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Old 30-01-2007, 09:38 AM   #21
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Abu Ghraib officer to face court-martial

By DAVID DISHNEAU, Associated Press Writer
Fri Jan 26
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070126/...N5bnN1YmNhdA--

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - The only U.S. military officer charged with a crime in the Abu Ghraib scandal will be court-martialed on eight charges, including cruelty and maltreatment of prisoners, the Army said Friday.


Lt. Col. Steven Lee Jordan, a 50-year-old reservist from Virginia who ran the interrogation center at the Iraqi prison, was accused of failing to exert his authority as the place descended into chaos, with prisoners stripped naked, photographed in humiliating poses and intimidated by snarling dogs. He was also charged with lying to investigators.

He has not been accused of personally torturing or humiliating prisoners, and was not pictured in any of the photos that embarrassed the Pentagon and shocked the Muslim world.

Army spokesman Col. Jim Yonts told The Associated Press that Maj. Gen. Guy C. Swann, commander of the Military District of Washington, decided Jordan must stand trial.

Jordan was charged in April with 12 offenses. Swann dismissed four of them after Jordan was given an Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a civilian preliminary hearing, in October.

Besides cruelty and maltreatment, the charges include disobeying a superior officer, willful dereliction of duty and making false statements.

Jordan's military lawyers did not immediately return calls for comment.

2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Old 01-02-2007, 08:48 AM   #22
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Default Australian Guantanamo inmate strains U.S. ties

By Rob Taylor
Reuters
Wednesday, January 31, 2007

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...013100126.html

CANBERRA (Reuters) - The United States may speed up the trial of Australia's only Guantanamo Bay inmate, David Hicks, following a rare split between the two allies over accusations he faced "Nazi concentration camp" conditions.

With his five-year detention shaping as an election year issue for Australia's conservative government amid growing public clamor for his release, Prime Minister John Howard has insisted to U.S. authorities that Hicks be charged by February.

"Our position is we want him charged by the end of next month. We have made that very clear to the Americans," Howard told a news conference on Wednesday.

"We are not happy about the time that has gone by it is also important to remember the gravity of the charges."

U.S.-based lawyer Sabin Willet said Hicks's cell was like a Nazi death camp and Australian lawyer David McLeod who visited Hicks's Cuban enclave prison on Tuesday said he was shocked "seeing him chained to the floor, hollow eyes."

Hicks, 31, was arrested in Afghanistan in late 2001 and accused of fighting for al Qaeda. He is among around 395 suspected al Qaeda and Taliban fighters being held in the U.S. enclave, and is tipped to be one of the first to face trial.

Charges against Hicks of conspiracy, attempted murder and aiding the enemy were dropped when the U.S. Supreme Court last June rejected the tribunal system set up by President George W. Bush to try foreign terrorism suspects.

Hicks, a convert to Islam, had previously pleaded not guilty.

But his case is straining Canberra's usually unswerving support for the U.S.-led war on terror, as Howard faces re-election in the second half of the year against polls showing 62 percent of Australians oppose the handling of the Iraq war.

Australia was an original coalition member in both Iraq and Afghanistan. U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney will visit Canberra in February to thank the country for its military support.

But in a subtle shift, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, who has previously lashed out at terrorist "appeasers," said on Wednesday he did not want any Australian maltreated.

"If fresh allegations, detailed allegations, facts can be brought forward to us in relation to Hicks, then we're obviously happy to investigate that," he told local radio.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has admitted Hicks's case is dragging and called last week for an urgent medical assessment.

"I think the government must now be feeling a bit angry with Washington, as the Americans have done nothing to meet Australian concerns," Hugh White, Professor of Strategic and Defense Studies at the Australian National University told Reuters.

U.S. military prosecutor Colonel Moe Davis denied Hicks was in poor physical and mental condition, but said the Australian was confined in his Guantanamo cell for long periods.

"The detainees there generally are offered two hours of outdoor recreation time a day, so that would be the 22 hours a day - about right," Davis said.

© 2007 Reuters
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Old 01-02-2007, 09:02 AM   #23
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Default Officer seeks dismissal of Abu Ghraib charges.

Defense shows documents that accused officer wasn't in the chain of command

BY DAVID DISHNEAU
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Jan 31, 2007

http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet...=1045855934842

WASHINGTON - The only officer charged with crimes in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal was arraigned yesterday on eight charges including cruelty and maltreatment of detainees.

Army Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan, a 50-year-old reservist from Fredericksburg, chose not to enter a plea to the charges, which carry prison terms totaling up to 22 years. Jordan also deferred his decision on whether to be tried by a judge or by a jury of at least five fellow officers, all of equal or greater rank.

The 15-minute hearing was held in a small, third-floor courtroom at Fort McNair in Washington. The judge, Army Col. Stephen R. Henley, scheduled a hearing for Tuesday on a defense motion to dismiss the charges for lack of a speedy trial.

Jordan was charged April 28.

According to background presented at a hearing in October, Jordan was sent to Abu Ghraib in September 2003 by top intelligence commanders in Iraq to run the newly established Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center. But witnesses for both sides said Jordan devoted himself mainly to improving soldiers' safety and welfare, introducing himself to incoming interrogators as the civil affairs officer and as a liaison between the center and U.S. commanders in Baghdad.

Jordan wasn't in the chain of command stretching from interrogators to their commander at Abu Ghraib, Col. Thomas Pappas, leader of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, according to documents produced by the defense. Several interrogators testified they reported not to Jordan, but to Capt. Carolyn Wood, leader of a unit within the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center called the Interrogation Command Element.

Neither Pappas nor Wood have been charged with crimes. Pappas was reprimanded and fined $8,000 for once approving the use of dogs during an interrogation without higher approval. Wood hasn't been disciplined for any role she played at Abu Ghraib.

Wearing a green dress uniform yesterday, Jordan generally said only, "Yes, sir," and "No, sir," to the judge's routine questions.

