Emptying One Black Hole to Fill Another

Yesterday, the Justice Department filed a brief (PDF) with the D.C. Court of Appeals asserting that detainees in U.S. custody at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan have no right to challenge their detention in American courts.

Sound familiar? In early December 2007, Bush Justice Department lawyers made the same argument, except they were arguing that Guantánamo detainees didn't have these rights. The Supreme Court disagreed: in the landmark Boumediene v. Bush decision, the high court found that detainees in U.S. custody at Guantánamo did have the right to challenge their detention.

Jonathan Hafetz, staff attorney with the ACLU's National Security Project, said in a statement today:

Guantánamo was the Bush administration's effort to do an end-run around the Constitution, and the Obama administration is now essentially using Bagram as a way to do an end-run around Guantánamo and the constitutional right of habeas corpus found to apply there. Simply shipping detainees from around the world to an alternative destination is not a solution, and flouts the principles laid down by the Supreme Court.

Over the weekend, the White House announced that prisoners at Bagram would be allowed to present evidence challenging their detention before "Detainee Review Boards." Detainees would also be assigned a "personal representative" (read: not a lawyer) to help with their case.

In the meantime, we await responses from an alphabet soup of government agencies to our Freedom of Information Act request for information about the detainees held at Bagram. The CIA has been less than forthcoming (PDF); we're still waiting for answers from the departments of Defense, Justice and State. We're seeking basic information, including how many people are imprisoned at Bagram, who they are, how long they've been detained, and where and under what circumstances they were captured. We're also requesting records about the process for prisoners to challenge their detention and designation as "enemy combatants."

For the Obama administration to treat Bagram detainees the way the Bush administration treated Guantánamo detainees is to re-create a dangerous precedent. Let's not allow Bagram become the new Gitmo.

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American

They are not U.S. citizens and have NO rights under the constitution.

Danny Wolf

You carry our country's citizen's name "American" Civil Liberty Union. So why in the world would you stand up for terriosts. They have no American rights. We the citizens have the rights, but NOT THEM. Your organization should be spending its time protecting the citizens of this great country. Im ticked big time that you are trying to protect the very people that want us all dead. How dare you

drcusmc

What in the world is so hard to understand. The constitution was written for Americans and these are not Americans but they are enemies of our country.

Someone

Not to mention they are "detained as enemies by United States military forces".

BTW, your use of protecting freedon slogans have been lifted from those same military forces that ultimately protect your freedom.

A friend of liberty

The previous four people commenting had not taken much time learning to understand our Constitution and it's Amendments, the Bill of Rights, in the context of the Declaration of Independence and the spirit in which the Constitution arose. In addition to stating that (all people, not just citizens) had "inalienable rights, that AMONG THESE were life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Ninth amendment clearly stated that strictly construed the Constitution could not be strictly construed. How dare YOU, Danny Wolf, shift the burden of proof to their accused to prove they are a citizen or condone the denial to anyone often fundamental right of Habeas Corpus, a part of basic human rights for all humans which was recognized in the Magna Carta and adopted in our Constitution. How can any of you be so dumb as to believe that committing tyrannical acts in our countries name protects freedom? Multiple wrongs don't make a right. Wrongful imprisonment denial of fundamental due and proper process sends a message that we don't think our system of government works. Providing due process would show that we believe in our own system. None of you (previous four comments) seem to know what being American means. It's not merely military might and blind obedience. That was the mistake of
the Romans and of the Third Reich. Don't allow it to be our mistake too. Try to comprehend what liberty is. It is not looking down the barrel of a soldiers gun. It is a concept of basic human rights.

In Defense Of L...

(edited) The previous four people commenting had not taken much time learning to understand our Constitution and it's Amendments, the Bill of Rights in the context of the Declaration of Independence and of the spirit in which the Constitution arose. In addition to stating that (all people, not just citizens) had "inalienable rights: that AMONG THESE were life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the Ninth Amendment clearly stated that strictly construed the Constitution could not be strictly construed. How dare anyone support putting the burden of proof to the accused to prove they are citizens or condone the denial to anyone often fundamental right of Habeas Corpus even if they are not? Habeas Corpus is one of basic human rights which was recognized in the Magna Carta. The fundamental rights of the Magna Carte were incorporated into our own Constitution. How can any of you be so dumb as to believe that committing tyrannical acts in our countries' name protects freedom? Multiple wrongs don't make a right. Wrongful imprisonment and denial of fundamental due and proper process sends a message that we don't think our system of government works. Providing due process would show that we believe in our own system None of you (previous four comments) seem to know what being American means. It's not merely military might and blind obedience. That was the mistake of the Romans and of the Third Reich. Don't allow it to be our mistake too. Try to comprehend what liberty is. It is not looking down the barrel of a soldiers gun. It is a concept of basic human rights.

Doug

Bagram is ALREADY the new gitmo

att aclu

why the i'm trying update my phone number and etc but the some other indivdiuals are play around with it . i find this's prevent individuals justics

The Jurist

Whether America was present at the NATO meeting on extraditions due to legalities of citizenry concerns should have been filtered (list) within duty instruction. These environments should be more of a socialist concern.

love

Bagram is the new gitmo

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