Clearance by the government is a step in the process of getting released from Guantánamo, and Mr. Hamdoun's clearance is welcome news. However, it is hardly sufficient. Of the 93 men still detained at Guantánamo, 35 are cleared for release, many of them for years.
"I have become a body without a soul. I breathe, eat and drink, but I don't belong to the world of living creatures. I rather belong to another world, a world that is buried in a grave called Guantánamo," says Zahir Hamdoun, a Yemeni citizen held without charge in Guantanamo since 2002. "I fall asleep and then wake up to realize that my soul and my thoughts belong to that world I watch on television, or read about in books. That is all I can say about the ordeal I've been enduring."
The Center for Constitutional Rights is prepared to offer years of long-term support for their client, ranging from "financial assistance and referrals for needs large and small, ranging from live-in interpreters and mental health care, to laptops and language CDs."
Closing Guantánamo is seen as a legacy issue for Barack Obama. Yet, while the media focuses on the impact his failure to close it will have on Obama's place in history, there is no consideration of the long-term physical and psychological impact almost 15 years of indefinite detention and torture will have on the prisoners. They remain, as always, pawns in other people's power games...
It's not enough, and hardly justice, but identification with detainees' plight inspires redress of U.S. lawlessness.
President John Dramani Mahama urged Ghanaians to welcome Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih al-Dhuby, citizens of Yemen, with compassion: "Let me be clear, people say ex-convicts, they were never tried, they were never charged, and they were never convicted."
Ghana is among 56 countries in the world that have taken about 680 detainees that were transferred from the Guantanamo Bay:
The New York Times and National Public Radio (NPR), reputable leading media organizations in the United States of America have revealed that a total of 203 of them were sent to Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia 124, Pakistan 63, Yemen 17, Britain 15, Morocco 13, Kuwait 12, Sudan 12, Tajikistan11, Albania 11, Oman 10, Kazakhstan 9, France 9, Slovakia 8, lraq 7 and Russia 7.
The rest are Georgia 6, Uruguay 6, United Arab Emirates 6, Qatar 6, Palau 6, Bahrain 5, Spain 5, Jordan 5, Bermuda 4, Bosnia and Herzegovina 4, Turkey 4, Germany 3, Somalia 3, Belgium 3, Switzerland 3, Libya 2,Ghana 2, Portugal 2, El Salvador 2, lran 2, and united States 2, Ireland 2, Australia 2, Tunisia 2, ltaly 2, Mauritania 2.
The remaining countries had one each Hungary, Maldives, Bulgaria, Latvia, Canada, Sweden, Egypt, Chad, Estonia and Denmark.
"If a prosecutor can't put together a case against someone who has been sitting in prison for as long as 13 [now 14] years, there is no reason that person should continue to sit in prison, whether in Guantánamo or someplace else." -- American Civil Liberties Union counsel Chris Anders
The transfer of 10 Yemeni men to the Gulf nation of Oman yesterday leaves fewer than 100 men held at Guantanamo. Fahed Abdullah Ahmad Ghazi, Samir Naji al-Hasan Muqbil, Adham Mohamed Ali Awad, Mukhtar Yahya Naji al-Warafi, Abu Bakr Ibn Muhammad al-Ahdal, Muhammad Salih Husayn al-Shaykh, Muhammad Said Salim Bin Salman, Said Muhammad Salih Hatim, Umar Said Salim al-Dini, and Fahmi Abdallah Ahmad Ubadi al-Tulaqi were "dropped off" in Oman for a "temporary stay." Their ultimate destination is anybody's guess.
We continue to demand Due Process for the remaining prisoners. The late Judge Henry Friendly generated a "required procedures" list that remains highly influential:
1. An unbiased tribunal.
2. Notice of the proposed action and the grounds asserted for it.
3. Opportunity to present reasons why the proposed action should not be taken.
4. The right to present evidence, including the right to call witnesses.
5. The right to know opposing evidence.
6. The right to cross-examine adverse witnesses.
7. A decision based exclusively on the evidence presented.
8. Opportunity to be represented by counsel.
9. Requirement that the tribunal prepare a record of the evidence presented.
10. Requirement that the tribunal prepare written findings of fact and reasons for its decision.
The civilian "tribunals" mentioned above should not be confused with the military tribunals authorized by the Military Commissions Act of 2006 as an alternative to trying detainees in the regular court system. Wikipedia makes the distinction:
The United States has two parallel justice systems, with laws, statutes, precedents, rules of evidence, and paths for appeal. Under these justice systems, prisoners have certain rights. They have a right to know the evidence against them; they have a right to protect themselves against self-incrimination; they have a right to counsel; and they have a right to have the witnesses against them cross-examined.
