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Justice Department in contempt of court for not taping Gitmo hearing

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A federal district court judge ruled on Thursday that the Department of Justice was in contempt of court when it failed to videotape a Guantanamo detainee’s testimony last summer.

Mohammed al-Adahi, accused of belonging to a terrorist organization, had challenged his detention at Guantanamo Bay in front of Judge Gladys Kessler. In June, Kessler ordered the Justice Department to videotape al-Adahi’s tesimony for the court from the Guantanamo prison camp, edit out any classified information and hand the tape over to the court.

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After al-Adahi’s testimony, the government informed the court that, due to “miscommunication,” it had not videotaped the testimony. On Thursday Judge Kessler cited the department for contempt of court, reports the Washington Post.

Kessler ruled in August that the US government hadn’t proven its case against al-Adahi and ordered him released. The federal government quickly appealed that decision, and al-Adahi remains in Guantanamo.

“The purpose of the Court’s Order requiring the Government to videotape Petitioner’s testimony was to ensure the maximum amount of public accessibility to the judicial process,” Judge Kessler wrote in her ruling (PDF). “Thus, there are two other justifications for imposing sanctions against the Government: to minimize the damages to the public’s lost opportunity to observe an actual Guantanamo Bay trial … and to deter further noncompliance with court orders.”

As Daphne Eviatar notes at the Washington Independent, the judge’s contempt citation is a civil one, not a criminal one, so no one will be facing charges over the issue.

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The Post reports:

Kessler wrote that she had no evidence the Defense Department intentionally failed to tape the testimony. She ordered the government to submit a report explaining what measures it had taken to prevent future mistakes. She also wrote that a transcript of Adahi’s testimony would be posted on the court’s web site. The judge could pursue further sanctions if another such error occurs.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Greenland controversy is Donald Trump positioning for an Arctic battle: expert

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The diplomatic row that has erupted between Washington and Copenhagen over Greenland is just one part of a broader strategic battle being waged over control of the Arctic, according to one expert.

US President Donald Trump has cancelled a trip to Denmark and launched a war of words with his Danish counterpart, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, after she rejected his idea of the US buying Greenland as "absurd".

Mikaa Mered, professor of polar geopolitics at Paris' ILERI institute of international relations said Trump's unsolicited advances on the autonomous territory were a way to indicate US interest in the resource-rich Arctic -- and to distract from domestic issues.

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‘We won’t give an inch’: India faces defiance in ‘Kashmir’s Gaza’

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Young men sit beside a pile of rocks and a bonfire, protecting the only entrance to a besieged neighbourhood they call "Kashmir's Gaza" as a mosque loudspeaker broadcasts slogans of liberation.

In an act of defiance against New Delhi's controversial decision to strip the Muslim-majority region of its autonomy, Soura neighbourhood on the outskirts of Kashmir's main city of Srinagar has sealed itself off from security forces.

Since early August, residents have erected ramshackle barricades of tin sheets, wooden logs, oil tanks and concrete pillars, and dug trenches to keep soldiers at bay amid daily protests against India.

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Second day of Italy crisis talks after prime minister resigns

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Italy's president will hold a second day of talks aimed at solving the political crisis shaking the country on Thursday after the disintegration of the populist government.

President Sergio Mattarella will meet the main parties, including the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) and far-right League, after the breakdown of their dysfunctional coalition.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned on Tuesday after months of alliance sniping and a bid by League leader and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to force a snap election, just 14 months since coming to power.

The nationalist, populist government's demonisation of migrants, promoted by Salvini in particular, and attempts to flout EU budget rules had angered many European leaders.

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