Laden's ex-driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, is one of 10 Guantanamo inmates facing a military tribunal.

He launched the proceedings demanding to be tried by a civilian tribunal or court martial, where the prosecution would face more obstacles.

In its ruling, the court said: "Whether or not the government has charged Hamdan with an offence against the law of war, cognisable by a military commission, the commission lacks power to proceed."

"The procedures adopted to try Hamdan also violate the Geneva Conventions," the justices said.

The ruling does not demand the release of prisoners held at Guantanamo but gives the administration an opportunity to come up with another way of trying those held.

The BBC's Nick Miles in Washington says the implications of the decision are profound, as Washington will either have to court-martial the detainees or try them as civilians.

It may end up releasing many prisoners and returning them to their home countries, our correspondent adds.

Five of the nine justices of the US Supreme Court supported the ruling. Three voted against.

Chief Justice John Roberts did not vote because he had judged the case at an earlier stage before joining the Supreme Court.

'Serious look'

One of the dissenters, Justice Clarence Thomas, took the unusual step of reading part of his opinion from the bench, saying the decision would "sorely hamper the president's ability to confront and defeat a new and deadly enemy".

President Bush said he would "look seriously" at the case, adding: "The ruling, as I understand it, won't cause killers to be put out on the street."

He added that he would work with Congress "to determine whether or not the military tribunals will be an avenue in which to give people their day in court".

The decision was welcomed by senior Democratic Senator Carl Levin.

"The Supreme Court has once again demonstrated its vital constitutional role as a check and balance on the actions of the executive and legislative branches of government," he said in a statement.

Mr Hamdan had success in his first legal outing, in the US District Court in Washington, which ruled that he could not face a military trial unless he had previously been found not to be a prisoner of war under the Geneva Convention.

He claims POW status, but like all camp prisoners, he is denied this and is instead designated an "unlawful combatant" by the Bush administration.

However, an appeal court reversed this decision and said Mr Bush had the authority to order the trials.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/5129904.stm
 

rynner2

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#38
An outbreak of moral sense at last?
Senators defy Bush on tribunals

A US Senate committee has defied President George W Bush by approving legislation to set up trials for foreign terrorism suspects.
The panel voted 15-9 to back the bill, which Mr Bush has vowed to block.

Ex-Secretary of State Colin Powell has backed Republicans opposing legislation sponsored by Mr Bush that would allow military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay.

Correspondents say the split within the party risks damaging its prospects in November's mid-term elections.

Four Republican senators joined opposition Democrats on the Armed Services Committee to approve their measure instead of the tougher bill put forward by the president.

The senators argued that Mr Bush's proposals would effectively redefine the Geneva Conventions to allow harsh treatment of detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay camp in Cuba.

The rebels include three prominent senators, John McCain, John Warner and Lindsey Graham, who say Mr Bush's bill would do further damage to America's moral authority.

The three were joined by Mr Powell, who said in a letter that redefining the Geneva Conventions would put American troops at risk.

"The world is beginning to doubt the moral basis of our fight against terrorism," Mr Powell said.

His comments were made public as President Bush made a rare personal visit to Congress in order to lobby on behalf of his bill.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Bush said the stakes were high.

"If there's not clarity, if there's ambiguity... the programme won't go forward and the American people will be endangered," he said.

Trial plans

Congress has two weeks to reach a compromise before it goes into recess ahead of November's mid-term elections.

Correspondents say that if it does not, the status of Guantanamo inmates will remain in limbo - and the Republican split on national security may make it harder for candidates to campaign on an issue they had hoped would be a vote-winner.

The split comes a week after Mr Bush announced plans to resume military tribunals, which were stopped in June.

If Congress approves Mr Bush's plan, the Pentagon's chief prosecutor said suspects including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged architect of the 11 September 2001 attacks, could go on trial within months.

The US Supreme Court has ruled that Mr Bush does not have the authority to order such trials, but left the way open for the president to seek Congressional approval for their resumption.

Pre-trial hearings against 10 suspects at Guantanamo were under way when the Supreme Court issued its ruling against the tribunals.

It said the proceedings violated US and international law governing the treatment of prisoners.

