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Archive for the ‘Guantánamo’ Category

Mr. Fenstermaker is a member of the pool of Qualified Civilian Defense Counsel, authorized to represent the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba before the Military Commissions being conducted at Guantanamo Bay. He has a secret security clearance and is available to represent clients involved in national security-related issues. Mr. Fenstermaker has experience litigating pursuant to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and is prepared to assist service members confronted with issues within the military criminal justice system. 

Who controls the representation of the defendent?

The Populist

Scott Fenstermaker has become the lightning rod for 9/11. He is the only defense lawyer mentioned in the upcoming trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his four co-conspirators. Although he won’t be defending them in court, he’s been pilloried by the press for daring to suggest that these detainees have any legal rights.

I called him this weekend, and asked him why.

Scott Fenstermaker has represented Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali in various legal proceedings at Guantanamo Bay. Mr. Ali stands accused of conspiracy, murder, destruction of property, hijacking, and terrorism for his part in the September 11th attacks. I could not understand why Mr. Fenstermaker would not defend his client in court, so I began the interview by asking him to clarify this:

TP: Why won’t you represent Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali when he stands trial in New York for the September 11th attacks?

SF: The government would not let me represent him.

TP: Why not?

SF: Well, that’s a good question. The government goes crazy every time the detainees want me to represent them, and the government doesn’t like it.

TP: How does the government prevent you from representing the detainees?

SF: The government wants to control who represents the detainees. The government not only wants to, but it is. The government does this by controlling the judges. The judges are doing exactly what the government wants them to do in these cases. The judges ask what the government wants them to do, and then they do it.

Read article @ The Populist

Section 1032 & 1033 of HR 6523

Statement by the President on H.R. 6523

For Immediate Release January 07, 2011 Statement by the President on H.R. 6523
Today I have signed into law H.R. 6523, the “Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011.” The Act authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, for military construction, and for national security-related energy programs.

Section 1032 bars the use of funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act for fiscal year 2011 to transfer Guantanamo detainees into the United States, and section 1033 bars the use of certain funds to transfer detainees to the custody or effective control of foreign countries unless specified conditions are met. Section 1032 represents a dangerous and unprecedented challenge to critical executive branch authority to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees, based on the facts and the circumstances of each case and our national security interests. The prosecution of terrorists in Federal court is a powerful tool in our efforts to protect the Nation and must be among the options available to us. Any attempt to deprive the executive branch of that tool undermines our Nation’s counterterrorism efforts and has the potential to harm our national security.

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Holder On KSM Trial: ‘I Know This Case In A Way That Members Of Congress Do Not’

TPM Muckraker

Ryan J. Reilly | April 4, 2011, 4:15PM

Despite his announcement today [yesterday] that the trials of five alleged Sept. 11 co-conspirators will be held in a military court, Attorney General Eric Holder is standing by his original decision to hold civilian trials for five alleged Sept. 11 conspirators in federal court and blames Congress for forcing his hand in sending them to the military system.

In a short 13-minute news conference at Justice Department headquarters on Monday, Holder came out forcefully in defense of his original decision in November 2009 to prosecute the alleged terrorists in federal court and said that he had “reluctantly” made the reversal of his original decision due to the “needless controversy” over the KSM trial and restrictions that Congress had placed on the executive branch.

Holder chastised members of Congress for setting up “unwise and unwarranted restrictions” on transferring Guantanamo detainees which could “undermine our counterterrorism efforts and could harm our national security.”

He said the trial decision had been “marked by needless controversy since the beginning” and that the prosecution of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators “should never have been about settling ideological arguments or scoring political points.”

“Had this case proceeded in Manhattan or in an alternative venue in the United States, as I seriously explored in the past year, I am confident that our justice system would have performed with the same distinction that has been its hallmark for over two hundred years,” Holder said in his prepared remarks.

But in light of the restrictions imposed by Congress on transferring detainees to the U.S., Holder said the Justice Department had to “face a simple truth: those restrictions are unlikely to be repealed in the immediate future. And we simply cannot allow a trial to be delayed any longer for the victims of the 9/11 attacks or for their family members who have waited for nearly a decade for justice.”

Asked by CNN’s Terry Frieden whether it was Holder’s belief that he “knows best and that there is just no room for the public’s view” on where a trial should be held, Holder said that he didn’t want to hold himself out as “omniscient” but said the “reality is though I know this case in a way that members of Congress do not.”

“I have looked at the files. I have spoken to the prosecutors. I know the tactical concerns that have to go into this decision,” said Holder.

“So do I know better than them? Yes. I respect their ability to disagree, but I think they should respect the fact this is an executive branch function, a unique executive branch function,” Holder said.

Despite the reversal, Holder said that the administration would continue to fight to get the restrictions on transferring Guantanamo Bay detainees lifted.

“It is still our intention to close Guantanamo. It’s still our intention to lift those restrictions,” Holder told reporters.

The Justice Department also released the December 2009 indictment against KSM and his four co-conspirators, which had been under seal until it was withdrawn this week.

Nolle and Unsealing Order – 4-4-11

MORE HERE

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The Times/UK, April 9, 2010

Tim Reid, Washigton

Two detainees are escorted to interrogation by U.S. military    guards at Camp X-Ray in the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base , Cuba

Andres Leighton/AP)

Two detainees are escorted to interrogation by US military guards at Guantánamo Bay

George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld covered up that hundreds of innocent men were sent to the Guantánamo Bay prison camp because they feared that releasing them would harm the push for war in Iraq and the broader War on Terror, according to a new document obtained by The Times.The accusations were made by Lawrence Wilkerson, a top aide to Colin Powell, the former Republican Secretary of State, in a signed declaration to support a lawsuit filed by a Guantánamo detainee. It is the first time that such allegations have been made by a senior member of the Bush Administration.

Continues >>

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DoJ reveals names of lawyers smeared as ‘Al-Qaeda 7′

Raw Story- By Andrew McLemore
Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010 — 7:13 pm

Yesterday, a conservative group run by Bill Kristol and Liz Cheney released a political ad accusing seven lawyers within the Department of Justice of being un-American because they advocated for detainees held in Guantanamo.

Today, the names of those lawyers were revealed by a spokesman for the Justice Department who said politics had “overtaken reality” in questioning the virtue of military lawyers for defending the rights of prisoners of war.

“Department of Justice attorneys work around the clock to keep this country safe, and it is offensive that their patriotism is being questioned,” said Justice Department Spokesman Matt Miller.

And who is questioning the lawyers’ patriotism? To start with, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who has been demanding for months that the names of DoJ lawyers who defended terror suspects be revealed.

“The administration has made many highly questionable decisions when it comes to national security, ” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in a recent statement, arguing that the public has “a right to know who advises the Attorney General and the President on these critical matters.”

According to a Fox News report, most of the lawyers had relatively “minor roles” in defending detainees before being appointed to the Department of Justice. Those “minor roles” included filing briefs that advocated for protection of detainees’ rights. Specifically, that they should be allowed a trial at all.

One of the lawyers, Tony West (shown above), represented “American Taliban” Johh Walker Lindh for several years as part of a San Francisco law firm. West is now the Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

He and the six other lawyers were dubbed the “Al-Qaeda 7″ in a video released this week by Keep America Safe, a conservative organization headed by Dick Cheney’s daughter Elizabeth and pundit Bill Kristol.

The group released the video after the Department of Justice refused to release the names because it “will not participate in an attempt to drag people’s names through the mud for political purposes. “

The ad, shown below, was widely lambasted by many critics and publications as repugnant, indecent and outrageous.

If nothing else, the ad achieved its intended effect of galvanizing many Americans to fear lawyers trying to defend human rights. After it was aired, the Department of Justice was flooded with calls complaining about their political appointments.

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Virgin Media |10 February 2010 10:12am

'Torture files': Binyam Mohamed and Foreign Secretary David Miliband

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has lost his appeal court bid to prevent senior judges disclosing secret information relating to torture allegations in the case of Binyam Mohamed.

The former Guantanamo Bay detainee says he was tortured in Pakistan while held by the CIA, with the knowledge of the British.

The allegations claim that Mr Mohamed was subjected to sleep deprivation, was given threats and inducements and was shackled during interviews. His fears of being removed from the US and “disappearing” were also played upon.

Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones want to disclose summaries of information held by the British security services.

Mr Miliband, branded them “irresponsible” in an unprecedented attack on the judiciary, but three of the country’s highest-ranking judges rejected both the minister’s accusations and his appeal. (more…)

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By Daniel Tencer, The Raw Story, January 19, 2010

Four members of a US military intelligence unit assigned to Guantanamo Bay are questioning the government’s official version of the deaths of three detainees in the summer of 2006.

The soldiers are offering a very different version of events than the one provided by the official report carried out by the Naval Criminal Investigation Service. Their stories suggest the three inmates may not have killed themselves — or, at least, not in the way the US military claims.

Continues >>

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By Gavin Lee | BBC News | Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Brandon Neely (above, centre)

Why would a former Guantanamo Bay prison guard track down two of his former captives – two British men – and agree to fly to London to meet them?

“You look different without a cap.”

“You look different without the jump suits.”

With those words, an extraordinary reunion gets under way.

The last time Ruhal Ahmed met Brandon Neely, he was “behind bars, behind a cage and [Brandon] was on the other side”.

The location had been Camp X-Ray – the high-security detention camp run by the US in Guantanamo Bay. Mr Ahmed, originally from Tipton in the West Midlands, was among several hundred foreign terror suspects held at the centre.

Mr Neely was one of his guards.

The scene of this current exchange of pleasantries couldn’t be more different from where they last met – a television studio in London. Also here is Shafiq Rasul, a fellow ex-Guantanamo prisoner, without whose Facebook page the reunion would never have happened.

Original story with video

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Chris Hedges | Truthdig | Dec 28, 2009

The image of Uncle Sam is seen behind shattered glass at the military recruitment center in New York’s Times Square. - AP / Mary Altaffer

Syed Fahad Hashmi can tell you about the dark heart of America. He knows that our First Amendment rights have become a joke, that habeas corpus no longer exists and that we torture, not only in black sites such as those at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan or at Guantánamo Bay, but also at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Lower Manhattan. Hashmi is a U.S. citizen of Muslim descent imprisoned on two counts of providing and conspiring to provide material support and two counts of making and conspiring to make a contribution of goods or services to al-Qaida. As his case prepares for trial, his plight illustrates that the gravest threat we face is not from Islamic extremists, but the codification of draconian procedures that deny Americans basic civil liberties and due process. Hashmi would be a better person to tell you this, but he is not allowed to speak.

This corruption of our legal system, if history is any guide, will not be reserved by the state for suspected terrorists, or even Muslim Americans. In the coming turmoil and economic collapse, it will be used to silence all who are branded as disruptive or subversive. Hashmi endures what many others, who are not Muslim, will endure later. Radical activists in the environmental, globalization, anti-nuclear, sustainable agriculture and anarchist movements—who are already being placed by the state in special detention facilities with Muslims charged with terrorism—have discovered that his fate is their fate. Courageous groups have organized protests, including vigils outside the Manhattan detention facility. They can be found at www.educatorsforcivilliberties.org or www.freefahad.com. On Martin Luther King Day, this Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. EST, protesters will hold a large vigil in front of the MCC on 150 Park Row in Lower Manhattan to call for a return of our constitutional rights. Join them if you can.

Read more…

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Thomson Correctional Center To House Some Guantanamo Detainees: White House

HENRY C. JACKSON | 12/14/09 11:49 PM | AP

WASHINGTON — Taking an important step on the thorny path to closing the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay Cuba, the White House plans to announce Tuesday that the government will acquire an underutilized state prison in rural Illinois to be the new home for a limited number of terrorist suspects held at Guantanamo.

Administration officials as well as Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will make an official announcement at the White House.

Officials from both the White House and Durbin’s office confirmed that President Barack Obama had directed the government to acquire Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson, Ill., a sleepy town near the Mississippi River about 150 miles from Chicago.

A Durbin spokesman said the facility would house federal inmates and no more than 100 detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

The facility in Thomson had emerged as a clear front-runner after Illinois officials, led by Durbin, enthusiastically embraced the idea of turning a near-dormant prison over to federal officials.

The White House has been coy about its selection process, but on Friday a draft memo leaked to a conservative Web site that seemed to indicate officials were homing in on Thomson.

The Thomson Correctional Center was one of several potential sites evaluated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to potentially house detainees from the Navy-run prison at Guantanamo Bay. Others included prisons in Marion, Ill., Hardin, Mont., and Florence, Colo., where officials also have said they would welcome the jobs that would be created by the new inmates.

MORE HERE

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For OpEdNews: Jason Leopold – Writer

This report was originally published on Truthout.org

Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t

During his 36-minute speech upon accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway Thursday, President Barack Obama explained to an audience of 1,000 how the United States has a “moral and strategic interest” in abiding by a code of conduct when waging war – even one that pits the US against a “vicious adversary that abides by no rules.”

“That is what makes us different from those whom we fight,” Obama said. “That is a source of our strength. That is why I prohibited torture. That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. And that is why I have reaffirmed America’s commitment to abide by the Geneva Conventions. We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend. And we honor those ideals by upholding them not just when it is easy, but when it is hard.”

however , Obama’s high-minded declaration rang hollow in light of fresh reports that his administration continues to operate secret prisons in Afghanistan where detainees have allegedly been tortured and where the International Committee for the Red Cross has been denied access to the prisoners.

Obama has substituted words for action on issues surrounding torture since his first days in office nearly one year ago. Last June, on the 25th anniversary of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Obama said the US government “must stand against torture wherever it takes place” and that his administration “is committed to taking concrete actions against torture and to address the needs of its victims.”

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