Speculation Builds that Guantanamo Bay Prison Will Be Closed While Obama Advisers Start to Lower Expectations on Investigations

220px-barack_obamaThere was more speculation this weekend that Guantanamo Bay would be closed under President Barack Obama. However, there are also reports that some of this closest legal advisers are balking at the notion of serious investigations of abuses and torture under President Bush — a position previously voiced by close Obama adviser Professor Cass Sunstein during the campaign. I will be discussing the issue tonight on Countdown.

Advisers reportedly have drafted a plan to close the Guantanamo Bay facility. However, there remains speculation as to the details and the willingness of the Obama administration to pursue criminal allegations of torture and possible war crimes. Democrats are floating a trial balloon of another commission to see if supporters would be satisfied with a “study only” approach that did not involve actual criminal investigation components.

We have already seen many professors who criticized the Bush Administration start to caution against taking a “purist” approach. That is a bad sign, since the “pragmatic approach” generally means a policy driven more by politics and principle.

For the story, click here.

14 thoughts on “Speculation Builds that Guantanamo Bay Prison Will Be Closed While Obama Advisers Start to Lower Expectations on Investigations”

  1. Bush, Cheney and all of their cohorts complicit in these crimes against the Rule of Law should be tried in a Court and if proven guilty, punished. According to FISA (1978 version), each violation of law pertaining to wiretapping without warrant is punishable by five years imprisonment… Do the Math. We would have them in jail for the rest of their lives if that was the ONLY thing they ever did wrong. They’ve done much much worse. As many experts in Constitutional Law have said, the easiest way to prosecute this cabal of criminals is in their Torture policy. Personally, I don’t care WHICH one of their many crimes stick- I just want one to STICK. If not, why do WE follow the law? This sets a terrible precedent if it’s allowed to stand unpunished.

  2. Prof. Turley,
    Kudos on a great presentation on Olberman tonight. I agree that Gitmo could easily be closed and the prisoners moved into the Federal system or the regular Military Justice system without a problem. I to have a grave concern that Bush will do a blanket pardon and will include himself in that pardon. If Bush does pardon himself, is there any recourse for Congress or the American people? I understand the plenary power that the President possesses in respect to pardons, but how can he absolve himself from crimes that he himself committed? That makes the pardon power a tool waiting to be used by a crooked President.

  3. “Gonzalez’s attorney, George Terwilliger III, said in a written statement, “This is obviously a bogus charge on its face, as any good prosecutor can recognize. Hopefully, competent Texas authorities will take steps to reign in this abuse of the criminal justice system.”


    More of the story in link above, including that “to die for” quote from Al’s guy!

  4. It’s a start (see link below). Meanwhile the WH is claiming we don’t and never did torture (I guess that all happened in second life).

    Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales Indicted By Grand Jury
    Posted by Faiz Shakir, Think Progress on November 18, 2008 at 4:41 PM.

    A South Texas grand jury has returned multi-count indictments against Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on charges related to the alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County’s federal detention centers:

    The indictment accuses Cheney and Gonzales of engaging in organized criminal activity. It criticizes Cheney’s investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and “at least misdemeanor assaults” on detainees by working through the prison companies.

    Gonzales is accused of using his position while in office to stop an investigation into abuses at the federal detention centers.


  5. I think it’s fair to say that non-prosecution would mean we no longer have the rule of law and makes the president effectively an absolute monarch. It would be a mistake to think that unconnected people could get away with breaking the law–that is only for the wealthy and powerful. I do think it is a good idea to refuse tax payment until the law is restored, but anyone who does this should be prepared to go to jail. It would be an act of civil disobediance. I am all for peaceful, creative, powerful acts of civil disobediance in the service of restoring the rule of law to this nation.

  6. Sorry, mespo. A unitary executive is a king. No man is my king. Especially a torturing criminal half-wit and his evil fascist controllers. We aren’t a British colony anymore. No man is above the law. If the President claims to be above the law, then the law means nothing and SHOULD be disobeyed as a matter of course as you should disobey any edict coming from tyrants.

