Pontus Marine LTD- Leader of fishing industry in Somaliland

Saturday, February 21, 2009

After Guantanamo, Charge Them or Release Them

Medeshi Feb 21, 2009
After Guantanamo, Charge Them or Release Them
The men who remain imprisoned at Guantanamo are there now more because of nationality than because of any evaluation of their actual danger to the United States. Citizens of powerful European countries were released long ago.
By Gitanjali Gutierrez

After meeting many men in Guantanamo, and breaking bread with my former clients after their release, I remain baffled by the Administration's continuing uncertainty about how to close the notorious prison facility. Have we as a people still not recognized in 2009 our gross mistakes at Guantanamo? Are we actually willing to squander the good will extended to the new Administration by perpetuating fear-mongering and continuing to suggest the need for "new" detention authorities? I hope, for the sake of our country, that the answer to these questions is a firm "no."
The men who remain imprisoned at Guantanamo are there now more because of nationality than because of any evaluation of their actual danger to the United States. Citizens of powerful European countries were released long ago. My former European client went on to pursue his college degree and marry. But men from less influential countries languish because of political disputes. Our client Mohammed Barre, for instance, is from Somaliland, an area in Somalia that claims status as an independent country and thus has no official diplomatic ties to the United States. And citizens of countries that routinely torture have been eligible for release--some for years like our client Abdul Ra'ouf from Libya--but have nowhere safe to return. These men should not be stranded in the custody of the United States one more day because of their nationality and because of mistakes, bad intelligence, and bad policy. We cannot afford to continue the mistakes of the Bush Administration and inflame Guantanamo as a symbol for anti-American passions.
What should we do with the hundreds remaining at Guantanamo? The quandary only appears complex because of how far we have strayed from the rule of law. The answer is simple. First, President Obama should rapidly commit to either charge individuals or release them. Second, the new administration should ensure the speedy repatriation of those detainees who can be safely returned home. Third, the government should grant refuge in the United States, or secure safe haven in other countries, for those individuals who would be at risk of torture or persecution if forcibly returned home.
The government can prosecute the tiny handful of men who have committed crimes. Plain old criminal trials will suffice. No need to replicate the circus to glorify criminals as "warriors" that has occurred at the military commissions at Guantanamo.
Our client Mohammed al Qahtani too often has been flung forth as an (unexplained) example of one so threatening to this nation's existence that we are contemplating the creation of another novel detention system for those "too dangerous to release, but too tortured to prosecute." We'll set aside, for now, this indication of how far our legal thinking has fallen from the days when we would never engage in extra-legal acrobatics to imprison someone after such outrageous torture. I would only caution against many of the popular assumptions about Mr. al Qahtani's guilt and potential dangerousness. Many aspects of the investigation, his interrogations, and the efforts to prosecute him involved errors at best, illegality at worst. After working directly with him since 2005, I can attest that he is not an extremist. He does not espouse anti-American or radical views. He is, however, quite damaged from what has happened to him. It is difficult to reconcile the popular assessment of his potential "dangerousness" with this man whom I have met many times over four years. We should not let a tortured, destroyed man become a mythical beast of our dreams that drives us to abandon who we are.
Now is the moment to restore the rule of law and move beyond our nation's past mistakes. Charge or release the men still held; there is no third way.
I, for one, look forward to the day when our mistake in Guantanamo settles in its rightful place in history as an egregious incident of racism and xenophobia aside the internment of Japanese-Americans, the slavery and segregation of African-Americans, and the oppression of Native Americans.
Gitanjali Gutierrez is a staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights who was the first civilian lawyer to meet with a client at Guant√°namo and has made more than 30 trips to the base since then.

Nigerian Indicted For Stealing $27.2 Million From Ethiopia Acct


Medeshi Feb 21, 2009
Nigerian Indicted For Stealing $27.2 Million From Ethiopia Acct
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
U.S. officials announced the indictment and arrest of a Nigerian who along with others allegedly stole $27.2 million from a Citibank account belonging to the National Bank of Ethiopia.
Paul Amos, 37 years old, lived in Singapore until his arrest in Los Angeles last month, when he was seeking to enter the U.S.
He is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, and if convicted faces up to 30 years in prison.
Amos and several co-conspirators allegedly created bogus documents issued by Ethiopian central-bank officials. Citibank, a unit of Citigroup Inc. (C), said signatures on the documents appeared to match the signatures of NBE officials it had on file.
The fake documents allegedly authorized Citibank to accept wire-transfer instructions from the central bank by fax, and included a list of authorized officials who could be called to confirm details of any fax instructions. The telephone numbers provided were not NBE numbers and instead were U.K., Nigeria and South African mobile-phone numbers used by the co-conspirators.
Amos and his team allegedly sent instructions to Citibank to wire money from central-bank account to various ones the perpetrators controlled. Between Oct. 2-16, Citibank made 24 wire transfers totaling $27.2 million to accounts controlled by the group in several countries, including the U.S.
-By Kerry E. Grace, Dow Jones Newswires

They get khat, then caught

Medeshi Feb 21, 2009
They get khat, then caught
By Brian Ojanpa The Free Press
(Published February 20, 2009 09:25 pm - Three Mankatoans of East African descent were arrested on drug charges last weekend for possessing a box of plant matter resembling the lawn debris you might rake up after a summer storm. )
Three Mankatoans of East African descent were arrested on drug charges last weekend for possessing a box of plant matter resembling the lawn debris you might rake up after a summer storm.
The stuff is khat, pronounced “cot,” or “got” or variations thereof.
Interesting stuff, this khat.
The ancient Egyptians used the stimulant to achieve a state of god-like euphoria, and an 11th-century Persian scientist wrote that khat “relieves biliousness (digestion problems) and is a refrigerant for the stomach and liver.”
Now it’s just another means among many to achieve a mild buzz. If it makes you feel god-like, so be it.
“In my business, we always talk about the ‘drug of choice.’ If people like something, they’ll go the extra mile for it,” says Michael McGinnis of Addiction Recovery Technologies of Mankato.
The extra miles for the three arrested involved importing the stuff from Africa by way of France.
The nearly 17-pound shipment had a so-called street value of $6,000, but because khat rapidly loses its potency after the shrubby plant is harvested, that potency might have been reduced to the equivalent of a strong cup of espresso.
Khat correlates to a diet-pill level of amphetamine, and as a Third World ditchweed type of substance, it’s not likely to expand its allure beyond African populations.
“It competes poorly with a lot of other stuff available,” McGinnis says of America’s buffet of stimulants — illicit and otherwise — none of which has to be chewed like a cow’s cud.
Khat is big in places such as Somalia, where it has had a rocky recent history.
In 2006, the country’s Islamic ruling body made usage and distribution illegal. A month later, it was back on the street after forces of a provisional government took control of the nation.
(As a side note, those much-ballyhooed Somali pirates reportedly go through khat as if it were Bazooka).
Khat is to some cultures what coffee is here. A Mankato Somalian told me in confidence that khat goes for about $40 a bundle, and by the time it finds its way here, its efficacy has been reduced to khat lite.
He says he doesn’t partake but has been in plenty of social situations where others chew freely, with seemingly no outward physical effects.

Friday, February 20, 2009