Category Archive 'Guantanamo Detainees'
10 Apr 2014

“Waterboard Him Some More”

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Abu Zubaydah

Left-wing sissies (HuffPo, SullyDish) have their panties in a twist over a John McCain revelation from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s (partisan) report on interrogation techniques leaked to the National Journal:

McCain… elaborated on an event that was reported Monday by The Post, noting that officials waterboarding a terror suspect reported to CIA headquarters that they had “gotten everything we can out of the guy.”

“The message came back, ‘Waterboard him some more.’ That is unconscionable,” McCain said.

Poor Abu Zubaydah, after all, merely, as Wikipedia notes:

Quickly rose from very low level mujahedin to third or fourth man in al Qaeda.

Served as Osama Bin Laden’s senior lieutenant.

Managed a network of training camps.

Was instrumental in the training of operatives for al Qaeda, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and other terrorist elements inside Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Acted as the Deputy Camp Commander for al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, personally approving entry and graduation of all trainees during 1999–2000.

Approved all individuals going in and out of Afghanistan to the training camps from 1996–1999.

No one went in and out of Peshawar, Pakistan without his knowledge and approval.

Acted as al Qaeda’s coordinator of external contacts and foreign communications.

Acted as al Qaeda’s counter-intelligence officer and had been trusted to find spies within the organization.

Was involved in every major terrorist operation carried out by al Qaeda.

Was a planner for the Millennium plot to attack U.S. and Israeli targets during the Millennium celebrations in Jordan.

Served as a planner for the Paris Embassy plot in 2001.

Was one of the planners of 9/11.

Engaged in planning future terrorist attacks against U.S. interests.

Wrote al Qaeda’s manual on resistance techniques

Abu Zubaydah was one of the principal planners of the 9/11 attacks which killed more than 3000 innocent non-combatants. If I’d been in charge at the CIA and the interrogators at the scene phoned home to report that “they had gotten everything they can out of the guy,” and asked me what to do next. I would have said exactly the same thing. And that demonstrates precisely why decisions about how to deal with terrorists and illegal combatants should be made by “rough men”* and not by wimps and sissies.


*”People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.”

–attributed to George Orwell.

14 Jan 2012

VDH: A Good Word For Obama

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Over lunch with Peter Robinson, Victor Davis Hanson remarked reflectively:

When you think about it, Obama has kept the detention camp at Guantanamo. He’s going ahead with military tribunals. And where Bush only waterboarded three terrorists, Obama has used drones to execute about 2,600.

Obama’s sort of growing on me.

05 Dec 2010

The New Moral and Humane Approach: No Prisoners

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David Ignatius observes that, in the new, morally-improved age of Obama, sleep deprivation, face slaps, and body shakes are out, but sudden death by high explosive is thriving as never before.

Liberal scruples about interrogation and unlimited detention and the significant percentage of released detainees returning to the jihad have very obviously modified the American approach to war. If you can’t gain any information from captured insurgents and you are going to wind up in the end playing catch-and-release, the likelihood that you are going to take any prisoners at all declines dramatically.

Most amusingly, the consciences of the intelligentsia have been found to be surprisingly comfortable with the more recent remote-killing campaign.

Every war brings its own deformations, but consider this disturbing fact about America’s war against al-Qaeda: It has become easier, politically and legally, for the United States to kill suspected terrorists than to capture and interrogate them.

Predator and Reaper drones, armed with Hellfire missiles, have become the weapons of choice against al-Qaeda operatives in the tribal areas of Pakistan. They have also been used in Yemen, and the demand for these efficient tools of war, which target enemies from 10,000 feet, is likely to grow.

The pace of drone attacks on the tribal areas has increased sharply during the Obama presidency, with more assaults in September and October of this year than in all of 2008. At the same time, efforts to capture al-Qaeda suspects have virtually stopped. Indeed, if CIA operatives were to snatch a terrorist tomorrow, the agency wouldn’t be sure where it could detain him for interrogation.

Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA, frames the puzzle this way: “Have we made detention and interrogation so legally difficult and politically risky that our default option is to kill our adversaries rather than capture and interrogate them?”

It’s curious why the American public seems so comfortable with a tactic that arguably is a form of long-range assassination, after the furor about the CIA’s use of nonlethal methods known as “enhanced interrogation.” When Israel adopted an approach of “targeted killing” against Hamas and other terrorist adversaries, it provoked an extensive debate there and abroad.

