Latest in Detention & Guantanamo


When Does GTMO Detention Authority Expire? A Close Look at a New Habeas Case.

Has the U.S. government’s authority to use military detention under the 2001 authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) quietly expired? So argue a group of eleven Guantanamo detainees in a habeas corpus petition filed last week.

The petition raises significant questions, but I find it unpersuasive. Here’s why:

1. A threshold issue: Haven’t these detainees already pursued habeas relief?

Detention & Guantanamo

The Continuing Need to Close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility

On Sunday, John Bellinger forcefully summarized the main arguments for closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Having served as the Department of Defense Special Envoy for Guantanamo Detention Closure in the Obama Administration and as Director of the DOD Office of Legislative Counsel at the end of the Bush Administration, I agree with John’s conclusion. While a safe, humane facility, GTMO hurts us more than it helps us.

Detention & Guantanamo

The Trump Administration’s Flawed Guantánamo Narrative

On Saturday, I wrote a post for Just Security titled “Whitewashing Guantánamo,” in which I explained how three different data points from the past week underscored a consistent and troubling pattern by the Trump administration—to rewrite the history of Guantánamo in a way that seeks to take the Bush Administration off the hook (“it was those pesky judges’ fault”), and to blame the Obama Administration for all recidivism by former detainees (the data is conclusively to the contrary) and for the plodding pace o

Detention & Guantanamo

Guantanamo Redux: Why It was Opened and Why It Should Be Closed (and not Enlarged)

It is hard to believe that the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is back in the headlines fifteen years after it opened and eight years after President Obama ordered it closed. Having been present at its creation in 2001/2002 and having supported its closure in 2009, I want to provide a few observations for those new to the controversy. Drawing on some of my past posts, I will remind readers why Guantanamo was opened and why I believe it should now be closed.

Why Guantanamo Bay Was Opened

Detention & Guantanamo

British Ex-Guantanamo Detainee Among Mosul Suicide Bombers

This past Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced renewed efforts by Iraqi forces to retake western Mosul from ISIL, which would include about 450 U.S. advisers “operating closer and deeper into Iraqi formations,” according to Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend. News of the surge was eclipsed, however, by a suicide bombing carried out by the Islamic State. The attack consisted of three vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, commonly called VBIEDs.


On the Latest Draft of the Trump Administration Guantanamo Detention Executive Order

The indispensable Charlie Savage has just posted the latest iteration of the Trump Administration’s planned Executive Order on detention issues, along with an article placing that draft in context (including helpful insights from Jack Goldsmith and Ryan Goodman).

Detention & Guantanamo

Trump's Opportunity to Get GTMO Right

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.

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