Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Wrong again neocons: Italy will take some Gitmo detainees
Slowly but surely, the Obama administration is emptying Gitmo.

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posted by JReid @ 12:31 AM  
Monday, June 08, 2009
Current events: North Korea, torture, and more
Two American journalists are sentenced to 12 years hard labor in North Korea.

A former Gitmo detainee denies being a terrorist, and says yes, he was tortured.

The SUPCO has rejected a challenge to Don't Ask, Don't Tell. (Expect activists to lose their natural minds today at the Obama administration for fighting in court on behalf of the policy...) As is not uncommon, the Moderate Voice has a good post on the topic.

Laura Bush speaks up for the few remaining reasonable people in the Republican Party (did I mention she grew up a Democrat?) ... and for Judge Sotomayor.

More later.

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posted by JReid @ 12:23 PM  
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
War Heroes 3 4, Draft Dodgers 0
It's been a tough competition, but so far, the Draft Dodgers are batting 0 for 3.

First, Boss Limbaugh, he of the butt boil that enabled him to get out of Vietnam service, tried to ice four-star Gen. Gollin Powell, accusing him of only supporting Barack Obama because both are black, and then snidely passing a phony baton of Republican leadership over to him. Powell's answer was to smack Limbaugh down, hard, while also taking a swipe at Republicans who insist on "laying prostrate on the floor" when Limbaugh snarls in their general direction. Point: War Heroes.

Next, Powell was attacked by Draft Dodgin' Dick Cheney, the benighted one, who got out of his Vietnam service by makin' babies! Cheney attempted to usher Powell out of the GOP, for the above-mentioned offense of supporting Barack Obama. And he sided with his teammate, Rush, over Powell (if he had to choose.) Well, Powell hit back at him, too, and now, it looks like Dick has decided to walk it back:
In an interview with CNBC's Larry Kudlow, Cheney said Powell is welcome back into the party and that Republicans would be "happy to have him."
KUDLOW: ... You kind of took a shot at General Colin Powell the other day, said you didn't know he was still a member of the Republican Party. He responded to you by saying that you were mistaken. He is a member of the Republican Party, and he regards himself a, quote, "Jack Kemp Republican," end quote. Could you react to what Mr. Powell is saying?

Mr. CHENEY: Well, we're happy to have General Powell in the Republican Party. I was asked a question about a dispute he was having, I think, with Rush Limbaugh, and I expressed the consent, the notion I had that he had already left since he endorsed Barack Obama for president. But I meant no offense to my former colleague. I wasn't seeking to rearrange his political identity.

KUDLOW: So you welcome him back into the party.

Mr. CHENEY: We're in the mode where we welcome everybody to the party. What I don't want to do, in the course of trying to expand the overall size of the Republican Party and expand our base, is to take away from basic fundamental principles. I think it's very important that we remind people out around the country what it is that we stand for, that we do believe in a strong national defense, in low taxes and limited government; and giving up on those principles, in order to try to appeal to people who are otherwise going to vote Democratic, seems to me is a--would be a fundamental defeat for those of us who are essentially conservative, who've been long-time supporters of the Republican Party.

If of course, by limited government you mean an extensive domestic surveillance network, sneak and peak searches, opening of all mail and email, tapping everyone's phone and secretly detaining American citizens ... (ahem) ... Point: War heroes.
Now, the third blow. Gen. David Petraeus, who enjoys near Jack Bauer levels of worship from the right, has sided with none other than President Barack Obama (plus Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mullen and SecDef Bob Gates and many, many other military men) on the subjects of ending the Cheney torture program and closing Gitmo:

Petraeus was asked if the recent moves by Obama help or hurt the mission in Iraq and Afghanistan. He replied, “I think, on balance, that those moves help it. In fact, I have long been on record as having testified and also in helping write doctrine for interrogation techniques that are completely in line with the Geneva Convention. And as a division commander in Iraq in the early days, we put out guidance very early on to make sure that our soldiers, in fact, knew that we needed to stay within those guidelines.”