    No. If Bush is not punished then the very root of the democratic tree, the Constitution, is effectively dead as a basis for judgment. If it is moot, then by default, every court ruling becomes moot since their authority is ultimately rooted in the Constitution as well. So are Congressional law making powers. By violating the Separation of Powers Doctrine, Bush destroys the validity not only of the President, but the Congress and Judiciary as well. I think it was Franklin who compared democracy to a three-legged chair. This is why. Remove or damage one leg and the whole chair ceases to function as a chair. It may still work as a club, but it’s no longer a chair.

    Bush and his masters being punished is the only way this ends without trouble, either in mass civil violence (at worst) or Obama is out after a term to be replaced by the GOP Criminal de Jour (still bad and assuming Obama isn’t going to give everyone a free pass which is what it LOOKS like he’s getting ready to do, rat-bastard if he does). Personally, I’d settle for Bush’s handler Cheney being put in prison orange. He’s the truly evil one. Mr. Blood For Oil & Money himself. Incurious George is just stupid and a tool – history will take care of his smugness like it will kill the political ambition of anyone named Bush for the conceivable future. But a price must be extracted from these villains and it must be a SUBSTANTIAL price, not a token slap on the wrist. Prison time and forfeiture of assets. Starting with everyone at Cheney’s Secret Energy Task Force meeting and the corporations they represent. If not, sorry, I’m done being a law abiding citizen. FINISHED. I won’t pay another dime in taxes so corporations can spill American blood to bolster their bottom line. I’ll break laws whenever it’s convenient to me – just like Bush Co. I am done seeing politicians abuse the law while citizens get abused by the law. It stops now or there will be another revolution or worse. Count on it. This is not a “go along, get along” situation. This is an “angry torch bearing masses are approaching” situation. And those in Washington had better be paying attention. This is history calling. I am just the messenger.

  7. Mespo,
    I understand what you are saying, but without being held accountable for his illegal actions, what are we telling our future politicians? We are telling them that the mythical unitary executive theory is true. The unitary executive, according to Yoo, is above the law. That cannot be allowed to stand. His failure doesn’t alter John Adams’ maxim that we are a “nation of laws, and not of men”, but it does stain it. A stain that can only be cleansed by the sunlight of a full and unencumbered investigation.


    I don’t think that necessarily follows. It might if Bush was our master rather than our servant. Instead he is just another public servant who has betrayed the public’s trust. He should get no credit for that nor should he be used as a premise to justify ignoring the law he solemnly swore to protect. His failure does not alter in any sense John Adams’ definition of America that we are a “nation of laws,and not of men.”

  9. I’ll say it again in case someone in Obama’s realm reads this:


    I can’t say it any clearer than that.

  10. rafflaw,

    Thanks! As far as I know the information about the tapes is correct. They have done detailed research on Gitmo, even when it was quite unpopular for them to point out that most of the people there were innocent. I think we should see the tapes, so this will never happen again.

  11. Jill,
    Good work. Everyone who voted for Obama need to hold his administration accountable for getting to the truth about the many illegal actions of the Bush regime. An investigation into who approved the torture of prisoners and who ordered the rendition of prisoners to black sites that used torture is something that needs to be done to insure that the the responsible parties, no matter how high up the ladder, are found and charged for their crimes. If Seton Hall’s information is true, we need to get those tapes and use them to find out the extent of the torture. I have never believed that Bush ordered only 3 prisoners to be waterboarded. Those videos could prove my hunch correct.

  12. There are so many good reasons to close Gitmo and not one to keep it open. Seton Hall law school has done an excellent analysis of who’s actually there. They also uncovered the following info. which ties together “harsh interrogation” and Gitmo:

    “Seton Hall Law Students Uncover Proof that Guantánamo Interrogations Routinely Videotaped
    General Reports More than 24,000 Interrogations Conducted Since 2002;
    Assertions that All Interrogations Were Videotaped Affect Impending 9/11 Trials

    Newark, NJ—Seton Hall Law’s Center for Policy and Research has discovered new evidence of a longstanding government practice of recording interrogations at Guantánamo Bay. In light of the national debate about the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) destruction of video recordings, the report proves that the two CIA tapes that were destroyed were only a tiny fraction of perhaps 24,000 recorded interrogations.


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