Petitioners yesterday filed supplementary declarations and exhibits in Al Maqaleh, better known as the after-Boumediene-does-Guantanamo-habeas-jurisdiction-run-to-Bagram case.
During a hearing on the government’s motion to dismiss, the petitioners had asked to supplement the record with evidence of, among other things, the existence (or not) of practical obstacles to the exercise of habeas jurisdiction over the U.S. detention facility at Bagram; and the government’s deliberate efforts to stash the petitioners in a facility beyond the reach of the federal courts. Judge Bates signed off on that request. Eventually he ordered the detainees’ attorneys both to preview their evidence, and, no later than yesterday, to present it to the court.
So now they have. As they explain here, petitioners filed two principal documents, the first being a declaration from attorney Ramzi Kassem. His declaration in turn attaches and references three more items: first, a letter to Kassem from the Chief of Staff to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, regarding the Afghan government’s position on Bagram detentions; a declaration from Lawrence Wilkerson, former adviser to Secretary of State Colin Powell; and a declaration from Glenn Carle, a former CIA operative who interrogated high value detainees. According to Kassem’s declaration, the Chief of Staff’s letter bears on the “practical obstacles” question; declarations from Wilkerson and Carle illustrate the government’s effort to avoid federal court review of Bagram detentions.
There’s also a declaration and supporting exhibits from Tina Foster, another of the petitioners’ lawyers. In that document, Foster explains that the petitioners’ Personal Representative (“PR”)at Bagram had invited Foster and Kassem to testify on behalf of their clients during Detainee Review Board (“DRB”) proceedings there. The government approved this initially, but reversed itself inexplicably and at the last minute, after Foster and Kassem had begun their journey to Afghanistan. Bagram officials also precluded Foster and Kassem from testifying at the DRB hearing by telephone, even after the group had arrived in Kabul. The detainees then refused to participate in their DRB sessions, and protested on fairness grounds: Afghan detainees had been permitted to call reasonably available witnesses, but now the the U.S. had denied the petitioners that same right during their DRB hearings. (Unlike Kassem’s, Foster’s declaration does not say precisely what her declaration and incorporated documents are meant to demonstrate legally, but their substance hints at another of the petitioners’ arguments, regarding the insufficiency of DRB procedures.)
I’m thumbing through the documents, and hope to post something about them later today.