Three Guantanamo Judges Removed For Pentagon Bias

Independent: "Three members of the military panel established to hear the cases of Guantanamo Bay prisoners have been removed because of concerns about their lack of impartiality. But the officer acting as the senior 'judge', who has close links to the Pentagon official overseeing the hearings, has been allowed to retain his job. Following criticism from defence lawyers and human rights groups, John Altenburg, a Pentagon official and retired army general, agreed to remove three military officers from the six-member panel. One of the officers had overseen an operation that sent suspected terrorists from Afghanistan to Guantanamo Bay, another was an intelligence officer in Iraq and the third caused controversy earlier this summer when he said he did not know the details of the Geneva Conventions."

Pentagon/White House Must Justify Holding Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay

Boston.com reports: " A federal judge ordered the government yesterday to justify why it has been holding detainees in a US military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for nearly three years without charges and explain why they should not be released. The judge also gave the administration an Oct. 4 deadline for filing written arguments on why each of those detainees should not be released."

LA Times Denounces the 'Guantanamo Farce'

"The Bush administration is ignoring, if not defying outright, the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that all terror suspects must be able to challenge their imprisonment. The opening round of detainee military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay last week resembled something between a Mel Brooks farce and the kangaroo courts of former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. Maybe Captain Kangaroo courts. The proceedings didn't look anything like justice, military or otherwise. Meanwhile, two U.S. citizens still sit in military brigs, isolated from their lawyers and months if not years away from the hearings the high court says they deserve."

Glaring 'Errors' in US Translations of Guantanamo Prisoners' Statements Make Mockery of Justice

"US military authorities have acknowledged translation errors during special tribunals on the status of Guantanamo Bay war on terror detainees. Two Arabic television journalists watching Combatant Status Review Tribunals noticed what they called glaring mistakes in translations of statements made by a Saudi inmate. Mohammed Alami, a correspondent for Al Jazeera television network, said that when the detainee explained that he went to Afghanistan for training but wanted to go on to Chechnya 'it came out as 'he went to Afghanistan for training but wanted to go on to join some kind of cult'." This doesn't sound like bad translations - but intentional lies and manipulations by the Bush Pentagon.

Bush Kangaroo Court in Guantanamo Makes a Mockery of Justice, Democracy, and America

The first four prisoners at Guantanamo will this week go before Bush's "military commissions," which amount to Kangaroo courts, condemned around the world as a travesty of justice. Business Day reports: "While the maximum sentence the four men face is life in prison, the military commission (the first in nearly 60 years since the US tried German Nazis) will have the power to sentence others to death -- and there is no independent appeal process. One defence attorney has not seen his client in four months because of a government delay in giving clearance to a translator. Another lawyer has withdrawn from the case after accepting another job, leaving her client with no representation. Others say the broad restrictions, which include the military's right to monitor conversations between attorneys and clients, will make it nearly impossible to win their cases. 'I've never gone into a hearing with so little information,' said Lt-Cmdr Charlie Swift, a US military defence attorney."

Gitmo Prisoner-Lawyer Meetings to Be Spied On by Government 'Monitors'

Yahoo: "The Bush administration wants to monitor conversations between foreigners held at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and their attorneys because it wants the attorneys to help gather intelligence from the captives. [Ashcroft toadie] Brian Boyle said the government is seeking to record what usually would be private, attorney-client discussions because more 'important intelligence insight could be derived from these conversations than has been derived in interrogations.' U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly...said the government had not previously said in court papers that it wanted to use detainees' attorneys to help gather intelligence. But Kollar-Kotelly said, 'There's a problem with just leaping to monitoring and abrogating this whole attorney-client privilege, which is very important to the operation of our legal system. National security does not trump everything.' "

International Coalition of Lawyers Unite to Condemn Bush Administration's Concentration Camp System

Guardian: "Twenty-eight leaders of the legal profession around the world have together condemned the US for the continued detention of hundreds of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay. Today's letter is signed by lawyers' leaders from Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, the Caribbean and several European states. They include Stephen Irwin QC, chairman of the Bar Council of England and Wales, and Edward Nally, president of the Law Society. They state that the case for civilian hearings is stronger than ever "in view of the considerable time these detainees have been held, without access to lawyers of their choice or their families, and reportedly in conditions of physical and psychological duress". They add: "The war on terrorism will not and cannot be won by denying those suspected of terrorism the fundamental right of a fair opportunity to test the evidence against them." "

Two UK Citizens Detail Systematic Abuse in Guantanamo that Intensified under Gen. Miller

BBC: "Three British men held by the US in Guantanamo Bay for more than two years have compiled a report alleging abuse and humiliation while in captivity. The document, which will be released in New York on Wednesday, will be passed on to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Their experiences in captivity now form the basis of a 115-page report, Detention in Afghanistan and Guantanamo. They claim they were repeatedly punched, kicked, slapped, forcibly injected with drugs, deprived of sleep, hooded, photographed naked and subjected to body cavity searches and sexual and religious humiliations. And when Maj Gen Geoffrey Miller took charge of the camp, new practices began, including the shaving of beards, playing loud music, shackling detainees in squatting positions and locking them naked in cells. "

