Guantanamo Bay

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Rumsfeld Vilified by UK Military; Germany Intent on Persuing Rumsfeld et al

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Snooping around the internet for news relating to Rumsfeld’s disastrous tenure at the top job in the Pentagon two pieces were quite eye catching.

First, writing in the Guardian on Wednesday, Richard Norton-Taylor ends with this:

In Britain, Rumsfeld was vilified by military commanders and senior officials. His decision to abandon the Iraq army directly contradicted a directive from Admiral, now Lord, Boyce, then chief of the defence staff who had instructed his commanders in the field to deal with Iraqi officers to help maintain law and order.

It is difficult to exaggerate the scorn directed at Rumsfeld this side of the Atlantic, among the military and security and intelligence agencies concerned – pragmatically – about the effect of Guantanamo Bay. He should be indicted, they say. But they say so privately because they are servants of the Blair government. And not one British minister dared to criticise Rumsfeld. That is one appalling feature of Rumsfeld’s destructive tenure of office.

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Written by mikk0

November 12, 2006 at 5:29 am

Posted in Guantanamo

The Fight Back Begins

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After Pres. Bush signed the Military Commissions Act into law, the Justice Department lost no time in informing the Guantanamo detainees who had cases pending questioning the legality of their detention that these cases were now moot.

Likewise, defense lawyers for the Guantanamo detainees have lost no time in lodging an appeal.
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Written by mikk0

November 2, 2006 at 8:55 am

Posted in Guantanamo

Seven Months Locked in a Room Under Bright Lights

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Major Mori, David Hicks military defense lawyer, is in Australia to brief MPs and to meet with Australian Attorney-General Philip Ruddock.

David Hicks, the last Australian detainee held at Guantanamo Bay (originally there were two Australians) has been detained by the US since his capture among Taliban forces in Afghanistan in December 2001. He pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, aiding the enemy and conspiracy, and was to appear before a US military commission.

But following the Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld Supreme Court ruling in June those charges were dropped. Subsequent to the passage of the new Military commissions Act into law, it is expected that Hicks will once again face similar charges under the new revamped military commissions system, which in most every respect is identical to the old discredited system. Major Mori has indicated that his client will once again plead not guilty.
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Written by mikk0

November 1, 2006 at 3:50 pm

Posted in Guantanamo

“It’s the Salem witchcraft trials”

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“the worst of the worst” ~~ Rumsfeld.
“We totally suck at the GWOT!” ~~ Miss Devore.

In honor of Halloween, who could resist such a quote?

“It’s the Salem witchcraft trials,” said Marc Falkoff of Covington and Burling’s New York City office, who represents 17 Yemenis, several of them fingered — falsely, according to Falkoff — by different accusers. “You get one guy to start making accusations, and whether it’s believable or not doesn’t matter.”

I am reading from an an article in National Journal that was published February 3rd. In that week’s edition, their reporter, Corine Hegland wrote three stories on Guantanamo Bay detention camp, and it was while doing her research that she interviewed a number of the attorneys that represented detainees.

This is an old article, eight months old in fact, and some things have changed at GTMO and some things haven’t. The overall predicament of the detainees has, if anything, gotten worse since these lawyers were interviewed. More quotes in the next segment.

Here is Thomas Wilner calling a spade a spade:

Thomas Wilner, a partner at the Washington law firm Shearman and Stearling who is representing six Kuwaitis at Guantanamo, summarized the evidence against them: “Bullshit hearsay…. The information in some cases is, at best, hearsay allegations long after capture.”

And the there is Anant Raut.

“The people you’ve been going up against in court have been saying he’s the worst of the worst, Osama’s right-hand man,” said Anant Raut, an attorney with the Washington firm of Weil, Gotshal, & Manges. “Then you go in there, and it’s a guy who is as confused as you are as to why he is there.” Raut has one client, a Saudi, who is classified as an enemy combatant largely because he spent a couple of weeks on a Taliban bean farm. The man says the Taliban imprisoned him there because they thought he was a Saudi government spy.

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Written by mikk0

November 1, 2006 at 2:45 am

Posted in Guantanamo

“Horrible Terrorists” To Remain In GTMO For Ever

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It appears that there was a press junket down to Guantanamo Bay last week that has given rise to a number of short stories in the press. My previous post is a case in point. How do I know this? Simple, the same phrase “… along the cactus and palm tree-lined shore …” crops up in all of the reports.