Detainees at Guantanamo Bay are classified as enemy combatants, rather than prisoners-of-war, but the new guidelines will afford them protection under the Geneva Conventions.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/5347564.stm
 

rynner2

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#39
Bush enters Cheney 'torture row'

US President George Bush has reiterated his position that the US administration does not condone torture, following comments by Vice President Dick Cheney.
In a radio interview, Mr Cheney said the simulated drowning of terrorism suspects during questioning in order to save American lives was a "no-brainer".

His comments have provoked outrage from anti-torture and human rights groups.

When asked about the remark, President Bush said that the United States does not use torture and was not going to.

The BBC's Matt Wells in Washington says Mr Cheney's comment was made on Tuesday but only came to light on Friday, exacerbated by a stormy and confrontational White House press briefing.

The conservative radio host, Scott Hennen, asked Mr Cheney if he agreed that "a dunk in water is a no-brainer" if it would unearth information of pending attacks and save lives.

Mr Cheney replied: "Well, it's a no-brainer for me." He went on to say that he was not condoning torture but said you can have a robust interrogation programme without torture.

'Off limits'

Mr Cheney is assumed by human rights groups to have been referring to "water boarding" - a technique in which suspects are made to think that they are drowning.

When asked about the vice-president's comments, Mr Bush said the administration had no intention of torturing suspects, but he has repeatedly refused to specify which techniques are being used.

The White House gave the impression that water boarding would be off limits in pushing through a controversial terror bill just a few weeks ago, our correspondent says.

The US executive director of Amnesty International said Mr Cheney's gaffe revealed the US administration's true intentions for prisoner interrogation in the future.

"What's really a no-brainer is that no US official, much less a vice president, should champion torture," said Larry Cox.

US interrogation techniques have been under the spotlight since evidence emerged of detainee abuse in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the existence of secret CIA prisons.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6093298.stm
 

ted_bloody_maul

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#40
Guantanamo set to release MI5 go-between


A FORMER public schoolboy held at Guantanamo Bay for more than three years after acting as a go-between for MI5 could be returned to Britain by the spring, according to diplomatic sources.

Lawyers for Bisher al-Rawi, a former student at Millfield, have been told by British officials that he could be free within four months. His supporters claim he is slowly going insane at the maximum security American prison for terror suspects and fear that he might try to harm himself if he is not released sooner.

This week, to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the opening of the prison in Cuba, Ed Davey, a Liberal Democrat frontbencher, will use a parliamentary debate to call on Tony Blair to raise al-Rawi's case with President George W Bush.

Al-Rawi, 38, an Iraqi national who has lived in Britain since 1985, is one of up to 10 former British residents being held at Guantanamo Bay.

The Americans have accused him of being associated with Al-Qaeda and Abu Qatada, a radical Muslim cleric who has been described as Osama Bin Laden's European ambassador.

Al-Rawi claims that he was approached by MI5 in London to act as an unpaid intermediary with the preacher, who is in a British jail pending deportation to his native Jordan.

He told his lawyers: "All I did in Britain was try to help with the steps necessary to get a meeting with Abu Qatada and the MI5. I was trying to bring them together. The MI5 would give me messages to take to Abu Qatada, and Abu Qatada would give me messages to take back to them." Last year Jack Straw, the former foreign secretary, wrote to Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, appealing for al-Rawi's release. It is believed that the Americans are coming round to the view that he poses little threat.

Al-Rawi and Jamil al-Banna, a Jordanian refugee, were initially arrested in Gambia in November 2002, where they had planned to set up a peanut-oil processing factory.

The pair were handed over to a CIA "rendition" squad and flown to Afghanistan - where both claim they were abused - before being sent to Guantanamo Bay.

Al-Rawi has since been interrogated by MI5 officers and is held in isolation in Camp V, where he claims to have been subjected to hot and freezing temperatures.

Zachary Katznelson, a London-based lawyer who visited al-Rawi last November, said in a declassified statement: "His extended isolation and the harsh conditions of confinement are causing him severe mental distress and may have a lasting negative psychological impact." Brent Mickum, al-Rawi's US lawyer, said: "What (officials) are saying is that it could take another four months (for his release). But I don't think Bisher has another four months." The Foreign Office said: "Negotiations are still ongoing for al-Rawi's release."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0, ... 39,00.html
 

Kondoru

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#41
Im still bothered about the Cuban governments role in all this.