Pentagon 'Hearings' for Guantanamo Detainees: a Sick Joke that Thumbs its Nose at American Justice

Bush plans to further waste taxpayer dollars and trample America's democratic principles to promote his own agenda. Thumbing its nose at the Supreme Court and world opinion, the Pentagon is scrabbling together what amounts to a Kangaroo Court to "try" the detainees - in direct defiance of the requirements called for by the Supremes' ruling. Detainees will not be represented by lawyers, and hearings will not be open to the public. Detainees will be represented by officers with no legal training who are of lesser rank than the officers presiding over the tribunal (and anyone in the military knows that that suggests, SIR!) "Early reaction to the review panels from Guantanamo lawyers was scathing. 'That is not a hearing of any sort,' said Clive Stafford Smith. 'This is just a total smokescreen.' Steve Watt, a senior fellow at the Centre for Constitutional Rights, which filed the lawsuits at the supreme court, said the review panels were unlikely to result in fair hearings."

All 595 Guantanamo Prisoners to Get their Day in Rumsfeld's Kangaroo Court

Washington Post: "The Pentagon announced Wednesday night that it will quickly hold legal hearings for all 595 detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison as it scrambles to respond to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling last week that the government was jailing terrorism suspects without due process." The hearings, entitled Combatant Status Review Tribunals in an effort to give them at least a varnish of legitimacy, "are designed to determine whether the detainees at Guantanamo Bay meet the definition of 'enemy combatants,' as Bush has claimed without proof for two years." No one, even the writers at the Pentapost are fooled by BushFeld's intentions. The new tribunals are designed to buttress the government's case - that it has been deliberative in its detention decisions and afforded due process - when it confronts defense attorneys in the upcoming federal court hearings. Of course we already know what the Bushfeld Kangaroo Court verdicts will be.

Supreme Court Rejects Bush Dictatorship in Guantanamo

"The Supreme Court ruled that foreign terrorism suspects at a U.S. military base at Guantanamo can use the American legal system to challenge their detention, a MAJOR defeat for Bush. By a 6-3 vote, the justices ruled that American courts do have jurisdiction to consider the claims of the prisoners who say they are being held illegally in violation of their rights. The ruling did not address the merits of the claims, but allowed the prisoners to pursue their lawsuits, which lower courts had dismissed. Justice John Paul Stevens said for the majority that U.S. courts have jurisdiction to consider challenges to the legality of the detention of foreign nationals captured abroad in connection with hostilities and incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay. The justices overturned a U.S. appeals court ruling that dismissed the lawsuits on the grounds that the military base was outside U.S. sovereign territory and that writs of habeas corpus were unavailable to foreign nationals outside U.S. territory."

How Torture Came to Guantanamo

Navy general counsel Alberto J. "Mora's questions led to the discovery that among the list of 'counter-resistance strategies' at Guantanamo were such tactics as using scenarios 'designed to convince the detainee that death or severely painful consequences are imminent for him and/or his family,' and wrapping detainees in wet towels or dripping water on them to make them believe they would suffocate. Lt. Col. Diane E. Beaver, the legal counsel at Guantanamo then, ruled that those and other techniques -- including 20-hour interrogations, light and sound assaults, stress positions, exposure to cold weather and water -- were legal... as long as 'there is an important governmental objective, and it is not done for the purpose of causing harm or with the intent to cause prolonged mental suffering.'... Maj. Gen. Michael Dunlavey, the commander of Guantanamo, agreed, and sent the list of tactics to Gen. James T. Hill, head of the U.S. Southern Command," who ran it past Myers & Rumsfeld.

Geoffrey Miller's Torture Tactics Drove Gitmo Prisoners to Suicide

AP reports, "Three months after a get-tough general took command of the Guantanamo Bay prison for terror suspects, prisoners began a flurry of suicide attempts, according to military records. Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller took over as commander at Guantanamo in November 2002 after interrogators criticized his predecessor for being too solicitous for the detainees' welfare [translation: he rejected torture, so BushFeld fired him]. Between January and March 2003, 14 prisoners at Guantanamo tried to kill themselves, according to Pentagon figures. That's more than 40 percent of the 34 suicide attempts by 21 inmates since the prison was opened in January 2002. Miller is now in charge of all military-run U.S. prisons in Iraq, a job he took after news broke of beatings and sexual humiliations last fall at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad... In internal memos, Bush administration lawyers have acknowledged repeatedly that 'pushing someone to the brink of suicide' would be torture."

