Posts Tagged detainee

Going on 9 Guantanamo Years

Lost in the flurry of bills passed as Congress ended was the inclusion in the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act of language that forbids any Pentagon funds being used to transport any detainee from Guantánamo to the U.S. for any reason.   There’s no evidence that the Obama administration really opposed this language; they’ve accepted that detainees such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed won’t be tried in federal courts.  They’ve delineated a group of detainess for indefinite detention for the reason that they’ve been tortured, and such information, from the government’s standpoint, can’t be made public.

Guantanamo protestSo still, 174 men sit in Guantánamo, including the large group of Yemenis who are caught between denunciations by the U.S. authorities of the anti-government forces in Yemen, and U.S. support for same.  The hope many felt two years ago, in anticipation of an end to the Bush torture regime is dead.  Yet courageous lawyers, writers, and activists still struggle for humanity to know the truth about the illegal prison Bush built in Guantánamo, and the need for the wider complex of Bush-era torture, indefinite detention, rendition, and secret prisons to really end.

Andy Worthington, who will be in the States next week to participate in protests of Guantanamo, wrote today, in Christmas at Guantánamo:

I thought I’d take this opportunity to remind readers who may be searching the Internet because they need a break from eating and drinking, or because they want to get away from their families for a while, or because the TV is so relentlessly pointless, or because they don’t celebrate Christmas, about some of the 174 men still held in Guantánamo, for whom concern is particularly appropriate right now, as, between them, the Obama administration and Congress seem to have ensured that the majority of them will be spending many more Christmases at Guantánamo…”

It’s not only that Guantánamo should have been closed, and isn’t, but that the virulent Islamophobia, the illegitimate “war on terror;” the secret renditions begun under Bill Clinton; the covering for torture by the allies in Iraq and Afghanistan continue.  I thank Glenn Greenwald for pulling our attention yet again to Wikileaks, for what they revealed this year on the crimes of our government, past and current, as regards torture, rendition, and detention, in What Wikileaks Revealed to the World in 2010 – a pattern of utter suppression of peoples’ rights, outside the law.

In two weeks, we’ll be in Washington with Witness Against Torture, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and activists who won’t let this issue go, no matter who the president, or what the promises are.

Please join us in Washington, or where you are, in making visible resistance and protest.  Guantánamo, and the whole torture regime that brought it, must be ended!

Rally and “prisoner procession” to the Department of Justice, followed by non-violent direct action.
Date and Time: Tues, Jan. 11, beginning at 11 am
Location: The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON — The prison at Guantanamo will enter its 10th year of operation on Tuesday, January 11. Witness Against Torture is working to make sure this second decade never begins.

Starting at 11am that morning at the White House, Witness Against Torture launches a Daily Vigil and Fast for Justice that will continue for 11 days and include demonstrations throughout Washington. The days of action will begin on January 11th with a rally of a coalition of human rights and grassroots groups, including the Center for Constitutional Rights and Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition, followed by a “prisoner procession” to the Department of Justice, where members of Witness Against Torture will engage in nonviolent direct action…

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Fordham University: Prettifying C.I.A. Clandestine Operations

I”m not sure what was worse; sitting in an auditorium for a speech by the head of CIA clandestine operations, or having most of the audience give a standing ovation afterward.  There were some low points in between, too.

Michael Sulick, Direction of CIA Clandestine Operations

Michael Sulick, Director of CIA Clandestine Operations

Thursday night I went with my friend Ray McGovern, and some current and former Fordham students to a lecture at Fordham University by Michael Sulick, Director of the National Clandestine Service, the guy in charge of counter-terrorism and covert ops.  Ray and Sulick are both graduates of Fordham, and both worked for the C.I.A.  One difference between them is that Ray quit long ago.

Fordham, a Jesuit school, has a very active Peace and Justice program led by a tenured professor, which just the evening before had held a commemoration of the assassination 30 years ago of Archbishop Oscar Romero in San Salvador.  It was noted that Romero was killed by graduates of the School of the Americas, with help from the CIA.

But that same university produces a lot of FBI and CIA agents. For Sulick, the student center was decorated with the kind of puffy, shiny balloon letters junior high schools use for birthday parties, with silvery “C-I-A” floating in the lobby.  I felt it was going to be a strange night.

Ray was tipped off about the lecture by anti-war students.  He offered himself as a “respondent” to the lecture, but the administration declined that offer.   Ten or 11 professors protested the CIA lecture, and around noon Thursday the administration invited one of them to respond to it on stage.  She declined, as she would have no time to prepare.  The lecture was off the radar; not on Fordham’s website, and a non-event as far as the Public Relations office was concerned.  They wanted no press.

