Guantanamo Bay Military Trials
- Now is the time to close Guantanamo...
I was going through some old boxes of stuff the other day from when I moved up to Brisbane from the Gold Coast last year. Well low and behold I came across the 1997 Oscar winning movie 'Life is Beautiful';...
Now four years or so since the United States President Barack Obama promised to close Guantanamo Baythere has been a backflip.
No longer will the holding facility for suspected Terrorists place be closed down Inmates seem to have the possibility that they face Trial under the so called Military Trials or Tribunals. The freeze on Military Trials has been lifted an now the United States face again the wroth of international legal activists. Who rightly claim the Tribunals fail on many counts to ensure a fair trial for detainees.
Hicks is home but Guantanamo needs to close
Guantanamo Bay Detainee, Australian David Hicks was detained for six years in Guantanamo Bay.
Hicks has now been home in Australia seven years now yrt Guantanamo remains open.
Detained at Guantanamo Bay Cuba in late 2001 until 2007.. Hundreds of people are still being held there indefinitely; now more than six years going on seven. Me thinks Guantanamo Bay Military dare I say the word (Concentration Camp )Military Facility must be closed.
The sooner its closed the better. Better because at last the world will see that America despite 9/11 has the capacity to ensure natural justice occurs to all that deviate before the law. At the moment the world, the detainees ant the constitutional system of justice is in limbo. Whilst the Attorney General Gonzales and the administration allow Detainees to remain without trial or charge then everything is tainted. The best thing that George Bush could do now is issue A Presidential directive to close Guantanamo pronto & transfer the remaining prisoners to a United States Prisoner & quickly determine whether there is enough evidence to detain them or not.
You might remember that shortly after the first accused terrorists reached the U.S. naval prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Jan. 11, 2002,
A delegation from CIA headquarters arrived in the Situation Room. The agency presented a delicate problem to White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales, a man with next to no experience on the subject. Vice President Cheney's lawyer, who had a great deal of experience, sat nearby.
The meeting marked "the first time that the issue of interrogations comes up" among top-ranking White House officials, recalled John C. Yoo, who represented the Justice Department. "The CIA guys said, We're going to have some real difficulties getting actionable intelligence from detainees" if interrogators confined themselves to treatment allowed by the Geneva Conventions.
From that moment, well before previous accounts have suggested, Cheney turned his attention to the practical business of crushing a captive's will to resist. The vice president's office played a central role in shattering limits on coercion of prisoners in U.S. custody, commissioning and defending legal opinions that the Bush administration has since portrayed as the initiatives, months later, of lower-ranking officials.
The vice president's office pushed a policy of robust interrogation that made its way to the U.S. naval prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, above, and Abu Grab prison in Iraq. Cheney and his allies, according to more than two dozen current and former officials, pioneered a novel distinction between forbidden "torture" and permitted use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading" methods of questioning. They did not originate every idea to rewrite or reinterpret the law, but fresh accounts from participants show that they translated muscular theories, from Yoo and others, into the operational language of government.
A backlash beginning in 2004, after reports of abuse leaked out of Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo Bay, brought what appeared to be sharp reversals in courts and Congress -- for Cheney's claims of executive supremacy and for his unyielding defense of what he called "robust interrogation."
But a more careful look at the results suggests that Cheney won far more than he lost. Many of the harsh measures he championed, and some of the broadest principles under girding them, have survived intact but out of public view. from the New York Times online News site.
Dick Cheney's views on executive supremacy -- like many of his core beliefs about foreign policy and defense -- have held remarkably steady over the years. More »The vice president's unseen victories attest to traits that are often ascribed to him but are hard to demonstrate from the public record: thoroughgoing secrecy, persistence of focus, tactical flexibility in service of fixed aims and close knowledge of the power map of government. On critical decisions for more than six years, Cheney has often controlled the pivot points -- tipping the outcome when he could, engineering stalemate when he could not and reopening debates that rivals thought were resolved.
"Once he's taken a position, I think that's it," said James A. Baker III, who has shared a hunting tent with Cheney more than once and worked with him under three presidents. "He has been pretty damn good at accumulating power, extraordinarily effective and adept at exercising power." from New York Times.
David S. Addington, Cheney's general counsel, set the new legal agenda in a blunt memorandum shortly after the CIA delegation returned to Langley. Geneva's "strict limits on questioning of enemy prisoners," he wrote on Jan. 25, 2002, hobbled efforts "to quickly obtain information from captured terrorists."
No longer was the vice president focused on procedural rights, such as access to lawyers and courts. The subject now was more elemental: How much suffering could U.S. personnel inflict on an enemy to make him talk? Cheney's lawyer feared that future prosecutors, with motives "difficult to predict," might bring criminal charges against interrogators or Bush administration officials.
