Saturday, July 20, 2013


On March 7, 2011 President Obama signed an executive order to establish additional review procedures for Guantanamo detainess to determine if continued detention is warranted. The review procedures, consisting of an initial hearing with an interagency Periodic Review Board (PRB), were to have begun some time that year.  It was a flawed plan because it did not allow for the attorneys to participate in any meaningful manner but it didn’t matter because like so much of Obama’s promises—it never happened. Flash forward two years and four+ months later---
Tonight Friday July 19th, 2013 at 9:12 pm (central time) I received the following email from a certain military official:
Habeas Counsel:
As required by Executive Order 13567 and the National Defense Authorization Act FY2012, a new Periodic Review Board (PRB) process will review the continued detention of certain detainees to assess whether continued law of war detention is necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the security of the United States.  The process does not address the legality of any detainee's law of war detention, but rather makes discretionary determinations about the individual's threat and the necessity of continued law of war detention.  The review process will include a hearing before a PRB composed of senior level officials from various U.S. Government agencies.  Detainees receiving hearings will be notified by a Personal Representative assigned to assist them in the process.  Counsel who have a prior relationship with detainees who will receive a hearing will be contacted in advance of the notification to the detainees.

Any questions about this process should be directed to…..( I am really being nice by not including that information….)

My client is one of the men who will perhaps be reviewed by this board--- he is on the list by the Obama administration of men at Guantanamo who are too dangerous to be released but whom the government has absolutely no evidence to try in any court of law…. And the Obama administration’s idea of review includes shutting out the very people who know the most about the client- the attorneys for the client. In fact, because of the rules set up for these men we attorneys know even more than our clients because we are allowed to review evidence that we are not allowed to discuss with our clients.

And I guess I should add that the U.S. government has yet to implement the determinations of the last interagency entity--the Guantanamo Review Task Force, which approved for release over half of the current prison population at Guantanamo back in 2010. The overwhelming majority of those men still languish at the prison today.

For the Periodic Review Boards to be taken seriously, the U.S. government should begin releasing the men that were cleared for release by the previous interagency entity years ago.

For those interested here are the guidelines that were issued in 2012 but never utilized.
This concludes today’s WTF moment.