Monday, February 23, 2009

Attorney General Holder Visits Guantanamo Bay After Pentagon Report Declares That Detention Facility Complies With Geneva Conventions

Last week, the Pentagon released a study which concludes that the Guantanamo Bay detention facility complies with the Geneva Conventions. During the Bush administration, however, human rights groups maintained that the treatment of detainees fell short of domestic and international law.

Attorney General Eric Holder is now visiting the facility to help design a strategy for closing it. In January, President Obama issued an executive order which requires the closure of the detention center within one year. It is unclear where the government will detain individuals once it closes the facility and whether, if prosecuted, they will receive trials in federal courts for alleged criminal activity.

Both Holder and Solicitor General Elena Kagan, however, have insisted that the government can indefinitely detain Al Qaeda members. The Department of Justice also agrees with the Bush administration's position that the reasoning of a 2008 Supreme Court ruling that allows Guantanamo Bay detainees to contest their detention before a federal court does not apply to the Bagram military base in Afghanistan because it is in the "theater of war" and because presenting detainees before a federal court would be infeasible.

Together, these two arguments could justify a policy of indefinite detention of terrorism suspects at Bagram, even as the government closes the maligned Guantanamo Bay facility. It remains unclear, however, whether the Obama administration will actually replicate Bush's policies by shifting the policy of prolonged detention to Afghanistan and away from Guantanamo Bay. Nevertheless, his administration has certainly embraced legal positions that lay the foundation for the continuation of these practices, which generated very passionate criticism from the Left during Bush's presidency.


Gerard said...

"Together, these two arguments could justify a policy of indefinite detention of terrorism suspects at Bagram, even as the government closes the maligned Guantanamo Bay facility."

Take it one step further. All terrorism suspects to be subject to summary execution on the spot at the time of capture. No need for either. No messy parsing for the administration. Plenty of practice for the future too.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...


How about something else - Just nuke the entire world.

Gerard said...

Nonsense. Just those that disagree with me.

dualdiagnosis said...

Simple solution for the Obama administration, shut down Gitmo immediately, ship detainees to Bagram.

Wipe hands, done.

Darren Lenard Hutchinson said...

Well, that's certainly an option I want people to know exists. Some human rights observers brought that up immediately after Obama issued his January executive orders closing GITMO, but their arguments received very little press coverage. On some level, I guess you could argue that it was too early to bring up the subject. But I think many people in the media just do not read. Wire services send around stories, and they get edited and simply placed into a newspaper's website. In order to get more cutting edged analysis, you really have to spend a lot of time digging and looking for the important dimensions. The mainstream media will only give us the surface. Second, I think that many of the mainstream media outlets still wanted to portray Obama as dramatic change from the past. Reporting that he could replicate Bush's policies by simply transferring individuals from GITMO to Bagram does not fit that script.

When I (and other people) started uncovering similarities, other liberals became outraged. But knowledge and truth are essential for "change" in my opinion.

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