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Old 29-01-2007, 10:40 AM   #1
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Exclamation Bush-prison-torture News!

This thread is a continuation from The Unhived Mind website.

Guantanamo Bay Prison and Torture News.


And also from The Forum site's thread ------Conspiracy 'Theories'

Aussie David Hicks,held in Guant. Bay/Torture news



Last edited by accuracy; 29-01-2007 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 29-01-2007, 10:49 AM   #2
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After five years of torture, Bisher is slowly slipping into madness

False allegations from MI5 put my clients in Guantánamo Bay and the British government has failed them abysmally

G Brent Mickum
Tuesday January 9, 2007
The Guardian

The day after tomorrow marks the confluence of two ignominious anniversaries. The first is the five-year anniversary of the opening of the notorious prison camps run by the US at the Guantánamo naval air station in Cuba. In the five years since the US started shipping prisoners from around the world to Guantánamo, approximately 99% have never been charged with any transgression, much less a crime. Approximately 400 prisoners, characterised by the Bush administration as "the worst of the worst", have been released without charge, many directly to their families. That any prisoners have been released is due almost entirely to the outrage of the civilised world.

Thursday is also the start of my clients' fifth year of captivity around the world. Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil el-Banna, both British residents, are prisoners because British intelligence tipped off the CIA that they were travelling from the UK to Gambia and falsely described them as Islamist terrorists. We know this because in a court proceeding last year the British government produced copies of telegrams sent by MI5 to the CIA. Although the names are redacted from the documents, we know that the CIA was the recipient because the judge in the case inadvertently noted that they had been sent to the CIA. In the telegrams, MI5 provided knowingly false information to induce my clients' arrest and subsequent rendition.
Bisher and Jamil remain prisoners because, until March of last year, Britain refused to demand their release. Then the foreign secretary made what appears to be a half-hearted request for the release of Bisher in the face of public exposure of the connections with MI5. Britain, however, still refuses to demand the release of Jamil and seven other British residents. None will ever be charged; there is no evidence in the record I have reviewed that would withstand the slightest scrutiny in any court. Moreover, the treatment of Bisher and Jamil has been so appalling, the Bush administration would never allow their story to be exposed to the world in open court. And, of course, some of that story directly implicates British officials.

Bisher and Jamil have withstood various forms of physical torture during their five years as prisoners. Both have suffered numerous beatings (Bisher suffered broken ribs and perhaps a broken foot because of beatings by guards, though both injuries went untreated - despite Bisher's requests for medical assistance), stress positions, temperature extremes, extreme sleep deprivation, death threats, threats to family and, at various times, starvation and being denied water that was fit to drink.

It pains me to report that, at the start of his fifth year in prison, the once healthy and extremely articulate Bisher is failing. He is no longer able to withstand the most insidious form of torture being used by the US military: prolonged isolation combined with environmental manipulation that includes constant exposure to temperature extremes and sleep deprivation.

Bisher is, slowly but surely, slipping into madness. British officials have long been aware of Bisher's treatment. To my knowledge, they have done nothing to intercede on his behalf. Until last March the British government adamantly refused to intercede on behalf of any of the British residents still interred at Guantánamo.

That changed suddenly when the government asked for Bisher's return on non-humanitarian grounds, belatedly conceding that Bisher had worked for MI5. Unfortunately for Bisher, this long-overdue admission, and the British government's request for his immediate repatriation, coincided with Bisher being thrown into isolation. He remains there more than nine months later, with no end in sight.

Bisher's world is a cell 6ft by 8ft in Camp V, where alleged "non-compliant" prisoners are incarcerated. After all these years and hundreds of interrogations, Bisher finally refused to be interrogated further. Despite the fact that Guantánamo officials have publicly proclaimed that prisoners are no longer required to participate in interrogations, Bisher is deemed to be non-compliant and hence is tortured daily.

While in isolation he has, in addition to the temperature extremes, been subjected to other sensory torments. His cell is frequently unbearably cold because the air conditioning is turned up to the maximum. Sometimes his captors take his orange jump suit and sheet, leaving him only in his shorts. For a week at a time, Bisher constantly shivers and is unable to sleep because of the extreme cold. Once, when Bisher attempted to warm himself by covering himself with his prayer rug, one of the few "comfort items" permitted to him, his guards removed it for "misuse".

Dinner never arrives before 9:30pm, and sometimes comes as late as 12am. It is almost always cold. Changes of clothing take place at midnight when prisoners are given a single, thin cotton sheet. Prisoners are unable to sleep until close to 1am. They are awakened at 5am, when each is required to return his sheet. All of Bisher's legal documents and family photographs were seized from him last June and have never been returned.

What the British government knows and the British public needs to know is that Bisher's treatment is designed to achieve a single objective: causing an individual to lose his psychological balance and, ultimately, his mind. Every aspect of Bisher's prison environment is controlled and manipulated to create constant mental instability. The damage to Bisher's psyche is not unexpected. The ravages of extended isolation and sensory deprivation leave no marks, but they destroy the mind.

I have conveyed my concerns about Bisher and Jamil to the British embassy in Washington for some time now. Most recently, I provided detailed declarations, submitted under oath, detailing Bisher's deteriorating mental condition and his appalling treatment. Although I have been assured that great progress has been made negotiating the terms of his release, it is still uncertain and, I'm told, is at least four more months away. If Bisher spends four more months in the conditions I have described, the man I met in September 2004, who was healthy, articulate, thoughtful and humorous, will in all likelihood no longer exist. He will probably slip into a madness that is permanent. If that comes to pass, Britain must recognise and accept the grave culpability it bears.

Almost a hundred prisoners that we know of have died in US custody; 33 of these deaths are formally classified as homicides by the military. Not since the second world war, when the US imprisoned American citizens of Japanese descent, has this country experienced such a constitutional nadir.

If the world is to fight this war on terror, morality must not be allowed to become collateral damage. The time is long past for the British government to demand Bisher's and Jamil's immediate return. Paradigms of innocent suffering, they will remain wraiths that hover above the political and moral landscape, constantly reminding us that the destinies of those who would wage just war and those against whom that war is waged are mingled.

In the process of reasserting the moral high ground in this war, Britain must not forget to reclaim the war's innocent victims. The victims of the United States are too innumerable to count. Britain has Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil el-Banna.

· George Brent Mickum is an American lawyer representing Jamil el-Banna and Bisher al-Rawi, British residents who are detained at Guantánamo Bay; for a longer version of this article visit commentisfree.co.uk/brent_mickum
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Old 29-01-2007, 10:51 AM   #3
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A voice from Gitmo's darkness

A current detainee speaks of the torture and humiliation he has experienced at Guantanamo since 2002.

