Blog Archives

The 2004 Guantanamo Military Commissions

Last week NPR’s Morning Edition aired a story about Guantanamo sketch artist Janet Hamlin saying, “When the secretive military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay began, only one courtroom sketch artist was allowed in. Her name is Janet Hamlin.” That’s not exactly correct.

Janet is a great artist and has done a great job visually documenting the tribunals created  under the Military Commissions Act of 2006. She has recently come out with a book of her drawings, “Sketching Guantanamo, Court Sketches of the Military Tribunals, 2006-2013″, that is a must buy. But I just want to set the record straight that the first Military Commissions were in 2004. The Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld found that they violated both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and The Geneva Conventions, and that the president did not have the authority to create them without authorization of Congress.

So, to be correct, when the secretive military tribunals at Guantanamo began, in 2004, only one artist was allowed in, me. Below are some of my sketches, never before posted -it was before I had a blog, done during four days in August 2004 at Guantanamo.

Above, NGO observers; below, members of the arabic language press.

I wasn’t allowed to portray the likenesses of the detainees or Guantanamo personnel.

Above Australian detainee David Hicks, seated, his military lawyers’ hand on his back. Hicks’ parents are in the left foreground.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Military

“Birther” Loses Court-Martial Defense

Lakin100902

Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, a highly decorated 18-year Army veteran, refused to deploy to Afghanistan on the grounds that the order was illegal because, he believes, President Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the U.S. and therefore has no authority as Commander in Chief.

Lakin100902wide
Lakin invited his court-martial hoping to use it to call into question the President’s birth records, but a military judge today denied him that defense.

WorldNetDaily’s Thom Redmond has the story here.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Military

Judge Frees Gitmo Detainee

Gitmo090730wide
Judge Ellen Huvelle yesterday ordered the government to release Mohammed Jawad, a young Guantanamo detainee whose confession under torture was thrown out by a military judge.  Though unlikely, criminal charges could still be brought against Jawad, an action the judge discouraged. “I hope the government will succeed in getting him back to Afghanistan,” Huvelle said.

In the sketch Jawad’s attorney, Maj. David Frakt, is pictured at the podium. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ian Gershengorn is standing on the left.

NYT story here.

Tagged with:
Posted in Courtroom, Military

Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals

NavyYard090123

U.S. v Neal was argued at the Washington Navy Yard last Friday. The issue before the court arises from a sexual assault case. Major Elizabeth Harvey is pictured arguing for the appellant.

You can listen to the argument here.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Military

Judge Orders Release of 5 Gitmo Prisoners “Forthwith”

Gitmo081120_Leon
Judge Richard Leon, a conservative Bush appointee, in the first ruling since the Supreme Court ordered habeas review of the government’s evidence in the Guantanamo detentions, ordered the release of five of the six detainees in Boumediene v. Bush. The judge said the Justice Department had relied solely on a classified documents from an unnamed source, and that its arguments were not persuasive.

In an unusual move, Judge Leon asked the government not to appeal his decision, saying “seven years of waiting for our legal system to give them an answer to their legal question is enough.”

Washington Post story here.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Courtroom, Military

Urbina Frees the Uighurs

Uighur081007wide

Applause erupted in a packed courtroom today after Judge Ricardo Urbina ordered the government to bring 17 Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo for the past seven years into his courtroom at 10am Friday.  The Uighur detainees, whom the government concedes are not enemy combatants, have no country willing to take them in, and return to China would likely mean imprisonment or worse.

Uighur081007_judge
Judge further ordered that the Uighurs are not to be questioned or detained by immigration officials. “Nothing will happen to these people,” he said.

The government is likely to seek a stay of the order from the Court of Appeals.

Washington Post story is here.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Courtroom, Military

Judge Vows Detainee Cases “Resolved This Year”

Gitmo080710wide

At a second hearing this week resulting from the Supreme Court’s recent decision allowing Guantanamo Bay detainees to have their cases heard in civilian courts U.S. District Judge Richard Leon emphatically expressed his intent to move quickly. “The Supreme Court has spoken. They want this done. By God, we’ll get this done”.

Reuters story here.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Courtroom, Military

Habeas Hearings for Gitmo Detainees Begin

Gitmo080708wide

The ceremonial courtroom in Washington’s U.S. District Court was filled to capacity with more than 120 lawyers representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay, a dozen government lawyers, and various clerks, reporters and spectators. Another couple dozen lawyers for the detainees listened to the proceeding on conference call.

Gitmo080708_Hogan

At the conclusion of the hearing Judge Hogan remarked: “The government has to set aside
every other case pending before them and get these cases moving
first….People in all levels of government should understand that.”

AP story here.

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Courtroom, Military

Yet another internet sex sting

Lewis070912wide

U.S. Navy ensign and fourth-year medical student Troy Lewis sat with his attorney as Assistant U.S. Attorney Julieanne Himelstein summed up the government’s case for the jury.  Lewis had used the internet to arrange a sexual encounter with a ten-year old, but his contact turned out to be an undercover DC police detective.

The local NBC4 has the story here (usually they do a better job shooting the sketches, and where’s my credit?!?).

Tagged with:
Posted in Courtroom, Military

Abu Ghraib court-martial

Jordan070821wide

A military jury heard opening arguments yesterday in the court-martial of the only senior officer to face criminal charges in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal. Lieutenant Colonel Steven Jordan “was the officer in charge … He was
the highest ranking officer on the ground,” prosecutor Colonel John
Tracy told the panel of nine Army colonels and one brigadier general.

Jordan070821

Colonel Thomas Pappas, an intelligence brigade commander who was the highest-ranking officer at Abu Ghraib  -seen here on the witness stand as Lt. Col. Jordan, left, listens- testified that he took over as director of the center because Jordan wasn’t focusing on it enough. Pappas has been reprimanded and fined $8000 for his part in the scandal, but not charged with any crimes.

AP story here.

Tagged with:
Posted in Military
2013_Blawg100Honoree_300x300
TWITTER @courtartist

Blog Updates

Enter your name and email below to receive blog updates via email.