The administration called the student leaders to find out if any protest was planned, with the intimidating implication that they would be held responsible for any disruption.

Ray invited me to meet with about 15 students before the speech.  We learned that, for the first time in public lectures at Fordham, questions would only be taken in writing, giving no one the opportunity to speak from the floor.  And you know what that means.

We discussed questions we’d like to ask:

* Director Sulick, Could you comment on the April 17, 2009 NBC News report that the CIA is paying Pakistani agents to identify targets for drone bombings in Pakistan, and that those agents were dropping electronic chips in farmhouses solely to get paid?

* Director Sulick, Could you comment on a statement by Georgetown professor Gary Solis in the Washington Post of March 12, 2010, that civilians working for the CIA in the drone program are unlawful combatants under international law?

* You resigned from the CIA in 2005 as world public opinion turned against the Bush administration’s use of “alternative interrogation methods.”  What do you know about the Agency’s destruction of video tapes of waterboarding that surfaced just after you returned to the CIA in 2007?

* Agence France Presse, covering Congressional hearings Tuesday March 23 on the CIA’s drone program, reported that American University law professor Kenneth Anderson testified that those who target for the drone operations “could face possible charges abroad.”  Would that include you and those you supervise?

Well, of course, none of these questions were read to Sulick by the student government leaders moderating the Q&A.

Sulick droned on (sorry) about the glories of public “service” and his distinction of being the first CIA officer to set foot in the Soviet Republics after 1991 — because he had taken Russian at Fordham.  We learned that the best thing about his doctorate in literature was that he could make small talk with Russian intelligence targets about Dostoevsky.  We learned that in the 1950′s the U.S. had “removed the regime and restored the Shah [of Iran] to his throne.”  That would be the elected Mossadegh government, overthrown by a CIA-led coup.  A little truth, spun as a positive achievement.

Most of the questions asked read from the audience were insipid.  “How does one join the CIA?”  “There’s a website.  You can apply online.”  Imagine that!  I found Sulick’s comments to be banally evil, obvious, shallow, and self-serving.

Ray McGovern answering for CIA's Michael Sulick "What is terrorism?"

But one question seemed to stump him. “What’s the definition of terrorism?”  From my seat in the second row, he looked like a deer in headlights.  For some unfathomable reason, Sulick invited Ray to come up on stage and answer the question, as Ray “used to work in analysis with the Agency.”

Ray told a story of that morning, having breakfast with two atheists who were questioning him about the front page New York Times story on the pope hiding child abusing priests, Memo to Pope Described Transfer of Child-Abusing Priest. “Why does the church care only about the first nine months of life?  And not for the living” who are being killed by the CIA drone program?

Ray was eloquent and sincere as always, and the mike was cut off at about the 60 second mark — after he was invited by the lecturer to the podium, and told by the administration that he would be welcome to ask a question!

About 20% of the audience clapped and cheered as he sat down.  The blue-blazered student government officer sitting in front of him — the one who weeded out the challenging questions — turned around and said to Ray, “you’re an asshole”.  Which was the only thing any of them said to him the rest of the evening.  We didn’t stand for the ovation.

It was good to be with the people at Fordham last night who are trying to stand for justice.  We sat til late talking with a couple of students about the silence of the Jesuits against the government, and the slickness of the school administration in co-opting students.

I can see from Fordham’s history (Father Dan Berrigan, the anti-war priest was on the faculty) and ties to liberation theologists in Central America, why they would commemorate Romero.  But when the same school brings a CIA director to lecture and there is no challenge posed, critical thinking is MIA. Faculty, alumni, and students applauded an operative responsible for civilian deaths by drone bombing, and for the torture of detainees, and probably more that we don’t know about yet.  I felt battered by spending two hours with them.

However, it was good to work with the anti-war students, and spend time with Ray McGovern, who left the CIA many years ago, and devotes his life to exposing and stopping much of what they do now.  Ray is not just an adviser to War Criminals Watch, he’s a genuine resister.  See Ray in action confronting Donald Rumsfeld May 5, 2006.

We need more of this response to war criminals!

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Victim of the War of Terror: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

Note: On February 4, Dr. Siddiqui was found guilty of all charges.  This was not justice.  See a piece by Petra Bartosiewicz who was in court for its duration.

