Gitmo Won’t Be Closed Within Obama’s First 100 Days

January 13, 2009

Obama says he’ll sign the order to close Gitmo as soon as he’s in office, but not to expect the facility to actually shut its doors within his first 100 days. And Glenn Greenwald is pissed (with good reason):

“Let’s emphasize what Obama is actually saying about why he can’t close Guantanamo right away. Here is his answer when asked if he’d close Guantanamo in the first 100 days:
‘It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize and we are going to get it done but part of the challenge that you have is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom who may be very dangerous who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication. And some of the evidence against them may be tainted even though it’s true. And so how to balance creating a process that adheres to rule of law, habeas corpus, basic principles of Anglo American legal system, by doing it in a way that doesn’t result in releasing people who are intent on blowing us up.’
What he’s saying is quite clear. There are detainees who the U.S. may not be able to convict in a court of law. Why not? Because the evidence that we believe establishes their guilt was obtained by torture, and it is therefore likely inadmissible in our courts (torture-obtained evidence is inadmissible in all courts in the civilized world; one might say it’s a defining attribute of being civilized). But Obama wants to detain them anyway — even though we can’t convict them of anything in our courts of law. So before he can close Guantanamo, he wants a new, special court to be created — presumably by an act of Congress — where evidence obtained by torture (confessions and the like) can be used to justify someone’s detention and where, presumably, other safeguards are abolished. That’s what he means when he refers to ‘creating a process.'”

That’s the core problem: these people in US custody, some real bad guys, some just schmucks who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, have been treated so barbarically that their confessions, statements, etc., can’t even be brought into a court that adheres to any civilized rules of evidence. A total fucking mess.

btw, Greenwald’s going to be the keynote speaker at the Massachusetts ACLU’s statewide conference at UMass Boston on February 7th.

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