They dont seem to have benifited....were they threatened in any way?
 

Quake42

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#42
Im still bothered about the Cuban governments role in all this.
They have no role. Guantanamo is not part of the state of Cuba. It was leased to the US many years ago.

The base features in "A Few Good Men" and shows the claustrophobia of those posted there knowing that "the enemy" is right across the wire.
 

crunchy5

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#43
The lease has been up for many years and the Cuban govt has tried many times to persuade the US to leave, but they just keep on adding insult to injury by sending a derisory 50s style rent cheque like the snide bullies they are. Makes me a bit suspicious of all the drama in the Cuban missile "crisis" when you consider that at the time the 2nd biggest US over seas base was in Cuba and they could've invaded and got rid of the missiles any time they wanted.
 

rynner2

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#44
Guantanamo is still a monstrous carbuncle on the nose of American world standing in respect of human rights.
Guantanamo inmates denied trial
By Genèvieve Roberts
Published: 21 February 2007

Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay cannot challenge their detention in US courts, an appeal court has ruled.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled 2-1 that civilian courts no longer have the authority to consider whether the military is illegally holding the prisoners, a decision that will strip court access for the hundreds of detainees with cases currently pending. The White House deputy press secretary, Dana Perino, said the decision was "a significant win" for the Bush administration.

Lawyers for the detainees said they would appeal to the US Supreme Court, which last year struck down the Bush administration's plan for trying detainees before military commissions. "We're disappointed," said Shayana Kadidal of the Centre for Constitutional Rights. "The bottom line is that according to two of the federal judges, the President can do whatever he wants without any legal limitations as long as he does it offshore."

There are currently some 395 detainees at the US military base in Cuba.

The Military Commissions Act, which Mr Bush pushed through Congress last year, allows the government to detain foreigners who have been designed as "enemy combatants" to be detained indefinitely and authorises the CIA to use aggressive but undefined interrogation tactics.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/ame ... 290116.ece
 

rynner2

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#45
Guantanamo conditions 'worsening'

Conditions for detainees at the US military jail at Guantanamo Bay are deteriorating, with the majority held in solitary confinement, a report says.
Amnesty International said the often harsh and inhumane conditions at the camp were "pushing people to the edge".

It called for the facility to be closed and for plans for "unfair" military commission trials to be abandoned.

Many of the 385 inmates have been held for five years or more, unable to mount a legal challenge to their detention.

"While the United States has an obligation to protect its citizens... that does not relieve the United States from its responsibilities to comply with human rights," the report said.

"Statements by the Bush administration that these men are 'enemy combatants,' 'terrorists' or 'very bad people' do not justify the complete lack of due process rights," the group said.

Amnesty reiterated its call for detainees at the prison camp in Cuba - many of whom are suspected Taleban and al-Qaeda fighters - to be released or charged and sent to trial.

'Already in despair'

The report, published on Thursday, said about 300 detainees are now being held at a new facility - known as Camp 5, Camp 6 and Camp Echo - comparable to "super-max" high security units in the US.

The group said the facility had "created even harsher and apparently more permanent conditions of extreme isolation and sensory deprivation".

It said the detainees were reportedly confined to windowless cells for 22 hours a day, only allowed to exercise at night and could go for days without seeing daylight.

The organisation's UK director, Kate Allen, described the process at Guantanamo as "a travesty of justice".

"With many prisoners already in despair at being held in indefinite detention... some are dangerously close to full-blown mental and physical breakdown.

"The US authorities should immediately stop pushing people to the edge with extreme isolation techniques and allow proper access for independent medical experts and human rights groups."

'Serving justice'

The provision that stripped detainees of their right to mount a legal challenge to their confinement was upheld by a US federal appeals court in Washington in February.

Pushing the anti-terror legislation through Congress last year, Mr Bush said he needed the new law to bring terror suspects to justice.

It allows for the indefinite detention of people as "enemy combatants".

