Thursday, April 28, 2011

Conspiracy, Fujushima Continuing Issues: Kidnapped, Tortured, Held Without Charges Or Counsel; Who Would Do This…USa! WikiLeaks Reveal All.

Conspiracy, Fujushima Continuing Issues: Kidnapped, Tortured, Held Without Charges Or Counsel; Who Would Do This…USa! WikiLeaks Reveal All.

But First: What The Birthers  Are Saying Now . We all know that “The Birthers” are those most mentally unhinged and challenged of our society; after all in today’s media world who can hide a secret that would sell? We all also know that the revelation of the Long Form Birth Certificate isn’t going to satisfy them because it doesn’t list Obama’s Race as Caucasian/White. 

If it’s not white; it’s not right with the RIGHT. 

Damn does that make them a bunch of wing nut racist bigots?

YES SIR; IT DOES! And that’s the real truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

These folks are simply Nucking Futs!

Right-Wing Media Hype Conspiracies About Obama's Long-Form Birth Certificate

Right-wing media have responded to the release of President Obama's original Hawaii birth certificate by embracing conspiracy theories that the document is fake or has been altered.

By Sarah Seltzer | AlterNet

In a little-noticed admission last week, billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump, who currently leads all likely Republican candidates for the presidential nomination in 2012, admitted that he would commit war crimes if he were elected president.

The startling claim went without controversy until today, whenGood Magazine pointed out that Trump's "plan" to seize $1.5 trillion from Iraq's oil profits to "reemburse ourselves" for the invasion and subsequent occupation would actually be an explicit violation of international law -- a violation considered to be a war crime.

"According to the 1907 Hague Convention, 'pillaging,' the stealing of valuable goods from a locality, especially during combat, is a war crime, regardless of what you feel you deserve," noted Cord Jefferson, Good's senior editor. "In the Hague's exact words: 'The pillage of a town or place, even when taken by assault, is prohibited.'"
Many have suggested that Trump's "campaign" may not be entirely serious: that he may only be doing it to get his show on NBC renewed for another season.

The billionaire has not said whether he'll officially launch a campaign, but he's become a staple guest on the Fox News Channel, where he's been given carte blanche to promote unfounded conspiracy theoriesabout President Barack Obama's birthplace.

A poll in February found that in a hypothetical match-up, Trump would lose to President Obama by just two percent of the vote.

Cenk Uygur Gets Ron Paul to Say He'll End Social Security & Medicare If Elected President

--Tepco plan to flood containment vessel of reactor No. 1 with more water to speed emergency cooling efforts announced yesterday 'may not be possible now' 27 Apr 2011

Radiation readings at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi station rose to the highest since an earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems, impeding efforts to contain the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. Two robots sent into the reactor No. 1 building at the plant yesterday took readings as high as 1,120 millisierverts of radiation per hour, Junichi Matsumoto, a general manager at Tokyo Electric Power Co., said today.

That’s more than four times the annual dose permitted to nuclear workers at the stricken plant.

Radiation from the station, where four of six reactors have been damaged by explosions, has forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people and contaminated farmland and drinking water. A plan to flood the containment vessel of reactor No. 1 with more water to speed up emergency cooling efforts announced yesterday by the utility known as Tepco may not be possible now.

“Tepco must figure out the source of high radiation,” said Hironobu Unesaki, a nuclear engineering professor at Kyoto University. “If it’s from contaminated water leaking from inside the reactor, Tepco’s so-called water tomb may be jeopardized because flooding the containment vessel will result in more radiation in the building.”
Decontaminating Robots

Tepco plans to decontaminate the two iRobot Corp. Packbot robots before sending them into a building tomorrow or later to further investigate the damage, spokesman Takeo Iwamoto said. High radiation in the reactor buildings prevents engineers from working inside them, Iwamoto said.

The cores in reactors 1, 2 and 3 and the spent fuels rods in reactor 4 have been damaged. Tepco has been using fire trucks, concrete pumps and other emergency measures for nearly seven weeks to pour millions of liters of water to cool the units after the accident.

Tepco started moving the radioactive water, which leaked to the basements and trenches, to a waste storage facility on April 19. Tepco transferred 1.89 million liters of the water from the trenches near reactor No. 2 as of 7 a.m. today, Iwamoto said. The utility plans to install a second pump after transferring 2.5 million liters.