The U.S. government’s case against Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani who holds an advanced degree from MIT in neuroscience, will go to the jury Monday in federal court here in New York City.  I’ve been in the courtroom, and several times in the overflow room with dozens of supporters and reporters.

Dr. Aafiai Siddiqui

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui in Afghan custody July 17, 2008

Even when we are only watching the trial through cameras in the overflow rooms, we are forced to give ID to enter, all to bolster the impression that Dr. Siddiqui is a dangerous terrorist, and that we are dangerous for caring what happens to her.  Everyone entering the courthouse goes through airport style security screening, but to go into her trial, one must be searched again.

Petra Bartosiewicz wrote for Time magazine in A Pakistani on Trial – With No Pakistani Reporters:

Although Siddiqui is not charged with any terrorism-related crime,security concerns are paramount though the procedures seem to be unevenly enforced. During the lunch break on the first day of the Siddiqui trial a group of Muslim men praying in the waiting areas outside the courtroom were afterwards asked to leave the floor. That prevented them from securing a place in line for the afternoon session. Several Muslim women in hijabs were also given similar instructions, but others in the same area, dressed in business attire, including this reporter, were permitted to stay. On the second day of the trial metal detectors were posted outside the courtroom and individuals were asked for photo identification and their names and addresses were logged by court security officers. At the close of proceedings on Thursday defense attorney Charles Swift protested the practice. “The suggestion is that the gallery may be a threat,” said Swift, calling the measure “highly prejudicial.”

Judge for yourself whether the New York Daily News, which calls Siddiqui “Lady al Queda” (absent any evidence produced at trial), or The Washington Post which headlines “Government: Let al-Qaida-linked scientist testify” is part of the prosecutor’s team.

Petra, who is writing a book on US terrorist prosecutions, has been in the trial every day, blogging and linked at CagePrisoners.com. Her article in November 2009 Harper’s The intelligence factory: How America makes its enemies disappear is a deeply researched piece going behind the US government’s public case against Siddiqui, and, more broadly, the existence of a network of secret detentions and prisons the US operates.  On Aafia Siddiqui:

When I first read the U.S. government’s complaint against Aafia Siddiqui, who is awaiting trial in a Brooklyn detention center on charges of attempting to murder a group of U.S. Army officers and FBI agents in Afghanistan, the case it described was so impossibly convoluted—and yet so absurdly incriminating—that I simply assumed she was innocent. According to the complaint, on the evening of July 17, 2008, several local policemen discovered Siddiqui and a young boy loitering about a public square in Ghazni. She was carrying instructions for creating “weapons involving biological material,” descriptions of U.S. “military assets,” and numerous unnamed “chemical substances in gel and liquid form that were sealed in bottles and glass jars.” Siddiqui, an MIT-trained neuroscientist who lived in the United States for eleven years, had vanished from her hometown in Pakistan in 2003, along with all three of her children, two of whom were U.S. citizens.

The complaint does not address where she was those five years or why she suddenly decided to emerge into a public square outside Pakistan and far from the United States, nor does it address why she would do so in the company of her American son. Various reports had her married to a high-level Al Qaeda operative, running diamonds out of Liberia for Osama bin Laden, and abetting the entry of terrorists into the United States. But those reports were countered by rumors that Siddiqui actually had spent the previous five years in the maw of the U.S. intelligence system—that she was a ghost prisoner, kidnapped by Pakistani spies, held in secret detention at a U.S. military prison, interrogated until she could provide no further intelligence, then spat back into the world in the manner most likely to render her story implausible. These dueling narratives of terrorist intrigue and imperial overreach were only further confounded when Siddiqui finally appeared before a judge in a Manhattan courtroom on August 5. Now, two weeks after her capture, she was bandaged and doubled over in a wheelchair, barely able to speak, because—somehow—she had been shot in the stomach by one of the very soldiers she stands accused of attempting to murder.

Dr. Siddiqui, whose brother Mohammed and many supporters are following the trial closely, is not on trial for terrorism charges, but for, as the government puts it, what happened in the “3 minutes” inside the Afghani police building on July 18, 2008.  She denied, on cross examination last week, picking up a gun, or shooting it.

From what I can observe, and have read, Dr. Siddiqui is deeply traumatized and has reason to be distrustful of the courts, the military, the FBI, who questioned her without introduction while she was in hospital recovering from the gunshot wounds.  She said, several times in court — and was removed for breaking the rule because she did so — that she was held in a secret prison, and her children were disappeared, and that she was tortured.