Suicides at Guantanamo Increased when Geoffrey 'Angel of Death' Miller Took Over

Bush claims he is outraged by Abu Ghraib and such abuse is now behind us. Then why is Gen. Geoffrey Miller, a major force behind torture at both Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib now in charge of all military-run U.S. prisons in Iraq? Just how strong his lethal influence is should not be underestimated: "Three months after a get-tough general took command of the Guantanamo Bay prison for terror suspects, prisoners began a flurry of suicide attempts, according to military record," reports AP. "Between Jan and Mar 2003, 14 prisoners at Guantanamo tried to kill themselves. That's more than 40 percent of the 34 suicide attempts by 21 inmates since the prison was opened in Jan 2002. Miller had visited Abu Ghraib in August and September and recommended interrogation techniques that military lawyers said had to be modified to comply with the Geneva Conventions on treating prisoners of war." Yeah, too bad they were never modified..

BushCheney Lie About Gitmo Prisoners

"For nearly two and a half years, American officials have maintained that locked within the steel-mesh cells of the military prison here are some of the world's most dangerous terrorists - 'the worst of a very bad lot,' Dick Cheney has called them... But as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on the legal status of the 595 men imprisoned here, an examination by The NY Times has found that government and military officials have repeatedly exaggerated both the danger the detainees posed and the intelligence they have provided. In interviews, dozens of high-level military, intelligence and law-enforcement officials said that contrary to the repeated assertions of senior administration officials, none of the detainees at Guantanamo ranked as leaders or senior operatives of Al Qaeda. They said only a relative handful - some put the number at about a dozen, others more than two dozen - were sworn Qaeda members or other militants able to elucidate the organization's inner workings."

Bush Investigator of Al Halabi Charged with Raping and Sodomizing Children

Under Bush, the quality of people in the most sensitive jobs - from Guantanamo to Abu Ghraib to the halls of the White House is low and getting lower all the time. A shocking case in point: Air Force Sgt. Mar Palmosina. Palmosina was the chief investigator on behalf of the US government against Ahmad Al Halabi, a former interpreter at Gitmo who has been charged with espionage (he still asserts his innocence). Seems nobody bothered to investigate Palmosina. He has been charged with rape and sodomy involving children, one just 11 years old. Don't try to find this info in the AP version - the reference to children has been suppressed. The Pentapost hid the story in "News in Brief."

Yet Another Smoking Memo: Guantanamo Personnel Warned Not to Cooperate with Investigation

Toni Locy of Gannet writes: "Military and civilian employees at the U.S. prison for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were warned recently not to talk with attorneys who represent detainees held there, according to a document prepared by the legal office of the Army-led task force that runs the facility. The document says soldiers and interrogators are not required to give defense attorneys statements about the 'personal treatment of detainees' or any 'failure to report actions of others.' It also says refusing to cooperate with defense attorneys 'will not impact your career.' The warning -- titled 'Interaction with Defense Counsel' -- has surfaced at a time when the treatment of the nearly 600 detainees at Guantanamo is under scrutiny because of the abuse and sexual humiliation of Iraqis in U.S. custody at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, Iraq."

US Guards 'Filmed Beatings' at Terror Camp in Guantanamo

"Dozens of videotapes of American guards allegedly engaged in brutal attacks on Guantanamo Bay detainees have been stored and catalogued at the camp, an investigation by The Observer has revealed. The disclosures, made in an interview with Tarek Dergoul, the fifth British prisoner freed last March, who has been too traumatised to speak until now, prompted demands last night by senior politicians on both sides of the Atlantic to make the videos available immediately. They say that if the contents are as shocking as Dergoul claims, they will provide final proof that brutality against detainees has become an institutionalised feature of America's war on terror."

Former Guantanamo Inmates Say Prisoner Abuse was Same as Abu Ghraib

Guardian: "Two British men who were held at Guantanamo Bay claimed that their US guards subjected them to abuse similar to that perpetrated at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. In an open letter to President George Bush, Britons Shafiq Rasul and Asif Iqbal accused US military officials of deliberately misleading the public about procedures at Guantanamo. Mr Rasul and Mr Iqbal, who were freed in March after being arrested in Afghanistan and held without charge for more than two years, allege that heavy-handed treatment was systematic. 'From the moment of our arrival in Guantanamo Bay (and indeed from long before) we were deliberately humiliated and degraded by methods we now read US officials denying,' the men write. The men describe a regime that included assaults on prisoners, prolonged shackling in uncomfortable positions, strobe lights, loud music and being threatened with dogs."