Less Damage

Tepco shares fell 3.3 percent to 412 yen today in Tokyo. The shares are down about 80 percent since the quake and tsunami struck on March 11, leaving almost 26,000 people dead or missing.
Reactors 1 and 2 are less damaged than estimated, Tepco said in a statement today.

As much as 55 percent of the No. 1 reactor core at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi station was damaged, compared with its earlier estimate of 70 percent.

“We revised the core damage data because some readings on the containment vessel monitors were wrong,” Matsumoto said. “There was also a recording mistake. We are investigating why this happened.”

The assessment for the No. 2 reactor was cut to 25 percent from 35 percent, while that for the No. 3 unit was raised to 30 percent from 25 percent.

“It seems a reasonable estimate that three reactor cores may be damaged to a similar extent,” said Unesaki. The new estimate “doesn’t indicate lower or higher risks at the plant.”

Radiation in Tokyo’s water supply fell to undetectable levels for the first time since March 18, the capital’s public health institute said today.

The level of iodine-131 in tap water fell to zero yesterday, and cesium-134 and cesium-137 also weren’t detected, the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health said today.
Tokyo residents were told on March 23 that the city’s water was unsafe for infants after iodine and cesium levels exceeded guidelines.
To contact the reporters on this story: Tsuyoshi Inajima in Tokyo at; Michio Nakayama in Tokyo at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Amit Prakash at

A city in Fukushima Prefecture started Wednesday to remove topsoil from playgrounds in its elementary and nursery schools, following radiation leaks from a crisis-hit nuclear power plant nearby. Heavy machinery began scooping off surface soil at Kaoru Elementary School and Tsurumidan Nursery School in Koriyama, city officials said, adding that the removed soil will be 'discarded' in landfills in the inland city.

WASHINGTON, Apr 28, 2011 (IPS) - Was Adel Hamlily an agent for MI6, the British secret services, and simultaneously a "facilitator, courier, kidnapper, and assassin for al-Qaida"? Was there a secret al Qaeda cell in Bremen that even the German government knew nothing about? And could it be possible that an 11-year-old Saudi villager was leading a terrorist cell in London?

Earlier this week, Wikileaks released memos from the U.S. military officials in charge of the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on 759 out of the 779 alleged "terrorists" that have been held at the maximum security facility since the invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001. At the time that they were captured, General Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters, "These are people who would gnaw through hydraulic lines at the back of a C-17 (aircraft) to bring it down." 

But experts who have trawled through the new files say that the documents show that the U.S. military jumped to some very dubious conclusions. The Wikileaks documents also show that the U.S. military were duped by some of the prisoners. Worst of all the Wikileaks files prove that hundreds of innocent men were imprisoned. 

"Some fool of a military officer threw the kitchen sink into the 2008 assessment of Hamlily, in an effort to prove to his superiors that this was a dangerous terrorist," writes Clive Stafford Smith, the legal director of Reprieve, a British charity, who has represented 128 of the 779 men who were held in Guantanamo Bay. 

"It is important to understand that each of the 759 WikiLeaks Guantánamo 'assessments' are comprised of the worst gossip that a military officer can come up with," added Smith in a commentary written for the Guardian newspaper in Britain. "(W)e have proved 64 percent of the habeas petitioners innocent - and that comes after more than 500 prisoners were released by the military before the courts intervened. In other words, the error rate is astonishing." 

Andrew Worthington, author of "The Guantanamo Files" who has compiled the most definitive annotated list of all Guantanamo detainees, says that the files "reveal accounts of incompetence familiar to those who have studied Guantanamo closely, with innocent men detained by mistake - or because the U.S. was offering substantial bounties to its allies for al Qaeda or Taliban suspects." 

The files show that military interrogators themselves concluded that an estimated 150 men, almost one in five, had no connection to any terrorist activity whatsoever. Another 380, roughly half of those held in Guantanamo, were believed to be low-level militants. 

Take the case of Mukhibullo Abdukarimovich Umarov, born in Alisurkhan, Tajikistan, and Mazharudin, a Tajik who was born in Pajpai, Pakistan. Both men were arrested while studying at a small library in Karachi, Pakistan on May 19, 2002. 

