Twenty-Four Anti-Torture Activists Acquitted

Breaking: Twenty-Four Anti-Torture Activists Acquitted in Trial for Protest at the US Capitol Calling for Guantanamo’s Closure and the Investigation of Deaths at the Prison.


On Monday, June 14, twenty-four activists with Witness Against Torture were acquitted in Washington, D.C. Superior Court of charges of “unlawful entry with disorderly conduct.” The charges stemmed from demonstrations at the US Capitol on January 21,2010 – the date by which President Obama had promised the closure of the Guantanamo detention camp.

“With his decision, the judge validated the effort of the demonstrators to condemn the ongoing crime of indefinite detention at Guantanamo,” says Bill Quigley, legal adviser to the defendants and the Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

“Our acquittal is a victory for free speech and for the right of Americans to stand up for those falsely imprisoned and abused at Guantanamo,” says Ellen Graves, one of the defendants. “We tried to shine a light on the unconstitutional policies of the Bush and now the Obama administrations. That light shone brightly today.”

“We will use our freedom to continue to work for the day when Guantanamo is closed and those who designed and carried out torture policies are held to account,” says defendant Paul Thorson.

On January 21, activists dressed as Guantanamo prisoners were arrested on the steps of the Capitol holding banners reading “Broken Promises,Broken Laws, Broken Lives.” Inside the Capitol Rotunda, at the location where deceased presidents lie in state, fourteen activists were arrested performing a memorial service for three men who died at Guantanamo in 2006. Initially reported as suicides, the deaths may have been – as recent evidence suggests – the result of the men being tortured to death (see [the other] Scott Horton, “Murders at Guantanamo, March, 2010, Harper’s).

Guantanamo ‘Suicides’ on Fox

Click play to see the heroic anti-torture human rights lawyer, Columbia law professor and Harper’s magazine journalist The Other Scott Horton (no relation) discuss the case of “The Guantanamo ‘Suicides’” on Freedom Watch with Andrew Napolitano

The Guantanamo ‘Suicides’

Australian radio interview with Horton and witness Hickman:

Seton Hall report

Six Questions for Dr. Michael Baden: The Guantánamo autopsies

Six Questions for Rachid Mesli: The missing throats

The Official Response Begins

DOD Contradicts DOD: Seton Hall responds

Time for a Special Prosecutor

A Marine Biologist Scopes Out “Camp No”

Court Dismisses Suit Over Gitmo Deaths

Cross-posted at Stress.

Andy Worthington brings us “Habeas Week”

Andy Worthington, an absolutely tireless seeker of the truth as it pertains to the continuing U.S detention of terror suspects abroad, has decided the mainstream news has done such a pathetic job at covering what could be one of the most important national security issues of the decade, that he’s putting up a tutorial for the rest of us who give a damn:

In an attempt to raise awareness of the importance of the rulings being made in US courts on the habeas corpus petitions of the prisoners held at Guantánamo (as authorized by a significant Supreme Court ruling in June 2008), I’m devoting most of my work this week to articles covering the 47 cases decided to date (34 of which have been won by the prisoners), as a series entitled, “Guantánamo Habeas Week.”

The amazing thing is that 34 out of 47 prisoners — that’s 72 percent — have contested their detentions by the federal government in court and won. According to Worthington, their cases were bolstered by the fact that much of the evidence against them was so flimsy:   “primarily, confessions extracted through the torture or coercion of the prisoners themselves, or through the torture, coercion or bribery of other prisoners, either in Guantánamo, the CIA’s secret prisons, or proxy prisons run on behalf of the CIA in other countries,” Worthington writes.

These and other curious and damning revelations have come out through judges’ individual rulings, he adds. For example, Worthington makes the point that we now know that  “the majority of the prisoners” at Guantanamo Bay “were not, for the most part, seized by US forces ‘on the battlefield,’ as senior Bush administration officials claimed, but were, instead, mainly rounded up by the US military’s allies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, at a time when bounty payments were widespread, and were never adequately screened at the time of capture to determine whether or not they had ever been engaged in any kind of combat.”

That might well explain the high rate of release among prisoners who the fear-mongers in the last administration (and people like Liz Cheney today) insisted were so dangerous that even the thought of releasing them would be like lobbing a live grenade down Main Street.

Well, Liz can take a breather because the military is appealing some 11 of the cases, ensuring that at least some of those prisoners remain in custody even beyond their victories in court. Meanwhile, 35 alleged terrorists who the government believes has enough evidence to convict, remain in limbo while everyone fights over which court to try them in. Another 44 are cleared to leave, but have no where to go.

A lot of threads to entangle and examine, and Worthington seems ready and more than able to take on the work so we won’t have to. But make no mistake, as Americans, these things are going on in our name, so we have no small obligation here to take Worthington up on his offer and pay attention.

The Itch in Joe Lieberman’s Gitmo Finger

Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut may be the most destructive politician in the United States. Combining the worst ideas of the right, the left, and the religious, he essentially seeks to punitively tax the world in order to bomb it for the sake of Israel. Despite Lieberman’s “dual” loyalty — in quotes because I suspect he’s truly only loyal to the Jewish State — the voters of Connecticut chose him to represent them in Congress even though his own Democratic Party booted him off their ticket in favor of a pro-peace candidate.

Comfortable advocating mass murder with that creepy smile under both Bush and Obama, in light of the Fort Hood massacre, Lieberman seems to be primarily concerned not with PTSD and mental health issues in the armed forces in general, not with internecine abuse in Army ranks, not with whether or not the military should let go of conscientious objectors before they literally go ballistic, but whether or not Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan’s crazed actions could be technically classified as (Islamic) terrorism. Muslims in the military are rightly on edge.

As Maj. Hasan’s beliefs likely influenced, in part, his actions, so do Sen. Lieberman’s. Watch out Nidal, the senator from Connecticut has his own jihad, and his Gitmo finger is itchy.

Do you know Binyam Mohamed?

Two senior British judges accused the U.S. of threatening to stop sharing intelligence with Britain if the British Government released details of the extraordinary rendition of British citizen, Binyam Mohamed.


Perhaps this explains it:


So, while a few die hard “24” fans — and Alberto Gonzales, and Michael Mukasey — might still claim confusion about waterboarding being torture, nearly everyone else would agree that having your penis sliced with razors once a month IS torture.

According to the close-the-barn-door-late theory, should official confirmation of this behavior escape the U.S. establishment cone of silence, it would be a PR disaster. That, not the perennial whine of “National Security,” is the source of the pressure the British Judges felt.

There is a lot of smoke around the L.A. Times article suggesting Barak Obama’s Executive Order ending extraordinary renditions was bogus.

But even if Mr. Obama did end the extraordinary brand of renditions, according to a Democracy Now! interview with Michael Rattner of The Center for Constitutional Rights, there is still a hole big enough to drive tour busses full of victims into the Gulag.

Will this be another big disappointment like Mr. Obama’s plans to double the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan — and his authorization of Predator drone strikes on the tribal people of Pakistan? And will we meet other Binyam Mohameds in the future, this time created by the Obama Administration?