By Jumah al-Dossari
JUMAH AL-DOSSARI is a 33-year-old citizen of Bahrain. This article was excerpted from letters he wrote to his attorneys. Its contents have been deemed unclassified by the Department of Defense.

01/11/07 "Los Angeles Times" -- -- Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba — I AM WRITING from the darkness of the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo in the hope that I can make our voices heard by the world. My hand quivers as I hold the pen.

In January 2002, I was picked up in Pakistan, blindfolded, shackled, drugged and loaded onto a plane flown to Cuba. When we got off the plane in Guantanamo, we did not know where we were. They took us to Camp X-Ray and locked us in cages with two buckets — one empty and one filled with water. We were to urinate in one and wash in the other.

At Guantanamo, soldiers have assaulted me, placed me in solitary confinement, threatened to kill me, threatened to kill my daughter and told me I will stay in Cuba for the rest of my life. They have deprived me of sleep, forced me to listen to extremely loud music and shined intense lights in my face. They have placed me in cold rooms for hours without food, drink or the ability to go to the bathroom or wash for prayers. They have wrapped me in the Israeli flag and told me there is a holy war between the Cross and the Star of David on one hand and the Crescent on the other. They have beaten me unconscious.

What I write here is not what my imagination fancies or my insanity dictates. These are verifiable facts witnessed by other detainees, representatives of the Red Cross, interrogators and translators.

During the first few years at Guantanamo, I was interrogated many times. My interrogators told me that they wanted me to admit that I am from Al Qaeda and that I was involved in the terrorist attacks on the United States. I told them that I have no connection to what they described. I am not a member of Al Qaeda. I did not encourage anyone to go fight for Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden have done nothing but kill and denigrate a religion. I never fought, and I never carried a weapon. I like the United States, and I am not an enemy. I have lived in the United States, and I wanted to become a citizen.

I know that the soldiers who did bad things to me represent themselves, not the United States. And I have to say that not all American soldiers stationed in Cuba tortured us or mistreated us. There were soldiers who treated us very humanely. Some even cried when they witnessed our dire conditions. Once, in Camp Delta, a soldier apologized to me and offered me hot chocolate and cookies. When I thanked him, he said, "I do not need you to thank me." I include this because I do not want readers to think that I fault all Americans.

But, why, after five years, is there no conclusion to the situation at Guantanamo? For how long will fathers, mothers, wives, siblings and children cry for their imprisoned loved ones? For how long will my daughter have to ask about my return? The answers can only be found with the fair-minded people of America.

I would rather die than stay here forever, and I have tried to commit suicide many times. The purpose of Guantanamo is to destroy people, and I have been destroyed. I am hopeless because our voices are not heard from the depths of the detention center.

If I die, please remember that there was a human being named Jumah at Guantanamo whose beliefs, dignity and humanity were abused. Please remember that there are hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo suffering the same misfortune. They have not been charged with any crimes. They have not been accused of taking any action against the United States.

Show the world the letters I gave you. Let the world read them. Let the world know the agony of the detainees in Cuba.

UMAH AL-DOSSARI is a 33-year-old citizen of Bahrain. This article was excerpted from letters he wrote to his attorneys. Its contents have been deemed unclassified by the Department of Defense.

Copyright 2007 Los Angeles Times
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Old 29-01-2007, 10:53 AM   #4
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Guantanamo Unclassified

Prisoner # ISN 940

Adel Hamad, husband and father, aid worker and teacher, has been detained at Guantanamo Bay since 2003.

01/11/07 Video Runtime 8 Minutes

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Old 29-01-2007, 10:55 AM   #5
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Five Myths About Guantanamo Bay

MYTH: The detainees at Guantanamo are the “worst of the worst."

Fact: Few of the men sent to Guantanamo are the high-ranking al Qaeda or Taliban members the US government alleges them to be. Hundreds were not even involved in the conflict, but rather sold to the US by bounty hunters or turned over by rival clan members trying to settle a vendetta, while high level al Qaeda operatives with the money to buy their freedom got away. According to Michael Scheuer, head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit from 1999 until 2004, no more than 10 percent of those brought to Guantanamo Bay were considered high-value detainees.

MYTH: All the Guantanamo detainees are combatants who fought against the United States.

FACT: Many of them were not picked up on or anywhere near the battlefield. Detainees were taken into custody from 14 different countries, including Gambia, Bosnia, and Thailand. About half were taken into custody in Pakistan – and, as noted above, the thousands of dollars offered by the US to bounty hunters encouraged false arrests. According to US military records, the US has not even accused the majority of them of fighting US or coalition forces.


MYTH: All the Guantanamo detainees will be prosecuted.

FACT: Of the nearly 400 men still being held at Guantanamo (another 300 have been repatriated or released), only 10 have been charged with a crime. None have been convicted. The Bush administration now claims that it plans to bring charges against a total of 70 detainees under the military commissions approved by Congress this fall. This still leaves more than 300 detainees at Guantanamo who have never – and will never – be prosecuted. They are simply being held indefinitely without charge or trial. Most of the detainees have filed habeas corpus petitions in federal courts asking that a judge review the legality of their detention. Pressured by President Bush, Congress enacted legislation that bars the courts from hearing their habeas claims – or any other claim regarding their treatment. Absent a new law out of the new Congress or a decision by the Supreme Court that the denial of habeas is unconstitutional, the detainees could spend the rest of their lives behind bars, without trial or any independent review of the legality of their detention.


MYTH: All of the Guantanamo detainees have had fair hearings where they could contest their detention.

Fact: None of the detainees has been given a fair or impartial hearing to determine whether his detention is justified. The Bush administration claims that the summary hearings that have taken place before three military officers are a sufficient substitute for independent judicial review. The officers conducting these hearings have relied on secret, classified evidence that was presumed to be genuine and accurate but was never shown to the detainee. This put detainees in the impossible situation of rebutting evidence that they had never even seen and subjecting them to decisions made on the basis of untested evidence. In many cases the detainee was never even told what specific activities he was accused of doing that would supposedly make him an “enemy combatant.” Detainees were not allowed lawyers and in most cases were not able to produce any witnesses or evidence apart from their own statements.


MYTH: All of the Guantanamo detainees have been treated humanely.

FACT: Pentagon superiors, including then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, provided Guantanamo interrogators broad authority to use interrogation techniques that ranged from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment to outright torture. The practices included prolonged forced standing, extended sleep deprivation, painful stress positions, exposure to extreme heat and cold, and use of snarling dogs. One memo from an FBI officer who visited Guantanamo described detainees as being “chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water ... Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18, 24 hours or more.“ The military has since repudiated the use of such abusive interrogation techniques in a newly issued Army Field Manual.