On the issue of Gitmo, he said, “With respect to Guantanamo, I think that the closure in a responsible manner, obviously one that is certainly being worked out now by the Department of Justice -- I talked to the attorney general the other day [and] they have a very intensive effort ongoing to determine, indeed, what to do with the detainees who are left, how to deal with them in a legal way, and if continued incarceration is necessary -- again, how to take that forward. But doing that in a responsible manner, I think, sends an important message to the world, as does the commitment of the United States to observe the Geneva Convention when it comes to the treatment of detainees.”

Can a vicious Limbaugh attack on Petraeus as a "phony soldier" be far behind? I think Petraeus can take him. Point: War Heroes.

UPDATE: Score another one for the war heroes. Barack Obama's national security adviser, a retired Marine general, smacks Cheney too:

President Barack Obama's national security adviser laid out a sweeping rebuttal Wednesday to former Vice President Dick Cheney's charge that America is less safe under the new administration.

Pointing to increases in defense spending, efforts to get out of Iraq and revamp the strategy for Afghanistan, and a broad campaign to repair the U.S. reputation abroad, retired Marine Gen. James Jones said the nation is safer today than it has been. But, he added, no administration is perfect.

"I think that the former vice president knows full well that perfection is an impossible standard," said Jones, adding that the U.S. can only do everything it can "to keep threats at bay and as far away from our shores as possible."

The score is now 4-0.

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posted by JReid @ 11:26 PM  
Thursday, April 02, 2009
In case you missed it: Rachel Maddow and Colin Powell chat about budgets, torture
On the GOP budget: Powell thinks "the freeze" is a bad idea:

On the, it turns out, pointless, torture of prisoners like non-al Qaida member Abu Zubaida? Spoiler alert: Colin equivocates...

For all Powell's continuing respectability, and I am one who still respects him -- if less so than I did before he held up those vials of sand at the United Nations -- the quite well done Maddow interview highlights, once again, the fact that as a man of the military, and a man of principal, General Powell had many, many reasons to resign from the Bush cabinet, and would have raised the level of respect many of us have for him had he done so.

And speaking of torture, Doug Feith calls Spain's investigation of him and 5 other Bush administration torture proponents "outrageous!!!" I've met Doug Feith, and I can tell you that he's one arrogant S.O.B. I wish him happy travels ... just maybe keep those travels domestic, brother.

More on the Spanish torture inquiry from here. About the judge, they write:
Judge Garzon, however, has built an international reputation by bringing high-profile cases against human-rights violators as well as international terrorist networks like Al Qaeda. The arrest warrant for General Pinochet led to his detention in Britain, although he never faced a trial. The judge has also been outspoken about the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

Spain can claim jurisdiction in the case because five citizens or residents of Spain who were prisoners at Guantanamo Bay have said they were tortured there. The five had been indicted in Spain, but their cases were dismissed after the Spanish Supreme Court ruled that evidence obtained under torture was not admissible.
BTW, Pat Leahy has now said his idea for a "truth commission" in lieu of legal proceedings here in the U.S., is D.O.A.

And over at the National Review, the neocon vestiges are attacking the Spanish lawyer who brought the action against the Gulag Six, while also decrying the very idea of internationally recognized human rights (except those of Israel, of course...)

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posted by JReid @ 8:43 AM  
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
In case you missed it: Miss Universe hearts Gitmo!

Torture-shmorture! The reigning Miss Universe thinks Gitmo's
a hoot!
Wishing for world peace is so passé; nowadays Miss Universe can be found blogging about Guantanamo Bay.

"I didn't want to leave, it was such a relaxing place, so calm and beautiful," Dayana Mendoza gushed at the end of a five-day trip. It may not be a sentiment that Binyam Mohamed would share about his time at the US base in Cuba, but then he wasn't buying souvenir necklaces to take home at the end of his four years of incarceration.

Ms Mendoza, a Venezuelan model, was crowned Miss Universe last summer. Since then, she has clocked up stops in Indonesia, Spain, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. "This week, Guantanamo!!!" she trumpeted on her blog.

The offending post has been promptly taken down and replaced with this:
Dayana Mendoza’s comments on her blog were in reference to the hospitality she received while meeting the members of the U.S. military and their families who are stationed in Guantánamo.