He is not in custody but is on extended active duty at the Intelligence and Security Command at Fort Belvoir.

Jordan's case is the last remaining active investigation in the Abu Ghraib scandal. Eleven enlisted soldiers have been convicted of crimes at Abu Ghraib, and a number of officers have been reprimanded.
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Old 01-02-2007, 09:11 AM   #24
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Default Conspiracy charge reinstated in Padilla case.

BY JAY WEAVER
Jan. 30, 2007
http://www.bradenton.com/mld/bradent...n/16580780.htm

An appellate court in Atlanta today put the pow back into the prosecution's terror case against Jose Padilla and two other Muslim men by reinstating the first count in the Miami indictment -- conspiring to commit murder, kidnapping and other violent acts to carry out Islamic extremism overseas.

The three-judge panel overturned a major decision by U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke, who had ruled in August that the first count repeated two other terror-related charges and was therefore unconstitutional.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' panel, consisting of Chief Judge J.L. Edmondson and Circuit Judges Gerald B. Tjoflat and John R. Gibson, concluded the first count did not violate the double-jeopardy provision of the Constitution.

The decision was a clear victory for federal prosecutors in Miami because it means if they win convictions on the first count against Padilla and two other defendants, they would face life imprisonment.

Without the first count included at trial on April 16, Padilla and the others accused of being part of a North American terror cell faced a potential maximum of 15 years in prison.

''We are gratified by the 11th Circuit's swift decision and look forward to presenting the evidence at trial,'' said U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta.

The legal teams for the three defendants have 21 days to ask for a rehearing by the panel or the entire 12-member appellate court.

Cooke had dramatically changed the dynamics of the high-profile terror case in August when she lopped a big chunk off of the indictment, saying the government wrongly overcharged the notorious former ''enemy combatant'' and the other two defendants, Adham Amin Hassoun and Kifah Wael Jayyousi .

The judge threw out the first count of the indictment -- that they ''conspired to murder, kidnap and maim persons in a foreign country . . . to advance violent jihad'' -- saying it repeated charges from two other counts involving a scheme to provide financial and other support for Islamic terrorist activities.

''There can be no question that the government has charged a single conspiracy offense multiple times, in separate counts, when in law and in fact only one [alleged] crime has been committed,'' Cooke wrote in an eight-page ruling.

''The danger'' in the indictment, she wrote, is that it violates the double-jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment, which prohibits the prosecution or punishment of a defendant twice for the same offense.

But the appellate panel, in a 15-page ruling, disagreed: ``It appears that the trouble in this appeal stems from the interrelatedness of the three counts at issue. . . . But while these three charges are interrelated, they are not interdependent.''

The panel then concluded: ``Moreover, it bears repeating that double jeopardy is not implicated simply because a factual situation might exist where a defendant could commit one act that satisfies the elements of two distinct offenses.''
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Old 01-02-2007, 11:32 AM   #25
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Default DFAT demands mental health report on Hicks

By Caroline Overington and Verity Edwards
February 01, 2007

THE Australian Government last night asked for an independent assessment of David Hicks's mental health, but admitted that US authorities would be unlikely to agree.

"We are still awaiting a detailed read-out from the Australian consul-general in Washington, who is currently in Guantanamo to visit Mr Hicks," said a DFAT spokeswoman last night.

"And while we have sought an independent report on Mr Hicks, initial US advice is that independent physical and mental healthcare is not generally permitted at Guantanamo Bay," the spokeswoman said.


Concern ... the mental health of David Hicks, thought to be pictured here at Guantanamo Bay, has severely deteriorated, his lawyer said / File / No credit

The move comes after Foreign Minister Alexander Downer declared in mid-January that Hicks showed no signs of mental illness after five years in a cell. The assessment was based on a three-minute observation by an official at the US embassy in Canberra who did not speak to the Australian terror suspect.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said yesterday that charges - which are likely to include attempted murder and aiding the enemy - were "imminent, which ought not to be surprising".

When the charges are laid, Hicks is likely to face a pre-trial hearing within 30 days and a trial by May.

The expected charges are not clear, although the chief US military prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay, Colonel Morris Davis, said they were likely to be similar to the charges dropped when the US Supreme Court ruled the previous military process invalid.

Hicks's lawyers allege that his mental and physical health is deteriorating and that the 31-year-old is rationed toilet paper, denied a comb, chained to the floor and has seen the sun three times since early December last year.

On Tuesday night, Hicks refused a visit from Australia's consul-general in Washington, John McAnulty, declaring in a letter: "I don't want to see you. I am afraid to speak to you."

In his letter, Hicks claimed an American impersonated an Australian official during a recent visit and that he had been disciplined for speaking about his incarceration. "In the past I have been punished for speaking to you," he wrote.

John Howard said the Government would press for details on Hicks's health.

Colonel Davis rejected allegations that Hicks had been poorly treated, saying he was not, as reported yesterday, chained in his cell for 22 hours a day. He was shackled to the floor during an interview with his lawyer.

Colonel Davis said Hicks was "fine".

Additional reporting: Pia Akerman, Sid Marris, Andrew McGarry

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/sto...005961,00.html
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Old 01-02-2007, 11:36 AM   #26
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Default Former terror suspect to stand at election

By 7News
Thursday February 1
http://au.news.yahoo.com/070201/23/129n1.html

Former Guantanamo detainee Mamdouh Habib is to stand for election in the NSW state poll.
Mr Habib will run as an independent in the safe Labor seat of Auburn, standing against ALP incumbent Barbara Penny.

He announced his candidacy on Thursday morning, pledging to campaign against anti-terrorist legislation - to work for "the right to freedom of expression and in opposition to the anti-terrorist laws, state and federal".

He also pledged to "fight racism, the end of scapegoating of Aborigines, Muslims and migrants," and to oppose Australia's involvement in the war in Iraq.

Mr Habib spent three years at the US prison camp at Guantanamo in Cuba, after he was arrested in Pakistan in 2001 on suspicion of involvement in terrorism.

