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Obama to sign order shutting Gitmo in a year

By LARA JAKES and DAVID ESPO, AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama plans to sign an executive order Thursday to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center within a year and halt military trials of terror suspects held there, a senior administration official said. The executive order was one of three expected imminently on how to interrogate and prosecute al-Qaida, Taliban or other foreign fighters believed to threaten the United States.

The official said the president would sign the order Thursday, fulfilling his campaign promise to shut down a facility that critics around the world say violates domestic and international detainee rights. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because the event has not yet been announced.

Guantanamo Trial of Canadian Halted

Guantanamo trial of Canadian halted
By Jane Sutton | Yahoo!News

Hours after taking office, U.S. President Barack Obama ordered military prosecutors in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals to ask for a 120-day halt in all pending cases and a judge granted the request on Wednesday in the case against a young Canadian.

When defense lawyers did not oppose the move, a judge froze the proceedings against Canadian Omar Khadr, who was captured at age 15 and is accused of murdering a U.S. soldier with a grenade during a firefight in Afghanistan.

Another judge was expected to rule as early as Wednesday in the death penalty case against five prisoners accused of plotting the September 11 hijacked plane attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Bush Era Ends With Guantánamo Trial Chief’s Torture Confession

Bush Era Ends With Guantánamo Trial Chief’s Torture Confession
Andy Worthington | Andy Worthington.co.UK

Forget the outgoing President’s lame, reality-defying farewell speech, and Dick Cheney’s last-ditch attempts to claim that the administration in which he served as Vice President never engaged in torture. The Bush era came to an end last Wednesday when, in one short interview, Susan J. Crawford, the senior Pentagon official overseeing the Military Commissions at Guantánamo — the novel system of trials for terror suspects that was conceived in the wake of the 9/11 attacks — condemned the Bush administration’s “War on Terror” detention policies, and paved the way for criminal proceedings against senior administration officials, more acutely than anyone had managed before her.

Day 9 – Fast For Justice

January 19, 2009, Washington, DC

As we continue to try and make visible the men who are in Guantanamo, over 110 people from around the country will end the nine-day Fast for Justice, and Witness Against Torture will begin the 100 Days Campaign. Those who have come to DC to participate in the fast will gather in McPherson Square at 7am today, share a simple meal, and then head into the inauguration crowds with our jumpsuits, hoods, leaflets and signs.
On Sunday, eight of us in DC joined the throngs of people going to the Inaugural concert on the Mall. Rather than sporting Obama tee shirts, flags and posters, seven of us wore orange jumpsuits and black hoods and one wore a "Shut Guantanamo" tee shirt. The reception from the celebratory crowd was quite positive, and one of the photos from our presence ended up on an AP article about Guantanamo: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/01/19-7

Keith Olbermann: Why the President-Elect Must Allow Prosecution

Keith Olbermann: Why the President-Elect Must Allow Prosecution

9:39 mins.

Jonathan Turley on Rachel Maddow: "All We Have To Do Is Allow The Laws to Be Enforced"

Jonathan Turley on Rachel Maddow: "All We Have To Do Is Allow The Laws to Be Enforced"

6:28 mins.

Day 7 – Fast For Justice (100Days Campaign)

January 17, 2009
Washington, DC

Hello all-

As we end day 7 of our fast, we have heard from others around the country who have been joining us for a day, for a few days, or for the duration. There is a great spirit here amongst the fasters in DC, and we have managed to be a noticeable presence around the city, something we hope to continue as the fast nears its end and the 100 Days Campaign begins.

Our daily vigil the last two days took us from DuPont Circle to the White House. For video of today’s presence, click here: http://www.100dayscampaign.org/node/231

and for a photo that appeared on the CNN political ticker, click here: LINK.

Obama and Congress Must Act to Restore the Constitution

By Dave Lindorff

The calls for a reckoning for the criminals of the Bush/Cheney administration are growing by the day, as the final few days of the Bush presidency tick down, and as new evidence of their crimes keep pouring out of the deflating gas bag that was the Bush White House.

For years, the Democrats in Congress, with a few notable exceptions, have sat on their hands, allowing the ongoing destruction of the Constitution, of the US military, of the nation’s reputation, and of the rule of law, as well as of the institution of Congress itself, by a cabal of Republicans in the White House, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, who have sought to establish an executive-led government that answered only to itself.

What's Hayden Hidin'?

By Ray McGovern

Outgoing CIA Director Michael Hayden is going around town telling folks he has warned President-elect Barack Obama "personally and forcefully" that if Obama authorizes an investigation into controversial activities like water boarding, "no one in Langley will ever take a risk again."

Upon learning this from what we former intelligence officers used to call an "A-1 source" (completely reliable with excellent access to the information), the thought that came to me in the face of such chutzpah was from Cicero's livid oration against the Roman usurper Cataline: "Quousque, tandem, abutere, Catalina, patientia nostra!" — or "How long, at last, O Cataline, will you abuse our patience!"