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posted by JReid @ 6:34 PM  
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
For the prosecution: the torture interviews
From the New York Review of books comes a chilling account of U.S. torture of terror suspects, gleaned from interviews with the arbiter of whether or not war crimes have taken place in a given conflict: the International Committee of the Red Cross. A clip from their interviews with "high value detainee" Abu Zubaydah:
Two black wooden boxes were brought into the room outside my cell. One was tall, slightly higher than me and narrow. Measuring perhaps in area [3 1/2 by 2 1/2 feet by 6 1/2 feet high]. The other was shorter, perhaps only [3 1/2 feet] in height. I was taken out of my cell and one of the interrogators wrapped a towel around my neck, they then used it to swing me around and smash me repeatedly against the hard walls of the room. I was also repeatedly slapped in the face....
I was then put into the tall black box for what I think was about one and a half to two hours. The box was totally black on the inside as well as the outside.... They put a cloth or cover over the outside of the box to cut out the light and restrict my air supply. It was difficult to breathe. When I was let out of the box I saw that one of the walls of the room had been covered with plywood sheeting. From now on it was against this wall that I was then smashed with the towel around my neck. I think that the plywood was put there to provide some absorption of the impact of my body. The interrogators realized that smashing me against the hard wall would probably quickly result in physical injury.
Read the whole thing here. The major scoop of this leaked report was done not by a journalist, but by a journalism professor at Berkley:
Mark Danner has scooped the NY Times, the Washington Post and other papers by publishing in the current New York Review of Books an essay quoting long excerpts of a leaked International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) report on "high-value" prisoners held in CIA black site prisons. The interviews took prior to their release in late 2006, and the report itself is dated February 2007, and likely was sent originally to then CIA Acting General Counsel, John Rizzo.

The prisoners interviewed by ICRC personnel included Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, Walid Bin Attash, and eleven others, all of whom, the ICRC concluded, were submitted to torture.

As the poster at Axis of Logic points out, this is no bedtime reading.

Related: a British author says Zubaydah might not be the terror mastermind the Bush administration made him out to be. Meanwhile, it turns out that Zubaydah's rendition (initially to Thailand) was timed tantalizingly close to the Justice Department torture memos written by Jay Bybee and John Yoo.

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posted by JReid @ 8:54 AM  
Monday, February 23, 2009
Binyam goes home
The return of a Binyam Mohamed, a four-year Gitmo detainee, to Great Britain raises new questions about the Bush-era "war on terror," and the complicity of the U.K. in what are by all accounts illegal detentions in an American gulag. From the Guardian:

Senior MPs said they intended to pursue ministers and officials over what they knew of his ill-treatment and why Britain helped the CIA interrogate him.

In a statement released shortly after he arrived in a US Gulfstream jet at RAF Northolt in west London, Mohamed said: "For myself, the very worst moment came when I realised in Morocco that the people who were torturing me were receiving questions and materials from British intelligence."

Once inside the terminal building he met his sister for the fist time in more than seven years and in the most emotionally charged moment of the day they both cried and hugged.

Mohamed, a British resident, was released after several hours of questioning by police and immigration officials and was last night being looked after by his legal team.

Clive Stafford Smith, his lawyer, spoke of a "fantastic day" after the long campaign to free his client, who spent weeks on hunger strike being force-fed at Guantánamo and looked "incredibly skinny and very emaciated". Binyam was "extraordinarily grateful to be back in Britain", said Stafford Smith, who said he had "zero doubt" Britain was complicit in his client's ill-treatment.

"Britain knew he was being abused and left him," he said, referring to his secret abduction to Morocco where Mohamed says he was tortured. The lawyer also said his client was subjected to "very serious abuse" in Guantánamo.

Stafford Smith said that while his family was not vindictive they wanted the truth to be known. Mohamed hoped to be allowed to remain in the UK. "What we in Britain need to do is to make up for some of the things in the past and if the British government was, as I contend, deeply involved in the torture that Binyam had to go through, the least we can do is offer him his homeland," Stafford Smith said.


The Guardian Editorial team tackles the potential damage to U.S.-U.K. relations.

The Beeb reports on U.S. Defense Department plans to "ease conditions" at Gitmo.