The US has said it plans to use the military tribunal system to prosecute about 80 of 385 prisoners remaining at the camp.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6526589.stm
Makes Iran seem positively benevolent, doesn't it?
 

ted_bloody_maul

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#46
rynner said:
Makes Iran seem positively benevolent, doesn't it?
I'm not sure that the indigenous political detainess in Iran would neccessarily agree (or non-conformist women, for that matter).
 
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#47
ted_bloody_maul said:
rynner said:
Makes Iran seem positively benevolent, doesn't it?
I'm not sure that the indigenous political detainess in Iran would neccessarily agree (or non-conformist women, for that matter).
No. But Gitmo sure lowers the tone of the Moral High Ground.
 

ted_bloody_maul

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#48
Pietro_Mercurios said:
ted_bloody_maul said:
rynner said:
Makes Iran seem positively benevolent, doesn't it?
I'm not sure that the indigenous political detainess in Iran would neccessarily agree (or non-conformist women, for that matter).
No. But Gitmo sure lowers the tone of the Moral High Ground.
Likewise the moral tone of those who would excuse Iranian conditions to have another stab at America.
 

rynner2

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#49
ted_bloody_maul said:
................
Likewise the moral tone of those who would excuse Iranian conditions to have another stab at America.
If America wishes to avoid such 'stabs', it should ensure that its behaviour is well above that of regimes it affects to disapprove of.

Personally, I don't excuse any human rights transgressions, and my remark about Iran was clearly ironic, given its timing, which coincided with the Iranian release of the UK hostages, described as a 'gift' to the British people.

(Hey, I stole your gold watch, but I offer it back to you as a gift...! :roll: )
 

rynner2

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#50
Guantanamo Bay prisoners' lawyers condemn Bush administration
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
Published: 27 April 2007

Lawyers representing some of the hundreds of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay have angrily condemned efforts by the Bush administration to make it more difficult for them to visit their clients. The lawyers say restrictions already in place make their jobs all but impossible.

The US Justice Department has requested that a federal court impose tighter restrictions on the lawyers, claiming their visits with prisoners have "caused intractable problems and threats to security at Guantánamo". In a brief to the court the department claims information passed from prisoners to their lawyers and then given to the media.

Lawyers representing some of the 385 prisoners still held at the US Naval base on Cuba yesterday reacted angrily to the accusations leveled by the department. They said what was really driving the request was the US government's desire to further diminish the already severely limited scrutiny that Guantanamo receives.

Clive Stafford Smith, legal director of the UK-based group Reprieve which represents several dozen prisoners, said of the claims: "They say the lawyers have caused unrest, they say we have caused hunger strikes. This is monumental crap. They say we are inciting them. Of course, we have talked to them about their hunger strikes – that is our jobs. But the hunger strikes are done in reaction to their treatment. And any information we gather has to go through the censors."

He added: "This is being done to stop information coming out of Guantanamo. It's being done to stop any journalists finding out what they did to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others." Under the proposals, filed earlier this month in Washington DC, lawyers would be restricted to just three visits with an existing client, correspondence they sent to their clients would be vetted by military intelligence officers and government officials would be empowered to prevent lawyers from having access to secret evidence used by military tribunals to decide whether the prisoners were "enemy combatants".

Ever since the prison opened in January 2002 – established to hold alleged suspects rounded up in the so-called war on terror – Guantanamo Bay has been the focus of controversy and countless claims of abuse and torture.

Three British prisoners who were eventually released without charge said they were abused and mistreated.The Bush administration has sought to restrict the amount of information available about the prisoners and their treatment. When alleged 9/11 plotters Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other "high value targets" went before tribunals to assess their status in March, all lawyers and journalists were banned from the proceedings on the grounds of national security. Mr Mohammed - who according to a Pentagon transcript of the proceedings claimed responsibility for a series of terror attacks - said he had suffered abuse at the hands of the CIA.

A Justice Department spokesman yesterday declined to comment on the request, saying the filing to the court should speak for itself. Part of that filing claimed: "There is no right on the part of counsel to access to detained aliens on a secure military base in a foreign country."

