What's happening with those poor devils at Camp Xray ???

Walter Hinteler
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 02:36 pm
The Dutch "Utrecht Law Review" recently published an interesting report (in English) about


by Dr. Terry D. Gill (Associate Professor of Public International Law at Utrecht University and Professor of Military Law at the University of Amsterdam) and Dr. Elies van Sliedregt (Associate Professor of Criminal Law at Leiden University).

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cicerone imposter
Reply Thu 22 Sep, 2005 02:41 pm
Walter, It's really useless to try to correct this crime against humanity under this administration. They will continue their own agenda irregardless of the Geneva Convention or anything else that the world courts may try to apply.
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Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2005 08:57 am
Crime against humanity? There's some perspective for you. What Hitler did was a crime against Humanity. The rwandan genocide was a crime against humanity. Pol Pot committed crimes against humanity.

Holding prisoners in cells in Cuba? Hardly a crime against humanity. Please stop exagerrating these claims as they make real crimes seem less serious.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2005 10:32 am
When those held in Getmo do not get legal representatation, it's a crime against humanity.
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Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2005 11:15 am
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cicerone imposter
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2005 11:18 am
"Nonsense." For you or for the prisoners at Gitmo?
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Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2005 11:27 am
What you are saying is nonsense. Crimes against humanity? please. That demonstrates you have no grasp or perspective. Only misplaced outrage.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2005 11:33 am
"Misplaced outrage?" ROTFLMAO FYI, we're supposed to be a "demoracy" that allows legal representation for charges made against us by the government. Only tyranical governments do not allow these "freedoms." We are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. On that basis, what this administration is doing in Gitmo is illegal and against humanity. Your knowledge of the legal system in this country is wanting and ignorant.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2005 11:39 am
Navigating Gitmo's Legal Labyrinth
Interview by William Fisher

NEW YORK, Jul 27 (IPS) - As Washington prepares to resume military trials of "war on terror" detainees, a debate over their status is heating up in the U.S. Congress, with even some prominent Republicans demanding higher standards for interrogations and a ban on "cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment".

Brian J. Foley is a professor at Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville, who has published numerous op-eds and commentaries on politics and war.

Recently, IPS interviewed him about what should be done with prisoners detained at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- where abuse allegations have included chaining prisoners to the floor for hours and forcing them to soil themselves.

Q: The members of Congress who recently visited Guantanamo Bay seemed to be concerned primarily about the treatment of detainees. Is this the main issue now?

A: The main issue is and always has been whether these people are in fact guilty of anything at all. Members of congress can satisfy themselves that prisoners can read the Koran, but what if those prisoners are innocent? Reading the Koran does not make up for their loss of freedom, and the lack of any meaningful process to prove their innocence.

Q: The Defence Department has set up what seems a very complex system for determining the guilt of detainees. Is there something wrong with the Army system?

A: Even if we assume good faith on the part of the administration, then it's trying to hold these people because it thinks they are dangerous but can't prove it objectively. The slowness of the courts is undoubtedly part of their strategy.

When it designed a hearing system, the administration knew that prisoners were going to challenge it in court, and that everything would grind to a halt until a court decides, and then again until an appeals court decides, and yet again until the Supreme Court decides.

During this process, the administration can keep these men in prison, because it can argue that to let them out would endanger us. This is analogous to denying bail to a criminal defendant in our system.

If we were really concerned about the fairness and justice, the government could speed up the process by putting together a panel using the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Decisions would then be seen as proper.

Q: Are there specific problems with the Combat Status Review Panels (CSRPs), which determine whether someone is an enemy combatant, a prisoner of war (POW) or an innocent person?

A: The CSRPs provide the minimum process possible. For example, the rules include the presumption that the person is an enemy combatant. Also, the standard isn't "beyond a reasonable doubt," as in our criminal justice system, but a mere "preponderance of the evidence " -- what lawyers generally quantify as "51 percent." The barest majority.

