Interrogator says Khadr was told he’d likely be raped in U.S.

By CAROL ROSENBERG
May 6 2010

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — To get teen terror suspect Omar Khadr to cooperate, a former U.S. Army interrogator testified Thursday, he told the wounded Canadian a “fictitious” tale of an Afghan youth who was gang-raped in an American prison and died.

“We’d tell him about this Afghan gets sent to an American prison and there’s a bunch of big black guys and big Nazis,” said the former interrogator who was since convicted of detainee abuse and was identified in court only as Interrogator No. 1.

Under Pentagon ground rules, reporters covering the hearing are not allowed to include the interrogator’s real name in their dispatches from Guantanamo. Canadian newspapers have published the name, however, and his testimony in other cases is available at the McClatchyDC.com website and elsewhere.

Interrogator No. 1 also gave an on-the-record interview with The Toronto Star in 2008 and his name was widely published in accounts of his court martial in September 2005.

The interrogators told Khadr that the Afghan – “a poor little kid … away from home, kind of isolated” – had been sent to the U.S. prison away because the interrogators were disappointed with his truthfulness, Interrogator No. 1 said. When patriotic American prisoners discovered the Afghan was a Muslim, praying five times a day, they raped him in their rage over the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Interrogator No. 1 said Khadr, who was 15 and badly wounded at the time, was told.

Khadr’s attorneys called Interrogator No. 1 to bolster Khadr’s claim that he was abused while in U.S. custody and their motion before a military judge that any confessions he made during his captivity should be considered coerced and not admissible.

Khadr, now 23, had specifically claimed in an affidavit outlining abuse that he was threatened with rape. On Tuesday, a medic identified as Mr. M testified that he once found Khadr chained by his arms to the door of his cage-like cell, hooded and in tears. That too tracked allegations included in Khadr’s affadavit.

According to court testimony, Interrogator No. 1 was attached to the 519 MP Battalion, which guarded prisoners at Bagram air base in Afghanistan in 2002. Three years later, Interrogator No. 1 pleaded guilty to three acts of detainee abuse on another captive at Bagram in December 2002.

Interrogator No. 1 said he questioned Khadr as many as 25 times over 100 hours before the teen was sent to Guantanamo for more interrogations.

According to earlier testimony, Interrogator 1 questioned Khadr the first time on a stretcher while he was still under sedation on July 29, 2002, hours after the 15-year-old was released from an U.S. Army combat hospital and life-saving surgery. He denied under questioning from defense counsel Barry Coburn that he ever threatened Khadr directly with rape.

Instead, he said, a group of U.S. interrogators dreamed up the “fictitious” Afghan rape story to utilize authorized “Love of Freedom” and “Fear Up” techniques designed to break particularly uncooperative prisoners. “It’s never about the detainee,” Interrogator No. 1 said, explaining how he used it. “It’s to make the individual … afraid of American prisons.”

U.S. troops captured Khadr two weeks before his first formal interrogation, near dead and shot twice through the back during a Special Forces raid on a suspected al Qaida stronghold near Khost, Afghanistan.

Another former interrogator, who was acquitted by a court martial of detainee abuse charges, testified Wednesday that Khadr was first questioned just two days after he was wounded at the field hospital at Bagram. That interrogator, Damien Corsetti, said Khadr was tethered to a heart monitor. Soldiers held a tin of chewing tobacco to his gaping chest wound and saw that it could fit inside.

Defense attorneys argue that the military mistreated Khadr and created a coercive environment that should disqualify the truthfulness and reliability of his later confessions that he threw a hand grenade that killed U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer, 28.

Prosecutors defend the youth’s treatment and say he subsequently boasted voluntarily, and truthfully, to FBI agents conducting a criminal terror trial investigation that he threw the grenade and also planted land mines in Afghanistan meant to kill American soldiers and earn him $1,500 a head.

Veteran prosecutor Jeff Groharing, now a Justice Department attorney who got the case as a Marine major, sought on follow-up questioning to make clear that Interrogator No 1 was gleaning information from the Canadian for “actionable intelligence” in the Afghanistan combat zone – not for a future criminal prosecution.

Interrogator No. 1 said he wanted to know about the location of weapons and mines to assist the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan. His intelligence reports at the time noted that Khadr had thrown a grenade that killed a fellow U.S. soldier but Interrogator 1 said he wasn’t seeking a confession.

He also said that he didn’t think the rape tale made Khadr any more cooperative or truthful and that he only started spilling al-Qaida secrets after U.S. troops went back to the scene of his capture in Khost, Afghanistan, and recovered a video of showing a young Khadr being taught how to assemble Soviet anti-tank mines.