“For reasons that defy logic, people are more comfortable with drone attacks” than with killings at close range, says Robert Grenier, a former top CIA counterterrorism officer who now is a consultant with ERG Partners. “It’s something that seems so clean and antiseptic, but the moral issues are the same.”

23 Mar 2010

“Highest Value Detainee” Ordered Released

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Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Osama bin Laden, Ramzi Binalshibh and Mohammed Atta

All poor Mohamedou Ould Slahi did was recruit Mohammed Atta, Marwan al Shehhi, and Ziad Jarrah, the suicide pilots of American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, and United Airlines Flight 93, for their mission on September 11, 2001.

Mr. Slahi and his defense team allege that he was tortured, i.e., beaten, exposed to uncomfortable temperatures, threatened, frightened by threats against his family, and sexually taunted by female interrogators. A DOD inquiry failed to confirm most of these allegations, but they were obviously credited, and considered to constitute torture, by the officer in charge of prosecution.

Wall Street Journal:

Although the treatment apparently induced Mr. Slahi’s compliance, the military prosecutor, Marine Lt. Col. V. Stuart Couch, determined that it constituted torture and evidence it produced could not lawfully be used against Mr. Slahi.

Col. Couch, in a March 31, 2007, Page One story in The Wall Street Journal, cited legal, professional and moral reasons for declining to prosecute.

Mr. Slahi, who was then viewed as a cooperator by interrogators, was granted various privileges at Guantánamo Bay, including his own quarters and garden to tend.

Col. Couch, now in private practice in North Carolina, said Monday’s order “is one of the consequences that the decision-makers should have foreseen when they decided to adopt a policy of cruelty, and the interrogation techniques that flowed from it.”

The same Journal article informs us that he is consequently being freed to resume his former activities.

A suspected al Qaeda organizer once called “the highest value detainee” at Guantánamo Bay was ordered released by a federal judge in an order issued Monday.

Mohamedou Ould Slahi was accused in the 9/11 Commission report of helping recruit Mohammed Atta and other members of the al Qaeda cell in Hamburg, Germany, that took part in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Military prosecutors suspected Mr. Slahi of links to other al Qaeda operations, and considered seeking the death penalty against him while preparing possible charges in 2003 and 2004.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson granted Mr. Slahi’s petition for habeas corpus, effectively finding the government lacked legal grounds to hold him. The order was classified, although the court said it planned to release a redacted public version in the coming weeks.

Mr. Robertson held four days of closed hearings in the Slahi case last year. Mr. Slahi testified via secure video link from Guantánamo Bay, said his attorney.

“They were considering giving him the death penalty. Now they don’t even have enough evidence to pass the test for habeas,” said the attorney, Nancy Hollander, of Albuquerque, N.M.

Spiegel did a major article in October of 2008 on Slahi.

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What can one possibly say about the kind of stupidity that equates misinforming, threatening, taunting, scaring, and even roughing up or inflicting some discomfort on a mass murderer with torture? Or about the legal acumen of jurists who award habeas corpus protection to unlawful belligerents apprehended overseas during time of war?

Do you suppose they can quote “Quos Deus perdere, dementat” [Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad] in Arabic?

21 Mar 2010

DOJ vs. CIA

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Bill Gertz, in the Washington Times last Monday (March 15), revealed a major behind-the-scenes conflict between the CIA and prominent officials of Eric Holder’s Justice Department.

The CIA wants the 1982 Intelligence Identities Protection Act enforced at the expense of attorneys from the John Adams Project, a joint initiative of the ACLU and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, who allegedly supplied photographs of CIA interrogators to attorneys defending al Qaeda terrorists held at Guantánamo Bay, who then showed them to their clients.

The CIA believes providing terrorists access to those photographs compromised the agency’s ongoing operations and could potentially lead to reprisals against the interrogators. The Justice Department was resistant to CIA demands for investigation and prosecutions, not surprisingly, since a number of prominent DOJ officials these days have themselves been part of the Al Qaeda Bar Association, and are a lot more in favor of prosecuting CIA interrogators and Bush Administration officials for “torture” and war crimes.

[A] senior Justice Department national security official removed himself from [a] counterintelligence probe last week after opposing CIA security worries.