I saw reporters snicker at that.  Isn’t that a delusional idea, that a Pakistani could be held in a secret prison?  Remember George W. Bush, and Barack Obama as well: “We do not torture.”  She must be crazy, and guilty, to assert such a thing.

Then comes this piece by Anand Gopal, reporting for The Nation this week, Obama’s Secret Prisons:

Sometime in the last few years, Pashtun villagers in Afghanistan’s rugged heartland began to lose faith in the American project. Many of them can point to the precise moment of this transformation, and it usually took place in the dead of the night, when most of the country was fast asleep. In the secretive U.S. detentions process, suspects are usually nabbed in the darkness and then sent to one of a number of detention areas on military bases, often on the slightest suspicion and without the knowledge of their families.

This process has become even more feared and hated in Afghanistan than coalition airstrikes. The night raids and detentions, little known or understood outside of these Pashtun villages, are slowly turning Afghans against the very forces they greeted as liberators just a few years ago.

Andy Worthington reports on a new report from the United Nations, UN Secret Detention Report Asks, “Where Are the CIA Ghost Prisoners?”
concluding:

“While the report spreads its net wide, the US administration’s response to its findings about the Bush administration’s legacy of “disappeared” prisoners, and its focus on the gray areas of Obama’s current policies, is particularly anticipated. So far, however, there has been silence from US officials, and only the British, moaning about “unsubstantiated and irresponsible” claims, have so far dared to challenge their well-chronicled complicity in the secret detention policies underpinning the whole of the war on terror, which do not appear to have been thoroughly banished, one year after Barack Obama took office.”

How delusional are Dr. Siddiqui’s claims that she was tortured in a secret prison?

Dr. Siddiqui was found, disoriented, in Grazni Afghanistan, having disappeared from her home in Pakistan five years earlier.  No one has said where she was.  Pakistani human rights organizations, and some at the trial, have urged me to mention, and look into the disappearance of thousands of Pakistanis at the hands of the secret police, ISI, who are paid many millions by the US government to be part of the so-called “war on terror”.

These disappearances and deaths, this police state, are the responsibility of the US government, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, by funding, by political support and pressure to do the dirty work that amounts to the “war on terror” while the US chooses to say “we do not torture.”

But this is an administration which has dramatically the use of unmanned drones to target alleged “terrorists,” thereby killing hundreds of civilians in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and now Yemen and Somalia.  A poll last year in Pakistan, by al Jazeera found only 9% of adults supporting the drone attacks, because of concerns that they are killing innocent civilians.

Sebastain Abbot in the Huffington Post:

“The U.S. government doesn’t even suggest what the proportion of innocent people to legitimate targets is,” said Michael Walzer, a renowned American scholar on the ethics of warfare. “It’s a moral mistake, but it’s a PR mistake as well.”

As part of this “war on terror”, the US prosecutors have produced no physical evidence that Dr. Siddiqui held or fired a gun on July 18, 2008.  As Dr Siddiqui said, “I walked towards the curtain. I was shot and I was shot again. I fainted.”

I don’t expect justice for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui this week.  Even if she were to be found not guilty on all charges — which the evidence supports — what will her future be?  Where are her children?  Will she get back the lost years and be able to tell her story?

And I don’t expect an end to the illegitimate “war OF terror” until people living in the United States reject the dangerous direction their government is taking, against the interests of humanity.

See Aafia Siddiqui and the ongoing war on terror by Sadia Ahsanuddin on Connie Nash’s blog, One Heart for Peace.

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Challenging Bush Torture Architect John Yoo

Shut Down Guantanamo! in San Francisco

Tuesday January 12, on both coasts, World Can’t Wait, Code Pink and other people of conscience demanded the prosecution of John Yoo, the principal legal architect of the justification of torture by the United States.

In Berkeley, where his 2010 class schedule called for the first class of the semester, UC officials made the location secret, they said, because of “concerns for students’ safety.”   One might note that it would be more dangerous for a law student to be taught Constitutional law by someone who opposed international law on the subject of torture (not to mention U.S. law) than for those students to encounter advocates against torture.

But no matter.  20 people delivered the message that John Yoo should be prosecuted for war crimes; disbarred from practicing law; and fired from his teaching position at Boalt Hall School of Law.  Not, as we have said many times, for what he thinks, writes, or speaks as a professor, but because he provided the legal justification for torture while working for the Bush regime, which led to the deaths of detainees.

Jackson West blogged on NBC News in the Bay Area “John Yoo Charm Campaign ‘Secret’ Classes at Cal” that “Torture memo” author John Yoo has nothing to hide, except John Yoo.