The two parallel justice systems are the Judicial Branch of the U.S. Government, and a slightly streamlined justice system named the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for people under military jurisdiction. People undergoing a military court martial are entitled to the same basic rights as those in the civilian justice system.
The Guantanamo military trials under the 2006 MCA do not operate according to either system of justice.
Further, because the accused are charged as unlawful combatants (a certain category of people who are not classified as prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions), then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said in March 2002 that an acquittal on all charges by the commission is no guarantee of a release.
Indeed, President Obama's authorization for Periodic Review Boards to determine the fate of Guantanamo prisoners has created what The Washington Post describes a formal system of indefinite detention, "The Tragedy At The Heart of Guantánamo."
"Blame for Obama's failure to follow through on one of his first acts in office and close this most reprehensible of prisons, the president would say, lies not with him but with Congress, whose bills preventing Guantanamo's closure he continues to sign," writes Charles Davis, teleSUR.
"Far from altering course, Obama's legacy will be his institutionalizing the national security approach of his predecessor, albeit those of his second term, normalizing that which leading members of his Democratic Party once cast as an obscene break with an idealized past. His biggest change has been replacing boots on the ground with drones [in] the sky, in keeping with the establishment consensus following the disaster that was the last US-led invasion. That has resulted in less men being tortured and detained at Guantanamo, to be sure, but only because they, their children and any 'military-age' bystanders are now dead."
1:30 PM - 4:00 PM
In a police-shooting case, the only perspective that matters is that of the officer who pulls the trigger...
"If you believe the American values of liberty and justice for all trump all--if you believe in the very things that make our experiment in democracy transcendent and unprecedented--then it might be time to consider the true American values that carry a value beyond all measurement," writes Michael Conniff, The Isaacson School for New Media.
Sounds great! Where do I sign up?
Conniff would direct you to the Killer Drones Party, home of Indefensible Detention and sponsor to Warrantless Surveillance In Service To National Insecurity. Aspirants to the Democratic Party throne balance the price of American well-being against the "threshold for collateral damage" (number of dead civilians). Subscription to "lesser of two evils" policy enables selective, unchallenged assassination by executive decree. Political calculation stalls closure of the U.S. torture camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
U.S. hegemony holds humanity hostage.
"Nowadays, anyone who wishes to combat lies and ignorance and to write the truth must overcome at least five difficulties. He must have the courage to write the truth when truth is everywhere opposed; the keenness to recognize it, although it is everywhere concealed; the skill to manipulate it as a weapon; the judgment to select those in whose hands it will be effective; and the cunning to spread the truth among such persons." -- Bertolt Brecht
"War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength," sloganed George Orwell. The disconnect between myth of an empire of "Great Goodness" and the reality of endless war beggars a challenge to Obama's "Burden". Is the reason we don't care arrogance? Ignorance? Or just simple Racism? I don't know, but it sure isn't because of intelligence and knowledge.
Friday, in a case brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the Second Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider a historic ruling by a three-judge panel that high-level former Bush administration officials may be sued for their roles in the post-9/11 immigration detentions, abuse, and religious profiling of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian men. The former officials named in the case, Turkmen v. Ashcroft, are Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI director Robert Mueller, and INS Commissioner James Ziglar. Six judges voted to rehear the case, and six voted to let the decision stand; a majority is required to rehear a case...
The United States has a long and torrid history of backing terrorist groups... In order to understand why the Islamic State has grown and flourished so quickly, one has to take a look at the organization's American-backed roots...
The $607 billion defense policy bill Barack Obama signed (despite "serious reservations") on November 25, 2015 authorizes indefinite isolation, torture, and show trials; provisions characteristic of a fascist state.
"A hallmark of totalitarianism is the creation of a prison system outside the rule of law that is largely designed to imprison and torture one minority group. The Guantanamo Bay gulag is unquestionably a crime against humanity. There is unlimited cruelty in a system that seems to be unable to free the innocent and unable to punish the guilty."
-- Garikai Chengu, The Rise of the American-Muslim Totalitarian State
UC Berkeley Billboard
Donations via PayPal
are not tax deductible.
Events & Calendars
Important ReadingPhysicians for Human Rights
Broken Laws, Broken Lives
NLG White Paper
ON THE LAW OF TORTURE...
The President's Executioner
Detention and torture in Guantanamo