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Old 29-01-2007, 10:58 AM   #6
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Absolute Power

The real reason the Bush administration won't back down on Guantanamo.

By Dahlia Lithwick

01/14/07 "Slate" -- -- Why is the United States poised to try Jose Padilla as a dangerous terrorist, long after it has become perfectly clear that he was just the wrong Muslim in the wrong airport on the wrong day?

Why is the United States still holding hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, long after years of interrogation and abuse have established that few, if any, of them are the deadly terrorists they have been held out to be?

And why is President Bush still issuing grandiose and provocative signing statements, the latest of which claims that the executive branch holds the power to open mail as it sees fit?

Willing to give the benefit of the doubt, I once believed the common thread here was presidential blindness—an extreme executive-branch myopia that leads the president to believe that these futile little measures are somehow integral to combating terrorism. That this is some piece of self-delusion that precludes Bush and his advisers from recognizing that Padilla is just a chump and Guantanamo merely a holding pen for a jumble of innocent and half-guilty wretches.

But it has finally become clear that the goal of these foolish efforts isn't really to win the war against terrorism; indeed, nothing about Padilla, Guantanamo, or signing statements moves the country an inch closer to eradicating terror. The object is a larger one, and the original overarching goal of this administration: expanding executive power, for its own sake.

Two scrupulously reported pieces on the Padilla case are illuminating. On Jan. 3, Nina Totenberg of National Public Radio interviewed Mark Corallo, spokesman for then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, about the behind-the-scenes decision-making in the Padilla case—a case that's lolled through the federal courts for years. According to Totenberg, when the Supreme Court sent Padilla's case back to the lower federal courts on technical grounds in 2004, the Bush administration's sole concern was preserving its constitutional claim that it could hold citizens as enemy combatants. "Justice Department officials warned that if the case went back to the Supreme Court, the administration would almost certainly lose," she reports, which is why Padilla was hauled back to the lower courts. Her sources further confirmed that "key players in the Defense Department and Vice President Cheney's office insisted that the power to detain Americans as enemy combatants had to be preserved."

Deborah Sontag's excellent New York Times story on Padilla on Jan. 4 makes the same point: He was moved from military custody to criminal court only as "a legal maneuver that kept the issue of his detention without charges out of the Supreme Court." So this is why the White House yanked Padilla from the brig to the high court to the federal courts and back to a Florida trial court: They were only forum shopping for the best place to enshrine the right to detain him indefinitely. Their claims about Padilla's dirty bomb, known to be false, were a means of advancing their larger claims about executive power. And when confronted with the possibility of losing on those claims, they yanked him back to the criminal courts as a way to avoid losing powers they'd already won.

This need to preserve newly won legal ground also explains the continued operation of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. Last week marked the fifth anniversary of the camp that—according to Donald Rumsfeld in 2002—houses only "the worst of the worst." Now that over half of them have been released (apparently, the best of the worst) and even though only about 80 of the rest will ever see trials, the camp remains open. Why? Civil-rights groups worldwide and even close U.S. allies like Germany, Denmark, and England clamor for its closure. And as the ever-vigilant Nat Hentoff points out, new studies reveal that only a small fraction of the detainees there are even connected to al-Qaida—according to the Defense Department's own best data.

But Guantanamo stays open for the same reason Padilla stays on trial. Having claimed the right to label enemy combatants and detain them indefinitely without charges, the Bush administration is unable to retreat from that position without ceding ground. In some sense, the president is now as much a prisoner of Guantanamo as the detainees. And having gone nose-to-nose with the Congress over his authority to craft stripped-down courts for these "enemies," courts guaranteed to produce guilty verdicts, Bush cannot just call off the trials.

The endgame in the war on terror isn't holding the line against terrorists. It's holding the line on hard-fought claims to absolutely limitless presidential authority.

Enter these signing statements. The most recent of the all-but-meaningless postscripts Bush tacks onto legislation gives him the power to "authorize a search of mail in an emergency" to ''protect human life and safety" and "for foreign intelligence collection." There is some debate about whether the president has that power already, but it misses the point. The purpose of these signing statements is simply to plant a flag on the moon—one more way for the president to stake out the furthest corners in his field of constitutional dreams.

Last spring, The New Yorker's Jane Mayer profiled David Addington, Vice President Richard Cheney's chief of staff and legal adviser. Addington's worldview in brief: A single-minded devotion to something called the New Paradigm, a constitutional theory of virtually limitless executive power, wherein "the President, as Commander-in-Chief, has the authority to disregard virtually all previously known legal boundaries, if national security demands it," Mayer describes.

Insiders in the Bush administration told Mayer that Addington and Cheney had been "laying the groundwork" for a vast expansion of presidential power long before 9/11. In 2002, the vice president told ABC News that the presidency was "weaker today as an institution because of the unwise compromises that have been made over the last 30 to 35 years." Rebuilding that presidency has been their sole goal for decades.

The image of Addington scrutinizing "every bill before President Bush signs it, searching for any language that might impinge on Presidential power," as Mayer puts it, can be amusing—like the mother of the bride obsessing over a tricky seating chart. But this zeal to restore an all-powerful presidency traps the Bush administration in its own worst legal sinkholes. This newfound authority—to maintain a disastrous Guantanamo, to stage rights-free tribunals and hold detainees forever—is the kind of power Nixon only dreamed about. It cannot be let go.

In a heartbreaking letter from Guantanamo this week, published in the Los Angeles Times, prisoner Jumah Al Dossari writes: "The purpose of Guantanamo is to destroy people, and I have been destroyed." I fear he is wrong. The destruction of Al Dossari, Jose Padilla, Zacarias Moussaoui, and some of our most basic civil liberties was never a purpose or a goal—it was a mere byproduct. The true purpose is more abstract and more tragic: To establish a clunky post-Watergate dream of an imperial presidency, whatever the human cost may be.

A version of this piece appeared in the Washington Post Outlook section.
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Old 29-01-2007, 10:59 AM   #7
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Cell phone cams expose torture

By Claude Salhani Jan 16, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- Human rights groups have long complained against the use of torture in Egypt, a fact consistently denied by the Egyptian government. But a video recording made with a cell phone camera and posted on the Internet for the world to see places the government of President Hosni Mubarak in an embarrassing position.

The Egyptian government -- and indeed all governments which resort to the use of torture -- may start having second thoughts now that, thanks to modern technology, denial is no longer an option. With the probability that such actions may be recorded and later used as evidence against the torturers in criminal courts, police officers may now think twice before abusing prisoners.

While torture may serve an immediate goal, that of forcing the suspect to reveal information, it carries a devastating long-term effect for both the prisoner and the people applying the torture.

For the victims of torture it augments the hate and helps widen the schism between them and the established powers. Often, as in Iraq, for example, it lays the groundwork for future revenge.