The protest took the question directly to Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley’s office on Tuesday.  Anna Bloom noted all the subterfuge the Law School administration is practicing in The New York Times Bay Area blog noted it Wednesday in John Yoo’s Spring Course at Boalt: Hide and Seek.

This story is so not over!  More upcoming at FireJohnYoo.org.

The Audacity of War Crimes

Protesting John Yoo

In NYC, Yoo promoted his new book at the Cornell Club.  Outside, we talked to members of the Cornell Club entering the building who had no idea why Yoo would be speaking there; and to people attending the event.  A dozen told us they were going in to question Yoo on torture, and of course there were Federalist Society members and others who vocally defended torture, racial profiling, nuclear weapons, and the swift, violent demise of people like us who questioned the “war on terror.”

Protesting John YooThe night went to those inside who questioned, challenged, and denounced Yoo for promoting torture.  First was Richie, wearing an “Audacity of War Crimes” message on his shirt, who added to the introduction of Yoo.  “John Yoo is a war criminal!”  He was roughly dragged from the room, but seems to have gotten everyone’s’ attention.

After Yoo’s presentation, the first question was from Stephanie Rugoff, co-ordinator of War Criminals Watch, a project of World Can’t Wait.  “With so many lawyers in the room, I want to know why John Yoo isn’t being prosecuted for war crimes?”

3 women from Code Pink brought a banner “John Yoo is a War Criminal” and were escorted out for holding it up.  Another woman challenged Yoo, and stalked out, saying she was disgusted to be in the company of those who promote torture.

Outside, a lively discussion followed, as people filing out stopped to ask why we felt so strongly about Yoo and torture.  We found many people who opposed it.  One of the common questions, though was, “He just gave his legal opinion.  Why is that a crime?”

We’ve encountered law students recently who have never heard of the Nuremberg war crimes trials.  But to the older lawyers, there’s one word: Nuremberg.  The U.S. prosecuted the Nazi lawyers in 1946 on the premise that the lawyers have the “penultimate” responsibility to ensure that laws of war are followed by a government.

The Bush regime was, and remains, forever marked by its flagrant disdain for international and U.S. law that didn’t serve its agenda.  Bush made his own law through hundreds of executive orders and signing statements, beginning with his doctrine of pre-emptive, agressive war against countries which did not attack the U.S.

If you knew torture and the culture supporting it could be stopped, wouldn’t you protest Yoo?

Friday, he will be at the Federalist Society in Washington DC. The event is said to be sold out, but as we learned last night, being outside with the message of prosecuting the torturers is very effective.

Rather than engaging in a wild goose chase to locate the venue, World Can't Wait has decided to bring the question directly to Berkeley Law Dean Christopher Edley. Join us 3:00pm on Tuesday at the Dean's Office to ask: "What will be taught behind closed doors that needs to be kept secret? Will this initiate a new policy for Boalt Hall to hide from public accountability?"

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Guantamano Turns 8 While More Lives Slip Away

Guantanamo prisonersMonday January 11 is the 8th anniversary of the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo. The emblematic symbol of the Bush regime’s “war on terror,” in which men were openly tortured, kept in isolation, force-fed, and for years deprived of any legal respresentation or contact with the outside world, is still open.

It’s being called “Obama’s prison” now.  On January 22, 2009, the new president announced that he would close Guantanamo in a year because it’s existence was a public relations nightmare for U.S. foreign policy makers.  As of this week, there’s no closing date, but a vague indication it could be closed in 2011.

I learned when reading the new book The Guantanamo Lawyers; Inside a Prison Outside the Law, edited by Mark Denbeaux and Jonathan Hafetz, that the Bush regime opened it on the grounds of a former prison where Haitians and others fleeing poverty were kept in the 80′s and 90′s.  The first detainees were kept in open cages, with almost no shelter from the elements.  Building new structures allowed the jailers to keep some men in complete isolation.

Book TV is showing a talk by the authors twice on Sunday January 10.

Andy Worthington, in Guantánamo: The Definitive Prisoner List (Updated for 2010), called it

a prison in which the overwhelming majority of those held — at least 93 percent of the 779 men and boys imprisoned in total — were either completely innocent people, seized as a result of dubious intelligence or sold for bounty payments, or Taliban foot soldiers, recruited to fight an inter-Muslim civil war that began long before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and that had nothing to do with al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or international terrorism.

