The civil trial of Al Shimari v CACI is the only one by survivors of Abu Ghraib against a military contractor that has reached trial, wrote Center for Victims of Torture observer Yumna Rizvi.

"The trial marks a significant moment in the legal battle for justice and redress for Abu Ghraib and, more broadly, the US torture programme. It represents a culmination of relentless efforts by the victims themselves, human rights advocates and legal experts to shed light on the dark underbelly of the US 'war on terror.'" 

District of Columbia Anti-War Network activists take part in a demonstration to oppose "American violations of international human rights" at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq by U.S. military personnel in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in this February 9, 2005 file photo. Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe torture can be justified to extract information from suspected terrorists, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, a level of support similar to that seen in countries like Nigeria where militant attacks are common. To match Exclusive USA-ELECTION/TORTURE REUTERS/Larry Downing/Files
Outside the US Supreme Court February 9, 2005. Photo by Larry Downing

In National Review magazine, John Yoo, the legal architect of the George W. Bush administration's torture program, urged Republicans to retaliate against Democratic elected officials. "In order to prevent the case against Trump from assuming a permanent place in the American political system, Republicans will have to bring charges against Democratic officers, even presidents," Yoo, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote.

Photo by Paola Chapdelaine for The New York Times

Supporters of Donald Trump give the thumbs up outside the courthouse in Manhattan where he was tried; a woman in a pink hat holds up a sign that reads

"America's monster" Abdul Raziq was trained, armed, even celebrated, by the United States and its allies. American military leaders waged a war outside international law. Reporters Azam Ahmed and Matthieu Aikins spent more than a year investigating abuses by American-sponsored forces in Afghanistan: "The culture of lawlessness and impunity flew in the face of endless promises by American presidents, generals and ambassadors to uphold human rights and build a better Afghanistan." 

It was a mistake to "keep a really bad criminal because he was helpful in fighting worse criminals," reflects Gen. John R. Allen, below. Photo by Bryan Denton:

 A gray-haired man in a pinstriped suit stands on a balcony overlooking Washington.

"According to the accounts, the facility some 18 miles from the Gaza frontier is split into two parts: enclosures where around 70 Palestinian detainees from Gaza are placed under extreme physical restraint, and a field hospital where wounded detainees are strapped to their beds, wearing diapers and fed through straws," reported CNN.

A leaked photograph of an enclosure where detainees in gray tracksuits are seen blindfolded and sitting on paper-thin mattresses. CNN was able to geolocate the hangar in the Sde Teiman facility. A portion of this image has been blurred by CNN to protect the identity of the source.

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"This case is part of our effort to bring accountability for torture and other serious violations of international law arising out of the so-called war on terror and invasion of Iraq," the Centre for Constitutional Rights, whose legal team is representing the Iraqi plaintiffs, said in a statement before the trial was due to begin.

"Our clients are Iraqi civilians who were ultimately released without ever being charged with a crime.

"They all continue to suffer from physical and mental injuries caused by the torture and other abuse they endured."


An artist's sketch of the trial in Virginia. Dana Verkouteren / AP

An artist's sketch of the trial in Virginia. Dana Verkouteren / AP

C/o Andy Worthington

We're pleased to announce that a new feature film about Guantánamo, "I Am Gitmo," will receive its U.S. premiere in New York and Los Angeles this week and next.

Written and directed by Philippe Diaz, and produced via his Cinema Libre Studio, which specializes in socially conscious independent films and documentaries, "I Am Gitmo" tells the fictional story of Gamel Sadek, an Egyptian schoolteacher, married and living with his wife and children in Kandahar, who is kidnapped, tortured and sent to Guantánamo based on a mistaken assumption that he is an associate of Osama bin Laden...

The poster for "I Am Gitmo."

 

The trial is scheduled to begin tomorrow, April 15, at the US District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, and will be the first time that Abu Ghraib survivors are able to bring their claims of torture to a US jury.

Retired Army Gen. Antonio Taguba, who led an investigation into the scandal, is among those expected to testify. "Abu Ghraib emerged from a structure developed by senior officials in the Bush White House and by those who thought it was necessary to blindly advance the Bush administration's goals," he said at the time.

Taguba singled out John Yoo for legal memoranda that produced, in Taguba's words, "despicable torture and abuse." "Abu Ghraib was not just happenstance. It was a morbid consequence of a policy that emanated from the Office of Legal Counsel and the Justice Department." 

 

File:Yoo memo.pdf

 

 

"Many observers had hoped that the handful of transfers in the beginning of 2023 were a sign of, and momentum toward, significantly more to come. Over the summer and into the fall, it looked that way. Until it didn't..."

Policy analysts Yumna Rizvi and Scott Roehm at the Center for Victims of Torture suggest that reason is political, https://www.justsecurity.org/91153/another-lost-year-on-guantanamo/: "If so, and absent some other compelling justification -- the need to focus on the situation in the Middle East would not be a compelling one, given it is unrelated to Guantanamo transfers and there will always be a crisis to manage -- the administration's decision [to allow prisoners to languish at Guantanamo] is as misguided as it is disheartening."

Meanwhile, conditions of confinement continue to deteriorate. 

The Biden administration tried to minimize the impact of a special 2023 UN report that "cumulative effects of certain structural deficiencies at Guantanamo amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under international law," disagreeing with those findings at a fifth periodic review of U.S. compliance

"Guantanamo continues to cause profound damage both inside and outside of its walls," charge Rizvi and Roehm. "The steps to close Guantanamo are there for the taking, and 2024 could be its last chance to take them."

 

Guantanamo 22 Years In

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How Should 'Rules Of War' Be Applied To The Israel-Hamas Conflict?

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