Friday, August 06, 2010

US Detainee Black Site Transfer Policy

Another small bit of evidence to throw on a very large pile that the Bush administration actively subverted, as a matter of policy, the laws of the United States and international society.
Four of the nation's most highly valued terrorist prisoners were secretly moved to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2003, years earlier than has been disclosed, then whisked back into overseas prisons before the Supreme Court could give them access to lawyers, The Associated Press has learned.

The transfer allowed the U.S. to interrogate the detainees in CIA "black sites" for two more years without allowing them to speak with attorneys or human rights observers or challenge their detention in U.S. courts. Had they remained at the Guantanamo Bay prison for just three more months, they would have been afforded those rights.

"This was all just a shell game to hide detainees from the courts," said Jonathan Hafetz, a Seton Hall University law professor who has represented several detainees.

Removing them from Guantanamo Bay underscores how worried President George W. Bush's administration was that the Supreme Court might lift the veil of secrecy on the detention program. It also shows how insistent the Bush administration was that terrorists must be held outside the U.S. court system.

Read the whole thing. It's a solid discussion of the global network of black sites - from Guantánamo to Poland to Thailand - and administration attempts to stay one step ahead of US law and federal and likely US Supreme Court decisions, not to mention its rather perfunctory attempts to avoid scrutiny of international law. (Except that the article, like most media and official accounts, continues to assert that Abu Zubaydah, who was tortured repeatedly, was a top Al Qaeda member. Today this is known to be almost certainly false. Start here and move on to here for more on this.).

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