Both Umarov and Mazharudin have one-page files; the two files are almost identical. They state: "It was undetermined as to why the detainee was transferred to GTMO (Guantanamo). Since his arrival at GTMO it has been determined that this detainee is not an al-Qaida or Taliban member. There, after reviewing all relevant and reasonably available information, it is GTMO's assessment that this detainee is not an enemy combatant." 

The Wikileaks documents also show that U.S. military officials believed that Murat Kurnaz, a Turk who was born in Germany, was a member of "Bremen Group, the Bremen Cell, the Bremen Terrorist Recruitment Cell and the Bremen Jihadist Network." 

But Der Spiegel, a respected German weekly, notes that, "Germany's domestic intelligence agency, which monitors Islamist radicals, nor any other German investigative authorities have ever heard of a Bremen al-Qaida cell." 

"The documents verify ignorance, incompetence and wanton behavior," Bernhard Docke, a German lawyer who represented Kurnaz, told Der Spiegel. "Guantanamo appears to be an autistic and Kafka-esque machine of suspicion in which vague conjecture, simply through the passage of time and constant repetition, becomes supposedly solid fact." 

Indeed Joyce Hens Green, a U.S. judge who reviewed Kurnaz's case, later concluded that the military had "no definite link/evidence of detainee having an association with al-Qaida or making any specific threat against the U.S." or "any evidence that Kurnaz harbored any individual who has in engaged in, aided, abetted or conspired to commit acts of terrorism against the United States." 

The Wikileaks files also reveal that the military interrogators were willing to believe almost anything. Yasim Basardah of Shabwah, Yemen - a former thief, drug addict and an acknowledged member of Al Qaeda who fought against the U.S. in the battle of Tora Bora in Afghanistan in late 2001 - provided testimony against 123 of his fellow prisoners. 

"The current U.S. government knowledge base of the personnel and activities within Tora Bora would not have been possible without the co-operation and truthfulness of this detainee (Basardah) whose reporting has directly supported US tactical operations in Afghanistan," wrote one military analyst. "It seems many JTF-GTMO detainees are willing to reveal self-incriminating information to him." 

For example, Basardah told his interrogators that fellow inmate Yousef Abkir Salih al-Qarani was a leader of a "London, United Kingdom-based al-Qaida cell" in 1998. Yet a more detailed investigation by lawyers showed that al-Qarani was born in 1987 and had not left his family village in Saudi Arabia, making it unlikely that he was leading a terrorist group in the UK at the age of 11. 

But Basardah was rewarded well for this information at the time, according to an investigation by the Washington Post, which revealed that he "received a CD player, chewing tobacco, coffee, library books" as well as McDonald's apple pies and a video game console. 

Every single one of these detainees has since been released. Umarov and Mazharudin were held for two years before being released by the George W. Bush administration in 2004 while Kurnaz was let go in 2006. Basardah and Hamlily spent eight years each at Guantanamo and were released by the Barack Obama administration in 2010. 

However, 171 of the original 779 prisoners remain in Guantanamo today. Of this number 89 have been cleared for release but are being held for security reasons - either because they are from Yemen, which is still considered to be a major Al Qaeda base, or because the detainees face imprisonment in their countries of origin if they return. 

Other Guantanamo prisoners are stuck in a judicial limbo. In March, President Barack Obama signed an executive order extending their imprisonment indefinitely without any charges - even though the government remains unsure of who some of the men are, let alone what, if anything, they did. 

One affected individual is Omar Hamzayavich Abdulayev. His file, released by WikiLeaks, merely notes: "Detainee's identity remains uncertain." 

Glenn Greenwald, a U.S. constitutional lawyer and blogger, says that these new Wikileaks documents "conclusively underscore the evils" of the Obama executive order: "The idea of trusting the government to imprison people for life based on secret, untested evidence never reviewed by a court should repel any decent or minimally rational person, but these newly released files demonstrate how warped is this indefinite detention policy specifically." 

*Pratap Chatterjee is a visiting fellow at the Center for American Progress in Washington DC specialising in fraud, waste and abuse in government procurement. 