It’s got to remind you of that time last year when newspapers in Iraq published direct quotes from interviews of several different Iraqi individuals done at different times of day and in different locations … and yet these Iraqis all managed to come up with identical phrasing, even though none of them were related. That, the Pentagon was later forced to admit, was all their doing. It was supposed to get the Pentagon’s point of view across through the voices of the Iraq “man in the street”.
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Written by mikk0

October 30, 2006 at 7:47 am

Posted in Guantanamo

Preparations for GTMO Trials

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Construction Engineers for the military have been visiting Guantanamo earlier in the week to survey the prison camp in preparation for building courtrooms for military commissions and accommodations for trial lawyers. The Bush plan of action calls for military commissions for the 14 previously disappeared so-called al Qaeda terror suspects that have recently been discovered and fetched to GTMO – plus a further 60 or so longterm GTMO detainees that are actually considered to be guilty of something, though of what nobody is sure.

The trials may start sometime in the new year. But first there will have to be a considerble building effort to build as many as ten new courtrooms, plus housing for extra personel, plus services, power, water and sewage, roads and air-conditioning. The engineers are to submit their proposals to the Pentagon next week.

Brig. Gen. Edward Leacock, deputy commander of the joint task force that runs the facility holding more than 400 suspected terrorists, said the price tag could run into the “hundreds of millions.”

“The logistics end of it will be pretty significant,” Leacock said, referring to the cost and time needed to build the support infrastructure at the base, referred to as Gitmo.

“Gitmo does not have a Home Depot. The process of getting supplies and materials is a major operation. It takes a while to build things down here,” he told reporters on a small boat shuttling across the waters that separate a U.S. naval base from the military detention centre.

Presently there is only one courtroom at GTMO and not a very big one at that. There is only room for one detainee to be tried at a time, and the Bush plan of action requires that there be room for several detainees to be tried together.

Congressonal staff are going to be transported down to GTMO in the coming weeks so that they may see for themselves the actual plots of land where the new courts will be built.

Written by mikk0

October 28, 2006 at 10:26 am

Posted in Guantanamo

News from Guantanamo

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   —News from Guantanamo     August, 7th, 2006
Detainee No: 345, dob: 2/15/1969, Sudan
Sami Muhyideen

Al-Jazeera journalist

Sami Muhyideen is a cameraman for Al-Jazeera who has spent over three years in Guantanamo Bay. He was sent on assignment by the station to cover the war in Afghanistan in October 2001. The following month, after the fall of Kabul, Sami left Afghanistan for Pakistan with the rest of his crew.

Still on assignment for Al-Jazeera, in early December the crew were given visas to return to Afghanistan. When he tried to re-enter Afghanistan with the crew Sami was arrested by the Pakistani authorities – at the request of the US. Sami’s crew never saw him again – he was imprisoned, handed over to the Americans in January 2002, taken to Bagram, then Kandahar, and finally to Guantanamo in June 2002.

For months, the US did not even suggest charges against Sami, instead demanding that he should become a witness against Al-Jazeera and accuse the television station of links to terror. They wanted him to say that Al-Jazeera has a ‘business relationship’ with Al-Qaida, that Al-Qaida has infiltrated Al-Jazeera, and that some of his colleagues at the station were working for Al-Qaida. They offered him release and lifetime protection if he turned informant on his employers.

Sami has refused to do so, insisting consistently that there are no such connections between Al-Jazeera and Al-Qaida.

The US government has not filed any charges against Sami.

We hope to bring news of Sami whenever his lawyer gets to visit him next.
Sami is represented by Clive Stafford Smith :: Reprieve, PO Box 52742, London, EC4P 4WS.

WE CALL on the United States government to give Sami a fair hearing.


“We absolutely will bring legal action against the United States. We will bring the litigation against the Bush administration on Sami’s behalf because there is an important principle here. One day, I very much hope to have President George W. Bush and Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld on the witness stand explaining precisely why they thought they could treat prisoners in this way. At the very least, we must make sure that this does not happen again.” — Clive Stafford Smith, Sami’s attorney.


   —News from Guantanamo     August, 7th, 2006
Detainee No: 701, dob: 4/22/1979, British Resident
Jamal ‘Tony’ Kiyemba

Sold to the United States

Jamal Kiyemba is originally from Uganda. His parents separated and his mother moved to London where she raised his siblings. When his father died in an accident in Uganda, Jamal joined his mother, completed school and went to the University of Leicester, where he studied to become a pharmacist.

His family in Uganda was divided between strong Catholicism and a moderate strain of Islam. Jamal himself was brought up Catholic, but converted to Islam in University.

He was travelling in Pakistan when he was seized and turned over to his American captors for a bounty of $5,000 (which was the amount the US Military were offering for foreign Muslim ‘terrorists’). Jamal had never been to Afghanistan until the Americans took him there and there’s no evidence that he ever committed a hostile act against the US or anyone else.

He’s been held in Guantanamo Bay for more than three years.

The British Government has declined to intervene on Jamal’s behalf on the grounds that he is not a British national.

The US government has not filed any charges against Jamal.

We hope to bring news of Jamal whenever his lawyer gets to visit him next.
Jamal is represented by Clive Stafford Smith :: Reprieve, PO Box 52742, London, EC4P 4WS.

