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tv   Inside Story  Al Jazeera  September 7, 2013 12:30pm-1:01pm EDT

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don't go anywhere. >> so the movies have been screened, juries have retired to consider their verdict. in all probability, it's been reached already. as for the crew and the stars, and directors, they'll have to wait a little longer to find out how this one ends. >> thousands of germans gathered in berlin's stadium to witness the opening display of the annual fireworks festival. three international attempts unleashed hundreds of fireworks into the night sky. some to the tune of famous pieces of classical music. this year's colour theme is violet yellow. the festival closes on saturday. three more will put on their fireworks displays. plenty more news online. breaking news, video and ondemand on the website. is
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(vo) every sunday night gripping films from the world's top documentary directors. >> this is just the beginning of something much bigger. >> i am now in this place where you should never come. (vo) tomorrow night, the premiere of skydancer. >> there's this myth out there that mohawks don't get scared. (vo) how do mohawk iron workers balance work in the sky with life on the reservation? >> it's two different lives he's leading. >> welcome back to "inside storey." we'll dig more into the political challenges of closing the guantanamo detention facility and bringing justice to those who remain there. with us, randy kassem who represent several guantanamo detainees, and max fisher, a foreign affairs blogger at the "washington post." president obama came into office saying he wanted to close guantanamo. what has stopped him. >> it's really a fight between obama and congress. congress doesn't want to close it, and they've been really effective at stopping him at every turn. we talked about the 84 detainees who we all agree denver is their freedom. congress passed this law that said okay, if you want to get rid of them, if you want to free these people who we agree need to be freed then a senior official needs to sign an image publicly that this person will never be associated with terrorism. >> so they're on the line. >> that's the idea. to make the stakes so
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politically so high that they wouldn't want to do it. that's pretty cynical, but on the other hand, you know, you have to wonder okay, what is it like if you're john kerry and you say, well, if i sign this, if they released all 84 tomorrow, probably at least one of them would at some point be accused of being involved with terrorism. there was an u.s. government study that found 16% to 27% became terrorist after being released. many would not expose themselves to that risk because of terrorism and american politics can be a little hysterical, and it's meant to told their feet to the fire. >> those numbers are significant significant. >> because how do you know. you have to put it on the american public a little bit because we so overreact to even this suspected possibility that somebody might meet a terrorist, somebody that we have to keep 84 people locked up forever. >> what do your clients want? what is your solution? >> they want justice and they want freedom and they want their lives back. the idea that there is any legitimacy to what is happening between congress and the white house is frankly offensive at this point after 11 years. not just to them but to their families, and their governments, to their communities and to their societies. the reality is once again this is politics over policy. from the policy standpoint every single stakeholder agency in the u.s. government has acknowledged publicly in the u.s. national interest to close down that prison at guantanamo and to release the prisoners. the problem is that politics is getting in the way. it's not even as the white house used to claim they did not possess the authority. they've had that authority for quite some time. they have just chosen not to exercise it for political reasons that have nothing to do with the sounder policy. >> what about civilian trials or having military tribunal which as max fisher mentioned earlier may benefit the detainees because of the abuses that happened that have been documented and hampered some of the prosecutions. what about those two options? >> well, i think the military conventions at guantanamo before which i have appeared on one of my clients at guantanamo are designed precisely to get around the issues that would arise in a normally constituted civilian or military court. that's because, you know, the elephant in the middle of the room in any guantanamo case is the question of torture, and
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where the government tries to use statements elicit ed from prisoners against them, and that would an legal issue. that's why they came up with the military commission. the military commission enabled the prosecution to cut all types of corners, and it has proven to be a fiasco. there is no other word for it. it's not that they've had acquittals, but they've had problems moving forward. for my clients if there is any evidence, and there is a big emphasis on the if there, but if there is any evidence then that evidence should be presented in a federal court. the obama administration should abandon the military commission. no one bothers with the commissions any more not internationally or domestically. >> what about the responsibility of foreign countries. foreign governments as max fisher, could get retribution if you release prisoners in the custody of the governments they came from or into other countries, they might be in danger. >> i think that's recycling the dick cheney's 1% con tric doctrine if there is any least bit plus ability we would error on the side of detaining people indefinitely and shattering their lives. there are consequences and choices and we see that every day given the reputation on the united states internationally. >> we'll stay with ramsey kassem, and kell' talk about the other guantanamo bay, that's what some people call the prison in afghanistan.
