The Pentagon official in charge of Guantanamo Bay has admitted that if he had his time over, he would have argued that the notorious detention camp should never have been built.
William Lietzau, America’s Deputy Assistant Defence Secretary for Detainee Affairs, told The Mail on Sunday in an exclusive interview that Guantanamo’s detainees should have been legally designated as prisoners of war and held in Afghanistan, or if charged with crimes, taken to prisons in America.
Mr Lietzau – who, after three and a half years in his job, last week announced he will be stepping down to take a private sector job in September – added that the best way for President Obama to close Guantanamo would be to announce that the ‘war’ with Al Qaeda is over.
Under international law, this would end any justification for continuing to hold prisoners who had not been charged with crimes.
Lietzau’s words will be seen as explosive, because alone of senior officials who serve the Obama administration in this field now, he played a key role in creating Guantanamo under George W. Bush.
President Obama signed an executive order Monday that will create a formal system of indefinite detention for those held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who continue to pose a significant threat to national security. The administration also said it will start new military commission trials for detainees there.
The announcements, coming more than two years after Obama vowed in another executive order to close the detention center, all but cements Guantanamo Bay’s continuing role in U.S. counterterrorism policy.
Administration officials said the president is still committed to closing the prison, although he made no mention of that goal in a short statement Monday. The administration’s original plans to create a detention center in the United States and prosecute some detainees in federal court have all but collapsed in the face of bipartisan congressional opposition.
The executive order recognizes the reality that some Guantanamo Bay detainees will remain in U.S. custody for many years, if not for life. The new system allows them the prospect of successfully arguing in the future that they should be released because they do not pose a threat.
The Supreme Court ruled today that suspected foreign terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts and to confront their accusers.
The Court also slammed Congress for passing the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which set up the show trial military tribunals now in progress.
Scalia and the other pro-torture judges whined in dissent that the ruling would make “the war on terror” tougher for the U.S., totally ignoring the ideas of the Founding Fathers that the Constitution should apply in wartime as well as peacetime and ignoring the fact that the world’s leading experts on torture say that torture produces inaccurate and useless information.
Given that the Constitution has been getting mugged for many years now, this is an important decision which might shift the momentum away from fascism and towards justice and the rule of law.
ADEN, Yemen — Almost eight years after al-Qaeda nearly sank the USS Cole with an explosives-stuffed motorboat, killing 17 sailors, all the defendants convicted in the attack have escaped from prison or been freed by Yemeni officials.
Jamal al-Badawi, a Yemeni who helped organize the plot to bomb the Cole as it refueled in this Yemeni port on Oct. 12, 2000, has broken out of prison twice. He was recaptured both times, but then secretly released by the government last fall. Yemeni authorities jailed him again after receiving complaints from Washington. But U.S. officials have so little faith that he’s still in his cell that they have demanded the right to perform random inspections.
Two suspects, described as the key organizers, were captured outside Yemen and are being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. Many details of their alleged involvement remain classified. It is unclear when — or if — they will be tried by the military.
The collapse of the Cole investigation offers a revealing case study of the U.S. government’s failure to bring al-Qaeda operatives and their leaders to justice for some of the most devastating attacks on American targets over the past decade.
A week after the Cole bombing, President Bill Clinton vowed to hunt down the plotters and promised, “Justice will prevail.” In March 2002, President Bush said his administration was cooperating with Yemen to prevent it from becoming “a haven for terrorists.” He added: “Every terrorist must be made to live as an international fugitive with no place to settle or organize, no place to hide, no governments to hide behind and not even a safe place to sleep.”
Since then, Yemen has refused to extradite Badawi and an accomplice to the United States, where they have been indicted on murder charges. Other Cole conspirators have been freed after short prison terms. At least two went on to commit suicide attacks in Iraq.
“After we worked day and night to bring justice to the victims and prove that these Qaeda operatives were responsible, we’re back to square one,” said Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent and a lead investigator into the bombing. “Do they have laws over there or not? It’s really frustrating what’s happening.”
To this day, al-Qaeda trumpets the attack on the Cole as one of its greatest military victories. It remains an improbable story: how two suicide bombers smiled and waved to unsuspecting U.S. sailors in Aden’s harbor as they pulled their tiny fishing boat alongside the $1 billion destroyer and blew a gaping hole in its side.
Recent news on the White House torture and spy memos has amazingly received very little coverage in the corporate controlled media. For instance, Barack Obama’s low bowling score has received more coverage than these memos. The media some how thinks Obama’s horrible bowling skills are more important than evidence that could be used to prosecute members of the Bush administration for all sorts of criminality including war crimes. That makes no sense, but of course when you consider that the corporate controlled media creates reality for people it makes perfect sense. Both of these memos were written by former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo and prove that the Bush administration sought to justify torture and ignore the Fourth Amendment under the guise of the phony war on terror. In the memos, Yoo concludes that Bush can torture and spy without a warrant if he is doing these things to protect the country from terrorists. Of course, the majority of the so called terrorists that the media and the government claims we are fighting are actually trained and funded by western governments so the whole thing is a big fraud. That of course is a whole other story. In these memos, it is clear that Yoo shows a blatant disregard for both U.S. and international law. Yoo and other members of the Bush administration should really be put on trial for war crimes but since the corporate controlled media thinks that Obama’s low bowling score is more important than smoking gun proof of war crimes, that’s probably not going to happen.
First let’s tackle the spying memo. Below is taken from an excerpt of an Associated Press report on the 37-page secret Justice Department memo in which Yoo concludes that the Fourth Amendment does not apply to domestic military operations.