Obama: Violating Habeas Corpus Okay When It’s Not At Gitmo

This must be some of that “change” that Obama is always talking about: a change of names, anyway.

Prisoners at Guantanamo Bay

The Obama administration is putting a new plan in place at Afghanistan’s Bagram air field detention facility to bring indefinite detentions there — a practice viewed as a replication of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility’s more noxious functions — to an end. What does it include? Assigning U.S. military officials, who aren’t lawyers, to represent detainees’ interests in administrative hearings, according to The Washington Post. And what does that sound like?

“They’re setting up what amounts to a CSRT,” said David Remes, the legal director of the non-profit Appeal for Justice law firm who represents 19 Guantanamo detainees. A CSRT is the acronym for a Combatant Status Review Tribunal, the old mechanism at Guantanamo to adjudicate not a detainee’s guilt or innocence, but whether he constituted a threat to U.S. national security. Detainees were at the mercy of hearsay evidence and had the burden of proving that they weren’t a threat and the government’s case against them was erroneous. The Bush administration contended that CSRTs provided all the process rights to which Guantanamo detainees were entitled. But in 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Boumediene case that detainees were entitled to habeas corpus protections.

There’s no point in closing down Gitmo if we’re just going to replace it with Bagram, is there? Whether its in Cuba or Afghanistan, the President is still breaking the law, not to mention acting unjustly. Habeas Corpus is one of the oldest rights in Anglo-Saxon law, and the fact that it’s been pretty much shredded over the past decade is nothing short of despicable.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, National Security
Alex Knapp
About Alex Knapp
Alex Knapp is Associate Editor at Forbes for science and games. He was a longtime blogger elsewhere before joining the OTB team in June 2005 and contributed some 700 posts through January 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheAlexKnapp.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Alex, are you surprised? This

    There’s no point in closing down Gitmo if we’re just going to replace it with Bagram, is there?

    is the reason I’ve been baffled by the debate about Guantanamo. I thought it was obvious that some facility somewhere would be necessary. There was no point in closing Guantanamo.




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  2. Alex Knapp says:

    Dave,

    No, I’m not surprised. Just mad.




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  3. ptfe says:

    I thought it was obvious that some facility somewhere would be necessary.

    Dave, do you actually think such a facility is necessary, or did you simply think that such a facility was going to be employed regardless of the public reaction? Those are two very different propositions.




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  4. Davebo says:

    At this point you have to wonder if the US Base at Bagram is necessary anymore.

    There was no point in closing Guantanamo.

    I think that move was all about perceptions. Assuming no one would notice the Bagram and other prisons.




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  5. Dave Schuler says:

    did you simply think that such a facility was going to be employed regardless of the public reaction? Those are two very different propositions.

    Political necessity is as necessary as it gets.




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  6. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Smoke and mirrors from people who brought you smoke and mirrors. You were expecting straight talk? Ever pay attention of what Obama says as opposed to what he does. He does not want to own Automobile companies, banks or healthcare. Yeah, right.




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  7. odograph says:

    You guys are working this one too hard. Let’s go back to the beginning:

    Hundreds of prisoners held by the U.S. military in Afghanistan will for the first time have the right to challenge their indefinite detention and call witnesses in their defense under a new review system being put in place this week, according to administration officials.

    http://washingtonindependent.com/58859/u-s-to-allow-afghan-detainees-to-challenge-detentions

    Get that? Hundreds of prisoners who have had no right to challenge their indefinite detention now have such a path.

    But you say “obama bad” because the path isn’t perfect.

    Well you know, if I was in that prison, I’d call it an improvement. I wouldn’t say “oh no, I’d rather have no path, because this is like Bush’s plan”




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  8. mpw280 says:

    And again the difference between running for office and the reality of the holding the office and being responsible shows. I want to know if there will be hearings in the senate and threats of prosecution made against Obama and his CIA staff. Don’t think the Republicans will charge after him on this but they will mention it somehow to score points on how what was so terrible under Bush is OK under Obama.
    mpw




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  9. just me says:

    I don’t think this should shock anyone. The reality is that in spite of belief that everyone the US has detained was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and is completely innocent is false. Many of them are dangerous and they have to be kept somewhere.

    I think closing Gitmo is more a matter of closing the prison with the biggest target and name recognition than it is about closing the prisons period.




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  10. Williamm says:

    I don’t think this should shock anyone. The reality is that in spite of belief that everyone the US has detained was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and is completely innocent is false. Many of them are dangerous and they have to be kept somewhere.

    Ok, but assuming they’re all guilty is a problem too.. What happened to trials being ok? What happened to holding ourselves standard to our constitution even when we’re dealing with people that are not US citizens. How we treat others will always reflect our values.

    I for one am disappointed in Obama. All the people who said that closing Gitmo wouldn’t matter, I told them they were wrong. Turns out Obama is making a fool of me (and all true liberals out there)

    I don’t want political excuses, I don’t want to hear that “it’s the reality of the job” or “the world we live in”

    It’s wrong. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t want criminals released, but we all know they’re not all criminals. Some have been verifiably innocent and still held for 7 years. Can you imagine if this was you? Would YOU have any faith in the US?

    I don’t understand how these stances are supposed to combat terrorism. Terrorism comes from people getting a terrible impression of the US, from not having the basic necessities of life, and so on. We deny these basic necessities, we arrest people without charges, hold them and torture them, and this is supposed to DECREASE the number of terrorists? I think they’ve got it backwards.

    I know I’m not the only person who knew from the beginning we had to keep an eye on Obama. And I know I’m not the only one incredibly disappointed by many of his decisions (no single payer, keeping patriot act provisions, bank bailouts for corporations, no limits on corporate lobbying, and this) We elected him to change these things and I think he needs to be reminded that we’re not all as naive and blind as others (those on both sides that will vehemently oppose the opposite and support their own, because the TV says to)




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