Tag Archives: Guantanamo Bay

Mistrial Declared in Abu Ghraib Torture Suit Against US Contractor

“This will not be the final word; what happened in Abu Ghraib is engraved into our memories and will never be forgotten in history,” one plaintiff vowed.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 5-2-2024 by Common Dreams

U.S. Army Spc. Charles Graner tortures hooded and handcuffed prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, Iraq. (Photo: U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command)

The federal judge presiding over a case filed by three Iraqis who were tortured by U.S. military contractors in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison two decades ago declared a mistrial Thursday after jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

After eight days of deliberation—a longer period than the trial itself—the eight civil jurors in Alexandria deadlocked over whether employees of CACI conspired with soldiers to torture detainees. The Virginia-based professional services and information technology firm was hired in 2003 during the George W. Bush administration to provide translators and interrogators in Iraq during the U.S.-led invasion and occupation, conspired with soldiers to torture detainees.

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Tortured Guantánamo Prisoner Ramzi bin al-Shibh Unfit for 9/11 Trial, Says Military Judge

“This decision by the military judge today does mark the first time that the United States has formally acknowledged the CIA torture program produced profound and prolonged psychological harm,” said al-Shibh’s lawyer.

By Brett Wilkins. Published 9-22-2023 by Common Dreams

Ramzi bin al-Shibh holds a document while posing for this 2010 photo. 
(Photo: International Committee of the Red Cross)

A U.S. military judge on Thursday found Guantánamo Bay prisoner Ramzi bin al-Shibh—who stands accused of being a key 9/11 organizer—unfit to stand trial because he suffers from mental illness his attorney says was caused by CIA torture years ago.

Air Force Col. Matthew McCall severed al-Shibh, a 51-year-old Yemeni, from the conspiracy case involving four other defendants who allegedly organized the cell of militants in Hamburg, Germany who hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 and flew it into the north tower of the World Trade Center in Manhattan on September 11, 2001. Al-Shibh had been charged as an accomplice in the case.

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‘Scathing’ Report From UN Expert’s Historic Visit Revives Calls to Close Guantánamo

“It is well past time to demand the closure of the prison, accountability from U.S. officials, and reparations for the torture and other ill-treatment that the detainees have suffered at the hands of the U.S. government,” said one campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 6-26-2023 by Common Dreams

A couple hundred activists and supporters converged in front of the White House Sunday, January 11, 2015, the 13th anniversary of the opening of the prison camp at Guantanamo. Photo: Debra Sweet/flickr/CC

Human rights advocates on Monday renewed their calls for the swift closure of the U.S. prison at Naval Station Guantánamo Bay in Cuba after a United Nations expert released the findings from her historic trip to the infamous facility.

The prison was established in 2002, after then-President George W. Bush launched the War on Terror in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. On the campaign trail and since taking office, President Joe Biden—who is seeking reelection next year—has indicated he wants to close the facility. His administration was the first to allow a visit by a U.N. expert earlier this year.

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’21 Years Is 21 Too Many’: 150+ Groups Urge Biden to Close Guantánamo

“We should not be marking another year in the life of this ignominious product of U.S. imperialism and racism as we have every January since the first anniversary of its opening in 2002,” said one of the letter’s signers. “Yet we will succeed in shutting it down.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 1-11-2023 by Common Dreams

Photo: CODEPINK/Twitter

Twenty-one years after the George W. Bush administration opened the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba—and 13 years after then-President Barack Obama signed an executive order for its closure—more than 150 groups on Wednesday implored the Biden administration to “act without delay” to close the notorious lockup.

“Among a broad range of human rights violations perpetrated against predominantly Muslim communities over the last two decades, the Guantánamo detention facility—built on the same military base where the United States unconstitutionally detained Haitian refugees in deplorable conditions in the early 1990s—is the iconic example of the abandonment of the rule of law,” the groups said in a letter to President Joe Biden. “The Guantánamo detention facility was designed specifically to evade legal constraints, and Bush administration officials incubated torture there.” Continue reading

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Declassified Docs Show CIA Used Prisoner as a Torture Training Prop

“Twenty years later, none of the those responsible for the CIA’s heinous regime of torture were ever prosecuted,” lamented Rep. Ilhan Omar. “Instead they got promotions.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 3-16-2022 by Common Dreams

Guantánamo prisoner and alleged 9/11 co-plotter Ammar al-Baluchi was used as a torture training prop at a CIA “black site” in Afghanistan, documents declassified in March 2022 affirmed. (Photo: International Committee of the Red Cross)

A prisoner at a Central Intelligence Agency “black site” in Afghanistan was used as a training prop to teach U.S. operatives how to torture other prisoners, leaving him with serious brain damage and other ailments, newly declassified documents published this week affirmed.

