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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

Open your eyes, everyone, this is what happens when habeas corpus is suspended and we implement laws such as the Patriot Act. This did not happen in Iran or in Soviet Russia, this happened in an American military base. This innocent man's life could have been completely ruined and 2 1/2 years of his life have disappeared in a black hole of despair. This is an article in the NYT, a mainstream newspaper, this is not "pinko commie" propaganda.

Notes From a Guantánamo Survivor

I LEFT Guantánamo Bay much as I had arrived almost five years earlier — shackled hand-to-waist, waist-to-ankles, and ankles to a bolt on the airplane floor. My ears and eyes were goggled, my head hooded, and even though I was the only detainee on the flight this time, I was drugged and guarded by at least 10 soldiers. This time though, my jumpsuit was American denim rather than Guantánamo orange. I later learned that my C-17 military flight from Guantánamo to Ramstein Air Base in my home country, Germany, cost more than $1 million.

When we landed, the American officers unshackled me before they handed me over to a delegation of German officials. The American officer offered to re-shackle my wrists with a fresh, plastic pair. But the commanding German officer strongly refused: “He has committed no crime; here, he is a free man.”

I was not a strong secondary school student in Bremen, but I remember learning that after World War II, the Americans insisted on a trial for war criminals at Nuremberg, and that event helped turn Germany into a democratic country. Strange, I thought, as I stood on the tarmac watching the Germans teach the Americans a basic lesson about the rule of law.

How did I arrive at this point? This Wednesday is the 10th anniversary of the opening of the detention camp at the American naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. I am not a terrorist. I have never been a member of Al Qaeda or supported them. I don’t even understand their ideas. I am the son of Turkish immigrants who came to Germany in search of work. My father has worked for years in a Mercedes factory. In 2001, when I was 18, I married a devout Turkish woman and wanted to learn more about Islam and to lead a better life. I did not have much money. Some of the elders in my town suggested I travel to Pakistan to learn to study the Koran with a religious group there.

I made my plans just before 9/11. I was 19 then and was naïve and did not think war in Afghanistan would have anything to do with Pakistan or my trip there. So I went ahead with my trip.

I was in Pakistan, on a public bus on my way to the airport to return to Germany when the police stopped the bus I was riding in. I was the only non-Pakistani on the bus — some people joke that my reddish hair makes me look Irish — so the police asked me to step off to look at my papers and ask some questions. German journalists told me the same thing happened to them. I was not a journalist, but a tourist, I explained. The police detained me but promised they would soon let me go to the airport. After a few days, the Pakistanis turned me over to American officials. At this point, I was relieved to be in American hands; Americans, I thought, would treat me fairly.

Read the rest of this man's story here. He was wrongly imprisoned, without a trial, in Guantánamo for 2 1/2 years; he was tortured by our interrogators. Read the whole thing. I loved the part where he was trying to not lose his humanity through his love for animals and how he "befriended" the iguanas and gave them bread crumbs.

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That's a sad story.

And at least this one has a happy ending. Who knows how many didn't.

This is why I don't buy arguments of "we must do this sort of things, because it prevents further terrorist attacks; if you had lost someone in 9/11 you would want that". First off, we have no dea if this sort of total lack of respect for individual lives helps capture terrorists at all; at first pass, I'm thinking we are throwing away money torturing people who had no knowledge of anything and following completely mistaken leads; at the same time, if I was this guy, now I may feel like joining Al Qaeda...

I also don't buy it because what about the relatives of these people whose lives we have ruined or come closed to ruining, like this guy, or worse, the countless civilian deaths and ruined lives of places we have invaded using the War on Terror as an excuse?

Unreal. The rule of law in the states has been broken for years, this will get worse before it gets better unless SCOTUS stops it. That won't happen until a few of the hard right justices are replaced.

I'm always left speechless when I hear of such atrocities.

The U.S. courts continue to deny justice. The 9th circuit court isn't being impartial. Will this end up in the Supreme Court, or has the 9th circuit court effectively blocked Padilla? Protection under the law no longer exists.

I'd like to see a foreign court take action on the illegal rendition, torture, and other war crimes.

The comments are worth reading. The first one starts out with RULE OF LAW GONE BYE BYE! 

