Guantanamo prisoners tortured, US Army judge admits

This video from the USA is called Mancow: Waterboarding is Torture: Olbermann.

By Patrick Martin:

US tortured Guantanamo prisoners, Army judge admits

15 January 2009

In an extraordinary public declaration, the top military judge overseeing the military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay admitted two of the principal charges long made against the Bush administration—that prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp have been tortured, and that the torture was carried out in accordance with an official policy set in Washington.

In an interview with Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, Susan Crawford said that prisoner Mohammed al-Qahtani had been so systematically abused through isolation, sleep deprivation, forced nudity and exposure to cold that he was in a “life-threatening condition.”

“We tortured Qahtani,” she told Woodward. “His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case” for prosecution.

A 61-year-old former Army counsel and former Pentagon inspector general, Crawford served from 1991 to 2006 as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. In February 2007, Defense Secretary Robert Gates named her the convening authority of the military commissions. In May 2008 she dismissed war crimes charges against Qahtani, without giving her reasons publicly.

While saying that she did not know any specifics of the treatment of the five other Guantanamo prisoners accused of 9/11 offenses, Crawford said, “I assume torture,” noting that Bush administration officials have admitted that several of the prisoners, including alleged 9/11 organizer Khalid Sheik Mohammed, had been waterboarded.

Crawford made clear that the abuse of prisoners was not the result of lower-ranking interrogators being overzealous, but the consequence of policies set at the top. The techniques used against Qahtani were approved by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. “A lot of this happened on his watch,” she said.

The responsibility, she suggested, goes even higher, to the Bush White House. “I think the buck stops in the Oval Office,” Crawford told the Post.

See also here.

‘War on terror’ was a mistake, says British foreign secretary David Miliband: here. You are rather late, David.

In farewell speech, Bush insists “war on terror” must continue: here.

7 thoughts on “Guantanamo prisoners tortured, US Army judge admits

  1. Bush Speaks Tonight – We Speak Today

    After spending 8 years destroying everything he touched, Bush will give his final TV speech tonight.

    The only question is whether he will use tonight’s TV speech to announce his blanket pre-emptive pardons for everyone who tortured and wiretapped – or whether he will wait until Tuesday morning just before President Obama is sworn in when (he hopes) no one will notice.

    Before Bush speaks tonight, let’s all speak for ourselves today with 3 quick actions for a Special Prosecutor:

    1. Vote for the “Constitutional Slate” on is an independent progressive website that will pick 10 issues to promote through grassroots and media organizing.

    We’re supporting two proposals to restore the Constitution:

    * Appoint a Special Prosecutor for the Crimes of the Bush Administration (now #15)

    * Get FISA Right, repeal the PATRIOT Act, and restore our civil liberties (now #10)

    Click “Vote Now” under the tally on the left and it will prompt you for a quick login. (You must click the email confirmation, then click “Vote Now” again.) Make sure your vote counts – after a second or two, “Vote Now” should change to “Voted.”

    Voting ends Thursday 5 pm ET / 2 pm PT so please vote right now!

    2. Sign our Petition to Eric Holder for a Special Prosecutor

    Our friends at Docudharma wrote an excellent petition to President Obama’s nominee for Attorney General, Eric Holder. Obama answered our Special Prosecutor question by saying Holder would be the “People’s Lawyer” and would help Obama decide whether to appoint one. We have over 15,000 signatures – please add yours:

    3. Urge Senate Democrats to Ask Holder About a Special Prosecutor

    Eric Holder’s confirmation hearings in the Senate begin today, and we’d like one Senator to ask Holder: “will you appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?”

    Call 800-828-0498 or 800-473-6711 or 202-224-3121 and ask one or more of these progressive Democratic Senators to ask our question:

    Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
    Dick Durbin (IL)
    Patrick Leahy (VT)
    Russ Feingold (WI)

    We’re thrilled to be working with the Center for Constitutional Rights, People’s Email Network, and Docudharma. Together we can swamp their phones and send a great message!

    Thanks for all you do!

    Bob Fertik


  2. Posted by: “frankofbos”

    Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:01 pm (PST)

    Bush History-A Pretend Cowboy, A Science Lie, An Iraq Admission, &
    Economic Failure, 1/15

    Bush takes a hit for his pretend-cowboy persona from a prominent GOPer
    on this date in 2000 (with related yee-haw Bushisms). Also, a Bush
    campaign promise is made on respecting science, a promise soon to be
    broken (2000). In 2007 we find the president finally admitting to some
    of his oh-so-obvious Iraq failures, and in 2008 we have a Bush failure
    on inflation.

