Developing nations, especially ones with emerging or fledgling democracies, look to America to study its institutions, laws and the ingenious balance of powers created by our Founding Fathers. Through various programs sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), delegates from these nations visit the United States and are put into contact with organizations like Judicial Watch. Since 2001, Judicial Watch has been a major participant in the Department of State’s IVLP and other leadership exchange programs, having received over 83 visiting delegations. As the premier Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigator in America today, Judicial Watch is one of the most sought after transparency and accountability organizations for personal meetings with emerging leaders from around the world who are interested in learning how they can stop corruption and demand accountability from their judges, government officials, and political parties.
The United Nations Department of Global Communications
The United Nations Department of Global Communications hosts monthly briefings and other workshops and an annual conference where representatives of NGOs from every corner of the world come together for the purpose of networking and collaborating on solutions to some of the world’s most challenging problems, from security issues such as crime and violence, hunger and disease, persecution and war, to major development issues of education, job opportunities, and women’s empowerment.
Judicial Watch is associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications (UN DGC) as a nongovernmental organization whose mission is to promote transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law. It fulfills its educational mission through litigation, investigations, and public outreach. Its International Program serves as an integral part of its educational program.
Judicial Watch GTMO Observer Program
Judicial Watch was granted observer status by the Pentagon to observe the arraignment of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in June of 2008. Since the recommencement of the 9/11 hearings at Guantanamo Bay in November 2011, JW has attended 95 percent of the hearings held at the detention facility, as well as Periodic Review Board Proceedings (PRBs) currently held at the Pentagon. Judicial Watch staff and representatives have attended and monitored over 213 hearings to date.
See ARCHIVE section HERE.
Post-Plea Agreement Pre-Trial Hearings, JUN 5–8, 2023 ISN 10026 Abd Al Hadi Al Iraqi
On the morning of June 5, 2023, a new judge was detailed to the Hadi Al Iraqi case, and underwent Voir Dire by the government and defense teams.1 The judge then closed the sessions for late morning, the afternoon, and the next day. Open sessions resumed on June 7, and argument began regarding AE 230 K, both a government table of defense requests for medical-adjacent documents and their fulfillment status and defense’s objections to the records provided by the government. Hadi Al Iraqi absented himself from the proceedings midway through the arguments.
The defense team alleged that the government had mishandled and improperly maintained medical documents, that medical care given to the detainee was deliberately sabotaged by choosing the most junior neurologist to perform surgeries, and that the government was withholding documents necessary to finding a third country with suitable medical support for Hadi Al Iraqi’s eventual transfer. The judge stated his disagreement with the defense’s characterization that the detainee’s “right to his own medical record” was necessary to the “preparation of the defense,” which was the standard for discovery. He quizzed the government on the storage status of the medical record with the expectation that it was all kept in one place under the supervision of one person assigned to that task. Argument continued to address AE 214 S, which concerned medical-adjacent documents, such as e-mail communications between the doctors who planned the spinal surgeries that the detainee eventually underwent and post- operative care communications. The defense expressed concern that Hadi Al Iraqi had been deprived of a right to counsel during his recovery.
After closing the commission for June 8, 2023, the judge recalled the commission to open session on June 9, 2023, for a brief discussion on whether the government team provides a post-Pre-Trial Agreement advice statement to witnesses supplied by the DOD and by other agencies and if it would have a chilling effect on witness discussions with the defense. It was shown to be hypothetical since witnesses had not been supplied in post-Pre-Trial Agreement time. The judge determined he needed to reconsider de novo the agreement and review an actual advice statement. He then instructed the government and defense teams to discuss the sentencing hearing’s scheduling, encouraging them to suggest times earlier than June 2024, when the judge can schedule the hearing.
The judge recessed the commission until August 7, 2023.
Though appearing neutral, the new judge seemed equally hostile to both the government and the defense teams and gave the impression of not wanting any part of the military commissions process. Unlike prior judges, he has not acquainted himself with the administrative and functional processes behind the commissions and reveals this through unrealistic expectations of discovery generation, defense’s ability to gain the client’s cooperation, and GTMO base procedures. Additionally, the judge required instruction on how military commissions 505 and 506 procedures functioned. This irregular behavior, as well as the judge pressing the government and defense teams to shorten the timeline until the sentencing hearing, may lead to some form of mistrial or a superior or adjacent court to request the judge recuse himself.
Though Hadi Al Iraqi was present for some of the proceedings and interacted with the judge in a respectful manner, he appeared distracted when seen on camera. The defense team indicated that he was in a growing degree of pain toward the afternoons, which may have accounted for his inattention, but he exhibited good spinal mobility and did not appear to be highly impaired. His apparent mobility was at odds with defense arguments that the assignment of the “most junior neurologist,” to perform Hadi Al Iraqi’s first spinal surgery had necessitated the subsequent spinal surgeries and crippled their client. It was disclosed, however, that it was the third-most-senior neurosurgeon who had performed Hadi’s first spinal surgery.
Discussion of the proceedings during closed sessions and short recesses among observers saw demands by the defense for top-notch medical care for Hadi Al Iraqi, while ignoring the needs of other Guantanamo Bay detainees, questionable. This coupled with further demands by the defense for continuing medical care for the detainee’s spinal problems outside of U.S. custody caused varying levels of antipathy toward the detainee. If the proceedings had been broadcast to a larger American population, it is likely that this week of sessions would have aroused feelings of hostility toward Hadi Al Iraqi.
Summary of Judge Pritchard’s Voir Dire posted to Archive Section HERE.
In the Media
The Hill published the following article by Thomas Wheatley, a participant in Judicial Watch’s GTMO Observer Program.
“Trump, honor Obama’s agreement to release Guantanamo detainee,”
The Hill, October 4, 2017
About Thomas Wheatley, https://www2.gmu.edu/news/424386
International Visitors and United Nations DGC Briefing
- Summary of UN Event: The Trade in Minors in the Digital Age – September 28, 2017
- Countries represented by international visitors to Judicial Watch in 2016:
Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Albania, Czech Republic, Georgia, Lithuania, Moldova, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ukraine, Macedonia, Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo, The Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Swaziland, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Togo, Finland, Georgia, Guatemala, India, Ireland, Kuwait, Lesotho, Nepal, Netherlands, Philippines, Vietnam, and South Sudan
- United Nation’s Commemoration of the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons – September
- Observance of the International Day Against Nuclear Tests – August
- Summary of Meeting with North Africa and the Near East Delegation – February
- Wrap up for 2015
- Countries represented by international visitors to Judicial Watch in 2015:
Macedonia, Albania, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH),Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, Algeria Brunei, Croatia, Egypt, Hungary, India, Lithuania, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and Venezuela
- Summary of Meeting with Macedonian Delegation – July
- UNESCO Event Summary SREBRENICA – July
- Wrap up for 2014
- Countries represented by international visitors to Judicial Watch in 2014:
China, Argentina, Columbia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, Argentina, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, Republic of Kosovo, Moldova, Netherlands, Serbia, , Kenya, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Honduras
- Western Hemisphere – September
- 65th UN DPI/NGO Conference – August
- Multi-Regional Delegation – The US Judicial System – Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burma, Timor-Leste, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Nigeria, Malawi, Pakistan, Portugal, Romania, People’s Republic of China, South Africa
- 11 Latin American Countries – Bolivia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela
- West Africa delegation
- Czech Republic
- Republic of China