Monday, June 30, 2008

Truly through the looking glass at Gitmo

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit has declared, in a case involving one of the 17 "Uighur" Chinese detainees - that were sought to be placed in Canada - that the evidence provided by the government to support its claim of enemy combatant status is absurd:
In the first case to review the government’s secret evidence for holding a detainee at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, a federal appeals court found that allegations against an ethnic Chinese man held for more than six years were based on bare and unverifiable claims, according to the decision released Monday.

With some derision for the Bush administration’s arguments, a three-judge panel said the government contended that its allegations against a detainee should be accepted as true because they had been repeated in at least three secret documents.

The court compared that to the absurd declaration of a Lewis Carroll character: “I have said it thrice: What I tell you three times is true.”

“This comes perilously close to suggesting that whatever the government says must be treated as true,” said the panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The unanimous panel overturned as invalid a Pentagon determination that a detainee, Huzaifa Parhat, a member of the ethnic Uighur Muslim minority in western China, was properly held as an enemy combatant.

The panel included one of the court’s most conservative members, the chief judge, David B. Sentelle.
The nature of the evidence the U.S. government was using to detain Parhat was exposed by the court:
Pentagon officials have claimed that Mr. Parhat and 16 other Uighurs at Guantánamo were “affiliated” with the East Turkistan group and that it, in turn, was “associated” with Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The men were captured after the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

The court said the classified evidence supporting those claims included assertions that events “reportedly” occurred and that the connections were “said to” exist, without providing information about the source of such information.

“Those bare facts,” the decision said, “cannot sustain the determination that Parhat is an enemy combatant.”
What an absolute joke the Americans are making of the rule of law. These prisoners were taken in order to gain Chinese favour in 2002 when the U.S. sought Chinese support for the Afghan conflict and with a view to Iraq being next up. The legal basis for their continued detention has been quickly exposed as a sham once it finally reached the light of day, after six years.

Latest Harper government position on the Canadian sitting in Guantanamo Bay, June 18th:
"Mr. Speaker, I have said it before and I will keep repeating it, Mr. Khadr faces very serious charges. Any questions regarding whether Canada plans to ask for Mr. Khadr's release are premature and speculative at this time, as the appeal and legal process is still ongoing."
Yes, it is an ongoing joke...