BushFeld Created A Global System of Torture

Tom Engelhardt writes, "The system of injustice that, since 9/11, we've sent offshore and organized globally -- from Guantanamo, Cuba to Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan -- is by its nature also a system of torture. It was designed from the beginning to be a Bermuda Triangle of injustice, existing in an extrajudicial darkness beyond 'our' sight or oversight. There, on military bases and in special military-controlled prisons, the 'war on terrorism' could be carried to its informational climax in whatever ways and by whatever methods American intelligence officials felt might 'break' whatever prisoners we had. Whether in Guantanamo or at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, this developing mini-gulag was never meant to be a system of imprisonment for crimes -- hence the lack of charges, no less trials of any sort, anywhere in the imperium. It was to be an eternal holding operation for the purpose of information extraction." Impeach Bush Now! (impeachcentral.com)

Bush Administration Approved Torture of Guantanamo Bay Inmates

Bush and his junta are claiming shock and ignorance of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib, while they have continuously claimed that prisoners at Guantanamo Bay are not abused. Now it is revealed that the Bush administration "last year approved interrogation techniques for use at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba that include forcing inmates to strip naked and subjecting them to loud music, bright lights and sleep deprivation. The techniques were approved in April 2003 and require approval from senior Pentagon officials and in some cases US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld." The techniques were so extreme in some cases that the prisoners required medical monitors to insure they did not die.

The Gagging of Captain Yee

Geov Parrish writes: "Captain James Yee's story hasn't ended. Yee, the Muslim Guantanamo Bay army chaplain whose fate became the latest high-profile U.S. spy case to end as a farce, is now back at work, reassigned to his home base at Fort Lewis, Wash. But Yee isn't being treated like just another employee. This month, he received a letter from a Fort Lewis commanding officer, Army Lt. Col. Marvin S. Whitaker, that essentially orders him not to talk about his case, his life for these last months, or his views of his employer."

The Guantanamo Archipelago

America's global gulag stretches from "Guantanamo, the prison camps of Iraq, the holding areas of Bagram Air Base and Diego Garcia, the grim torture cells of Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Thailand and other compliant lands." Its victims number at least 14,600 and probably well over 20,000. It violates the Geneva conventions and all international law, and includes many of the exact offenses committed by King George III and denounced in the Declaration of Independence. " It is coming home to roost with Bush's nomination of former General Counsel for the Pentagon William Haynes - the man who approved the creation of this gulag - to be a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. So why is Tom Engelhardt the only writer who is sounding the alarm?

Second Guantanamo Briton Tells of Beatings

The Scotsman: "Concerns were mounting over human rights abuses at Guantanamo Bay today as another British former detainee claimed he suffered beatings and inhuman treatment during his incarceration. Tarek Dergoul -- one of five Britons freed from the Cuban detention camp after more than two years there -- said he suffered gunpoint interrogations and beatings.... Tarek Dergoul condemns the US and the UK governments for these gross breaches of human rights and demands the immediate release of all the other detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Tarek finds it very difficult to talk about things and his family believe his mental health has been severely affected by the trauma he has suffered."

This Creeping Sickness: Torture in Guantanamo

Ken Coates writes: "At the same time that we face new atrocities in Madrid, we hear the voices of the first Britons released from Guantanamo Bay where, according to former detainee Jamal al-Harith, they endured a regime of unremitting cruelty. He describes systematic humiliation, clearly aimed at corroding the humanity of the victims, and which included exposing devout Muslims to insult by prostitutes. The war on terror is a perfect state of psychosis within which the darkness can extend itself. It has no defined boundaries, no fixed territorial enemies: it takes what yesterday were deemed to be simple crimes, and extends them mentally to incriminate whole populations, social groups or religions. There is only one antidote to this creeping sickness: the insistence upon universal human rights, within whose spirit torture was outlawed by the 1984 UN Convention Against Torture."

Freed Britons Reveal Horrors of Treatment by US Soldiers in Guantanamo

The Guardian reports: "Jamal al-Harith told how US soldiers brought in prostitutes to the camp, and paraded them naked in front of the many devout Muslims. The 37-year-old also claimed he was kicked, punched and assaulted with batons. He told the Daily Mirror that detainees were shackled for up to 15 hours at a time in hand and leg cuffs with metal links to the skin. Mr Harith said punishment beatings were meted out by guards and prisoners were subjected to psychological torture and mind games in an effort to break them. Few if any of the Britons freed from Guantanamo Bay answered questions from UK anti-terrorism officers before their release without charge, it has emerged."


The horror inside Bush's Concentration Camp: "A British captive freed from Guantanamo Bay today tells the world of its full horror - and reveals how prostitutes were taken into the camp to degrade Muslim inmates. Jamal al-Harith, 37, who arrived home three days ago after two years of confinement, is the first detainee to lift the lid on the US regime in Cuba's Camp X-Ray and Camp Delta...'The whole point of Guantanamo was to get to you psychologically. The beatings were not as nearly as bad as the psychological torture - bruises heal after a week - but the other stuff stays with you'... Now Jamal bears the scars of Guantanamo. He stoops into a hunch as he walks because the shackles that bound him were too short."