And the Independent delves deeper into Binyam's claims that he was the victim of "Medieval torture" at Guantanamo.

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posted by JReid @ 11:26 PM  
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The Brandan Neely reader
The former Gitmo guard tells all about his time at the gulag, and clears his conscience on the Rachel Maddow show. Read his testimony here.

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posted by JReid @ 11:09 PM  
Thursday, February 05, 2009
The madness of Dick Cheney
He has been described as a comic book villain, a character out of a Kafka novel, and even Darth Vader, but who would have thought he was also Punxtatawney Dick, rearing his ugly head on a chilly day in February and seeing the shadow of fear ... yes, lovely, beautiful, marvelous fear...!!! Cheney, who many former colleagues say they don't even recognize as the guy they knew from the Ford administration, jumps straight off the deep end in an interview with Politico, accusing the Obama administration of caring more about the comfort of terrorists than the safety of the country, and warning of dire consequences (yes, he means terror attacks) if Team Obama stops renditioning, torturing and spying on people. Watch, listen, and DESPAIR!

And enjoy some prime Cheney quotes:
“When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to an Al Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry,” Cheney said.

Protecting the country’s security is “a tough, mean, dirty, nasty business,” he said. “These are evil people. And we’re not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek.”

And who can forget this gem:
“The United States needs to be not so much loved as it needs to be respected. Sometimes, that requires us to take actions that generate controversy. I’m not at all sure that that’s what the Obama administration believes.”

Oh, and Politico's team, which apparently emerged from the interview surprisingly unscarred by primordial ooze, reports:
He expressed confidence that files will some day be publicly accessible offering specific evidence that waterboarding and other policies he promoted — over sharp internal dissent from colleagues and harsh public criticism — were directly responsible for averting new Sept. 11-style attacks.

Not content to wait for a historical verdict, Cheney said he is set to plunge into his own memoirs, feeling liberated to describe behind-the-scenes roles over several decades in government now that the “statute of limitations has expired” on many of the most sensitive episodes.

I think I have a title for the book: "Burn Before Reading..."

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posted by JReid @ 12:34 AM  
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Our gulag
The shame and scourge that is Guantanamo Bay continues to eat away at America's standing, and its soul. Nick Kristoff writes in today's NYTimes:
A Prison of Shame, and It’s Ours

My Times colleague Barry Bearak was imprisoned by the brutal regime in Zimbabwe last month. Barry was not beaten, but he was infected with scabies while in a bug-infested jail. He was finally brought before a court after four nights in jail and then released.

Alas, we don’t treat our own inmates in Guantánamo with even that much respect for law. On Thursday, America released Sami al-Hajj, a cameraman for Al Jazeera who had been held without charges for more than six years. Mr. Hajj has credibly alleged that he was beaten, and that he was punished for a hunger strike by having feeding tubes forcibly inserted in his nose and throat without lubricant, so as to rub tissue raw.

“Conditions in Guantánamo are very, very bad,” Mr. Hajj said in a televised interview from his hospital bed in Sudan, adding, “In Guantánamo, you have animals that are called iguanas ... that are treated with more humanity.”

Al Jazeera’s director general, Wadah Khanfar, said by telephone from the hospital that Mr. Hajj was so frail when he arrived that he had to be carried off the plane and into an ambulance. Guantánamo inmates are not allowed to see their families, so that evening Mr. Hajj met his 7-year-old son, whom he had last seen as a baby.

Reliable information is still scarce about Guantánamo, but increasingly we’re gaining glimpses of life there — and they are painful to read.

Murat Kurnaz, a German citizen of Turkish descent, has just published a memoir of his nearly five years in Guantánamo. He describes prolonged torture that included interruptions by a doctor to ensure that he was well enough for the torture to continue.

Mahvish Rukhsana Khan, an American woman of Afghan descent who worked as an interpreter, has written a book to be published next month, “My Guantánamo Diary,” that is wrenching to read. She describes a pediatrician who returned to Afghanistan in 2003 to help rebuild his country — and was then arrested by Americans, beaten, doused with icy water and paraded around naked. Finally, after three years, officials apparently decided he was innocent and sent him home.