These tribunals are made up of U.S. military officers who have loyalties to the military and their "Commander-in-Chief." Prisoners have no right to counsel -- just an officer who can help them along. That soldier is probably outranked by members of the tribunal. The tribunal can consider secret evidence that the prisoner can never see or even be told about by his military representative.

This violates our own due process rights to cross-examine and confront witnesses, and to have all evidence against you disclosed. The military officers conducting the hearing can consider any evidence they think is "reasonable." That includes hearsay evidence, and evidence and witnesses considered "reasonably available." It's unlikely the tribunal would fly other people halfway around the world to testify for the prisoner.

Q: Are there specific problems with the "military tribunals"?

A: This is the second part of the justice system our government is creating. Pres. (George W.) Bush created these bodies out of whole cloth in November 2001. While they provide more legal process than the CSRPs, they're still less reliable than hearings POWs would receive under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That is something Congress should decide to do.

Military tribunals have a presumption of innocence, but like the CSRPs, they still allow secret evidence against the prisoners. So our regular system tilts toward the defendant, while the Gitmo (Guantanamo) system tilts in favour of the government.
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Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2005 11:40 am
No, we are supposed to be a representative republic that allows the legal detention of those that choose not to follow the laws and treaties of our country. I fail to understand why anyone would choose to defend the killers and terrorists held in guantanamo while cursing their own government at the same time.

You should gain a better understanding of what you are saying before slinging insults C.I.
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cicerone imposter
Reply Fri 23 Sep, 2005 11:47 am
Okay, prove that all those held at Gitmo are killers and terrorists.
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Finn dAbuzz
Reply Sat 24 Sep, 2005 05:29 pm
cicerone imposter wrote:
When those held in Getmo do not get legal representatation, it's a crime against humanity.

No, not really.

In its Article 7, the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court in 2003 says:

For the purpose of this Statute, "crime against humanity" means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack: (a) Murder; (b) Extermination; (c) Enslavement

Whether or not some of the detainees may actually be innocent souls caught in the wrong place at the wrong time, as a group, the lot hardly represents a civilian population.

Their detention (with or without legal representation) cannot possibly be considered murder, extermination or even enslavement.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sat 29 Oct, 2005 01:05 am
Finn, when did the US ratify that statute? (re "For the purpose of this Statute")

From the BBC

The Pentagon has invited UN officials to visit the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, more than three years after first receiving the request.

The Pentagon said the invitation showed it had "nothing to hide".

Yes, of course not.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2005 10:50 am
The European Commission said Thursday that it plans to investigate allegations that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is using a Soviet-era compound in eastern Europe as part of a secret prison system to hide and interrogate al Qaeda suspects.
The allegations stem from a Washington Post report Wednesday which quoted former and current intelligence officers who admit to the covert prison operation, but administration officials refuse to confirm or deny the allegations. An EU spokesman said the commission's 25 member nations will be informally questioned about the possible facility, since such a prison could violate the European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention Against Torture.
Leaders from Romania, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Latvia, Georgia and Armenia have all denied that there is a CIA base in their countries, although Human Rights Watch says it has gathered evidence [ABC Australia report] indicating that the CIA uses planes to transport prisoners in Afghanistan to secret detention facilities in Poland and Romania.
The Czech Republic's Interior Minister, however, has confirmed that the US government asked Prague [Prague Daily Monitor report] to house Guantanamo Bay prisoners from a Chinese province who faced danger if returned to their home countries, but Czech authorities refused the request due to potential security risks.

From AP: Group Says CIA Sent Suspects to Europe

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross on Thursday called for access to all foreign terror suspects held by the US. ICRC spokesperson Antonella Notari said that the ICRC is concerned about "the fate of an unknown number of people... held at undisclosed places of detention" and that "access to detainees is an important humanitarian priority for the ICRC and a logical continuation of our current wor in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay."

From reuters: ICRC seeks access to US-held terror suspects
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Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2005 10:54 am
Oooof, to be in Romanian gulag, what can be more bleak.... Slovakia has declined to build a camp though, hoorah. Well, allegedly, anyway...

