Saturday, January 28, 2012

Justice Dept. takes on itself in probe of 2001 anthrax attacks/WaPo

The Washington Post reviews the spectacle of the Florida DoJ denying that Bruce Ivins had the ability to prepare the anthrax that killed five and made at least 17 people ill.  He didn't have the equipment within the hot room to dry anthrax.  That does seem to be a limiting fact.

But then the DC DoJ got into the act, forcing its Florida team to withdraw such damning assertions...and settle the case with Bob Stevens' widow that the Florida DoJ attorneys were defending.
Since it began a decade ago, the federal government’s massive investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks has been plagued by missteps and complications.

Investigators initially focused on the wrong man, then had to pay him a nearly $6 million settlement. In 2008, they accused another man, Bruce E. Ivins, who killed himself before he could go to trial.

Now, in the latest twist, the government has argued against itself...

Biothrax for Kids is Back! Now for an Ethics Review! / DHHS

The DHHS' momentum to test anthrax vaccine in kids did not abate after the NBSB advisory committee suggested the pediatric trial should go forward, following review by an ethics panel.  That way the NBSB members would not be the last ones holding the bag.

On January 10, DHHS Secretary Sibelius (ex-Governor, insurance commissioner and lobbyist) -- who has looked increasingly pinched since coming to head DHHS and carry Obama's dirty water -- asked the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues to fast-track a review of testing countermeasures in children.  They begin their study on Feb 2-3, with a final report due late in 2012.

With Ass't Secretary Nicole Lurie busy defending herself and her department against a Congressional investigation of their smallpox drug contract, Sibelius has put herself in the anthrax vaccine line of fire.

Nicole Lurie
Medical Countermeasures for Children:
On Jan. 10, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius asked the Commission for ethical advice on the development of medical countermeasures for children. The Commission is well aware that this issue garnered significant public interest last fall when another Federal advisory committee recommended pediatric testing of the anthrax vaccine.  The Commission is honored that the Secretary has asked for its advice on this important ethical issue.  The Commission is reviewing the request carefully and expects to begin work shortly on a timeline to deliver a report in late 2012.
Under the Code of Federal Regulations (46.407) the proposed study can't be done, since anthrax is not a serious problem affecting the health and welfare of children... and in any event, the vaccine is NOT a treatment for an acute exposure (antibiotics are) -- since it takes at least 35 days to develop high antibody levels:




Subpart D: Additional Protections for Children Involved as Subjects in Research

46.407 - Research not otherwise approvable which presents an opportunity to understand, prevent, or alleviate a serious problem affecting the health or welfare of children.

HHS will conduct or fund research that the IRB does not believe meets the requirements of 46.404, 46.405, or 46.406 only if:

(a) The IRB finds that the research presents a reasonable opportunity to further the understanding, prevention, or alleviation of a serious problem affecting the health or welfare of children; and

(b) The Secretary, after consultation with a panel of experts in pertinent disciplines (for example: science, medicine, education, ethics, law) and following opportunity for public review and comment, has determined either:

(1) That the research in fact satisfies the conditions of 46.404, 46.405, or 46.406, as applicable, or

(2) The following:

(i) The research presents a reasonable opportunity to further the understanding, prevention, or alleviation of a serious problem affecting the health or welfare of children;

(ii) The research will be conducted in accordance with sound ethical principles;

(iii) Adequate provisions are made for soliciting the assent of children and the permission of their parents or guardians, as set forth in 46.408.

The emperor is marching around buck naked/BMJ

The validity and quality of research underpin the entire research enterprise worldwide.  However, a number of studies have shown that many researchers take "shortcuts" and that perhaps 1-3% of research is grossly false, fitting into the category of research misconduct.

Research misconduct has been defined in US federal law as fabrication, plagiarism and/or falsification.  Identified cases have been few, often limited to easy-to-identify falsified figures in published papers.

However, these may be the tip of the iceberg.  “Ginny Barbour, a senior editor with the PLoS group of journals, said one third of authors could not find the original data to back up figures in scientific papers when these were questioned.”  OUCH!  Have 1/3 of authors fabricated or falsified data?

Certainly, the incentives to do so are great:  career advancement in a highly competitive environment and obtaining grants that enable you to perform more research.  While the disincentive -- being publicly identified and having one's career destroyed -- occurs so infrequently the risk is negligible.