Donald Vieira, a former Democratic counsel on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence who in September became chief of staff at the Justice Department’s National Security Division, recused himself from the counterintelligence investigation into the recent discovery of photographs of CIA interrogators in the possession of defense lawyers at the prison in Cuba.

The investigation has been under way for many months, but was given new urgency after the discovery last month of additional photographs of interrogators at Guantanamo showing CIA officers and contractors who have carried out interrogations of detainees, according to three officials familiar with the investigation. They spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Findings of the investigation to date produced some signs that the senior al Qaeda detainees at Guantanamo gained intelligence on CIA interrogators through their lawyers that could be used in future legal proceedings.

CIA counterintelligence officials have “serious concerns” that the information will leak out and lead to the terrorists targeting the officers and their families, if the identities are disseminated to terrorists or sympathizers still at large, said one official.

“They have put the lives of CIA officers and their families in danger,” said a senior U.S. official about the detainees’ lawyers.

The case is being pressed by the counterspies who only recently were able to alert senior agency, Justice Department and White House officials to their concerns. …

According to the officials, the dispute centered on discussions for a interagency memorandum that was to be used in briefing President Obama and senior administration officials on the photographs found in Cuba.

Justice officials did not share the CIA’s security concerns about the risks posed to CIA interrogators and opposed language on the matter that was contained in the draft memorandum. The memo was being prepared for White House National Security Council aide John Brennan, who was to use it to brief the president.

The CIA insisted on keeping its language describing the case and wanted the memorandum sent forward in that form.

That resulted in the meeting and ultimately to Mr. Vieira withdrawing from the probe.

CIA Director Leon E. Panetta and his chief of staff, Jeremy Bash, a former chief counsel for the House intelligence committee, at first were unaware of both the scope and seriousness of the case.

However, both officials began addressing the matter after inquiries were made from members of Congress. Since then, Mr. Panetta and Mr. Bash are getting regular updates on the dispute, said the officials.

The legal underpinnings of the counterintelligence probe stem from the 1982 law that makes it illegal to disclose the identity of clandestine CIA and other intelligence officers. The law was passed after CIA defector Philip Agee in the 1970s disclosed the identity of Richard Welch, the CIA station chief in Greece, who was assassinated in 1975 after the disclosure. …

The Pentagon also is involved in the investigation in the photographs compromising CIA officers’ identities at Guantanamo because the military provided the lawyers currently representing some detainees. A Pentagon spokeswoman in charge of detainee affairs had no immediate comment and said she was unaware of the case.

The officials said the photographs of the CIA officers found recently at Guantanamo were obtained by a joint program of the ACLU and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers called the John Adams Project.

The project, according to a Washington Post report in August, hired contractors to photograph CIA officers who were thought to have carried out terrorist interrogations. Those photographs were then to be provided to defense lawyers representing some of the Guantanamo detainees as part of an effort to identify the interrogators, for possible use as witnesses in military or civilian trials.

Joshua Dratel, a lawyer representing the John Adams Project, declined to comment directly on whether his group hired investigators to photograph CIA officers and supply them to military defense lawyers.

However, Mr. Dratel said in an interview that “none of the John Adams Project lawyers have done anything inappropriate or contrary to the protective order or any other rules that apply” to the prisoners.

ACLU spokesman John Kennedy also declined to comment on whether the project obtained photographs of CIA officers. However, he said none of the John Adams Project lawyers disclosed the identities of CIA officers to detainees held at Guantanamo.

Details about the investigation into the photographs remain closely held, but one official said CIA counterintelligence and security officials were alarmed by the discovery at the prison.

“What it says is that somebody is going out and finding these agents, taking their pictures, and taking them back to Gitmo, trying to get these guys at Gitmo to confirm who they are and where they are from,” one U.S. intelligence official said. “CIA is afraid this information will become public and jeopardize the lives of the agents.”

A second source said the probe also has heightened an ongoing political dispute among CIA, Justice and White House officials over the issue of terrorism detainees.

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Debra Burlingame and Thomas Joscelyn discuss the CIA-DOJ donnybrook.

14 Mar 2010

Like Saul Alinsky, Not John Adams

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Neal Katyal celebrates the decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld

Andrew C. McCarthy rebuts misleading editorial claims that certain attorneys now employed by the Department of Justice were “only doing their job” and following the conventional ethical obligations of the Bar in pursuing various kinds of innovative litigation on behalf of War on Terror detainees.