The Guardian

EU to investigate secret CIA jails

Staff and agencies
Thursday November 3, 2005

A detainee at Guantánamo Bay naval base in Cuba. Photograph: AP

The European commission is to investigate claims the CIA is holding al-Qaida captives at Soviet era compounds in eastern Europe.
The detention centres are part of a global internment network that includes Guantánamo Bay, Cuba and the Bagram air base in Afghanistan, according to the Washington Post.

The facilities - referred to as "black sites" in classified White House and CIA documents - allow the US agency to hold terror suspects for as long as it likes, but virtually nothing is known about who is kept in them.

Poland and Romania are thought the most likely locations in Europe, according to the New York-based Human Rights Watch and Polish press reports.
If the reports are true, the secret jails would violate European human rights law prohibiting unlawful detention.

A commission spokesman said it would informally question the 25 national governments on the claims. "We have to find out what is exactly happening. We have all heard about this, then we have to see if it is confirmed," he said.

Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria have denied involvement. The Czech interior minister, Frantiszek Bublan, said the US had approached Prague to build a camp but the request was turned down.

Bulgaria and Romania are scheduled to join the European Union in 2007 and are compelled to sign up to EU human rights standards. Eight other former Soviet bloc nations, including the Czech Republic and Poland, became members in May 2004.

Eastern European Nato members have been some of Washington's staunchest allies in the "war on terror" and in Iraq.

The Washington Post said it knew the names of the European countries involved but was withholding them at the request of US officials, who argued disclosure could act as a spur to terrorist reprisals.

The exact location of the facilities is known only to a handful of officials in the US and the host countries. The internment network as a whole has been kept almost entirely secret from the US Congress, which is charged with overseeing the CIA's covert actions. The report said the CIA was holding the top 30 al-Qaida suspects at the secret facilities, where they were kept in dark cells, sometimes underground, in isolation from the outside world. They have no recognised legal rights, and no one outside the CIA is allowed to talk to them or see them. The covert prison system was set up nearly four years ago in eight countries, including a facility in Thailand that was closed down after its existence was made public in 2003. Concerns over the CIA's handling of prisoners escalated last week after it emerged that the US vice-president, Dick Cheney, and the agency's director, Porter Goss, asked Congress to exempt the agency from legislation banning the cruel and degrading treatment of prisoners. Sources told the Washington Post that the process has caused considerable internal debate within the CIA, where there is concern about the legality, morality and practicality of the system.
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Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2005 11:52 am
In Poland, nobody seems to know anything. Not the Minister of Defense, not his Vice Minister, not even the former chief of Polish intelligence services, who was in office in 2003. Gazeta Wyborcza tried to interview people, only getting "I don't know anything" left and right. Dana Priest declined to confirm anything, Human Rights Watch only repeated that they have good reasons to believe that Poland and Romania are involved, as well as Uzbekistan and Bulgaria.
GW dug out the 2003 logs of that Boeing 737 that was supposedly bringing prisoners into Eastern Europe. Before it landed in Poland, at an old military airport Szymany pod Szczytnem, it has been to Prague, Uzbekistan, and Kabul. That same machine was also in Macedonia in 2004 the day that an alleged al-Qaeda member was detained there and left for Afghanistan later that day, presumably heading for the prison camp. CIA has two machines that are said to be used for transport of prisoners... You can find pictures of one just by googling N313P.
Waiting for things to boil over in the days to come, when officials can no longer decline to comment on the whole issue. Commentaries under news articles (so far mostly taken over from international press agencies), are angry and ugly - alternatively aimed against the U.S. and EEu governments, or against the EU and all those who dare to stick their noses in our internal affairs.

From Gazeta Wyborcza (in case someone else's Polish is better than mine, which is only intuitive...)
ekspert Human Rights Watch ds. terroryzmu John Sifton powiedział nam wczoraj, że ma dowody, iż samolot używany przez CIA do przerzutu więźniów lądował w 2003 r. w Polsce i innych krajach Europy Środkowej. - To rodzi podejrzenia, że Polska, Rumunia i Bułgaria biorą udział w operacji CIA - mówi.

