Friday, January 23, 2009
I posted yesterday that President Obama ordered a review of al-Marri's case, now before the Supreme Court. Here's the memo. There's nothing surprising here; just the administration trying to work out what to do with al-Marri.
President Obama also ordered a review of all detainees at Guantanamo as part of the effort to close the detention facility in a year. That Executive Order is here. The language of the EO stands in stark contrast to Bush administration policies: The Findings acknowledge the significant problems with the detentions; they recognize that a number of detainees designated for release are still being held, and that others were held without sufficient cause; they plainly (and correctly) state that habeas extends to Guantanamo; and the EO limits interrogation techniques to those consistent with "all applicable laws," "including Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions." The EO also halts all military commission proceedings.
As to review of detainees, the administration is keeping all options open: release; prosecution in Article III courts; or some other (unnamed, but "lawful" and consistent with the "interests of justice") options.
This is a powerful rebuke and reversal of the Bush administration policies. Most notably, the Obama administration seems to acknowledge the rule of law (!), not test, push, and violate it under claimed authority of Article II and the AUMF.
(President Obama also issued this EO establishing a special task force to review all detention policy options and "to develop policies for the detention, trial, transfer, release, or other disposition of individuals captured or apprehended in connection with armed conflicts and counterterrorism operations . . . .")