RULING by Judge Katherine Forrest here
NOTE FOR ACTIONS: A recent Amnesty blog suggests we each act on these travesties helped by a recent ruling. (PLZ find Amnesty urls near the end and one at the VERY END of this long post -- updated twice --FOR ACTION GUIDANCE FROM AMNESTY) There has been a BREAKTHROUGH thanks to Judge Katherine Forrest in New York. We MUST put an end to the abuse and intimidation of all US prisoners. We suddenly have more legal channels to work with then usual. (See end of this post for some guidelines.)
UPDATE: We Won—For Now by Chris Hedges
Posted on Sep 17, 2012
In January I sued President Barack Obama over Section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorized the military to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely, strip them of due process and hold them in military facilities, including offshore penal colonies. Last week, round one in the battle to strike down the onerous provision, one that saw me joined by six other plaintiffs including Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg, ended in an unqualified victory for the public. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, who accepted every one of our challenges to the law, made her temporary injunction of the section permanent. In short, she declared the law unconstitutional.
Almost immediately after Judge Forrest ruled, the Obama administration challenged the decision. Government prosecutors called the opinion “unprecedented” and said that “the government has compelling arguments that it should be reversed.” The government added that it was an “extraordinary injunction of worldwide scope.” Government lawyers asked late Friday for an immediate stay of Forrest’s ban on the use of the military in domestic policing and on the empowering of the government to strip U.S. citizens of due process. The request for a stay was an attempt by the government to get the judge, pending appeal to a higher court, to grant it the right to continue to use the law. Forrest swiftly rejected the stay, setting in motion a fast-paced appeal to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and possibly, if her ruling is upheld there, to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Justice Department sent a letter to Forrest and the 2nd Circuit late Friday night informing them that at 9 a.m. Monday the Obama administration would ask the 2nd Circuit for an emergency stay that would lift Forrest’s injunction. This would allow Obama to continue to operate with indefinite detention authority until a formal appeal was heard. The government’s decision has triggered a constitutional showdown between the president and the judiciary.
“This may be the most significant constitutional standoff since the Pentagon Papers case,” said Carl Mayer, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs.
“The administration of President Obama within the last 48 hours has decided to engage in an all-out campaign to block and overturn an order of a federal judge,” said co-lead counsel Bruce Afran. “As Judge Forrest noted in her opinion, nothing is more fundamental in American law than the possibility that journalists, activists and citizens could lose their liberty, potentially forever, and the Obama administration has now lined up squarely with the most conservative elements of the Republican Party to undermine Americans’ civil liberties.”
The request by the government to keep the law on the books during the appeal process raises a disturbing question. If the administration is this anxious to restore this section of the NDAA, is it because the Obama government has already used it? Or does it have plans to use the section in the immediate future? READ the REST of Hedge's article r contributor) with a CLICK here and/or PRINT here
ALSO see: OPPOSING VIEWS: US itching to overturn detention ban here OR go to HUFFPOST for 2,700+ fb likes and for 930 comments (which usually have some interesting leads) GO here
Also just out from Glenn Greenwald's tweet: Hidden Causes of the Muslim Protests here -- not unrelated when we consider the kind of activism which sometimes seems to get folk locked up with the key thrown away. We often feel helpless in the West yet what about becoming more aware of all the ways we may allow provocation such as the ongoing existence of Gitmo with so many prisoners who've actually been free yet there are no places, evidently, for them to be allowed to go? What about all those who are being held for years without trial? What about the many drone strikes still being sent to 'keep us safe' when they are so likely to kill civilians and help recruiters among extremists on the ground?
An earlier statement from the Center for Constitutional Rights (by same title) has been made into this NYTimes article.
September 14, 2012
The Face of Indefinite Detention
By BAHER AZMY
BEFORE he died on Sept. 8, Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif had spent close to 4,000 days and nights in the American prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. He was found unconscious, alone in his cell, thousands of miles from home and family in Yemen.
Eleven years ago, he found himself in Afghanistan at the wrong place and the wrong time. It was an unusual set of events that took him there. Years earlier Mr. Latif had been badly injured in a car accident in Yemen. His skull was fractured; his hearing never quite recovered. He traveled to Jordan, seeking medical treatment at a hospital in Amman; then, following the promise of free medical care from a man he met there, journeyed to Pakistan, and eventually to Afghanistan.
Like so many men still imprisoned at Guantánamo, Mr. Latif was fleeing American bombing — not fighting — when he was apprehended by the Pakistani police near the Afghan border and turned over to the United States military. It was at a time when the United States was paying substantial bounties for prisoners. Mr. Latif, a stranger in a strange land, fit the bill. He was never charged with a crime.
The United States government claims the legal authority to hold men like Mr. Latif until the “war on terror” ends, which is to say, forever. Setting aside this troubling legal proposition, his death and the despair he endured in the years preceding it remind us of the toll Guantánamo takes on human beings.