As John Noble notes below, the measures currently in place to guarantee reliability of research (peer review and professional ethics) fail miserably.  Additional standards are desperately needed.
Godlee’s report of widespread research misconduct is disturbing and, I believe, generalises to the US.1 2 It’s not just the fact that it is happening, but that it reflects a culture within which new researchers are socialised. Previous research indicates the motivators for dishonesty include a high pressure achievement oriented environment, where “if everybody else is doing it, it must be OK.”3
The problem also underscores how important are reanalysis and replication of reported research, a recent topic on the US Institutional Review Board Forum ( But, get this, “Ginny Barbour, a senior editor with the PLoS group of journals, said one third of authors could not find the original data to back up figures in scientific papers when these were questioned.” I wonder how many journal editors seek to discover and reject such authors. I wonder how meticulous the US Food and Drug Administration is in policing the input it receives in support of marketing approval for new drugs and medical devices.
These behaviours are beyond the reach of surveillance by institutional review boards and research ethics boards, and they indicate the need for a new end product quality control system.4 The simplifying assumptions about the efficacy of peer review and professional ethics and responsibility fail miserably when the emperor is discovered marching around buck naked.

Effectiveness of seasonal influenza vaccination in healthcare workers: a systematic review.

J Hosp Infect. 2011 Dec;79(4):279-86.  Abstract is here.
Infectious Disease Control Training Centre, Hospital Authority/Infection Control Branch, Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health, Hong Kong SAR, China.


Vaccination is considered a key measure to protect vulnerable groups against influenza infection. The objectives of this review are to determine the effect of influenza vaccinations in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza infections, influenza-like illnesses (ILIs), working days lost among vaccinated HCWs, and associated adverse effects after vaccination. Twenty-two healthcare-related databases and internet resources, as well as reference lists, and the bibliographies of all of the retrieved articles were examined. All randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing the effectiveness of any kind of influenza vaccine among all groups of HCWs with a placebo/vaccine other than the influenza vaccine/no intervention were included in the review. Only three RCTs matched the inclusion criteria.

There is a limited amount of evidence suggesting that receiving influenza vaccination reduces laboratory-confirmed influenza infections in HCWs. No evidence can be found of influenza vaccinations significantly reducing the incidence of influenza, number of ILI episodes, days with ILI symptoms, or amount of sick leave taken among vaccinated HCWs. There is insufficient data to assess the adverse effects after vaccination. There is no definitive conclusion on the effectiveness of influenza vaccinations in HCWs because of the limited number of related trials. Further research is necessary to evaluate whether annual vaccination is a key measure to protect HCWs against influenza infection and thus increase their confidence in the vaccine. In the mean time, the direction of promoting influenza vaccination to HCWs can be shifted from staff protection to patient protection, with accurate information to address concerns and misconceptions.
And in Germany, only 20% of health care workers acept flu vaccine:
Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2011 Jun;136(24):1299-304.


Institut für Virologie, Universitätsklinikum Essen.


BACKGROUND AND OBJEKTIVES: In 1988 the German Vaccination Board (STIKO) at the Robert-Koch-Institute (RKI) in Berlin, recommended that German health care workers should be vaccinated annually against influenza. Despite this, vaccination rates have remained low (20%). Between January and March 2009 a study was performed at the University Clinical Centre in Essen to determine reasons for low influenza vaccination rates and to assess improvement strategies...

The vaccination rate of 29% among this group of health care workers was higher than the average (20%) in German hospitals and highest among medical doctors...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Afghanistan’s Soldiers Step Up Killings of Allied Forces/ NY Times

Damon Winter/The New York Times
The NY Times obtained a classified coalition report that acknowledges "a rapidly growing systemic homicide threat, a magnitude of which may be unprecedented between 'allies' in modern military history"-- i.e., US soldiers are being murdered by the very Afghani forces they are training and working alongside.  A full 6% of coalition forces deaths are due to this "unfriendly fire."
American soldiers training Afghan police officers in 2010. A report cites growing friction between the ostensible allies.