But lawyers said the government was trying to refuse the prisoners a basic legal right. Jonathan Hafetz of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, told the New York Times: "These rules are an effort to restore Guantánamo to its prior status as a legal black hole."

Campaigners have long been fighting for the prisoners to be brought to trial or else released. They appeared to have won a victory last summer when the Supreme Court ruled that they had the right to challenge their detention. However, the Bush administration passed new legislation to circumvent the ruling :evil:

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/ame ... 487102.ece
 
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#51
rynner said:
Guantanamo Bay prisoners' lawyers condemn Bush administration
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
Published: 27 April 2007

Lawyers representing some of the hundreds of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay have angrily condemned efforts by the Bush administration to make it more difficult for them to visit their clients. The lawyers say restrictions already in place make their jobs all but impossible.

...

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/ame ... 487102.ece
I heard an interview with Clive Stafford Smith, on either, BBC Radio4, or the World Service, this morning. He pointed out that 96% of these 'black hole' prisoners aren't being held at Guantanamo, but are being held in the other secret prisons around the World.

Guantanamo is only the showcase prison, the side of illegal detentions that the US allows the World to see, if only partially.

By the official figures, there are at least 16,000 other illegal prisoners in custody. Based on the estimates from 'Gitmo,' a huge, overwhelming, percentage of these people are almost certainly innocent of any of the crimes that they have been accused of.
 

rynner2

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#52
Guantanamo Saudi 'kills himself'

A Saudi Arabian prisoner has died in an apparent suicide at the US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, the US military has said.
A statement by the US Southern Command said the inmate was found unresponsive and not breathing by guards, and attempts to revive him failed.

Two Saudis and a Yemeni prisoner were found hanged in an apparent suicide at the camp in June last year.

There are about 380 prisoners at the camp, some held for five years.

'Appropriate care'

There were no details as to how the prisoner died. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating the incident.

"The detainee was found unresponsive and not breathing in his cell by guards," the statement said.

"The detainee was pronounced dead by a physician after all lifesaving measures had been exhausted."

A cultural adviser was working with the military to ensure that the prisoner's remains were handled "in a culturally sensitive and religiously appropriate manner", Southern Command said.

The president of the US Center for Constitutional Rights, Michael Ratner, told the Associated Press news agency the death was likely an act of desperation.

"You have five-and-a-half years of desperation there with no legal way out," Mr Ratner said.

'Unfair' trials

The death came just days before two detainees - Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni, and Omar Khadr, a Canadian - were due to face trial before a US military tribunal on charges of war crimes.

On Wednesday, Mr Khadr fired his American lawyers, leaving him without representation for Monday's hearing.

Mr Khadr's former lawyer, Marine Lt Col Colby Vokey, said his former client was being held under a process that was "patently unfair".

"He doesn't trust American lawyers, and I don't particularly blame him," Lt Col Vokey said.

Mr Hamdan won a landmark case last year when the US Supreme Court ruled the military tribunal system illegal.

The decision forced US President George W Bush to return to Congress to authorise the tribunals.

Inmates at the Guantanamo Bay facility are not protected by the Geneva Conventions covering prisoners of war, the US says, as it describes them as "unlawful enemy combatants".

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6706635.stm

No wonder the world hates America... :(
 

rynner2

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#55
Guantanamo military lawyer breaks ranks to condemn 'unconscionable' detention
By Leonard Doyle in Washington
Published: 27 October 2007

An American military lawyer and veteran of dozens of secret Guantanamo tribunals has made a devastating attack on the legal process for determining whether Guantanamo prisoners are "enemy combatants".

The whistleblower, an army major inside the military court system which the United States has established at Guantanamo Bay, has described the detention of one prisoner, a hospital administrator from Sudan, as "unconscionable".

His critique will be the centrepiece of a hearing on 5 December before the US Supreme Court when another attempt is made to shut the prison down. So nervous is the Bush administration of the latest attack – and another Supreme Court ruling against it – that it is preparing a whole new system of military courts to deal with those still imprisoned.

The whistleblower's testimony is the most serious attack to date on the military panels, which were meant to give a fig- leaf of legitimacy to the interrogation and detention policies at Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. The major has taken part in 49 status review panels.