Adnan Latif is the human face of indefinite detention.
In the landmark 2008 case Boumediene v. Bush, the Supreme Court ruled that Guantánamo detainees were entitled to “meaningful judicial review” of the legality of their detentions, via the writ of habeas corpus — a constitutional check obligating the government to demonstrate a sufficient factual and legal basis for imprisoning someone. The Boumediene decision, in principle, ought to have given hope to Mr. Latif and men like him.
And it was under such principle that two years later, a United States District Court judge hearing Mr. Latif’s habeas corpus petition ordered him released, ruling that the accusations against him were “unconvincing” and that his detention was “not lawful.” By that time, Mr. Latif had been cleared for release from Guantánamo on three separate occasions, including in 2009 by the Obama administration’s multiagency Guantánamo Review Task Force.
Nevertheless, the Department of Justice appealed the district court’s decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — which has ruled in the government’s favor in nearly every habeas corpus appeal it has heard. The appellate court reversed the trial judge’s release order, effectively ruling that evidence against detainees must be presumed accurate and authentic if the government claims it is.
A strong dissenting opinion criticized the appellate court majority for not just “moving the goal posts,” but also calling “the game in the government’s favor.”
But Mr. Latif didn’t see it as a game. He was dying inside. Like other men, he had been on a hunger strike to protest his detention. After losing the appeal of his case, he told his lawyer, “I am a prisoner of death.”
Three months ago, the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeals of Mr. Latif and six other detainees, who pleaded for the court to restore its promise of meaningful review of their cases.
But what is unsaid in all of the court rulings is that Mr. Latif was imprisoned not by evidence of wrongdoing, but by accident of birth. In Guantánamo’s contorted system of justice, the decision to detain him indefinitely turned on his citizenship, not on his conduct.
With Mr. Latif’s death, there are now 56 Yemenis who have been cleared for release by the Guantánamo Review Task Force since 2009 but who remain in prison. President Obama, citing general security concerns, has imposed a moratorium on any and all transfers to Yemen, regardless of age, innocence or infirmity.
It is fair, and regrettable, to assume that some of these detainees will die there as well.
Mr. Latif, after all, was the ninth man to die at Guantánamo. More men have died in the prison camp than have been convicted by a civilian court (one) or by the military commissions system in Guantánamo (six). In 2006, Salah al-Salami, a Yemeni, and Yasser al-Zahrani and Mani al-Utaybi, both Saudis, were the first men to die at Guantánamo. Their deaths were called suicides, even though soldiers stationed at the base at the time have raised serious questions about the plausibility of the Defense Department’s account. (Full disclosure: the Center for Constitutional Rights represents the families of two of the men who died.)
According to the government, three more detainees committed suicide and two others died of natural causes. There has been no independent investigation into any of the deaths, however; there has been no accountability for a range of constitutional and human rights violations at Guantánamo.
The government has not yet identified the cause of Mr. Latif’s death, but it is Guantánamo that killed him. Whether because of despair, suicide or natural causes, death has become an inevitable consequence of our politically driven failure to close the prison — a natural byproduct of the torment and uncertainty indefinite detention inflicts on human beings.
The case of Adnan Latif should compel us to confront honestly the human toll of the Guantánamo prison — now approaching its 12th year in operation. We can start this reckoning by releasing the 86 other men at Guantánamo who the United States government has concluded no longer deserve to be jailed there.
Baher Azmy is the legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
Find the original statement by the same title from 11 Sep 2012 at Center for Constitutional Rights here
Find the url for the NYTimes article here
Yet another OP Ed on this solitary death in NYTimes Sunday GO here and see more in a post several days ago with Adnan Latif's heart-breaking poem on this oneheartforpeace site "Tragic Injustice". Also find one on 12 September from the Executive Director of Amnesty I/USA here
Too late for Adnan; What about for others?
What happens next? The case against indefinite detention in the NDAA–-Judge Katherine Forrest due to the suit by journalist Chris Hedges, Professor Noam Chomsky and others–could go all the way to the Supreme Court. It would be interesting to see how the Court would rule, especially given that opposition to indefinite detention does not divide along party lines. Protest against the NDAA has brought Republicans and Democrats together, because indefinite detention is a blatant assault on human rights.