KABUL, Afghanistan — American and other coalition forces here are being killed in increasing numbers by the very Afghan soldiers they fight alongside and train, in attacks motivated by deep-seated animosity between the supposedly allied forces, according to American and Afghan officers and a classified coalition report obtained by The New York Times.
A decade into the war in Afghanistan, the report makes clear that these killings have become the most visible symptom of a far deeper ailment plaguing the war effort: the contempt each side holds for the other, never mind the Taliban. The ill will and mistrust run deep among civilians and militaries on both sides, raising questions about what future role the United States and its allies can expect to play in Afghanistan...
“Lethal altercations are clearly not rare or isolated; they reflect a rapidly growing systemic homicide threat (a magnitude of which may be unprecedented between ‘allies’ in modern military history),” it said. Official NATO pronouncements to the contrary “seem disingenuous, if not profoundly intellectually dishonest,” said the report, and it played down the role of Taliban infiltrators in the killings...
UPDATE JAN 20:  KABUL, Afghanistan  President Nicolas Sarkozy of France suspended military operations as part of the American-led coalition in Afghanistan on Friday and said he was considering an early pullout of his nation’s forces after a man in Afghan Army uniform shot and killed four French soldiers...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Flu Season Off to Slow Start, So Far/ US News

From US News and World Report:
Relatively few cases reported, experts say, but that doesn't mean a surge can't happen...

One barometer of flu activity, the percentage of visits to hospitals or doctors' offices linked to influenza, also suggests a mild season so far. For example, just 1.4 percent of outpatient visits during the week ending Jan. 7 were for flu, the CDC said, compared to a seasonal average (over the past three years) of 2.4 percent. And just one in every 200,000 people had flu so severe that it required hospitalization, the CDC added.

The best news of all may come from statistics regarding children, who are particularly vulnerable to the flu. According to the CDC, no children in the United States have died from the flu so far, compared to the four pediatric flu-linked deaths that had already been reported by Jan. 1, 2011... 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mental scores decline precipitously at 30 months after anthrax vaccine, but CDC spins study to say vaccine safe/ Vaccine

A new paper on anthrax vaccine safety, presumably published to support DHHS' desire to test the vaccine in small children, has just been published online.  Its authors are all from CDC, and most have previously published papers of very poor quality supporting the so-called safety of anthrax vaccine.  I don't understand why they still have careers...except none have left CDC's pro-vaccine coccoon for academia.  

    * Brock Stewarta, e,
    * Yujia Zhangb, e,
    * Charles E. Rose,Jr. c, e,
    * Jerome I. Tokarsa, e,
    * Stacey W. Martinc, e,
    * Laura H. Franzked, e,
    * Michael M. McNeil a, e, 
    * a Immunization Safety Office, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Atlanta, GA, United States
    * b Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Atlanta, GA, United States
    * c Division of Bacterial Diseases, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Atlanta, GA, United States
    * d Division of Applied Sciences, Scientific Education and Professional Development Program Office, Office of Surveillance Epidemiology and Laboratory Services, Atlanta, GA, United States
    * e Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, United States

This is the group at CDC (Michael McNeil's group) who fudged the data on anthrax vaccine safety and optic neuritis (see my published comment and that of others criticizing the CDC methodology at the end of this page) and were supposedly defunded as the CDC's anthrax vaccine network for the poor quality of their anthrax work in 2010.

But now we have this so-called scientific paper in which none of the analyses achieve statistical significance.  Great work, guys!  How do you get the chutzpah to even submit something like this for publication?  

In fact, the only analysis that comes close to significance, p= 0.06, shows appreciably worse mental functioning in those who received anthrax vaccines, 30 months later, relative to controls.  Naturally, the authors blow off this finding and hope we don't notice:
"For mental scores, the average change from baseline was −1.50 for exposed vs. −1.64 for controls at 12 months (p = 0.86) and −2.11 for exposed vs. −0.24 for controls at 30 months (p = 0.06).  In multivariable analysis, the difference in mental score change between exposed vs. controls at 30 months was less pronounced (p = 0.37) [and much less significant--Nass] but other findings were similar to univariate analyses.
These results do not favor an association between receipt of AVA and an altered health related quality of life over a 30-month period.
► We evaluated quality of life after AVA in Laboratory Response Network workers. ► 437 exposed and 139 controls enrolled to complete the SF-36 at 0, 12 and 30 months. ► We found no change from baseline in either SF-36 physical or mental scores. ► Our study suggests no association between AVA and quality of life over 30 months."