"It's a kangaroo court system and completely corrupt," said Michael Ratner, the president of the Centre for Constitutional Rights, which is co-ordinating investigations and appeals lawsuits against the government by some 1,000 lawyers. "Stalin had show trials, but at Guantanamo they are not even show trials because it all takes place in secret."

Combatant Status Review Tribunals were held for 558 detainees at the Guantanamo in 2004 and 2005. All but 38 detainees were determined to be "enemy combatants" who could be held indefinitely without charges. Detainees were not represented by a lawyer and had no access to evidence. The only witnesses they could call were other so-called "enemy combatants".

The army major has said that in the rare circumstances in which it was decided that the detainees were no longer enemy combatants, senior commanders ordered another panel to reverse the decision. The major also described "acrimony" during a "heated conference" call from Admiral McGarragh, who reports to the Secretary of the US Navy, when a the panel refused to describe several Uighur detainees as enemy combatants. Senior military commanders wanted to know why some panels considering the same evidence would come to different findings on the Uighurs, members of a Muslim minority in China.

When the whistleblower suggested over the phone that inconsistent results were "good for the system ... and would show that the system was working correctly", Admiral McGarragh, he said, had no response. The latest criticism emerged when lawyers investigating the case of a Sudanese hospital administrator, Adel Hamad, who has been held for five years, came across a "stunning" sworn statement from a member of the military panel. The officer they interviewed was so frightened of retaliation from the military that they would not allow their name to be used in the statement, nor to reveal whether the person was a man or woman.

Two other military lawyers have also gone public. In June, Army Lt-Col Stephen Abraham, a 26-year veteran in US military intelligence, became the first insider to publicly fault the proceedings. In May last year, Lt-Com Matthew Diaz was sentenced to six months in prison and dismissed from the military after he sent the names of all 551 men at the prison to a human rights group.

William Teesdale, a British-born lawyer investigating Mr Hadad's case, said he was certain of his client's innocence, having tracked down doctors who worked with him at an Afghan hospital. "Mr Hamad is an innocent man, and he is not the only one in Guantanamo."

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/ame ... 101949.ece

Ain't Western democracy wonderful..... :roll:
 

rynner2

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#56
...but, sadly, there are precedents: eg:-

Supreme Court showdown on detainees
By Paul Reynolds
World affairs correspondent, BBC News website

The US Supreme Court is holding a hearing on Wednesday in two cases that are being seen as a legal showdown over the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba.

The cases challenge the removal by an act of Congress of the prisoners' right of habeas corpus to take their cases to US civilian courts.

If the court rules in favour of the prisoners, indefinite detention under military control at Guantanamo Bay could be declared unlawful.

The prisoners whose names have gone forward in these test cases are Lakhdar Boumediene and Fawzi al-Odah.

The first is an Algerian turned Bosnian who went to Bosnia during the civil war and stayed on. He was arrested on suspicion of planning an attack on the US embassy there but was released and then, according to his lawyers, grabbed by US agents and secretly flown to Guantanamo Bay.

The second is a teacher from Kuwait who was picked up in Pakistan.

A 17th Century example

However another, more ghostly, figure will also feature in the case.

This is Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, who was one of Charles II's henchmen after the restoration of the monarchy in England in the 17th Century. Briefs for both sides in the Supreme Court hearing mention his activities.

Clarendon set up his own Guantanamo Bay, believed to have been in Jersey, in the hope that his prisoners could be kept away from the courts and in particular from the right of habeas corpus.

This is an ancient procedure in which a court can order someone holding a prisoner to bring him or her to court to justify the detention.

In the end, he failed and was himself impeached before fleeing abroad.


The administration had hoped, too, that, by choosing a remote location in Cuba, it would avoid the scrutiny of American courts.

However, in an important case called Rasul v Bush in 2004, the Supreme Court held that prisoners, even though foreign and even though in a far away place, could petition US courts under habeas corpus.

So to try to get around this, in 2006 the administration proposed, and Congress passed, the Military Commissions Act (MCA).

This removed the habeas corpus right. And it is this Act which is being challenged in the Supreme Court.

