Monday, February 05, 2007

That Was The Rubicon Five Rivers Back

AMY GOODMAN: Here with me now is one of al-Marri’s attorneys, Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney with the Brennan Center for Justice here in New York City. Welcome to Democracy Now!

JONATHAN HAFETZ: Good morning.

AMY GOODMAN: So start from the beginning. How was al-Marri picked up?

JONATHAN HAFETZ: Well, he was arrested at his home by FBI agents, charged with a crime, and then, as you pointed out, shortly before trial and actually literally on the eve of a hearing to suppress illegally seized evidence that was taken from his home without a warrant, the government essentially just pulled the plug on the criminal justice system and by the stroke of a pen transferred him to a military brig to legal limbo, where he had no rights, was held incommunicado and has been detained without charges now for going on four years.

AMY GOODMAN: What is this brig where he is held?

JONATHAN HAFETZ: The brig is a military prison in South Carolina. It typically houses individuals from the military who are convicted, court-martialed for offenses. But he's in a isolated wing of the brig. He's never seen another prisoner. The only individuals he's permitted to see are his captors, the military guards, and now his lawyers are able to see him, but the first seventeen months he was held completely incommunicado. His lawyers were not able to contact him. We had no contact with him.

AMY GOODMAN: For how long?

JONATHAN HAFETZ: For seventeen months.

AMY GOODMAN: For almost a year and a half.

JONATHAN HAFETZ: That's correct. Even the International Committee for the Red Cross was not able to go in. I mean, it was essentially secret detention on US soil. We had no way of knowing if he was alive.

AMY GOODMAN: And what exactly was the charge?

JONATHAN HAFETZ: Well, there was no charge. There were just allegations made, hearsay allegations, allegations we believe that were obtained from detainees through illegal methods, other detainees possibly through torture that the government did not present in court. There has been no hearing, no witnesses, nothing that would resemble what we understand as due process.

AMY GOODMAN: And explain what you mean when on the eve of -- you're saying on the eve of trial?

JONATHAN HAFETZ: Well, the trial was a few weeks away, but the judge had scheduled a hearing to suppress illegally seized evidence. The government can't present evidence at a trial that’s been taken from someone's home without a warrant. And there was a hearing to find out whether that had happened, and instead of going forward with the hearing, as would normally happen, the government showed up with an order, a one-page order from the President saying, ‘You're an enemy combatant. We're going to dismiss the criminal case, and we’re going to snatch Mr. al-Marri and put him in a brig.’

AMY GOODMAN: And what does “enemy combatant” mean, that he had been fighting on the battlefield?

JONATHAN HAFETZ: Well, the term “enemy combatant” means essentially whatever the government says it means. They've used different definitions in different cases.

AMY GOODMAN: Invented by this administration?

JONATHAN HAFETZ: Yeah. The concept of enemy combatant is not a concept that's identified under the laws of war. The government claims it's a customary use of the laws of war or, you know, law of armed conflict, but there is no such thing as enemy combatant as the administration’s used its term.
- here


  1. warszawa2:50 AM

    The interview with Jonathan Hafetz is shocking, and al-Marri's experience mirrors that of Kurnaz and al-Masri in Germany - which disgracefully took place under a Red-Green government. (Schily and Steinmeier should be in jail).

    And oh christ, the popularity of this Loose Change crap is as immensely damaging as people predicted it would be. It has already been comprehensively criticised by precisely the people Monbiot calls 'the conspiracists' (cf. "The Serbs"):

    Sifting Through
    Loose Change
    The 9-11Research Companion to

    A detailed point-by-point critique of the film using an illustrated transcript

    More on "poison pills" here:

    Monbiot's article is itself deeply, inexcusably lazy - packed with false logic and journalistic clichés. Expect, therefore, to see it praised on Medialens and at Lemon's Womb. It really demands a lengthy reply, and a quick one, but unless the Guardian wants to pay me for it....

    Instead of impressing themselves by beating up little boys, one of these geniuses should take a good hard honest look at '9/11:Press for Truth'. Of course none of them will, and not for no reason.

  2. I've said before that loose change is shite, basically a walking target for grown ups like georgie, and should be handled with tongs and clothespeg, if at all. It's the joke shop cigar of these activities.

    Its an old saw that the nobility used to pack their deficient offspring off to the clergy. Looking at goldsmith, monbiot and porrit, I wonder if the green movement now serves this purpose.

    To be fair, george is fine on his patch but I don't know why he needs to alert us to this terrible virus all of a sudden, why is it a virus, anyway and not a popular, spontaneous, grassroots movement? It seems sometimes that the only thing worse than not organising, is organising around the wrong thing.

    Why does he not take Brzezinski to task for encouraging these thoughts, why does he forget (unlike le colonel) about those curious anthrax attacks?

    Because he's too busy saving us from this 'virus'.

  3. warszawa4:20 AM

    Monbiot's wet-cardboard argument:

    1. Loose Change is full of crap.

    2. Therefore, the Bush Gang's account is reliable.

    By analogy:

    1. Bono is a prat.

    2. Therefore, 'globalisation' is good for everyone.

    Shurely shome mishtake, George?

    Seriously, it's deeply dismaying to see someone so influential so stubbornly missing the point. Burden of proof, Mr. Monbiot, burden of proof.

