Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Stuck in Guantanamo with...
. . . .

Stuck in Guantanamo with no way out

H. Candace Gorman - September 7th, 2009
Stuck In Guantánamo
with no way out

By H. Candace Gorman 9/7/09

Perhaps you have read about Al-Ghizzawi over the years in Northern Express? I am a lawyer and Al-Ghizzawi is my client. However this is not a normal attorney/client relationship. You see, Al-Ghizzawi is a prisoner at Guantánamo and therefore none of the rules that usually affect the attorney-
client relationship are in play here.
When I meet with Al-Ghizzawi, I must turn over my notes to the military and the Department of Justice to read before they are returned to me. Al-Ghizzawi’s letters to me are read before I receive them and my letters to him are searched for contraband (staples, paperclips... and who knows what else? Words perhaps?)
Al-Ghizzawi began his eighth year at Guantánamo this past spring. He has never been charged with any wrong-doing and he never will be charged with anything. The American government has known that fact for many years.
Al-Ghizzawi languishes at Guantánamo, in ill health, hoping to one day see his wife and daughter again. His daughter, who was only a few months old when he last saw her, will turn eight this fall. At the time Al-Ghizzawi was turned over to American forces in return for a bounty, he did not have a picture of himself, and so his young daughter does not even know what her father looks like (or the sound of his voice).
(It was a common practice by unscrupulous Afghanis to turn foreigners over for sizeable bounties after the American invasion. Al-Ghizzawi was a baker from Libya. -- ed.)
For more than seven years now as
Al-Ghizzawi has sat in solitary confinement in Guantanamo, his wife has had to struggle as a single woman in Afghanistan where she cannot even go shopping without a male family member escorting her.
In 2004, the year before I started to represent Al-Ghizzawi, the Supreme Court handed down an important ruling for the men at Guantánamo. The Court held that the men were entitled to attorneys and that a determination had to be made as to whether or not they were actually “enemy combatants.”
The military quickly threw together procedures for proving that the men were in fact enemy combatants. Al-Ghizzawi’s hearing was on November 23, 2004. Imagine the military’s surprise when a panel of three career military personnel met, reviewed the records, and found that Al-Ghizzawi was not an enemy combatant.
I later learned that my client was one of more than 30 men who were determined, even through this rigged system, not to be enemy combatants. At that time Al-Ghizzawi and the other 30 men had already been held for more than two-and-a-half years. When Matthew Waxman, now a professor at Columbia Law School but then the assistant secretary of defense for Detainee Affairs, learned that my client and others were found not to be “enemy combatants,” he set into motion the “do-over” process to make sure that the men stayed at Guantánamo and the government was not embarrassed by their innocence. The following appeared in a declassified portion of an email exchange between Waxman and others regarding the 30-plus men who were found not to be enemies:
“Inconsistencies will not cast a favorable light on the process or the work done by OARDEC (the military command). This does not justify making a change in and or (sic) itself but is a filter by which to look .... By properly classifying them as EC (enemy combatant), then there is an opportunity to (1) further exploit them here in [G]TMO and (2) when they are transferred to a third country, it will be controlled transfer in status.”
Shortly after that email, new panels re-labeled Al-Ghizzawi and the other 30-plus men who had already been found not to be enemies, as enemies. They would now be held indefinitely at the pleasure of the President.
Why are we still holding Al-Ghizzawi? Perhaps General Jay Hood, the former commander of Guantánamo, said it best: “Sometimes we just didn’t get the right folks.” And the reason those “folks” are still in Guantánamo is because “nobody wants to be the one to sign the release papers...”
General Hood also said if something were not done soon he would start screaming. That was in 2005. General Hood never did do any screaming, instead he quietly moved on.
I had hoped that our new president would act quickly and effectively to clear Guantánamo of the many innocent men still being held. However, President Obama has taken the long road on this particular project and in the course of the past six months he has squandered the goodwill of the many countries that want to help us close Guantánamo.
What has Mr. Obama done wrong? Well for one thing, the new and enlightened folks that he has hired haven’t a clue as to what they are doing or what they should be doing, so they have turned to the same people who have been running the Guantánamo project under Bush. They do not seem to get it that listening to the zealots that got us into this mess is not the way to get us out.

 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 
 

 

 
 
 
Close
Close
Close