Guantanamo Prisoner and Author Loses Court Challenge

Mohamedou Ould Slahi's request for federal court to intervene in confinement conditions at Guantanamo denied.


Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian who has been held prisoner by the United States since 2001, has recently been denied his request to have a federal court intervene on his behalf regarding the conditions in which he is being held prisoner. Slahi has been kept in a special detention camp, separated by most other prisoners at Guantanamo, and has never been charged with a crime. 

Stars and Stripes reports:

U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth wrote that he doesn't have the authority to order the Obama administration to set a date for a parole board hearing for Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who turns 45 Monday.

Just 18 of Guantanamo's current 107 captives have gone before the Periodic Review Board since President Barack Obama created it in March 2011. Two more captives have hearing dates set for next month.

The judge also said that he had no authority to order the U.S. military to return possessions Slahi was once allowed to keep in a cell — including family photographs and gifts from prison staff, including a non-networked laptop computer and books. "The Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment does not apply to Guantanamo detainees," Lamberth wrote.

Slahi did win an unlawful-detention suit against the U.S. government in 2010 with Judge James Robertson ordering him to be released. This ruling was overturned on appeal and returned to the federal court. Five years later, Slahi is still awaiting his rehearing. 

The detainee made headlines earlier this year when his book, Guantánamo Diary, was published with the help of his lawyers. It 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 book debuted at no. 14 on the New York Times bestseller list.

Reason TV spoke with one of Slahi's representatives, Hina Shamsi, a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union. 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.

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  1. Right the 5th doesn’t apply to detainees, it applies to the government. Is the US military not an organisation of the US government?

  2. U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth wrote that he doesn’t have the authority to order the Obama administration to set a date for a parole board hearing for Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who turns 45 Monday.

    WTF? Doesn’t have the authority to enforce the constitution on the government?

    1. The Judicial always defers to the Executive except when it’s forced by someone with dirty pics to consider other options.

    2. I’m wondering if this is one of those BS issues of standing.

      1. Gitmo was picked for a reason.

  3. Try him in federal court as a terrorist. Try him at the Hague for war crimes. Just don’t leave the bastard sitting in fucking military cell for 14 years without charges.

    1. You clearly want the terrorists to win.

      1. That bomb is still ticking.

    2. My understanding is that most of the cases against these detainees are shaky at best. So rather than risk embarrassment in court, the government will instead imprison them for the rest of their lives without a trial or any formal charges.

    3. I’m sure this will come up at one of the next debat…. hahahah almost got it out.

    4. Empty GitMo and send them all to Germany.

    5. Or shoot him summarily.

  4. Two thousand five hundred redactions? What could a peon who has been locked up since 2001 possibly know that might represent even a theoretical risk to national security?

    Who the hell am I kidding? At the detention facility where I worked, we had plenty of internees who had been outright told by MI that they knew they had the wrong guy, but they couldn’t be released anyway because . . . reasons.

    And right-wing jingotards wonder why so many of us came back struggling not to despise our country.

    1. You should give up the struggle.

      The state is an organization. Nothing more, nothing less.

      1. True enough, but to despise one’s own country is to loathe oneself, and that’s not a comfortable line to walk.

        1. See Sarc’s quote from Mark Twain below. The trick is to draw a distinction between one’s country and the government of that country.

          1. The line becomes blurry when one lives in a republic with a representative form of government like ours, especially when the concept of We the People is emblazoned right in the preamble to the charter of said government.

            Hopefully with age will come detachment instead of cynicism and disenfranchisement.

            1. The line becomes blurry when one lives in a republic with a representative form of government like ours

              Why? ‘My’ congressman votes consistently the ‘wrong’ way; I’ve never voted for him and don’t want him there. Ditto the president, ditto our senators, our mayor, our town council, the officials of the commonwealth etc ad nauseam.

              They are no more a part of me (or I them) than if they were appointed by the squirrel overlords who came over from Alpha Centauri and conquered the Earth.

            2. When nobody I voted for ever won an election, how can I say my government represents me?

              The only difference between today and the age of the kings is the magical words.

              Kings got the Divine Right of the King from God.

              Today’s politicians get The Will of the People from Representation.

              The costumes have changed, but the nature of their power has not. They do whatever the fuck they want, and claim to get their power from a magical source that is beyond reproach.

              1. I’ve often observed that not a single candidate I’ve ever voted for ever won in an election. Well, there is one exception to that: a small-town mayoral candidate who was a childhood acquaintance to that. But he didn’t win re-election. How do blokes like us stand always being on the losing side? Is libertarianism a synonym for masochism?