Human Rights Watch pracowała wczoraj nad komunikatem ujawniającym, że chodzi o te kraje. Komunikatu jednak nie wydała.

Według naszych informatorów dowodem są oficjalne zapisy lotów boeinga 737 o numerze bocznym N313P. Miał on wylądować 22 września 2003 r. na małym lotnisku Szymany pod Szczytnem po locie z Kabulu.

Ta prywatna maszyna należąca do firmy transportowej w USA od kilkunastu miesięcy pojawia się w doniesieniach mediów na całym świecie o tajnych operacjach CIA. Parę miesięcy temu czeskie media podały, że 21 września 2003 r., dzień przed lotem do Polski, boeing ten wyleciał z Pragi do Uzbekistanu, gdzie według ekspertów przetrzymuje się więźniów w amerykańskich bazach wojskowych.

Rząd USA nie potwierdza, że CIA używa tego boeinga i drugiej mniejszej maszyny do transportu więźniów. Ale ujawniane w mediach zapisy lotów wskazują na to, że boeing N313P był w Macedonii w 2004 r. Tego samego dnia aresztowano tam domniemanego członka al Kaidy. Trafił on później do więzienia w Afganistanie, a tam właśnie tajemniczy samolot z Macedonii odleciał jeszcze tego samego dnia.
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Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2005 11:53 am
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Reply Thu 3 Nov, 2005 01:32 pm
More news from Central Europe:
Translated from www.aktualne.cz

Prague: USA wanted to establish a facility for prisons from the military base in Guantanamo. Czech Republic has refused such request. Guantanamo interns exclusively people connected with the terrorist organization al- Qaeda. Czech offices have denied the request. Minister of Interior František Bublan has confirmed this for Aktualne.cz.

"We held talks about this approximately a month ago. They wanted to establish something of the sort here, but failed. I wouldn't like to go into details, it's a complicated matter," said Minister Bublan.

Intelligence services: We don't know. No comment.

Press agencies of intelligence services reported they know nothing of such plans. "We haven't heard anything of the sort," claimed the spokesperson of the Civil Intelligence Services, Bohumil Šrajer.

Spokesperson of military security services, Ladislav Šticha, responded similarly: "We know nothing about that." Security Information Service had the least concrete reply: "Our rule is not to issue any statements connected to activities of foreign intelligence services. But I can tell you that our intelligence service does not have the power to run such facility or to detain anybody," said the spokesperson Jan Šubert.

Considering the practice of intelligence services in Czech Republic we cannot assume that they would confirm existence of such facility should it really exist.

Not in the Czech lands, but yes, in Eastern Europe.

Request submitted by American organization did not concern people connected to al-Qaeda. It was related to prisoners from Guantanamo who were not charged with anything. "It wasn't about terrorists. They were supposed to be from some province in China. U.S. could not send them back to their homeland as they would be faced with threats to their security," said Minister of Interior Bublan for aktualne.cz.

U.S. has, however, turned to other Eastern European countries, according to sources close to Czech intelligence services. "As far as we know, they finally succeeded somewhere," said a highly reliable source.

Praha - USA chtěly v Česku zřídit zařízení pro vězně zadržované na vojenské základně Guantánamo. ČR žádost odmítla.

Na Guantánamu jsou vesměs střeženi lidé spojení s teroristickou organizací Al-Káida. České úřady však této žádosti nevyhověly. Deníku Aktuálně.cz to potvrdil ministr vnitra František Bublan.

"Je to tak měsíc, co jsme o tom jednali. Měli snahu tu něco takového zřídit, ale neuspěli. Je to velmi komplikovaná záležitost, ale o detailech bych se nerad zmiňoval," uvedl ministr Bublan.

