Return To The Law: Obama Orders Guantánamo Closure, Torture Ban and Review of US “Enemy Combatant” Case

23.1.09

Finally! 2569 days after the prison at Guantánamo opened — but just two days into the new Presidency — Barack Obama signed three executive orders and a Presidential memorandum that mark a decisive break with the “War on Terror” policies of the Bush administration. As he signed the orders, he reiterated a comment that he made at his inauguration, when he stated, “As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals,” and also said, ”This is me following through on not just a commitment I made during the campaign, but I think an understanding that dates back to our Founding Fathers, that we are willing to observe core standards of conduct, not just when it’s easy, but also when it’s hard.”

Executive Order on the Closure of Guantánamo

The first of yesterday’s four important documents orders Guantánamo to be closed “as soon as practicable, and no later than one year from the date of this order.” The Order also establishes an immediate review of the cases of the remaining 242 prisoners to work out whether they can be released, to be “conducted with the full cooperation and participation” of the Attorney General, the Secretaries of Defense, State and Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and instructs the Secretary of State to negotiate repatriation, or transfer to third countries, in the cases of those who can be released.

If the review establishes that prisoners are not to be released, the Order states that the participants “shall identify and consider legal, logistical and security issues relating to the potential transfer of individuals currently detained at Guantánamo to facilities within the United States,” adding that they “shall work with Congress on any legislation that may be appropriate.” When it comes to trials, the Order states that the options for those who are not approved for release or transfer include investigating “whether it is feasible” to pursue prosecutions in federal courts on the US mainland.

Following President Obama’s request on Tuesday for the judges in the Military Commission trial system to suspend all proceedings, the Order also directs defense secretary Robert Gates to halt the proceedings pending a four-month review, and requires him to ensure that prisoners are held in conditions that comply with the Geneva Conventions regarding the humane treatment of prisoners, adding, “Such review shall be completed within 30 days and any necessary corrections implemented immediately thereafter.”

The verdict

As human rights groups have already pointed out, a year is a long time to bring an end to Guantánamo, especially as judges in the habeas corpus reviews (which followed the Supreme Court’s ruling last June that the prisoners have habeas rights) have already established that the Bush administration failed to establish a case against 23 of the 26 prisoners whose cases have been reviewed to date (see From Guantánamo to the United States: The Story of the Wrongly Imprisoned Uighurs, After 7 Years, Judge Orders Release of Guantánamo Kidnap Victims, and Judge Orders Release of Guantánamo’s Forgotten Child). In my opinion, based on three years of detailed research, the majority of the prisoners could be released within a far shorter timescale.

The other outstanding problem — the 60 or so prisoners who were cleared for release by the Bush administration, but who cannot be repatriated because of treaties preventing the return of foreign national to countries where they face the risk of torture — is not specifically addressed. I anticipate that other countries may be willing to accept some of these cleared prisoners, but am disappointed that Obama did not mention the Uighurs, as he can send an extraordinarily positive message to the rest of the world by accepting these 17 innocent men into the United States, as Judge Ricardo Urbina ordered in October, before he was overruled by an appeals court.

The resuscitation of the Geneva Conventions is, of course, long overdue and gratefully received, and should — and must — lead to an improvement in the living conditions of those still detained, who are held, for the most part, in conditions of isolation more severe than those endured by convicted criminals on the US mainland. However, the refusal to commit explicitly to transferring those regarded as genuinely dangerous (somewhere between 35 and 50 of those still held) to trials in a federal court leaves the option open that a revised version of the Military Commissions, or a brand-new legal system, will be proposed instead. This is deeply troubling, as the long and bitter lessons of the last seven years should have established that novel trial systems are an inadequate and dangerous substitute for established laws, as the President well knows. In August 2007, he stated explicitly, “Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists.”

Executive Orders on Interrogations and Detention Policy Options

The second Order establishes that the questioning of prisoners by any US government agency must follow the interrogation guidelines laid down in the Army Field Manual, which guarantees humane treatment under the Geneva Conventions, and, of course, prohibits the use of torture. Reverting to the “requirements” of the Federal torture statute, the UN Convention Against Torture, Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and other legislation and treaties, the Order states that “in all circumstances” prisoners will be “treated humanely and shall not be subjected to violence to life and person (including murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture), nor to outrages upon personal dignity (including humiliating and degrading treatment).”

As a result, the Order states, “All executive directives, orders, and regulations inconsistent with this order, including but not limited to those issued to or by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from September 11, 2001, to January 20, 2009, concerning detention or the interrogation of detained individuals, are revoked to the extent of their inconsistency with this order.” The Order also specifically revokes President Bush’s Executive Order 13440 of July 20, 2007, which “reaffirm[ed]” his “determination,” on February 7, 2002, that “members of al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces are unlawful enemy combatants who are not entitled to the protections that the Third Geneva Convention provides to prisoners of war,” sought to grant himself the right to “interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions” as he saw fit, and also sought to exclude the CIA from any oversight whatsoever.

It also orders the CIA to “close as expeditiously as possible any detention facilities that it currently operates,” adding that the agency “shall not operate any such detention facility in the future,” and orders all departments and agencies of the government to allow representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross to have “timely access” to all prisoners.

And finally, the Order establishes a Special Interagency Task Force on Interrogation and Transfer Policies, to evaluate “whether the interrogation practices and techniques in the Army Field manual, when employed by departments or agencies outside the military, provide an appropriate means of acquiring the intelligence necessary to protect the Nation, and, if warranted, to recommend any additional or different guidelines for other departments or agencies.” The Task Force is also required to evaluate “the practices of transferring individuals to other nations,” to ensure that they do not face torture.

Related to this is a third Order, establishing another Special Interagency Task Force to provide an overview of detention policy options, which is charged with “conducting a comprehensive review of the lawful options available to the Federal Government with respect to the apprehension, detention, trial, transfer, release, or other disposition of individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations, and to identify such options as are consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice.” Both Task Forces are to report their findings in the next six months.

The verdict

The majority of the Order regarding interrogations is a triumphant return to the rule of law, achieved by revoking all the “executive directives, orders, and regulations” that manifested the Bush administration’s slippery zeal for allowing torture, by insisting on adherence to the Army Field Manual, which prohibits the use of physical violence, and, as above, by returning to the Geneva Conventions, with their prohibitions on “cruel and inhumane treatment” and coerced interrogations. However, although a sweeping repudiation of these documents is a start, I look forward to further detailed analysis from the White House regarding the secret memos and presidential orders that purported to justify the Bush administration’s flight from the law and its attempts to justify torture.

And while it is wonderful to read that the CIA is obliged to close all secret prisons, it is absolutely imperative that this announcement is swiftly followed by the establishment of a robust means of accounting for the unknown number of prisoners (PDF) subjected to “extraordinary rendition” and torture, either in prisons run by the CIA or by other governments prepared to lend their torturers to the United States.

