Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

November 10, 2008

OBAMA TO TACKLE GUANTANAMO DETENTIONS.... Members of Barack Obama's team have already indicated policies the new White House plans to tackle early on in 2009, but let's not overlook Obama's efforts to reverse the Guantanamo nightmare.

President-elect Obama's advisers are quietly crafting a proposal to ship dozens, if not hundreds, of imprisoned terrorism suspects to the United States to face criminal trials, a plan that would make good on his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison but could require creation of a controversial new system of justice.

During his campaign, Obama described Guantanamo as a "sad chapter in American history" and has said generally that the U.S. legal system is equipped to handle the detainees. But he has offered few details on what he planned to do once the facility is closed.

Under plans being put together in Obama's camp, some detainees would be released and many others would be prosecuted in U.S. criminal courts.

A third group of detainees -- the ones whose cases are most entangled in highly classified information -- might have to go before a new court designed especially to handle sensitive national security cases, according to advisers and Democrats involved in the talks. Advisers participating directly in the planning spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans aren't final.

The initiative is not, of course, without controversy. Most notably, the approach under consideration would include a new "hybrid" system for suspected terrorists that is short of Americans' due process rights but more expansive than Bush's military commissions. It's a proposal burdened by, shall we say, kinks.

That said, the AP report noted that Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor and Obama legal adviser, believes that the closing of the detention facility would be a top priority of the new administration and the plan being crafted by Obama's team "has been championed by legal scholars from both political parties."

Spencer Ackerman added, "[C]onsider not only that this is one of the first initiatives that Obama is pursuing -- it's one of the first that he's leaking, as well. This is as clear a signal as can be sent that the Bush era isn't just over, it will be actively rolled back."

Steve Benen 9:27 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (8)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

This should be watched closely, but at least for now I'm willing to trust the nation's most experienced, top-notch legal experts to successfully navigate the complex task of safeguarding fundamental constitutional without compromising protectionsnational security interests.

MAN, it's been a long time since I've been able to say that.

Posted by: Basilisc on November 10, 2008 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Make that "safeguarding fundamental constitutional protections without compromising national security interests."

Posted by: Basilisc on November 10, 2008 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Don't roll back everything just yet. Try to make use of some of the apparatus they have in place to dig up to the surface some of the criminal crap Bushit and Darth Cheney rammed down our collective throats and use it against them for possible jail time. I know, I know, but a guy can dream can't he?

Posted by: Stevio on November 10, 2008 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with Hilzoy on at least one thing. We need to decide whether or not we trust Obama. Well, this issue is a prime test. Personally, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now, and following through on ending Guantanamo would be a big success.

But ultimately, it isn't enough. He needs to tackle the entire issue of the black sites we have around the world, and the "kidnap and outsource the torture" rendition program we've been doing. I'm not saying he has to do it all immediately, though that would be best if he could manage it. But closing Guantanamo is only the first step. He needs to end it all.

Posted by: Shade Tail on November 10, 2008 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Nothing says, "This stops now," like closing the prison in Guantanamo and then taking the Marines and sailors from Guantanamo and giving it back to Cuba.

Cheers,

Alan Tomlinson

Posted by: Alan Tomlinson on November 10, 2008 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

A third group of detainees -- the ones whose cases are most entangled in highly classified information -- might have to go before a new court designed especially to handle sensitive national security cases...

I'm just curious about what is this classified information that must be protected in dealing with this third group.

It is illegal to classify information to hide evidence of a crime (or, well, it used to be). Torture is a crime. Is the highly classified information we are speaking of evidence gained through torture? If that is what we are talking about, those detainees can be put into one of the other two groups, and either the government can try them or release them.

Posted by: Wapiti on November 10, 2008 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Besides the ratfucking aspects of the bailout my immediate reaction was that it was pure diversion to give BushCo cover from an Obama administration. There won't be alot of time to sift through the criminal acts of Bush, Cheney, et al. now that the economy has finally collapsed.

The day after the election I was trying ot run through top priorities. Shutting down Guantanamo was 1st on my list.

Posted by: grinning cat on November 10, 2008 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

i'm with you, grinning cat -- closing guantanamo was the first thing that came to my mind.

freeing those already found to be not guilty of any crime and untangling the other cases cannot be delayed.

Posted by: karen marie on November 10, 2008 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly