Military Commissions

On the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 Attacks, the US Needs to Close Guantánamo and Bring to an End the Broken Military Commission Trials

10.9.21

On the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and with the last US troops having left Afghanistan, I call on President Biden to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, the most shameful and enduring legacy of the “war on terror,” releasing all the men who have not been charged with crimes, and moving the trials of those accused of crimes to federal court.

How the Law Failed at Guantánamo

16.7.21

A cross-post, with my own introduction, of a detailed article for the Atlantic about the failure of the law at Guantánamo by Benjamin Farley, an attorney with the defense team for Ammar al Baluchi, one of the five men accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks, who was also an adviser to the Special Envoy for Guantánamo Closure from 2013 to 2017.

Former Military Commissions Prosecutor Calls for the Closure of Guantánamo

7.7.21

A cross-post, with my own introduction, of an op-ed in the Washington Post, calling for the closure of Guantánamo, written by Omar Ashmawy, a prosecutor in the only two military commission cases that proceeded to full trials — back in 2008. Ashmawy is hugely critical of the entire military commission process, and of Guantánamo as a whole, and calls for everyone who has not been charged to be freed, and for the handful of men facing trials to have those trials moved to federal courts on the US mainland.

Biden’s Slow Progress on Closing Guantánamo

13.6.21

My analysis of an NBC article last week that suggested that President Biden is “quietly” moving to “start closing Guantánamo ahead of the 20th anniversary of 9/11,” but that doesn’t live up to its promise, not least in its suggestion that Biden wants to begin releasing prisoners, but doesn’t yet want to re-establish the role of the Special Envoy for Guantánamo Closure, even though it is impossible to work out how prisoners might be freed without the envoy’s assistance.

24 Senators Send a Letter to President Biden Urging Him to Close Guantánamo

20.4.21

An important letter from 24 Democratic Senators to President Biden, urging him to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, including, most significantly, a call to release all the prisoners who are not going to be charged with crimes. The signatories include Dick Durbin, Patrick Leahy, Dianne Feinstein, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

US Military Closes Camp 7, Guantánamo’s “High-Value Detainee” Prison Block, Moves Men to Camp 5

5.4.21

Here’s my report on the US military’s announcement that it has closed the secretive Camp 7 at Guantánamo, where the so-called “high-value detainees” were held, and has moved them to Camp 5 instead. Camp 7 had been falling apart for years, but moving these men is no solution to Guantánamo’s larger problems: that the men held there should either be tried via a functional judicial system, or released.

Gen. Lloyd Austin, Biden’s Defense Secretary, Says it’s “Time for Guantánamo to Close its Doors,” as DoD Announces New Military Commission Charges

28.1.21

The latest news regarding Guantánamo under President Biden, as his defense secretary, Gen. Lloyd Austin, told the Senate in written testimony, “I believe it is time for the detention facility at Guantánamo to close its doors.” Sadly, however, at the same time a Pentagon official approved military commission charges against three “high-value detainees.”

Close Guantánamo: Lawyers Decry Broken Military Commission System and Status of “Forever Prisoners” in Washington Post Op-Ed

16.1.21

A cross-post, with my own introduction, of a powerful op-ed in the Washington Post by two attorneys who represent “forever prisoner” Mohammed bin Lep, explaining how the military commission system is broken, and asking how the US government supposedly justifies holding some prisoners indefinitely without charge or trial because of “flimsy” and untested allegations that purport to prove that they pose a threat to the US.

Joe Biden’s Guantánamo: New York Times Highlights Decaying Prison Cells and Broken Judicial System; Observer Notes Return of Hope

29.12.20

My assessment of two recent articles, in the New York Times and the Observer, about Joe Biden and Guantánamo, and what we might expect from the new administration regarding the decrepit state of Camp 7, reserved for the “high-value detainees”, the broken nature of the military commissions, and the need for action on releasing six men already approved for release, and the inappropriate imprisonment, without charge or trial, and with no end in sight, of numerous “low-value detainees.”

In Trump’s Dying Days, Guantánamo Review Board Approves Yemeni Prisoner for Release

16.12.20

Responding to the good news that Said Nashir (aka Hani Abdullah), a Yemeni prisoner at Guantánamo, has been approved for release by a Periodic Review Board, the first such decision to take place under Donald Trump. Unfortunately, two other men had their ongoing imprisonment approved by PRBs, nearly three and four years after their last hearings took place. These are unacceptable delays, and it is to be hoped that Joe Biden will not only release Nashir (and five other men long cleared for release), but will also urgently overhaul the review process.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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