Andy wrote this week about Attorney General Holder’s announcement that Obaidullah, an Afghan held in Guantanamo, will be tried by the Obama-style military commission for “war crimes” in Tortured Afghan Man Faces Trial by Military Commission.

Andy spoke with World Can’t Wait activists in early 2009, stating his hope, and some confidence, that the Obama administration would establish a process to release the innocent.  But he ends the current column on this note

With the news that Obaidullah is to be charged again, when he is not actually accused of harming a single American, and when he may, in fact, have been tortured, through sleep deprivation and “Palestinian hanging,” to produce false confessions against himself and at least one other prisoner, leads me not only to repeat the question, but to actively call for the open mockery of Attorney General Eric Holder and the lawyers and bureaucrats in the Justice Department and the Pentagon who thought that reviving the charges against him was a good idea.

The administration is fighting in federal court on many fronts to continue the Bush detention policies, and just won a victory.  According to Stephen Webster, the decision in al-Bihani v Obama “upholds the Bush administration’s broad claims of executive power to detain non-citizens.  See D.C. Court of Appeals: Obama’s Detention Powers not Limited by Laws.

But we are not just complaining on this anniversary.  There’s a Call to Action to Shut Down Guantanamo.  I’ll be joining Witness Against Torture in protests outside the White House Monday.  We will march to the National Press Club, where some of the lawyers defending detainees in Guantanamo will speak about their clients, organized by the Center for Constitutional Rights.  That evening, we’ll have a public meeting at Georgetown Law School.  I hope you’ll join in.

On a last note, the Obama administration has proposed the idea of relocating the detainees to an unused super-max federal prison in Thompson Illinois.  World Can’t Wait is completely opposed to the indefinite detention of anyone without legal rights, no matter what the location.  Prisoners are held in super-max American prisons already in complete isolation, and I can only imagine that the Guantanamo prisoners could disappear in plain sight along the Mississippi.

Margaret Kimberly, editor at the Black Agenda Report, went on a righteous rant, ending her piece called Guantanamo, Illinois with

In less than one year in office, Barack Obama has firmly established the continuation of Bush regime domestic, foreign and economic policy. While Guantanamo is unseen, Illinois is right in the middle of the United States. None of us can now claim absolution from our government sin. Obama and his supporters have made us all accomplices. The ongoing Guantanamo crime now belongs to the Nobel Peace Prize winner and to every American citizen.

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Arguing for Habeas Rights for 3 Men Detained in Bagram

Justice for Bagram

Sign outside hearing for Bagram Detainees

There are 600+ men detained at the US detention center in Bagram Airbase near Kabul, Afghanistan.  Mostly, we know very little about them; even their names were kept secret by the Bush administration, and now by the Obama administration they are still kept as ghosts.

Tina Monshipour Foster, the Executive Director of the International Justice Network, argued for their right to challenge their detention today, in Al-Maqaley v. Gates, she told the court, on behalf of three of those men and their relatives.  She has never met the men, and has been retained only by their families, who also cannot see them.

See Report on al Jazeera English.  The Canadian Press noted that the Obama administration was represented in court by Neal Katyal:

Before joining the Obama administration as the top deputy in the solicitor general’s office, Katyal won a big victory in the Supreme Court in 2006 when he represented Guantanamo Bay detainees facing military commission trials. The Supreme Court found that President George W. Bush’s military tribunals violated the constitutional separation of powers, domestic military law and international law. That ruling also applied international law to the Bush administration’s conduct of the war on terror. The court embraced Article 3 of the Geneva Accords which prohibits humiliating and degrading treatment.

There could be many more who challenge their illegitimate detention in U.S. courts, depending on the decision the appellate level of the US District Court for the District of Columbia renders.  The lower court has already found for the Bagram detainees, against the Obama Justice Department.

The courtroom was filled  with 150 spectators, including dozens of supporters of the IJN’s lawsuit.  Students at CUNY Law School and Yale Law School, along with their professors, worked on the case.  We gathered outside the courthouse this morning, the students bearing signs saying “STUDENTS FOR JUSTICE AT HOME AND ABROAD,” “Charged with Justice,” and “BARACK! Oh, Bagram…”

The law students are passionate about the cases they are fighting on the basis of human rights for people during the “war on terror.”   The lawyers are passionate, and full of arguments up and down on why the denial of even the right to have charges detailed, and the chance to defend oneself is basic to a world we want to live in.

But the government’s case, argued by Neal Kaytal for the Justice Department, contends that giving these detainees any legal rights would to severely hinder the American occupation.

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