Where is peer review?  Why have we allowed spin to be exchanged for scientific discourse?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Anthrax jabs stockpiled in (Olympics) biological terrorism alert/ London Evening Standard

Interesting that the authorities vaccinated 500 health workers with smallpox vaccine, but are only stockpiling anthrax vaccine, not using it preemptively.  Yet you can vaccinate with smallpox vaccine up to several days after an exposure and it will still prevent the disease, due to smallpox's several week long incubation period. 

On the other hand, one needs several doses of anthrax vaccine to generate a high antibody titre (of uncertain effectiveness) -- so in order for anthrax vaccine to be effective against a terrorist exposure, you must be vaccinated ahead of time.  Antibiotics, however, can be used instead of vaccine, since anthrax is a bacterium while smallpox is a virus against which drugs are less effective.

Makes me wonder if the UK authorities understand that the dangers from anthrax vaccine far outweigh those from smallpox vaccine.  Smallpox is admittedly the most dangerous licensed vaccine in the US.  (DHHS has conveniently given a waiver of liability to the manufacturers of both anthrax and smallpox vaccines.)
Britain is building up stocks of vaccine to cope with an anthrax attack at the Olympics, the Standard can reveal.

The Government is replenishing its anthrax jabs stockpile in time for April to safeguard the 2012 Games as part of London's biggest security operation.

The supply of inoculations to combat anthrax poisoning to the Department of Health was hit by delays between October 2009 and March 2011. The resulting shortfall in supply is set to be made up within the next four months.

More than 500 health workers have also been vaccinated against smallpox, enabling them to respond to a biological terror attack.

Clinical Trial Tests Unsafe Anthrax Vaccine For Post-Exposure Use

 From The Vaccine Exchange:
We have been writing about the anthrax vaccine here at Vaccine Xchange for some time. It seems clear that Emergent BioSolutions, the maker of the only human anthrax vaccine (BioThrax) currently available in the US, is working to aggressively market the vaccine, including ensuring that its vaccine is authorized for use for use after inhaling anthrax, as well as before an exposure, despite serious concerns about its safety and effectiveness. Earlier this year, the company was awarded a $1.25 billion contract to supply the U.S. Government with 44.75 million additional doses of the vaccine over a five year period. A few weeks ago, a story in MarketWatch informed us that Emergent BioSolutions has announced a new study evaluating the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for future treatment of individuals after they have been exposed to anthrax. This story follows on the heels of the Department of Health and Human Services backpedalling on conducting a trial of the same vaccine on children.
The study, which is funded by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), could potentially expand the use of BioThrax beyond its current use as a pre-exposure vaccine so that it will be used along with antibiotics as an adjunct to treat people who have been exposed to anthrax spores.
It is obvious that such an expansion in the use of the vaccine would be heavily profitable for Emergent BioSolutions. However, it seems unnecessary – it has been demonstrated in many studies that early treatment of anthrax with antibiotics is very effective. Is it really necessary to replace this (reliable) treatment with a treatment that is not only highly expensive but also proven to have significant risk of adverse reaction?
Emergent BioSolutions does not intend the vaccine to work alone, but in tandem with antibiotics. This would have to be done because the vaccine is given in three doses two weeks apart post-exposure. This means that peak antibody levels will not occur until at least 35 days after beginning the vaccine course. In other words, you wouldn’t expect the vaccine to work until at least 35 days after starting taking the vaccine. But the reason Emergent BioSolutions has given for using vaccines post-exposure is to decrease the amount of time patients are on antibiotics. With the vaccine only beginning to work after 35 days at the earliest, there really does not seem to be a good reason to take the vaccine, particularly since vaccines have been shown to be less effective than antibiotics for anthrax (unless the anthrax strain has been made resistant to multiple antibiotics, which is theoretically possible but has never occurred). In any case, the CDC and the FDA would both still recommend a full 60-day regimen of the antibiotics, even if the patient is vaccinated, so the amount of time the patient is on the antibiotics will not be affected at all.
Not only this, but the data they are examining in this study – immunogenicity, which refers to antibody levels or similar blood parameters – is unreliable at predicting whether the vaccine will actually be effective upon a person’s exposure to the actual disease. In addition, similar data already exists, gathered in the trial conducted by the Center for Disease Control a few years ago. It seems puzzling that the government is investing even more taxpayer dollars to gather the very same data gathered by the CDC in its 2002-2007 clinical trial about this vaccine which has long been found to be unsafe and questionably effective.
However, for Emergent BioSolutions, this study could be extremely lucrative (particularly since it is being funded by the government, and therefore costing them nothing). If there is, God forbid, a biological attack using anthrax in the United States, and some people agree to take the vaccine, they would currently have to be studied, since this would be an unlicensed use of the vaccine. However, if Emergent BioSolutions can convince the Food and Drug Administration that, based on this study of 200 adults, the vaccine should be approved in post-exposure circumstances, then such a study would not have to be conducted on potentially thousands or millions of people who choose to get vaccinated post-exposure. In other words, in conducting this study now, where Emergent BioSolutions can control the data generated (as sponsor and conductor of the study), the company prevents a later study being conducted that will not be under their control and, because it would include many thousands of recipients, would be much more likely to identify problems with the vaccine’s safety and effectiveness. Not only this, but if the vaccine is approved for use after anthrax exposure, the government might even mandate its use after an anthrax attack in the future, thereby netting the company even more money.
Really, conducting the study makes tremendous financial sense for Emergent BioSolutions, even if the vaccine itself does not seem to be effective.