A third powerful new book about Guantánamo, by an American lawyer named Steven Wax, is summed up by its title: “Kafka Comes to America.”

The new material suggests two essential truths about Guantánamo:

First, most of the inmates were probably innocent all along, but Pakistanis or Afghans turned them over to America in exchange for large cash rewards. The moment we offered $25,000 rewards for Al Qaeda supporters, any Arab in the region risked being kidnapped and turned over as a terrorism suspect.

Second, torture was routine, especially early on. That’s why more than 100 prisoners have died in American custody in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantánamo. ...

It gets even bleaker after that, and Kristoff ultimately concludes that "Granted, it can be hard to figure out what version to believe. When I started writing about Guantánamo several years ago, I thought the inmates might be lying and the Pentagon telling the truth. No doubt some inmates lie, and some surely are terrorists. But over time — and it’s painful to write this — I’ve found the inmates to be more credible than American officials.
The comments on his column are unsurprising, including this one:
I am a Canadian living in Vancouver. As a state that practices, condones and justifies torture, the U.S. has departed the family of civilized nations.

The Bush administration has conclusively lost its “war on terror” by embracing the barbaric practices of the presumed enemy and attacking fundamental human rights.

The initial Bush policy of unilateralism undermined American leadership of the liberal democracies. Americans should realize that the subsequent descent into bestiality has caused widespread revulsion amongst your closest friends and allies. The entire Guantanamo security command structure are not brothers and sisters of other Western security services, they are the brothers of the SS and NKVD.

But there are a few comments like this one, too:
who is surprised that the nytimes writers believe terrorists who killed our people on 9/11 over the men and women who risk their lives protecting us from the savage barbaric killers down in gitmo?
— Posted by jimmy lee williams

To those recalcitrant Dittoheads like Jimmy Lee, who probably get most of their news from right wing talk radio and Fox News, rather than the New York Times, I refer you to the story of Specialist Sean Baker, also from Mr. Kristof:
The prison abuse scandal refuses to die because soothing White House explanations keep colliding with revelations about dead prisoners and further connivance by senior military officers -- and newly discovered victims, like Sean Baker.

If Sean Baker doesn't sound like an Iraqi name, it isn't. Specialist Baker, 37, is an American, and he was a proud U.S. soldier. An Air Force veteran and member of the Kentucky National Guard, he served in the first gulf war and more recently was a military policeman in Guantánamo Bay.

Then in January 2003, an officer in Guantánamo asked him to pretend to be a prisoner in a training drill. As instructed, Mr. Baker put on an orange prison jumpsuit over his uniform, and then crawled under a bunk in a cell so an ''internal reaction force'' could practice extracting an uncooperative inmate. The five U.S. soldiers in the reaction force were told that he was a genuine detainee who had already assaulted a sergeant.

Despite more than a week of coaxing, I haven't been able to get Mr. Baker to give an interview. But he earlier told a Kentucky television station what happened next:

''They grabbed my arms, my legs, twisted me up and unfortunately one of the individuals got up on my back from behind and put pressure down on me while I was face down. Then he -- the same individual -- reached around and began to choke me and press my head down against the steel floor. After several seconds, 20 to 30 seconds, it seemed like an eternity because I couldn't breathe. When I couldn't breathe, I began to panic and I gave the code word I was supposed to give to stop the exercise, which was 'red.' . . . That individual slammed my head against the floor and continued to choke me. Somehow I got enough air. I muttered out: 'I'm a U.S. soldier. I'm a U.S. soldier.' ''

Then the soldiers noticed that he was wearing a U.S. battle dress uniform under the jumpsuit. Mr. Baker was taken to a military hospital for treatment of his head injuries, then flown to a Navy hospital in Portsmouth, Va. After a six-day hospitalization there, he was given a two-week discharge to rest.

But Mr. Baker began suffering seizures, so the military sent him to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center for treatment of a traumatic brain injury. He stayed at the hospital for 48 days, was transferred to light duty in an honor burial detail at Fort Dix, N.J., and was finally given a medical discharge two months ago.

