Tuesday, June 24, 2008

See RENDITION on DVD/Khadr's defence denied access to interrogation summaries

The Hiroshima-Nagasaki Commemoration Committee is hosting its latest FILM & SOCIAL CONSCIOUSNESS VIDEO SERIES. The last film, RENDITION [ U.S. , 2007], will be shown Fri., June 27 at AFSC, 4806 York Road [three blocks north of Cold Spring Lane ]. Doors open at 7 PM, and the video starts at 7:30 PM. Suzanne O’Hatnick will lead the discussion afterwards. There is no charge, and refreshments will be available. Call 410-366-1637.

Directed by Gavin Hood (TSOTSI) and starring Omar Metwally, Igal Naor, Jake Gyllenhaal, Reese Witherspoon, Alan Arkin, Peter Sarsgaard and Meryl Streep, the film tells the story of a family torn apart when the father is kidnapped by the CIA and tortured in North Africa . One riveting scene occurs when the victim is water boarded. While the story is fictional, it is very much what happened to the Canadian citizen Maher Arar who was tortured in Syria . The film has a back story: the head of the secret prison has a rebellious daughter who is involved with a student who may be involved in a bomb plot.

Wednesday » June 25 » 2008

Khadr's defence denied access to interrogation summaries

Steven Edwards

Canwest News Service

Saturday, June 21, 2008

NEW YORK - The new judge in Omar Khadr's war-crimes prosecution has denied his defence lawyers access to so-called "baseball-card" interrogation summaries they believe laid out the story he was expected to tell.

Army Col. Patrick Parrish ruled in favour of the prosecution's bid to keep the officially named "analyst support packages" (ASPs) secret.

Navy Lt.-Cmdr. Bill Kuebler, Khadr's Pentagon-appointed lawyer, said Saturday he believes the packages would have been "key" as he tries to show interrogators used punishments to lock the Canadian-born terror suspect into a story he says was largely of the government's making.

Khadr faces five war-crimes charges before the military commission at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay , Cuba , including the murder of a U.S. soldier in a grenade attack during the July 2002 firefight in Afghanistan that led to the then-15-year-old's capture.

Khadr's first interrogations took place at the detention centre in Bagram, Afghanistan, where U.S. forces held him for three months before transferring him to Guantanamo .

They were led by an intelligence officer named Sgt. Joshua Claus, who was later court martialed for his role in the death of a Bagram detainee.

"The ASPs are largely based on statements extracted by Omar's abusive interrogator at Bagram, who uses 'hellspawn' in his e-mail address," Kuebler said, referring to the return address of a recent e-mall he received for the now-de-enlisted soldier.

"The information in these documents would have been used to frame subsequent interrogations and determined what information Omar would have had to tell interrogators in order to escape punishment for being uncooperative."

Kuebler believes most of the prosecution's case at a trial scheduled to start Oct. 8 will be based on the statements Khadr has made to interrogators over the years.

At a hearing in Guantanamo Thursday, he told Parrish the ASPs - produced upon Khadr's arrival at the naval base - represent a "snapshot" of the information his new interrogators would use to draw more statements from him. Army Capt. Keith Petty, one of Khadr's prosecutors, said the ASPs could be thought of as a "baseball card" that encapsulate information gathered on each detainee.

But he also said the defence didn't need them because the prosecution had already handed over the mass of interrogation information from which they were drawn.

Parrish appeared to be siding with the defence when he asked why the prosecution would hold back a summary when the wider mass of material was already released.

But Khadr's chief prosecutor, marine Major Jeffrey Groharing, stepped up to invoke security concerns.

"The ASP reflects what the U.S. finds important . . . " he said. "It would help our enemies (figure out) how we think, how we operate as an intel community."

The commission has not formally announced Parrish's ruling, which he made Friday.

In courtroom rulings Thursday, he granted Kuebler's requests for procedure manuals at all camps in which

Khadr has stayed, and for Claus's service records.

For its part, the prosecution said it would not be calling Claus as a witness against Khadr.

The judge, who has a no-nonsense reputation, came to the Khadr case on May 29 after the Pentagon abruptly announced the return to retirement of his predecessor, army Col. Peter Brownback, who had been resisting prosecution calls to move quickly towards trial.

© Canwest News Service 2008

Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center , 325 E. 25th St. , Baltimore , MD 21218 . Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net

"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs

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