Geneva rules forbade not only torture but also, in equally categorical terms, the use of "violence," "cruel treatment" or "humiliating and degrading treatment" against a detainee "at any time and in any place whatsoever." The War Crimes Act of 1996 made any grave breach of those restrictions a U.S. felony [Read the act]. The best defense against such a charge, Addington wrote, would combine a broad presidential directive for humane treatment, in general, with an assertion of unrestricted authority to make exceptions.
The vice president's counsel proposed that President Bush issue a carefully ambiguous directive. Detainees would be treated "humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of" the Geneva Conventions. When Bush issued his public decision two weeks later, on Feb. 7, 2002, he adopted Addington's formula -- with all its room for maneuver -- verbatim.
In a radio interview last fall, Cheney said, "We don't torture." What he did not acknowledge, according to Alberto J. Mora, who served then as the Bush-appointed Navy general counsel, was that the new legal framework was designed specifically to avoid a ban on cruelty. In international law, Mora said, cruelty is defined as "the imposition of severe physical or mental pain or suffering." He added: "Torture is an extreme version of cruelty."
How extreme? Yoo was summoned again to the White House in the early spring of 2002. This time the question was urgent. The CIA had captured Abu Zubaida, then believed to be a top al-Qaeda operative, on March 28, 2002. Case officers wanted to know "what the legal limits of interrogation are," Yoo said.
This previously unreported meeting sheds light on the origins of one of the Bush administration's most controversial claims. The Justice Department delivered a classified opinion on Aug. 1, 2002, stating that the U.S. law against torture "prohibits only the worst forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" and therefore permits many others. [Read the opinion] Distributed under the signature of Assistant Attorney General Jay S. Bybee, the opinion also narrowed the definition of "torture" to mean only suffering "equivalent in intensity" to the pain of "organ failure ..... or even death."
When news accounts unearthed that opinion nearly two years later, the White House repudiated its contents. Some officials described it as hypothetical, without disclosing that the opinion was written in response to specific questions from the CIA. Administration officials attributed authorship to Yoo, a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley who had come to serve in the Office of Legal Counsel.
But the "torture memo," as it became widely known, was not Yoo's work alone. In an interview, Yoo said that Addington, as well as Gonzales and deputy White House counsel Timothy E. Flanigan, contributed to the analysis.
The vice president's lawyer advocated what was considered the memo's most radical cl.. that the president may authorize any interrogation method, even if it crosses the line into torture. U.S. and treaty laws forbidding any person to "commit torture," that passage stated, "do not apply" to the commander in chief, because Congress "may no more regulate the President's ability to detain and interrogate enemy combatants than it may regulate his ability to direct troop movements on the battlefield."
That same day, Aug. 1, 2002, Yoo signed off on a second secret opinion, the contents of which have never been made public. According to a source with direct knowledge, that opinion approved as lawful a long list of interrogation techniques proposed by the CIA -- including water boarding, a form of near-drowning that the U.S. government has prosecuted as a war crime since at least 1901. The opinion drew the line against one request: threatening to bury a prisoner alive.
Yoo said for the first time in an interview that he verbally warned lawyers for the president, Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that it would be a risky policy to permit military interrogators to use the harshest techniques, because the armed services, vastly larger than the CIA, could overuse the tools or exceed the limits. "I always thought that only the CIA should do this, but people at the White House and at DOD felt differently," Yoo said. The migration of those techniques from the CIA to the military, and from Guantanamo Bay to Abu Ghraib, aroused worldwide condemnation when abuse by U.S. troops was exposed.
Neither of them took their objections to Cheney, the official said, a much more dangerous course.
David Hicks plea
A series of heated exchanges followed between Hicks's remaining lawyer, Major Michael Mori and Kohlmann. Mori challenged the judge's impartiality because Kohlmann had been involved in the 2004 military trials that were ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court. Mori also cited the judge's attempts to start the arraignment last week, when he knew that Dratel could not attend. Kohlman rejected these arguments and then closed the hearing. from Leigh Sales. Detainee 001.
The blatantly biased nature of the proceedings undoubtedly had its impact. A short while later, an unexpected special night session of the military commission was hurriedly convened, at which Major Mori told the judge that his client had agreed to plead guilty.
The charge of "providing material support to terrorism" is another legal fraud cooked up by the Pentagon after the US Supreme Court ruled that Washington's previous military commissions and the initial charges against Hicks were unconstitutional. "Providing material support to terrorism" is not a war crime under the Geneva Conventions or the laws of war. Moreover, it is being imposed retrospectively. It therefore constitutes an open violation of the US Constitution and the Australian Criminal Code and would be unacceptable in any genuine court of law.
Enough words have been uttered. Enough printing ink have been spilt. Enough carbon gases produced to power computers around the world to persuade cajole and demand that Guantanamo Bay Military Facility been closed. The inmates moved to a proper prison on the mainland and that they be charged and tried according to international and United States Law. Is that asking too much? I ask you.
New York Times period 2002 - 2012
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