In addition, while the Order establishing a Task Force to overview detention policy insists that only “lawful options” are pursued, the Task Force on interrogation and transfer policies seems to be set up to find ways in which “extraordinary rendition” can be justified — though not, admittedly, on an industrial scale — and also seems designed to “recommend … additional or different guidance” for agencies outside the military, which is troubling, of course, as this, in essence, is exactly what has been happening for the last seven years, with such dire results. The President should resist all calls for exceptions to lawful procedures, and confirm, categorically, his absolute commitment to non-coercive methods of interrogation, which have a proven track record. See, for example, the Human Rights First report (PDF) examining 107 terror trials on the US mainland, and Jane Mayer’s article on the FBI’s interrogation of an-Qaeda informant.

I should also note that, just two weeks ago, psychologist and anti-torture activist Jeffrey S. Kaye explained, in an article for AlterNet, that, though widely praised by everyone in the new administration, including President Obama, the revised version of the Army Field Manual contains an Appendix that apparently keeps the door open for the use of the same torture techniques taught in US military schools to train US personnel to resist interrogation that were implemented by the Bush administration and that led directly to the widespread abuse of prisoners in Guantánamo, Afghanistan and Iraq, as a Senate Armed Services Committee report (PDF) explained last month.

Presidential Memorandum on the Detention of Ali al-Marri

In the memorandum, President Obama ordered the Justice Department to conduct a review of the status of Ali al-Marri, a legal US resident, who has been held for five years and eight months in total isolation as an “enemy combatant” in the US Naval Brig in Charleston, South Carolina. As he noted, “Al-Marri is the only individual the Department of Defense is currently holding as an enemy combatant within the United States.” Explaining why he ordered the review, he wrote, “Because he is not held at Guantánamo Bay, al-Marri is not covered by the review mandated in the Review and Disposition Order [the Presidential Order relating to Guantánamo]. Yet it is equally in the interests of the United States that the executive branch undertake a prompt and thorough review of the factual and legal basis for al-Marri’s continued detention, and identify and thoroughly evaluate alternative dispositions.”

The verdict

Unlike the executive orders, which had been signposted well in advance, the memo was unexpected, but is long overdue. As I explained in a detailed article last month, the torture of al-Marri and his long isolation, which is more severe than any other “War on Terror” prisoner that I know of, is a disgrace, and should be deeply troubling to all Americans, especially as the 4th Circuit Appeals Court ruled last summer that the President not only had the right to indefinitely detain al-Marri as an “enemy combatant” without charge or trial, but that the principle extended to any American.

My hope, therefore, is not only that Obama brings al-Marri’s confinement to an end, but also that he acts to reverse the decisions that have enabled prisoners to be held as “enemy combatants” on the US mainland. Slightly complicating matters is the fact that, last month, the Supreme Court agreed to hear al-Marri’s case, but as his lawyer, Jonathan Hafetz, explained to the Associated Press yesterday, he “had already agreed earlier this week to the government’s request for a one-month delay,” but didn’t want the case “pushed back so far that it is not heard before the Supreme Court finishes its work in the summer.” He added, however, “Any objective review will necessarily show that al-Marri’s current detention as an enemy combatant is illegal. It’s inconceivable that the Obama administration could defend this detention while proclaiming fidelity to the rule of law.”

In conclusion, then, these three Orders and the memo are a bold start — and they would, of course, have been unthinkable just a few days ago — but more detail is required, dangerous loopholes must be shut off permanently, and other parts of the Bush administration’s dark legacy need to be swiftly addressed; in particular, the Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed by Congress in September 2001, which was used by the administration as a green light for the exercise of unfettered executive power; the military order of November 2001, which established the President’s right to seize and hold indefinitely anyone he regarded as an “enemy combatant,” and which also established the Military Commissions; and the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (PDF), which resuscitated Dick Cheney and David Addington’s reviled trial system after the Supreme Court ruled it illegal in June 2006.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed.

As published on the Huffington Post, CounterPunch, Antiwar.com and ZNet.

107 Responses

  1. Gregg Farrier says...

    What can you tell me about the complaint by talk show hosts etc. that many of those released from Gitmo have gone back and joined anti-US orgs.
    I can understand that. What is the whole story?
    However, it appears to me that such complaints divert the argument away from the most important matter of legal abuse that is becoming rampant in the US.
    GJF

  2. Frances Madeson says...

    This is, of course, welcome news and I am grateful for the swift action. Paper and pen were never put to more productive use. But I have questions in no particular order.

    1) Who/what authority will review the reviewers to ensure they are moving with the utmost alacrity to satisfactorily resolve the fate of these languishing men?

    2) Andy, when I first heard you speak at the forum at Columbia University, in the Q & A, I asked, who profits from the War on Terror? The answer, which was dead wrong, was “no one.” I forget who said the words but it was not contradicted by any of the panelists. Certain interests have profited and it is from those people and institutions that restitution must be extracted. Mere compensation is insufficient. The distinction is crucial.

    3) What can be done to immediately soften the restrictions on the prisoners for the duration of their stay while the wheels grind toward their inevitable destination? Absence of torture is all well and good but what about pleasures? Comforts? Ice cream? Ginger pecan tarts and lovely pots of tea? Mozart? Ballet? Juggling? Painting and pottery classes? Movies? Bonfires? Fireworks displays? Beach swims? Field trips? Visitors? Conversation? Jokes? Storytelling? Theatrical diversions? Guest artists? Healing massage? Sex and even love if possible? Even something as simple as a plot of land in which to plant and tend a garden? LET THE HEALING BEGIN NOW!!!

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    My reply to Gregg,
    Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you regard legal abuses in the US as more significant than the story we’re being told about those who have, as the Pentagon and right-wing talk show hosts put it, “returned to the battlefield.”
    I have discussed before how the Pentagon has exaggerated the figures it has released:
    http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2007/07/24/if-the-us-administration-had-behaved-intelligently-ex-guantanamo-inmate-who-blew-himself-up-would-never-have-been-released/
    http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2008/05/11/identification-of-ex-guantanamo-suicide-bomber-unleashes-pentagon-propaganda/
    And the Seton Hall Law School has also put out a number of detailed reports criticizing the Pentagon for its loose relationship with the truth, most recently here:
    http://law.shu.edu/center_policyresearch/reports/propaganda_numbers_11509.pdf

