Two weeks ago, I wrote an article entitled, “As Judges Kill Off Habeas Corpus for the Guantánamo Prisoners, Will the Supreme Court Act?” in which I covered the latest grim news from the US courts regarding the Guantánamo prisoners’ habeas corpus petitions (see “Guantánamo Habeas Results: The Definitive List” for more).
As I explained in that article, and in a series of articles over the last year and a half, the promise that habeas corpus held for the prisoners in June 2008, when the Supreme Court granted them constitutionally guaranteed habeas corpus rights, in Boumediene v. Bush, has, since July 2010, been killed off by judges in the D.C. Circuit Court, led by Senior Judge A. Raymond Randolph, a right-wing ideologue notorious for endorsing every piece of legislation relating to the Guantánamo prisoners that, under George W. Bush, was subsequently overturned by the Supreme Court.
The case that first shut down habeas corpus was Adahi v. Obama, involving a Yemeni, Mohammed al-Adahi, whose habeas corpus petition was granted in August 2009, on the correct basis that, although al-Adahi had accompanied his sister to Afghanistan for her marriage to a man with purported connections to al-Qaeda and the Taliban, he himself had no connection to either group, and was just a chaperone. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, when the Senate voted, by 93 votes to 7, to pass the latest National Defense Authorization Act (PDF), they passed legislation that not only approved a budget of $662 billion in military spending for the next fiscal year, but also demanded mandatory military custody for all terror suspects seized in future.
The military custody provisions were conceived, in a secretive manner, by the Senate Armed Services Committee, which also updated previous provisions preventing the closure of Guantánamo. This was achieved through two measures: banning the use of funds to purchase or adapt any other prison to hold the 82 prisoners that the Obama administration has said it wants to hold (for trial or indefinite detention), and imposing conditions on the transfer of any of the other 89 prisoners that the administration does not want to hold.
These designations were made through the careful deliberations of the interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force established by President Obama, which included career officials and lawyers not only from various government departments, but also from the intelligence agencies. However, while critics on the left and the right have long criticized any plan to move prisoners from Guantánamo to the US mainland, Congressional restrictions on releasing prisoners have become progressively more onerous over the last two years, since lawmakers first voted to prevent Guantánamo prisoners from being brought to the US mainland for any reason, except to face a trial. Read the rest of this entry »
A year and a half ago, two Facebook friends, Shahrina J. Ahmed and Mahfuja Bint Ammu, drew on my research about Guantánamo for a letter-writing campaign, in which they asked their friends and others on Facebook to volunteer to write to each of the remaining prisoners in Guantánamo. Shahrina announced the letter-writing campaign via a Facebook note entitled, “What if YOU were tortured … and no one knew about it??!” and I then publicized it via an article entitled, Write to the Forgotten Prisoners in Guantánamo.
Mahfuja revived that campaign back in July, with a new Facebook note entitled, “Ramadhan and Eid spent tortured,” and a fresh appeal for people to write to the remaining 171 prisoners in Guantánamo, and I also publicized it again, and noted that the total of 171 prisoners was just ten less than it was a year before, and that two of those ten left in coffins, having died at the prison.
Unfortunately, since the last campaign, not a single prisoner has left Guantánamo, as Congress imposed restrictions on the release of prisoners, demanding that no prisoner could be released unless the defense secretary signed off on the safety of doing so, which Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon’s General Counsel, recently described as a demand that was “onerous and near impossible to satisfy.” He added, “Not one Guantánamo detainee has been certified for transfer since this legal restriction has been imposed.” Read the rest of this entry »
Thanks to the generosity of 20 friends and supporters over the last four days, I have raised $1000 of the $2500 I was hoping to raise to support my research and writing on Guantánamo — and all of the other topics that make up my palette of interests — over the next three months, and as my quarterly fundraising appeal comes to an end, this is my last call for financial support for now.
I understand that times are tight, and I also understand that, as a result, many of you who read my work are unable to contribute, but if you do read the 100 or so articles that I write every three months, and value independent journalism that shines a light on crimes of arbitrary detention and torture that those in power would prefer to keep hidden, then please consider that just $25 or $50 — £15 or £30 — from dozens more readers will make a big difference, and will demonstrate that reader-funded journalism is a viable option.