  4. The sad thing is everyone now knows that Bush is waiting for a pretext to attack Iran. everyone. Every terrorist included. Nonetheless, if a pretext arrives, it will be not only assumed to have been terrorists, but those terrorists will be assumed to not have known that their attack would be the pretext for attacking Iran. They are live in a sound proof booth right now, an underworld, with no access to the news that everyone else has, so they their evil nature will express itself in utter disregard of the inevitable consequences. It is assumed that terrorists now exist who would and could unwittingly give the US a pretext for attacking Iran. As if they are presently on another planet and have no notion of earthling behaviours; the model now is Mars Attacks. Like the whole colour coding terror alerts things - published in the paper and on television but nonetheless secret from terrorists, who are on Mars and know no earthling languages and pay no attention to earthling semiotic systems.

  5. greg palast was amusing asking well let's see... who would wake up and turn on the radio to see if it was a good or a bad day for suicide bombing?

    what he missed ws that this was an essential part of the propaganda, of setting the stage, of creating the idea of what the threat is. whatever it is, red, orange, green mean nothing to it. and anyway it's from another plane of existence, another genre, you have to eat a magic pill or fall through a looking glass to gvisit its lair; it has no information and no capacity to reason; it is evil weather and could attack Washington tomorrow, leaving Iranian passports at the scene of the crime, without the slightest suspicions that this might have bad consequences for Iranians. in the script that it lives in, things are different, there is no sabre rattling against iran, there are no terror alerts, its literally a parallel universe, a world playing on another channel.

  6. warszawa10:06 AM

    And it is essentially racist. The account of 9/11 given by the Bush Gang and accepted without demurral by leninchen, Cockburn and Corn (and Monbiot) features a cast of cartoon villains too stupid to calculate the consequences of their actions and too evil to do anything but gloat over whatever consequences they did anticipate, including the indiscrimate mass murder of men, women and children, believers and infidels alike.

    But iron-willed! By Allah, were they ever iron-willed!

    If you were to try telling that story about actual human beings, people would laugh in your face. "Islamists", however, fit the bill perfectly. For it's just the kind of thing that they *would* do, isn't it? And don't they have reason enough to be, like, really, really angry at us....?

    So there's no point in asking for anything so vulgar as evidence. Monsters do monstrous things; case closed.

    Muslims are nothing if not useful, to Blair and leninchen alike.

  7. I have to say the respondents have been pretty good 380 odd replies to the article.

  8. warszawa5:01 AM

    The world is in terrible shape, Iraq is in ruins, Iran is under threat, the polar icecaps are melting, and we don't have endless time at our disposal. So I look forward to further exciting instalments in George Monbiot's pathbreaking new series,"Let's Stamp Out The Virus Of Uppity Youth"...

    Coming up:

    "Teenage Girl Makes Naive Criticism of Iraq War"

    "Punk At Bus-Stop Says Something Daft About Climate Change"

    "Another Amateur Filmmaker Caught Making A Silly Mistake"

    "Student Gets Something Wrong"

    "Timmy (4) Claims Babies Born Through Belly-Buttons"

    (George's articles only appear in the Guardian once a week, so it's important for him to get his priorities right when addressing a mass audience.)

  9. It is amazing that from the opinionariat of the guardian to the swp's ruling council, the symptoms of this virus cause such consternation and despair.

    You were bang on over at ri re the radical rabbi(if that was you ), a system built and run by and for psychopaths is not going to be good news for the meek of the earth.

  10. warszawa7:43 AM

    "It is amazing that from the opinionariat of the guardian to the swp's ruling council, the symptoms of this virus cause such consternation and despair."

    - and it's equally amazing that the origin of that virus is so studiously ignored, i.e. the stinking morass of the Bush Gang's Official Account. Is that account even remotely plausible? Has anyone's guilt (Atta's? OBL's?) actually been proven beyond reasonable doubt? Is there any prima facie reason whatsoever to trust the Bush Gang's account of an incident that allowed them to declare permanent war? Have Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld and Myers given reasonable explanations for their own truly outrageous behaviour on the morning we all became Americans?

    All-too-obviously not - which is precisely why those questions must never, ever be asked. Ignore it! Forget the millions invested in the NIST report and the 9/11 Commission Report; forget those bodies' unexampled access to mountains of evidence and hundreds of witnesses; forget the fact that they were also kept away from much of the important evidence and many of the important witnesses; forget the fact that they were dependably uncritical handpicked toadies anyway; and ignore the multiple manifest inadequacies of the purported explanations they eventually coughed up.

    Instead, devote your weekly essay in the national newspaper to a withering attack on a trio of youths with a laptop.

    Yeah, it's shocking, but let's not forget that real material interests are at stake here. The Guardian sells opinions, and Opinions About TERROR are a highly saleable commodity. Nobody at the Guardian wants the bottom to fall out of that market. Nobody wants to risk seeing their own personal stock fall, either. Finally, no one at the Guardian wants to publicise anything that might seriously delegitimise the political system that still guarantees them a living. Not even George Monbiot, sadly. He too does not live on fresh air (or even electrosmog).

    But the sheer blatant utterly pointmissing crapness of his article has not gone unnoticed, as you pointed out. This is a man who would produce much, mucach better arguments if he could; so quite clearly, he can't.

    La lutta continua.

  11. warszawa7:59 AM

    Paul, courtesy of the same RI thread you referred to (ta!), here's an old and still inconvenient truth:

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

    (Upton Sinclair)

    - Ever wondered why the ranks of the 9/11 sceptics include so many retired professors, generals and government ministers?

  12. The really annoying thing about george is he's such a toff that he could afford to lose his job.

    However, the are Inconvenient Truths you can face and Inconvenient Truths you cannot.