Arguments for the prisoners

Lawyers for the petitioners (that is the prisoners) argue in their brief: "The Founders of our nation created a Constitution dedicated to the protection of liberty, not one that turns a blind eye to indefinite detention without a meaningful opportunity to be heard."

They say that habeas corpus does extend to Guantanamo Bay because, even though the territory is not under formal US sovereignty, it is under US control
.

"The MCA's purported repeal of habeas is unconstitutional," they argue.

Arguments for the government

US government lawyers under the solicitor general, who argues government cases in the court, have responded by saying in their brief that the US does not own Guantanamo Bay and therefore the writ of habeas corpus does not run there.

"As aliens held outside the sovereign territory of the United States, petitioners do not enjoy any rights [under the habeas corpus clause of the US constitution]," they state.

The government further argues: "The Military Commissions Act of 2006 validly divested the District Court of jurisdiction over petitioners' habeas corpus petitions."

Dazzling display

The arguments will be heard in a one-hour session during which the justices of the Supreme Court pepper and interrupt the lawyers with questions designed to test them and trip them up.

It is often a dazzlingly learned hearing and the lawyers for both sides have to be wary of making mistakes and of being found ignorant and wanting.
:shock:

The court then issues its ruling some months later.

In this case, the stakes are higher than usual - the future of Guantanamo Bay.

The Earl of Clarendon would be fascinated. 8)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7127194.stm

So, if Clarendon was impeached back then, who should be impeached in our times...? :twisted:
 
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#57
Something long suspected and now apparently confirmed.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/19/guantanamo.usa

Top Bush aides pushed for Guantánamo torture

Senior officials bypassed army chief to introduce interrogation methods

Richard Norton-Taylor. The Guardian, Saturday April 19 2008

America's most senior general was "hoodwinked" by top Bush administration officials determined to push through aggressive interrogation techniques of terror suspects held at Guantánamo Bay, leading to the US military abandoning its age-old ban on the cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners, the Guardian reveals today.

General Richard Myers, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff from 2001 to 2005, wrongly believed that inmates at Guantánamo and other prisons were protected by the Geneva conventions and from abuse tantamount to torture.

The way he was duped by senior officials in Washington, who believed the Geneva conventions and other traditional safeguards were out of date, is disclosed in a devastating account of their role, extracts of which appear in today's Guardian.

In his new book, Torture Team, Philippe Sands QC, professor of law at University College London, reveals that:

· Senior Bush administration figures pushed through previously outlawed measures with the aid of inexperienced military officials at Guantánamo.

· Myers believes he was a victim of "intrigue" by top lawyers at the department of justice, the office of vice-president Dick Cheney, and at Donald Rumsfeld's defence department.

· The Guantánamo lawyers charged with devising interrogation techniques were inspired by the exploits of Jack Bauer in the American TV series 24.

· Myers wrongly believed interrogation techniques had been taken from the army's field manual.

The lawyers, all political appointees, who pushed through the interrogation techniques were Alberto Gonzales, David Addington and William Haynes. Also involved were Doug Feith, Rumsfeld's under-secretary for policy, and Jay Bybee and John Yoo, two assistant attorney generals.


The revelations have sparked a fierce response in the US from those familiar with the contents of the book, and who are determined to establish accountability for the way the Bush administration violated international and domestic law by sanctioning prisoner abuse and torture.

The Bush administration has tried to explain away the ill-treatment of detainees at Guantánamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq by blaming junior officials. Sands' book establishes that pressure for aggressive and cruel treatment of detainees came from the top and was sanctioned by the most senior lawyers.

Myers was one top official who did not understand the implications of what was being done. Sands, who spent three hours with the former general, says he was "confused" about the decisions that were taken.

Myers mistakenly believed that new techniques recommended by Haynes and authorised by Rumsfeld in December 2002 for use by the military at Guantánamo had been taken from the US army field manual. They included hooding, sensory deprivation, and physical and mental abuse.

"As we worked through the list of techniques, Myers became increasingly hesitant and troubled," writes Sands. "Haynes and Rumsfeld had been able to run rings around him."

Myers and his closest advisers were cut out of the decision-making process. He did not know that Bush administration officials were changing the rules allowing interrogation techniques, including the use of dogs, amounting to torture.