Khadr, wearing the white uniform of a cooperative captive, watched the proceedings intently. Interrogator No. 1, in blue jeans and sporting a pony tail, testified by video hookup from Arizona. on a video monitor. Source

Khadr legal team turns down plea offer from U.S

Khadr Routinely Trussed Up In Cage, Hearing Told

Prosecuting A Tortured Child: Obama’s Guantánamo Legacy

Reporters banned from Trial

TORONTO

— Three Canadian journalists are being barred from Guantanamo Bay, where they have been covering pre-trial war-crimes hearings for Omar Khadr, the Pentagon said Thursday.

The reporters for the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, and Canwest News Service breached a ban on identifying a witness, according to the Pentagon.

“Your reporters published the name of a witness whose identity was protected in court,” a letter handed to the journalists stated.

“As a result of these violations, these individual reporters are barred from returning to cover future military commissions proceedings.”

For the past eight days, Khadr’s defence lawyers have been trying to establish the Canadian was tortured into making incriminating statements.

Among the witnesses was a former interrogator at Bagram prison in Afghanistan, where Khadr was taken after his capture in July, 2002.

The man testified Thursday to scaring Khadr by telling the badly wounded 15-year-old a “fictitious” story of an Afghan boy in U.S. custody who was gang-raped and died.

The Pentagon wanted him identified only as Interrogator No. 1 and forbade reporting his name, which has been widely available through his previous prosecution and conviction for detainee abuse.

He has also previously given an interview to the Star.

Toronto Star reporter Michelle Shephard, who has written a book on Khadr and his family, called the decision “ridiculous.”

The paper’s editor, Michael Cooke, denounced the ban.

“This is grossly unfair,” Cooke said. “The Star will object to this decision.”

Also barred were the Globe and Mail’s Washington correspondent, Paul Koring, and Canwest’s Steven Edwards.

Canwest vice-president Scott Anderson said from Ottawa he had not yet had a chance to talk about the issue with Edwards.

“It’s critical that we find out what happened here,” Anderson said.

“Obviously there was some misunderstanding on one side or another.”

Globe foreign editor, Stephen Northfield, said the paper “would appeal this decision.”

The New York-based American Civil Liberties Union condemned the Pentagon’s ruling as “absurd” and “nonsensical,” saying it would discourage reporting on the internationally condemned military commissions.

“No legitimate government interest is served by suppressing information that is already well known,” said Jameel Jaffer, the union’s deputy legal director.

“We strongly urge the Defence Department to reconsider its rash, draconian and unconstitutional decision to bar these four reporters from future tribunals.”

Carol Rosenberg, a reporter from the American newspaper, the Miami Herald, who has extensive experience covering the commissions, was also told she may not return.

Rosenberg declined to discuss the situation, referring calls to the Herald’s managing editor, who did not immediately return a call for comment.

The ban does not extend to the media outlets, only to the reporters involved.

However, media organizations themselves could be barred should there be “future violations,” the letter warns.

The letter also states the reporters can appeal the decision to the deputy assistant secretary of defence for media operations.

The hearings have wrapped up — it was not immediately clear when they will resume — and the media on the U.S. naval base were all expected to leave Friday.

Khadr’s trial — he is accused of throwing a grenade that killed an American soldier and blinded another — had been due to start in July.

Source

UN official calls for release of former child combatant from Guantanamo

5 May 2010 – A United Nations envoy today reiterated her call for the immediate release of the last child soldier still being held in Guantanamo Bay, voicing concern that his case has been brought to trial under a United States military commission and that he has been charged with war crimes.

Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was arrested in Afghanistan in 2002 when he was 15 years old. He has been in US custody for the last seven years, having spent much of his time in solitary confinement.

Radhika Coomaraswamy, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, called on the Governments of Canada and the US to respect the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and release Mr. Khadr into Canadian custody.

The Optional Protocol aims to increase the protection of children during armed conflicts. It requires that all States parties “take all feasible measures” to ensure that members of their armed forces under the age of 18 do not take a direct part in hostilities, and reminds nations that children under 18 are entitled to special protection and so any voluntary recruitment under the age of 18 must include sufficient safeguards.

Ms. Coomaraswamy today urged Canada and the US to treat Mr. Khadr as a child soldier and undertake efforts to rehabilitate him.

“Like other children abused by armed groups around the world who are repatriated to their home communities and undergo re-education for their reintegration, Omar should be given the same protections afforded these children,” she emphasized.

