Posted by MataHarley on 20 February, 2009 at 7:58 pm. 10 comments already!

I said if I thought Obama did something right, I’d say so. So here you go, all you Obama devotees. Obama *did something right!*

But I doubt most of the O faithful will be celebrating, since what Obama did was hold tight with the Bush legal argument that the Afghanistan detainees held at Bagram Airfield did *not* have Constitutional rights… unlike those held at Gitmo via the vague and damaging SCOTUS decision.

President Obama sided with the Bush administration Friday, saying detainees in Afghanistan have no constitutional rights.

In a two-sentence court filing, the Justice Department said it agreed that detainees at Bagram Airfield cannot use U.S. courts to challenge their detention. The filing shocked human rights attorneys.

“The hope we all had in President Obama to lead us on a different path has not turned out as we’d hoped,” said Tina Monshipour Foster, a human rights attorney representing a detainee at the Bagram Airfield. “We all expected better.”

Mata Musing: Ms. Foster is exec director of the International Justice Network.


The Supreme Court last summer gave al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the right to challenge their detention. With about 600 detainees at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and thousands more held in Iraq, courts are grappling with whether they, too, can sue to be released.

After Obama took office, a federal judge in Washington gave the new administration a month to decide whether it wanted to stand by Bush’s legal argument. Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd says the filing speaks for itself.

“They’ve now embraced the Bush policy that you can create prisons outside the law,” said Jonathan Hafetz, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union who has represented several detainees.

What’s the difference we all ask? Well, the Obama justice department argues that the detainees at Bagram are being held as part of an ongoing military action, and that’s cool because it’s in Afghanistan and not Cuba… or what is considered an overseas war zone. In fact, it has already been called “Obama’s Gitmo”.

Same ugly critters being caged, but on different grounds. Everyone feel better now about habeau corpus? LOL

Needless to say, the human rights types, IJN and ACLU are not pleased… So let me say this on record now for you all to see. *Thank You* President Obama for doing exactly the same thing Bush did, and royally PO’ing these terrorist protectors! And too bad you couldn’t carry over that same mentality to the thugs at Gitmo.

So how about we ship ’em all to Bagram and end the Gitmo argument?

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UPDATE 2-21-09

Speaking of Gitmo, the NYTs William Glaberson reported on the Pentagon report ordered by the Obama administration on his second day in office. A report that confirms the Gitmo detainee facilities is in compliance with Geneva Convention regulations.

The report, by Adm. Patrick M. Walsh, the vice chief of naval operations, describes steps that could be taken to allow detainees to speak to one another more often and to engage in group activities, the government officials said. For years, critics have said that many detainees spend as many as 23 hours a day within the confines of cement cells and often were allowed to exercise alone in fenced-off outdoor pens.

The report is being presented to a White House that some government officials have described as caught off-guard by the extreme emotions and political crosscurrents provoked by its plan to close the Guantánamo prison. Some critics said the report’s conclusions could intensify the debate about the prison, and put the Obama White House for the first time in the position of defending it.

~~~

The administration’s plan to close Guantánamo includes a new effort to decide whether detainees can be released, transferred to the custody of other countries or prosecuted. In the report on the conditions at Guantánamo, Admiral Walsh reviewed many accusations of abuse that critics have made about the prison, said one Pentagon official who has seen the report.

The report concluded that the Pentagon was in compliance with the requirements of the Geneva Conventions. The review included some of the most contentious issues, including the forced feeding of hunger-striking detainees and claims that many prisoners were suffering from psychosis as a result of conditions in the detention center.

According to one official, the report noted that some detainees had difficulty communicating from cell to cell, a contention that many detainees’ lawyers have also made. The Pentagon has long insisted that no detainees are held in solitary confinement. Military officials have said instead that the prisoners are held in “single-occupancy cells.”

Some Pentagon officials have continued to press the case that the Bush administration’s approach to detainee issues — and the Guantánamo Bay prison itself — should not be abandoned. The report is likely to accelerate that behind-the-scenes struggle.

The White House had no comment Friday.

Fact is, Bush created a “humane detention camp”, as put by one Pentagon official. And frankly, they are concerned that if the men are moved, they may go from a humane camp to an inhumane camp.

Naturally the ACLU, IJN and other terrorist rights supporters poo pooh the Pentagon report, calling it a “whitewash”.

Now we’ll see if a President Obama wants to accuse his Pentagon of a “whitewash” as well. If not, looks like he’ll be running out of criticisms of “the past eight years” as it pertains to Gitmo.

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