He was released without charge in January 2005.

Born in Egypt, father-of-four Mr Habib became an Australian citizen after moving to the country in 1980.
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Old 01-02-2007, 11:52 AM   #27
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1848 days of illegal imprisonment!

Visit http://www.cageprisoners.com/
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Old 02-02-2007, 03:26 AM   #28
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Default Saddam death news 'intellectual stimulation'.

From correspondents in Los Angeles.
February 02, 2007

THE US military today said photos and articles on former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's execution were shown to David Hicks and other Guantanamo Bay inmates as "intellectual stimulation".

Hicks's legal team was outraged during this week's visit to the US prison camp to learn Hicks had viewed photos of Saddam's execution and trial.

US Commander Robert Durand, director of public affairs at Guantanamo Bay, today described the articles and photos available to the inmates as "neither graphic nor sensational".

Commander Durand said the photos and articles were from mainstream news organisations such as Britain's BBC, The New York Times and the Washington Post and were available to Guantanamo inmates as part of the the prison's library and literacy program.

Hicks's lawyers had said the Adelaide detainee had viewed a photo of Saddam hanging from a noose, but Commander Durand rejected the suggestion.

He said a photo of Saddam prior to his hanging accompanied a BBC news report.

"Our primary mission is safe and humane care and custody of the detainees.

"In addition to our library and literacy programs, detainees are provided with a weekly collection of news articles.

"The news articles, intended to provide intellectual stimulation for the detainees, are taken from mainstream news sources such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, al Jazeera, the Gulf News, and wire services such as AP, Reuters and AFP.

"Articles chosen are not always pro-US.

"Our news program provides current news from worldwide media sources every week.

"The news photos that appear in the stories are neither graphic nor sensational. The news articles are in English, printed from the web.

"A BBC news article describing Saddam Hussein's execution, with a photo of him prior to his hanging, was included in the camp news."

Hicks's lawyers were also upset a poster containing photos of Saddam at his trial were also displayed for Guantanamo inmates to view.

The poster has been taken down.

"Posters in Arabic are also used to bring news in the camp," Commander Durand said.

"A recent poster showed Saddam Hussein's capture, court appearances and sentencing.

"It did not show his execution.

"The intent of this poster was to show that the Iraqi people are making progress and have delivered justice.

"We regret that the language of this poster appeared insensitive.

"The poster has been removed and replaced with more current news."

Hicks's lead American defence lawyer, Joshua Dratel, who was at Guantanamo this week with Hicks's US military lawyer Major Michael Mori, and Australian lawyers, David McLeod and Michael Griffin, was outraged by the poster and execution coverage.

"Displaying photos of condemned men to those who may be facing capital charges can only interpreted as an attempt to intimidate and compel submission under a threat of death and mentally torture an already abused detainee population," he said.

Hicks has been in US custody since late 2001 when he was captured in Afghanistan.

The US expects to charge him shortly.

In Canberra, Greens leader Bob Brown said the showing of the pictures was "premeditated torture".

"The Hicks saga goes from bad to worse," Senator Brown said.

"The Guantanamo Bay horror is based on unlawful behaviour and sadistic practice by the jailers."

Federal Labor MPs have sent a letter to Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Party speaker of the US Congress, asking for help in bringing Hicks home.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599...29-401,00.html
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Old 04-02-2007, 08:40 AM   #29
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Default Official Quits After Remark on Lawyers

By SARAH ABRUZZESE
Published: February 3, 2007
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/03/wa...in&oref=slogin

WASHINGTON, Feb. 2 — The senior Pentagon official who set off a controversy last month with remarks suggesting that corporations should consider severing business ties with law firms that represent Guantánamo Bay detainees has resigned.

The official, Charles D. Stimson, deputy assistant secretary for detainee affairs, said that it was his decision to resign and that he was not asked to leave by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, said Bryan Whitman, a spokesman for the Pentagon.

“He determined that it was going to hamper his ability to be effective in this position,” Mr. Whitman said.

Mr. Stimson’s comments in an interview on Jan. 11 on Federal News Radio angered many lawyers and caused the Defense Department to distance itself publicly from his remarks.

In the interview, Mr. Stimson named more than 12 firms that are defending detainees.

“I think, quite honestly, when corporate C.E.O.’s see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those C.E.O.’s are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms,” Mr. Stimson said.

Mr. Stimson, a former Navy defense lawyer, wrote an apology published in The Washington Post, saying the remarks did not reflect his “core beliefs.”

On Jan. 24, the Bar Association of San Francisco requested that the State Bar of California investigate Mr. Stimson for possible violations of California ethics rules, the San Francisco group’s Web site says.

The president of the American Bar Association, Karen J. Mathis, said that she could not comment on the resignation, but that by reacting to his comments “the American public reaffirmed its commitment to a core principle of our justice system: that every accused person deserves adequate legal representation.”

Mr. Whitman said Mr. Stimson did a lot for the department “with respect to setting policy standards, increasing transparency and working with international organizations and allies, with respect to the nature of our detention operations.”
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Old 04-02-2007, 08:48 AM   #30
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Default 'Torture victim' seeks US justice

By Laurence Peter
BBC News 2 February 2007
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6325561.stm

A Lebanese-born German, who accuses the CIA of having kidnapped and tortured him, says he is determined to get an apology from the US authorities.


Mr Masri is seeking damages from the CIA

Khaled al-Masri alleges that he was seized in Macedonia, flown to a secret jail in Afghanistan and tortured there.

"I'll pursue the case until the Americans admit what they did to me, give an explanation and make an apology," he told the BBC News website.

Munich prosecutors have ordered the arrest of 13 suspected CIA agents.

Mr Masri says he was abducted at the end of 2003 and detained for five months before being released in Albania after the Americans realised they had got the wrong man.

'Traumatised'

Mr Masri says his case is an example of the US policy of "extraordinary rendition" - a practice whereby the US government flies foreign terror suspects to third countries without judicial process for interrogation or detention.

