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Category Archives: Guantanamo

Bowe Bergdahl Charged with Desertion

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 3:04 PM

That’s the news from the Washington Post this hour. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the U.S. soldier who lived in Taliban captivity for five years and was ultimately released in exchange for five Taliban militants held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has been charged with desertion (Art. 85, UCMJ) and misbehavior before the enemy (Art. 99, UCMJ). Army officials will hold a . . .
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The Lawfare Podcast: General Michael Lehnert on Closing GITMO

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Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 1:55 PM

This week, we invited Major General Michael Lehnert (Ret.), the first commander of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to chat on the show. In January 2002, General Lehnert deployed to Guantanamo Bay as Commander of Joint Task Force 160 with the mission to construct and operate the detention facilities for Taliban and Al Qaeda . . .
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New GITMO Recidivism Report Released by ODNI

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Friday, March 6, 2015 at 2:10 PM

The latest ODNI recidivism report is available here. The last report, which was released in September, is here. Since the release of the September 2014 report, an additional nine former detainees have returned to hostilities. Of those detainees released after January 2009, the report shows no additional detainees  have returned to the fight, and the the . . .
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Al-Nashiri Motions Hearing: March 3 Session

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Litigation resumes in one of Guantanamo’s two capital military commission cases today at 0900; likewise the CCTV broadcast of the pre-trial session, which we’ll follow from our little perch here at Fort Meade, and post about throughout the day. You’ll find updates on the prosecution of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in the “Events Coverage” section, and . . .
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Yesterday’s Abatement Order in the 9/11 Case

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Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 4:30 PM

Yesterday, after determining Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work’s requirement that military commission judges live at Guantanamo Bay may improperly interfered with the case, Col. James Pohl halted pretrial proceedings in the trial of five Guantanamo Bay detainees accused of orchestrating the 9/11 attacks. You can find Col. Pohl’s abatement order below:

Chief Prosecutor Statement on This Week’s Hearing in the al Nashiri Case

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Monday, February 23, 2015 at 11:00 AM

Per our usual practice, Lawfare will be posting digests of the Al Nashiri military commission proceedings—which resume today at noon—throughout the week. First up is the statement by Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, which you can find below:

Statement of GTMO Special Envoy at Yesterday’s HASC hearing on Guantanamo Bay

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Friday, February 13, 2015 at 11:28 AM

Yesterday, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations received an “Update on Detainee Transfers from GTMO.” You can read the testimony of the Department of Defense’s Special Envoy for Guantanamo Detention Closure, Paul M. Lewis, here. The testimony of the Department of State’s Acting Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure, Charles Trumbull, . . .
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Jack Goldsmith and Jane Harman on Closing Guantanamo

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Jack Goldsmith and Jane Harman had a piece in the Washington Post a few days ago on the Guantanamo closure question: Guantanamo should be closed but not until the president presents a realistic plan and makes his case to Congress and the nation. Any blueprint must address very real issues related to the island facility’s 122 remaining . . .
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Argument Recap: The Critical Difference in How al-Nashiri Loses

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 2:03 PM

If one thing was clear from Tuesday morning’s 61-minute argument before the D.C. Circuit in In re al-Nashiri, in which a Guantánamo military commission defendant seeks to challenge on constitutional grounds the composition of the intermediate Court of Military Commission Review (CMCR) assigned to hear the government’s interlocutory appeal in his case (which I previewed here), it was that . . .
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Why We Shouldn’t Import Guantánamo: A Holistic Perspective

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 11:40 AM

It is with great reluctance that I wade into Gabor and Steve’s debate about how to close the U.S. prison at Guantánamo Bay. I’ve made no secret of my distaste for what I’ve described (okay, okay, flippantly described) as “the atmospheric punditry some have come to expect from this blog.” (Although, I must confess that, . . .
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The Administration’s Guantanamo Testimony Yesterday

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Friday, February 6, 2015 at 1:31 PM

Here it is, given by Brian McKeon, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, before the Senate Armed Services Committee. And here’s the video of yesterday’s hearing:

The Bush Administration Wanted to Close GTMO Because (in Part) of its Propaganda Value to Jihadists

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Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 8:31 PM

Senator Tom Cotton, whom I like, doesn’t support the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center.  As the SASC hearing today he said of the Guantanamo detainees, “every last one of them can rot in hell, but since they don’t do that, they can rot in Guantanamo Bay.”   Senator Cotton served in the U.S. Army . . .
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The Meaningful Legal Differences Between Stateside and Guantánamo Detention

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Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 3:30 PM

Gabor’s post from this morning, which is styled as a response to Ben’s thoughtful analysis of what it will take to close Guantánamo (while ignoring some of the other responses), concludes that the only meaningful way to “close” Guantánamo is for President Obama “to either release all detainees or try them in our time-tested federal courts,” at least largely . . .
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Happening Now: SASC Hearing on GITMO

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Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 9:53 AM

The Senate Armed Services Committee is currently holding a hearing entitled “Guantanamo Detention Facility and the Future of US Detention Policy. Brian P. McKeon, Nicholas J. Rasmussen, and Rear Admiral Ross A. Myers are set to testify. You can watch the hearing live here at the SASC website.

How Not to Close Guantanamo: Bring It Here

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Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 9:46 AM

Ben asks “What Would it Take to Close Guantanamo?” and he provides a thoughtful response weighted toward the political landscape. But there’s another not-so-merely-philosophical question that underlies his question: what does it mean to “close Guantanamo?” For purposes of rapprochement with Cuba it may have to mean U.S. out of Guantanamo altogether. That’s not going . . .
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al-Nashiri Argument Preview: The CMCR’s Appointments Clause Problem

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 8:17 AM

Next Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit (Henderson, Rogers, & Pillard, JJ.) is set to hear oral argument in In re al-Nashiri, the latest in a long-line of pre-trial disputes arising out of the Guantánamo military commission proceedings against Abd Al-Rahim Hussein Muhammed al-Nashiri, who is accused of involvement in two terrorist attacks . . .
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What Would it Actually Take to Close Guantanamo?

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Monday, February 2, 2015 at 10:31 PM

Obama reiterated in his State of the Union address that he is committed to closing Guantanamo: “Since I’ve been President, we’ve worked responsibly to cut the population of Gitmo in half.  Now it is time to finish the job.  And I will not relent in my determination to shut it down.  It is not who . . .
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A Reply to Steve Vladeck and Raha Wala

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Monday, January 26, 2015 at 6:13 PM

Both Steve Vladeck and Raha Wala have penned responses to my post of last week complaining of the quality of the “Close Guantanamo” debate. I will react very briefly to each. I am, I confess, not sure how to respond to Steve’s post, since it seems to be responding to something I did not write. Says Steve, The fundamental problem with Ben’s . . .
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What the Detention Policy Debate Really Is About

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Monday, January 26, 2015 at 2:16 PM

Ben bemoans the state our nation’s current debate over Guantanamo as “terrible,” observing that “the arguments about Guantanamo are nearly all wrong, disingenuous, irrelevant, or just plain dumb.”  It’s true that Guantanamo—like most political issues—sometimes takes on a special kind of inside-the-beltway rhetorical flavor that can really annoy the wonks, who would much rather focus . . .
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A Return of the Executive Branch Ban on GTMO Transfers to Yemen?

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Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 9:51 AM

From this ABC/Associated Press piece: In another challenge to President Barack Obama’s efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, a ban on transferring detainees to Yemen has been effectively pushed back into place because of security concerns in the volatile Middle Eastern nation, administration officials say. While Obama approved sending detainees back to Yemen nearly two . . .
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