                1. Public schools will ensure that socialism / Top Men mentality will always stay in fashion.

                2. Well-put. But I prefer to think of it as keeping the ideals of liberty alive. It does get depressing, though.

              2. I have long been unmoved by the representative government in part because for every election I’ve participated in, local or federal, I have personally known between zero and a tiny handful of people who admitted voting for the person who wins. It’s conceivable it somehow has to do with the circles in which I circulate and communities in which I live, but still it’s been striking, and even if there’s some legitimate explanation, it still results in a pretty strong sense of having no representation. And in local elections in some areas, I’ve had sufficient evidence to be convinced that the elections were rigged. It’s always striking how the local administrators in government tend to adhere to a totally different philosophy and belong to a completely different culture than most of the inhabitants of the jurisdiction. This seems to be true, at least in the West, of MOST local governments, though there tends to be a lot more people living in the few places where the peons and the padr?nes are more culturally united.

                1. It’s always striking how the local administrators in government tend to adhere to a totally different philosophy and belong to a completely different culture than most of the inhabitants of the jurisdiction.

                  I think it’s the nature of people who seek power. Good people who mind their own business have no desire for power, and those who want to keep and increase their power will do everything they can to exclude anyone who would put that in jeopardy. That’s why government administrators and enforcers everywhere tend to be floaters. By floaters I mean cream isn’t the only thing that rises to the top.

                  To put it another way-

                  All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible. Such people have a tendency to become drunk on violence, a condition to which they are quickly addicted.

                  -Frank Herbert

          2. Unfortunately, there are many who cannot draw that distinction. So to them country, society, and government are all one, even though if government were to change or go away, the other two would remain.

            1. Isnt government just the things we do together?

              Or something.

            1. Leave Epi’s mom out of this! Oh, you meant the other thing…

              1. Episiarch, that’s the guy who brands me a sock. I guess his handle starts with an “E,” not an “A.”

                Ah, well, “E” is pronounced like “A” in German. Close enough.

        2. Why?

          Imagine you were born in Saudi Arabia. Imagine that after some intellectual journey you ended up a classical liberal/libertarian. Wouldn’t you despise your country? Would that mean you despised yourself?

          1. Saudi Arabia is a tribalistic culture ruled by an authoritarian monarch, not a nation of individuals ostensibly selecting their rulers in an egalitarian manner. I think in that case I could detach my self-identity from my national identity more easily. For me personally, the fact that I was over there serving in the military muddles things up more. I now have a harder time absolving myself completely of responsibility for the ways our government has screwed up the world. I never claimed my reaction was logical.

    2. “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”

      -Mark Twain

      1. Yep. I support my wife all the time, but I don’t hesitate to call her on her shit. Because I love her.

        Oddly enough, she considers that one of my most charming features.

      2. whatever “your country” means

      3. +1000000 Huckleberries

    3. Thanks for that perspective, NSD. Welcome aboard.

      1. Thanks! I’ve been here awhile, but I don’t post often because there’s a certain someone whose handle starts with “A” who always insists I’m a sock puppet. Gets old.

        1. Adolph Hitler?

          1. ‘F’, as in Adolf.

          2. Annette Funicello?

          3. Arnold Palmer?

        2. always insists I’m a sock puppet. Gets old.

          Why so defensive? you sound like a sock puppet. You’re a sock puppet aren’t you. Sock Puppet.

          1. Damn, you caught me. You can take the sock out of the smell, but you can never take the smell out of the sock.

            Or something like that.

            1. You do NOT want to know what most of the commentariat are doing with their socks.

              1. I don’t want to know what I’m doing with my socks half the time.

              2. I donate mine to sperm banks.

                1. Before or after they get crusty?

    4. What did “our country” have to do with some cowardly person in MI? 330 million people at fault for the cowardice of a det center puke or some.

      1. Or, rather, what Tonio and Sarc said…

        1. It’s not a cowardly person in MI. It’s a system with a pervasive lack of accountability and transparency, one that steadfastly refuses to admit error or fault. I don’t know how high up the flagpole release decisions are run, but I’m positive they’re not made on the front lines. And that’s a big part of the problem. Like police officers, cogs in the system are shielded from personal consequence by immunity and institutional inertia. It’s easier to do nothing than to make a hard decision, particularly when there’s no risk to the individual or the institution for doing nothing.