The fictional premise of these wayward complaints is that the Justice Department’s al Qaeda lawyers stand in the same shoes as criminal-defense lawyers. The latter must represent even unsavory characters because the Constitution guarantees counsel to those charged with crimes.

To the contrary, the Justice Department’s al Qaeda lawyers were volunteers, just as Mr. Holder volunteered in the Heller case. Unlike the British soldiers represented by John Adams, the Gitmo detainees are not entitled to counsel. They are not criminal defendants. They are plaintiffs in offensive lawsuits, filed under the rubric of habeas corpus, challenging their detention as war prisoners. The nation is at war, and the detainees are unprivileged alien enemy combatants. By contrast, the United States was not at war with England at the time of the Boston Massacre, and the British soldiers were lawful police, not nonuniformed terrorists.

There is no right to counsel in habeas corpus cases. Thousands of American inmates must represent themselves in such suits—there is no parade of white-shoe law firms at their beck and call. Until 2004, moreover, enemy prisoners were not permitted to challenge their detention at all. The Supreme Court rejected such claims in the 1950 Eisentrager case, precisely because they damage the national war effort. Yes, left-leaning lawyers have convinced the Supreme Court’s liberal bloc to ignore precedent and permit Gitmo habeas petitions. That neither makes these suits less damaging, nor endows the enemy with a right to counsel.

Advocating for the enemy is a modern anomaly, not a proud tradition. Defense lawyers representing accused criminals perform a constitutionally required function. Not so the Department of Justice’s Gitmo volunteers. They represented al Qaeda operatives because they wanted to, not because they had to. The suggestion that they served a vital constitutional function is self-adulating myth. Their motive was to move the law in a particular direction.

Ironically, a number of Republican and conservative lawyers have written editorials and signed letters expressing the same specious analysis that equates the proactive defense of the enemy by the members of the treasonous community of fashion with the conventional acceptance of an assigned duty to provide representation to an unpopular or controversial client. You do not find Mr. Katyal, Mr. Holder, or certain representatives of Shearman & Sterling volunteering to defend the marines charged with murder or the Navy seals who gave the leader of a mob that murdered and mutilated Americans a fat lip.

Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former Solicitor General Theodore Olson, I suppose, deserve some special appreciation for their highmindedness and inclination to bend over backward in order to refrain from pointing fingers at members of their own profession in the opposing camp, but their insistence on placing the best interpretation on the motives of opponents seems more than a little naive in a world in which the democrat party left endeavors to criminalize policy differences as frequently as possible.

There is the difference between Republicans and democrats, between the American right and the American left in a nutshell. Mukasey and Olson are found hastening to defend Neal Katyal’s efforts to utilize American law for the benefit of those making war against it and the Geneva Convention to protect illegal combatants who routinely flout it, while the left is enthusiastically trying to claim that Bush Administration attorneys deserve prosecution for violations of international law as well as sanctions for professional misconduct.

What we have here is the successful application by the left of Saul Alinsky’s radical technique of “making your opponent obey his own rules” on two levels. Leftwing attorneys have successfully compelled the United States government to accord constitutional protections and the privileges of domestic legal process to armed enemies captured overseas and effectively contrived to have the Supreme Court enforce Article 75 of Protocol I (1977) of the Geneva Convention which the United States never signed. Meanwhile, the left accuses and makes strong efforts to punish Republican attorneys for legal and ethical violations on the basis of ultra-partisan and highly strained interpretations. Yet, prominent Republican legal figures shrink from criticizing, even from accurately identifying, enthusiastic advocacy on behalf of the enemy in time of war as what it really is.

04 Mar 2010

How Many Attorneys Formerly Representing Detainees Are Now Employed By the Justice Department?

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Chuck Grassley (R-IA) made a particular effort to find out how many of the Obama Administration’s new hires in the Justice Department had previously been involved in representing terrorist detainees in court battles with the Bush Administration. Senator Grassley noted the possibility of a “conflict of interest in putting the same people in charge of prosecution who had recently been defending these kinds of people.

In response to a letter from Grassley, last month, Holder admitted that there were nine such attorneys, but refused to identify seven not already publicly known.

Attorney General Eric Holder says nine Obama appointees in the Justice Department have represented or advocated for terrorist detainees before joining the Justice Department. But he does not reveal any names beyond the two officials whose work has already been publicly reported. And all the lawyers, according to Holder, are eligible to work on general detainee matters, even if there are specific parts of some cases they cannot be involved in.