To prove this point one need only look at the case of al-Qaida`s number two man, Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri. The radical Islamist militant and deputy leader of the world`s most feared terrorist group is reported to have turned to radical and violent Islam only after suffering severe torture while serving time in an Egyptian jail. It is said that it was the torture that changed him.

Regrettably, the story of Zawahiri being subjected to torture is far from being unique. Despite repeated calls from the world community, from human rights advocates and others, the torture of suspects in Egyptian, or other Arab jails, persists. And in Asian jails, or for that matter American jails, remains all too current. Think back to Abu Ghraib and the horrid scenes from the U.S.-run jail outside Baghdad. Or much closer to home, think of the stories -- the nightmares, rather -- that emerged from the Guantanamo detention facilities.

Zawahiri`s case became known to the public as a result of his association with al-Qaida. But for every case that surfaces to the public`s attention there remain hundreds, if not thousands, more untold stories of prisoners being routinely tortured while in the custody of government security agencies.

But the tables may be starting to turn on the torturers thanks to modern technology and the invention of the cell phone video camera.

After the video taping of Saddam Hussein`s execution by someone using a cellular phone equipped with a video camera found its way on the Internet, the world had the opportunity to see justice miscarried within minutes. Saddam`s hanging turned out to be more of a lynching and an embarrassment for the Iraqi government.

This week a similar scandal has erupted in Cairo over the use of cell phone/video cam, this time to film a torture scene. Somehow, someone managed to sneak a cell phone camera into an Egyptian police station and document a disturbing scene showing a woman hanging from a lateral pole that was balanced between the backs of two chairs. The woman`s hands and feet are tied and she is swinging upside-down with the wooden pole placed under her knees.

The popular Internet site youtube.com displayed this clip as well as several others showing Egyptian policemen hitting, kicking, shouting and abusing detainees.

The prisoners appear completely helpless; if they attempt to defend themselves, if they try to cover their faces in order to avoid blows, they are hit even harder.

The Egyptian government has consistently denied the use of torture by its military, police and security forces. But the sudden appearance on youtube.com of dozens of clips taken by cell phone cams has brought much embarrassment to the government of President Mubarak, a staunch U.S. ally in the Middle East and in the war on terror.

Adding to Mubarak`s embarrassment, Qatar-based al-Jazeera TV`s documentary channel had one of its producers arrested at Cairo International Airport as she tried leaving the country with footage showing the use of torture in Egyptian detention centers.

Howayda Taha, the al-Jazeera producer, found herself charged with 'harming the state`s national interest' -- meaning al-Jazeera was planning to air the torture footage. The al-Jazeera journalist was accused of fabricating images in a way that is detrimental to the country`s reputation; she was prohibited from leaving the country and had nearly 50 tapes confiscated.

Maybe someone managed to film her arrest with a cell phone camera?

(Comments may be sent to [email protected].)

Copyright 2007 by United Press International
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Old 29-01-2007, 11:03 AM   #8
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Guantanamo is a US torture camp


18 January 2007

IT would be the ideal spot for a beachside birthday party. Surrounded by a turquoise sea, palm trees and white sand, the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba is now five years old. Tony Blair calls it an ‘anomaly’, but the evidence is overwhelming.

Camp Delta, which still houses 470 men never convicted of any crime, is a torture camp. That should be the starting point of any debate about what is acceptable in the west's fight with Islamist extremists. More than 750 men have passed through the camp, with nearly half being released. Many prisoners, past and present, have given consistent and repeated testimony of serious abuses and ill treatment. There is also significant evidence from US officials and government documents of widespread abuse at the camp.

The British detainees known as the Tipton Three (after their home town of Tipton in the north of England) allege they were repeatedly beaten, shackled in painful positions for long periods and subjected to sleep deprivation. They were also subjected to strobe lighting, loud music and extremes of hot and cold -- all meant to break them psychologically. Other detainees have suffered beatings, sexual assaults and death threats. At least one man has been ‘water boarded’ -- tied to a board and placed under water so that he had the sensation of drowning.

According to the Red Cross, the regime at Guantanamo causes psychological suffering that has driven inmates mad, with scores of suicide attempts and three inmates killing themselves last year.

Even US officials are shocked. Last week FBI documents revealed that an inmate's head had been wrapped in tape for quoting from the Qur'an. Another was humiliated for his religious beliefs and ‘baptised’ by a soldier posing as a Catholic priest. The documents show FBI agents saw 26 instances of abuse in their time at Guantanamo. The FBI is highly sceptical about alleged confessions gained by its military colleagues. A May 2004 FBI memo branded intelligence gained from ‘special techniques’ as ‘suspect at best’. Indeed, one of the Tipton Three confessed to being in a video shot at an Afghan terror camp alongside Osama bin Laden -- in fact, at the time he was working in an electronics store in the UK.

But the US should not shoulder all the blame. Some of the material from Guantanamo has been used by Britain's counter-terrorism agencies. In June 2003 Tony Blair told the House of Commons: ‘Information is still coming from people detained there ... That information is important’. George Bush, his aides and the US military define what they have been doing as a special programme using special measures: their position appears to be that as long as blood is not drawn, it is not torture.

One official investigation found an inmate had been sexually humiliated and forced to perform dog tricks on a leash. It said the conduct was “abusive and degrading” but not torture. In a UK court hearing over Guantanamo, a senior British judge, Mr Justice Collins, declared: “America's idea of what is torture is not the same as ours.”

A UN report has confirmed evidence of torture, and Amnesty International has declared Guantanamo ‘the gulag of our time’. Guantanamo is not the only US torture camp. Bagram in Afghanistan has been dogged by stories of abuse, and there are secret US prisons around the world where it is widely feared new horrors are occuring.

Human rights have been traded away in Guantanamo in the hope of gaining security, and it has not worked. One of the US's founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, stated: “He who trades liberty for security deserves neither and will lose both.”

Adorned on the walls of the Guantanamo camp is its mission statement: ‘Honour-bound to defend freedom’.

After five years of Guantanamo, do you feel any safer?

Vikram Dodd is a senior staff writer on the London-based Guardian newspaper.

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Old 29-01-2007, 11:04 AM   #9
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A special report on David Hicks by The Sydney Morning Herald

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Old 29-01-2007, 11:12 AM   #10
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The Waste Land: Declassified poetry from Guantánamo Bay

Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2007. By Ken Silverstein

Jumah al-Dossari, originally from Bahrain, was seized by Pakistani security forces in late 2001 and turned over to the United States. The U.S. military brought him to the Guantánamo Bay detention facility in Cuba, where, he claims, he was beaten, his life was threatened, and he was isolated from other prisoners for long stretches of time. Dossari, who denies any connection to Al Qaeda or terrorism, and has never been charged with any such crime, has repeatedly attempted to commit suicide while imprisoned. His most recent attempt, according to Amnesty International, was in March 2006, when he tried to slit his throat.

