On Monday, an Obama administration task force announced it would delay for six months release of a report that was to outline plans for the prosecution of inmates at its Guantanamo Bay prison camp and future prisoners seized in the “war on terror.” In its stead came an interim report and a White House press briefing that together indicate President Barack Obama is likely to rely on military tribunals or indefinite detention without trial in cases where evidences against “terror suspects” is scant or tainted by torture.
The interim report and the accompanying press briefing where four high-ranking White House officials spoke under the proviso that the media would not reveal their names point to the formation of a threefold approach to dealing with the 229 remaining Guantanamo detainees as well as future captives. Of those who cannot be shifted to other nations or detention facilities, some may face criminal trial under US law, some would face military commissions, and some would be placed in indefinite detention without any sort of trial.
Criminal trials will be the least likely route for prisoners, the preliminary report and the press briefing seem to suggest. The report declares that criminal courts will be used “where feasible,” but leaves no doubt that what it means by “feasible” is the a priori certainty of a guilty verdict.
Obama, I voted for change. Don’t become the black Bush. Give those people we are holding fair trials and sentence them or let them out of prison.