Gitmo Prisoners May Be Kept for Years, Perhaps Indefinitely

"Defense Department officials said that they were planning to keep a large portion of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, there for many years, perhaps indefinitely. The officials said they would soon set up a panel to review those long-term prisoners' cases annually to determine whether the men remained a threat to the United States or could be released. The officials described the panel as a 'quasi-parole board' that would comprise three members before whom prisoners could personally plead their case for release. At the same time, the officials said, they will continue to release to the home governments many other prisoners deemed not to be a continuing danger. The officials spoke as part of a Pentagon effort to counter sharp criticism by members of human rights groups and foreign governments about Guantanamo, where some 650 people, most of them captured in Afghanistan, are being held under maximum security, some as long as two years without being charged with any offense."

Children Still Being Held at Guantanamo

"The United States released three children from detention at Guantanamo Bay today. Human Rights Watch welcomed the release, but cautioned that other children are still being detained at the U.S. naval base in violation of international standards... The three children being released are believed to be between the ages of 13 and 15. They were segregated from the adult detainees at Guantanamo, and provided with classes, recreational opportunities and specially trained staff. The Department of Defense has confirmed that an unspecified number of other children, aged 16 and 17, are also detained at Guantanamo. In contrast to the three who were released, these children are not segregated from the adult population, and are not receiving education or rehabilitation assistance. International law generally defines children as all individuals under the age of 18."

Guantanamo Spy Cases Evaporate

WashPost: "Last September, top officials of the Navy prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, told a military judge in Florida that the prison's Muslim chaplain, Army Capt. James Yee, would soon be charged with mutiny, sedition, espionage, spying and aiding the enemy -- crimes that could lead to his execution. Based on those allegations, Yee was held in solitary confinement in a Navy brig in South Carolina for 76 days. But authorities never charged him with any of those offenses. Instead, Yee will face much less serious charges, such as mishandling classified materials and adultery, when the case against him resumes at a hearing at Fort Benning, Ga., scheduled for Feb. 4. At the same time Yee was being detained, Air Force Senior Airman Ahmad I. Halabi, who worked as an Arabic translator at Guantanamo Bay, was also in solitary confinement 3,000 miles away, held in California on charges of espionage and aiding the enemy. In time, the most serious of those allegations have been withdrawn as well."

U.S. Still Holds Child Detainees at Guantanamo

Reuters: "The United States has held three child detainees at its military base in Guantanamo Bay for more than a year and the Pentagon said on Thursday it has no plans to move or free them, despite international pressure. A defense official said doctors estimated the boys were 13-15 years old and were deemed 'enemy combatants' along with about 660 prisoners being held at the base in Cuba after the U.S. invasion in Afghanistan in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on America... [A Pentagon official] did not know whether family members had been informed of the teen-agers whereabouts but said they had been given access to Red Cross officials who visited the base. 'None of the detainees has had direct contact with their families except for one,' he said, referring to an Australian man David Hicks who was allowed to speak to his father on the telephone."

Lawyers Challenge Bush's Authority to Plan Detainees' Trials

Even military-appointed lawyers for detainees in Guantanamo think that George W. Bush has gone way over the edge in denying the detainees the legal protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. They have filed a brief with the Supreme Court asserting that Bush has overstepped his authority as commander-in-chief, calling his plans a "monarchical system".

U.S. Military Ordered to Hurry Guantanamo Trial

Reuters: "Amid defense complaints that no case had been made against their client, a judge on Tuesday gave prosecutors a Feb. 25 deadline to present key evidence against a Syrian-American airman accused of spying while working as a translator in Guantanamo, Cuba. Senior Airman Ahmad al Halabi, who faces life in prison if convicted, has been charged with espionage related to his work at the base where the United States maintains a prison camp for suspected al Qaeda and Taliban members. Halabi, who has denied the charges, was arrested in Florida in July and accused of carrying jail maps, letters and other sensitive documents from Guantanamo. His lawyers complained after the arraignment hearing at Travis Air Force base north of San Francisco that the prosecutor has hidden a weak case by classifying the evidence."

BushFeld Create Dictatorial Star Chambers to Deny Fair Trials to Guantanamo Prisoners

"Rumsfeld chose John Altenburg, who retired from the Army in 2002, to appoint members of the panels that will hear the trials.. Altenburg, who served for 28 years as a lawyer in the Army, will oversee many aspects of the military commissions, including approving charges against suspects who Bush deems subject to trial before these tribunals. Bush has designated six detainees at Guantanamo as eligible for trial before a military commission... [But] the announcement does not mean any final decision has been made on when the first trials will be held and what charges to bring. Rules created for the military, or commission, trials have come under harsh criticism from some members of the legal community and human rights groups, who say the procedures are heavily biased in favor of the prosecution. Rules announced earlier in the year stated that hearsay evidence will be permitted and the government will be permitted to monitor any communications between defendants and their lawyers. "

Cuba Says Guantanamo Prison is a Concentration Camp

"Cuba has charged the US with running a concentration camp at the Guantanamo base on the eastern tip of the island, in the government's first attack on use of the facility to hold terror suspects. 'In the territory illegally occupied by the Guantanamo naval base, hundreds of foreign prisoners are subjected to indescribable abuses,' said a statement passed by parliament and broadcast by the state-run media [probably a FOX station]. 'Some of the few freed have spoken of the horrors of this concentration camp,' said the statement, appealing to lawmakers throughout the Americas to halt U.S. human rights violations related to the war on terror. [Cuba] said prisoners were isolated and denied the right to communicate with their families or to prepare an adequate defense... Castro insists the area is illegally occupied by the US which leases it under a pre-revolution agreement. Castro refuses to cash U.S. checks for use of the base, which he keeps in a desk drawer to show visitors."