“Trying young people for war crimes with regard to acts committed when they are minors could create a dangerous international precedent,” the official warned. Source

Recent

Judge dismisses scores of Guantanamo habeas cases

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Judge dismisses scores of Guantanamo habeas cases

By Carol Rosenberg
May 5 2010

WASHINGTON — A federal judge has dismissed more than 100 habeas corpus lawsuits filed by former Guantanamo captives, ruling that because the Bush and Obama administrations had transferred them elsewhere, the courts need not decide whether the Pentagon imprisoned them illegally.

The ruling dismayed attorneys for some of the detainees who’d hoped any favorable U.S. court findings would help clear their clients of the stigma, travel restrictions and, in some instances, perhaps more jail time that resulted from their stay at Guantanamo.

U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan wrote that he was “not unsympathetic” to the former detainees’ plight. “Detention for any length of time can be injurious. And certainly associations with Guantanamo tend to be negative,” he wrote.

But the detainees’ transfer from Guantanamo made their cases moot. “The court finds that petitioners no longer present a live case or controversy since a federal court cannot remedy the alleged collateral consequences of their prior detention at Guantanamo,” he wrote.

Hogan’s ruling, issued last Thursday, but not widely publicized, closed the files on 105 habeas corpus petitions, many of which had been pending for years as the Bush administration resisted the right of civilian judges to intervene in military detentions. The U.S. Supreme Court resolved that issue in 2008, ruling in Boumediene v. Bush that the detainees could challenge their captivity in civilian court. Since then, judges have ordered the release of 34 detainees while upholding the detention of 12.

Attorneys for the ex-detainees were deciding Monday whether to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, said Shayana Kadidal, an attorney at New York’s Center for Constitutional Rights, which has taken the lead in championing Guantanamo habeas petitions.

The former prisoners who’d filed the dismissed suits ranged from “people who disappeared in Libyan prison to people who are home living with their family and can’t get a job,” Kadidal said.

The “vast, vast majority” of former Guantanamo prisoners are under some form of travel restriction, he said, as a result of either transfer agreements between the United States and where they now live or the stigma of having spent time in U.S. military custody.

“If you want to do haj at some point in your life,” he said, referring to a Muslim’s duty to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, a freed detainee would need to get those restrictions lifted.

Moreover, he added, CCR affiliated attorneys have tracked former captives to prison at Pol-i-charki, Afghanistan, that was once run by the U.S. military. He said “the U.S. may be pulling the puppet strings” of their continued captivity.

In the case of two men sent home to Sudan, according to an affidavit filed by an investigator with the Oregon Federal Public Defender’s office, which is representing them, the United States required as a condition for their release that Sudan seize their travel documents and prevent them from leaving the country.

Hogan said the attorneys for the former detainees hadn’t offered enough proof that other countries were operating essentially as U.S. proxies. “Petitioners are short on examples, except for the fact that former Guantanamo detainees from Afghanistan transferred back to Afghanistan have been detained at a detention facility built by the United States,” he wrote.

Of the 183 men currently held at Guantanamo, 22 have had their habeas cases resolved — 10 who were ordered released, but are still being held and the 12 whose detentions were upheld.

It was unclear, however, how many of the other 161 might have cases pending. Some detainees have refused American lawyers’ offers to sue on their behalf, apparently rejecting the authority of any U.S. court to sit in judgment on them. An Obama administration panel has determined that about 50 of those should be held indefinitely without charges.  Source

This of course is American Justice.  No Justice at all.

Drone Pilots Could Be Tried for ‘War Crimes’

US Senate votes to ban big bank ‘bailouts’

Canada: McTeer accuses Tories of putting women’s lives at risk

TIME SQUARE BOMB HOAX, Israeli Intel Group Shows It’s Hand

May Day protests draw millions worldwide

Can You Pass The Iran Quiz

NATO troops kill Again! This time three Afghan women

Testing the Limits of Freedom of Speech: Ernst Zundel Speaks Out

Published in: on May 7, 2010 at 3:41 am  Comments Off on Judge dismisses scores of Guantanamo habeas cases  
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Algerians, freed from Guantanamo, still paying the price

By Seema Jilani, M.D.

September 09, 2009

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Seven months after his release from Guantanamo Bay, Mustafa Ait Idr cautiously sips coffee in a Sarajevo cafe. His face is still partially paralyzed and numb from when guards pinned him onto gravel and jumped on him. He is nursing a broken finger — punishment for refusing to strip naked in his cell. On another occasion, his head was held in a toilet for prolonged periods of time.