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>> a temporary place to hold prisoners on the battlefield. there have been allegations of abuse almost since it's inception. of march 25th this year the u.s. military handed over control of the facility to the afghan government. 60 afghan prisoners remain in prison there, most of them pakistani. with us ramsey k assem who represents detainees, and joining the discussion is a lawyer who respected many pakistani detainees. we her about guantanamo, but not bagram. >> we call them twins. the reason why you had guantanamo, fundamentally, change in terms of the rights that they're detainees, if it received all this attention in the world and the ma. bagram has been able to absolutely escape that. that's why you look at bagram detainees not afforded the basic of rights such as access to attorneys, something that guantanamo detainees have. we want to draw attention to the fact that bagram is there, and it's going to be there unless something is done to shut it down. >> ramsey kassem, you have a client in bagram, what has his experience been like and what do you plan too requested. >> the prisoners of bagram do not have access to counsel. i was there last year demanding to see my client and my client was demanding to me, but they were saying that they have no righ righright to counsel. we were about to go back to the court of appeals to ask for a simple thing, the right for a day in course. the obama administration is taking the same thought, courts have no jurisdiction over what goes on in bagram. you know, we've been trying to get that very basic right to get
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into the courthouse door, which guantanamo prisoners in theory have been able to do in the last seven years. >> we research out to isap. >> -- >> --i just want to mention that we reached out to isap and asked them to respond to the criticism that your group has brought up. here's what we heard in response. all of the men we hold in afghanistan were captured by coalition forces and were detained documented intelligence reports and battlefield observation. the detainees are held under the law of war and are done so by us both humanely and lawfully. so sarah balal, what do you have to say to isap's position. >> i am a lawyer, but the fact of the matter is this call this a rabbit hole, and i would like to hear ramzi's position on this as well. there is no international law that vindicates holding people charges. in fact, this position that the spokesperson has said is very interesting. because we file litigation before the high court in pakistan to pressure the pakistani government to take a step to negotiate with the americans precisely because we have to figure out ways around this issue to litigate this issue to accord the detainee's rights. in that litigation you know, through the pakistani ministry of foreign affairs the united states took the position that just one of our clients was captured, and we were able to disprove that by the u.s. government by producing letters that the detainee himself had written to his family members that pre-dated by two years the date of detention that the u.s. government said that they had captured him. you know, frankly, i don't buy that position at all. and also to detract from what is important, and what we need to do about bagram today. this discussion whether it's legal or not, under what law its justified, this debate has been going on since the beginning of gitmo and bagram. the purpose of writing this report was not to feed into the debate that has been effective over the period of ten years by the u.s. government, but to draw and to place a human face on what these people are facing, and the way we did that is not by getting direct testimonies from the detainees because we have no access to them, but reaching out to their family members, and tracking what has happened to them over the past ten years. when you put people in indefinite detention, you're not just disrupting their lives and dreams, but you're destroying the lives and the fabric of their communities and their families and their children.
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you know, who are left in limbo. >> we're hearing from sara the picture of what happens to the families. ramzi kassem said thee prisoners were o on the battlefield of wa. they may have been planning 9/11, how do you push back against that? >> i shy sara is right from a legal standpoint. anything that you receive from isap is questionable, but it is factually inaccurate as well. i can't stress that enough. the fact that they're telling you and telling the world that these were people who were on battlefield. there is no prove of that. my client was taken off the streets of bangkok. he was not captured anywhere near a hot battlefield of afghanistan. >> we'll have to leave it there. thank you so much to both of you. well, that's all from the team in washington d.c. and from me, libby casey. you can keep this conversation going by logging on to our facebook page or send us your thoughts on twitter.
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[ music ] i am richelle carey. secretary of state john kerry has just arrived in paris >> we are very grateful for the statement that came out of the meeting today with respect to syria, a strong statement about the need for accountability. >> carry speaking in lithuania speaking for support of military action in syria. in rio de janero, the country marks it's independence. three very different cities going for the gold. one of them will be named in just a few hours to host the


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