Death Poem

By Jumah al-Dossari

Take my blood.
Take my death shroud and
The remnants of my body.
Take photographs of my corpse at the grave, lonely.

Send them to the world,
To the judges and
To the people of conscience,
Send them to the principled men and the fair-minded.

And let them bear the guilty burden, before the world,
Of this innocent soul.
Let them bear the burden, before their children and before history,
Of this wasted, sinless soul,
Of this soul which has suffered at the hands of the “protectors of peace.”

---end of poem-------

That poem will be included in a collection of poetry by Guantánamo detainees that is being assembled by Marc Falkoff, a law professor at Northern Illinois University and an attorney for seventeen clients at the prison camp. Poems from Guantánamo: The Detainees Speak will be published this fall by the University of Iowa Press and will include essays by several prominent literary and cultural figures. Most of the poems were written in Arabic and translated by non-professionals.

Falkoff, who has a doctorate in literature, was intrigued when several of his clients began sending him poems. “I didn't think much of it,” he told me, “until I was reading a terrifically moving volume of poems called Here, Bullet by Brian Turner, an Iraq War vet. I started thinking about the power of topical poetry, and it occurred to me that the public should read the poetry that my clients wrote. I was curious if other lawyers had clients who’d written poetry, so I asked around and learned that there was a lot of it in their files. It hit me that we could pull a lot of this stuff together as a collection so the public could, yes, hear the voices of Guantánamo, and perhaps move [[beyond]] the administration's sloganeering.”

Falkoff won't be able to include all of the works he had hoped to, because the Pentagon has classified some of the poems. In a September 18, 2006 memo, a Pentagon official explained that several poems submitted for declassification had been rejected because poetry “presents a special risk” due to its “content and format.” It was not made clear whether the Pentagon believes the danger lies in the power of words or in the risk that detainees could send coded messages to terrorist operatives through their poems. “As much as I'd like to think it's the former, I presume it's the latter,” Falkoff replied when I asked him about the military's thinking on the matter.

Of the work that has been cleared for publication, Falkoff plans to include “Ode to the Sea” by Ibrahim al Rubaish (“Your beaches are sadness, captivity, pain and injustice whose bitterness eats away at patience/Your calm is death, and your sweeping is strange and a silence rises up from you, holding treachery in its fold”) and “Even if the Pain” by Saddiq Turkestani. The latter is one of nine ethnic Uighurs whom the Pentagon long ago determined not to be “enemy combatants” but continues to hold because they would likely be tortured and killed if sent home to China. The Bush Administration won't allow them into the United States, and no other government has volunteered to take them.

Several of the poets in the volume were released from Guantánamo after long periods of incarceration, without ever having been charged. They include the Moazzam Begg of Britain (“Freedom is spent, time is up/Tears have rent my sorrow’s cup/Home is cage, and cage is steel/Thus manifest reality’s unreal”) and Abdur Rahim Muslim Dost of Afghanistan (“Those who argue or reason unjustly and foolishly with Dost the Poet/They can't help to surrender or runaway”).

Dost's brother, Badruzzaman Badr, was also detained at Guantanamo and later freed (his work, too, will appear in the collection). Both men returned to their home in Peshawar, Pakistan, and last September published The Broken Shackles of Guantanamo, which describes their experiences there. The book is also critical of the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence agency, and its collaboration with the United States in the “war on terror.” On September 29 of last year, Dost was arrested as he left a local mosque; he has thus far not been charged but has been prevented from seeing an attorney or his family. His brother has reportedly gone into hiding.

* * *
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Old 29-01-2007, 11:15 AM   #11
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Guantanamo inmates facing worse conditions-lawyer

26 Jan 2007 Source: Reuters

By Suleiman al-Khalidi

AMMAN, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Some Guantanamo Bay prisoners have been moved to a new wing where they face the worst conditions since their arrival, as interrogators make a last attempt to extract confessions, a U.S. lawyer said on Friday.

Zachary Katznelson, who represents 36 detainees, said that since he last saw his clients there in December at least 160 of the 395 prisoners had been moved to solitary confinement in "Camp 6", the latest modern facility to be opened at the base.

"Since they were moved, every lawyer is reporting clients extremely depressed, some becoming psychotic. The men say this is the harshest treatment since they arrived five years ago," Katznelson said in an interview with Reuters.

More than 770 people have been held at the U.S. military base in Cuba since the prison camp opened there in January 2002, and only 10 have been charged with crimes. About 395 remain, suspected of links to al Qaeda and the Taliban and kept in modern maximum security cells.

Many people have called for the detainees to be charged with crimes or released. U.S. officials say they are a threat to the United States and could return to the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq if released.

Inmates in the new camp were locked "in extreme isolation in six-foot by eight-foot cells with lights on 24 hours and all they have are an inch-thin mattress, a steel platform to sleep, a steel sink and toilet and the Koran," Katznelson said.

"They are turning on air-conditioning up to a maximum, freezing the prisoners," said the U.S. lawyer, a senior counsel with the British-based rights group Reprieve.

Katznelson said the tougher policy was tied to an assumption that time was running out for interrogators to yield results, as pressure grew for Washington to close the controversial prison.

"They want to do whatever is possible to break them mentally in the hope that somehow they will reveal some kernel of information they have been withholding for five years," he said.


More than 100 have been kept in less harsh solitary confinement conditions in Camp 5 for the past two years while 130 others had regular contact with fellow prisoners, Katznelson said.

U.S. President George W. Bush has made no move to close Guantanamo but has been under pressure by rights groups to allow countries to assume responsibility for their own nationals and to allow for its closure as soon as possible.

"They know many of these people will go home soon. They are still pushing them, pushing them...even though are saying we have nothing left to say," Katznelson said.

U.S military prosecutors are expected to bring cases against between 60 and 80 of those still held. About 380 detainees have been sent home, 114 of them last year.

Katznelson, said "declassified information" he received showed that, since October, the level of beatings had risen dramatically.

"Entire cans of Mace have been sprayed in prisoners' faces. Prisoners are being denied medical care unless they give information to interrogators," Katznelson said.

Many of the men held at Guantanamo Bay were captured in Afghanistan in the U.S.-led war to oust the Taliban in 2001 after the Sept. 11 attacks. Many have been held for years and nearly all are being held without trial.

More inmates returned home in the past six months than in any period since the prison was opened, Katznelson said.