You can pay via PayPal from anywhere in the world, but if you’re in the UK and want to help without using PayPal, you can send me a cheque (address here — scroll down to the bottom of the page), and if you’re not a PayPal user and want to send a check from the US (or from anywhere else in the world, for that matter), please feel free to do so, but bear in mind that I have to pay a $10/£6.50 processing fee on every transaction. Securely packaged cash is also an option! Read the rest of this entry »
This Saturday, December 10, which is UN Human Rights Day, I’ll be attending a vigil for Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, outside Downing Street. The event, arranged by the Save Shaker Aamer Campaign, runs from 12 noon to 3 pm, and at 1 pm speakers — myself included — will be reading out the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, on the 63rd anniversary of its adoption by the United Nations. If you’re not familiar with the UDHR, I recommend reading them, as the 30 articles of the UDHR represent a concerted effort, after the horrors of the Second World War, to create guidelines for how to create a better world. Alarmingly, in Guantánamo — and elsewhere in the “war on terror” — the Bush administration trampled on the UDHR, and its guidelines — its important aspirations — have not been adequately reinstated by Barack Obama.
Jeremy Corbyn MP (Lab, Islington North)
Jane Ellison MP (Con, Battersea — and Shaker’s MP)
Imam Suliman Gani (Tooting Mosque)
Lindsey German (Stop the War Coalition National Convenor)
Kate Hudson (Chair, CND)
Joy Hurcombe (Chair, Save Shaker Aamer Campaign)
Sabah Jawad (Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation)
Jean Lambert MEP
Bruce McKenzie (Wandsworth Green Party)
Carol Turner (Afghan Withdrawal Group Convenor)
Walter Wolfgang (Labour CND)
Andy Worthington (Journalist, author of “The Guantánamo Files”) Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, my friend Louise Gordon nominated an article of mine, “Mocking the Law, Judges Rule that Evidence Is Not Necessary to Hold Insignificant Guantánamo Prisoners for the Rest of Their Lives,” for the 2011 3 Quarks Daily Prize in Politics and Social Science, which also includes a cash prize of one thousand dollars.
I wrote the article in March, examining, and pouring scorn on the right-wing judges in the D.C. Circuit Court, who have been overturning rulings granting Guantánamo prisoners’ habeas petitions in the lower court, and who have been doing so not because the trial judges were at fault, but for nakedly ideological reasons. This is an ongoing story of great significance, which is generally not given the coverage it deserves in the mainstream media.
I’m up against some stiff competition, from 55 other articles — and particularly from a handful of the other articles that are attracting support, so please, if you like my work, vote for “Mocking the Law, Judges Rule that Evidence Is Not Necessary to Hold Insignificant Guantánamo Prisoners for the Rest of Their Lives.” Read the rest of this entry »
Thanks to the generosity of twelve friends and supporters over the last two days, I have raised nearly $400 of the $2500 that I’m hoping to raise to support my work over the next three months. My thanks to those who have helped out, and, while I understand that many of my friends and supporters would like to fund my work, but are financially unable, I would like to use this opportunity to put out another appeal, as a freelance investigative journalist in the new media, to those who read my work and might be able to contribute.
Just $25 or $50 — £15 or £30 — from dozens more readers will make a big difference, and will demonstrate that reader-funded journalism is viable, and will also allow you, the reader, to know that you have contributed to help me write the articles that I’ll be writing — more or less on a daily basis — for the next three months.
All contributions are welcome, whether it’s $25, $100 or $500. Readers can pay via PayPal from anywhere in the world, but if you’re in the UK and want to help without using PayPal, you can send me a cheque (address here — scroll down to the bottom of the page), and if you’re not a PayPal user and want to send a check from the US (or from anywhere else in the world, for that matter), please feel free to do so, but bear in mind that I have to pay a $10/£6.50 processing fee on every transaction. Securely packaged cash is also an option! Read the rest of this entry »
Freelance investigative journalist Andy Worthington continues his 70-part, million-word series telling, for the first time, the stories of 776 of the 779 prisoners held at Guantánamo since the prison opened on January 11, 2002. Adding information released by WikiLeaks in April 2011 to the existing documentation about the prisoners, much of which was already covered in Andy’s book The Guantánamo Files and in the archive of articles on his website, the project will be completed in spring 2012.
This is Part 32 of the 70-part series. 399 stories have now been told. See the entire archive here.
In late April, I worked with WikiLeaks as a media partner for the publication of thousands of pages of classified military documents — the Detainee Assessment Briefs — relating to almost all of the 779 prisoners held at Guantánamo since the prison opened on January 11, 2002. These documents drew heavily on the testimony of the prisoners themselves, and also on the testimony of their fellow inmates (either in Guantánamo, or in secret prisons run by or on behalf of the CIA), whose statements are unreliable, either because they were subjected to torture or other forms of coercion, or because they provided false statements in the hope of securing better treatment in Guantánamo.