"I'm suffering from stress - this experience has left me traumatised," he said.

His German lawyer Manfred Gnjidic told the BBC News website that his client was feeling "isolated and depressed".

"His life isn't back to normal, he was tortured, nobody cared about him until now. The trauma is so deep in him, he needs a lot of help, not just in psychotherapy. Nobody was able to get him a simple job."

Mr Gnjidic says that he has evidence of how his client was maltreated: "We have some witnesses, we worked a lot to get one of them, from Algeria."

The arrest warrants for the 13 agents accused of involvement were issued last month. The information for them came from Mr Masri's lawyers and a journalist and officials in Spain, where the flight carrying Mr Masri is thought to have originated.

Mr Gnjidic described the CIA agents as "contractors" from a base in North Carolina.

German arrest warrants are not valid in the US, but if the suspects were to travel to the European Union they could be arrested.

Milan case

Mr Masri says he was abducted on 31 December 2003 by US agents in Skopje, capital of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

He is seeking to sue the US government over his detention, but in May a judge dismissed a lawsuit he filed against the CIA, citing national security considerations.

"The most important thing is that the European and German authorities are saying directly to the CIA agents that this is an illegal way to act," Mr Gnjidic said.

"Now the German government should insist on getting the rehabilitation of Mr Masri by the American side."

Meanwhile in the Italian city of Milan, court hearings to decide whether to indict 25 alleged CIA agents and several Italians accused of kidnapping a Muslim cleric in 2003 are under way.

Osama Mustafa Hassan, or Abu Omar, says he was abducted from the streets of Milan and then tortured in Egypt.
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:01 AM   #31
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Default Terror plea bargain tipped for Hicks

February 04, 2007
http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,21163674-2,00.html

GUANTANAMO Bay inmate David Hicks could enter a plea bargain on terrorism charges in a desperate effort to come home, his father Terry said today.


Trial ... Mr Hicks is among the first three detainees to be charged
under the new tribunal system / Image supplied




Fresh charges of providing support to terrorism and attempted murder were sworn against the Australian prisoner yesterday.

Hicks has been held without trial for five years at the US military base in Cuba after being detained in Afghanistan in late 2001.

Terry Hicks said his son had been mentally weakened by his time in custody and may consider a plea bargain in response to the charges.

Mr Hicks said the new charges would frustrate his son because he had already pleaded not guilty to similar charges.

“Now all of a sudden they'll be coming to him and saying 'this is what you're charged with',” Mr Hicks told ABC Radio.

“He isn't well, he's not coping, he's suffering mental stresses at the moment.

“I believe what's happening is they'll catch David in that frame of mind where he desperately wants to come home and he'll possibly enter into a plea bargain,” Mr Hicks said.

In August 2004, Hicks pleaded not guilty at a US military commission hearing to charges of conspiracy, attempted murder by an unprivileged belligerent and aiding the enemy.

Those charges were dropped when the US Supreme Court ruled last June that the commissions were unlawful.

Federal Labor said today the charges Hicks faces are retrospective under American law and wants Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock to explain the Government's response.

Mr Ruddock has long held that Hicks, who has been detained for five years at the US base in Cuba before the charges were announced yesterday, could not be charged in Australia because anti-terror laws were not in place at the time of his arrest and couldn't be used retrospectively.

“Philip Ruddock has said he is averse to retrospective law being passed in Australia to deal with David Hicks,” Labor's attorney-general spokesman Kelvin Thomson said.

“But yesterday his name was on a press statement welcoming the move by the United States to charge David Hicks, when one of the proposed charges – material support for terrorism – was not an offence until the US Military Commissions Act of 2006 made it one.”

Mr Thomson asked if this meant Mr Ruddock would raise with the US its plan to try David Hicks under a retrospective law.

“Or does he believe it is not OK to charge David Hicks in Australia under retrospective Australian law, but it is OK to charge David Hicks under retrospective American law at Guantanamo Bay?” he said.

Prime Minister John Howard said he was satisfied with the US Government implementing a retrospective law for Hicks.

“We do not believe the passage of retrospective criminal law in Australia is appropriate,” Mr Howard said in Sydney.

“What the Americans do is up to the Americans.

“We believe the arrangements for the military commission meet the reasonable requirements of Australian law.”

Mr Howard rejected the Opposition's comparison between the US retrospective law and Australia's claim it couldn't charge Hicks under such circumstances.

“I don't accept the interpretation of what the US is doing,” Mr Howard said.

“I don't equate the US is doing with the passage of retrospective criminal law in Australia.”



US military prosecutor Colonel Moe Davis has recommended Hicks be charged with “providing material support for terrorism and attempted murder in violation of the law of war”.

Col Davis has “sworn” the charges against Hicks but they won't be formally laid until they have been approved by US military judge Susan Crawford – a process expected to take two weeks.

If convicted, the 31-year-old former jackeroo from Adelaide faces a maximum penalty of life in a US prison.
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Old 04-02-2007, 09:10 AM   #32
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Default No relief for Hicks' father on proposed new charge

4th February 2007
http://thewest.com.au/default.aspx?M...ontentID=20475

The announcement of proposed charges against Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks brings little relief, says his father Terry Hicks.

Overnight, Colonel Morris Davis, the chief prosecutor for the upcoming US military commissions, announced Hicks and two other Guantanamo Bay inmates would be the first three brought to trial.

Col Davis has recommended Hicks be charged with "providing material support for terrorism and attempted murder in violation of the law of war".

If convicted, the 31-year-old former jackeroo from Adelaide faces a maximum penalty of life in a US prison.

Col Davis swore the charges against Hicks today but they won't be formally laid until they have been approved by US military judge Susan Crawford - a process expected to take two weeks.

Terry Hicks says the new proposed charges are confusing and bring little promise that the process is moving forward.