Ammar al-Baluchi, a 44-year-old Kuwaiti national, is currently imprisoned at the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where he is one of five men awaiting trial by military commission for alleged involvement in plotting the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The case, which has been delayed due to disputes over the admissibility of defendant testimony extracted through torture, has been in pre-trial hearings for more than a decade. Continue reading

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‘Disgraceful’: Supreme Court Sides With Hiding CIA Torture

“Basically, the Supreme Court has allowed the CIA to decide what can be said in court about the torture of prisoners in CIA black sites.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 3-3-2022 by Common Dreams

Demonstrators hold a sign that says “Torture Is Wrong” at a rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007. (Photo: takomabibelot/flickr/cc)

Human rights advocates on Thursday sharply condemned the Supreme Court’s decision that the U.S. government can block the testimony of two former Central Intelligence Agency contractors for a Polish criminal investigation into the torture of a Guantánamo Bay detainee.

“Basically, the Supreme Court has allowed the CIA to decide what can be said in court about the torture of prisoners in CIA black sites,” tweeted Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. “It’s really a disgraceful abdication of responsibility.” Continue reading

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‘Anti-Democratic and Cowardly’: US Building New Secret Courtroom at Guantánamo

“The entire enterprise,” said one critic of the tribunal process, “makes a mockery out of what the U.S. pretends to stand for.”

By Brett Wilkins.  Published 12-30-2021 by Common Dreams

Witness Against Torture demonstrates for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay offshore prison. (Photo: Justin Norman/flickr/cc)

Human rights advocates and attorneys representing Guantánamo Bay detainees on Thursday decried a secret new courtroom reportedly being built by the Pentagon at the notorious offshore U.S. prison.

The New York Times reports Gitmo’s new second courtroom—which will cost $4 million—will not allow members of the public to witness proceedings against detainees to be tried for alleged terrorism-related offenses. People wishing to view those trials will have the option of watching delayed video footage in a separate building. Continue reading

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‘This Cannot Happen’: Biden DHS Seeks Contractor for Migrant Detention Center at Guantánamo Bay

The solicitation for bids—which requires some guards who speak Spanish and Haitian Creole—comes as the administration is under fire for mass deportations of migrants, including thousands of Haitians

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-22-2021

Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay. Photo by Kathleen T. Rhem [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“This is an embarrassingly bad decision. Do better.”

That’s how U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) responded Wednesday to reporting that the Biden administration, already under fire this week for its immigration policies, “is seeking a private contractor to operate a migrant detention facility at the U.S. naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, with a requirement that some of the guards speak Spanish and Haitian Creole.”

Though the White House, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) did not respond to requests for comment, the revelation from NBC News‘ Jacob Soboroff and Ken Dilanian sparked widespread condemnation. Continue reading

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‘End… This Human Rights Atrocity,’ Says Amnesty After Biden Admin Signals Goal to Close Gitmo

Asked whether the president will shutter the prison, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “That certainly is our goal and our intention.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-12-2021

Witness Against Torture demonstrates for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay offshore prison. (Photo: Justin Norman/flickr/cc)

Human rights advocates on Friday welcomed reporting, confirmed by the White House, that President Joe Biden intends to close the Guantánamo Bay offshore military prison, which has long drawn global condemnation for torture and detention conditions.

“We are pleased to hear that the Biden administration wants to review the U.S. policy of almost 20 years of indefinite detention without charge of Muslim men at an offshore prison,” said Daphne Eviatar, director of the Security With Human Rights Program at Amnesty International USA, in a statement. Continue reading

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From Police Violence at Home to Killing Civilians in Unending Wars Abroad, US Faces Human Rights Reckoning at UN

An ACLU leader urged the incoming administration to “take bold actions on day one to reverse President Trump’s harmful policies.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-9-2020

The United States on Monday faced criticism over its human rights record from allies and adversaries alike at the United Nations as the country submitted to its first Universal Periodic Review of the Trump administration.

All 193 U.N. member states must undergo UPRs, which are held at the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC)—from which the U.S. withdrew in 2018 over alleged anti-Israel bias—in Geneva, Switzerland every five years. Continue reading

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