The documents were compiled by the Joint Task Force at Guantánamo (JTF GTMO), which operates the prison, and were based on assessments and reports made by interrogators and analysts whose primary concern was to “exploit” the prisoners for their intelligence value. They also include input from the Criminal Investigative Task Force, created by the DoD in 2002 to conduct interrogations on a law enforcement basis, rather than for “actionable intelligence.”
My ongoing analysis of the documents began in May, with a five-part series, “WikiLeaks: The Unknown Prisoners of Guantánamo,” telling the stories of 84 prisoners, released between 2002 and 2004, whose stories had never been told before. This was followed by a ten-part series, “WikiLeaks and the Guantánamo Prisoners Released from 2002 to 2004,” in which I revisited the stories of 114 other prisoners released in this period, adding information from the Detainee Assessment Briefs to what was already known about these men and boys from press reports and other sources. This was followed by another five-part series, “WikiLeaks and the Guantánamo Prisoners Released After the Tribunals, 2004 to 2005,” dealing with the period from September 2004 to the end of 2005, when 62 prisoners were released. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s three months since I last asked you, my friends, readers and supporters, to help me to continue my research and writing on Guantánamo and other issues by providing me with donations, however large or small.
All contributions are welcome, whether it’s $25, $100 or $500. Readers can pay via PayPal from anywhere in the world, but if you’re in the UK and want to help without using PayPal, you can send me a cheque (address here — scroll down to the bottom of the page), and if you’re not a PayPal user and want to send a check from the US (or from anywhere else in the world, for that matter), please feel free to do so, but bear in mind that I have to pay a $10/£6.50 processing fee on every transaction. Securely packaged cash is also an option!
My last appeal, in September, raised over $1800 from 22 supporters, enabling me to continue my work as an investigative journalist, researcher and commentator working mainly in the new media, combining money from a handful of sources for whom I write regularly (plus the occasional commission) with the reader-funded journalism that is dear to my heart, and that allows me to be truly independent. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday the shameful dinosaurs of the Senate — hopelessly out of touch with reality, for the most part, and haunted by specters of their own making — approved, by 93 votes to 7, the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (PDF), which contains a number of astonishingly alarming provisions — Sections 1031 and 1032, designed to make mandatory the indefinite military detention of terror suspects until the end of hostilities in a “war on terror” that seems to have no end (if they are identified as a member of al-Qaeda or an alleged affiliate, or have planned or carried out an attack on the United States), ending a long and entirely appropriate tradition of trying terror suspects in federal court for their alleged crimes, and Sections 1033 and 1034, which seek to prevent the closure of Guantánamo by imposing onerous restrictions on the release of prisoners, and banning the use of funds to purchase an alternative prison anywhere else. I have previously remarked on these depressing developments in articles in July and October, as they have had a horribly long period of gestation, in which no one with a grip on reality — and admiration for the law — has been able to wipe them out.
The four sections are connected, as cheerleaders for the mandatory military detention of terror suspects want them to be sent to Guantánamo, and have done, if I recall correctly, at least since Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the failed Christmas plane bomber in 2009, was arrested, read his Miranda rights, and interrogated by the FBI. Recently, Abdulmutallab, who told his interrogators all they wanted to know without being held in military custody — and, for that matter, without being tortured, which is what the hardcore cheerleaders for military detention also want — was tried and convicted in a federal court.
Hundreds of other terror suspects have been successfully prosecuted in federal court, throughout the Bush years, and under Obama, but supporters of military custody like to forget this, as it conflicts with their notions, held since the aftermath of 9/11 and the Bush administration’s horrendous flight from the law, that terrorists are warriors. Underpinning it all is the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), the founding document of the “war on terror,” passed the week after the 9/11 attacks. This authorizes the President to pursue anyone, anywhere who he thinks was involved in the 9/11 attacks, and it is a dreadfully open-ended excuse for endless war whose repeal I have long encouraged, but which some lawmakers have been itching to renew, even after the death of Osama bin Laden, and the obvious incentives for the winding-down of the ruinous, decade-long “war on terror.” Read the rest of this entry »
Investigative journalist, author, filmmaker, photographer and Guantanamo expert
Email Andy Worthington
Please support Andy Worthington, independent journalist: