So Bush admits he ran a secret gulag of extra-judicial black sites where the CIA tortured detainees. And now he's sending some of the victims to Gitmo. Why? It's 9/11 week in the Congressional campaign and Khalid Sheik Muhammad is one terror detainee who should indeed be detained and interrogated as a prisoner of war. But Spencer Ackerman has some further thoughts:
Look deeper and not only is the White House not giving an inch in the debate, the KSM Shift of 2006 actually takes a mile. That's because, to be blunt, we have tortured the dickens (to use a Rumsfeldian locution) out of KSM. All Guantánamo detainees, according to the Supreme Court, have the right to at least some access to the U.S. legal system. KSM, therefore, will pose an interesting test: Should his probable trial reflect the legal doctrine of the "fruit of the poisoned tree" - that is, will evidence obtained through torture be admissible in the military tribunals or not? McCain's Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 says "of course not!" but Bush indicated in his infamous "signing statement" that he thinks he has the right to torture whoever he pleases.
Now Congress will face a very unpleasant question: Unless it rejiggers the military tribunals to bless torture/coercion, KSM and other Al Qaeda figures might in fact be set free by the courts. Is Bush so cynical as to force Congress into the odious position of either setting the stage for murderers to walk out of Gitmo or blessing torture? Of course he is!
I've learned through bitter experience that almost every time the Bush administration announces what appears to be a relaxation of its illegal and unconstitutional torture and detention policies, it's usually part of a gambit to retain and expand them. More on this later. I need some time to analyze and scrutinize the announcements.
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