Holder’s admission comes in the form of an answer to a question posed last November by Republican Sen. Charles Grassley. Noting that one Obama appointee, Principal Deputy Solicitor General Neal Katyal, formerly represented Osama bin Laden’s driver, and another appointee, Jennifer Daskal, previously advocated for detainees at Human Rights Watch.

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And there may have been more than nine:

It is possible that there are more than nine political appointees who worked for detainees. Holder tells Grassley that he did not survey the Justice Department as a whole but instead canvassed several large offices within the organization.

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Liz Cheney’s group Keep America Safe made some trouble for Eric Holder by demanding in a recent video that he identify an additional seven attorneys

0:48 video

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Prompted by the Keep America Safe video, Fox News investigated and uncovered the identities of the other seven.

Before joining the Justice Department, Jonathan Cedarbaum, now an official with the Office of Legal Counsel, was part of a “firm-wide effort” to represent six Bosnian-Algerian detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, according to the web site of the firm WilmerHale.

That effort brought the case Boumediene v. Bush to the Supreme Court, which reaffirmed the right of detainees to challenge their detention.

But, according to a review by Fox News, Cedarbaum’s name appears only once in court records of detainee-related cases. Specifically, he’s named as part of the WilmerHale legal team in a 2007 filing with the Supreme Court, and he was joined in that filing by Eric Columbus, a former WilmerHale attorney who is now senior counsel in the Office of the Deputy Attorney General.

Alongside Cedarbaum in the Office of Legal Counsel now is Karl Thompson, who while working for the firm O’Melveny & Myers became one of seven attorneys to represent Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen who was captured in Afghanistan in 2002 and transferred to Guantanamo Bay.

But, according to court documents, Thompson was only part of Khadr’s defense team for seven months, from October 2008 to May 2009.

More than five years before that, Joseph Guerra, now Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General at the Justice Department, was one of five lawyers from the firm Sidley Austin to help three civil liberties groups, including the self-described “conservative” Rutherford Institute, file a detainee-related brief with the Supreme Court.

The brief urged the justices to hear the case of Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen who was held as an “enemy combatant” before the Bush Administration decided in 2006 to prosecute him in a civilian court..

Similarly, in November 2006, Tali Farhadian, now an official in the Office of the Attorney General, was an attorney with the firm Debevoise & Plimpton when she helped file a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, urging the federal appeals court to hear the case of Ali al-Marri, the only “enemy combatant” at the time being held on U.S. soil.

In addition, Beth Brinkmann, now Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Justice Department’s Civil Division, was a partner with the firm Morrison & Foerster when she helped compile at least two Supreme Court briefs dealing with Guantanamo Bay detainees.

In 2007, she and others co-signed a Supreme Court brief by 20 former federal judges calling for further protection of detainees’ rights, and the next year she co-signed a brief by two advocacy groups, including The Rutherford Institite, urging the Supreme Court to hear an appeal from al-Marri.

The most extensive detainee-related work by a current Justice Department official, though, may have been done by Tony West, the Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

For several years, while working in Morrison & Foerster’s San Francisco office, West represented “American Taliban” Johh Walker Lindh, a move that was hotly debated after West was nominated to the Justice Department in January 2009. West wasn’t confirmed until April 2009.

But Holder’s search was obviously less than exhaustive and he was hardly motivated to inquire closely. Chances are good that even more examples of such potential conflicts will turn up.

15 Feb 2010

Obama Administration Killing Rather Than Capturing Insurgents

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Hellfire missiles don’t take prisoners.

The Washington Post is reporting that Obama Administration policies are having precisely the result that critics like MacRanger predicted long ago: [L]ook for many terrorist suspects not to get to the interrogation stage as they will most likely be “dispatched” in the field.

It’s inevitable. There is nowhere uncontroversial to imprison them. Presumably they will all be Mirandized now and given civilian trials, and even mildly coercive interrogation techniques have been absolutely ruled out. A captured terrorist leader is now never going to be a useful source of intelligence and, on the other hand, he is highly likely to become a political embarrassment. The choice becomes obvious.

The Obama administration has authorized [lethal] attacks more frequently than the George W. Bush administration did in its final years, including in countries where U.S. ground operations are officially unwelcome or especially dangerous. Improvements in electronic surveillance and precision targeting have made killing from a distance much more of a sure thing. At the same time, options for where to keep U.S. captives have dwindled.

