Extraordinary rendition and secret prisons

Despite 9/11 Accused Being Mentally “Unfit To Stand Trial,” Biden Refuses Plea Deal That Would Provide Mental Health Care, As Required By International Law


My analysis of the significance of a DoD Sanity Board’s assessment that Ramzi bin al-Shibh, one of five men accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks, who are caught up in seemingly endless pre-trial hearings in Guantánamo’s broken military commissions, is unfit to stand trial because he suffers from PTSD and psychosis. That assessment has been accepted by the military judge in the 9/11 case, but meanwhile President Biden has refused to accept conditions requested by the 9/11 co-accused in plea deals that have been ongoing for the last 18 months, since prosecutors finally recognized that the use of torture had made a successful trial untenable. The conditions include the lifelong provision of adequate physical and mental health care, which has not been provided at Guantánamo, and which, ironically, has contributed significantly to bin al-Shibh’s inability to stand trial.

Radio: I Discuss Guantánamo’s Discredited Torture Trials with Scott Horton


Linking to, and discussing my recent interview with Scott Horton about a recent damning ruling against the government by the trial judge, Col. Lanny Acosta, in the military commission case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused of being the mastermind of the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. The ruling specifically prohibits the use of self-incriminating statements made by al-Nashiri to a so-called “clean team” of interrogators at Guantánamo after he had been held and tortured for nearly four years in CIA “black sites,” and Col. Acosta’s devastating conclusion was that al-Nashiri’s torture and “conditioning” in the “black sites” was so severe that he was incapable of delivering any kind of self-incriminating statement on a voluntary basis.

Trial Judge Destroys Guantánamo’s Military Commissions, Rules That “Clean Team” Interrogations Cannot Undo the Effects of Torture


A long read featuring substantial excerpts from, and my detailed analysis of an absolutely devastating ruling against the US authorities in the military commission pre-trial hearings for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. A Saudi national held and tortured in CIA “black sites” for nearly four years before his transfer to Guantánamo in September 2006, al-Nashiri’s trial judge, Col. Lanny Acosta, Jr., has just refused to allow prosecutors to use self-incriminating statements al-Nashiri made to a “clean team” of interrogators four months after his arrival at Guantánamo, because, he has concluded, there is no way that he was acting freely, given the extent of the torture to which was subjected in the “black sites,” and the “conditioning” that accompanied it, requiring him to tell his interrogators what they wanted to hear, to prevent further torture.

“Forever Prisoner” Muhammad Rahim, the Last Afghan in Guantánamo, Eloquently Pleads For His Release


My report about a recent Periodic Review Board hearing in Guantánamo, not reported in the mainstream media, about Muhammed Rahim, the last Afghan in the prison, who delivered a heartfelt plea for his release. Despite claims that he was connected with Al-Qaeda, the US authorities have never provided any evidence to back up their claims.

UN Condemns Arbitrary Detention of Guantánamo Prisoner and Torture Victim Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri, and Calls for His Release


My report about a devastating opinion issued by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, regarding Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri, held and tortured in CIA “black sites” for nearly four years, between 2002 and 2006, and at Guantánamo since September 2006. Although he has been charged in the military commissions, the Working Group concludes that his treatment has been so lawless and brutal that it constitutes arbitrary detention, and calls for his immediate release. The opinion follows a similarly devastating opinion relating to Abu Zubaydah, which I wrote about at the end of April.

Photos and Report: Guantánamo in the UK – A New Parliamentary Group Meets, and Mohamedou Ould Slahi Visits


My report, with photos, of the inaugural meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Closing the Guantánamo Detention Facility, attended by former prisoner Mohamedou Ould Slahi and his former guard Steve Wood, and the three screenings of ‘The Mauritanian’ that followed, in Buckinghamshire and Brighton, at which I joined Mohamedou and Steve for Q&A sessions.

UN Condemns 21-Year Imprisonment of Abu Zubaydah as Arbitrary Detention and Suggests that Guantánamo’s Detention System “May Constitute Crimes Against Humanity”


My report about what I describe as “the single most devastating condemnation by an international body that has ever been issued with regard to the US’s detention policies in the ‘war on terror’, both in CIA ‘black sites’ and at Guantánamo” — an opinion issued by the the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention about Abu Zubaydah, the first victim of the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program. The condemnation is not only of the US government, but also the governments of Pakistan, Thailand, Poland, Morocco, Lithuania, Afghanistan and the UK, although the most severe criticisms are directed at the US government, which is ordered to release him and to pay him compensation. The Working Group also expresses “grave concern” that the very basis of the detention system at Guantánamo — involving “widespread or systematic imprisonment or other severe deprivation of liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law” — “may constitute crimes against humanity.”

Great News As The Rabbani Brothers Are Freed From Guantánamo and Sent Home to Pakistan; 18 Others Approved for Release Must Now Also Be Freed


Celebrating the release from Guantánamo of two Pakistani brothers, Ahmed and Abdul Rahim Rabbani, who were held without charge or trial for over 20 years, first in CIA “black sites,” and, since September 2004, at Guantánamo, where they were finally approved for release by Periodic Review Boards in 2021. With their release, 18 other men, also approved for release, are still held, and the Biden administration needs to make their release a priority.

Majid Khan Released From Guantánamo to New Life in Belize; 20 Others Approved for Release But Still Held Must Now Be Prioritized by Biden


The latest good news from Guantánamo, as Majid Khan, whose terrorism-related sentence came to an end nearly a year ago, has been resettled in Belize. Sadly, I have to contrast his situation with that of the 20 other men still held at Guantánamo, never even charged with a crime, who have also been approved for release, but whose freedom isn’t being prioritized by the Biden administration, because the recommendations for their release were made via a purely administrative process, which has no legal weight.

Emergency Surgery on Iraqi at Guantánamo Reveals Cruelty of Congressional Ban on Transfers to US Mainland For Urgent Medical Care


My report about the latest medical scandal at Guantánamo, as a medical team was flown in to conduct emergency surgery on Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, who has a degenerative spinal condition. Al-Iraqi previously had five surgical operations at Guantánamo, in 2017-18, after his condition was ignored for ten years. It is clear that his needs cannot be met at the prison, but he cannot receive urgent and more appropriate medical care on the US mainland because of an ongoing ban, imposed by Congress in the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which prevents prisoners from being transferred to the US mainland for any reason. I also look at the case of Ammar al-Baluchi, who suffered brain damage as a result of torture in a CIA “black site,” but whose calls for independent medical experts to assess him are being resisted by the Biden administration.

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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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