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    My reply to Frances:
    First of all, thanks very much for your plethora of supportive comments recently. They are, as I’m sure I’ve told you before, much appreciated.
    As for your questions:
    1) I don’t know, but if Obama is serious then he should be making sure that all prisoners who have been cleared for release can live communally, and have access to educational and recreational facilities, rather than being held in severe isolation as so many are. He should also move fast to prevent the isolation of other prisoners, providing them with something other than numb silence and random violence.
    2) Perhaps we were all feeling philosophical that day. But if you’re chasing the money, I’d suggest investigating Dick Cheney’s friends. All of them.
    3) See my first response, but you know, what shocks me the most is that, in its insane pursuit of “actionable intelligence” — to be obtained, preferably, by not letting any prisoner ever talk to another — the administration never did anything — like providing English lessons, for example — to demonstrate that there was anything good whatsoever about the United States. What little goodness the prisoners have found has come through personnel going off-message, and sharing some humanity with them.
    There are many stories that reveal the heartlessness of the Bush administration’s approach, but one that always gets to me is Omar Khadr’s story. The version here examines how the authorities deliberately ignored a report recommending how juveniles in Guantanamo should be treated:
    http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2008/10/20/omar-khadr-the-guantanamo-files/

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    I sent the article to Jeffrey Kaye, who wrote about the Army Field Manual’s Torture Appendix for AlterNet, and received the following reply:

    Hi Andy,

    It’s much appreciated, and the timing is very good, as the AFM [Army Field Manual] is very much in the news, for reasons you already obviously know. I just read the article and it is the best I’ve seen thus far in looking at the many positives, but still troubling questions remaining. These orders establish, for me, a positive sense of Obama’s intentions. But I realize there are other forces, interests, and pressures at work here, as you noted in your article.

    By the way, I should have another article up at Alternet this weekend (maybe even later today) covering the history of how Appendix M even got into the manual. When I read now about a possible new classified annex to the AFM, there is eerie resonance to a controversy, now forgotten, over the same thing three years ago, which resulted in the inclusion of the appendix and its separate techniques.

    Again, thanks for the mention and helping the administration take note of this “virus” in their midst.

    Best,

    Jeffrey Kaye, Ph.D.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    This was my reply:

    Jeff,
    You’re welcome — and I’m glad you think the article struck the right note. I have to say that my impression about most of dubious parts of the orders is that they appeared to show the input of the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies, probably based around the argument, “But what are we going to be able to do if/when we catch bin Laden/other dangerous terrorists?” The answer, of course, is to listen to former FBI men Dan Coleman and Jack Cloonan, and to firmly shut the door on torture, but these decisions are made by people who haven’t had to personally undertake the messy business of torture, and who are blithely unconcerned about the way that torture also infects the torturer. I do wonder, however, how long Gates can stay in his job. Pragmatic he may be, but even in Obama’s “big tent” there’s a fence, and he’s on the wrong side of it.
    For much of the rest, I think the vagueness relates to the fact that much of what needs to be done requires the support of Congress. I certainly hope that’s the case.
    Anyway, please let me know when the new article’s up, and I’ll link to it.
    Best,
    Andy

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    And a reply:

    Hi Andy,

    I think you’re right about Gates, and also how certain things are going to be decided in Congress. In general, I’m happy at how the consensus is forming in the anti-torture community. I do have some problems with the big NGOs, like Amnesty and the two Human Rights Watch/First agencies, in that they close their eyes to the AFM problem. If you have any insight on this latter point, I’d love to hear it sometime.

    Best,
    Jeff

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    This from Gerald Spezio:

    ANDY, you have done extensive & scholarly analysis of Quantanamo.
    But for you to say or even imply a “return to law” is hopelessly naive by my lights.
    Essentially, all the people who delivered Quantanamo & Abu Gharib are lawyers, right?
    Wham bam, Joe Biden, & Hilarious are the new lawyers, right?
    Wouldn’t it be more accurate to claim “more lawyers manipulating the LAW?”
    Wham Bam’s peeyar people are selling “out of Gitmo” as “the great change.”
    Micro analysis of Quantanamo keeps us from condemning Wham bam for endorsing Zionist Israeli murder in Gaza.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    This was my reply, asking Gerald if I could post his comments:

    Thanks for noticing my work, and for your kind comments.
    As for Guantánamo, my hope — and it may be betrayed — is that Obama himself, and the lawyers advising him, are closer in their mentality to the lawyers who have worked hard for up to seven years to bring the law to Guantánamo, and do not share the cruel and misguided dictatorial aspirations of Cheney’s gang: David Addington, Jim Haynes, John Yoo, Alberto Gonzales et al.
    We shall see …

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    And Gerald’s reply:

    Sure, post my ineffectual & petty comments where-ever…
    I think that you are hopelessly wrong when you hope for change from the very “monopolistic legal system” that milks us all.
    It is an all too common error, and countless good people fall for it.
    More than 60 per cent of the U.S. Senate is composed of lawyers; and they went 100 – 0 for legal murder.
    Think about the plethora of lawyer/politicos during your lifetime from Nixon, Agnew, & Mitchell to today.

  11. Frances Madeson says...

    On communal living–it was my very next thought. The ability of the prisoners to provide each other with support, guidance, and healing should not be as the former moron/butcher of a president said (about himself) “mis-underestimated.” Their shared perspective, the ability to tell their own stories, in their own way, in their own time, to others (each other) who can truly and deeply comprehend the nuances and particular significance of the details, will accelerate the relief from their individual shame. They will start to see that their fates were political, not personal, necessary to a larger project, and not horribly random. And in this way they will overcome their feelings of powerlessness and disgrace at being marked for victimhood.

    This bonding with each other should be encouraged and facilitated immediately with one important requirement. That whichever guard or official charged with their supervision be a responsive, loving, and caring human being. If they want, for instance, clean water (a basic human requirement) it should be provided at the first asking, not the tenth, or never, as so often happens in prisons.

    Also, and this too is not trivial, if they are allowed to live together, eat together, watch tv together, whatever they want together, they may find themselves, sooner rather than later, laughing with each other. It may not at first sound happy or delighted, the laughter itself may be filled with gruffness and dark notes, it may not even be recognizable to outsiders as laughter as such. But remember they have been bent, distorted, and misshapen by the bleakness, austerity, and cruel circumstances they have been plunged into against their will and beyond their control and made to endure for YEARS.

    Once we hear genuine laughter coming from the very same people who have been enslaved, fearful, cowed, broken or nearly broken, laughter that is free and loud and uninhibited, we will know with certainty that we are on the path to transcending the sorrowful present and opening a golden door to a lush and verdant glade.

  12. Fed Arrestler says...

    The establishment of Gitmo made complete sense. There was practically nothing else that could have been done that would have made sense. That prisoners were likely tortured there may be egregious, that persons innocent of what they have been imprisoned there for may also be unfortunate, if ultimately unnavoidable.

    All political posturing aside, there simply was not at that time, nor is there now, any established legal process or facility suitable for handling persons of the undetermined status such as the Gitmo detainees.