WE CALL on the United States government to give Jamal a fair hearing.


See below for an update on Jamal’s circumstances as reported by The Mail on Sunday newspaper.

I confessed to escape Guantanamo torture
February 19th, 2006

The Mail on Sunday — A British student secretly released after more than two years in America’s notorious Guantanamo Bay terror suspect prison told last night how he had been barred from returning to the UK.

And, as Jamal “Tony” Kiyemba spoke of the systematic torture he suffered at the hands of his captors, The Mail on Sunday has learned that Home Secretary Charles Clarke personally intervened to keep him out of Britain on “national security grounds”.

The 25-year-old Londoner has been returned to his country of birth, Uganda, where he is now in custody. Kiyemba was freed without warning last week as international pressure mounted on America to close the detention camp after a highly critical UN report on the treatment of prisoners there.

Last night his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, who specialises in human rights cases, handed this newspaper a dossier detailing the abuses his client alleges he suffered.

Kiyemba claims the Americans forced him, under torture, to confess to terrorist activities, and that MI5 interrogated him repeatedly, quizzing him about British terror suspects and the jailed clerics Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada.

The Government is refusing to reveal why Kiyemba, a Leicester University pharmacy student who grew up in London and whose mother, four brothers and sister all live in Britain, has been excluded from the country. But his lawyer believes something he was tortured into saying may hold the clue.

Kiyemba was granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK when he left Uganda following the death of his father in 1993. He didn’t apply for British citizenship and this meant that at Guantanamo Bay he was not entitled to representation by the Foreign Office nor, on his release, to automatic rights to return to his family.

“I may not be British according to some bit of paper but in reality I am a Brit and always will be,” he told his lawyer. “My doctor, my local mosque, my teens, my education, employment, friends, taxes, home and above all else my family – it is all in Britain.”

Kiyemba was arrested in Pakistan in March 2002. He had gone there, he claims, to study Arabic and the Koran because it was “very cheap”. He says he was held there for two months, beaten by Pakistani intelligence officers, threatened with torture and, finally, blindfolded and gagged, put on an American plane and flown to the US prison at Bagram in Afghanistan.

There, he claims, he was subjected to systematic torture. He told his lawyer that he would be “hung on the door for two hours and then allowed to sit for half an hour but never allowed to sleep. This would go on for 48 hours in a row”.

After this, he claims, he would be taken for interrogation for two hours at a time. “I had to kneel on the cold concrete throughout the interrogations with my cuffed hands above my head,” he said. “The only way out, I was told, was to confess. I heard and saw other torture – banging, screaming, cries, barking dogs and a dead guy who had tried to escape. One of the MPs [military police] said: ‘Who’s next?’ So I confessed to be left alone.”

Kiyemba’s lawyer says his client was then interviewed by MI5 officers. ‘They showed him many pictures of supposed terrorists in the UK and told him that he could only get them to help if he helped them.

“But he did not know any of them – he recognised Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada from television but had never seen them in person.”

In October 2002 Kiyemba was transferred to Guantanamo Bay. He recalls how on the journey he was forced to wear “the tightest cuffs to date, with chains, taped goggles, ear muffs, nose masks and taped gloves to prevent finger movement”. He added: “Any movement meant you got hit by the nearest soldier.”

At Guantanamo, Kiyemba says he had three more visits from MI5 who asked him if he wished to make any changes to his previous statements. He says when he said no, “they left in what seemed like an angry mood”.

He added: “The American interrogators did not believe my story. Soon they had me standing up for sleep deprivation. They swore that if I did not admit to having planned jihad in Afghanistan, then what lay ahead for me would be far worse.

“The Americans promised to send me to “our Egyptian friends who are renowned for torturing and they will do the dirty work for us”. In the end I just gave up resisting and told them what they wanted to hear so that they would leave me alone.”

But, he says, the torture did not let up. On one occasion Kiyemba claims he was forced to the ground by guards, bound and soaked with pepper spray.

“They then sprayed it on a towel until it was soaked and rubbed the towel in his eyes,” his lawyer noted. “He did not know what to do about the pain. He asked a medic, who told him to wash his eyes out with cold water – this made it worse.”

A letter from a senior Foreign Office staffer was the first official word Kiyemba’s family got of his release. It said: “You should be aware that the Home Secretary has personally directed that he should be excluded from the UK on grounds of national security.”

Last night Mr Stafford Smith, director of the human rights group Reprieve, called on the Home Secretary to reconsider his client’s plight.

He said: “Jamal Kiyemba has lived his whole life in Britain since he was a boy. His mother and family all live here. Charles Clarke refused to lift a finger to help him when he was being abused in Guantanamo Bay. Now he has barred him from his home and his mother based on allegations he won’t reveal but which were almost certainly based on what Jamal said under torture.”

Written by mikk0

August 7, 2006 at 12:46 pm

Posted in Guantanamo