The Guantanamo Files

Wikileaks Documents Reveal Hazards Of Blindly Relying On Secret Evidence

The flood of news stories in the wake of the latest Wikileaks document dump reveal how one Guantanamo detainee after another was imprisoned at Gitmo for years based on tips from informants that turned out to be false. As James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation said in today’s New York Times, that’s not a big surprise. Law enforcement relies on such dubious tips in building criminal cases all the time. “The nature of intelligence is that it is ambiguous sometimes. It is sometimes based on sources you wouldn’t take to Sunday school.”

In criminal cases, that’s not necessarily a problem, because criminal defendants ultimately get a chance to test the evidence in court. But that’s not the case for military detainees. Until the Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that Guantanamo prisoners had a right to challenge their detention in federal court, they were stuck in the prison with no independent assessment of their guilt or innocence.

In fact, that’s still the case for detainees imprisoned by the United States in Afghanistan today. The U.S. military holds some 1700 detainees at a prison on the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan – nearly ten times as many as remain at Guantanamo. But unlike at Guantanamo, prisoners in Afghanistan don’t have the right to legal representation or to challenge or even to see the secret evidence being used against them.

In some cases, these Afghan detainees may be truly dangerous Taliban operatives that the government is legitimately keeping off the battlefield. But in other cases, the prisoners may be completely innocent. It’s impossible to know.

The New York Times today describes the case of Guantanamo detainee Mohammed el-Gharani, deemed “an al Qaeda suicide operative” on the basis of statements from two informants – one who turned out to be a serial informant with major psychiatric problems, and another who admitted he had a bad memory and had deliberately tried to mislead investigators.

The background and integrity of an informant is all the kind of information that ordinarily comes out in a trial, where evidence is presented publicly and then challenged by both sides. In Gharani’s case, the dubious value of these “tips” was only revealed once he was able to challenge his detention in court, via a lawyer who brought a habeas corpus petition. The federal judge eventually decided the “intelligence” was far too dubious to justify Gharani’s continued imprisonment.

But none of this happens in Afghanistan. Detainees held by U.S. forces there are not allowed to have lawyers. And although they’re allowed to attend a hearing every six months to make a statement to a Detainee Review Board, which consists of three U.S. military officers, they’re not allowed to see the evidence provided to the military by informants, because it’s classified. In most cases, that means they’re not allowed to see a critical piece of the evidence being used against them.

I went to observe these hearings in Afghanistan in February (I’ll be producing a report on this soon), and was shocked by how little evidence was actually presented during the unclassified portion of the hearing. Mostly, it consisted of a U.S. military officer reading the charges and reciting any incriminating items found near where the detainee was arrested. Sometimes those items, such as weapons or explosive devices, were found in a neighbor’s house, and had no evidence connection to the detainee himself. The government didn’t produce a single witness in any case I observed to explain how or where the items were found or why the government believed they were connected to the detainee.

After about a half-hour open hearing, each session was closed so that classified informant evidence could be presented. I wasn’t allowed to see it, and neither was the detainee. Was it damning, and reliable? Maybe. But so long as prisoners in Afghanistan don’t get to make their case to an independent judicial body or be represented by lawyers trained to challenge the evidence, no one outside the U.S. military will ever know.

Unfortunately, as the latest set of documents revealed by Wikileaks demonstrates, the military’s ability or willingness to truly vet its secret informant evidence does not inspire confidence. The result is that we may well be imprisoning the wrong people.

Gitmo, Wikileaks And A Window On Tyranny

The Wikileaks-released Guantanamo Bay files provide an invaluable insight into the mindset of the US and its allies since September 11.

An infrastructure of torture was implemented, a practice still defended by the US government today, to allegedly protect the homeland from future attack.

The result was hundreds of innocent men kidnapped and incarcerated without trial – a “legal and moral disaster”, according to The New York Times - and President Obama continues shielding torturers in the previous and current administrations. He has pledged to Look Forward and Not Back. The current President has merely extended the Bush administration’s indefinite detention regime for so-called terror suspects.

Salon’s Glenn Greenwald unleashed necessary fury about this reality:
The idea of trusting the government to imprison people for life based on secret, untested evidence never reviewed by a court should repel any decent or minimally rational person, but these newly released files demonstrate how warped is this indefinite detention policy specifically.

Yet this authoritarian impulse to believe untested claims by the US government is exactly what many in the media have been doing for years, repeating without question deliberately leaked intelligence files on the “worst of the worst” prisoners.

