More continuity between the Bush and Obama administrations, writes Charlie Savage in the New York Times. Obama will close Guantanamo sometime in the next year (after they figure out what to do with the remaining detainees), but what happens to those imprisoned at the Bagram base in Afghanistan? Same as before, it seems:
The Obama administration has told a federal judge that military detainees in Afghanistan have no legal right to challenge their imprisonment there, embracing a key argument of former President Bush's legal team.
In a two-sentence filing late Friday, the Justice Department said that the new administration had reviewed its position in a case brought by prisoners at the United States Air Force base at Bagram, just north of the Afghan capital. The Obama team determined that the Bush policy was correct: such prisoners cannot sue for their release.
"Having considered the matter, the government adheres to its previously articulated position," wrote Michael F. Hertz, acting assistant attorney general.
The closely watched case is a habeas corpus lawsuit on behalf of several prisoners who have been indefinitely detained for years without trial. The detainees argue that they are not enemy combatants, and they want a judge to review the evidence against them and order the military to release them.
And if you didn't notice this story, which dropped on Friday without much fanfare, an administration-ordered review of Guantanamo claims that it is, in fact, Geneva-compliant:
A Pentagon report requested by President Obama on the conditions at the Guantánamo Bay detention center concluded that the prison complies with the humane-treatment requirements of the Geneva Conventions. But it makes recommendations for improvements including increasing human contact for the prisoners, according to two government officials who have read parts of it.