Meanwhile, a military investigation concluded that there had been no misconduct involved in Mr. Baker's injury. Hmm. The military also says it can't find a videotape that is believed to have been made of the incident.
Baker's probably disability payment: about $2,100 a month.

Meanwhile, while the U.S. media is obsessing over Jeremiah Wright, journalist Sami al-Haj's story is reverberating around the world:
KHARTOUM, May 2 (Reuters) - Al Jazeera journalist Sami al-Haj returned home to Sudan on Friday after more than six years in the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay prison, urging Washington to respect human rights and branding torture as terrorism.

Haj said he and the other Guantanamo detainees had been subjected to all kinds of torture, but the worst had been when his jailers insulted Islam or desecrated the Koran in front of prisoners.

"Security and human rights are inseparable issues -- you cannot have one without the other," he told Reuters in an interview.

"Human rights are not only for times of peace -- you need to hold onto them always even during difficult times and times of war," he added.

"My last message to the U.S. administration is that torture will not stop terrorism -- torture is terrorism."

Haj looked frail but visibly stronger than 12 hours earlier, when he arrived in chains aboard a U.S. military plane from the U.S. prison in Cuba, where he spent the last 16 months on hunger strike in protest at his illegal detention. ...

And yet, what could ultimately push the Bush administration to close America's gulag, won't be conscience or a decent respect for the opinions of mankind. It could be the Supreme Court:
The government is under international and domestic pressure to close the prison camp, which opened at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay on Cuba in January 2002 to house terrorism suspects caught after the invasion of Afghanistan.

"A decision could be made in this administration to announce the closure of Guantanamo," said a senior U.S. official, who spoke on condition he was not identified because of the sensitivity of the issue.

"It is unlikely in the next nine months that Guantanamo could be physically (closed) but it is possible the policy decision could be taken to close it."

Officials say planning and debate has intensified in recent months over how to deal with Guantanamo, which President George W. Bush acknowledges has tarnished America's image and human rights advocates say has damaged U.S. credibility.

"Everyone is agreed that we need to find a way that eventually leads to the closure of Guantanamo, which is the president's policy decision. It is a very complicated matter," said National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule within weeks whether Guantanamo prisoners have rights under the U.S. Constitution even though they are held on the base in Cuba, where the United States has had a presence for about 100 years.

The court decision could influence whether the government announces plans to close the prison before Bush leaves office in January 2009, several officials said. ...

I wouldn't bet against the Roberts court ruling on the side of the Bush administration. After all, that's what Mssrs. Roberts and Alito are there for. But on the slight chance that the court might eke out a 5-4 ruling against the Bush torture policy, the sources in the Reuters story say it could push the administration to make a move, if for no other reason, than to deprive Bush's successors of the opportunity to make him look even worse in history:
There is also a drive to announce the closure before Bush leaves office rather than have his successor claim credit.

And there you go.


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posted by JReid @ 10:09 AM  
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
My new favorite website

Their big get: interrogation procedures for Gitmo's Camp Delta. Read the leaked doc here.

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posted by JReid @ 7:36 PM  
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
While you were being bored into a coma by the Republican debate...
I blogged about this in an earliier post, but it can't be reiterated enough: the tossing by military judges of the Pentagon cases against a 20 year old Gitmo detainee who was captured at 15 on the battlefield in Afghanistan and Salim Hamdan, who was, not a lieutenant, but a driver for Osama bin Laden, but who was charged with conspiracy to commit terrorist acts by the Bush administration and prepped to be tried before one of their Germanic military commissions, is as big as news gets. The two cannot be tried, the court ruled, because both were mislabeled by the Bush administration as "enemy combatants," sans "unlawful," which contravenes the Military Commissions Act signed by President Bush last year. That law was meant to replace a previous military commissions scheme that was itself ruled unlawful by the U.S. Supreme Court.

This is the same Hamdan whose case, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, established the important, but seemingly self-evident fact, that the Bush administration cannot try suspects picked up on the battlefield in contravention to the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

The dismissal of the two cases leaves only one successful military tribunal under the Bushies' belt: that of Aussie David Hicks, who was tried, convicted, and then promptly shipped back to Australia, where he is planning to appeal.