    The United States Military has been examining, reviewing the status of, and repatriating, transferring or releasing those detainees at Gitmo determined to be innocent or otherwise releasable for a long time. Over 500 detainees held at Gitmo have been released to this point. More than 60 of them have been confirmed to have returned to making active attacks against U.S. and coalition personnel. Any system the new President establishes will simply be doing the same.

    There is a very strong tendency amongst those that dislike Gitmo, to believe that when legal experts dispute the admissibility in court of the evidence against the detainees they are referring to evidence derived by torture.

    The fact is that many of these people were captured on the basis of means that are perfectly moral, ethical and humane, but in NO WAY CONFORM WITH THE DICTATES OF THE US LEGAL SYSTEM. Lets say Al Qaeda operatives are speaking on an open radio network that is being listened to by U.S. military intelligence personnel. During the conversation the location of these people becomes obvious due to things that are said in the conversation. An infantry platoon is dispatched and captures the men without incident. Did the military intelligence personnel have a wiretap warrant to do the radio monitoring? They did not. Did the infantry platoon have a search warrant when they effected the capture of the Al Qaeda operatives? They did not. Were the “suspects” given Miranda? No. The chances are very good that they won’t even know the true identity of these people until they have had them in custody for an extended period. Is it even remotely possible outside of the most delusional fantasy of the most feverish civil rights activist that it will EVER be possible to use these types of legal processes under battlefield conditions? It is not. Whatever information was used to capture the men is unsuitable by its very nature to be introduced into the criminal court system.

    The new president and his cabinet will have to come up with a replacement for Gitmo. In my estimation, it will either end up operating very much like Gitmo currently does, along the lines of the current military commission, or it will be an absolute disaster. Until President Obama proposes a new system, and new facilities, it is impossible to evaluate how effective they might be but virtually none of the most vociferous critics of Gitmo have proposed well thought out alternatives.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for the comment, but I couldn’t agree less. As I’ve argued time and time again, there are only two ways of holding prisoners: either as prisoners of war, protected by the Geneva Conventions, or as criminals suspects, to be put forward for trial in a federal court. There are no other categories, and nor do there need to be. Most of the Guantanamo prisoners were either innocent men (because the Article 5 competent tribunals were ruled out, along with any other screening) or Taliban foot soldiers (who should have been held as prisoners of war), and the terrorists — the 35 to 50 in the estimation of the intelligence services — should already have been tried in federal court, without being tortured.

  14. Fed Arrestler says...

    Most of them engaged in whatever acts that led them to be taken into our custody outside of U.S. border and and outside of any appropriate criminal legal jurisdiction. They are not exactly criminals. Likewise they are not lawful, uniformed, combatants of any recognized government. After much handwringing and blather on all sides, no one has made a serious international effort to establish laws and courts that are appropriate for the prosecution of these people.

    During say, WWII, lawful combatants were captured by all sides and held indefinitely until the cessation of hostilities and then repatriated. If a Saudi man fighting in Afhganistan for the Taliban is now at Gitmo, when and to whom would he be released? He is not a lawful combatant serving the military of Saudi Arabia, why should they want him to be repatriated there? He is not a lawful combatant, nor a citizen, of the recognized government of Afghanistan, why would they allow him to be repatriated there? And with whom would a cessation of hostilities be negotiated to begin with, Osama Bin Laden? Could he sign a binding peace agreement that would cover both Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Taliban? Nobody and I mean NOBODY wants these people in their country.

    Closing Gitmo is a political solution to a political problem and ultimately accomplishes nothing in terms of having a meaningful legal solution to this complex problem. If things were as simple as the mouth-breathing morons at both ends of the political spectrum seem to think they are we would have solved this a long time ago.

    The fact is that a major international/multinational effort must be made to figure what to do with these people and what rights they have. Bush didn’t do it, Obama hasn’t given any indication that he is up to the task, the UN is busy building lavish buildings and blathering on…

    I’ll be very interested to see how it all plays out but blindly shutting down Gitmo without a well planned out alternative seems knee-jerk reactionism.

  15. Fed Arrestler says...

    [quote] I couldn’t agree less

    There are only two ways of holding prisoners: either as prisoners of war, protected by the Geneva Conventions, or as criminals suspects, to be put forward for trial in a federal court.[/quote]

    A fundamental part of humanitarian law involves classifying and categorizing different types of people so that it can be determined how they should be treated. Nobody, for example, thinks that soldiers and Red Cross workers should be treated in the same way. Different rights and protections are provided for different people.

    The laws of land warfare require that lawful combatants wear identifiable insignia, carry their arms openly and follow a command structure. The Taliban foot soldiers did not. But let’s say we give them the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps assuming they would do those things if they were able (this, it must be noted, is an inherently prejudiced view, that the “little brown people” of third world nations are not capable of acting civilized and should not, therefore, be expected to). For some reason, the critics of current policy almost never come out and state this plain fact. That although these people clearly do not qualify for lawful combatant or POW status under Geneva, it should just be given to them.

    These distinctions are important in ways that are often lost in the current debate. For example lawful combatants have the so-called “belligerent privilege” meaning they can lawfully kill their enemies on the battlefield. If they deliberately kill civilians, however, that would be a crime. Likewise “non-combatants” or civilians do not have the “belligerent privilege” and it would be a crime for them to kill soldiers. These rules are very important for humanitarian purposes. If we allow soldiers to routinely look like civilians, act like civilians and operate amongst civilians, it becomes impossible to ensure that (to the extent possible) only soldiers are killing each other on the battlefield. Soldiers that deliberately pose as civilians draw attacks from their enemies who have no way of determining who are lawful targets to be killed and who are not. This greatly increases collateral damage to innocent people. It is inhumane and cowardly. Lately, though, the practice draws little criticism, maybe because it isn’t America doing it? Just a thought.
    But, you and I have agreed that Taliban foot soldiers can be given some…”extra credit” for humanitarian (?) reasons, and allowed to qualify under Geneva for this status, even though this will undoubtedly bring death and suffering to the civilian populace they cannot be distinguished from. At best we have agreed on a dangerous convenience. Perhaps because we think some immoral things may have happened at Gitmo and we think that by giving POW status we can stop this. Let us put out of our minds the possibility that at some future date; assassins, saboteurs, and spies of all kinds will likely demand the same privilege as we have made a once important humanitarian distinction meaningless. We are agreed, they are POWs.

    What then is done with POWs under Geneva during time of war? They are detained indefinitely until their nations negotiate an end to hostilities. If you are saying they are POWs under Geneva you should have no objection to this possibility. In addition to this Geneva states that POWs cannot be deported to countries were they might be abused, making it even more unlikely that they will be going anywhere soon.

