Tag: Guantanamo (page 3)

Guantanamo Detainee Sues for Public Release of Torture Tapes

Mohammed al Qahtani, from Saudi Arabia, has been detained at Guantanamo for 10 years. This week the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit on his behalf seeking public release of his videotaped abusive interrogations.

Mr. al Qahtani’s treatment – which included a litany of abusive techniques ranging from severe sleep deprivation, 20-hour interrogations, isolation, threats by military dogs, exposure to extreme temperatures and religious and sexual humiliation - was partially detailed in a military interrogation log leaked to Time Magazine on March 2, 2006. As a result of this treatment, the senior U.S. official in charge of military commissions determined that U.S. personnel tortured Mr. al Qahtani. Mr. al Qahtani’s attorneys have viewed some of the tapes but are not allowed to discuss the contents. The lawsuit argues it is crucial for the public interest that the tapes be publicly released.


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ACLU Crunches Guantanamo Numbers

The ACLU today published this handy graphic after crunching the numbers on Guatanamo detainees.

Among the stats:

  • 92% of the detainees were never al-Qaeda fighters. 86% were turned over to coalition forces for a bounty. Only 5% were captured by U.S. soldiers.
  • Number of children detained at Gitmo: 21 (the youngest was 13.)
  • The oldest detainee was 98.
  • More than 200 FBI agents reported abusive treatment of detainees
  • At least 16 were tortured in overseas secret prisons before getting to Gitmo
  • 8 detainees have died. 6 were suicides, including a detainee who arrived at Gitmo at age 16 and killed himself at age 21.

There are 171 detainees still at Guantanamo. 89 have been cleared for release. The amount it costs per year to keep the 89 detained at Gitmo: $70 million.

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From Guantanamo to Provence, FR: Boumiediene Tells His Story

Guantanamo will turn 10 years old Wednesday -- it was January 11, 2002 that the first 20 detainees arrived. In the New York Times, Akhdar Boumediene, imprisoned there for 7 years, now living in Provence, France with his wife and children, tells his story.

Boumediene has left his mark on Supreme Court jurisprudence. In his case (opinion here), the Supreme Court ruled that those imprisoned at Gitmo are entitled to their day in court.

Petitioners have the constitutional privilege of habeas corpus. They are not barred from seeking the writ or invoking the Suspension Clause’s protections because they have been designated as enemy combatants or because of their presence at Guantanamo.


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Obama Signs Indefinite Detention Bill Into Law

President Obama today signed into the National Defense Authorization Act, which contains the controversial and objectionable provisions on indefinite detention and restrictions on transfers of detainees from Guantanamo. He issued a signing statement with it that doesn't ameliorate the damage.

The ACLU says:

While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration would use the authorities granted by the NDAA, and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations.


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Guantanamo Commander Seeks Access to Attorney-Client Mail

Guantanamo Commander, Navy rear Adm. David Woods, has sent a 27 page memo to defense lawyers representing clients charged in military commission proceedings which includes a provision that attorney-client mail will be submitted to a security review.

The memo asked the lawyers to sign and approve the the memo within 48 hours. Instead, the lawyers filed an objection.

The defense objection, filed December 19, is listed on the Guantanamo docket "Defense Motion to Bar JTF-GTMO from Interfering with the Defendant's Right to Receive Confidential Legal Mail and Access to the Courts". The site says it is undergoing a security review. If deemed publically releasable, it will be made available to the public 15 business days after the document was filed with the court.

The next hearing in al-Nashiri's case is Jan. 12. On Dec. 21, Gitmo sent out this invitation to the press to attend.

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Al-Nashiri Hearing at Guantanamo: What Happens If He's Acquitted?

As Guantanamo detainee Abd al-Rahim Hussein Muhammed Abdu Al-Nashiri is arraigned on capital charges of masterminding al Qaida's 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, lawyers are also arguing some important motions. Chief among them is: If al-Nashiri is acquitted, will he be released? Miami Herald Reporter Carol Rosenberg is live-tweeting the proceedings. Here's a handy twitter link to many of the reporters' live tweets in one place.

What are the possible outcomes of al-Nashiri's trial? If there are only 3, guilty and a death sentence, guilty and a sentence less than death, acquittal followed by indefinite detention, probably for life, why bother with a trial? A trial with no possibility of release is nothing but a show trial.

The defense argues that the military jury that will decide al-Nashiri's fate should be told that an acquittal means continued incarceration, if that's the case. Its motion is here. [More...]

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Guantanamo: Most Expensive Prison on the Planet

Carol Rosenberg of McClatchy reports on the cost of housing inmates at Guantanamo in the Miami Herald. It costs $800,000 a year to house one detainee, according to a letter Eric Holder and Leon Pannetta sent Congress this summer. There are 171 detainees still at Guantanamo.

Congress, determined to keep Gitmo open, authorized provided $139 million for its operation last year. Why isn't it under consideration for part of the $1.5 trillion budget cut?

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Navy Offers $3 Mil Contract for Updating Guantanamo Bowling Alley

This has been the worst week for the stock market since 2008.

The Dow lost 6.4 percent for the week, its biggest drop since the week that ended Oct. 10, 2008, when it fell 18 percent. That was at the height of the financial crisis.

