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January 12, 2009


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Grr. This is, of course, by me, not Moe. Will update immediately.

The periodic appearances of the fake Moe Lane are another thing we'll lose if ObWi moves.

KC: This one really annoys me. I mean, I was, in fact, signed in as me. And it's impossible to change authors. If Moe's views periodically appeared under my name, I'd be annoyed. I can't imagine he doesn't mind.

On the other hand, I posted my first comment without doing anything to ensure my hilzoy-hood. This is the first time the comments have gotten it right when the post gets it wrong, as opposed to the other way around.

There aren't files. No one believes this at first, and it takes a long time to accept it, but really, that's it: no files. There are databases that can be searched . . .

If what we're asking the new team to do is go through the data and figure out who was an AQ leader, this won't take much time at all. They've done factual returns (ie, an annotated narrative)for some 200 prisoners in the last four and a half months, and these narratives would include allegations like that if there is any evidence at all, no matter how specious. If instead you want the new folks to go through the returns (and responses) to define just exactly which species of small fry each of the 90% of guys is, then you're taking time.

Guantanamo is not the only place where we are detaining people without any clear legal justification.

That's putting it mildly.

We're holding how many prisoners at the two big prisons in Afghanistan -- 30,000? We continue to hold 15,000 in Iraq, on our say-so alone, for long and indefinite periods -- and since the beginning of this year, thanks to the "security" agreement, without even a legal figleaf. There are a hundred people whose whereabouts are unknown, suspected to have been whisked off at our behest.

So, yes. Closing Guantanamo, and trying the small number of prisoners for whome there's evidence of actual crimes in our courts, only begins to solve the problems our government has created with the bogus "war on terror."

And as long as Obama and his Secretary of State and the rest of his national security advisers and functionaries continue to operate within the fraudulent framework of a "war on terror", which they all do, the problems continue to multiply.

In general, though, my main criterion for assessing the Obama administration's progress on this front after a hundred days or so will be how many detainees they have either released or charged. If Guantanamo is still "open" because there are, say, eight remaining detainees whose cases are particularly intractable, that will be one thing. If most of them are still there, that will be quite another.

Agreed. I mean its fair to say that Bush has said for a couple of years now that he wanted to close Guantanamo… An immediate executive order that amounts to “start figuring out how to go about it” doesn’t seem to have much more weight IMO.

Did he say he wanted to close Guantanamo or did he say he'd like to, but the camp contains cold blooded killers? One is an expression of desire, another is an excuse as to why it can't be done.

Pretty subjective LJ. I don’t see much difference between that and “That's a challenge”. If it’s really desire vs. excuses he’ll have the power a week from now to say move anyone you have actually charged to another secure place and turn the rest loose – give them a plane ticket home or help them apply for asylum if they like. He can do that by lunchtime next Tuesday if he so desires. But its one thing to claim you’re going to do it on the campaign trail and another to face the reality of it. I don’t see any easy answers to the problem.

OCS, the whole problem, maybe. But there are a bunch of parts of the problem -- the vast bulk of it -- that aren't difficult at all.

(There's no reason to let GWB off any hooks at all, btw. In Hamdan, the Supreme Court told him that he doesn't have the authority he pretended to have, and also that the prisoners were covered by the GC. Dozens and dozens of men are today, right now, being held in conditions that violate the GC. This could have been remedied by the stroke of a pen, and none of the 'difficulties' oft identified prevented it. Instead, the President went for a different stroke -- signing the MCA -- which didn't bring him into compliance with the law, but simply deferred all accountability.)

If it’s really desire vs. excuses he’ll have the power a week from now to say move anyone you have actually charged to another secure place and turn the rest loose – give them a plane ticket home or help them apply for asylum if they like.

Bush had 2 years, I think you'll see something done by Obama within the first 6 months.

simply deferred all accountability

No argument.

OCS: why be disingenuous?

There's a world of difference between issuing an EO and saying "I'd like to do something."

When Obama signs that EO, he is setting in motion the entire apparatus of the Government to accomplish that task. It's not a symbolic gesture or lipservice.

A substantial number of the prisoners now at Guantanamo will still be detained without charges somewhere in the world on Election Day 2012.


CharleyCarp: "There aren't files. No one believes this at first, and it takes a long time to accept it, but really, that's it: no files."


Really? Wow. They never cease to amaze.

In support of CharleyCarp's post, from the WashPost:

A former military prosecutor said in a declaration filed in federal court yesterday that the system of handling evidence against detainees at Guantanamo Bay was so chaotic that it was impossible to prepare a fair and successful prosecution....

Vandeveld said in a phone interview that the "complete lack of organization" affected nearly all cases at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The evidence is often so disorganized, he said, "it was like a stash of documents found in a village in a raid and just put on a plane to the U.S. Not even rudimentary organization by date or name."

He said the evidence was scattered throughout databases, in desk drawers, in vaguely labeled containers or "simply piled on the tops of desks" of departed prosecutors. "I further discovered that most physical evidence that had been collected had either disappeared" or had been stored in unknown locations, he said.

Wouldn't it be nice if this were shocking?

"In support of CharleyCarp's post"

I expect you haven't been reading here long enough to know that CharleyCarp is a longtime poster here, known to many of us, who has been flying down to Guantanamo to do pro bono work for several years.

The Washington Post piece is here, for whoever is interested.

Looks like Barack is off to a great start, on track to keep his word and restore some international credibility for the US

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