Now a free man, Ait Idr proudly displays his Bosnian ID Card, which was only recently reinstated. He is still unable to find employment or access his bank accounts, which were frozen shortly after his arrest in 2001. He has seen his wife twice in the past seven years; upon his release, he met his youngest son for the first time.

Ait Idr is one of “The Algerian Six,” a group of Bosnian citizens detained at Guantanamo Bay for seven years, and recently released with all charges dropped. Their story is another in a long list of stories from Guantanamo of wrongful imprisonment on unproven charges.

The Algerian men came to Bosnia in the 1990s. At the request of U.S. officials, the men were arrested in October 2001 on allegations that they were planning an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo. According to documents filed by the detainee’s American lawyers in their U.S. federal court habeas action, Christopher Hoh, then the U.S. chargé d’affaires, told then Bosnian Prime Minister Alija Behmen that the U.S. would cut all diplomatic relations if the men were not arrested.

“If we leave Bosnia, God save your country,” Hoh said, according to the documents. The U.S. Embassy temporarily closed during this time. Behmen, leader of a fragile, post-conflict country, acquiesced to the demand. He noted in an interview with the Washington Post, “The only way out was to deliver them” to the Americans … We were not interested in introducing a new period of instability in Bosnia.”

Within a week, Bosnian police detained “The Algerian Six”: Hajj Boudella, Lakhdar Boumediene, Mustafa Ait Idr, Mohammad Nechle, Saber Lahmar and Bensayah Belkacem.

After a three-month Bosnian investigation found no evidence linking the men to terrorist activities or justifying their detention, the Bosnian Supreme Court ordered their release. High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch, the international community’s top official in Bosnia at the time, said, “the US put a tremendous amount of pressure” on Bosnia to deport the men. Vijay Padmanabhan, a lawyer for the State Department, denied the charge, claiming, “The US does not threaten or intimidate.” Hoh did not respond to requests for comment.

On Jan. 17, 2002, Bosnian officials drove the men from the courthouse. More than 150 people had gathered outside the courthouse to protest their surrender to American officials. It would be the last time that Boudella’s wife, Nadja Dizdarevic, would see her husband for seven years.

“Through the car window, he said we were only little pawns in a big political game,” she remembered, blue eyes peering from behind her gray burqa.

Three days later, stripped of their Bosnian citizenship, the men arrived handcuffed and blindfolded at Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo Bay, where they spent the following seven years.

“Virtually every claim made by the U.S. government to justify our clients’ illegal rendition was eventually dropped,” said Stephen Oleskey, an attorney for Wilmer Hale, the Boston law firm that in 2004 agreed to take up the case, without charge. “There was never any real evidence.”

One detainee, Nechle, was flagged because of his mandatory service in the Algerian army a decade ago, as a cook. Ait Idr was presumed dangerous because he taught Bosnian orphans martial arts. Military tribunal transcripts reveal one U.S. officer saying, “At this point, we don’t know why you are being accused of being a member of the Armed Islamic Group… Do you have any idea why you are being connected with this group?”

“I don’t know,” Boudella replied.

In June 2008, the landmark Supreme Court case, Boumediene v. Bush, allowed enemy combatants to seek judicial review of their detention, reinstating habeas corpus. Four months later, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon released five of the men and continued detention of the sixth, Bensayah Belkacem, stating, “To allow enemy combatancy to rest on so thin a reed would be inconsistent with this court’s obligation… This is a unique case.”

In a nod to the Obama Administration’s pledge to close Guantanamo Bay, French President Nicolas Sarkozy accepted the plaintiff, Lakhmar Boumediene, in May 2009, allowing him to settle in France.

Upon his release, Boumediene neeeded 11 days of treatment in a French hospital. During an interview in Paris, he revealed scars from shackles and nasal skin breakdown from forced tube-feedings.

“I lived in a nightmare for seven years. Even animals are treated better,” he said.

Boumediene recalled the cold isolation rooms he endured without clothes and interrogation under bright lights, with Arabic translators who frequently made mistakes in translation. “I went to the bathroom shackled, with guards. They didn’t let me sleep for 16 days,” he said.

Still, Boumediene denies wanting revenge. “I have no problems with the American people. My problem is with Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. I expected more from the great democracy of the U.S., but they failed me and played games with my life.”

The remaining detainee, Belkacem, is the only European citizen still in custody at Guantanamo.

In 2001, the U.S. reportedly tapped his mobile phone conversations with Abu Zabaydah, allegedly an al Qaida operative. In an interview in Bosnia, Anela Belkacem, Bensayah’s wife, claims they didn’t have enough money to own a mobile phone. Oleskey, the detainees’ American lawyer suggests there was no cell phone. “The Bosnian police couldn’t even get this number to work,” he said.