Prosecutors Say It's Unclear Papers Chaplain Carried were Classified

NY Times reports: "The criminal proceedings against Capt. James J. Yee, the former Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, fell into confusion on Tuesday and stalled as the military prosecutors asked for extra time to determine whether documents that were found in Captain Yee's luggage when he was leaving the base were, in fact, classified. The hearing was postponed until Jan. 19 to give the prosecutors time to review the documents that set off a major investigation into whether Captain Yee was a spy, a contention from which the government has since emphatically distanced itself."

US Fires Guantanamo Defence Team

The UK Guardian reports: "A team of military lawyers recruited to defend alleged terrorists held by the US at Guantanamo Bay was dismissed by the Pentagon after some of its members rebelled against the unfair way the trials have been designed, the Guardian has learned. And some members of the new legal defence team remain deeply unhappy with the trials - known as 'military commissions' - believing them to be slanted towards the prosecution and an affront to modern US military justice. Of the more than 600 detainees at the US prison camp at Guantanamo, none has been charged with any crime, and none has had access to a lawyer, although some have been in captivity of one kind or another for two years."

As Supreme Court Scrutiny Increases, BushFeld Will Release 140 Detainees from Guantanamo

The US plans to release 140 detainees from its naval base in Cuba, where captured al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters from 42 countries have been kept in secret. A US military official told Time Magazine that the detainees slated for release are 'the easiest 20%' of the estimated 660 people kept at Guantanamo Bay, which the US has leased from Cuba since 1903. US officials said that some of the detainees had been captured by Afghan warlords and sold for the bounty offered by Washington for al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters. 'Many would not have been detained under the normal rules of engagement,' the source told Time... The US Supreme Court agreed this month to look into whether the Guantanamo detainees can make applications to US courts over their cases. The government's case is that US courts have no jurisdiction, as the base is not US territory.

British Judge Condemns Guantanamo Camp as 'Monstrous Failure of Justice'

BBC reports: "One of Britain's most senior judges has condemned the US over the detention of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay. Lord Steyn said conditions at Camp Delta were of 'utter lawlessness', in a speech seen by Channel 4 News. The Law Lord said the US was guilty of a 'monstrous failure of justice' and challenged UK ministers to condemn the decision to hold any prisoners there...Lord Steyn quoted officials as saying: 'It's not quite torture but at close as you can get.' He said the quality of justice did not comply with international standards for fair trials."

ACLU, Veterans Groups File Request for Information on Treatment of Gitmo Prisoners

Individuals being held by the US at Gitmo "are said to have been 'softened up' by beatings, confined in tiny rooms, blindfolded, thrown into walls, bound in painful positions, deprived of sleep, forced to stand for long periods in black hoods, and denied medical care as a means of encouraging them to talk... The US is [also] said to have 'rendered' uncooperative detainees to foreign intelligence services known for their brutality. These practices appear to have widespread support among US military and intelligence officials. 'While the U.S. publicly denounces the use of torture,' one report noted, 'each of the current national security officials [we] interviewed . . . defended the use of violence against captives as just and necessary.' On October 7, the ACLU, Veterans for Common Sense, and Veterans for Peace [and others] submitted a FOIA request for records concerning the treatment of detainees held by the US and the rendition of detainees to foreign intelligence services."

Red Cross Concerned over Guantanamo Detainees

AP reports: "The International Red Cross (ICRC) today said that many detainees being held by the US military in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were suffering 'a worrying deterioration' in mental health because Washington had ignored appeals to give them legal rights. 'They have no idea about their fate and they have no means of recourse at their disposal through any legal mechanism,' Florian Westphal, a spokesman for the ICRC, said. He said that the ICRC, the only independent body with access to the detainees, had yet to see 'any significant movement' from US officials in response to its long-standing request that Washington institute due legal process for the detainees in accordance with humanitarian law."

Lawyer Says Guantanamo Detainees Tortured

AP reports: "The U.S. military has tortured terrorist suspects held without charge at the Guantanamo Bay military prison, an Australian lawyer representing some of the suspects claimed Wednesday. U.S.-based Richard Bourke, who has been working for almost two years on behalf of dozens of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, said American military officials were using old-fashioned torture techniques to force confessions out of prisoners. The methods 'clearly' fell under the definition of torture under international conventions, he told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio in an interview from the United States. 'They are engaging in good old-fashioned torture, as people would have understood it in the Dark Ages,' he said... 'One of the detainees had described being taken out and tied to a post and having rubber bullets fired at them. They were being made to kneel cruciform in the sun until they collapsed,' he said."

