27 June 2010

From the Change Files

That's a picture from 22 Jan 2009. It's the Pres signing an order ("order") to close the Guantanmo Bay prison.
New York Times | Charlie Savage | Closing Guantánamo Fades as a Priority

Washington — Stymied by political opposition and focused on competing priorities, the Obama administration has sidelined efforts to close the Guantánamo prison, making it unlikely that President Obama will fulfill his promise to close it before his term ends in 2013.
The promise was to close the prison by January 2010, so I'd say the ship has fully sailed on that particular pledge. Now we know that not only will he not get this done on time (a time which he dictated, by the way) but he probably won't get it done at all.

This is the shit that really steams my drawers about Obama. I disliked a vast majority of his platform. The few things I did like, such as this, he hasn't come through on. The very few promises I actually wanted him to keep and had some expectation that he would are the ones that he's broken.

By the way,
Slate | Glenn Greenwald | A disgrace of historic proportions

The Miami Herald's Carol Rosenberg reports that, this week, yet another federal judge has ordered the Obama administration to release yet another Guantanamo detainee on the ground that there is no persuasive evidence to justify his detention. The latest detainee to win his habeas hearing, Mohammed Hassen, is a 27-year old Yemeni imprisoned by the U.S. without charges for 8 years, since he was 19 years old. [...]

What's most significant about this is that Hassen is now the 36th detainee who has won his habeas hearing since the Supreme Court in 2008 ruled they have the right to such hearings -- out of 50 whose petitions have been heard. In other words, 72% of Guantanamo detainees who finally were able to obtain just minimal due process (which is what a habeas hearing is) -- after years of being in a cage without charges -- have been found by federal judges to be wrongfully detained. These are people who are part of what the U.S. Government continues to insist are "the worst of the worst" who remain, and whose release is being vehemently contested by the Obama DOJ.
[Emph. orig.] Look, the kind of people held at Gitmo are tricky. They're aren't criminals and the aren't POWs. They're some third category and we don't have a third way of dealing with them. This shit is complicated.

But when you have, best we can tell, three people who are so innocent that the government doesn't even have enough evidence to send them to trial, for every potentially guilty inmate your system is good and goddamned broken.

If a problem is that complicated — and this one isn't an open-and-shut case, though it's several orders of magnitude simpler than financial regulatory reform or HCR — then you don't saunter into 1600 Pennsylvania and before even unpacking your bags announce you'll have it whipped by the end of the year.

(Photo from Saul Loeb, Getty, by way of the LA Times.)

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