Evidence Is Not Necessary to Hold Guantánamo Prisoners for the Rest of Their Lives
By Andy Worthington
April 01, 2011 "Information Clearing House" -- ---- If I was an American lawyer who had fought for many years to secure habeas corpus rights for the prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — in other words, the right to ask an impartial judge to rule on my captors’ reasons for slinging me in a legal black hole and leaving me to rot there forever — the latest news from the Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. (also known as the D.C. Circuit Court) would make me sick in a bucket rather than believing any longer that the law — the revered law on which the United States was founded — can bring any meaningful remedy for the prisoners at Guantánamo.
Treated as punchbags without rights when first picked up, mostly in Afghanistan and Pakistan in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, the 172 men still held at Guantánamo are still treated with scorn by the administration of Barack Obama, the standard bearer of “hope” and “change,” who promised to close Guantánamo and to do away with “the dark halls of Abu Ghraib and the detention cells of Guantánamo, [where] we have compromised our most precious values.” Instead, however, Obama has revealed himself to be nothing more than a hollow man whose ability to read from an autocue made him look caring, clever and capable when that was exactly the antidote we needed to eight years of Bush and Cheney.
Today, the reason for despair is that on Tuesday the D.C. Circuit Court reversed a ruling made last February by Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. of the District Court, in the case of Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman, a Yemeni held at Guantánamo without charge or trial since the prison opened in January 2002. Last February, after examining all the government’s supposed evidence against Uthman, Judge Kennedy ruled that, although the government had presented what appeared to be a coherent timeline of events that was typical for young men from the Gulf, recruited to visit a training camp in Afghanistan to learn to fight for the Taliban against the Northern Alliance, none of the government’s supposed evidence proving Uthman’s presence in guest houses, at a training camp, and in the Tora Bora mountains (where a showdown took place in December 2001 between remnants of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and Afghan forces recruited to fight for the Americans) was reliable.
The reason for this, Judge Kennedy concluded, was because the government’s supposed evidence consisted of statements produced by other prisoners who had been tortured, and whose testimony was therefore unreliable, as well as other witnesses whose statements were also considered to be untrustworthy.
This could have been the end of the story, and Uthman could have been released, ..... more