"There is in one way, but I would be more relieved if David was facing a fair and just situation, not virtually the same thing that they went through before, which has been ruled as illegal," Mr Hicks said today.

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

But those charges were dropped when the US Supreme Court ruled last June that the commissions were unlawful.

"The basic bottom line is David's got to go through another process of an unfair and unjust system and they're not going to listen to him anyway," Mr Hicks said today.

He said he just wanted his son home and was getting sick of hearing uncertain dates.

"It gets a bit ridiculous - no one ever seems to want to put a hard and fast date on anything because I think what happens if you put a date on and nothing happens, then there's repercussions - we jump up and down," he said.

Hicks' military defence lawyer, Major Michael Mori, said his client would still be facing unjust charges.

He said the charge of material support was not part of the law of war and did not appear in any US or Australian military manual as a law of war offence.

"What is most disturbing is that while Australian ministers have consistently said that creating a new law and applying it retrospectively to David Hicks is inappropriate, the same ministers are encouraging the US administration to apply a new law created less than four months ago retrospectively to David Hicks," Major Mori said in a statement today.

Democrats senator Natasha Stott Despoja agrees, labelling the process a sham.

"Today's announcement of new charges that may be brought against Hicks continues the tragic farce that has been David's fate since being taken by military authorities in Afghanistan," she said in a statement today.

The senator says Hicks is about to face a process that defies the rule of law and contravenes international humanitarian law.

"The new commissions allow detainees to be convicted on evidence obtained by coercion and on hearsay evidence they will not have the opportunity to challenge," Senator Stott Despoja said.

Prime Minister John Howard said he was pleased the charges were to be laid before a mid-February deadline that he had set.

"I'm glad that the charges are being laid and that the deadline I set has been met," Mr Howard told reporters today at his Sydney residence Kirribilli House.

"They are very serious charges and that is why they should be dealt with as soon as possible."

But Labor says the government can't say its demands have been met because no charges have actually been laid as yet.

"David Hicks has not yet been charged, nor is a trial imminent," Labor's legal affairs spokesman Kelvin Thomson said.

Mr Thomson said the prosecution has only indicated an intention to charge Hicks.

He said today's announcement was a small step towards a trial for Hicks, but a giant leap backwards for a fair trial for the detainee.

AAP
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Old 04-02-2007, 10:44 AM   #33
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Default Medical detachment deploys to Guantanamo

By Chris Amos - Staff writer
Friday Feb 2, 2007
http://navytimes.com/news/2007/02/nt...amodocs070202/

A detachment of 74 active-duty personnel from Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Fla., have begun deploying to Guantanamo Naval Station, Cuba, to work at a hospital that serves foreign detainees.

The deployment should be completed within 30 days, according to Terresa White, public affairs officer for the hospital.

The detachment, which includes doctors, nurses and hospital corpsmen, will train for about one week at Fort Lewis, Wash., before traveling to Guantanamo, White said.

The group will relieve another group of 86 medical personnel who deployed to Guantanamo from Jacksonville about six months ago.

About 26 members of the first group will arrive in Jacksonville tomorrow; the remainder should follow within weeks.

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Old 05-02-2007, 08:05 AM   #34
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Default Hicks charges not retrospective: govt

5th February 2007
http://www.thewest.com.au:80/aapstor...oryName=353261

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock says charges the US is planning to lay against Australian terrorist suspect David Hicks will not be retrospective because last year's introduction of the charge of supporting terrorism was a "mere codification".

Mr Ruddock was speaking after the US military said at the weekend it would seek to charge the Adelaide-born Hicks with attempted murder, conspiracy and supporting terrorism.

The charges relate to allegations against Hicks dating back to before late 2001, when he was captured while fighting with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

However, the charge of supporting terrorism was not an offence until the US Military Commissions Act of 2006 made it so.

Labor and Hicks's lawyers say the accused terrorist should not be charged retrospectively.

However, Mr Ruddock told ABC radio: "I've been assured that there were existing laws and this is a mere codification."

Chief prosecutor for the US office of military commissions, Colonel Moe Davis, backed Mr Ruddock's explanation and said the claim the charge was new was "a load of rubbish".

"It's an offence that Congress recognised more than a decade ago," Colonel Davis told ABC radio.

"The difference here is the forum in which that offence can be prosecuted."

Hicks's US-appointed military lawyer Major Michael Mori said the charge of supporting terrorism was retrospective.

Major Mori accused the Australian government of back-flipping on its stance against retrospective charges.

"Before, they said 'we can't bring David back from Guantanamo (Bay) because we can't create new laws and apply them to him retroactively' and yet, to serve their purpose of getting David done over ... they're more than willing to allow the United States to do to an Australian what they won't do to an Australian," Major Mori told ABC Radio.

Colonel Davis said the evidence against Hicks was damning and would be fully laid out during the military commission.

"He picked up a rifle and a grenade, went to where he thought the US forces and coalition forces would be present, when they weren't there he relocated to another spot where he thought there were better opportunities."

Hicks has been held for more than five years in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

AAP
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Old 06-02-2007, 07:34 AM   #35
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Default US handling of Hicks poor: PM

February 6, 2007
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/...524082371.html


The image of Hicks as a boy released this week.

Prime Minister John Howard has criticised America's handling of the David Hicks' case as a handful of his backbenchers demanded the Australian terror suspect be returned home.

Speaking to government members as parliament returned for the year, Mr Howard also acknowledged that community sentiment was changing about the Adelaide man who has been held without trial at a US military prison in Cuba for five years.

"The PM said he acknowledged the shift in community sentiment," a coalition spokesman said.

"He feels this hasn't been well-handled by the Americans."

Mr Howard told his colleagues that the government had resolved to put a deadline on charges against Hicks and "would pursue the Americans on other timelines".

"The prime minister said he was very uncomfortable the Americans had taken three years to get around to charging him," the spokesman said.

Mr Howard continued to harden his line against the US as half a dozen backbenchers voiced their concerns about the way the Hicks case had been handled.

