By War Criminals Watch - Posted on 26 December 2010

By Dafna Linzer
From TPM | Original Article

The White House is preparing an Executive Order on indefinite detention that will provide periodic reviews of evidence against dozens of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, according to several administration officials.

The draft order, a version of which was first considered nearly 18 months ago, is expected to be signed by President Obama early in the New Year. The order allows for the possibility that detainees from countries like Yemen might be released if circumstances there change.

But the order establishes indefinite detention as a long-term Obama administration policy and makes clear that the White House alone will manage a review process for those it chooses to hold without charge or


"Christmas at Guantánamo"
by Andy Worthington, Dec. 25, 2010

The article has all needed supporting links and people definitely want to read it.

Ten days ago, when I traveled to Sheffield with my friend, the former Guantánamo prisoner Omar Deghayes, for a screening of the documentary film, "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo" (which I co-directed with Polly Nash), I asked Omar what Guantánamo was like at Christmas, as I knew that he had spent five Christmases imprisoned in Guantánamo, and I thought it might make an interesting article for Christmas this year.

In fact, there was little to report. The authorities, it seems, made some effort on this great Christian holy day, but the prisoners, for the most part, were in no mood to accept one day of charity when the rest of the year was so devoid of Christian charity.

Instead, I thought I’d take this opportunity to remind readers who may be searching the Internet because they need a break from eating and drinking, or because they want to get away from their families for a while, or because the TV is so relentlessly pointless, or because they don’t celebrate Christmas, about some of the 174 men still held in Guantánamo, for whom concern is particularly appropriate right now, as, between them, the Obama administration and Congress seem to have ensured that the majority of them will be spending many more Christmases at Guantánamo. (my emphasis)

My first thoughts were for prisoners I have written about recently — in particular, Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in Guantánamo, cleared for release in 2007 but still held; Ahmed Belbacha, an Algerian, also cleared for release in 2007, who is terrified of being forcibly repatriated; and Fayiz al-Kandari, a Kuwaiti who lost his habeas petition in September, but who appears, by any objective measure, to be an innocent man.

I encourage readers to visit this page for information about how to write to the British and American governments about Shaker Aamer, to visit this page for information about the latest attempts by Ahmed Belbacha’s lawyers to prevent his involuntary repatriation, and to visit this page to sign a petition asking Attorney General Eric Holder to return Fayiz al-Kandari to Kuwait (or just sign the petition here).

However, in thinking about all the prisoners still held, I was also reminded of one particular prisoner whose story I have not written about for many months, but who is in desperate need of help. That man is Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif, a 34-year old Yemeni prisoner who won his habeas corpus petition on July 21 this year, but is still held, even though it became apparent during his hearing that the Bush administration had cleared him for release from Guantánamo in 2007, and even though one of his lawyers, David Remes, explained after the ruling, "This is a mentally disturbed man who has said from the beginning that he went to Afghanistan seeking medical care because he was too poor to pay for it. Finally, a court has recognized that he’s been telling the truth, and ordered his release."


Despite this, he continues to be held because the Obama administration has appealed against his successful habeas petition, as it has in the cases of four other Yemenis who won their habeas petitions: Mohammed al-Adahi, whose successful petition was reversed by the D.C. Circuit Court in July, Saeed Hatim, who won his petition last December, Uthman Mohammed Uthman, who won his petition in February this year, and Hussein Almerfedi, who won his petition in July this year.


The "collective punishment" of the Yemenis — or what I call guilt by nationality –remains the most startling example of the ongoing injustice at Guantánamo, especially now that Congress has just passed this year’s defense authorization act, which specifically includes a provision preventing the President from returning any prisoners to Yemen — or to other countries considered problematical, including Afghanistan and Pakistan — under any circumstances.

I don’t like to be the bearer of such gloomy tidings at what should be a time of Christian celebration, but in just 17 days time it will be the ninth anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo. I’ll be in Washington D.C. on that day, supporting Americans protesting against the continued existence of Guantánamo, ....


