The Trump administration has yet to repatriate Guantánamo detainee Ahmed Muhammed Haza al-Darbi to Saudi Arabia, effectively missing the deadline established in his 2014 plea deal. Darbi pleaded guilty and admitted to involvement in al-Qaeda operations including the 2002 attack on a a French-flagged oil tanker near Yemen. In his pre-trial agreement, it was determined that, contingent on his cooperation, he would be sent back to Saudi Arabia to serve the duration of his sentence. Feb. 20 marked four years from the close of the deal and Darbi was not repatriated to Saudi Arabia. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
Donald Trump signed an executive order to continue operations at the Guantánamo detention center—not only allowing those currently detained to remain detained, but also permitting the US to bring new persons to the facility. The order comes the same day Trump pledged "to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay" in his State of the Union address—to applause from Republican lawmakers. It also comes nearly nine years to the day after Obama's executive order to begin the process of closing the facility. (Photo: Wikimedia)
Military judge James Pohl ruled that no wrongdoing occurred when he authorized the destruction of a CIA secret prison, or "black site," despite the fact that a protection order was in effect on any remains from the CIA black sites. Prosecutors, citing national security powers, obtained permission from the judge to give defense attorneys photographs and a diagram of the site as a substitute for preservation the actual facility. The question concerned the admissibility of evidence possibly extracted by torture in the 9-11 case now underway at Guantánamo Bay. From 2002-2006, prisoners at the black site were subjected to waterboarding, sexual abuse, and other forms of torture. (Photo: Wikimedia)
Eleven Guantánamo inmates filed a writ of habeas corpus in federal court, claiming their indefinite detention is due to President Trump's anti-Muslim bias. The inmates argue they can only be legally kept at Guantánamo if their individual circumstances show they would otherwise return to the battlefield. The suit claims that Trump's declaration that all Guantánamo inmates will remain at the prison camp does not take into account circumstances, but is based on Trump's antipathy toward Muslims. (Photo: Wikimedia)
After the Washington Post cited FBI sources to the effect that at least one recent contributor to Counterpunch was a "probable Russian troll," editor Jeffrey St. Clair responds by defending "pro-Russian" bias, pointing to instances of "bias" in favor of horrible things like torture and nuclear strikes by mainstream wonks. So much for the notion of the "alternative media" actually taking a higher standard than the dreaded "MSM," and actually providing an alternative. Instead the idea seems to be that if they can run sinister propaganda, so can we. (Photo: Wikipedia)
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Nils Melzer issued a statement calling on the US to end impunity for "perpetrators and policymakers responsible for years of gruesome abuse" at Guantánamo Bay and other detention facilities. He added that that he has information that Guantánamo detainee Ammar al-Baluchi, awaiting trial in the 9-11 case before a military tribunal, is still being tortured despite the banning of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques."
The US Supreme Court declined to review a lawsuit over a drone strike in Yemen that killed five people. An appeals court dismissed the lawsuit by the families of two Yemeni men allegedly killed by the strike in 2012. The plaintiffs argued that two family members were victims of a "'signature strike," an attack in which the US illegally "targets an unidentified person…based on a pattern of suspicious behavior as identified through metadata."
American Conservative finally gave far-right ex-spook Philip Giraldi the sack over rank anti-Semitism after one of his evil screeds was tweeted by Valerie Plame. Would that some of our supposed allies in the Palestine struggle were as principled as our conservative enemies. Counterpunch, ANSWER, Al-Awda and MondoWeiss continue to promote Giraldi and/or his equally vile sidekick Alison Weir.
A federal appeals court in Washington DC ruled that the military judge hearing the case against the 9-11 defendants should have recused himself for making comments that revealed his bias in the matter. The case against the accused conspirators is still pending nearly a decade after it opened, beset by a long string of controversies and irregularities.
The Canadian government issued a statement apologizing to former Guantánamo detainee Omar Khadr for violating his rights under the country's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The Supreme Court ruled 4-2 in Ziglar v. Abbasi that Muslim men detained in the aftermath of the 9-11 attacks cannot sue top US officials, as they are protected by immunity.
Attorneys for Guantánamo detainee Abu Zubaydah filed a lawsuit against the two psychologists who developed the harsh interrogation techniques used by the CIA after 9-11.