He said Yemen was seeking to get back its 100 citizens, the largest national group at the base. Saudi Arabia took back at least 60 of its nationals last year. Afghanistan had only 70 detainees after at least 140 inmates were handed over, most freed outright on their return.

"In the last few months, more states are saying we want our sons back. We will put them on trial if there is any evidence against them but we want to do justice for our men," Katznelson.
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Old 29-01-2007, 11:17 AM   #12
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Default End Hicks' hell-hole detention: Dems

28th January 2007

The detention of terror suspect David Hicks in a Guantanamo Bay "hell hole" is an abuse of human rights that must end immediately, the Australian Democrats say.

Democrats legal affairs spokeswoman Natasha Stott Despoja said it was an "outrage" that Hicks was being held in solitary confinement for 22 hours a day, with fluorescent lighting, air-conditioning and restricted access to reading materials.

"This is abuse of human rights," Ms Stott Despoja said in a statement.

"Mr Hicks has no charges against him, yet he has been detained in this hellhole for five years."

The 31-year-old Adelaide-born father of two has been held at the US naval base in Cuba since January 2002, after being captured with the Taliban in Afghanistan the previous month.

Ms Stott Despoja said she and South Australian ALP senator Linda Kirk had called for a cross-party delegation to visit the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to inspect the conditions.

"Australian politicians can no longer turn a blind eye to this facility and blight on international law," she said.

"... I will continue to fight for Hicks to be repatriated.

"Other countries have had their citizens returned.

"It is time to bring David Hicks home."

Conditions inside Guantanamo Bay have been detailed in US District Court documents.

Hicks' Australian lawyer David McLeod left for Cuba on Friday and is due to visit Guantanamo Bay on Monday, but has said there is no guarantee his client will agree to see him.

Hicks, a convert to Islam, was charged with conspiracy, aiding the enemy and attempted murder but the charges were dropped after the US Supreme Court ruled last June that the military commissions set up to try Guantanamo Bay detainees were unlawful.

The Pentagon announced a new system of military commissions earlier this month and Hicks is expected to face fresh charges within weeks.

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Old 29-01-2007, 11:18 AM   #13
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Default Hicks held in 'nightmarish conditions'

27th January 2007

David Hicks is spending 22 hours a day in "nightmarish" isolation in conditions described by Guantanamo Bay inmates as "a dungeon above the ground", court documents suggest.

Fresh evidence about the treatment of prisoners in the US military base has been revealed amid deepening concerns about the Australian terrorist suspect's mental state, and just days before Hicks receives a visit from his Australian lawyer.

Conditions inside Hicks' cell block at the naval base in Cuba are so bad that detainees are suffering mental health problems ranging from "crushing loneliness" to hearing "voices", the documents say.

Life inside Guantanamo Bay's Camp 6, where Hicks was transferred in early December from another section of the prison, has been detailed in declarations filed in a case in the US District Court.

Lawyers are trying to expedite hearings for five terrorist suspects who are Uighur Muslims from the Xinjiang region of northern China that borders Central Asia.

The documents say the impact of Camp 6 conditions on the inmates has been "profound", and all five Uighurs are struggling to pass the days of "infinite tedium and loneliness".

"All describe a feeling of despair, crushing loneliness and abandonment by the world," a statutory declaration by the men's lawyer, Sabin Willett, said.

"One felt he was in the 'dungeon above the ground'; another said 'it feels like we are in tunnels'.

"All expressed a desperate desire for sunlight, fresh air and someone to speak to."

The tiny cells in camp 6 are constructed of solid metal and receive no natural air or sunlight.

There are no windows except for small glass strips which provide a view of the corridor, a clock and the military police guarding them.

They eat and pray alone and have no reading material other than the Koran.

Each inmate is allowed two hours "rec time" every 24 hours, but this is frequently only called late at night or in the early hours of the morning.

Recreation time is spent in a confined area measuring three metres by four metres and surrounded by concrete walls two storeys high, giving prisoners little chance of seeing the sun.

The US military had imposed on the men "a regimen of isolation and cruelty unheard of in penal or military law and unknown to civilised people", said Willett, who visited Guantanamo Bay on January 15 to 18.

Hicks', who is waiting for fresh charges to be laid against him, has been held at Guantanamo Bay without trial for five years and has been in continuous isolation since March last year.

His American military lawyer, Marine Corps Major Michael Mori, said he was disturbed by the reported conditions inside Camp 6.

"It's worse than even our supermax prisons in the United States," he told AAP.

"They've got TV, they've got books. These people don't have anything."

Hicks' Australian lawyer David McLeod left for Cuba on Friday and is due to visit Guantanamo on Monday, but has said there is no guarantee his Adelaide-born client will agree to see him.

The 31-year-old, who was captured among Taliban forces in Afghanistan in December 2001, refused to take a phone call from his family just before Christmas, raising fresh concerns about his emotional state.

Charges of conspiracy, aiding the enemy and attempted murder were dropped after the US Supreme Court ruled last June that the military commissions to try Guantanamo Bay detainees were unlawful.

The Pentagon announced a new system of military commissions earlier this month and Hicks is expected to face fresh charges within weeks.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said he wasn't aware of the specific conditions in which Hicks is detained, but added Australia is pushing for charges to be laid within weeks.

"I haven't seen the documents and I undoubtedly will be briefed on any documentation that has been tabled, but at this point I haven't seen any such documentation," he said.

"The prime minister has made it clear that we will be seeking from the United States charges by mid-February and we'll see how events unfold from there."

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Old 29-01-2007, 11:19 AM   #14
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Default Hicks can't be held indefinitely: PM

29th January 2007

Prime Minister John Howard says Australian terror suspect David Hicks can't be held indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay without going to trial.

Last week, the government told the United States it wanted Hicks, who has been held by the Americans for five years, charged by the middle of February.

"We'll see whether that time line is met," Mr Howard told Southern Cross Broadcasting.

"I'm not happy at the time that has gone by.

"I do not accept that he can be held indefinitely without trial, whatever view I may have about the alleged offences with which he is charged."

The 31-year-old Adelaide father of two has been detained at the US' Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba since January 2002, a month after he was captured with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

He pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, aiding the enemy and attempted murder at a US military commission hearing in August 2004, but the charges were struck out by a US Supreme Court ruling last June declaring the military commissions unlawful.

The Americans announced a new system of military commissions earlier this month, saying Hicks would be charged soon.

Mr Howard defended Australia's decision not to ask the US to return Hicks to Australia, like Britain had done with its citizens detained at Guantanamo Bay.

"We took the view that somebody who was charged with the offences that Hicks was charged with, knowing as we did that he could not be charged with any offence under Australian law because they were not crimes under Australian law when he allegedly committed them ... we took a view that it was reasonable that he face a military commission in the United States, he said."