Investors fear a recession or worse. The Administration is out pushing its deficit/jobs plan and telling us there are hard choices to make.

Yesterday, the Navy published a notice seeking a contractor to repair the bowling alley, youth center and Liberty Center at Guantanamo, at a cost of $3 million. (Note, this is not for the detainees, but the military employees.) [More...]

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AG Holder Says Obama Will Still Try to Close Guantanamo

In Brussels, Attorney General Eric Holder said Obama remains committed to closing Guantanamo despite Republican opposition. If he doesn't get it done before the election, he'll keep trying after.

"We will be pressing for the closure of the facility between now and then - and after that election, we will try to close it as well," Holder said. "Some people have made this a political issue without looking at, I think, the real benefits that would flow from the closure of the facility."

He also said there will be no return to harsh interrogation techniques/torture:

Holder also said that the United States would stick to the "fundamental break" with some interrogation techniques that were criticized around the world as amounting to torture...."We have indicated that certain techniques that were used previously are in fact torture, and will not be engaged in again by the United States," Holder said.

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House Passes Funding Bill With World-Wide War and Detention Authority

Yesterday, the House passed its version of the the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (available here.) The roll call vote is here. The bill, which is a renewal of the 2001 authority for war, expands the authority world-wide. The bill passed by a vote of 322-96 and contains a $553 billion Pentagon base budget and $119 billion for overseas contingency operations.

It also blocks federal criminal trials of suspected terrorists who are not U.S. citizens. An amendment to strike the worldwide war provision failed. Obama has promised to veto the bill due to the world-wide war authority provision.

The bill also delays implementation of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and provides that those considered for indefinite detention at Guantanamo may not be represented by legal counsel, only a military representative. It also prohibits the Guantanamo detainees from receiving family visits. [More...]

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Another Suicide at Guantanamo

Detainee Hajji Nassim, aka Inayatullah, committed suicide at Guantanamo yesterday. He is the sixth detainee to kill himself at Guantanamo.

He was captured in Afghanistan and sent to Guantanamo in 2007. He was represented by the Federal Defenders of Miami, who say at one point they arranged for a civilian psychiatrist to visit him.

Wikileaks has no documents on him, but his the pleadings in his habeas case, available on PACER, (Case No. 09-cv-01332-HHK) detail more than 60 interrogations, the first of which was on September 13, 2007. He was an Afghan national who co-owned a cell phone store in Iran. He was suspected of providing safe housing and/or transit from Iran to Pakistan to Turk/al Qaeda fighters. On one occasion he may have delivered a message. He had a wife and six children. He was very concerned about his brother Hidayatullah who he thought was imprisoned at Bagram. [More...]

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Guantanamo Documents Show Detention Policies Were a Failure

McClatchy's Carol Rosenberg and Tom Lasseter have an analysis of the new Guantanamo documents released by Wikileaks to various news organizations. Shorter version: Bush and Rumsfeld's detention and interrogation policies were a flub.

a collection of secret intelligence documents from George W. Bush's administration, not meant to surface for 20 years, shows that the military's efforts at Guantánamo often were much less effective than the government has acknowledged. Viewed as a whole, the secret intelligence summaries help explain why in May 2009 President Barack Obama, after ordering his own review of wartime intelligence, called America's experiment at Guantánamo "quite simply a mess."

The information from detainee-informants was unreliable. [More...]

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NY Times Obtains Classified Documents on Guantanamo Detainees

The New York Times and other media outlets have major reports tonight on leaked classfied documents regarding Guantanamo detainees. You can view several of the leaked documents, courtesy of Wikileaks, here. the Times reports some of the leaked files pertain to detainee suicides.

[A] collection of secret detainee assessment files obtained by The New York Times reveal that the threat of suicide has created a chronic tension at the prison — a tactic frequently discussed by the captives and a constant fear for their captors.


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DOJ to Announce Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to Be Tried By Military Commission

Attorney General Eric Holder will announce at 2:00 pm today that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other 9/11 detainees at Guantanamo will be tried by military commission instead of in federal criminal court.

Obama and Holder deserves there lumps over this, but the primary fault lies with Congress and officials in New York. [More...]

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Obama Adminstration Urges Civilian Trials Remain an Option for Detainees

Jeh Johnson, the General Counsel for the Department of Defense, is urging Congress not to rule out civilian trials of detainees.

Jeh (Jay) Johnson said a Republican bill to virtually remove the civilian option would make it more likely that courts would step in when detainees challenge their detentions. He testified Thursday before the House Armed Services Committee.

Carol Rosenberg at the Miami Herald has much more on new Republican efforts to prevent closing Gitmo:

But the focus was the Republican draft legislation that would further thwart Obama’s efforts to close the detention center in southeast Cuba. It also would give the defense secretary rather than the attorney general final say on keeping a detainee in military custody. The bill imposes such tough requirements on transfers of the last Guantánamo captives that Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said he might not be able to approve any release.

Best line from the hearing:

They turn Guantánamo Bay into the Hotel California,” said the top Democrat on the committee, Washington Rep. Adam Smith. “You can check out any time you want but you can never leave.”


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