Tortured 9/11 Suspect May Never Be Prosecuted: Pentagon Official

Tortured 9/11 suspect may never be prosecuted: Pentagon official | Google News

The United States may never be able to prosecute an alleged plotter of the September 11, 2001 attacks because he was tortured, a top Pentagon official said in an interview.

Susan Crawford, who is charged with deciding whether to bring Guantanamo detainees to trial, told The Washington Post that US interrogators had tortured Saudi terror suspect Mohammed al-Qahtani.

"We tortured Qahtani," she said, thus becoming the first senior Bush administration official to publicly state that a detainee was tortured.

Bush Administration Official: "We Tortured."

THE TORTURER-ELECT?

By Steve Hendricks

Two months ago we denied the presidency to a man who, for a few votes, forsook a long opposition to torture and pledged his America would continue the barbarity. This month we evict from the White House its resident torturer. These are victories worth celebrating, but they are tempered by having elevated to the White House, as we learn weekly that we have, another torturer.

Detainee Tortured, Says U.S. Official

Trial Overseer Cites 'Abusive' Methods Against 9/11 Suspect
By Bob Woodward, Washington Post

The top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantanamo Bay detainees to trial has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interrogating him with techniques that included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a "life-threatening condition."

"We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani," said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. "His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that's why I did not refer the case" for prosecution.

Nine-day fast to close Guantanamo reaches 100, while 42 detainees hunger strike

"YES, WE CAN" CLOSE GUANTANAMO IN 100 DAYS

Witness Against Torture, a grassroots group dedicated to closing Guantanamo and ending torture, is heartened by the announcement from unnamed members of Barack Obama's transition team that the new President will sign an executive order to close Guantanamo on January 21st, his first full day in office.


click for photos

But members of the group, which marked the seventh anniversary of the Guantanamo prison with a demonstration on Sunday, January 11th , are alarmed that carrying out this order is likely to be a year-long process, or longer. "Guantanamo must be closed not just on paper, but in reality. And for the 250 men still there, it has already been seven years too long," remarks Frida Berrigan, an organizer with Witness Against Torture.

Day 3 of the Fast for Justice...

Washington, DC. January 13th, 2009
By Matthew W. Daloisio

With news breaking of a possible executive order coming from President Obama on January 21st to close Guantanamo, 30 fasters met @ 7am this morning for reflection, which began with a poem written from the Guantanamo Prison. While some have insisted that the work is now done, Guantanamo will be closed in one years, we are trying to ask ourselves how it must feel to be one of the 250 men still in prison, learning of at least another year behind bars. While we are heartened by potential early steps towards Guantanamo's closure, our work is far from done.

Our vigil today was a procession in jumpsuits and hoods from DuPont
Circle to the Obama transition Headquarters
(http://100dayscampaign.org/photos) and we heard from a reporter later in the day, that the motorcade we saw (and that saw us) was in fact, Obama’s.

You can see videos, and read blogs about the day(s) at:
http://100dayscampaign.org/taxonomy/term/62

A Brooklyn College Grad Experiences the Constitution in a Cage

Torture in Manhattan for 28-year-old Muslim American Sayed Fahad Hashmi
By Nat Hentoff, Village Voice

For the past year, a 28-year-old Muslim American student, Sayed Fahad Hashmi—the first person extradited to the United States from Britain to face charges of terrorism—has been held at the Manhattan Correctional Center under conditions of confinement that are the very definition of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishment."

Tortured Logic: Jonathan Turley On Bush Admission of OrderingTorture - Does Obama Want to Own That?

8:49 mins.

Change Those Most Effected Clearly Do Not Believe In

Sharp rise in number of Gitmo detainees on hunger strike:
By AFP

The number of inmates on hunger strike at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility has risen sharply to 42 -- eight more than last week, officials said Monday at the US-run "war-on-terror" prison.

"We have 42 hunger strikers," said Captain Pauline Storum, spokesperson for the facility, who said the figure includes 31 detainees being force-fed.

There are roughly 250 inmates detained at Guantanamo.

Last Friday there were just 34 inmates who refused food, of whom 25 were forcibly fed.

Officials at Guantanamo said a detainee is classified as being on hunger strike after going for three consecutive days without eating.

US military authorities said forced feedings begin after a detainee either has gone three weeks without a meal, has fallen below 85 percent of his ideal body weight, or if a doctor has recommended it as a medical necessity to preserve an inmate's life.

Guantanamo 'A Stain on US Military'

Guantanamo 'a stain on US military' | BBC News | Video, 10 mins.

Lt Col Darrel Vandeveld gives his first interview since quitting the US military after witnessing mistreatment of inmates and crucial evidence being withheld from defence lawyers at Guantanamo Bay. Security correspondent Gordon Corera reports.

