Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Avoiding the Rule of Law

In disappointing news for a country that prides itself on following and promoting the rule of law, the Associated Press reported over the weekend that the United States government transferred detainees in the war on terror into and out of Guantanamo Bay earlier than previously acknowleged to avoid the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts and the application of the rule of law. 

According to the Associated Press, four of the most highly valued prisoners in the war on terror were brought to Guantanamo Bay in September 2003, three years earlier than the U.S. government had previously disclosed.  They were then removed from Guantanamo Bay within months when it appeared that the U.S. Supreme Court was poised to give detainees access to U.S. courts and lawyers in the case of Rasul v. Bush.  The March 2004 transfer to CIA "black sites" allowed the continued interrogation of the detainees without access to lawyers or human rights observers, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross. The detainees were then transferred back to Guantanamo Bay two years later when the Bush Administration came under domestic and international pressure for its extraordinary rendition program.  A European investigation established that 14 European countries participated in the program, including Poland, Romania and Lithuania, who hosted prisons.  President Obama ordered the secret prisons closed shortly after taking office.

More details may be found in this Washington Post story.



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