January 22, 2010 marks President Obama's self-imposed deadline for closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, which he set by Executive Order one year earlier, on his second day in office.
This discussion examines the obstacles that are preventing President Obama from fulfilling his promise, when and how Guantanamo is likely to close, and the impact of the attempted Christmas Day airline bombing on the politics of closing the detention facility.
The discussion also illuminates why it is essential that America comply with the rule of law as it continues its efforts to close Guantanamo.
Stephen Abraham is an American lawyer and officer in the United States Army Reserve. He is notable because he is the first officer who served with the Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants to publicly criticize the operations of the Combatant Status Review Tribunals.
His affidavit was key to the United States Supreme Court decision to hear petitions from Guantanamo detainees regarding their detention, and the subsequent decision (Boumediene v. Bush, 2008) that Guantanamo detainees have Habeas rights.
John C. Coughenour
John C. Coughenour is a U.S. District Court Judge. He was appointed by Ronald Reagan in 1981.
Before being appointed as a judge, Coughenour was a leading litigator with Bogle & Gates and has taught trial and appellate practice at the University of Washington School of Law.
Talat Hamdani lives in New York. Her son Salman, a New York City police cadet who died attempting to save lives at the World Trade Center, is mentioned by name as a hero in the USA Patriot Act. Talat is an active member of 9/11 Families for Peaceful Tomorrows and has traveled to Guantanamo to observe the 9/11 defendants military commissions proceedings there.
Shayana D. Kadidal
Shayana Kadidal is senior managing attorney of the Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative at the Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City. He is a graduate of the Yale Law School and a former law clerk to Judge Kermit Lipez of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.
In his eight years at the Center, he has worked on a number of significant cases in the wake of 9/11, including the Center's challenges to the detention of prisoners at Guananamo Bay (among them torture victim Mohammed al Qahtani and former CIA ghost detainee Majid Khan), which have twice reached the Supreme Court (with a third case to be heard in March 2010), and several cases arising out of the post-9/11 domestic immigration sweeps.
He is also counsel in CCR's legal challenges to the "material support" statute (to be argued at the Supreme Court in February 2010), to the low rates of black firefighter hiring in New York City, and to the NSA's warrantless surveillance program.
Celeste Koeleveld has been Chief Appellate Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York since September 2005. She is responsible for all briefs filed by the Office in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and works with the Solicitor General's office on appellate issues. She serves as the chief legal advisor to the Office, regularly providing counsel to the U.S. Attorney and his assistants on legal matters, grand jury practice, trial practice, and strategic issues.
From November 2004 to September 2005 she was chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office, supervising over 160 Assistant U.S. Attorneys in all aspects of criminal investigations and prosecutions. From 2001 to 2004, Koeleveld was Deputy Chief Appellate Attorney.
From 1999 to 2001, she was Chief of General Crimes. From 1991 to 1999 she was Line Assistant, assigned progressively to general crimes, narcotics, and organized crime and terrorism units. She prosecuted a 20-defendant organized crime securities fraud case that resulted in convictions of members and associates of two organized crime families for securities fraud and extortion in connection with securities trading in small-cap companies. She was awarded the Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service in July 1999.
Koeleveld earned her B.A. from Harvard University in 1986 and her J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1989, where she won the Archie O. Dawson Prize for Proficiency in Advocacy and was a member of the Moot Court Executive Committee. She clerked for the Hon. Kenneth Conboy, U.S. District Judge, Southern District of New York, 1989 to 1991.
Jeffrey Toobin is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a senior analyst for CNN. “The Mitigator,” his piece about capital punishment and Danalynn Recer, appeared in the May 9th issue.
Guantanamo whistleblower Stephen Abraham defends the White House's proposal to move Gitmo detainees to the Thomson Correctional Facility in rural northwestern Illinois and calls for a public demolition of the Guantanamo Bay detainment facility. "It's not something we should do subtly," he says.
In common law, any of several writs issued to bring a party before a court. The most important such writ (habeas corpus ad subjiciendum) is used to correct violations of personal liberty by directing judicial inquiry into the legality of a detention. Common grounds for relief include a conviction based on illegally obtained evidence, a denial of effective assistance of counsel, or a conviction by a jury that was improperly selected or impaneled. The writ may be used in civil matters to challenge a person's custody of a child or the institutionalization of a person declared incompetent.
Keep Gitmo open. Release the prisoners at the end of hostilities, which is what is always done with pows. If they have committed crimes, try them in military courts and carry out the sentences immediately, or return them to their home nations if found innocent. Do not try them in civilian courts. They do not qualify for those protections. Keep them off United States' soil. They are not worth the money required for security of the circus that will take place in the media. I will give them Geneva Convention protections when they comply with the rules of war. Until then, they are enemy combatants and need to sit on the sidelines until we have declared the hostilities over.
I have no sympathy for this scum.
"We must never forget that the record on which we judge these defendants is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well"
~ Robert H. Jackson, chief United States prosecutor Nuremberg 1946
"If the Nuremberg (Nürnberg) laws were applied, then every post-war American president would have been hanged"
~ Noam Chomsky, Linguist Professor Emeritus in MIT
Blaming Bush or others will not solve and even will create more disunity between the Conservatives and Democrats. Instead of attacking each other consult without blaming each other. A great country like United States should surely be able to unite with each other when there is a common threat to foundation of life not only USA but in the World.
In the most harsh terrorist acts committed by the Bush Admin... which is walking away and has left a mess of the UNited States. The ruling of theses victims or terrorist should be put before a international court to resolve all crimes of both parties involved. This act to bring them a international court is correct because europe also was effect by the 911 movement.
You are right criminals should be tried under American values and the law of the coutnry. But they are not criminals, breakign the law. They want to destroy the Constitution which the law is based on. So how can you apply the law to these individuals who have no human or any values for foundation of humanity. Your Constitution is the root of human living on Planet Earth.
"The judge who is saying that if there is a problem for collecting evidences and it is possible that prisoner goes free. So be it."
Certain group or believers of certain ideology or religion have decided to destroy the foundation of the society which is the Constitution of the nation and the justice system is based on this foundation. They are not breaking the law. They are attacking the foundation the core of a nation which the law and the justice is the fruit of that foundation or the Constitution. If they were breaking the law, his comments make sense. They are attacking the root or the foundation of life of a society. I think the judge or people like him have a full understanding of the law and justice associated with the law. But they are lacking totally the wisdom of justice.
Absolutely right what the judge said. What he didn't say, which is equally valid, is that we need to remind ourselves that the accused have no rights beyond those that everybody else has. Unfortunately the so-called whistleblower grandstander demolition expert doesn't know that - he's too busy listening to his lips flapping.
The judge has it exactly right. People who advocate a different set of rules for terrorists miss the point. The reason they must be given the benefit of American protections is because of US not THEM. We must believe enough in our system of laws to take the risk that someone guilty may be acquited. If we set up "kangaroo" courts then we are no better than North Korea and we deserve no respect. I am always amazed at the cowardice coming from people who argue that their "safety" trumps all other concerns. We would still be a British colony if our founders put safety above principle.