    The truth is that most critics do not want them treated “exactly” like POWs. They want them to have all of the advantages of POW status, while retaining all the possible legal advantages of any other status as well. And that is no kind of policy, it is a muddled pile of insanity with potential negative consequences down the road.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    And this, which made my day:

    Andy,

    I sincerely hope you are allowing yourself a decent dose of satisfaction since the news broke. Your work is a significant factor in this happening at all. Your book, and the stream of precise and thoughtful articles which followed it, solidified the symbolic plight of the Guantánamo prisoners, made it concrete for a very large number of people. The added fact that Obama has been forced to include the whole network of rendition prisons in his orders means that you managed to highlight G’tmo without making it into a useful paper tiger for the US administration.

    I suspect, from the querulous ambiguity of the orders, that you have a few more articles to write on the subject yet …

    Noel

  17. coffee says...

    closing Guantanamo represents a step in the right direction; pretty soon the U.S. will be able to join the world community once again

  18. Frances Madeson says...

    (To the last commenter, coffee, is it?) Amen!

  19. Obama’s executive orders undoing the ‘war on terror’ and secrecy policies of the Bush administration « The Lift - Legal Issues in the Fight against Terrorism says...

    [...] Post, WSJ, LAT, NYT, The Times, Christian Science Monitor. * Andy Worthington’s comments here. * Professional interrogators lauding Obamas’ order on interrogation techniques here.* UN [...]

  20. Obama’s executive orders undoing the ‘war on terror’ and secrecy policies of the Bush administration « The Lift - Legal Issues in the Fight against Terrorism says...

    [...] Post, WSJ, LAT, NYT, The Times, Christian Science Monitor. * Andy Worthington’s comments here. * Professional interrogators lauding Obamas’ order on interrogation techniques here.* UN [...]

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    After this article was published on CounterPunch, I received the following message:

    Your analysis in CP was again very interesting. I was thinking many of the same questions without having the details of the EOs before me. However, I watched a tape of Helen Thomas asking the new White House mouthpiece about the prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan and the evasive reply of the press spokesperson, almost reminiscent of the last occupants. It sounded as if they had been caught off guard with this question.

    I find it very disturbing, as you allude, that this is an issue of men who have been punished for six or more years in US military incarceration. Given that there have been no charges or proper proceedings, the question should be why anyone should not be released immediately — except for the fact that they all will need some degree of intensive medical care (to withdraw from their condition as laboratory rats).

    Does anybody really know how many people are incarcerated by the CIA around the world?

    When Solzhenitzyn’s book first appeared I was overwhelmed with the detail of conditions that we were then told only prevailed in “communist” countries. The book was hyped until Solzhenitzyn’s exile to the US proved an embarrassment to those who wanted to use him as pro-American. But one of the most striking aspects of the narrative was the absolute uncertainty of the sentencing and its detachment from the incarceration for interrogation as such. Moreover there was this aspect of essentially “disappearing”. Of course “disappearing” was common in Germany under the Nazis so as to prevent recourse to the formalities of the law. The US promoted “disappearing” throughout Latin America and Southeast Asia, too.

    This practice of “rendition” is also just a variant on the “disappearing” practice. It is very disturbing that the practice of kidnapping people and extracting them from any hope of due process is a major defect in US pretensions to be defending freedom or liberty or the rule of law. The US has effectively reversed the accomplishments of Magna Carta, not just those of the Constitution. The silence on this issue is deafening.

    Wishing you well and hoping that all your work is also progressing to your satisfaction.

    Kind regards

    Brother Bede Vincent

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    This was my reply:

    The number of “America’s Disappeared” — I suspect it’s in the hundreds, but it could be more — is something that will have to be dealt with when Obama has dealt with Guantánamo, but as you indicate, there doesn’t seem to be the willingness to address, as a matter of policy, the crimes of the previous administration, presumably because so many Americans have actually accepted that the brutal, cruel response to 9/11 — rather than using the law and taking the moral high ground — was justified.

    After my reply, “Brother Bede” wrote back to say:

    I was and remain very disappointed as to how many people — not only in the US, but in Europe — accept what I call the “bully index”.

    They watch weaker parties get kicked (like the entire time during the NSDAP rule) and then only get really angry when the kicked person retaliates or actually “throws a punch in self-defence”. People learn to behave this way as early as school days. It is a major psychic obstacle to attaining justice — for anyone.

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    And this was another missive from “Brother Bede:”

    You know there is an irritating point about the practice of special rendition: it has really been part of CIA and OPS doctrine for decades now. I do not think anyone notices it as an aberration. Peter Hallward wrote an excellent book about Haiti which actually suggests, like the work of people like Pilger, that this quasi-colonial policing is also practiced on the metropolitan population. The fact that there are a few prominent “lifers” in US prisons, living in solitary for more than three decades leaves one with the suspicion that there are more underneath who simply do not have media exposure. They are all in gaol for allegedly killing law enforcement officers. This seems to be a fiat offence which the State can use to justify anything — from extrajudicial execution (lynching) to fake trials with guaranteed death penalties or life sentences. Add the MOVE and Waco incidents to this and one gets a rather bizarre picture of the “liberty and justice for all” on offer in the US which is aggravated by the positive lack of a legal “political prisoner” category. Even the Gulag had a distinction between “politicals” and “criminals”.

    The “enemy combatant” category seems to be a modification of the “treason” delict used to railroad the Rosenbergs or the anarchists in the 1920s. As Alex Cockburn often points out this coincides with State efforts to either intimidate juries or avoid jury trials entirely since this part of the Anglo-American judicial system is too “unreliable” — even with the enormous media barrage telling the population who “Goldstein” is at any given time.

  24. freedetainees.org » Hiding Torture And Freeing Binyam Mohamed From Guantánamo says...

    [...] to outlaw torture, “extraordinary rendition” and the use of secret prisons — as laid out in a series of executive orders issued on Obama’s second day in office — and would start to pursue those responsible for those [...]

  25. Justice extends to Bagram, Guantánamo’s Dark Mirror by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] coming to power in a blaze of reforming glory, promising to close Guantánamo within a year, to stop the CIA from running offshore torture prisons, and to restore the Geneva Conventions to [...]

  26. Justice Extends to Bagram, Guantánamo’s Dark Mirror « From The Wilderness says...

    [...] coming to power in a blaze of reforming glory, promising to close Guantánamo within a year, to stop the CIA from running offshore torture prisons, and to restore the Geneva Conventions to [...]

  27. The Story of Ayman Batarfi, a Doctor in Guantánamo by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] to an end. As part of an inter-departmental review of the Guantánamo prisoners’ cases, which was initiated by President Obama on his second day in office, the Justice Department announced in a court filing with the District [...]

  28. Ten Terrible Truths About The CIA Torture Memos (Part Two) « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] home countries — or, perhaps, to be disposed of in third countries. In addition, as a result of Obama’s executive order, in January, compelling the CIA to close all secret prisons, it also seems probable that, if any of [...]