"We never authorised torture, we just didn't, not what we would do," Myers said. Sands comments: "He really had taken his eye off the ball ... he didn't ask too many questions ... and kept his distance from the decision-making process."

Larry Wilkerson, a former army officer and chief of staff to Colin Powell, US secretary of state at the time, told the Guardian: "I do know that Rumsfeld had neutralised the chairman [Myers] in many significant ways.

"The secretary did this by cutting [Myers] out of important communications, meetings, deliberations and plans.

"At the end of the day, however, Dick Myers was not a very powerful chairman in the first place, one reason Rumsfeld recommended him for the job".

He added: "Haynes, Feith, Yoo, Bybee, Gonzalez and - at the apex - Addington, should never travel outside the US, except perhaps to Saudi Arabia and Israel. They broke the law; they violated their professional ethical code. In future, some government may build the case necessary to prosecute them in a foreign court, or in an international court."
Crooks, sadists and worse: buck passing scum and lawyers.
 

OneWingedBird

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#58
as i've probably said before, a friend of mine used to say that solicitors are like prostitutes... they'll do anything if you pay them enough money :(
 
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#59
BlackRiverFalls said:
as i've probably said before, a friend of mine used to say that solicitors are like prostitutes... they'll do anything if you pay them enough money :(
These are worse. They're fanatics. :(
 
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#60
Situation Normal: All Fucked Up

Disappearing evidence.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/21/guantanamo.humanrights


Torture victim's records lost at Guantánamo, admits camp general

. No evidence of al-Qaida suspect's interrogation
· CCTV automatically recorded over tapes

Elana Schor in Washington. The Guardian, April 21 2008

The former head of interrogations at Guantánamo Bay found that records of an al-Qaida suspect tortured at the prison camp were mysteriously lost by the US military, according to a new book by one of Britain's top human rights lawyers.

Retired general Michael Dunlavey, who supervised Guantánamo for eight months in 2002, tried to locate records on Mohammed al-Qahtani, accused by the US of plotting the 9/11 attacks, but found they had disappeared.

The records on al-Qahtani, who was interrogated for 48 days - "were backed up ... after I left, there was a snafu and all was lost", Dunlavey told Philippe Sands QC, who reports the conversation in his book Torture Team, previewed last week by the Guardian. Snafu stands for Situation Normal: All Fucked Up.

Saudi-born al-Qahtani was sexually taunted, forced to perform dog tricks and given enemas at Guantánamo.

The CIA admitted last year that it destroyed videotapes of al-Qaida suspects being interrogated at a secret "black site" in Thailand. No proof has so far emerged that tapes of interrogations at Guantánamo were destroyed, but Sands' report suggests the US may have also buried politically sensitive proof relating to abuse by interrogators at the prison camp.

Other new evidence has also emerged in the last month that raises questions about destroyed tapes at Guantánamo.

Cameras that run 24 hours a day at the prison were set to automatically record over their contents, the US military admitted in court papers. It is unclear how much, if any, prisoner mistreatment was on the taped-over video, but the military admitted that the automatic erasure "likely destroyed" potential evidence in at least one prisoner's case.

The erased tapes may have violated a 2005 court order to preserve "all evidence [of] the torture, mistreatment and abuse of detainees" at Guantánamo. The order was retroactive, so it also applies to the 2003 loss of al-Qahtani's records.

Lawyers representing other Guantánamo detainees are asking whether tapes of their clients' treatment may also be erased. "You can't just destroy relevant evidence," said Jonathan Hafetz, of the Brennan Centre for Justice in New York.


David H Remes, a lawyer for 16 Guantánamo prisoners, said the CIA's destruction of interrogation videos shows the US government is capable of getting rid of potentially incriminating evidence.

"[In Guantánamo] the government had a system that automatically overwrote records," Remes told the Guardian. "That is a passive form of evidence destruction. If a party has destroyed evidence in one place, there's no reason to assume it has preserved evidence in another place."

More than 24,000 interrogations were videotaped at Guantánamo, according to a US army report unearthed by researchers at Seton Hall University in New Jersey.

The US military office at Guantánamo did not return a request for comment from the Guardian about its taping policies.
 
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