"People did report that this is coming up in the community ... people are very concerned about the treatment of David Hicks, it's principally been the length of time (it's taking to charge him)," the coalition spokesman said.

Three government members argued for Hicks to be returned home.

Proponents of Hicks' repatriation have suggested he could be sent to Australia and subjected to a control order, which would monitor and restrict his movements.

"The issue of a control order came up but it was pointed out we don't decide who has a control order, it is something decided by the courts," the spokesman said.

Earlier Former Australian Guantanamo Bay inmate Mamdouh Habib has joined hundreds of protesters on the lawns of Canberra's Parliament House, calling for Hicks to be brought home.

Habib, who is running as an independent for a seat in the NSW election, told the crowd Hicks was being tortured and brainwashed in the US camp.

"Guantanamo Bay is an experiment ... and what they experiment in is brainwashing," Mr Habib claimed.

"Not just mentally, they want to know what to do to harm you to make you crazy ... that's what they are brainwashing.

"That's the treatment of David Hicks, and they give him the wrong medicine to make him sick.

"David Hicks was in camp five - now they have built camp six, more rooms to brainwash, he can't talk, he is brainwashed completely.

"We sit down and watch this man, what he's been through we are ashamed, we have to stand up for this guy and if we don't do it now he is lost, he is gone."

AAP
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Old 06-02-2007, 10:20 AM   #36
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Default US gives no guarantees on Hicks timeline

6th February 2007
http://www.thewest.com.au:80/aapstor...oryName=353642

The United States says it could be more than a month before Australian terror suspect David Hicks knows the final charges he will face before a US military commission.

The Australian government had set a mid-February deadline for Hicks to be charged but while prosecutors last week recommended he face charges of attempted murder, conspiracy and supporting terrorism, it could be several more weeks before they are finalised.

Speaking to Australian journalists via video link, Sandra Hodgkinson, deputy director of the Office of War Crimes Issues, said it was not certain the charges would be finalised by the middle of February.

The recommended charges have now been referred to the convening authority, US Military Appeals Court chief judge Susan Crawford, who will review them and decide which ones to refer to the US military commission.

"It could be within a few weeks to more than a month time period in which the convening authority and the legal adviser to the convening authority, in particular, will take a careful look at the information ... so that they can do a thorough review," Ms Hodgkinson said.

"Several weeks to more than a month is what's likely until the next phase for the convening authority to move forward."

Once the final charges have been referred to the military commission, Hicks will face a preliminary hearing within 30 days so he can plead to the charges.

From the time the charges are referred to the military commission, the US will have four months to choose the judge and others who will officially make up the commission to try Hicks.

Ms Hodgkinson and John Bellinger, the US State Department's legal adviser, could give no guaranteed time frame for Hicks to be brought to trial.

However, both vowed it was the highest priority for the US government.

"It's too early to speculate what might be possible, the intention is to move forward swiftly," Ms Hodgkinson said.

"Certainly that's something we've assured the Australian government of."

Mr Bellinger said the United States was anxious to get started with the trials of Hicks and others as quickly as it could.

"We really do want to move forward. Although we do not believe we are required to try any of these individuals, for those we believe ... have committed violations of the laws of war, we want to move forward.

"It has been frustrating for us that we have not been able five years later to move forward with these trials."

Prime Minister John Howard on Monday night vowed to keep harassing the US until Hicks was brought to trial.

He is facing pressure from his backbench in the coalition joint party room to ensure the 31-year-old Adelaide father of two faces a speedy and fair trial after being held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba for more than five years.

Mr Bellinger said America understood the frustration of the Australian government.

Hicks' Australian lawyer David McLeod said one senior US legal official had told him during a recent visit that it could be six months before Hicks goes to trial.

"Guantanamo Bay is really at the end of the earth, and just getting people there and getting things organised and having motions dealt with, his best estimate is September," he told ABC radio.

The US has also promised the government that if Hicks is acquitted he will be returned to Australia.

Even if convicted, there is a good chance Hicks may still be returned to Australia to serve his time.

"We've had discussions with the Australian government and, at this time, it's certainly believed that Mr Hicks may be able to carry out his incarceration, after the appeals process is complete, in Australia," Ms Hodgkinson said.

The US officials rejected suggestions by Hicks' supporters that he was more of a larrikin adventurer who ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time than a terrorist.

"The record has shown ... that he had trained in three different al-Qaeda training camps and had a significant amount of training, including undertaking surveillance operations and a significant amount of weapon training," he said.

"This, from our perspective, is not the activities simply of an individual who is an adventurer."

AAP
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Old 07-02-2007, 08:53 AM   #37
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Default PoWs sexually abused: report (including Hicks)

Government blocks release of advice on Hicks

February 7, 2007

http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/...524145809.html

The federal government has blocked a bid to force it to release its advice about the legality of US military commissions set to try Australian terror suspect David Hicks.

The government used its majority in the Senate today to vote down a motion from the Australian Democrats calling for the release of legal advice regarding the military commissions.

The Senate action came after Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said the US would likely agree to return Hicks home if the Australian government asked.

Hicks has been held in the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for more than five years without trial, after being arrested in Afghanistan in December 2001.

Mr Ruddock confirmed Hicks could be brought home, if that was the government's wish.

"I think it's quite clear that we do have a special relationship with the United States and while any decision that would be taken, would be taken by the United States, it is reasonable to assume that if the prime minister made such a request, there would be a probability that people would want to accede to it," he said.

Mr Ruddock told reporters in Canberra the government was unwilling to bring Hicks home because he couldn't be charged in Australia.

US prosecutors recommended last week that Hicks face charges of attempted murder and providing material support for terrorism, but it could be several weeks before the draft charges are approved.

Mr Ruddock denied reports the charges against Hicks were not yet official.

"I would simply say the charges have been sworn," he said.

"In Australia, we would say if somebody was of interest to law enforcement authorities they would be charged and those charges having been laid would be then dealt with by a committal authority."