For an overview of all the habeas rulings, including links to all my articles, and to the judges’ unclassified opinions, see: Guantánamo Habeas Results: The Definitive List. For a sequence of articles dealing with the Guantánamo habeas cases since the start of 2010, see: ....

That concludes with a long list of linked articles by AW.

The third paragraph ends with, "the Obama administration and Congress seem to have ensured that the majority of them will be spending many more Christmases at Guantánamo", and that's linked to the following article.

"President Obama Loses the Plot on Guantánamo"
by Andy Worthington, Dec. 24, 2010

This article also has all needed links.

On December 22, during a largely self-congratulatory news conference by President Obama, ..., one of the administration’s conspicuous failures — the failure to close Guantánamo — was only touched upon at the end of the news conference, when Mike Emanuel, the White House correspondent for Fox News, asked a question that followed up on a recent report in the Washington Post.

In that report, published on Tuesday, Obama administration officials explained that they were close to finalizing an executive order that “would formalize indefinite detention without trial for some detainees at the US military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, but allow those detainees and their lawyers to challenge the basis for continued incarceration.”


The Post’s article noted, “Detainees at Guantánamo would continue to have access to the federal courts to challenge their incarceration under the legal doctrine of habeas corpus,” but it is distressing to note that the Obama administration seems always to have favored its own review process to that of the courts, and the following claim in the Post’s article — that “the plan would give detainees who have lost their habeas petition the prospect of one day ending their time in US custody” — is, frankly, disingenuous, because, as noted above, the administration has a track record of appealing successful petitions, and there is, therefore, no reason to presume that senior officials would have any interest in a review process that would lead to the release of prisoners who have lost their petitions.

President Obama has not yet reviewed the proposal, of course, but I thought it was worth examining what he had to say about Guantánamo at his news conference, as the failure to close Guantánamo is particularly troubling so near to the ninth anniversary of the prison’s opening. ...


President Obama: Releasing them at this stage could potentially create greater danger for the American people. And so how do we manage that? And that’s what this team has been looking at. Are there ways for us to make sure these folks have lawyers, to make sure that these folks have the opportunity to challenge their detention — but at the same time, making sure that we are not simply releasing folks who could do us grievous harm and have shown a capacity and willingness to engage in brutal attacks in the past.

My analysis: The men already do have lawyers, for their habeas corpus petitions, mentioned above, but it is a sign of the administration’s disregard for the habeas process (as mentioned in the introduction to this article) that the President overlooked this. In addition, releasing them at this stage could potentially cause danger for the American people, but releasing any prisoner at any time could be dangerous, and this fails to detract from the fact that, if regarded as dangerous, they should be put on trial, or, if the President wants a more radical solution, recategorized as prisoners of war, and given the full protections of the Geneva Conventions, instead of being held according to the deeply problematical Authorization for Use of Military Force. Passed by Congress the week after the 9/11 attacks, the AUMF established the flawed basis for holding prisoners neither as criminal suspects or as prisoners of war, but as what were known, in the Bush administration, as “enemy combatants,” and are now, alarmingly, known as “alien unprivilieged enemy belligerents.”


Only three viable paths remain open to you, Mr. President: put the prisoners on trial, release them, or recategorize those found by the courts to have been soldiers as prisoners of war.

When Obama first pledged to close Guantanamo Bay prison and many Americans believed him, I didn't. Then came talk of supposedly switching the detainees to prisons in the US or certainly in Illinois anyway, which left me uncertain and in a position of "wait and see". Well, we're back to square zero and haven't left it for a moment; except in the imaginations of people who believed him when he pledged to close Guant. Bay prison.

Obama could not be seriously believed during his 2008 presidential campaigning and definitely can't be trusted today. One trait he can be credited with is consistency; he consistently (constantly) can not be trusted. He's far from alone to be guilty of this trait, but he's C-in-C.


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