Tajné služby: Nevíme. No Comment

České zpravodajské služby shodně oznámily, že o žádném speciálním zařízení CIA na území republiky nemají sebemenší informace. "Nic takového se k nám nedostalo," uvedl mluvčí civilní rozvědky Bohumil Šrajer.

Podobné je i stanovisko vojenského zpravodajství. "Nevíme o tom," řekl mluvčí Ladislav Šticha. Nejméně konkrétní pak byla BIS. "Zásadně se nevyjadřujeme k informacím, které se týkají zahraničních zpravodajských služeb. Obecně ale mohu říci, že BIS nemá žádné pravomoce nějaké takové zařízení provozovat nebo kohokoli zadržovat," konstatoval mluvčí civilní kontrarozvědky Jan Šubert.

Vzhledem k zažité praxi v práci tajných služeb ale nelze čekat, že by aktivity CIA na území Česka potvrdily, pokud by k tomu nedostaly oficiální souhlas politiků.

Česko ne, východní Evropa ano
Žádost, kterou americká administrativa adresovala českým úřadům, se netýkala osob přímo napojených na teroristickou organizaci Al-Káida. Mělo se jednat o umístění vězňů z Guantánama, kteří nebyli z ničeho obviněni. "Nešlo o teroristy. Mělo jít o lidi z jedné z provincií Číny, které nebylo možné odeslat do domovské země kvůli hrozbám, jimž by v případě návratu mohli být vystaveni," dodal pro Aktuálně.cz ministr vnitra Bublan.

Spojené státy se podle zdrojů blízkých českým zpravodajským službám se stejnou žádostí obrátily i na další východoevropské země. "Pokud je nám známo, nakonec někde uspěli," uvedl vysoce důvěryhodný zdroj
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Reply Fri 25 Aug, 2006 08:29 pm

Yesterday, I got two press releases in my Inbox that complement each other oh-so-sublimely. They happen to be about Guantánamo Bay. First, this one, released on behalf of Seton Hall law professor Baher Azmy, who's serving as counsel for a Guantánamo Bay detainee named Murat Kurnaz:

    The Pentagon announced today that it released Murat Kurnaz, a German resident of Turkish descent, from his almost five years of detention in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. "The government's evidence against Kurnaz has ranged from incredibly tangential to at times preposterous," said Seton Hall Law School Professor Baher Azmy, who has represented Mr. Kurnaz since July 2004 and has visited him in Guantánamo several times. "Kurnaz's case lays to shameful waste the government's repeated assertions that Guantánamo houses only hardened terrorists or persons captured on the battlefield." Kurnaz had gone to Pakistan to study, and was arrested by local police as part of a routine bus stop, then handed over to the U.S. military. He was never charged with any crime and never alleged to have entered Afghanistan, trained militarily in any way, or ever to have held a weapon. Both U.S. and German intelligence concluded in as early as 2002 that Mr. Kurnaz had no connections to Al Qaeda, the Taliban or any other specific terrorist threat. German intelligence sources also concluded that Mr. Kurnaz was simply at the "wrong place at the wrong time" and that he had "nothing to do with terrorism, let alone Al-Qaeda."
Now, here's the Defense Department's announcement about Kurnaz, though he's not identified by name:

    Detainee Transfer Announced The Department of Defense announced today that it transferred one detainee from Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to Germany. This detainee was recommended for transfer due to an administrative review board process conducted at Guantánamo Bay. With today's transfer, more than 120 detainees remain at Guantánamo who the U.S. government has determined eligible for transfer or release through a comprehensive series of review processes.
You'll notice that the Pentagon release itself distinguishes between detainee transfers and outright releases, and although Kurnaz was released to his family within an hour of his arrival in Germany--according to Azmy--the Pentagon's official statement implies that he has been merely "transferred" to German custody. In case you're wondering, DOD does announce detainee releases from GTMO--although now it's an open question how comprehensive those releases really are. Remember this the next time the Pentagon implies that the press has a credibility problem.

--Spencer Ackerman

posted 11:34 a.m.
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Reply Fri 25 Aug, 2006 08:33 pm
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