Anela claims her husband “has been sacrificed… No one wants to admit they made a big mistake in detaining these men.”

The released prisoners face overcoming psychological and physical trauma, reintegrating into society and returning to fragmented lives. Nadja Dizdarevic was an avid supporter of her husband during his internment, but within months of his return, the couple divorced. “We remain good friends. People change in seven years. My children grew up overnight. They didn’t watch cartoons, they watched the news.”

Despite complete exoneration, the men’s citizenship is uncertain. Bosnia has been dragging its feet in restoring citizenship. The men only recently received their ID cards, but have not yet gotten their passports. They’ve been unable to find jobs and claim to be followed by unmarked cars regularly.

Boumediene says, “My daughter does not recognize me. I didn’t see my wife for seven years. I lost everything. Who will give me these years back?”

Currently, Belkacem remains in Guantanamo Bay custody pending his appeal, Boumediene lives in France and Nechle in Algeria. Ait Idr and Boudella are unemployed in Sarajevo, awaiting reinstatement of their citizenship and bank accounts.

Bosnia acknowledged to the Council of Europe that it breached the European Convention on Human Rights by participating in extra-judicial extraordinary rendition at the request of the U.S. The Council has accused over 20 countries of collaborating with CIA rendition flights to secret prisons.

Source

Trusting the US is not something anyone should do.

US Raided Afghan Hospital

(Afghanistan 1) A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Spanish judge resumes torture case against six senior Bush lawyers

September 9 2009

By Andy Worthington

The Spanish newspaper Público reported exclusively on Saturday that Judge Baltasar Garzón is pressing ahead with a case against six senior Bush administration lawyers for implementing torture at Guantánamo.

Back in March, Judge Garzón announced that he was planning to investigate the six prime architects of the Bush administration’s torture policies — former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; John Yoo, a former lawyer in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, who played a major role in the preparation of the OLC’s notorious “torture memos”; Douglas Feith, the former undersecretary of defense for policy; William J. Haynes II, the Defense Department’s former general counsel; Jay S. Bybee, Yoo’s superior in the OLC, who signed off on the August 2002 “torture memos”; and David Addington, former Vice President Dick Cheney’s Chief of Staff.

In April, on the advice of the Spanish Attorney General Cándido Conde-Pumpido, who believes that an American tribunal should judge the case (or dismiss it) before a Spanish court even thinks about becoming involved, prosecutors recommended that Judge Garzón should drop his investigation. As CNN reported, Mr. Conde-Pumpido told reporters that Judge Garzón’s plans threatened to turn the court “into a toy in the hands of people who are trying to do a political action.”

On Saturday, however, Público reported that Judge Garzón had accepted a lawsuit presented by a number of Spanish organizations — the Asociación Pro Dignidad de los Presos y Presas de España (Organization for the Dignity of Spanish Prisoners), Asociación Libre de Abogados (Free Lawyers Association), the Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos de España (Association for Human Rights in Spain) and Izquierda Unida (a left-wing political party) — and three former Guantánamo prisoners (the British residents Jamil El-Banna and Omar Deghayes, and Sami El-Laithi, an Egyptian freed in 2005, who was paralyzed during an incident involving guards at Guantánamo).

The newspaper reported that all these groups and individuals would take part in any trial, which is somewhat ironic, as, although Judge Garzón has been involved in high-profile cases that have delighted human rights advocates — his pursuit of General Pinochet, for example — he has been severely criticized for his heavy-handed approach to terrorism-related cases in Spain (as in the cases of Mohammed Farsi and Farid Hilali, amongst others), and, in fact, aggressively pursued an extradition request for both Jamil El-Banna and Omar Deghayes on their return from Guantánamo to the UK in December 2007, in connection with spurious and long-refuted claims about activities related to terrorism, which he was only persuaded to drop in March 2008.

It is, at present, uncertain whether another attempt to stifle Judge Garzón will derail him from his pursuit of the Bush administration’s lawyers, as he is not known for letting adversaries stand in his way. At the end of June, the Spanish Parliament pointedly passed legislation aimed at “ending the practice of letting its magistrates seek war-crime indictments against officials from any foreign country, including the United States,” on the basis that no Spanish Court should be able to judge officials of foreign countries except when the victims are Spanish or the crimes were committed in Spain.

