US Supreme Court won’t take up Guantanamo detainee case

In this June 27, 2006 file photo, reviewed by a U.S. Department of Defense official, U.S. military guards walk within Camp Delta military-run prison, at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba. (AP)
Updated 11 October 2017
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US Supreme Court won’t take up Guantanamo detainee case

WASHINGTON: The US Supreme Court on Tuesday refused an appeal bid by one of Guantanamo’s most famous detainees, backing the legitimacy of the special military courts in place at the US naval base in Cuba.
The decision confirms the life sentence handed to Ali Hamza Ahmad Al-Bahlul, a lieutenant of Osama bin Laden, and held in Guantanamo since 2002.
The Yemeni, identified as the former propagandist of Al-Qaeda, appealed his conviction in 2008 for criminal conspiracy.
According to his lawyers, this charge should have been brought before a federal civil court and not a military court.
The Supreme Court move is good news to Donald Trump’s administration. He has spoken in favor of resorting more to using Guantanamo facilities and courts.
A number of men suspected of involvement in the September 11, 2001 attacks are still awaiting trial on the US base.
In an important decision called “Boumediene vs Bush,” the US Supreme Court in 2008 allowed Guantanamo detainees to challenge the validity of their detention before American civil courts.
But the Supreme Court has since refrained from widening the scope for questioning the actions of the Guantanamo court.


Widespread blackout hits Venezuela, government blames ‘electromagnetic attack’

People pour to the streets in Caracas on July 22, 2019 as the capital and other parts of Venezuela are being hit by a massive power cut. (AFP)
Updated 23 July 2019
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Widespread blackout hits Venezuela, government blames ‘electromagnetic attack’

  • Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the outage on Monday was caused by an “electromagnetic attack,” without providing evidence

CARACAS: More than half of Venezuela’s 23 states lost power on Monday, according to Reuters witnesses and reports on social media, a blackout the government blamed on an “electromagnetic attack.”
It was the first blackout to include the capital, Caracas, since March, when the government blamed the opposition and United States for a series of power outages that left millions of people without running water and telecommunications.
The blackouts exacerbated an economic crisis that has halved the size of the economy.
Venezuelan Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said the outage on Monday was caused by an “electromagnetic attack,” without providing evidence. He added that authorities were in the process of re-establishing service.
Power returned for about 10 minutes to parts of southeastern Bolivar state, site of the Guri hydroelectric dam — the source of most of Venezuela’s generation — but went out again, according to a Reuters witness. Electricity was still out throughout Caracas.
“It terrifies me to think we are facing a national blackout again,” said Maria Luisa Rivero, a 45-year-old business owner from the city of Valencia, in the central state of Carabobo.
“The first thing I did was run to freeze my food so that it does not go bad like it did like the last time in March. It costs a lot to buy food just to lose it,” she said.
The oil-rich country’s hyperinflationary economic crisis has led to widespread shortages in food and medicine, prompting over 4 million Venezuelans to leave the country.
Venezuela’s national power grid has fallen into disrepair after years of inadequate investment and maintenance, according to the opposition and power experts.
“These blackouts are catastrophic,” said 51-year-old janitor Bernardina Guerra, who lives in Caracas. “I live in the eastern part of the city and there the lights go out every day. Each day things are worse.”