  29. Obama’s First 100 Days: A Start On Guantánamo, But Not Enough « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] claim is strictly true, as I aim to demonstrate in two articles, with particular reference to the three Executive Orders that Barack Obama issued as one of his first acts as [...]

  30. Obama Returns to Bush Era on Guantánamo « roger hollander says...

    [...] change promised by Barack Obama on the campaign trail has actually involved nothing more than imposing a closing date on Guantánamo while maintaining the Bush administration’s approach to the men still held [...]

  31. Obama Returns To Bush Era On Guantánamo by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] change promised by Barack Obama on the campaign trail has actually involved nothing more than imposing a closing date on Guantánamo, but maintaining the Bush administration’s approach to the men still held [...]

  32. My Message To Obama: Great Speech, But No Military Commissions and No “Preventive Detention” by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] into office,” and, as an almost apologetic footnote, which betrays, I think, his preference for his own inter-departmental review of the Guantánamo cases over those made by the courts, stating, “The United States is a nation [...]

  33. turning the page on tyranny « seeking spirit says...

    [...] second decision that I made was to order the closing of the prison camp at Guantánamo [...]

  34. Forgotten: The Second Anniversary Of A Guantánamo Suicide by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] are likely to follow), and with each passing day it becomes more apparent that President Obama’s promise to close Guantánamo within a year will only be achieved if a solution can be reached regarding the Yemeni [...]

  35. A Child At Guantánamo: The Unending Torment of Mohamed Jawad by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] military review boards (many of whom are now having their cases appraised yet again, this time by the Obama administration’s inter-departmental review), the 25 prisoners cleared for release by US courts (including the Uighurs and former child [...]

  36. A Broken Circus: Guantánamo Trials Convene For One Day Of Chaos by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] President Obama is serious about ever closing Guantánamo, and bringing justice to any of the 239 men still held there, the chaotic events on Monday, in the [...]

  37. Out Of Guantánamo: African Embassy Bombing Suspect To Be Tried In US Court by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] a thorough review of his case that was conducted by the interagency Guantánamo Review Task Force established by Barack Obama on his second day in [...]

  38. The Last Iraqi In Guantánamo, Cleared Six Years Ago, Returns Home by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] been cleared for release by the Obama administration’s inter-departmental task force, which is reviewing the cases of all the remaining prisoners, and he added that his release from Guantánamo “occurred as [...]

  39. Obama’s Confusion Over Guantánamo Terror Trials by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] Barack Obama has struggled to make as decisive a point as he did on that first day, when he pledged to close Guantánamo within a year, to ban the use of torture, and to ensure that the US military abided by the Geneva [...]

  40. Andy Worthington Discusses Guantánamo on Democracy Now! « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] President Obama has failed to seize the initiative on Guantánamo, despite sweeping into office and promising to close the prison within a year, and it would, indeed, be hard to find a story that demonstrated the Bush [...]

  41. Guantánamo: Charge Or Release Prisoners, Say No To Indefinite Detention by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] when the administration’s inter-departmental Guantánamo Task Force is scheduled to complete its review of all the Guantánamo cases, and an unnamed official telling AFP that “no such draft order existed, though internal [...]

  42. Judge Rules That Afghan “Rendered” To Bagram In 2002 Has No Rights by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] one of his first acts as President, Obama signed a number of Executive Orders, in which he promised to close Guantánamo within a year and to ban torture, and established that [...]

  43. Will Eric Holder Be The Anti-Torture Hero? by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] the decisions about the prisoners that are being made by the administration’s inter-departmental Guantánamo Task Force, and to prevent DoJ lawyers from pursuing worthless habeas corpus cases in the District Courts. In [...]

  44. Obama And The Deadline For Closing Guantánamo: It’s Worse Than You Think by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] the Obama administration’s Detention Policy Task Force, established by Executive Order on the President’s second day in office, conceded last week that it would miss its six-month [...]

  45. Obama And The Deadline For Closing Guantánamo: It’s Worse Than You Think « Dr Nasir Khan says...

    [...] the Obama administration’s Detention Policy Task Force, established by Executive Order on the President’s second day in office, conceded last week that it would miss its six-month [...]

  46. Guantánamo As Hotel California: You Can Check Out Any Time You Like, But You Can Never Leave by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] for release, after their cases were reviewed by the inter-departmental Detention Policy Task Force (established by Executive Order on Obama’s second day in office), which, as ABC News explained, has, for the last six months, [...]

  47. Guantánamo And The Courts (Part Two): Obama’s Shame by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] his second day in office, President Obama issued a number of Executive Orders, which appeared to tackle the worst excesses of the Bush administration’s “War on Terror,” [...]

  48. Bagram Isn’t The New Guantánamo, It’s The Old Guantánamo by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] As I explained in an article in June: In one of his first acts as President, Obama signed a number of Executive Orders, in which he promised to close Guantánamo within a year and to ban torture, and established that [...]

  49. No Escape From Guantánamo: The Latest Habeas Rulings by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] rulings were allowing justice to be seen to be done, unlike the secretive interagency Task Force established by Barack Obama on his second day in office, whose deliberations are, sadly, as inscrutable as those of Obama’s [...]

  50. 75 Guantánamo Prisoners Cleared For Release; 31 Could Leave Today by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] actually lies with lawmakers and with other officials in the Obama administration. After the President issued executive orders on his second day in office, which included the Guantánamo deadline, the administration then [...]

  51. Lawyer Blasts “Congressional Depravity” On Guantánamo by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] severely curtailing President Obama’s ability to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba by his self-imposed deadline of January 22, 2010, and who, as a result, have sent just one resounding message to the American [...]

  52. Obama wins 2009 Nobel Peace Prize + Obama Wins Nobel Peace Prize: OK, He’s A Nice Guy, But … by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] it really appropriate for the Nobel Peace Prize to be given to a man who, although he ordered the closure of Guantánamo and recognizes that it “set back the moral authority” that, in his opinion, “is America’s [...]

  53. Finding New Homes For 44 Cleared Guantánamo Prisoners by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] list is based on the deliberations of an interagency Task Force, established by President Obama on his second day in office, to determine who should be released, and who should continue to be [...]

  54. New Book: The Guantánamo Lawyers – and a talk by Jonathan Hafetz by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] his inauguration in January, President Obama announced that Guantánamo must be closed within a year, and that doing so was required both by America’s values and its security. Four [...]

  55. Musicians (Finally) Say No To Music Torture « freedetainees.org says...

    [...] part of a push to close Guantánamo as soon as possible (and to try to hold President Obama to his promise to close the prison by January 22, 2010), but it would have had more impact before last November, when the torturers [...]