Republican critics, already scornful of limits placed on interrogation of the suspect in the Christmas Day bombing attempt, charge that the administration has been too reluctant to risk an international incident or a domestic lawsuit to capture senior terrorism figures alive and imprison them.

“Over a year after taking office, the administration has still failed to answer the hard questions about what to do if we have the opportunity to capture and detain a terrorist overseas, which has made our terror-fighters reluctant to capture and left our allies confused,” Sen. Christopher S. Bond (Mo.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said Friday. “If given a choice between killing or capturing, we would probably kill.”

Some military and intelligence officials, citing what they see as a new bias toward kills, questioned whether valuable intelligence is being lost in the process. “We wanted to take a prisoner,” a senior military officer said of the Nabhan operation. “It was not a decision that we made.”

Even during the Bush administration, “there was an inclination to ‘just shoot the bastard,’ ” said a former intelligence official briefed on current operations. “But now there’s an even greater proclivity for doing it that way. . . . We need to have the capability to snatch when the situation calls for it.”

One problem identified by those within and outside the government is the question of where to take captives apprehended outside established war zones and cooperating countries. “We’ve been trying to decide this for over a year,” the senior military officer said. “When you don’t have a detention policy or a set of facilities,” he said, operational decisions become more difficult.

The administration has pledged to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Congress has resisted moving any of the about 190 detainees remaining there, let alone terrorism suspects who have been recently captured, to this country. All of the CIA’s former “black site” prisons have been shut down, and a U.S. official involved in operations planning confirmed that the agency has no terrorism suspects in its custody.

22 Jan 2010

Weeping into their Cappucinos in Amherst

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The Boston Globe reports from Amherst:

They filed in and out of coffeehouses, all but crying in their cappuccinos, barely touching their carrot cake muffins, still in shock that Scott Brown – a Republican! – had been elected to the US Senate in the state that pioneered universal health care, legalized same-sex marriage, and normally sends 12 Democrats to Congress.

In the days since the unthinkable happened, diehard Democrats have been forced to confront results that suggest Massachusetts votes much the way rest of the country does – blue on the edges with a big red swath in the middle. They have grappled with the possibility that the Commonwealth, until this week viewed by the much of the country as an outpost of extreme liberalism, may not be all that. And that has left them blue – in the other meaning of the word – over Martha Coakley’s defeat.

There is no better place to sense that mood than Amherst and Cambridge, two outposts of extreme liberalism in Massachusetts. They share a self-effacing nickname – “The People’s Republic.’’ They share (along with Provincetown) the distinction of being the most pro-Coakley communities, having handed her 84 percent of the vote. And they share the shock.

“I’m upset. I’m heartbroken. I just hate the idea that the Republicans have just won,’’ said Nick Seamon, owner of The Black Sheep, a bakery/bastion of liberalism on Main Street in Amherst. Yesterday, Seamon served up one of his best-selling Republican Party cookies (“because they are full of fruits and nuts’’), and summed up the jolt delivered by the vote.

“We tend to be a little insulated here. We don’t spend a lot of time in Central Massachusetts, or wherever they voted for whatever his name was,’’ Seamon said.

Across the Commonwealth, the Democrats’ dejection was no less palpable at the 1369 Coffee House in Inman Square.

“In Cambridge I’m surrounded by disappointed and upset people now so I’m not feeling that isolated,’’ Annabel Gill, shift manager at 1369, said Wednesday as she fashioned an elegant leaf design in the foam of a skim milk latte. “But it is a little unsettling to realize that more people in this state want to vote [Republican] than I would have suspected, so that does make me feel a little isolated.’’

This week, Coakley supporters in Cambridge gazed at the electoral aftermath beyond the Republic’s blue horizon and saw a political landscape they barely recognized.

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How liberal is Amherst? So liberal, reports the Telegraph, that the town has actually voted to welcome Guantanamo Detainees.

[The same Amherst is the first town] in the country to pass a resolution welcoming detainees from the prison on the US naval base on Cuba.

Amherst remains a liberal hot spot in a state that until the shock election of Republican Scott Brown to succeed Edward Kennedy in the Senate was regarded as reliably Democratic. …

Amherst wants to welcome any former terror suspects who have been cleared for release into its general population of 34,874.

