19 Sep

Judge Orders Release from Gitmo of Kuwaiti Who Met Bin Laden

“to take all necessary and appropriate diplomatic steps” to arrange his release “forthwith.”

By Andy Worthington, September 19, 2009

Full Article

Why the courts are more qualified than the government to appraise the Guantánamo cases

The ruling brings to 30 the number of habeas petitions granted in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling, in June 2008, that the Guantánamo prisoners have constitutionally guaranteed habeas rights. Just seven petitions have been refused (a success rate for the prisoners of 81 percent), and as the government dithers about what to do with the remaining 225 prisoners, these statistics confirm yet again — as I have been arguing since President Obama took office — that the courts and the prisoners’ lawyers, with their long history of dealing with the cases, are better qualified than the government to understand the extent to which those held at Guantánamo were, for the most part, subjected to extremely dubious post-capture intelligence-gathering, based primarily on the “confessions” of other prisoners, or of the prisoners themselves, in situations where coercion or bribery were prevalent.

Just two days ago, the New York Times revealed that the government’s interagency Guantánamo Task Force, established on Obama’s second day in office to work out whether to charge or release the prisoners, was struggling with the kind of decisions that the courts are already making, and which they will continue to make, as ordered by the Supreme Court. The Times explained that “About 80 detainees have been approved for resettlement in other countries,” and that “About 40 other detainees, including the Sept. 11 defendants, have been referred for prosecution in either a military or civilian criminal court,” but that “The cases of more than 100 of the remaining detainees are undergoing a second review by the prosecution teams, who so far have been unable to reach a consensus about whether these prisoners should be transferred to other countries or  prosecuted.”…………………………………………………………………………….

One of the men who particularly suffered because of Addington and Cheney’s counter-productive arrogance was Fouad al-Rabia, who is the man described by the CIA analyst in an interview with Mayer as follows:

One man was a rich Kuwaiti businessman who took a trip to a different part of the world every year to do charity work. In 2001, the country he chose was Afghanistan. “He wasn’t a jihadi, but I told him he should have been arrested for stupidity,” the CIA officer recalled. The man was furious with the United States for rounding him up. He mentioned that every year up until then, he had bought himself a new Cadillac, but when he was released, he said, he would never buy another American car. He was switching to Mercedes.

This is another small piece of evidence to add to the burgeoning file of complaints against Dick Cheney and David Addington (the one that begins with torture and calls for prosecution, but also includes a whole section on arrogance and incompetence), but it amazes me that no one in the Justice Department, under President Obama, investigated the CIA analyst’s report, and, instead, stuck to the allegations put forward by military prosecutors in the Bush administration’s Military Commission system (overseen by the Convening Authority Susan Crawford, a protégée of Dick Cheney and a close friend of David Addington), and advanced mindlessly towards another humiliation in court.

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