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November 12, 2005

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Every single detainee is going to claim that he was tortured.

Habib's claim to have been tortured conveys no information.

This is all very obvious. Those who credulously regurgitate these claims as if they were settled fact do so for partisan political reasons and bring considerable discredit upon themselves in the process.

Those who credulously regurgitate these claims as if they were settled fact do so for partisan political reasons and bring considerable discredit upon themselves in the process.

We know almost nothing about what the detainees' lives are really like, about what abuses they may have suffered, or about what justification there might be for holding them. All of this information has been classified. Aren't you even a little curious about it? Don't you wonder sometimes whether things mightn't've gotten out of hand? Don't you hope that someday everything will be made clear? Wouldn't it be nicer if when everything came out into the open, our country had behaved honorably?

Two words: civilian oversight. There's a reason (many, more like) the founders mistrusted an unlimited executive power.

Who is more credulous:

A: Those who believe the patently untrue "All the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay were captured on the battlefield, and none of them have been tortured!" because they have been told it's true by people in authority, and they believe what they have been told rather than public evidence;

B: Those who want the prisoners to be brought before a court and the court to find whether or not their detention is legal?

Habeas corpus ad subjiciendum.... is an ancient law, and it was not instituted because the Brits are an especially credulous nation.

For what it's worth, I've just now written my senators Schumer and Clinton and urged them to take active roles in supporting the Bingaman amendment. Would it just be weird to write swing Senators if I don't live in their states?

Every single detainee is going to claim that he was tortured.

From the evidence so far most of them will be right.

But not every detainee is going to be held solely on the evidence of uncorroborated confessions made in a country with a long record of torture. At least, you'd hope not.

Habib was released and returned to Australia to avoid the subject of extra-ordinary rendition in US courts. He supposedly confessed to helping train those who carried out 911 but was released.

Every single detainee is going to claim that he was tortured.

This, I can state as a fact, is untrue.

I have looked into the allegations of torture after rendition extensively. And I mean extensively. Habib's allegations are supported by:

1) Egypt's long and glorious history of torturing prisoners, including prisoners sent there by the United States.

2) Habib giving descriptions of his rendition to and torture in Egypt which had notable similarities to other accounts from prisoners rendered to Egypt. Habib first made these allegations while detained incommunicado at Guantanamo Bay, and these other prisoners were never held at Guantanamo, so there is no possibility of collusion.

3) The following other descriptions of Habib's treatment by other detainees at Guantanamo.

From Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed:
"Habib himself was in catastrophic shape - mental and physical. As a result of his having been tortured in Egypt he used to bleed from his nose, mouth and ears when he was asleep."

Jamal al-Harith also described Habib bleeding from his nose and ears, stating further that he "said that he had been in Egypt for about six months, and they had injected him with drugs, and hung him from the ceiling, and beaten him very, very badly. He seemed to be in pain. He was haggard-looking. I never saw him walk. He always had to be held."

Tarek Dergoul described Habib as:

Very confused, dizzy. Dazed. Weak. Slow - he spoke very slow - he spoke in riddles. I couldn’t really make out, I mean, like he was telling me stuff about Egypt, he’d been taken to Egypt…He told me he’d been electrocuted, put in water, electrocuted, he’d been stripped, been punched, kicked and punched, used as a punching bag. He said something about a dog being put on him as he was naked. Cigars put out on his body. Blindfolded.

4) This report, certainly hearsay evidence but not entirely irrelevant, from Qatar's former minister of justice:

"Dr. Hajib al-Naumi, Qatar’s former justice minister, told Dateline that according to reports from contacts of his in Egypt, Habib "was in fact tortured. He was interrogated in a way which a human cannot stand up…We were told that he -- they rang the bell that he will die and somebody had to help him.""

5) The fact that Habib, who was initially charged with being a high ranking member of Al Qaeda, was released to Australia very soon after his torture allegations became public, and before discovery on his medical records could proceed in his court case.

am has actually inadvertantly made another point for me, though. Graham's bill says that the regulations the DoD writes for proceedings at Guantanamo must prevent the use of evidence that a prisoner can prove by a preponderance was produced through "undue coercion." But the DoD will always argue that a prisoner who alleges that his confessions were produced under torture is lying. Without a lawyer, without being able to see the evidence against him, without being able to force the court to look at his medical records, without a truly independent decisionmaker, how on earth is a prisoner going to be able to prove that by a preponderance?

Surely it doesn't matter whether Habib was tortured or otherwise. The bottom line is that the only evidence that he is a terrorist is his own confession, which he says was coerced. If he stands in front of the tribunal and says no, I'm not a terrorist, then what? The tribunal says he is a liar now, but when he was in the hands of the Egyptians he was telling the truth?

Yes, most detainees will say they were tortured. I should think that all the ones rendered to Egypt were. But whatever they say, you surely cannot think it is right that they are detained solely on the evidence of "confessions" made in Egypt, entirely unsupported by any other evidence. Would you accept that standard for yourself?

Having defended an American serviceman [who just happened to be Arab-American & Muslim] who was accused of "conspiring" with former Army Chaplain James Yee, to commit espionage at Guantanamo Bay's Camp Delta, I had access to much of the "classified" [most improperly and illegally by the way] information. We knew [but it was then still "classified"] about the Koran abuses; and much more that remains classified simply to protect the "powers that be." There was absolutely no attempt made in many cases to "screen" prisoners captured in Afghanistan, before they were sent to GTMO, and so, the CSRT's are a due process decoy - a farce with a procedure, but no substantive effect. We found that most of the Guards and prison staff would not drink the water that was given to the prisoners because it was so foul - warm, desalinated ocean water. We - a team of experienced lawyers, all with security clearances - were denied access to key evidence, prompting the dismissal of various charges [which were bogus in the first place so the evidence that was "classified" probably was BS or didn't exist]; we were denied access to relevant witnesses, e.g., one of the charges against our client involved Australian David Hicks, yet we were denied access to the so-called "source material" for the charge, and we were denied access to him "for security reasons" to interview him about the charge, which was withdrawn before we could file our motions. The situation was so bad that three of the PROSECUTORS for the GTMO "Commissions" quit in disgust - they were afraid for their law licenses. So, giving "counsel" to a CSRT Respondent, while a start [but it's not going to happen on Rumsfeld's watch, that I guarantee you - they'll move all the GTMO prisoners to the Black Hole on Diego Garcia], the right to counsel will be thwarted at every turn. It took us over 6 months of litigation, 3 experienced lawyers, one a former military intelligence officer, to either get access to or declassify relevant material, and we were litigating this in California, not Cuba.

Lindsey Graham knows all of this - there was a reason that Bush promoted him to full Colonel in the Air Force Reserves - and no one gave a damn about the Incompatibility Clause or any other part of the Constitution.

What about the "enemy combatants" held here in the US - not GTMO, e.g., Al-Marri? Is his habeas case presently being litigated in USDC in SC going to be quashed also?

The Senate got hood-winked well and good, and the House is about to goose-step in line, just like the Japanese internment cases in WW II, all based on total lies, hence the successful coram nobis petitions years later.

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