On talkback radio, Mr Howard rejected criticism from a listener that the government was being a lapdog to the US by allowing Hicks to be held so long.

"There are a lot of Australians who think a close and strong alliance between Australia and the United States will be as important to our future security as it proved to be critically in the past," he said.

"I don't think we're sacrificing Australians - I think what we're doing is trying to strike a very difficult balance, on the one hand our detestation of the alleged offences and also our proper desire to ensure that no one is held indefinitely without trial."

Also on Monday, the Law Council of Australia said the new system of military commissions remained fundamentally flawed and Hicks should be able to challenge his detention at Guantanamo Bay in US courts.

As the Labor Party considers signing an appeal to US Congress, the law council has written to US lawmakers calling for a fair trial for Hicks.

"He must be brought promptly to a trial before a regularly constituted court affording, in the words of the Geneva Convention, 'all the necessary judicial guarantees recognised as indispensable by civilised peoples'," council president Tim Bugg wrote.

"Failing that, he should be released and repatriated."

The law council said in its letter to congress, Hicks should be released if he couldn't be dealt with by a properly constituted court.

"The construction of a specially designed but inferior and deficient system of justice to deal with people pre-ordained as terrorists diminishes the moral standing of our two societies," Mr Bugg wrote.

"Although now a creature of the congress rather than the Pentagon, the military commissions regime remains fundamentally flawed and fails to provide fundamental fair trial guarantees."

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Old 30-01-2007, 02:22 AM   #15
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why is anyone in that pit? It's inhumane
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Old 30-01-2007, 04:45 AM   #16
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'It's like a Nazi camp': Hicks

Accused terrorist David Hicks has told his lawyers that conditions at Guantanamo Bay, where he has been held for five years, are "like a Nazi concentration camp".

In other developments, the Queen has replied to a letter sent by an Australian journalist pleading for her to intervene in the Hicks case, however she has declined to become involved.

Hicks, a 31-year-old father of two, met his lawyers today inside the newly-created Camp Six at the US military prison in Cuba.

The Adelaide-born Muslim convert showed signs of mental deterioration, his Australian-based lawyer David McLeod said after the meeting.

"He shows all the signs of someone who has been kept in isolation for a very long time," Mr McLeod said.

"He's not in very good shape, the conditions are pretty ordinary."

Hicks has been detained by the US military without trial since he was captured with Taliban forces in Afghanistan in December 2001.

He was sent to Guantanamo Bay the following month.

"He continues to be locked up 22 hours a day," Mr McLeod said.

"He has seen the sun three times since he has been at Camp Six in early December.

"He has no privacy whatsoever in Camp Six - his toilet paper is rationed, he hasn't been able to comb his hair since going there because he's not provided with a comb or brush.

"The guards can see into his cell 24 hours a day.

"I won't go into his condition in more detail than that.

"We have just had some time with him and we are seeing him again tomorrow.

"But suffice to say, he's not in good shape."

Queen replies to letter

Barry Everingham wrote to the Queen on December 12 last year urging the monarch to exercise her power as Australia's head of state to get Hicks out of the prison.

In a letter from Buckingham Palace received by Mr Everingham today, the Queen's correspondence officer Sonia Bonici said the Queen had asked her to thank him for the letter.

"Mrs Bonici wrote, this is not a matter in which Her Majesty would intervene," Mr Everingham said.

While Mr Everingham said he was disappointed that the Queen had not become involved directly in the issue, he was happy she had forwarded his letter to the British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett.

If nothing else, the Queen will have a better idea of the sort of person Prime Minister John Howard is, Mr Everingham said.

"I outlined in my letter to her his [Mr Howard's] intransigence in dealing with this outrageous treatment of David," Mr Everingham said.

Mr Everingham said in his letter the Australian Government was deaf to appeals for its intervention to have Hicks returned to Australia while he awaited trial.

"David has been ignored ... and the Prime Minister has abandoned an Australian citizen to a fate surely worse than death," Mr Everingham wrote.

"Is there something you, Australian Head of State, can do to address this grievous wrong?"

Emergency motion filed

A US lawyer, Sabin Willett, has visited Camp Six, where Hicks was moved last month, and filed an emergency motion in the US Court of Appeals criticising the conditions.

In an affidavit to the court, Mr Willett described the conditions as like a "Nazi concentration camp - a place where, when they take you in, you never come out".

In his affidavit, Mr Willett said Camp Six detainees are held in solid metal cells with no natural light or air and detailed other alleged human rights violations.

"We put those things very quickly to David and he confirmed each and every allegation of the nature of Camp Six," Mr McLeod said.

"Those observations in those articles are totally consistent with what David is putting up with."

US prosecutors are expected to lay fresh charges against Hicks within weeks.

He pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, attempted murder by an unprivileged belligerent and aiding the enemy before a US military commission in August 2004.

But the charges were dropped last year when the US Supreme Court ruled the military commissions designed to prosecute Hicks and other Guantanamo detainees were unlawful.

The US announced its new rules for the commissions on January 18.

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Old 30-01-2007, 08:12 AM   #17
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This is the official website of David Hicks:

“Fair Go For David”

David Hicks : Australian Citizen

Location : Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba


Last edited by accuracy; 30-01-2007 at 08:16 AM. Reason: Forgot picture
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Old 30-01-2007, 08:50 AM   #18
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Potshot at Guantanamo lawyers backfires

Big firms laud free legal aid for detainees.

By Farah Stockman, Globe Staff | January 29, 2007


WASHINGTON -- Two weeks after a senior Pentagon official suggested that corporations should pressure their law firms to stop assisting detainees at Guantanamo Bay, major companies have turned the tables on the Pentagon and issued statements supporting the law firms' work on behalf of terrorism suspects.

The corporate support for the lawyers comes as law associations and members of Congress have expressed outrage at the remarks of Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs Charles D. "Cully" Stimson on Jan. 11.

In a radio interview, Stimson stated the names of a dozen law firms that volunteer their services to represent detainees, and he suggested that the chief executives of the firms' corporate clients would make the lawyers "choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms."

He said he expected the newly public list of law firms that do work at Guantanamo Bay to spark a cycle of negative publicity for them. Instead, Stimson himself became the center of nationwide criticism and later apologized for the remarks.

The episode has become an embarrassing chapter in the Pentagon's long-running battle with the detainees' lawyers and appears to have spurred public support for the legal rights of the detainees, nearly 400 of whom just marked the start of their sixth year of incarceration at the base.

Charles Rudnick , a spokesman for Boston Scientific Corp., said the company supports the decision of its law firm, WilmerHale, to represent six men who were arrested in Bosnia in 2001 "because our legal system depends on vigorous advocacy for even the most unpopular causes."

