A glimmer of hope seemed to appear shortly after President Obama took office. His administration issued an executive order, outlining in broad terms the intention to close Guantanamo Bay within a year. It called for a ban on torture, ordered the CIA to close secret prisons, and review the cases of Guantanamo prisoners. It also required that Defense Secretary Gates ensure that within 30 days, conditions at Guantanamo would follow the Geneva Conventions. There were indications that aspects of it were followed. But a closer look exposes limits and resistance to reforming police state practices. While the executive order signified a general policy statement, officials in the Obama administration were looking into including a loophole that would allow the CIA to use interrogation methods not authorized by the Pentagon. The administration also has not addressed the use of extraordinary rendition and leaves the door open to enhanced interrogation techniques. Appearances can also be deceiving, as in the policies being adapted by Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, who ordered a review of Bush administration claims of state secrets to withhold information from defendants to circumvent lawsuits. According to Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller, the attorney general directed Justice Department officials to review claims of state secrets that could be used only in legally appropriate situations.
KeywordsPolice State Attorney General Executive Order Bush Administration Geneva Convention
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