However, on Sunday, when Público spoke to Philippe Sands, the British lawyer, and author of Torture Team, which provided much of the first-hand evidence for Garzón’s case, Sands explicitly stated that there was “no legal barrier” to prevent Judge Garzón’s prosecution from proceeding. He explained that he believed the recent decision by US Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a special investigator to investigate cases of torture by the CIA is related to the Spanish lawsuit and the importance it has acquired because of its instigation by Judge Garzón. Sands told Público, “The recent decision by Eric Holder emphasizes how appropriate the Spanish investigation is. Many commentators believe that this decision has had a significant and direct impact in the United States, reminding people that there is an obligation to investigate torture.”

He added, “Judge Garzón’s actions have acted like a catalyst, and are supported by many people in the United States, including some members of Congress. He has reminded everybody that a blind eye cannot be turned to these actions and that there are people who are not going to let that happen.” He also explained that Eric Holder’s gesture is only a first step, “limited to cases in which interrogators may have exceeded the limits formally approved by lawyers in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel,” that the architects of the “legal decisions that purported to justify the use of torture are not in immediate danger in the United States,” and that there is, therefore, “no legal barrier to the continuation of the Spanish investigation.”

He concluded by stating that it was “important” that Judge Garzón proceeds with the case in Spain, because, although Eric Holder “has confirmed the importance of the Convention Against Torture, he has taken only a first step that “does not really address the actions of those who were truly responsible for its violation.”

Source

Well I think  criminals should be prosecuted too. No one should be above the law. Especially in this case.

Published in: on September 10, 2009 at 5:45 am  Comments Off on Spanish judge resumes torture case against six senior Bush lawyers  
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Obama shuts network of CIA ‘ghost prisons’

By Suzanne Goldenberg and Ewen MacAskill in Washington

January 23 2009

Barack Obama embarked on the wholesale deconstruction of George Bush’s war on terror, shutting down the CIA’s secret prison network, banning torture and rendition, and calling for a new set of rules for detainees. The repudiation of Bush’s thinking on national security yesterday also saw the appointment of a high-powered envoy to the Middle East.

Obama’s decision to permanently shut down the CIA’s clandestine interrogation centres went far beyond the widely anticipated move to wind down the Guantánamo Bay detention centre within a year.

He cast his scrapping of the legal apparatus set up by Bush as a way for America to reclaim the moral high ground in the fight against al-Qaida.

“We are not, as I said during the inauguration, going to continue with the false choice between our safety and our ideals,” Obama said at the signing ceremony. “We intend to win this fight. We are going to win it on our own terms.”

In a sign of the sweeping rejection of the legal standards set by Bush, officials briefing reporters at the CIA’s secret prison yesterday said the new administration would not be guided by any of the opinions on torture and detainees issued by the justice department after 11 September 2001.

Instead, Obama, in three executive orders, renewed the US commitment to the Geneva convention on the treatment of detainees. All detainees will be registered by the International Committee for the Red Cross, in another departure of past practice under the Bush administration.

A group of 16 retired admirals and generals, in a meeting organised by Human Rights First, said the move would restore America’s moral authority in the world, and strengthen its national security. “President Obama has rejected the false choice between national security and our ideals,” they said.

As expected, Obama made good on his campaign promise to shut down Guantánamo, issuing an executive order to close the camp within a year. He also ordered a taskforce, led by the attorney general and the secretaries of defence, state and homeland security, to review the intelligence and information on each detainee and to determine whether they can be released or put on trial.

He called for a review on the treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo to be completed within 30 days.

Another order directs the CIA to follow the US army field manual on interrogations, which bars such techniques as waterboarding.

Obama also directed a taskforce to study and report back within 180 days on whether new guidelines were required for intelligence officials, beyond those set down by the military. Administration officials were adamant that the review was not intended as a back door to reinstate torture. “There is not a secret annexe that allows us to bring enhanced interrogation techniques back,” said one.

The final order mandates a review of the case of Ali Saleh Khalah al-Marri, a Qatari, the last enemy combatant on US soil, who is being held in a naval brig in Charleston, South Carolina.

Obama followed up the burst of activity on detention policy by announcing that his administration would put resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the top of his agenda, “actively and aggressively” seeking a comprehensive peace deal. As a sign of that intent, he confirmed that former senator George Mitchell, a veteran US mediator, would be his Middle East envoy.

Obama, who had been criticised for his silence during the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, set out a new position that, while still leaning towards Israel, was more even-handed than that under Bush. He called for Hamas to stop firing rockets at Israel, but also said that Israel must “complete the withdrawal of its forces from Gaza”.

Souce

These are not all  secret ones,  but there are quite a number of Detention Camps. There are a few I knew nothing about however.

US Detention Camps around the World

They Should Check in Israel there may some US prisoners there as well.  Since they are such good buddies and all.