And that’s why President Obama and Congress should change course and work together to repeal the detention provisions in the NDAA—Sections 1021 and 1022—and ensure that anyone accused of a crime is charged and fairly tried, or released. If you agree, then let your Senators know— they’ll be working on the 2013 NDAA later this year: www.amnestyusa.org/ndaa OR GO here
This RECENT RULING may make a difference but we MUST get behind this effort NOW. FIND the above and more on Judge Katherine Forrest's recent 112 page ruling at this AmnestyUSA blog -- GO here
Speak OUT against Indefinite Detention NOW. HOW TO MAKE your voice count? FIND GUIDELINES at AMNESTY USA BLOG here
GO often to this blog for updates: SEND this active blog to others as http://blog.amnestyusa.org/ OR CLICK here
SEE the 112 page ruling by Katherine Forrest available by pdf link -- it's in the public domain -- ask a lawyer for it or simply GO to nysd.uscourts.gov for Sep 12, 2012 HEDGE vs OBAMA and see the high profile folk who initiated this ruling. CLICK here
Read, Study, Quote IT USE IT --SPEAK ABOUT IT while this window is still open.
(* Katherine Bolan Forrest is an American lawyer and judge, serving on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.)
FOR those who want to STUDY/WRITE/TALK about this shameful CASE in depth, you may find the following helpful...
"Hope Dies at Guantanamo". The Jurist. Archived from the original on 2012-09-11. "The tragic case of Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif hit a dead end when the US Supreme Court issued an order refusing to hear his case last week. Latif, a Yemeni man, has been imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay since January 2002, after being detained while traveling to seek medical treatment."
"U.S. military reviews 'enemy combatant' use". FIND in The JURIST by Jurist Contributing editor, MARJORIE COHN (co-writer of perhaps the quite recent definitive book with legal corroboration on the US and torture) Professor of Law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law. San Diego, CA GO here evidently originally pbl. 2012-06-20
Joe Wolverton (2011-11-14). "D.C. Court of Appeals Overturns Release of Gitmo Prisoner". New American. Archived from the original on 2012-09-13. "In an opinion streaked with black marks of redaction, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit overturned the release order previously entered for Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif."
Benjamin Wittes (2011-11-09). "Latif: A Very Big Deal". Lawfare.
"Judge orders longtime Gitmo detainee released for lack of evidence". CNN. 2010-08-17.
Yemeni psych patient ordered freed - Guantánamo - MiamiHerald.com Archived 15 February 2011 at
Tom Ramstack (2008-09-23). "Federal court won't hear plea for blanket". Washington Times. "While the Supreme Court's decision in Boumediene gives [Latif] the right to challenge the fact of his confinement, it says nothing of his right to challenge the conditions of his confinement."
Thomas F. Hogan (2008-09-22). "Guantanamo Bay Detainee Litigation: Doc 471" (PDF). United States Department of Justice.
"Guantanamo prisoner who died challenged his confinement, was rebuffed by Supreme Court". Newser. 2012-09-11. Archived from the original on 2012-09-11. "The Guantanamo Bay prisoner who died over the weekend was well-known in legal circles. The prisoner's lawyer identifies him as Adnan Latif, a 32-year-old from Yemen who has been held without charge at the U.S. base in Cuba since January 2002."
"New abuse claims at Guantanamo". Al Jazeera. 2009-04-17. Archived from the original on 2009-04-17
"US says a prisoner has died at Guantanamo; investigation pending into cause". Washington Post. 2012-09-10. Archived from the original on 2012-09-10. "Wells Dixon, a lawyer who has represented a number of Guantanamo prisoners, said the sense of despair among prisoners overall seems to have worsened since the Supreme Court announced in June that it would not review the way courts were handling the men’s individual challenges to their confinement."
Ben Fox (2012-09-10). "Ninth prisoner dies at Guantanamo". Seattle Times. "He was the ninth prisoner to die at the facility since it was opened in January 2002 to hold men suspected of terrorism or links to al-Qaida and the Taliban. The military has said two of those deaths were by natural causes and six were declared suicides."
"Another prisoner dies in Guantanamo". New Zealand Herald. 2012-09-11. Archived from the original on 2012-09-10. "The prisoner's name and nationality were not released. But US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release his identity, said he was from Yemen."
Another Desperate Letter from Guantánamo by Adnan Latif: “With All My Pains, I Say Goodbye to You” Andy Worthington A Cry for Help from Guantánamo: Adnan Latif Asks, “Who Is Going to Rescue Me From the Injustice and the Torture I Am Enduring?” Andy Worthington Guantánamo Is “A Piece of Hell That Kills Everything”: A Bleak New Year Message from Yemeni Prisoner Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif by Andy Worthington // Who Are the Remaining Prisoners in Guantánamo? Part Three: Captured Crossing from Afghanistan into Pakistan Andy Worthington, September 22, 2010
REMINDER to ACT NOW;
President Obama and Congress should change course and work together to repeal the detention provisions in the NDAA—Sections 1021 and 1022—and ensure that anyone accused of a crime is charged and fairly tried, or released. If you agree, then LET YOUR SENATORS KNOW what we need repealed -- they’ll be working on the 2013 NDAA later this year: www.amnestyusa.org/ndaa
FIND THE RULING BY JUDGE KATHERINE FORREST CLICK here