Habeas Corpus after 9/11: Confronting America's New Global Detention System

Habeas Corpus after 9/11: Confronting America's New Global Detention System

Habeas Corpus after 9/11: Confronting America's New Global Detention System

Habeas Corpus after 9/11: Confronting America's New Global Detention System

Excerpt

The U.S. detention center at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba has long been synonymous with torture, secrecy and the abuse of executive power. It has come to epitomize lawlessness in the eyes of the world. Created in the name of protecting the country Guantánamo has weakened it, undermining Americas security as well as well as its values.

For too long, however, Guantánamo has been viewed in isolation, overshadowing other abuses and concealing broader shifts in Americas national security policy since September 11, 2001. Guantánamo was never simply a prison, nor was it hermetically sealed. Rather, Guantánamo was part of a larger, interconnected global detention system that included other military prisons such as the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, secret CIA jails, and the transfer of prisoners to other countries for torture. This system encompassed even the military detention of individuals arrested inside the United States, whom President George W. Bush claimed he could hold indefinitely without charge as part of a “war on terrorism” without geographic or temporal bounds. Guantánamo, in short, was like an island in an archipelago of U.S. detention operations: the most visible example of a larger prison system designed to operate outside the law.

This system grew out of a series of decisions by Bush administration officials following the terrorist attacks of September 11. The Bush administration wanted to treat terrorism as an armed conflict rather than criminal activity and yet also wanted to avoid the limits that the law imposes on the detention and treatment of prisoners during wartime. In addition, the administration tried to create a category of prisoners without legal protections in order to justify a state-sanctioned policy of torture and other cruel and inhuman treatment. In this newly envisioned detention system, prisoners could be held indefinitely, potentially forever, without charge and without a meaningful hearing. The only trials were to be held in jerry-rigged military commissions that fell far short of constitutional and international standards. This system was intended to exist not only beyond the law but also beyond the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.