Gee I wonder if Israel has any secret Prisons around the world?  They do everything else the US did.


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Indexed List of all Stories in Archives

Published in: on January 23, 2009 at 1:26 pm  Comments Off on Obama shuts network of CIA ‘ghost prisons’  
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Scandal of six held in Guantanamo even after Bush plot claim is dropped

No evidence that men living in Bosnia plotted attack on Sarajevo embassy

By Robert Fisk

October 31 2008

In the dying days of the Bush administration, yet another presidential claim in the “war on terror” has been proved false by the withdrawal of the main charge against six Algerians held without trial for nearly seven years at Guantanamo prison camp.

George Bush’s assertion in his 2002 State of the Union address – the same speech in which he wrongly claimed that Saddam Hussein had tried to import aluminium tubes from Niger – was that “our soldiers, working with the Bosnian government, seized terrorists who were plotting to bomb our embassy [in Sarajevo].” Not only has the US government withdrawn that charge against the six Algerians, all of whom had taken citizenship or residence in Bosnia, but lawyers defending the Arabs – who had already been acquitted of such a plot in a Sarajevo court – have found that the US threatened to pull its troops out of the Nato peacekeeping force in Bosnia if the men were not handed over. According to testimony presented by the Bosnian Prime Minister, Alija Behman, the deputy US ambassador to Bosnia in 2001, Christopher Hoh, told him that if he did not hand the men to the Americans, “then let God protect Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

That such a threat should be made – and the international High Representative to Bosnia at the time, Wolfgang Petritsch, has also told lawyers it was – shows for the first time just how ruthless and unprincipled US foreign policy had become in Mr Bush’s “war on terror”. By withdrawing their military and diplomatic support for the Bosnian peace process, the Americans would have backed out of the Dayton accord which they themselves had negotiated. Then the Bosnian government would have lost its legitimacy and the country might have collapsed back into a civil war which claimed the lives of tens of thousands of civilians and involved mass rape as well as massacre. The people of Bosnia might then have endured “terror” on a scale far greater than the attacks of al-Qa’ida against the United States.

When the Bosnian court was preparing to release their six prisoners, Prime Minister Behman was informed that Mr Bush, Vice-President Richard Cheney and the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, had been personally briefed and the White House had decided that, if they were freed, US troops in the Nato Stabilisation Force in Bosnia would seize them, using “whatever force is necessary”. So, despite a three-month investigation by the Bosnian police, their clearance and a specific demand by the Dayton-established Bosnian Human Rights Chamber that they should not be forced to leave Bosnia, US forces seized all six, shackled and blindfolded them and put them on a plane to Guantanamo.

Mustafa Idir, Mohamed Nechla, Hadj Boudella, Lakhdar Boumedienne, Belkacem Bensayah and Saber Lahmar have remained there since, the only European citizens still in Guanatanamo. Five of their wives are still waiting for them in Bosnia along with 20 of their children, two of whom their fathers have never seen. Their case will be put to a habeas corpus district court hearing in Washington next week – the six will appear in a live transmission from Guantanamo – where their lawyers will point out that another critical charge has also been withdrawn by the US government.

The administration has withdrawn evidence given by a federal prisoner, Enaam Arnaout, against Boudella – that he trained at an al-Qa’ida camp in Afghanistan – when lawyers were about to discover that the US Justice Department had said five years earlier that an FBI interview with the man was “not reliable”.

Even stranger is that the six prisoners are claimed by the US to be “enemy combatants” when – with the dropping of the embassy bomb-plot charge – there is no evidence they have ever fought US troops or planned to attack US interests anywhere in the world. Part of the case against Bensayah involved the alleged discovery of a piece of paper at his home, bearing a telephone number for an al-Qa’ida operative, Abu Zubayder. “The Bosnian police couldn’t get this number to work in Afghanistan or Pakistan,” one of the prisoners’ lawyers, Stephen Oleskey, says. “Now we believe an announcement that the paper had been discovered was made before it was ‘found’.”

Mr Oleskey says Clint Williamson, the US war crimes ambassador, met Bosnia’s Prime Minister, Nicola Spiric, this week. “There’s only one reason he makes these visits,” he said. “To negotiate the return of people in Guantanamo.” The White House may intend to save itself further embarrassment by ending the torment of six more apparently innocent young men.

Source

Who Cares about Omar Khadr ?


By Debbie Menon

October 16, 2008

Omar Khadr is probably the greatest shame on Canada, because two governments, the Liberals under Paul Martin and the Conservatives under Harper have both made the overt decision to leave him in prison. The case against him is insane.