Compensation paid out for vaccine-related narcolepsy sufferers/ YLE

Per YLE, the government of Finland is paying out small sums to 80 children who developed narcolepsy after Pandemrix vaccination, while 30 cases are still being evaluated.  That is a lot of childhood narcolepsy in a country of only 5.4 million people, and only about 44 swine flu-related deaths.
Compensation is being granted to youngsters who suffer from narcolepsy resulting from a swine flu jab given last year.
Long-awaited compensation is now being paid to those who developed narcolepsy as a result of the swine flu vaccine Pandemrix.
Decisions on compensation have been given to just under eighty sufferers. Around 30 cases are still under review. A medical insurance pool will cover claims up to 30 million euros. The state will pick up the tab for compensation exceeding this sum.
YLE reported on Wednesday that a ten year-old patient is to receive initial damages of 11,700 euros to be followed by another lump payment when he turns 18. An 18 year-old patient has meanwhile been awarded 22,000 euros for the injury sustained. 
UPDATE:   A correspondent called my attention to this document from Finland's Department of Health.  I am told it says (in Finnish) that Pandemrix swine flu vaccine may be used if there is insufficient influenza vaccine available.

In Finland, approximately 1 in every 5,000 children aged 5-20 developed narcolepsy after receiving Pandemrix vaccine.  Less than one in a million unvaccinated children generally die from influenza.  (I have not seen any statistics on child flu deaths from Finland; only 44 people overall were said to die in Finland from 2009 Swine Flu... which is less than one in 100,000 Finns.)

Is the Finnish Health Department seriously suggesting it would use a vaccine in kids to prevent flu that will cause many times more cases of narcolepsy than it will prevent deaths from influenza?  Or are they minimizing the risk of the vaccine to protect themselves and the manufacturer?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My interview on vaccine safety with Gary Null and Associates

Fifteen minutes on vaccine regulation/safety on YouTube.

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Guantánamo Nightmare/ NY Times