Mr Ruddock said this is a similar process that has happened in Hicks' case and now a judge advocate is reviewing the charges.

"She cannot lay new charges but she can vary them or strike them out in the same way that a judicial officer would in Australia in committal proceedings," he said.

Meanwhile, a junior US officer has reported witnessing Taliban prisoners of war being sexually abused in Afghanistan weeks after Hicks says he was anally penetrated by his American captors.

Documents obtained by AAP show the officer reported a Taliban prisoner was abused on February 11, 2002.

"I noticed that one of the MPs (military police) was lubricating two of his fingers preparing to perform the anal probe instead of the medical person," says the officer's sworn statement, made in Kandahar, Afghanistan.

"Without warning the EPW (Enemy Prisoner of War), and in a cruel way, he push both his fingers into the EPW's anus.

"This caused the EPW to scream and fall to the ground violently."

Hicks's father Terry Hicks last year said the Australian "suffered beatings and anal penetration".

"If it was the doctor doing it, then that's part of the process these prisoners go through ... but this was a thug," Mr Hicks said today.

Mr Hicks said he held out little hope of a reopening of any investigation into the alleged abuse.

AAP
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Old 07-02-2007, 08:59 AM   #38
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Default PM tells the party: I could free Hicks - but won't

Phillip Coorey and Cynthia Banham
February 7, 2007
http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/...524096341.html

JOHN HOWARD has told his party room he could secure the release of David Hicks any time but says that would be wrong because the terrorism suspect should face a trial first.


Chorus of discontent ... protesters gather outside Parliament House yesterday to demand the release of David Hicks from the Guantanamo Bay military prison.
Photo: Louie Douvis


The admission yesterday prompted MPs to challenge him why he did not.

Bruce Baird, Petro Georgiou and Warren Entsch contended Mr Hicks had been in detention too long, would not receive a fair trial and should be brought home and placed under a control order.

"What do you expect us to do?" Mr Howard was quoted as saying.

Mr Entsch responded "bring him home like the Brits did", a reference to the British Government repatriating its Guantanamo Bay inmates because of concerns about the military commissions.

Mr Howard said that meant Mr Hicks would go free because he could not be charged under Australian law.

But he also indicated yesterday he would not let him languish indefinitely, saying he would set the US further timelines for the case to be dealt with.

He earlier gave the US until the middle of this month for Mr Hicks to be charged. At the weekend, two new charges were sworn against Mr Hicks but have not yet been approved or laid.

Lawyers from the US State Department said yesterday it was unlikely he would be formally charged by mid-February, and it was too early to say whether he would be tried within a year.

The Prime Minister said public sentiment was shifting and the matter had not been well handled by the Americans.

But this did not deter backbenchers from speaking out, saying it was not the person but the process that concerned them.

Mr Entsch said he had no sympathy for Mr Hicks as an individual but was worried about the lack of due process he had been afforded. "After five years it's ridiculous. The process is clearly flawed," he said.

Others MPs pointed out that Mr Hicks's case was becoming a "big concern" in the community.

The West Australian senator Judith Adams said a Labor victory in a state byelection in Perth over the weekend was in part fuelled by anger over Mr Hicks and Iraq.

Mr Howard dismissed this.

Labor's legal affairs spokesman, Kelvin Thomson, said Mr Howard's claim exposed the whole process as a joke.

"If the Prime Minister is claiming he can determine, and therefore by default, is determining David Hicks's fate, this is outrageous," Mr Thomson said.

Mr Hicks has been in Guantanamo Bay for more than five years. He was charged in 2004 but the charges lapsed last year when the original military commissions were ruled illegal by the US Supreme Court.

John Bellinger, the legal adviser to the US Secretary of State, admitted Guantanamo Bay had become "a lightning rod for criticism that threatens our record on human rights" and it was important to try to counter this.

Sandra Hodgkinson, the deputy in the office of war crimes, said after the charges had been laid, Mr Hicks had 30 days to be arraigned and enter a plea and then a trial must start within 120 days.

The laying of charges "could be within a few weeks to more than a month's time", she said. Asked if a trial would happen within a year, she said, "It's too early to speculate as to what might be possible."

Mr Bellinger defended the trial process as fair and he denied Mr Hicks was being charged under a retrospective law.

He said there were many instances of international war crimes tribunals using offences that were "obviously put down on paper much later than the conduct actually that was in question".

Mr Bellinger said he did not believe it was a violation of Mr Hicks's human rights to be held in Guantanamo Bay for five years without charge, and the Australian was "more than just an adventurer".
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Old 08-02-2007, 09:53 AM   #39
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Default 'Man in the hood' recalls ordeal

07 February, 2007
http://www.dailyexpress.com.my/news.cfm?NewsID=47318
INDEPENDENT NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF EAST MALAYSIA


Kuala Lumpur: Ali Shalah, popularly known as 'the man in the hood' in a famous photograph depicting the torture suffered by Iraqis at the American-run Abu Ghraib prison, in Baghdad, Tuesday spilled the beans on the inhumane treatment he received at the detention centre.

Ali, who now heads an organisation representing tortured victims in Iraq, captivated some 2,000 audience with his story at the three-day War Crimes Conference at the Putra World Trade Centre, organised by the Perdana Global Peace Organisation headed by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

"My nightmare began on 13th October, 2003, when I was arrested and put in a small room, which I later found out to be a toilet, which was flooded with water and human waste. I was interrogated in that room.

"They asked me if I was Sunni or Shiaa. I replied that we don't have that kind of difference in Iraq. They also claimed that I had helped instigate people to oppose the occupation and to reveal the location of Osama bin Laden.

"They also said I was an important person in the Iraqi resistance. I was then marked to be transferred to the Abu Ghraib. They wrote "big fish" on my forehead denoting that I was an important detainee," he said, relating his experience at a special session chaired by Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, the wife of Dr Mahathir.

He said he was then beaten up and put in the truck and transferred to the prison, which had five sectors with each sector having a tent surrounded by a wall and barbed wire.

