Monday, October 11, 2010

Today's Brian Lehrer Show

If you can, you should listen to today's Brian Lehrer show.

Otherwise, read at least this.   The government of the US, the government headed by Barack Obama, is misrepresenting the (lousy) cases they have against Guantanamo detainees to the public.

Key excerpts:

But there turns out to be nothing ordinary about the habeas case brought by Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman [2], a Yemeni held without charges for nearly eight years....

A day after his March 16 order [4] was filed on the court's electronic docket, Kennedy's opinion vanished. Weeks later, a new ruling [5] appeared in its place. While it reached the same conclusion, eight pages of material had been removed, including key passages in which Kennedy dismantled the government's case against Uthman. 

...In his first opinion, Kennedy wrote that one government witness against Uthman had been diagnosed by military doctors as "psychotic" with a mental condition that made his allegations against other detainees "unreliable." But the opinion the public sees makes no mention of the man's health and discounts his testimony only because of its inconsistencies.

....Even the date and circumstances of Uthman's arrest were changed. In the first version, the judge said Uthman was detained on Dec. 15, 2001, in Pakistan by Pakistani authorities. Rewritten, Kennedy said in the public opinion that Uthman admitted being captured "in late 2001 in the general vicinity of Tora Bora," the cave complex where bin Laden was thought to be hiding at that time.

...To justify Uthman's incarceration, the government relied on statements from five current or former detainees [7] who were previously discredited by judges in other cases, questioned by internal Obama administration assessments or found unreliable by military psychiatrists because they were mendacious, mentally ill or subjected to torture.

Kennedy's first opinion reveals that some of the government's evidence came from a detainee who committed suicide at Guantánamo three years ago after months of hunger strikes. In the second opinion, the detainee's name is concealed, making it impossible for the public to know he is dead.

Kennedy's original opinion noted that Uthman was seized in Parachinar; that he reached the town after an eight-day trek from the Afghan town of Khost, nowhere near Tora Bora; and that his journey to Pakistan began around Dec. 8, 2001. Those facts make it difficult to portray Uthman as a fighter in a battle that took place between Dec. 12 and Dec. 17 at Tora Bora. Two footnotes in the original opinion note that the government does not contest that Uthman was taken into custody in Parachinar.
Both were removed in the second opinion and Kennedy substituted wording to write instead that Uthman admitted he was seized "in late 2001 in the general vicinity of Tora Bora, Afghanistan."

{Here:  {Two witnesses were tortured for more than a year by the CIA, a third witness was driven psychotic from interrogations;  the fourth is dead, having committed suicide three years ago, after months of hunger strikes, down to 80 lbs of body weight.}

Another witness against Uthman was Salim Hamdan, whose legal battle against the U.S. government resulted in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling throwing out earlier military commissions. Hamdan, a former driver for bin Laden, was recharged and convicted in 2008 of material support for terrorism, then released three months later to Yemen, where he is free. At some point during his incarceration at Guantánamo he was shown a photograph of Uthman but identified him by an entirely different name, telling interrogators that Uthman resembled someone named "Hudayfah al-Adani." All mention of Hamdan, and his statements, has been excised from Kennedy's public opinion although he is the only witness whose evidence wasn't entirely disregarded by the judge. }