In my view, the term "American exceptionalism"had a meaning, which stemmed from our adherence to the Constitution and Bill of Rights.  Those days are gone, and institutionalized brutality is no longer unlawful.  The NY Times essay below, published on the 10th anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo prison, was written by the former Sarajevo Red Crescent director of humanitarian aid for children, who was wrongly imprisoned for 7.5 years there, and finally released after Federal district court review.
ON Wednesday, America’s detention camp at Guantánamo Bay will have been open for 10 years. For seven of them, I was held there without explanation or charge. During that time my daughters grew up without me. They were toddlers when I was imprisoned, and were never allowed to visit or speak to me by phone. Most of their letters were returned as “undeliverable,” and the few that I received were so thoroughly and thoughtlessly censored that their messages of love and support were lost.
Some American politicians say that people at Guantánamo are terrorists, but I have never been a terrorist. Had I been brought before a court when I was seized, my children’s lives would not have been torn apart, and my family would not have been thrown into poverty. It was only after the United States Supreme Court ordered the government to defend its actions before a federal judge that I was finally able to clear my name and be with them again.
I left Algeria in 1990 to work abroad. In 1997 my family and I moved to Bosnia and Herzegovina at the request of my employer, the Red Crescent Society of the United Arab Emirates. I served in the Sarajevo office as director of humanitarian aid for children who had lost relatives to violence during the Balkan conflicts. In 1998, I became a Bosnian citizen. We had a good life, but all of that changed after 9/11.
When I arrived at work on the morning of Oct. 19, 2001, an intelligence officer was waiting for me. He asked me to accompany him to answer questions. I did so, voluntarily — but afterward I was told that I could not go home. The United States had demanded that local authorities arrest me and five other men. News reports at the time said the United States believed that I was plotting to blow up its embassy in Sarajevo. I had never — for a second — considered this.
The fact that the United States had made a mistake was clear from the beginning. Bosnia’s highest court investigated the American claim, found that there was no evidence against me and ordered my release. But instead, the moment I was released American agents seized me and the five others. We were tied up like animals and flown to Guantánamo, the American naval base in Cuba. I arrived on Jan. 20, 2002.
I still had faith in American justice. I believed my captors would quickly realize their mistake and let me go. But when I would not give the interrogators the answers they wanted — how could I, when I had done nothing wrong? — they became more and more brutal. I was kept awake for many days straight. I was forced to remain in painful positions for hours at a time. These are things I do not want to write about; I want only to forget.
I went on a hunger strike for two years because no one would tell me why I was being imprisoned. Twice each day my captors would shove a tube up my nose, down my throat and into my stomach so they could pour food into me. It was excruciating, but I was innocent and so I kept up my protest.
In 2008, my demand for a fair legal process went all the way to America’s highest court. In a decision that bears my name, the Supreme Court declared that “the laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.” It ruled that prisoners like me, no matter how serious the accusations, have a right to a day in court. The Supreme Court recognized a basic truth: the government makes mistakes. And the court said that because “the consequence of error may be detention of persons for the duration of hostilities that may last a generation or more, this is a risk too significant to ignore.”
Five months later, Judge Richard J. Leon, of the Federal District Court in Washington, reviewed all of the reasons offered to justify my imprisonment, including secret information I never saw or heard. The government abandoned its claim of an embassy bomb plot just before the judge could hear it. After the hearing, he ordered the government to free me and four other men who had been arrested in Bosnia.
I will never forget sitting with the four other men in a squalid room at Guantánamo, listening over a fuzzy speaker as Judge Leon read his decision in a Washington courtroom. He implored the government not to appeal his ruling, because “seven years of waiting for our legal system to give them an answer to a question so important is, in my judgment, more than plenty.” I was freed, at last, on May 15, 2009.
Today, I live in Provence with my wife and children. France has given us a home, and a new start. I have experienced the pleasure of reacquainting myself with my daughters and, in August 2010, the joy of welcoming a new son, Yousef. I am learning to drive, attending vocational training and rebuilding my life. I hope to work again serving others, but so far the fact that I spent seven and a half years as a Guantánamo prisoner has meant that only a few human rights organizations have seriously considered hiring me. I do not like to think of Guantánamo. The memories are filled with pain. But I share my story because 171 men remain there. Among them is Belkacem Bensayah, who was seized in Bosnia and sent to Guantánamo with me.
About 90 prisoners have been cleared for transfer out of Guantánamo. Some of them are from countries like Syria or China — where they would face torture if sent home — or Yemen, which the United States considers unstable. And so they sit as captives, with no end in sight — not because they are dangerous, not because they attacked America, but because the stigma of Guantánamo means they have no place to go, and America will not give a home to even one of them.
I’m told that my Supreme Court case is now read in law schools. Perhaps one day that will give me satisfaction, but so long as Guantánamo stays open and innocent men remain there, my thoughts will be with those left behind in that place of suffering and injustice.
Lakhdar Boumediene was the lead plaintiff in Boumediene v. Bush. He was in military custody at Guantánamo Bay from 2002 to 2009. This essay was translated by Felice Bezri from the Arabic.