  56. Ali al-Marri, The Last US “Enemy Combatant,” Receives Eight-Year Sentence + Ali al-Marri’s Statement In Court by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] of the courts who backed the Bush administration’s policies, but it was not until President Obama issued a Presidential memorandum on his second day in office, stating that it was “in the interests of the United States that the [...]

  57. Paul Baines says...

    So the world still waits? I’d have thought this would all be over by now. Strange how democracies harp on about human rights until their own are under question. Still, Obama’s hearts’ in the right place, just would be nice to see some evidence of change. I just watched a documentary on Current TV that showed improved conditions, yet the guards working there felt no shame, there was no remorse for the way things were. Time to close it down now.

  58. Andy Worthington says...

    Couldn’t agree more, Paul. Thanks for the comment.

  59. An Evening with Andy Worthington: “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo” « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] took the opportunity to discuss the problems with Guantánamo now, with just two months to go until President Obama’s deadline for closing the prison. This involved me recapping the stories of the Uighurs (Guantánamo’s prisoners from China), [...]

  60. The Logic of the 9/11 Trials, The Madness of the Military Commissions « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] just over two months to go until President Obama’s deadline for the closure of Guantanamo, the administration has finally woken up to the necessity of actually doing something to facilitate [...]

  61. Obama’s Failure To Close Guantánamo By January Deadline Is Disastrous by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] Obama’s admission in China that he will miss his self-imposed deadline for the closure of Guantánamo is disastrous for the majority of the 215 men still held, and for those who hoped, ten months ago, [...]

  62. Andy Worthington on The Peter B Collins Show « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] lost the advantage it had immediately on taking office, when President Obama announced that Guantánamo would be closed within a year, but then did nothing concrete for several months, allowing Republicans to revive Dick Cheney’s [...]

  63. Judge Orders Release Of Algerian From Guantánamo (But He’s Not Going Anywhere) by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] ruling comes at an inconvenient time for the administration, which has just conceded that it will miss President Obama’s deadline of January 22, 2010 for the prison’s closure, although many Americans may not notice, as they are [...]

  64. Truthout Video: The Human Cost of Guantánamo | Andy Worthington says...

    [...] garnered discussion about the future of Guantánamo detainees as President Barack Obama’s self-imposed deadline to close the prison fast approaches. Worthington said that as he toured the US with the film, he [...]

  65. 116 Guantánamo Prisoners Cleared For Release; 171 Still In Limbo by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] refusal to back up the President’s recent admission that Guantánamo will not close by the self-imposed deadline of January 22, 2010, when he told the Senate hearing last Thursday that the President “has every [...]

  66. 116 Guantánamo Prisoners Cleared For Release; 171 Still In Limbo « freedetainees.org says...

    [...] refusal to back up the President’s recent admission that Guantánamo will not close by the self-imposed deadline of January 22, 2010, when he told the Senate hearing last Thursday that the President “has every [...]

  67. Militant Libertarian » Cleared for Release and Still in Limbo says...

    [...] Gates’ refusal to back up the president’s recent admission that Guantánamo will not close by the self-imposed deadline of January 22, 2010, when he told the Senate hearing last Thursday that the president “has every [...]

  68. Psyche, Science, and Society » Worthington: Definitive Guantanamo Prisoner List says...

    [...] looked feasible that Guantánamo would close by January 2010. We now know that President Obama’s self-imposed deadline will be missed, partly through the unprincipled agitating of opportunistic opponents in Congress [...]

  69. Guantánamo: The Definitive Prisoner List (Updated for 2010) « freedetainees.org says...

    [...] looked feasible that Guantánamo would close by January 2010. We now know that President Obama’s self-imposed deadline will be missed, partly through the unprincipled agitating of opportunistic opponents in Congress [...]

  70. Andy Worthington Discusses Murders at Guantánamo and Bagram’s “Ghost Prisoners” on Antiwar Radio « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] the eve of President Obama’s failure to close Guantánamo by his self-imposed one-year deadline, these are grim stories indeed, but the fact that they have surfaced — even though they are not [...]

  71. Rubbing Salt in Guantanamo’s Wounds: Task Force Announces Indefinite Detentions | themcglynn.com/theliberal.net says...

    [...] Barack Obama’s Guantánamo Review Task Force chose the anniversary of the president’s failed promise to close the prison to announce its conclusions regarding the eventual fate of 196 [...]

  72. Rubbing Salt in Guantanamo’s Wounds: Task Force Announces Indefinite Detentions | Virtual Issues says...

    [...] Obama’s Guantánamo Review Task Force chose the anniversary of the president’s failed promise to close the prison to announce its conclusions regarding the eventual fate of 196 [...]

  73. Andy Worthington Interviewed by Sibel Edmonds and Peter B. Collins « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] to be broadcast around the time that — as we anticipated — Barack Obama would miss his self-imposed deadline for the closure of [...]

  74. Obama’s Failure on Guantanamo | NW0.eu says...

    [...] military commissions trial system on his first day in office, and, on his second day, issuing executive orders requiring Guantánamo to be closed within a year, and upholding the absolute ban on torture that [...]

  75. Obama: A Litany of Failure in 2010 « God and Whose Army? The Blog says...

    [...] Barack Obama’s Guantánamo Review Task Force chose the anniversary of the president’s failed promise to close the prison to announce its conclusions regarding the eventual fate of 196 [...]

  76. UN Secret Detention Report Asks, “Where Are The CIA Ghost Prisoners?” by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] concluding their review of US detention policies since 9/11, the experts welcomed President Obama’s commitment to revoke and repudiate many of the Bush administration’s policies, including the closure of all [...]

  77. Musicians (Finally) Say No To Music Torture by Andy Worthington + The Divine Comedy: Guantanamo « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] part of a push to close Guantánamo as soon as possible (and to try to hold President Obama to his promise to close the prison by January 22, 2010), but it would have had more impact before last November, when the torturers [...]

  78. Prosecuting a Tortured Child: Obama’s Guantanamo Legacy : STATESMAN SENTINEL says...

    [...] coming to power 15 months ago, promising to close Guantánamo within a year, and suspending the much-criticized military commission trial system for terror [...]

  79. Prosecuting a Tortured Child: Obama’s Guantánamo Legacy. By Andy Worthington « Kanan48 says...

    [...] coming to power 15 months ago, promising to close Guantánamo within a year, and suspending the much-criticized Military Commission trial system for terror [...]

  80. Canadian teenager held at Gitmo eight years-Andy Worthington « FACT – Freedom Against Censorship Thailand says...

    [...] coming to power 15 months ago, promising to close Guantánamo within a year, and suspending the much-criticized Military Commission trial system for terror [...]

  81. Understanding Government » Blog Archive » ‘Gitmo in Illinois’ Plan Not Locked Down says...

    [...] bring to a depressed part of the state.  For the president, though, the plan to close Guantanamo (Obama pledged to close Guantanamo by Jan. 20, 2010) would be delayed yet [...]

