Another Blow to Howard’s Credibility
Here again is yet more evidence of the immoral, unethical illegal activities of the [tag]Bush administration[/tag] at Guantánamo Bay – activities not merely endorsed by but actively promoted by our wonderful Australian government, in full flight of its especially Australian value of the “fair go” and under the particular patronage and management of those compassionate humanitarians, [tag]Howard[/tag], [tag]Ruddock[/tag] and His Supreme Irrelevance, Alexander [tag]Downer[/tag].
[tag]Guantanamo[/tag] military lawyer breaks ranks to condemn ‘unconscionable’ [tag]detention[/tag]
By Leonard Doyle in [tag]Washington[/tag]
27 October 2007
An [tag]American[/tag] [tag]military[/tag] [tag]lawyer [/tag]and veteran of dozens of secret Guantanamo [tag]tribunals[/tag] has made a devastating attack on the [tag]legal[/tag] process for determining whether Guantánamo prisoners are “enemy combatants”.
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His critique will be the centrepiece of a hearing on 5 December before the [tag]US Supreme Court[/tag] when another attempt is made to shut the prison down. So nervous is the Bush administration of the latest attack â€“ and another [tag]Supreme Court[/tag] ruling against it â€“ that it is preparing a whole new system of [tag]military courts[/tag] to deal with those still imprisoned.
The [tag]whistleblower[/tag]‘s testimony is the most serious attack to date on the [tag]military panels[/tag], which were meant to give a fig-leaf of legitimacy to the [tag]interrogation[/tag] and detention policies at [tag]Naval Base[/tag] at Guantánamo Bay. The major has taken part in 49 status review panels.
“It’s a [tag]kangaroo court[/tag] system and completely [tag]corrupt[/tag],” said Michael Ratner, the president of the [tag]Centre for Constitutional Rights[/tag], which is co-ordinating investigations and appeals [tag]lawsuit[/tag]s against the government by some 1,000 lawyers. “[tag]Stalin[/tag] had show trials, but at Guantánamo they are not even [tag]show trial[/tag]s because it all takes place in secret.”
[tag]Combatant Status Review Tribunal[/tag]s were held for 558 detainees at the Guantánamo in 2004 and 2005. All but 38 [tag]detainees[/tag] were determined to be “enemy combatants” who could be held indefinitely without charges. Detainees were not represented by a [tag]lawyer[/tag] and had no access to [tag]evidence[/tag]. The only witnesses they could call were other so-called “[tag]enemy combatants[/tag]“.
The [tag]army[/tag] [tag]major[/tag] has said that in the rare circumstances in which it was decided that the detainees were no longer enemy combatants, senior [tag]commander[/tag]s ordered another panel to reverse the decision.
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William Teesdale, a British-born lawyer investigating Mr Hadad’s case, said he was certain of his client’s [tag]innocence[/tag], having tracked down doctors who worked with him at an [tag]Afghan[/tag] hospital. “Mr Hamad is an [tag]innocent[/tag] man, and he is not the only one in Guantánamo.”
This is on top of a recent charge by an international group of doctors who have attacked the practices of [tag]US doctors[/tag] at Guantánamo:
Doctors accuse US of ‘unethical practices’ at Guantánamo Bay
By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor
07 September 2007
More than 260 doctors from around the world have launched an unprecedented attack on the American medical establishment for its failure to condemn [tag]unethical practices[/tag] by [tag]medical practitioners[/tag] at the Guantánamo Bay [tag]prison camp[/tag] in [tag]Cuba[/tag].
In a letter to The [tag]Lancet[/tag], the doctors from 16 countries, including [tag]Britain[/tag] and America, say the failure of the US regulatory authorities to act is “damaging the reputation of [tag]US military[/tag] medicine”.
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The group highlighted the [tag]force-feeding[/tag] of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay last year and suggested the [tag]physician[/tag]s involved should be referred to their professional bodies for breaching internationally accepted [tag]ethical guidelines[/tag].
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The US introduced the policy of force-feeding, in which prisoners are strapped to a chair and a tube is forced down the throat into the stomach, after more than 100 prisoners went on hunger strike in 2005.
“Fundamental to doctors’ responsibilities in attending a hunger striker is the recognition that prisoners have a right to refuse treatment,” the doctors wrote.
After last year’s protest, David Nicholl, consultant [tag]neurologist[/tag] at [tag]City Hospital Birmingham[/tag], who led the protest, lodged formal complaints with two medical boards, in [tag]California[/tag] and [tag]Georgia[/tag] in the [tag]United States[/tag]. He also lodged a complaint with the [tag]American Medical Association[/tag], of which John Edmondson, the former hospital commander at Guantánamo Bay, was a member.
Writing in today’s Lancet, Dr Nicholl and his co-signatories, say: “After 18 months there had been no reply from the [tag]AMA[/tag], the Californian authorities stated that they ‘do not have the jurisdiction to investigate incidents that occurred on a federal facility/military base’, and the authorities in Georgia stated that the ‘complaint was thoroughly investigated’, but ‘the Board concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to support prosecution’.”
When the same complaint was considered by the [tag]Royal College of Physicians[/tag] in the [tag]UK[/tag], the college concluded: “In England, this would be a criminal act.”
This government knows, as it has always known, the international criminality of Guantánamo. It has never resiled from full support of Guantánamo as an institution. No-one on the government benches has ever publicly suggested that it be closed. The government as a whole and its leaders in particular are terminally corrupt and criiminal.
It is time not simply to vote them out of office – that is insufficient [tag]punishment[/tag] – but to punish them with annihilation as a political force, to bring criminal charges against the Howard cabinet in the appropriate international courts, and to bring senior bureaucrats in [tag]PM&C[/tag], [tag]DFAT[/tag] and [tag]DIC[/tag] who have abrogated their duty of care to the [tag]Australian people[/tag] and perverted the Australian [tag]democratic[/tag] system for base political aims, before the [tag]Australian courts[/tag]. It is wrong to allow them to slink away into comfortable and well-fed, superannuated obscurity.
[tags]Guantanamo Bay, politics, Australian politics, government, Australian government, politics and government, Australian election, election, federal election, law, law and justice, injustice, crime, international crime, ICC, International Criminal Court, Hague, crime and punishment, Bush, George Bush, Cheney, Dick Cheney, USA, United States, war crimes[/tags]