    More details, from the 2009 Bush Blunder Calendar …

    Today’s category: Bushisms, Dishonesty, Incompetence, Iraq


  3. 1/14/09

    At Long Last, Justice Makes Her Presence Known
    Posted by: BirchBricker

    NPR has reported that today a federal judge ordered the military to release one of its first Guantanamo Bay detainees, a 21-year-old man who has been detained and accused of being a terrorist since he was 14.

    Mohammed el Gharani, who is of Chadian nationality but had lived in Saudi Arabia, should be released from the U.S. prison in Cuba “forthwith,” U.S. District Judge Richard Leon said in a ruling from the bench.

    The military had accused el Gharani of being part of al-Qaida, working for the Taliban and fighting American forces in Afghanistan. However, Leon said those accusations were based on testimony from other Guantanamo Bay detainees, which he found unreliable.

    “Simply stated, a mosaic of tiles bearing images this murky reveals nothing about the petitioner with sufficient clarity, either individually or collectively, that can be relied upon by this court,” Leon said.

    El Gharani listened to the ruling live by telephone from Cuba but did not react.

    He could be on his way home to his family in a few weeks, lawyer Zackary Katznelson said. “Judge Leon did justice today.”

    The government can appeal Leon’s decision.

    “We’re disappointed by the ruling and will consider our options,” Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said.

    El Gharani was arrested in Pakistan in 2001 at a mosque by local police, and turned over to United States forces in 2002. He was one of the first Guantanamo Bay detainees and also one of the youngest.

    Katznelson said el Gharani now has spent a third of his life in military prison in Cuba. “He never should have been in prison in the first place,” Katznelson said.

    He was accused of receiving military training from al-Qaida in Afghanistan and serving as a courier for several high-ranking members. He also is accused of fighting against U.S. and coalition forces at the battle of Tora Bora in Afghanistan in late 2001 and of being a member of an al-Qaida cell based in London in 1998.

    El Gharani denied all of the accusations.

    The government’s only evidence is statements made by two other Guantanamo Bay detainees whose credibility and reliability has been called into question by “government personnel,” Leon said.

    For example, El Gharani’s lawyers pointed out that he would have been 11 in 1998, when he is accused of being part of an al-Qaida cell in England.

    And “putting aside the obvious and unanswered questions as to how a Saudi minor from a very poor family could have even become a member of a London-based cell, the government simply advances no corroborating evidence for these statements it believes to be reliable from a fellow detainee, the basis of whose knowledge is � at best � unknown,” Leon said.

    See also here.


  4. Detainee releases show cracks in cases
    Man held for 6 years no longer deemed enemy combatant

    By William Glaberson
    New York Times

    Updated: 01/18/2009 10:24:20 PM CST

    For nearly six years, Haji Bismullah, an Afghan detainee at Guantanamo, has insisted that he was no terrorist but actually had fought the Taliban and later had been part of the pro-American Afghan government.

    Over the weekend, the Bush administration flew Bismullah home after a military panel concluded that he “should no longer be deemed an enemy combatant.”

    Asked about the panel’s decision, which was not publicly announced and seemed to acknowledge a mistake of grand proportions, a Pentagon spokeswoman said, “Mr. Bismullah was lawfully detained as an enemy combatant based on the information that was available at the time.”

    In the past three months, at least 24 detainees have been declared improperly held by courts or a tribunal. About 245 men remain at the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    “The house of cards is finally falling down,” said Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which has coordinated detainees’ lawyers. “There doesn’t seem to be a legal basis to hold these people.”

    Lawyers for Bismullah, 29, presented sworn statements from officials of the U.S.-supported Afghanistan government of Hamid Karzai that indicated Bismullah had been named as a terrorist by collaborators of the Taliban who wanted to take over his position as a provincial official.

    While hundreds of suspects have been released from the detention camp in the seven years it has been operating, the recent decisions are notable because they came after the Bush administration said it had reduced the population to the most dangerous terrorists.

    While Bismullah’s case was decided by a military panel, the rulings for the other 23 detainees occurred in habeas corpus hearings in federal court. Since a Supreme Court decision in June gave detainees the right to have their detentions reviewed by federal judges in habeas cases, the government has won only three of them. The government is appealing some of the rulings it lost.

    In Bismullah’s case, a federal appeals court ruling in 2007 would have required the government to turn over all the information it had gathered on all detainees.

    The Bush administration, in fighting that decision, told the court that it would hold a new military hearing at Guantanamo to review Bismullah’s claims of innocence. That new hearing, according to people knowledgeable about the case, led to his release from the detention center along with five other detainees.


  5. Pingback: British war profiteers Group 4 | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Torture, police violence in the USA, United Nations say | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: Obama deconstructs Bush´s torture policies | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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