War

Guantanamo Detainee Speaks Out Against Torture From His Prison Cell

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Published on March 18, 2015. Original Text below:

"I cannot believe that the majority of Americans want to finance the detention of innocent people," says Hina Shamsi, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union. She speaks on behalf of her client,Mohamedou Slahi, a current detainee at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay and the New York Times best-selling author of the recently released, Guantanamo Diary.

Guantanamo Diary is the first account written and published by a still-imprisoned Guantanamo inmate. Slahi finished writing the book in 2005, but it took six years and a team of lawyers to obtain approval for publication. To secure the U.S. government's permission to publish the book, more than 2,500 redactions were added to the manuscript, which remain blacked out throughout the book's text. 

The 400-page book details Slahi's harrowing experience since being captured by the U.S. government in 2002 on suspicion of aiding Al Qaeda. His story includes extraordinary rendition, physical and mental abuse, and the nightmarish legal limbo he remains in—Slahi is still incarcerated even though a federal judge ordered his release in 2010. The book debuted at no. 14 on the New York Times bestseller list.   

Shamsi sat down with Reason TV's Anthony L. Fisher to discuss the book, her client, and the moral and legal pitfalls of "enhanced interrogation techniques" and indefinite detention.

About 11 minutes. 

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  1. From Wikipedia:

    Slahi was subjected to isolation, temperature extremes, beatings and sexual humiliation at Guant?namo. In one documented incident, he was blindfolded and taken out to sea in a boat for a mock execution. Lt. Col Stuart Couch refused to prosecute Slahi in a Military Commission in 2003. He said in 2007 that “Slahi’s incriminating statements?the core of the government’s case?had been taken through torture, rendering them inadmissible under U.S. and international law.”

    Jesus.

    Then there’s this:

    What was not revealed until 2008 was that in a March 14, 2003 legal opinion memo issued by John Yoo of the Office of Legal Counsel, Department of Justice, to the General Counsel of the Department of Defense, Yoo advised that federal laws related to torture and other abuses did not apply to interrogations overseas.[36] At that point the Bush administration contended that Guantanamo Bay was outside US jurisdiction. The Defense Department used this memo to authorize the use of enhanced interrogation techniques at Guantanamo and in Iraq.[36][37]

    That’s right! An American military base is ‘outside US jurisdiction’ so the government doesn’t have to obey American torture laws! Brilliant!

  2. I have no idea what the truth of this matter is. To think that the account of a terrorist is trustworthy is almost as naive as believing that the government account is trustworthy. But there is one thing I am absolutely certain of:

    Holding, ANYONE, for 14 years without charge or trial iS NOT what this nation is about. It’s hard to be credible when flipping shit at the “blame America first” crowd, when this is the position of the United States government. This is a fucking travesty!

    1. My theory for why they have been held this long:

      Most of these guys are probably guilty as fuck, but there are probably some innocent goat herders locked up too.

      There is enough evidence to convict most of these guys in a fair trial and lock them up for life. But, in the discovery process, we would likely learn that our own government did things to these guys that are far worse than what some of the detainees ever did. And our government will never allow that to come to light.

      1. no one can point to anything good coming of the five guys released in exchange for Beau Bergdahl. Regardless, 14 years should be enough time for a disposition of this case either way.

        1. No one can point to anything good coming from you either. Why the fuck do you have rights?

      2. “My theory for why they have been held this long:
        Most of these guys are probably guilty as fuck”

        My theory is that you are guilty as fuck. Oh but were I a prosecutor that could throw you in a dungeon with no burden of proof.

    2. Question: If we had taken declared these guys “Prisoners of War” rather than “Illegal Combatants” would you have the same problem with the length of the detention? Prisoners of war (as I understand it) are allowed to be kept until the cessation of hostilities. I’m not sure what the rules are for illegal combatants.

      1. Without all of the information on hand, I would say yes and no. If the federal government declared them P.O.W.s that would raise all sorts of uncomfortable questions about the U.S. and it’s inability to actually to declare war against an actual country (someone please point out “Terror” on a map). It would also raise questions about the nationality of detainees and more importantly, where were they captured.

        As it stands now, The Military Commissions Acts of 2006 and 2009 respectively set up a third court system in America (apart from the judicial courts and the military courts) specifically for Guantanamo detainees in the wake of the Boumediene v. Bush (detainees had the right to federal habeas corpus).

        1. As it stands now, The Military Commissions Acts of 2006 and 2009 respectively set up a third court system in America (apart from the judicial courts and the military courts) specifically for Guantanamo detainees in the wake of the Boumediene v. Bush (detainees had the right to federal habeas corpus).

          I was unaware of that. Is it a court system that allows for a life sentence prior to being tried? /snark

          1. And I thought I was joking.

            (d) Inapplicability of Certain Provisions?
            (1) The following provisions of this title shall not apply to trial by military commission under this chapter:
            (A) Section 810 (article 10 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), relating to speedy trial, including any rule of courts-martial relating to speedy trial.

        2. Oh, and apparently those fighting in our own Revolution would now be considered Unlawful Combatants:

          :”The term ‘unlawful enemy combatant’ means ?
          (i) a person who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its co-belligerents who is not a lawful enemy combatant (including a person who is part of the Taliban, al-Qaida, or associated forces); or
          (ii) a person who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense.”

          “The term ‘lawful enemy combatant’ means a person who is ?
          (A) a member of the regular forces of a State party engaged in hostilities against the United States;
          (B) a member of a militia, volunteer corps, or organized resistance movement belonging to a State party engaged in such hostilities, which are under responsible command, wear a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, carry their arms openly, and abide by the law of war; or
          (C) a member of a regular armed force who professes allegiance to a government engaged in such hostilities, but not recognized by the United States.”

  3. Please. Obama very much wants to release all of his Islamic terrorist buddies from Guantanamo. His big quandary though is that he wants to do it while minimizing the damage to his democratic party as much as possible (look at how much damage he has done to his party as it is already with his far left wing policies).

    That’s the entire reason why he has been releasing them very slowly and quietly, behind the scenes, in drips and drabs, with as little public fanfare as possible. He knows that if he simply released them all at once he would put his fellow libdems in a position that they wouldn’t recover from for years.

  4. As unlawful combatants on a battlefield (combatants not wearing a uniform), we can execute them if we want according to the Geneva Conventions. We should exercise that right.

    1. That would be at the famous Battle of it never happened in Mauritania.

      Or will it be the soon to be fought Battle of Gauntanamo where unlawful combatants launch a surprise attack lunging backwards against armed guards?

  5. SHAMsi. Appropriate name for an ACLU critter.

    We already know that one of the specific forms of advice given to Islamists by their leaders is “if captured, claim mistreatment”. This guy takes it up to 11.

    Of course, the war was lost the minute someone (who ought to be hanged) issues orders like using gloves to handle korans so they wouldn’t get infidel cooties on them.

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