One local example is The Australian columnist Chris Kenny, failed Liberal politician and former chief of staff to former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer. During a Twitter conversation on Wednesday with Paul Barrett, a former Secretary of Australian Departments of Defence and Primary Industries & Energy, Kenny wrote, “You're arguing to set free people who have murdered thousands” when Barrett asked why the US refused to conduct fair and open trials for individuals who had never faced justice.

In Kenny’s worldview, the American military has smeared hundreds of Muslims as terrorists and that’s good enough for him. The fact that the Wikileaks file shows the vast majority of Guantanamo Bay detainees had no connection to September 11 or terrorism can be ignored.

This has been the default position of the vast bulk of the corporate press since 9/11. In Australia, especially the Murdoch press has smeared former Guantanamo Bay inmates David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib. This continued with Downer who called both men “terrible, terrible people”, perhaps because he fears what an independent investigation may find in regards to his own government’s alleged complicity in their long incarceration.

Australian journalist Sally Neighbour published an analysis a few days ago that inadvertently undermined her own paper’s years of misleading reporting:

The dossiers on Mamdouh Habib and David Hicks reveal the so-called evidence used to justify their incarceration to be a confused mishmash replete with glaring factual errors and inconsistencies, principally based on self-incrimination that would not be admitted in a proper court of law and tainted by the inclusion of information obtained under torture.

What Neighbour conveniently omitted from her report were the journalists and editors who have dined for years on rehashing US government released propaganda against Hicks and Habib, including The Australian, and smearing them constantly. Clearly media accountability was not on the agenda for a decade of establishment stenography.

Today’s Australiane ditorial begrudgingly acknowledges the torture suffered by Habib and Hicks but issues no apology for spending years accusing them both of terrorism.

Thankfully this week’s Sydney Morning Herald editorially called the treatment of Hicks and Habib by its rightful name, torture.

It took one of the world’s more diligent and un-embedded journalists on Guantanamo Bay inmates, Andy Worthington, to unpack the Wikileaks revelations and highlight the decade of ignoring legal precedent for the Cuban and American black hole down which countless men were tortured and housed.

Reading Worthington’s copious work over the years makes a reader wonder why more mainstream reporters didn’t investigate the prison camp with a very critical eye. Is it because, as a former Bush official said, too many US journalists wanted to be seen as“patriotic” and protect America’s “interests”. Truth came a distant third. Guantanamo Bay was a place where psychological experiments and torture was common-place.

But what of the latest Wikileaks revelations themselves which, for the record, should be seen as merely US official opinion rather than actual factual reporting? We learn that the US allowed a number of repressive country’s intelligence services access to Guantanamo Bay detainees, including officials from China, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

This highly prejudicial process was also committed by Australia during the Howard government when it emerged in 2005 that Chinese officials were allowed to interrogate Chinese asylum seekers in Sydney’s Villawood detention centre.

In the years after 9/11 (and also before), America was kidnapping terror suspects and sending them through extraordinary rendition to authoritarian states where these prisoners would be tortured for information. The latest Guantanamo Bay files confirm that Washington was also asking repressive regimes to assist them in identifying people as well as probably threatening their families back home.

The Wikileaks files detail America’s treatment of Al Jazeera cameraman Sami al-Hajj who languished without charge for six years in Guantanamo Bay. It can now be confirmed that he was only held in the prison camp because the Bush administration hated the Qatar-based news network and wanted to gain more information about its alleged connection to terrorism. It is a chilling warning to media companies the world over.

The response of the Obama administration to the latest document dump was typically Orwellian. The lawyers representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay were told, even after the mainstream press had widely disseminated the Wikileaks documents, that the files remained legally classifiedThe New York Times perfectly highlighted the issue:
Joseph Margulies, a Northwestern law professor who represents Abu Zubaydah, the detainee accused of being a terrorist facilitator who was waterboarded by theCentral Intelligence Agency, said he could not comment on the newly disclosed assessment of his client, which is posted on The Times Web site.“Everyone else can talk about it,” Mr. Margulies said. “I can’t talk about it.”

Although Wikileaks itself was not a major focus of this release (only briefly, anyway), it again proved the power of the whistle-blowing website. Western news organisations were forced to collaborate with an organisation with a relatively small staff and budget. The obvious question remains; why didn’t The New York Times, The Washington Post or TheGuardian receive the scoop with their own investigations?

