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
Latest in Guantanamo
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
Yesterday morning, President Trump appears to have been watching Fox & Friends when he saw a troubling statistic: 122 former Guantánamo detainees have re-engaged in terrorism after their release. So the President took to Twitter:
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 Tuesday, Jack expressed concern about the possibility that the Trump presidency will end up being overly weak, and he highlighted a variety of actors who have robustly begun to check Trump’s exercises of power. One set of actors he did not include—but which have an important role to play here—are foreign military and intelligence services. Those foreign actors with whom the United States cooperates can play a powerful role in constraining U.S.
With the end of the Obama administration and the beginning of the Trump administration, activity has picked up in Guantanamo litigation regarding the SSCI "torture report." Several weeks ago, I flagged that in the Nashiri habeas case in the U.S.
As Benjamin Wittes and I noted a few weeks ago, these past few weeks have produced some interesting litigation activity regarding the Senate Intelligence Committee’s interrogation report. In the last days of the Obama administration and the first few days of the Trump administration, things appear to have picked up even more.
Yesterday, Military Commissions Chief Prosecutor General Mark Martins released the following statement regarding pretrial hearings to be conducted over the next two weeks in the 9/11 case. The statement is also available here.
Given Donald Trump’s continuing fondness for Twitter over the course of his rise to power, it was perhaps inevitable that sooner or later, we would start seeing his tweets showing up in litigations. Turns out it happened sooner, in fact before he even took office. In the weeks before the inauguration, counsel in Guantanamo habeas cases filed what appear to be the first motion referring, implicitly, to Trump’s tweets—at least the first that we’re aware of in the national security context.
Don't look now but we're about to see at least one new Guantanamo habeas merits hearing—tomorrow, in fact.