Press Forced to Sign 'Ground Rules' Agreement Before Entering Gitmo

LA Times: "U.S. military officials imposed strict reporting limits Tuesday on the first journalists to go to the U.S.-run detention camp for terrorist suspects since the arrests of a Muslim Army chaplain and two interpreters. The reporters were required to sign 'ground rules' for coverage that banned questions about the investigations on pain of being removed from the Navy camp at Guantanamo Bay, on the eastern tip of Cuba. Reporters were presented with a statement to sign as they prepared to board a flight chartered by the military from Jacksonville, Fla. A new paragraph was added to earlier rules: 'Asking questions or perspectives about ongoing and/or future operations or investigations can result in restricted access on Gitmo, removal from the installation, and/or revocation of [Department of Defense] press credentials.'"

Just-Retired US Navy Judge Advocate General Says US Soldiers Put at Risk Due to Guantanamo Policies

"Don Guter, the US navy's judge advocate general until last year, said extreme measures were necessary after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States. But Mr Guter, who was inside the Pentagon when it was deliberately hit by a hijacked plane that day, said it was not acceptable simply to hold suspected al-Qaeda or Taleban members until the US' war on terror was over. Such a victory might never come he said, and even if there was no public outcry about the treatment of Guantanamo detainees the US should permit them various rights, not least to stop possible retributions. The US has the might, but not the right, the advocates say. The argument filed to the Supreme Court by Mr Guter and other former military lawyers said: 'The lives of American military forces may well be endangered by the United States' failure to grant foreign prisoners in its custody the same rights that the United States insists be accorded to American prisoners held by foreigners.'"

'Justice Denied' at Gitmo

BBC News: "A diverse group of ex-judges, diplomats and former military lawyers is urging the US Supreme Court to intervene on behalf of hundreds of men being held without trial by the government. Detainees have been given no access to lawyers. They hope the top court will agree to review the detention of suspected al-Qaeda and Taleban members in the US military camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. US officials insist there are reasons for holding the alleged fighters and say they will get a fair legal hearing in due course. But opponents say it is already nearly two years since most of the detainees were captured and they should be afforded more rights now. John Gibbons, a former appeals court judge, said justice was being 'totally denied' to the detainees in Guantanamo. 'They don't have access to lawyers; they have had no hearings; they are just in limbo. That's as clear an example of justice denied as you can find,' he said."

Bush's Homeland Insecurity: Airman Charged with Spying at Guantanamo

AP reports: "An Air Force translator at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp for terror suspects has been charged with espionage and aiding the enemy, officials said Tuesday, three days after disclosing the arrest of a U.S. Army chaplain working at the same base. The two men knew each other, an Air Force spokesman said, but officials said they didn't know if there had been any conspiracy to breach security at the prison camp. The Air Force announced Tuesday that the translator, Senior Airman Ahmad I. al-Halabi had been charged with 32 crimes including espionage and aiding the enemy, crimes that could lead to the death penalty. On Saturday, officials had disclosed the arrest of Army Capt. Yousef Yee, a Muslim chaplain who ministered to the inmates... Meanwhile, [Senator Charles Schumer] criticized the Pentagon for not investigating the Muslim organization that certified Yee as an appropriate military chaplain candidate." Yet, another Bush national security blunder.

New Halliburton Construction at Camp Delta Indicates Long-Term Use

Miami Herald reports: "Twenty months after it opened as a short-term solution early in America's war on terrorism, this much-criticized military detention and interrogation camp is evolving from wire mesh to concrete. The hastily erected Camp Delta for 'enemy combatants' will make a significant leap toward permanence with a previously undisclosed fifth phase that will be hard-sided and take a year to build, The Herald has learned. Workers are also retrofitting a makeshift courtroom in case some of the 660 detainees from 42 countries, most of them suspected al Qaeda members or Taliban soldiers captured in Afghanistan, are tried before a military commission.... The contractor is Kellogg, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, Texas-based Halliburton. The watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense says the subsidiary received $1.3 billion in government business last year - much of it, like this, without having to enter a bid."

Guantanamo May Free Children

BBC reports: "The commander of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp has told the BBC the US military is hoping to release children it is holding there. The BBC's Gordon Corera, in Guantanamo Bay, says the US's interviews with the three children - aged between 13 and 15 - reveal they may have been coerced into fighting in Afghanistan... The commander of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp has told the BBC the US military is hoping to release children it is holding there. The BBC's Gordon Corera, in Guantanamo Bay, says the US's interviews with the three children - aged between 13 and 15 - reveal they may have been coerced into fighting in Afghanistan."

