WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is preparing to increase the use of military commissions to prosecute Guantánamo detainees, an acknowledgment that the prison in Cuba remains open for business after Congress imposed steep new impediments to closing the facility.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is expected to soon lift an order blocking the initiation of new cases against detainees, which he imposed on the day of President Obama’s inauguration. That would clear the way for tribunal officials, for the first time under the Obama administration, to initiate new charges against detainees.
Charges would probably then come within weeks against one or more detainees who have already been designated by the Justice Department for prosecution before a military commission, including Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi accused of planning the 2000 bombing of the American destroyer Cole in Yemen; Ahmed al-Darbi, a Saudi accused of plotting, in an operation that never came to fruition, to attack oil tankers in the Straits of Hormuz; and Obaydullah, an Afghan accused of concealing bombs.
The rules for admissible evidence that these commission operate under are far loser than a civilian court.
Jerralyn Merrick at Talk Left explains:
One of those expected to be recharged and tried is Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, who was captured in 2002. Al-Nashiri was originally charged by the Bush Administration with participating in the 2000 bombing of the U.S.S. Cole. He was facing the death penalty. The Obama Administration moved to dismiss the charges against in in 2009. Al-Nashiri’s co-defendants were moved to federal court. Why wasn’t Al-Nashiri? The obvious answer is because the evidence against him was obtained by torture. His lawyer, Lt. Com. Stephen Reyes says:
“Nashiri is being prosecuted at the commissions because of the torture issue,” Mr. Reyes said. “Otherwise he would be indicted in New York along with his alleged co-conspirators.”
Most of those who will be charged and face the death penalty are not prosecutable in a civilian court because not only is all of the evidence against them was obtained through torture but the detainees themselves were tortured. President Obama and Attorney General Holder are prosecuting the wrong people. They should be trying Bush and Cheney who have both publicly confessed to personally authorizing torture.
And if you the average American citizen thought you were safe from this abuse, think again:
The Justice Department has a new policy for terrorism interrogations — but officials won’t publicly release it
The Obama administration has issued new guidance on use of the Miranda warning in interrogations of terrorism suspects, potentially chipping away at the rule that bars the government from using information in court if it was gathered before a suspect was informed of his right to remain silent and to an attorney.
But the Department of Justice is refusing to publicly release the guidance, with a spokesman describing it in an interview as an “internal document.” So we don’t know the administration’s exact interpretation of Miranda, even though it may have significantly reshaped the way terrorism interrogations are conducted.
If Bush was bad, Obama is taking it to new levels.