At issue is whether the Bush administration can grant to itself the power to bypass the courts, including the military courts, to hold or try anyone they like, citizen or non-citizen alike, and try them in any way they see fit, including imposing the death penalty, with no court review. Oh, and if someone happens to be found not guilty in one of their kangaroo courts? The administration wants the ability to hold them indefinitely in Guantanamo anyway. For an even more chilling example, see Jose Padilla.


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posted by JReid @ 10:09 PM  
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Around the world and to hell in a handbasket
What's going on inside the NRCC? Taking money from terrorists now, are we?

The latest tumult in Iraq? The rape of Baghdad ... and the latest blow to the credibility of the Maliki government. Oh, and the security crackdown isn't working.

A U.S. appeals court rules that Gitmo detainees cannot challenge their detentions.

A U.S. admiral ramps up the salty language on Iran... while the government in Tehran continues to talk tough.

The Army says it's fixing the embarassing, shocking problems at Walter Reed's Building 18 (and apparently, other buildings and facilities as well), while Tony Snow says, hey man, don't ask me, ask the boys across the river.

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posted by JReid @ 6:14 PM  
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
They intimidated lawyers in the U.S.S.R., too...
A Pentagon lawyer steps in it, hard.
A senior Defense Department official who broke with Pentagon policy on whether it's honorable for private lawyers to provide no-charge services to Guantánamo captives drew new condemnation Tuesday and even calls for his dismissal.

Charles ''Cully'' Stimson, deputy assistant secretary for defense for detainee affairs, has sparked a firestorm of anger, from Capitol Hill to America's law schools to even conservative quarters.

He told a Washington, D.C., Beltway radio station last week that American corporations should boycott leading U.S. law firms that provide pro-bono service at the prison camps in the remote U.S. Navy base in southeast Cuba.

On Tuesday, Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania condemned Stimson's remarks on the floor of the Senate, where he until recently served as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

''When lawyers undertake the representation of individuals in unpopular causes, they are entitled to praise, not criticism,'' said Specter, echoing an earlier condemnation by the new committee chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.

Stimson had used the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the offshore detention center to offer up -- live, on the radio -- a list of prestigious law firms whose attorneys are providing pro-bono legal representation to captives at the U.S. Navy Base.

He called it ''shocking'' and said corporate leaders should choose between those firms and others whose attorneys do not offer free-of-charge services to some of the 395 men and teens held in Cuba as so-called enemy combatants.

As of Tuesday, nearly 140 law school deans had signed an Internet petition -- which can be found at -- declaring themselves ''appalled'' by the remarks of a fellow lawyer.

''In a free and democratic society, government officials should not encourage intimidation of or retaliation against lawyers who are fulfilling their pro bono obligations,'' the petition said.

Those who signed included Harold Hongju Koh of Yale Law School, Elena Kagen of Harvard Law School and Dennis O. Lynch of the University of Miami's School of Law. ...
And that ain't all...
The Pentagon's senior spokesman, Bryan Whitman, on Friday night distanced the Defense Department from Stimson's remarks, saying they ``do not represent the views of the Defense Department or the thinking of its leadership.''

Now some critics are calling for the dismissal of Stimson, 43, a former federal prosecutor who is the second Bush administration appointee to run a specially created division known as Detainee Affairs.

''I believe the man should be fired,'' wrote David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union lobby, in a guest column in The Hill newspaper in Washington.

He called Stimson's remarks ``a blatant attempt to threaten the law firms providing the representation to back off and urging their corporate clients to seek representation elsewhere if the firms fail to do so.''

Keene also said he believed most Guantánamo captives were guilty of something.

Yet, he wrote, ``Without lawyers, the innocent as well as the guilty might end up behind bars and our jails and prisons might come to resemble the hellholes depicted in some old movies showing Southern prisons of the '40s and '50s.''...
And that's just the conservatives... More approbrium of the bloggy sort here.

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posted by JReid @ 7:43 PM  
ReidBlog: The Obama Interview
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"I am for enhanced interrogation. I don't believe waterboarding is torture... I'll do it. I'll do it for charity." -- Sean Hannity
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