  82. House Kills Plan to Close Guantanamo « Politics or Poppycock says...

    [...] hopes of closing Guantánamo, which were already gravely wounded by his inability to meet his self-imposed deadline of a year for the prison’s closure, now appear to have been killed off by lawmakers in [...]

  83. What is Obama Doing at Bagram? (Part One): Torture and the Black Prison « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] President Obama issued an executive order on his second day in office, in January 2009, requiring interrogations to conform to the Army Field [...]

  84. Does Obama Really Know or Care About Who Is at Guantánamo? « Black Cafe Network News says...

    [...] Obama came into office pledging to close Guantánamo in a year, it seemed possible that, before the 12 months elapsed, the administration would begin federal [...]

  85. Does Obama Really Know or Care About Who Is at Guantánamo? « The Situation Room says...

    [...] Obama came into office pledging to close Guantánamo in a year, it seemed possible that, before the 12 months elapsed, the administration would begin federal [...]

  86. Does Obama Really Know or Care About Who Is at Guantánamo? « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] Obama came into office pledging to close Guantánamo in a year, it seemed possible that, before the 12 months elapsed, the administration would begin federal [...]

  87. Gonzalo Gato Villegas » Blog Archive » ¿Sabe realmente Obama, le preocupa acaso, quién sigue en Guantánamo? says...

    [...] Obama ocupó su cargo prometiendo cerrar Guantánamo en el plazo de un año, parecía posible que antes que transcurrieran doce meses la administración empezaría a procesar [...]

  88. ¿Sabe realmente Obama, le preocupa acaso, quién sigue en Guantánamo? | Amauta says...

    [...] Obama ocupó su cargo prometiendo cerrar Guantánamo en el plazo de un año, parecía posible que antes que transcurrieran doce meses la administración empezaría a procesar [...]

  89. LT Saloon |  Rubbing Salt in Guantanamo’s Wounds: Task Force Announces Indefinite Detentions says...

    [...] Obama’s Guantୡmo Review Task Force chose the anniversary of the president’s failed promise to close the prison to announce its conclusions regarding the eventual fate of 196 [...]

  90. Obama’s National Security Policy: The Death of Hope and Change « roger hollander says...

    [...] although he promised to close Guantánamo within a year and to uphold the absolute ban on torture in a series of executive orders issued on [...]

  91. In Upcoming Book Bush Admits to Waterboarding | Watts Cookin' says...

    [...] after a promising start on torture, which involved the President upholding the absolute ban on torture in an executive order issued on his second day in office, and the release of the OLC “torture [...]

  92. Psyche, Science, and Society » Worthington on Bush’s torture brag says...

    [...] after a promising start on torture, which involved the President upholding the absolute ban on torture in an executive order issued on his second day in office, and the release of the OLC “torture [...]

  93. Iraqi Christians ‘It’s genocide, essentially’ | thecommonillsbackup says...

    [...] this first America, President Obama swept into office issuing executive orders promising to close Guantánamo and to uphold the absolute ban on torture, and also suspended the [...]

  94. Iraqi Christians ‘It’s genocide, essentially’ | War On You: Breaking Alternative News says...

    [...] this first America, President Obama swept into office issuing executive orders promising to close Guantánamo and to uphold the absolute ban on torture, and also suspended the [...]

  95. Andy Worthington – On Guantanamo, Obama Hits Rock Bottom « Kickingcrow's Weblog says...

    [...] this first America, President Obama swept into office issuing executive orders promising to close Guantánamo and to uphold the absolute ban on torture, and also suspended the [...]

  96. Happy Secular Thanksgiving with a Side of Fakeness – Fake Taliban Fake Leader, Fake Elections, Fake Deadline = Real Trouble & More Tastey Treats « Coreys Views says...

    [...] eight years of the Bush administration. In this first America, President Obama swept into office issuing executive orders promising to close Guantánamo and to uphold the absolute ban on torture, and also suspended the [...]

  97. Nine Years Later: The Political Prisoners of Guantanamo says...

    [...] of operations, and as it begins to be forgotten that President Obama swept into office issuing an executive order promising to close the prison within a year, but failed spectacularly to do so, the bleak truth is [...]

  98. Biden in Iraq means what? | thecommonillsbackup says...

    [...] of operations, and as it begins to be forgotten that President Obama swept into office issuing an executive order promising to close the prison within a year, but failed spectacularly to do so, the bleak truth is [...]

  99. The Political Prisoners of Guantánamo « Eurasia Review says...

    [...] tenth year of operations, and as it begins to be forgotten that President Obama swept into office issuing an executive order promising to close the prison within a year, but failed spectacularly to do so, the bleak truth is [...]

  100. Violence continues, so does the spinning (C.I.) | thecommonillsbackup says...

    [...] at Guantánamo it is January — from the dashed hopes of January 2009, when President Obama swept into office issuing an executive order in which he promised to close the prison within a year, to January 2010, [...]

  101. New Revelations About Secret US Torture Prisons In Afghanistan – OpEd « Eurasia Review says...

    [...] was established under the Bush administration. Obama ordered the “black sites” to be closed in an executive order issued on his second day in office (along with another promising the closure of Guantánamo, which has been spectacularly [...]

  102. The Black Hole of Guantanamo | STATESMAN SENTINEL says...

    [...] of the Bush administration’s policies. It muddied the waters, therefore, when President Obama established an interagency Task Force to review all the prisoners’ cases, and to come up with its own conclusions about who should [...]

  103. Will Guantánamo Prisoners Be Released In Georgia? by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] — remain disturbing, and suggest that, even with just two months remaining until Obama’s deadline for closing Guantánamo, the administration is still not doing all in its power to send out a coherent message about [...]

  104. A Glimmer Of Hope Amidst The Hypocrisy - OpEd says...

    [...] problem, of course, is that, although Obama issued an executive order on his second day in office, upholding the absolute prohibition on the use of torture, he also [...]

  105. Refuting Cheney’s Lies | Lew Rockwell says...

    [...] justice, and they will, I hope, act as an encouragement to those in the new administration who are preparing to review the cases, to see who can be released and who should still be held, to scrutinize the evidence — such [...]

  106. House Kills Plan to Close Guantanamo | Mediaroots says...

    [...] hopes of closing Guantánamo, which were already gravely wounded by his inability to meet his self-imposed deadline of a year for the prison’s closure, now appear to have been killed off by lawmakers in [...]

  107. Guantánamo: Idealists Leave Obama’s Sinking Ship by Andy Worthington | Dandelion Salad says...

    […] opposition from the intelligence agencies, Craig drafted the Executive Orders, issued on President Obama’s second day in office, which, singlehandedly, sent a message to the […]

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