If former US army soldier Bradley Manning was the leaker of this information – President Obama has already said Manning is guilty, undoubtedly affecting any potential trial - he has given the world an invaluable insight into a superpower’s tyranny; he is a patriot in the truest sense of the word.

Antony Loewenstein is an independent journalist and author of My Israel Question and The Blogging Revolution.

Posted: 28 April 2011 By: Joel Gunter

The Daily Telegraph has published 759 of the leaked Guantánamo files it obtained from WikiLeaks, despite the files not having been redacted to remove sensitive information.

One of the documents published by the Telegraph today includes the full name of a boy detained at Guantánamo who, according to the file, was raped at the age of 15, just prior to being transferred to the camp.

The publication of his name appears to breach the Press Complaints Commission Editors' Code of Conduct, which states that "the press must not, even if legally free to do so, identify children under 16 who are victims or witnesses in cases involving sex offences".

The PCC said today that it could not comment on individual cases before a complaint was made, but it "would of course consider any complaint".

No charges were brought against the detainee, who was captured by US forces in Afghanistan and transferred to Guantánamo Bay "because of his possible knowledge of Taliban resistance efforts and local leaders". He was released a little more than a year after being transferred to the camp.

The file has also been published by WikiLeaks and the Guardian but the Guardian has blacked out the text relating to the alleged assault.

In a statement sent to this afternoon, the Telegraph defended the move, saying it had undertaken "minimal redactions" and that its position was "supported by WikiLeaks".

"The Daily Telegraph takes its responsibilities when releasing confidential documents very seriously, but we believe this information is crucial for full public understanding of Guantánamo Bay. The newspaper has a long track record of redacting documents when necessary, including the release of hundreds of files relating to MPs expenses and the US diplomatic cables.

"However, in this instance, after taking detailed expert advice on the information already in the public domain and the importance of the documents to the general public and the detainees, we have decided to make only minimal redactions. This position has been supported by WikiLeaks.

"We have detailed security protocols in place for the handling of sensitive data by Telegraph employees. We have been alarmed at the reports of the apparent cavalier handling of data by former partners of WikiLeaks, which led to their relationships with the organisation breaking down."

Concerns have also been raised today that a number of the files published by the Telegraph contain unverified accusations against current and former detainees. Speaking to earlier today, Guardian investigations editor David Leigh said that the Telegraph's publication was "totally scandalous ... the most irresponsible thing that I can imagine".

"We took out the names of people who because of the British libel law we couldn't just publish unverified accusations against. We did a lot of redacting and the New York Times did a lot of redacting, but unfortunately WikiLeaks hasn't, and the Daily Telegraph has just published the lot."

The director of Reprieve, a human rights group set up to help the detainees of the Guantanamo Bay camp, wrote to the Telegraph following their initial coverage of the files, accusing it of "extraordinarily inaccurate journalism".

Clive Stafford-Smith's letter, which was not published by the newspaper but was sent to by Reprieve, says:

"The Daily Telegraph line about the Guantánamo WikiLeaks is extraordinarily inaccurate journalism: 'At least 35 Guantánamo Bay inmates fought against the West after being indoctrinated in Britain, leaked files disclose'.

"You write that nine of these are British nationals and eight are British residents. I have helped to represent most of these men, and there is no credible evidence – zero – that any fought against the West."

Stafford-Smith has also criticised the Guardian for its coverage, claiming in an article published by the newspaper that it took "a very credulous approach to the WikiLeaks exposé".

All the WikiLeaks Fit to Print

There is a craven disconnect between the eagerness of leading editors to exploit the important news revealed by WikiLeaks and their efforts to distance themselves from both the courageous website and Bradley Manning, the alleged source of documents posted there.Alleged is required when referring to the Army private so as not to repeat the egregious error of a constitutional-law-professor-turned-president who has already presumed Manning guilty of crimes for which he is not even formally charged.

“He broke the law,” President Barack Obama said of Manning by way of countering his own supporters at a San Francisco fundraiser who dared question the conditions of Manning’s imprisonment. Conditions that Human Rights Watch challenged as “extremely restrictive and possibly punitive and degrading.” Manning was transferred last week to a Kansas prison from Quantico, Va., where for months he had been subjected to shackling, forced nudity, isolation and other harsh treatment—all of which was justified by the government as necessary to prevent him from committing suicide. Clearly the feds were trying to break the man. 

