Wednesday’s news that the Trump Administration was preparing an executive order addressing the detention and interrogation of enemy combatants, coupled with President Trump’s interview comments that “torture works,” has resulted in understandable but premature panic over a potential policy allowing for detainee abuse.
Latest in Guantanamo (187)
Judge Pohl begins with the usual business. We are now going on day four with no Bin ‘Attash. As for changes to the legal staff, James Connell, counsel for al-Baluchi, notes the absence of their linguist due to a family emergency, and though he is prepared to proceed, wants to “note the fragility of a system that only has one linguist available in it.” A major is called to testify that he met with Bin ‘Attash, notified him of the hearing, and that Bin ‘Attash signed a statement acknowledging he understands his right to be present. Despite everyone’s best efforts, he still declined.
In last Sunday’s Washington Post, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England challenged current Defense Secretary Ash Carter to resign before transferring any more detainees from the Guantanamo detention facility. According to England, the Obama administration is recklessly and randomly shipping out “high risk” detainees “who will almost certainly rejoin the fight.”
A few weeks ago a Reuters article, “Pentagon Thwarts Obama’s Effort to Close Guantanamo,” described a scheme by which disloyal Defense Department officials—myself and General John Kelly, USMC, included—had used bureaucratic chicanery to frustrate their commander-in-chief’s efforts to reduce the Guantanamo (GTMO) population.
The Guantanamo detainees on trial for orchestrating the September 11th attacks returned to court on Thursday for continued pre-trial proceedings. Wednesday’s hearing was cancelled so that the court’s Arabic translators could spend their time translating detailed advice for Walid Bin Attash in response to his request to represent himself. Now, with that task completed, the translators are back in court and proceedings continue.