» Monday, June 28, 2004

Guantanamo Bay

Asked if a deal on the remaining four British detainees at Guantanamo Bay was expected in the near future, the PMS said she was not aware of any imminent announcement. As she had told journalists on Friday, discussions were continuing about the issue.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. At least the detainees can now use the US legal system to challenge their detention. (Assuming that they get told about the Supreme Court decision!)

    Of the many questions that remain, one of the most interesting will be whether George Bush is open to criminal charges for wrongful imprisonment?

    Comment by Uncarved Block — 28 Jun 2004 on 4:34 pm | Link
  2. …immune to charges other than impeachment…

    Likelihood of impeachment: 0%. Too many people to fob off blame to.

    Likelihood of this coming up in an election, though: 100%.

    Rulings on "enemy combatants" denied due process under Guantanamo Bay ‘security first’ edicts crippled the Bush administration’s translation of the "Authorization for Use of Military Force", which empowered the President to "use all necessary and appropriate force" against "nations, organizations, or persons" that he determines "planned, authorized, committed, or aided" in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Habeas corpus demands that individuals have the right to go before the courts to challenge their detention, and that was upheld.

    In doing so, it held that individuals, regardless of where they were held, fall under habeas corpus and may challenge their detention, even if the actions take place on the battlefield; it has yet to decide whether or not foreigners fall under the same ruling. Indeed, it had to overrule itself – in 1950, in Johnson v. Eisentrager, the justices rejected the idea that non-citizens detained by U.S. military authorities outside the United States (such as the Germans) could use the writ of habeas corpus to challenge their detention. The current conditions in Guantanamo Bay, in fact a relatively accurate description of the current problem, was written in the dissenting minority report by Justice Hugo Black.

    \x93Does a prisoner’s right to test legality of a sentence depend on where the Government chooses to imprison him?\x94 asked Black.

    He said the Court should not \x93permit the executive branch, by deciding where its prisoners will be tried and imprisoned, to deprive all federal courts of their power to protect against a federal executive’s illegal incarcerations.\x94

    So, here we are. Ruling in the Hamdi case, O’Connor said the court has "made clear that a state of war is not a blank check for the president when it comes to the rights of the nation’s citizens", but also stated that foreigners also had a right to their day in U.S. courts.

    Hamdi, the U.S. citizen, has the right to access to counsel. The government now has the responsibility of giving specific reasons for the detention of each prisoner, and must come forward with at least basic evidence.

    It nearly went much worse – the core four stated that they had their right to use habeas corpus; two others wanted to go further and declare the detention improper – which would result in the immediate freeing (or charging) of all individuals in Guantanamo bay.

    So. Time to thank all those U.S. soldiers who abused prisoners – without them, it’s unlikely that we would have had such a positive result to curb executive power. We’d have seen a much closer split on ideological lines, rather than all but one judge stating that the individuals had a right to representation and due process.

    Comment by Gregory Block — 29 Jun 2004 on 12:10 am | Link
  3. What is Gregory Block doing responding to this at 00:10?

    and on the issue

    absolute power in the World’s most powerful Nation – corrupts a little bit 😉

    how about International action for ‘war crimes’ now that the home courts have ruled that GWB acted illegally?

    Comment by Roger Huffadine — 29 Jun 2004 on 9:44 am | Link
  4. c.f. "Internet Addiction". 😉

    With the U.S. immunity in place, what kind of action can be taken? The hands of the bodies that might consider doing so are effectively bound.

    In the end, the only form of justice that can come of any of this will be a removal from power of those responsible; anything else is, IMO, wishful thinking.

    After all, none of us believe that the trials against the individuals at Abu Gharib will find a systematic problem, even though all evidence clearly points to one. None of us believe that the U.S. officials responsible for policy will face any kind of charge.

    All that’s left is a November election.

    Comment by Gregory Block — 29 Jun 2004 on 8:32 pm | Link
  5. (Besides; Supreme Court rulings are one of my pet fascinations. One of the few things that really, really works well in the U.S., no matter how much the politicians try to stack the deck by stacking the seats.)

    Proof positive that giving smart people jobs for life in the right kind of environment frees them from political control and turns them into free thinkers. Well, all except Clarence Thomas, anyways.

    Comment by Gregory Block — 29 Jun 2004 on 8:34 pm | Link

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