Why indeed is Manning the one behind bars and not the government officials who kept hidden unpleasant truths about this nation’s policies that the public has a right to know? And why do leaders of our constitutionally protected free press now seek to distance themselves from news sources that have performed a great public service? A service documented by the fact, as tallied by The Atlantic magazine, that more than half of the issues of The New York Times this year have carried stories that relied on WikiLeaks’ disclosures.

That is the case with the latest batch of releases. A New York Times editorial on Tuesday titled “The Guantanamo Papers” states that the newly leaked documents are “a chilling reminder of the legal and moral disaster that President George W. Bush created” at the U.S. prison in Cuba but does not credit Manning or WikiLeaks as the source. Instead the editorial refers to a Sunday New York Times front-page news story headed “Classified Files Offer New Insights Into Detainees.” While conceding that WikiLeaks originally obtained the documents, the paper insists they were “provided to The Times by another source.” But shouldn’t we then conclude that WikiLeaks and its alleged source deserve immense credit for revelations about the Guantanamo operation that, as the Times news story put it, resulted in “laying bare the patchwork and contradictory evidence that in many cases would never have stood up in criminal court or a military tribunal”?

To date there has been no evidence that the leaks seriously compromised U.S. national security, and the information involved was of the lowest level of classification. Here, too, Obama was wrong when he insisted that there is something indelibly clear and sacrosanct about the classification of government secrets, when in fact the rules are ill-defined and routinely violated by government officials interested in using secret data to buttress their policy arguments. It was nonsense for the president to state “I have to abide by certain rules of classified information” when he doesn’t. Rules of classification derive from presidential executive orders, and the president has the authority to declassify on the fly, as is convenient to his purpose. 

Obama misspoke when he said: “If I was to release stuff, information that I’m not authorized to release, I’m breaking the law. … We’re a nation of laws. We don’t individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate. … He [Manning] broke the law.”

But that is often what whistle-blowers do in breaking the procedural rules of their organization, private or government-affiliated, to expose a more serious infraction on the part of the organization. That is what Daniel Ellsberg did in releasing the Pentagon Papers documents detailing an official but secret history exposing the justification of the Vietnam War as a blatant lie. The Pentagon Papers carried a far higher security classification than the material Manning allegedly released.

The WikiLeaks material has been far more useful than even the Pentagon Papers in revealing government impropriety involving regimes throughout the world, and the result has been a more aroused public and greater accountability, be it from officials in Egypt or the United States. If this constitutes a crime, it has to date not been shown to be anything but a victimless one, and the net effect of the publication of this material has been to let the public in on information it has every right to know. It is obvious that Manning is being punished because government officials don’t like to be shown to be so deeply in the wrong.

That was the view of former State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley, who resigned after daring to speak the truth about the mistreatment of Manning, labeling his detention “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.” It is all that, and it is high time that the media that confirmed the value of the WikiLeaks information defended the rights of the whistle-blowers who by challenging the code of official secrecy let the public in on the real story.

Classified Files Offer New Insights Into Detainees


WASHINGTON — A trove of more than 700 classified military documents provides new and detailed accounts of the men who have done time at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba, and offers new insight into the evidence against the 172 men still locked up there.

Military intelligence officials, in assessments of detainees written between February 2002 and January 2009, evaluated their histories and provided glimpses of the tensions between captors and captives. What began as a jury-rigged experiment after the 2001 terrorist attacks now seems like an enduring American institution, and the leaked files show why, by laying bare the patchwork and contradictory evidence that in many cases would never have stood up in criminal court or a military tribunal.

The documents meticulously record the detainees’ “pocket litter” when they were captured: a bus ticket to Kabul, a fake passport and forged student ID, a restaurant receipt, even a poem. They list the prisoners’ illnesses — hepatitis, gout, tuberculosis, depression. They note their serialinterrogations, enumerating — even after six or more years of relentless questioning — remaining “areas of potential exploitation.” They describe inmates’ infractions — punching guards, tearing apart shower shoes, shouting across cellblocks. And, as analysts try to bolster the case for continued incarceration, they record years of detainees’ comments about one another.