Why Bush Loves Violence

Why Bush Loves Violence
by Justin Frank, M.D. | Daily Beast

Psychiatrist Justin Frank, author of Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President, says the trail of destruction wrought by Bush over the last eight years is the direct consequence of handing a man with a destructive personality profile tremendous power.

George Bush’s presidency is the culmination of a lifelong history of sadistic practices that he must deny in order to maintain his fragile psychological equilibrium. Since childhood, Bush was labeled a bad child, a troublemaker, and a delinquent. He stuck firecrackers into frogs and exploded them; he shot and wounded his little brothers with a b-b gun; he branded fraternity pledges at Yale with red-hot coat hangers; he mocked others and was a verbal bully, irreverent about anything serious.

Bush: I Personally Authorized Torture

By Staff, Think Progress

In an interview with Brit Hume that aired today on Fox News Sunday, President Bush admitted that he personally authorized the torture of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. He said he personally asked "what tools" were available to use on him, and sought legal approval for waterboarding him:

BUSH: One such person who gave us information was Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. … And I’m in the Oval Office and I am told that we have captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the professionals believe he has information necessary to secure the country. So I ask what tools are available for us to find information from him and they gave me a list of tools, and I said are these tools deemed to be legal? And so we got legal opinions before any decision was made.

Watch it:

Senators Say No Witch Hunt Aimed at Spy Agencies

Senators say no witch hunt aimed at spy agencies
By Pamela Hess | AP

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said he is interested in revealing the origins and sweep of the Bush administration's controversial interrogation program and is willing to sponsor legislation if necessary to release many of the documents about the program. Scores of secret documents have been assembled for the Senate Intelligence Committee's bipartisan investigation into the CIA's destruction of videotapes that showed U.S. interrogators conducting waterboarding of two terrorism suspects. Wyden, a Senate confidant of Obama's, wants to declassify many top-secret documents that would reveal how the program came to be, whether severe methods have been effective in yielding useful intelligence, and what the legal arguments were for allowing them.

WPost Again Flacks for Bush's Crimes

By Robert Parry, www.consortiumnews.com

With only 10 days left before George W. Bush leaves office, the Washington Establishment – and its chief mouthpiece the Washington Post – are trying to stymie any meaningful accountability for the outgoing administration and thus cover up for their own complicity in Bush’s crimes and incompetence.

The latest example is the Post’s front-page article on Jan. 10 which offers a one-sided defense of torture in the guise of discussing how President-elect Barack Obama is under pressure over his expressed goal of prohibiting abusive interrogation of detainees in the “war on terror.”

The Post article presents those interrogation policies as an undisputed success, even quoting Vice President Dick Cheney as something of an unbiased expert in declaring that the harsh tactics “have been absolutely essential to maintaining our capacity to interfere with and defeat all further attacks against the United States.”

Military force-feeding 10 percent of Guantanamo detainees

By John Byrne, Raw Story

Ten percent of captives at the US Guantanamo Bay prison -- many of whom have never been charged of a crime -- are having their heads velcroed to chairs and forced to take in nutritional supplements by a tube forcibly inserted through their noses by US guards.

Twenty-five captives who've starved themselves for weeks are being fed through tubes in their noses, the US military admitted Thursday. Thirty detainees are currently on a hunger strike.

A lawyer for 17 Yemeni men told a Miami Herald reporter Thursday that the hunger strike was partly in response to the US decision to release Osama Bin Laden's driver Salim Hamdan in November. Hamdan was charged with supporting terrorism and was held just shy of his 66-month sentence; many of those on the hunger strike have never been charged with a crime.

Olbermann and John Dean on Possible Prosecutions for Torture

Digg it here.

Obama Names Nation's New Spymasters, Vows No Torture

Obama names nation's new spymasters, vows no torture | AFP

US president-elect Barack Obama on Friday nominated two Washington heavyweights to key intelligence positions, vowing to break with controversial "war on terror" practices.

Obama picked retired admiral Dennis Blair as his director of national intelligence and former White House chief of staff Leon Panetta to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

"Good intelligence is not a luxury. It is a necessity," Obama said as he unveiled his choices for the key posts, vowing to abide by the Geneva Convention pledging the United States would not use torture.

Cheney: CIA Did Nothing Illegal in Interrogations

Cheney: CIA Did Nothing Illegal in Interrogations
Cheney says he has no reason to believe CIA did anything illegal in harsh interrogations
By Deb Riechmann | ABCNews.com

Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday that he sees no reason for President George W. Bush to pre-emptively pardon anyone at the CIA involved in harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists. "I don't have any reason to believe that anybody in the agency did anything illegal," he said.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Cheney also said that Bush has no need to apologize for not foreseeing the economic crisis.

"I don't think he needs to apologize. I think what he needed to do is take bold, aggressive action and he has," Cheney said. "I don't think anybody saw it coming."

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