          1. And of course once they’re caught it’s hard to let them go because nobody wants them. Jingotards don’t want them in their towns, their countries of origin don’t want them back and if they do it’s only so they can excecute them on the QT, and third countries don’t want them.

  5. So you have the right to a speedy trial unless the King’s Men say you’re the wrong type of person? Why do we even pretend to have a Constitution?

    1. It’s worse than that. Not only do you not have a right to a speedy trial, you don’t have a right to representation. Worst of all, you don’t have a right to know what the charges are against you. We had detainees whose entire dossiers consisted of lines like “CDs were found in the back seat of his car,” who had been held literally for years without once having heard why they were behind bars and without a clue when they might find out. It was nauseating.

      1. It’s all in the same vein, which is that the government can hold you forever without any reason more than FYTW.

      2. Imagine being told, “We can’t tell you why you’re being held because it’s classified.” Imagine your lawyer being told, “We can’t tell you what we’re charging your client with [or even if they’re charging your client!] because that represents a threat to national security.” What amazed me was not how many riots and suicides we had, but rather how few. If there is one thing I took away from my time there, it’s that religion really is the opiate of the masses. With few exceptions, these men were almost unfailingly cooperative?even cordial?despite years of stripped of all freedom and no realistic prospect of ever being released.

        1. National security must give way to liberty, always.

          Those who invoke national security as a basis upon which to fuck with the liberty of others should be immediately gang raped and then crucified, in the desert, like Thulsa Doom tried to do with Conan.

            1. Naturally.

          1. It’s been 40 years since I read that and yet when I got to Thulsa Do…I immediately pictured Conan killing the buzzard that was trying to pluck his eyes out on the cross by biting its neck.

      3. Ah-ah, they do retain those rights. Rights are universal and inalienable. It’s the government that is denying them their rights.

  6. He’s in Gitmo. Why would he be there if he’s not guilty? QED

  7. a certain someone whose handle starts with “A”

    Arnold Ziffel.

    What did I win?

    1. A date with Zsa Zsa Gabor.

    2. A brand new barbe… umm, tanning bed.

  8. I still don’t understand how Guantanamo is any different then a USN ship at sea, courts have jurisdiction on these ships.

    If a US soldier murdered another soldier in Guantanamo the courts would have jurisdiction then. It might not be immediate jurisdiction since the military justice system would be first in line but eventually the civilian courts have a say in the matter.

    1. Perhaps theoretically, but if a soldier is serving life in Leavenworth, at which point would the civilian courts come into play?

      1. He can always appeal, military courts are not the highest courts in the US

  9. Amendment 5 – Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

    Amendment 6 – Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses

    In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

    The judge also said that he had no authority


    1. Any students of constitutional law wish to weigh in on what the term “infamous crime” would have meant in 18th century law? Is it as all-encompassing a term as “high crimes and misdemeanors,” which means, well, basically anything?

      1. Essentially, anything with a sentence that includes prison time. The term entered common law through the Roman practice of infamia, a punishment that deprived a person of their citizenship. SCOTUS ruled that in 1886 in Mackin v US that:

        Infamous crimes’ are thus, in the most explicit words, defined to be those ‘punishable by imprisonment in the penitentiary.

        This was later revised in 1957 during Green v US to mean only prison terms longer than a year. Since that is also the general definition for a felony, today the term “infamous crimes” is treated to be a different way of saying felony.

    2. Top men have ordained otherwise.

      Who is more apt to be seduced by Top men, miniarchists or anarchists?

      1. Chomsky anarchists or people who don’t believe in permanent authorities.

  10. Reuters headline:

    “Clinton Announces Plan to Battle Alzheimers”

    She’ll wallpaper the Oval Office with Post-It notes?

    1. I’m sure her queefdust mixed with a dash of piss will make for a more-than-satisfactory wallpaper paste.

      1. Why, yes, you have been lurking a while, haven’t you? That’s a pretty good imitation of Sug’s writing [twitches involuntarily].

    2. She’ll wallpaper the Oval Office with Post-It notes?

      Large dollar bills.
      There’s no disease a huge cash injection can’t solve. It’s just like AIDS.

    3. But will she remember it in 2017?

    4. “Today in awkward headlines”

  11. I could not fuck Hilary Clinton with Tonio’s dick, sarcasmic pushing, Nikki moaning, and Warty popping Cialis.

    1. You show mercy on a noob and this is how they repay you.

      1. Sir, I bare my back and prepare for my just punishment. Sir!

  12. “I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that”

    – Barack H. Obama, circa 2008

  13. Gotta love those kangaroo courts!

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