Brackett Denniston, senior vice president and general counsel of General Electric, said the company strongly disagrees with the suggestion that it discriminate against law firms that do such work. "Justice is served when there is quality representation even for the unpopular," Denniston said in a statement.

Verizon issued a similar statement.

The lawyers have welcomed these expressions of solidarity from their paying clients.

"It would seem [the Pentagon] made a miscalculation," said Stephen Oleskey , an attorney at WilmerHale in Boston who has traveled to Guantanamo Bay seven times since he took up the case in 2004. "We haven't had any clients call up and say, 'We are really deeply disturbed that you are advocating for fair hearings.' The amount of support [we have gotten] has been heartening."

He said a committee at WilmerHale swiftly made the decision in 2004 to offer free help to the detainees when a request went out from the Center for Constitutional Rights, a New York-based nonprofit legal organization, which had filed a petition in federal court on behalf of the detainees.

"As time has gone on, it has become plainer that it is an important issue for our justice system," Oleskey said. "People have been more and more interested in hearing about it. We have been asked to speak at universities, human rights groups, and churches."

Michael Ratner , president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, said that in his early days of defending Guantanamo detainees he got hundreds of hate letters from the public every time he spoke about the issue on television. But now, he said, he receives only positive feedback, especially since Stimson's remarks.

"They miscalculated, that's for sure," said Ratner, who helps coordinate 500 lawyers and 120 law firms across the country to defend the detainees.

Support for the defense of Guantanamo detainees has become so widely accepted that two Newton attorneys are defraying the cost of their trips to Guantanamo Bay by collecting donations from the public.

Doris Tennant and Ellen Lubell have collected $7,000 in the past three weeks toward the estimated $20,000 they expect to spend defending an Algerian detainee known as Number 744. It is difficult to tell whether the controversy has made fund-raising easier, Tennant said, because Stimson's remarks coincided with their appeal for funds. But she said many of her supporters made reference to Stimson as they voiced their support and sent in checks.

"It has been quite an outpouring," said Tennant, who hopes to make her first visit to Guantanamo Bay next week.

That support is not what Stimson predicted when he gave a radio interview Jan. 11, the fifth anniversary of the day the detainees were brought to the base.

Stimson told the Washington-based Federal News Radio that the cause of detainees was "not popular" with the American people and that the list of major law firms representing the detainees was "shocking."

"I think quite honestly, when corporate CEOs see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hurt their bottom line back in 2001, those CEOs are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms," he said.

In the interview, he named about a dozen firms, including WilmerHale. He said that corporations would become outraged when they realized that their legal fees were subsidizing this kind of pro bono work.

In addition to the interview, a Wall Street Journal columnist quoted an unnamed US official making similar remarks in a column that also included the names of several top firms.

Now, some lawyers for detainees are accusing the Pentagon of an organized effort to generate bad publicity for the firms.

Baltimore-based lawyer William J. Murphy , who represents a Kuwaiti detainee, has filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking records of communications between senior Pentagon officials and the media before the Jan. 11 interview in a bid to uncover evidence of a smear campaign.

Some lawyers said publicizing the names of the law firms had achieved one of Stimson's objectives -- distracting attention from the roughly 395 men who remain imprisoned.

"It backfired to the extent that they didn't get the kind of support that they were hoping," said Neil McGaraghan , a Boston-based attorney at Bingham McCutchen, which represents a group of ethnic Uighurs from China at Guantanamo Bay.

"But to the extent that it has drawn attention away from Guantanamo and focused it on the lawyers, it has worked."

© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.
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Old 30-01-2007, 08:56 AM   #19
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Sudan journalists protest detention of colleague at Guantanamo

Monday 29 January 2007

Jan 28, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — Television stations in Sudan turned black for three minutes on Sunday to protest the detention of a Sudanese cameraman held in U.S. custody at the Guantanamo Bay prison for more than five years.

Sami al-Hajj

A cameraman for the pan-Arab TV channel Al-Jazeera, Sami al-Hajj was arrested in Afghanistan in 2001 and is detained at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in southern Cuba.

Like several hundred other men held at Guantanamo on allegations they have links to international terrorism, al-Hajj has not been tried.

"We want him released immediately or, if there are any charges against him, that he be presented to trial" said Mohammed Mustafa Mamoon, the spokesman for the Sudanese TV union that organized the protest.

Sudan’s state television and the private Blue Nile Satellite TV suspended broadcasting for three minutes at 10 p.m. local time (1900GMT) in a sign of solidarity with al-Hajj, the spokesman said.

Osama bin Laden, who’s terrorist organization has often used Al-Jazeera to broadcast messages, mentioned al-Hajj in an audiotape released last May, saying the cameraman had no ties to al-Qaida.

Mamoon said al-Hajj has been on hunger strike for the past three weeks to protest his conditions of detention and ask for his release. Mamoon did not say how he obtained this information, which could not be independently verified.

A lawyer representing al-Hajj was not immediately available for comment Sunday, and the U.S. military, which runs the prison, does not confirm the identity of individual hunger strikers.

Several Sudanese nationals are being held at Guantanamo, including the cameraman. Details on his arrest have not been made public.

Last week, hundreds protested in Khartoum against al-Hajj’s prolonged detention and demonstrators including members of his family and some colleagues handed a memo demanding his release to the U.S. embassy.

The U.S. and Sudan have long had strained diplomatic relations but are reported to cooperate on counterterrorism issues despite a growing antagonism over how to pacify Darfur, where the White House says Khartoum is perpetrating a genocide.

Some 759 people have been held over the years at Guantanamo, according to U.S. Defense Department documents released to The Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

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Old 30-01-2007, 09:03 AM   #20
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Guantanamo protest at U.S. Consulate

Fake prison set up at rally

Sun, January 28, 2007


On a cold, snowy day, Samy Mousa stood in a T-shirt across from the U.S. Consulate on University Ave., refusing to put on his heavy coat.

It was the Dunbarton High School student's way of showing support for the 400-plus terror suspects at the U.S.-controlled Guantanamo Bay detention centre in Cuba during a Close Guantanamo rally yesterday.

About 60 people took part in the event organized by Amnesty International Toronto, one of a series of worldwide rallies calling for the closure of the five-year-old facility.

Amnesty International constructed a fake prison yesterday and had protesters in orange jumpsuits standing inside to illustrate the plight of the detainees, many of whom are being held without charges or trials.

"First and foremost, we are demanding George Bush close Guantanamo," Michael Craig, the event organizer, said. "We are hoping the Democratic-controlled congress will start to take action to close Guantanamo and re-confirm a commitment to human rights. But we are also very upset that Stephen Harper has been missing in action on this issue. ... We are calling on Stephen Harper to speak out."
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