Living condition in these tents was bad with each tent accommodating 45 to 50 detainees, he said adding that each tent was given only 60 litres of water daily for washing, cooking and cleaning.

"Our breakfast was at 5am, lunch at 8am while dinner was at 1pm. During Ramadhan food was given at midnight but food was again given during the day, encouraging us to break our fast," he said.

Ali said he was interrogated twice during his "stay" at the infamous prison but "I heard that detainees were tortured using lighted cigarettes and by injecting hallucinogens".

"After one month, I was called up and my hands were tied, a hood put over my head and transferred to a cell. At the cell they asked me to strip but when I refused they tore my clothes and tied me up again. They then dragged me up a flight of stairs and when I could not move, they beat me repeatedly.

"When I reached the top of the stairs, they tied me up to some steel bars.

They then hurled me human waste and urinated on me. Then they put a gun on my head and said that they would execute me there. Another soldier used a megaphone to shout abuses at me and this went on the whole night," Ali said.

He said the next morning he was asked the names of resistance fighters in Iraq and when he replied that he did not know any, they inserted a jagged wooden stick into my rectum, followed by the barrel or a rifle, which caused him to bleed profusely.

"The next morning the interrogator came to my cell and tied me to the grill of the cell and then played the pop song 'By the Rivers of Babylon' continuously until the next morning. The effect on me was that I lost my hearing and lost my mind," he added.

On the 15th day of detention, Ali was given a blanket, in which he made a hole and used it to cover himself.

Soon after this, the former lecturer, said he was forcefully placed on top of a carton box containing canned food and connected wires to his fingers "and ordered me to stretch my hand out horizontally and switched on the electric power".

"As the electric current entered my whole body, I felt as if my eyes were being forced out and sparks were flying out. My teeth were clattering violently and my legs shaking violently as well. My whole body was shaking all over. I was electrocuted on three separate sessions," he said to pin-drop silence in the hall.

Throughout the torture, he said the interrogators would take photographs of him.

He said he was then left alone in the cell for 49 days, and during this period the torture stopped.

"At the end of the 49th day, I was transferred back to the tents and after 45 days at the tents, I was informed by a prisoner that he overheard some guards saying that I was wrongly arrested and that I would be released.

"I was released in the beginning of March, 2004. I was put into a truck and taken to a highway and then thrown out. A passing car stopped and took me home," he ended his tale.

To a question from the floor after his talk, he said only God kept him alive during his ordeal but the suffering he went through was only "a drop in the ocean". - Bernama

Copyright © Daily Express, Sabah, Malaysia
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Old 08-02-2007, 10:13 AM   #40
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Default Former Guantanamo chaplain wants U.S. Army apology

Feb 7, 2007
By Bernd Debusmann, Special Correspondent

http://today.reuters.com/news/articl...1-ArticlePage2

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Capt. James Yee spent 76 days in solitary confinement, much of the time shackled and in leg irons, after accusations of sedition, espionage and aiding the enemy while serving as a Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay.

The Army's case against him collapsed at trial, and it eventually wiped his record clean and gave the West Point graduate an honorable discharge.

Two years later, he is still waiting for an apology. "Since my case was dismissed, nobody has taken responsibility for what happened to me," he said in an interview. "Nobody has explained what went wrong or why. Nobody apologized."

Yee says the way he was treated damaged the reputation of military justice and is one of the reasons why American Muslims are reluctant to join the military at a time when it needs Arabic speakers as it wages war in two Muslim countries.

(For a related story see "Fear of bias keeps U.S. Muslims out of military")

"If the Pentagon came out and said 'we admit we made a mistake,' it would show the integrity of the system. An apology would make the military stronger."

Despite what he calls humiliating treatment driven by bigotry, ignorance and mistrust, Yee said he would consider rejoining the military if there were a formal apology. "I'm waiting for the outcome of an investigation by the (Pentagon's) Inspector General."

The Pentagon has given no indication of when the investigation might be completed. It began in December, 2004, after written requests to then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld by lawmakers.

Since leaving the Army, Yee has written a book about his ordeal, "For God and Country, Faith and Patriotism Under Fire," and given lectures at universities and Muslim community centers around the country.

ABUSE ENCOURAGED?

Critics of the United States around the world see the detention of prisoners at its naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a symbol of American disregard for international law.

In his book, which became a bestseller in Indonesia but had limited success in the United States, Yee portrays an environment in which guards were encouraged to abuse prisoners by the prison commander, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller.

Miller went to Iraq in 2003 to step up intelligence gathering from prisoners there. He refused to testify in the courts martial in January last year of two dog handlers charged with prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison, invoking his constitutional right to avoid self incrimination. He retired six months later and received a Distinguished Service Medal for meritorious service in a ceremony at the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes.

Yee said he prompted the ire of senior officers at Guantanamo by drawing attention to U.S. soldiers abusing the Koran, mocking Islam and stripping prisoners of their dignity. After he was arrested and taken to a Navy brig in Jacksonville, Florida, he said he was subjected to similar treatment.

"My cell was 8 foot by 6 foot, the same size as the detainees' cages at Guantanamo," he wrote in his book. "Now I was the one in chains. It was my turn to be humiliated every time I was taken to a shower. Naked, I had to run my hands through my hair to show that I was not concealing a weapon. Then mouth open, tongue up, down, nothing inside."

"Right arm up, nothing in my armpit. Left arm up. Lift the right testicle, nothing hidden. Lift the left. Turn around, bend over, spread your buttocks, knowing a camera was displaying my naked image as male and female guards watched. It didn't matter that I was an army captain, a graduate of West Point, the elite U.S. military academy.

The fact that he had not been charged at that time and his religious beliefs prohibited him from being fully naked in front of strangers did not matter to his captors, he said in the interview. "So, if that kind of justice, that kind of treatment, is given to a U.S. citizen, what can a foreigner expect?"

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.
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