Court Rejects Case Against Bush 'Torture Memos' Author

 UC Berkeley law professor who helped the Bush administration create policies to justify harsh interrogation techniques and prolonged detention may not be sued by an American citizen detained under those conditions, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said Jose Padilla, an American citizen arrested in 2002 and declared an "enemy combatant," may not hold professor John Yoo liable for "gross physical and psychological abuse" that Padilla said he suffered during more than three years of military detention.

A three-judge panel of the court said laws governing combatants and the definition of torture were unclear during the years policies were crafted.

Padilla alleged he was subjected to death threats, given psychotropic drugs, shackled and manacled for hours at a time, denied contact with family or a lawyer for 21 months and refused medical care for potentially life-threatening conditions.

"That such treatment was torture was not clearly established in 2001-03," Judge Raymond C. Fisher, a Clinton appointee, wrote for the court.

Federal officials said they detained Padilla after discovering he was participating in a plot to attack the United States with a radioactive "dirty bomb." After being held in isolation in a military brig for more than three years, Padilla was transferred to civilian custody and later convicted of conspiracy to commit terrorism, based on evidence unrelated to the allegations used to detain him militarily.

As a deputy assistant attorney general in Bush's Department of Justice, Yoo advised the government that the military could legally use a wide range of techniques to detain and interrogate terrorist suspects.

"I am glad that the 9th Circuit agrees that Padilla and other convicted terrorists shouldn't be allowed to use our own legal system to continue fighting against the United States," Yoo said.

But Ben Wizner, who represents Padilla in another federal lawsuit against other Bush administration officials, called the ruling "quite wrong" and "disappointing."

He said the court missed an opportunity to declare "once and for all" that the methods used against Padilla were "clearly unconstitutional."

"Even if they were to give John Yoo a free pass, they missed an opportunity to make sure that nothing like this would ever happen again," Wizner said.

The 9th Circuit's ruling said the U.S. Supreme Court did not declare until 2004 that citizens held as enemy combatants have constitutional rights.

Even now, the 9th Circuit said, "it remains murky whether an enemy combatant detainee may be subjected to conditions of confinement and methods of interrogation that would be unconstitutional if applied in the ordinary prison and criminal settings."

Padilla's 2007 conviction hinged largely on an application form that prosecutors said he had filled out for an Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan in 2000.

The case of Padilla is truly something. I also would like a foreign court to take up the case of the many violation of human rights the Bush government has committed. Someone like Judge Garzón from Spain could initiate action. Unfortunately the far-right Spaniards finally got him expelled from the judiciary. A real scandal, Baltazar Garzón is one of my heroes.

President Obama probably blocks attempts to investigate and try anyone involved with war crimes is because he's guilt of it too. The book America's Continuing War Crimes Quagmire says President Barack Obama declared in a signing statement on December 23, 2011, that he would ignore Congressional meddling in the executive branch operations regarding Guantánamo. The constitutional separation of powers gives the executive branch full responsibility over the disposition of prisoners under the control of the national government. Congress, which did not arrest them, has tried to set administrative rules for handling them, thereby pretending to exercise a legislative veto over acts of the executive branch, in effect making those at Gitmo prisoners of Congress. Congressional laws on the subject, including the defense appropriation act signed on that date, nearly amount to passage of a Bill of Attainder, that is, an attempt to impose a sentence on prisoners by legislative means. According to former Chief Justice William Rehnquist, those who wrote the Constitution had experience with the English practice of “a legislative act that singled out one or more persons and imposed punishment on them, without benefit of trial.” That’s why the Constitution prohibits bills of attainder.

 

According to the book Donald Rumsfeld is in federal court in Chicago. He is being sued by two Americans who were wrongly held at Camp Cropper in Iraq, the same facility that held Saddam Hussein and other members of the “deck of cards.” The suit is based on Bill of Rights violations, including cruel and unusual punishment. The case, Vance v Rumsfeld, has met preliminary requirements for trial, though no trial date has yet been set. Similar cases (Doe v Rumsfeld and Ameur v Gates) are being pursued in other federal courts.

It continues that two CIA officials were convicted in Milan Italy in 2009 in absentia.

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