Watching the Shadows
The Pentagon announced on April 19 that two Uighur detainees were released from the US detention center at Guantánamo Bay to be transferred to El Salvador, where they have chosen to resettle. They are being released pursuant to a 2008 order by the US District Court for the District of Columbia. An executive order issued in 2009 mandated review of the cases by the Interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force (IGRTF), and all six agencies on the force gave consent to release the two detainees. The US said it has worked with El Salvador's government to ensure that the two men arrive safely and are not harmed upon arrival, as well as to protect them against inhumane treatment at any stage of the transfer.
The US Department of Defense (DoD) referred charges to a military commission on April 4 against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other alleged 9-11 conspirators being held at Guantánamo Bay. Mohammed, along with Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin 'Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi, have been charged pursuant to the Military Commissions Act of 2009, and are accused of conspiracy, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, attacking civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily injury, destruction of property in violation of the law of war, hijacking aircraft and terrorism. The men could face the death penalty if convicted.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on March 30 agreed to hear the case of Guantánamo Bay detainee and Algerian national Djamel Ameziane. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), co-counsel for Ameziane, states that Ameziane has been held at Guantánamo Bay without any charge or trial for more than 10 years. This is the first time that the IACHR has agreed to accept jurisdiction over a Guantánamo detainee. J Wells Dixon, senior staff attorney at CCR, stated:
The former head of the Polish intelligence services may face charges for his assistance to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in operating a secret prison in Poland. Zbigniew Siemiatkowski told Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza on March 27 that he could face charges for his association with the prison and the allegations of torture that occurred there.
How predictable. Just as the presidential horserace starts to gain velocity, so do oil prices. The Feb. 26 Reuters headline reads "Oil price rise raises specter of global recession." We are informed: "Oil rose to a 10-month high above $125 a barrel Friday, prompting responses from policymakers around the world including US President Barack Obama, watching US gasoline prices follow crude to push toward $4 a gallon in an election year." The Reuters account cites jitters over a new military conflagration in the Persian Gulf, which is certainly a factor. But some are seeing an intentional manipulation by the most reactionary sectors of the petro-oligarchy to undermine Obama...
We wish we were joking. First this, from UPI, Feb. 18:
US skies to be opened to drones
WASHINGTON — A new federal law allows commercial drones to fly over the United States by late 2015, officials said. The drone language was included in a funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration signed Tuesday by President Obama...
The US Defense Department announced on Feb. 14 that military commission charges have been brought against Guantánamo Bay detainee Majid Shoukat Khan, a Pakistani national who lived in the US from 1996 to early 2002 before returning to Pakistan, where was captured in March 2003 and turned over to the CIA. He is faces charges of conspiracy, murder and attempted murder, violations of the law of war, providing material support for terrorism, and espionage. The charges allege that Khan joined with members of al-Qaeda to prepare attacks against targets in the US, Indonesia and elsewhere. Khan is alleged to have used a false document to travel from his residence in Baltimore, Md., to Karachi, Pakistan, in January of 2002 to conspire with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a plot to blow up underground gasoline storage tanks at gas stations in the US. (Government Security News, Feb. 15)
The Court of Appeals in Milan on Feb. 6 announced the overturn of a lower court's verdict on Tunisian former Guantánamo Bay detainee Mohamed Riadh Ben Nasri. Nasri was convicted of terrorism association two years ago, after he was transferred from Guantánamo to stand trial in Italy. He was sentenced to six years in prison for recruiting martyrs to commit acts of terrorism. Nasri and his lawyer alleged that he was tortured extensively while being detained by US forces. It is unknown if this influenced the court's decision, as Nasri contended that he was beaten until he admitted he was part of al-Qaeda. The court also upheld the sentence of Tlili Lazar under similar charges. Reasoning behind the two decisions will be released in the next 30 days.