He was a child, aged 15. He was in Afghanistan because his parents took him there. His father and mother are militant Muslims. He was in a building that US commandos suddenly attacked. When people in the building shot back, they bombed the building and blew it to bits. Then they approached the building, and a US soldier got killed by a hand grenade thrown from the ruins of the building. When they entered the ruins Omar was still alive, but, others were too. In a revised report, they made him the only one left alive. He has been charged with murder. He was shot at close range by bullets (plural).

The case is insane for several reasons:

1) He is a child soldier, which means he is a victim of war not a war criminal.

2) Evidence was changed to make him the only person by inference who might have thrown a hand grenade.There is no witness that he did.

3) Soldiers killed while attacking a house in a foreign country cannot be victims of murder. They are casualties of war.

4) People in a house being attacked by foreigners are engaged in self-defense.

The US has made a category that a person is not a soldier and is not a civilian: unlawful enemy combatant. So laws of war and POW treatment do not apply and criminal laws also do not apply.

He has been tortured in Afghanistan and in Guantanamo.

There is not much evidence against him and there is lack of jurisdiction in US Law related to “child soldiers”. The only reason he is still in Guantanamo Bay is because the government is afraid they have turned him into a radical. He is young and can be rehabilitated. Everyone, even the Canadian officials who came to console him, have done nothing and he continues to be persecuted.

I received a plea from a woman Zainab Ali asking: “Who cares for this boy?”

http://cageprisoners.com/articles.php?id=25526

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQHFFbD_-Pg

http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/khadr/omar-khadr.html

http://www.thestar.com/News/World/article/346020

http://www.thestar.com/article/512286

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/11128331/follow_omar_khadr_from_an_al_qaeda_childhood_to_a_gitmo_cell

It is not that no one cares…Zainab cares… I care… Moazzem Begg cares… there are probably others, even his captors, who may care.

The problem is, none of us who care are in any position or hold any power to do anything for him. We are not even voters in America and do not even have the stilled voice of constituency, or a representative to write to, which would be futile anyway.

The editors we know are not going to be interested because this is not the kind of news which sells time and space in their media.

And, no one else is paid to care!

To even publish this kind of stuff more than once will get an editor the name of a “bleeding heart sympathizer with terrorists” and risk loss of readership, which his corporate bosses who need the sales numbers in order to sell space and time would not appreciate!

Yes, if they released him they would either have a new and dedicated enemy warrior on their hands, or a “Poster Boy” to inspire and recruit many more.
It is more than likely that they simply consider that they have a problem, and the longer they have kept him the more difficult it has become to release him. Think of the “Missing in Action POWs” whom John McCain and his Government left behind in Vietnam. The longer they denied their existence, the harder it became to bring them back in from the cold and, eventually, they had to write them off because it would have been too embarrassing to save them. This is what is happening in Gitmo.

The kid has no chance. Unless some Colonel, General, or someone with sufficient authority, if even for a moment, should step in, risk his neck, and sign a paper which gets the boy free long enough for him to make it back home to cover. This is extremely unlikely!

There must be some reason why this lad did not die from his wounds. A shotgun blast to the back with sufficient force to exit the chest is a pretty fatal event. Perhaps the Power which kept him alive this long will reveal

His purpose in time. Yeah, I know that is even more rhetorical crap, but then, that is my stock in trade!

Wars produce even worse things and casualties. He is one of them.

The  current dead, maimed, and homeless count this morning, in Iraq

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered Since The U.S. Invaded Iraq “1,273,378”
http://www.justforeignpolicy.org/iraq/iraqdeaths.html

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America’s War On Iraq 4,185
http://icasualties.org/oif/

The War And Occupation Of Iraq Costs
$563,004,340,867

See the cost in your community
http://nationalpriorities.org/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=182

1,273,378 Who cares about them? How many American youths have they sent to be killed? 4,180 Who cares about them? It has been 7 years and counting.

Do not expect the Americans to care. Very little, I can assure you!

Prayer may help…I’m not sure.

Source

This young man should be removed from US custody immediately. This should have never happened to him or any other child for that matter.

I am also thinking of the million plus people who are now dead because of the Bush Administration lies and propaganda. I am also thinking of the soldiers who also died because of Bush and his lies.

So why is Bush and his cronies, who manufactured the lies and deceit not being punished for murder, genocide, war crimes, fraud, etc etc etc?  I have to ask?

Harper hasn’t done enough to have this young man removed from US custody.

Canadians have been trying to get his attention. He isn’t listening however. Many have been trying from day one. What Bush Administration is doing to this young man, is illegal.