In the Land of Guantanamo

Ted Conover writes for the New York Times: "The juvenile enemy combatants live in a prison called Camp Iguana. It looks like a pair of tennis courts surrounded by fence lined with a few extra layers of the usual green-nylon wind screen. It is perched on a bluff overlooking the sea; the breeze is warm and pleasant. Not far away is a beachside park for barbecues and picnics and a wildlife-viewing area, but the young detainees don't visit these places. They must remain in one bedroom of a small cinder-block hut inside the fence or, for two or three hours a day, in the grassy yard that adjoins it."

American Military Bans BBC Crew from Guantanamo Bay for Talking to Inmates

The UK Guardian reports: "The US military clashed with British journalists yesterday at Camp Delta in Guantanamo Bay after inmates shouted to a BBC Panorama team who had been invited to tour the maximum security camp. As the journalists walked through camp four, detainees shouted that they wanted to tell their story and the US soldiers immediately halted the tour, ordering everyone out... An audio recording made by the Panorama team was seized by US forces and the BBC reporter Vivienne White was banished to a section of the bay away from Camp Delta. The journalists, including one from the Guardian, saw the inmates wearing white clothes and eating at an outside table as temperatures reached 38C (100F)... The US military maintains the detainees cannot speak to the press because of the Geneva convention, but that claim is disputed by the International Committee of the Red Cross."

Inmates Released from Guantanamo Tell Tales of Despair

"Afghans and Pakistanis who were detained for many months by the American military at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba before being released without charges are describing the conditions as so desperate that some captives tried to kill themselves. According to accounts in the last three months from some of the 32 Afghans and three Pakistanis in the weeks since their release, it was above all the uncertainty of their fate, combined with confinement in very small cells, sometimes only with Arabic speakers, that caused inmates to attempt suicide. One Pakistani interviewed this month said he tried to kill himself four times in 18 months... The prisoners were taken out only once a week for a one-minute shower. 'After four and a half months we complained and people stopped eating, so they said we could shower for five minutes and exercise once a week,' Mr. Shah said. After that, he said, prisoners got to exercise for 10 minutes a week, walking around the inside of a cage 30 feet long."

Red Cross Chief Urges Due Process for Guantanamo Detainees

AP reports: "The head of the International Red Cross urged the United States Tuesday to start legal proceedings for Afghan detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and to improve law and order in Iraq. Jakob Kellenberger, president of organization, made the appeal in meetings with Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, an ICRC statement said. The State Department confirmed the meeting with Powell but declined further comment. As guardian of the Geneva Conventions on warfare, the Geneva-based ICRC encourages signatory countries to comply with their obligations toward occupied countries, war captives and victims of war... The U.S. military maintains the detainees are illegal combatants and are not entitled to prisoner of war status under the Geneva Conventions."

US Plans Death Camp in Guantanamo

Australia's Courier-Mail reports: "The US has floated plans to turn Guantanamo Bay into a death camp, with its own death row and execution chamber. Prisoners would be tried, convicted and executed without leaving its boundaries, without a jury and without right of appeal, The Mail on Sunday newspaper reported [Saturday]. The plans were revealed by Major-General Geoffrey Miller, who is in charge of 680 suspects from 43 countries, including two Australians... British activist Stephen Jakobi, of Fair Trials Abroad, said: 'The US is kicking and screaming against any pressure to conform with British or any other kind of international justice.' American law professor Jonathan Turley, who has led US civil rights group protests against the military tribunals planned to hear cases at Guantanamo Bay, said: 'It is not surprising the authorities are building a death row because they have said they plan to try capital cases before these tribunals. This camp was created to execute people.'"

What Geneva Conventions? Iraqi POW's May Go to Guantanamo

"US officials might send Iraqi POWs to join the 660 al-Qaida and Taliban suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay. Conditions at the prison camp there have been strongly criticised by human rights organisations as breaching international law. British and American officials are divided over the fate of the thousands of Iraqi militia fighters who have put up fierce resistance." Following last week's imbroglio about Iraqi treatment of US and UK POWs, Rory McCarthy of The Guardian examines another example of US double-standards.

UN Official Denounces US Appeals Court Decision Exempting Guantanamo Prisoners from US Law

Dato' Param Cumaraswamy, Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human Rights on the independence of judges and lawyers says the decision by the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (that suspected Al-Qaida and Taliban fighters held at Guantanamo Bay are aliens outside US sovereign territory and not protected by the US Constitution) sets a frightening precedent. It implies that the government of a sovereign State "could lease a piece of land from a neighbouring State, set up a detention camp, arrest suspects of terrorism from another jurisdiction, send them to this camp, [and then] deny them their legal rights - including principles of due process generally granted its own citizens - on grounds that the camp is physically outside its jurisdiction. By such conduct, the Government of the United States, in this case, will be seen as systematically evading application of domestic and international law."

Guantanamo Inmates Falling Ill from Confinement

More than 30 of the inmates of "Camp X-Ray" at Guantanamo have attempted suicide. Even more are being treated for severe mental illness. This is Bushcroft's idea of "humane" conditions, and the inmates have no hope of ever leaving their 8-foot cells.