It has set its sights on two men in particular who are languishing in Guantánamo unable prevented from returning to their home countries by the likelihood of maltreatment.

Ravil Mingazov, a former ballet dancer in the Russian army, said he was persecuted by the authorities because of his conversion to Islam. He travelled to Afghanistan in 2001 before his arrest in Pakistan in early 2002.

Also handed over to the Americans in Pakistan was Ahmed Belbacha, a 40-year-old Algerian accountant. Though deemed not to be a threat by the Pentagon in 2005, he asked to stay in Guantánamo because he so feared torture by his country’s security services. His lawyer has said he “would love to move to Amherst”.

Send them all to Amherst.

05 Jan 2010

Freed Guantanamo Prisoners Rejoin Jihad

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Said Ali al-Shihri, Ibrahim Suleiman al Rubaish (image ID not confirmed); Abdullah Saleh Ali al Ajmi; and Abdullah Mahsud thought the US was pretty stupid to let them go free to resume the fight

The London Times reports that early releases of detainees believed to be less dangerous resulted in a large number of cases of speedy returns to waging holy war against the West, sometimes in prominent leadership roles.

As the Obama Administration tries fulfilling its commitment to empty the prison facility at Guantanamo, prospective beneficiaries of repatriation will inevitably include precisely those detainees considered too obviously guilty and too certain to return to terrorist activities to be released earlier.

At least a dozen former Guantánamo Bay inmates have rejoined al-Qaeda to fight in Yemen, The Times has learnt, amid growing concern over the ability of the country’s Government to accept almost 100 more former inmates from the detention centre.

The Obama Administration promised to close the Guantánamo facility by January 22, a deadline that it will be unable to meet. The 91 Yemeni prisoners in Guantánamo make up the largest national contingent among the 198 being held.

Six prisoners were returned to Yemen last month. After the Christmas Day bomb plot in Detroit, US officials are increasingly concerned that the country is becoming a hot-bed of terrorism. …

The country’s mountainous terrain, poverty and lawless tribal society make it, in the opinion of many analysts, a close match for Afghanistan as a new terrorist haven. ..

A Yemeni, Hani Abdo Shaalan, who was released from Guantánamo in 2007, was killed in an airstrike on December 17, the Yemeni Government reported last week. The deputy head of al-Qaeda in the country is Said Ali al-Shihri, 36, who was released in 2007. Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish, who was released in 2006, is a prominent ideologue featured on Yemeni al-Qaeda websites. …

The US Government issued figures in May showing that 74 of the 530 detainees in Guantánamo were suspected or known to have returned to terrorist activity since their release. They included the commander of the Taleban in Helmand province, Mullah Zakir, whom the British Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Jock Stirrup, called “a key and seemingly effective tactical leader”. Among others who returned to terrorism was Abdullah Saleh al-Ajmi, a Kuwaiti who killed six Iraqis in Mosul in 2008.

The number believed to have “returned to the fight” in the May 2009 estimate was double that of a US estimate from June 2008. US officials acknowledged that more detainees were known to have reoffended since, but the number has been classified.

“There is a historic trend and it continues. I will only say that we have said there is a trend, we are aware of it, there is no denying the trend and we are doing our best to deal with this reality,” Mr Morrell said.

Officials said that a higher proportion of those still being held were likely to return to terrorism because they were considered more of a security threat than those selected in the early stages of the release programme.

29 Dec 2009

They Learned to Make Exploding Underwear in Art Therapy

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Said Ali al-Shihri aka Sa’id Ali Jabir Al Khathim Al Shihri aka Abu Sayyaf al-Shihr aka Saeed al Shehri aka Said Ali Shari

ABC News reveals that two of the principals behind the failed bombing of Flight 253 were former Guanatanamo detainees, released in the later period of the Bush Administration when that Administration began to buckle under intensive criticism of unlimited detention.

The more prominent released prisoner, Said Ali al-Shihri, was a Saudi al Qaeda travel facilitator, captured with wounds in the leg in Pakistan in the aftermath of the US invasion of Afghanistan, believed to have trained at a Libyan camp north of Kabul.

Since his release, he has been involved in the kidnap-murder of Christian missionary aid workers and the bombing of the US embassy in Yemen.

And a hearty hand of applause for all the counsel and amicus filers in Boumediene v. Bush who started the legal processes leading to the release of these unfortunate victims of American injustice.

Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. …

American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an “art therapy rehabilitation program” and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.

Guantanamo prisoner #333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner #372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody. Al-Harbi has since changed his name to Muhamad al-Awfi.

19 Nov 2009

Graham Demolishes Holder

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Lindsey Graham must have decided that he wants to keep his job. Yesterday he left Eric Holder baffled during Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings, simply by asking him: Can you give me a case in United States history where a enemy combatant caught on a battlefield was tried in civilian court?

This dialogue then followed:

GRAHAM: If bin Laden were caught tomorrow, would it be the position of this administration that he would be brought to justice?

HOLDER: He would certainly be brought to justice, absolutely.

GRAHAM: Where would you try him?

HOLDER: Well, we’d go through our protocol. And we’d make the determination about where he should appropriately be tried. […]

GRAHAM: If we captured bin Laden tomorrow, would he be entitled to Miranda warnings at the moment of capture?

HOLDER: Again I’m not — that all depends. I mean, the notion that we —

GRAHAM: Well, it does not depend. If you’re going to prosecute anybody in civilian court, our law is clear that the moment custodial interrogation occurs the defendant, the criminal defendant, is entitled to a lawyer and to be informed of their right to remain silent.

The big problem I have is that you’re criminalizing the war, that if we caught bin Laden tomorrow, we’d have mixed theories and we couldn’t turn him over — to the CIA, the FBI or military intelligence — for an interrogation on the battlefield, because now we’re saying that he is subject to criminal court in the United States. And you’re confusing the people fighting this war.

NYM made the same point as Mr. Graham last week.

4:40 video

16 Nov 2009

Coming Soon To A Neighborhood Near You

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Courtesy of our elite law schools, Shearman & Sterling, and a liberal Supreme Court majority, some news agency reports that federal judges are busy right now turning captured jihadis loose.

Complying with a Supreme Court ruling last year, 15 federal judges in the U.S. courthouse (In Washington, D.C.) are giving detainees their day in court after years behind bars half a world away from their homelands.

The judges have found the government’s evidence against 30 detainees wanting and ordered their release. That number could rise significantly because the judges are on track to hear challenges from dozens more prisoners. …

Bush administration Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once promised Guantanamo held “the worst of the worst.” The judges here have rejected pleas for release from eight detainees, but they have concluded the government doesn’t even have enough evidence to keep 30 other detainees behind bars.

“There is absolutely no reason for this court to presume that the facts contained in the government’s exhibits are accurate,” District Judge Gladys Kessler wrote in ordering the release of Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed. He was repatriated to Yemen after a seven-year stay at Guantanamo, where he was brought as a teenager.

“Much of the factual material contained in those exhibits is hotly contested for a host of different reasons ranging from the fact that it contains second- and third-hand hearsay to allegations that it was obtained by torture to the fact that no statement purports to be a verbatim account of what was said,” Kessler said. She ruled the government failed to prove the detainee was part of or substantially supported Taliban or al-Qaida forces.

14 Nov 2009

Why Give KSM a Civilian Trial?

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How can a case against a foreign enemy apprehended by another government possibly be prosecuted within the rules of domestic criminal procedure? Khalid Shaikh Mohammed obviously was never Mirandized. What can Eric Holder and Barack Obama possibly be thinking? Are these people hopelessly naive?

Andrew McCarthy doesn’t think so. He thinks they know exactly what they’re doing.

We are now going to have a trial that never had to happen for defendants who have no defense. And when defendants have no defense for their own actions, there is only one thing for their lawyers to do: put the government on trial in hopes of getting the jury (and the media) spun up over government errors, abuses and incompetence. That is what is going to happen in the trial of KSM et al. It will be a soapbox for al-Qaeda’s case against America. Since that will be their “defense,” the defendants will demand every bit of information they can get about interrogations, renditions, secret prisons, undercover operations targeting Muslims and mosques, etc., and — depending on what judge catches the case — they are likely to be given a lot of it. The administration will be able to claim that the judge, not the administration, is responsible for the exposure of our defense secrets. And the circus will be played out for all to see — in the middle of the war. It will provide endless fodder for the transnational Left to press its case that actions taken in America’s defense are violations of international law that must be addressed by foreign courts. And the intelligence bounty will make our enemies more efficient at killing us.

Read the whole thing.

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