The secret documents, made available to The New York Times and several other news organizations, reveal that most of the 172 remaining prisoners have been rated as a “high risk” of posing a threat to the United States and its allies if released without adequate rehabilitation and supervision. But they also show that an even larger number of the prisoners who have left Cuba — about a third of the 600 already transferred to other countries — were also designated “high risk” before they were freed or passed to the custody of other governments.

The documents are largely silent about the use of the harsh interrogation tactics at Guantánamo — including sleep deprivation, shackling in stress positions and prolonged exposure to cold temperatures — that drew global condemnation. Several prisoners, though, are portrayed as making up false stories about being subjected to abuse.

The government’s basic allegations against many detainees have long been public, and have often been challenged by prisoners and their lawyers. But the dossiers, prepared under the Bush administration, provide a deeper look at the frightening, if flawed, intelligence that has persuaded the Obama administration, too, that the prison cannot readily be closed.

Prisoners who especially worried counterterrorism officials included some accused of being assassins for Al Qaeda, operatives for a canceled suicide mission and detainees who vowed to their interrogators that they would wreak revenge against America.

The military analysts’ files provide new details about the most infamous of their prisoners, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the planner of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Sometime around March 2002, he ordered a former Baltimore resident to don a suicide bomb vest and carry out a “martyrdom” attack against Pervez Musharraf, then Pakistan’s president, according to the documents. But when the man, Majid Khan, got to the Pakistani mosque that he had been told Mr. Musharraf would visit, the assignment turned out to be just a test of his “willingness to die for the cause.”

The dossiers also show the seat-of-the-pants intelligence gathering in war zones that led to the incarcerations of innocent men for years in cases of mistaken identity or simple misfortune. In May 2003, for example, Afghan forces captured Prisoner 1051, an Afghan named Sharbat, near the scene of a roadside bomb explosion, the documents show. He denied any involvement, saying he was a shepherd. Guantánamo debriefers and analysts agreed, citing his consistent story, his knowledge of herding animals and his ignorance of “simple military and political concepts,” according to his assessment. Yet a military tribunal declared him an “enemy combatant” anyway, and he was not sent home until 2006.

Obama administration officials condemned the publication of the classified documents, which were obtained by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks last year but provided to The Times by another source. The officials pointed out that an administration task force set up in January 2009 reviewed the information in the prisoner assessments, and in some cases came to different conclusions. Thus, they said, the documents published by The Times may not represent the government’s current view of detainees at Guantánamo.

Among the findings in the files:

The 20th hijacker: The best-documented case of an abusive interrogation at Guantánamo was the coercive questioning, in late 2002 and early 2003, of Mohammed Qahtani. A Saudi believed to have been an intended participant in the Sept. 11 attacks, Mr. Qahtani was leashed like a dog, sexually humiliated and forced to urinate on himself. His file says, “Although publicly released records allege detainee was subject to harsh interrogation techniques in the early stages of detention,” his confessions “appear to be true and are corroborated in reporting from other sources.” But claims that he is said to have made about at least 16 other prisoners — mostly in April and May 2003 — are cited in their files without any caveat.
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RICHARD CHENEY, former Vice President of the United States, DONALD RUMSFELD, former Secretary of the Department of Defense, General RICHARD MYERS (Ret.), United States Air Force, Defendants-Appellees, JOHN DOES NOS. IX, in their individual capacities, ...See all stories on this topic

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Considering what a travesty the Bush-Cheney regime was and its negative impact on American and the world that multiplied America's enemies a thousand-fold, gave us an imperial presidency, an end-run around Congress and the law with presidential signing...See all stories on this topic

The ongoing release of another large collection of classified documents by WikiLeaks concerning Guatanamo detainees creates a new set of challenges and opportunities for the detainees’ attorneys.  But the government says the attorneys cannot discuss those matters in the public domain, even though anyone else can.

Attorney David Remes petitioned a court yesterday to release him from all such restrictions regarding publicly available WikiLeaks documents.  His petition (pdf) was posted by Ben Wittes of Lawfare blog.

It was also reported by Scott Shane in the New York Times today, and discussed by Marcy Wheeler at EmptyWheel.
The petition argues that not only are continuing controls on publicly available information futile, they are unjust.  That is, they inhibit the attorney’s ability to act in the best interests of his clients by correcting errors or identifying exculpatory factors.

A response by the government will follow.