Some officials in the formative administration of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama have said they support the creation of a bipartisan congressional commission to investigate potentially abusive U.S. counter-terrorism policies, according to a Newsweek report Saturday. The officials have suggested that such an investigation should be similar to the 9/11 Commission, with a focus on making public the details surrounding the development and authorization of harsh interrogation techniques and other counter-terrorism policies, rather than incriminating those involved. Both Obama and his aides have said previously said that his administration is not likely to prosecute those who approved or carried out the torture or other harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects, and will instead focus on the creation of new anti-torture laws.
Earlier this month, human rights experts at the University of California, Berkeley, in partnership with the Center for Constitutional Rights released a report urging Obama to form an independent, nonpartisan commission with subpoena powers to investigate the treatment of U.S. detainees in Guantanamo as well as in facilities in Afghanistan and Iraq. Their proposal, however, was more directed at establishing accountability, as the authors warned that any commission established by Obama must not be undercut by the issuance of pardons, amnesties, or other shielding measures.
Former Gitmo Prisoners Seeking Religious Rights and Protection from Torture for Prisoners Who Remain
British nationals and former Guantanamo Bay detainees Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal, Rhuhel Ahmed and Jamal Al-Harith have petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a lawsuit in which they seek religious rights and protection from torture for those still at the facility. In the petition, docketed Monday, the men argue that a lower court's dismissal of their claims should be reversed after Boumediene v. Bush, in which the Court ruled that that detainees have the right to file habeas corpus petitions in federal court. The men argue that the Court should hear the case because of the gravity of the issues addressed and the claimed error of the lower court:
U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey defended Bush administration attorneys who authored memoranda supporting the legality of coercive interrogating tactics -- the so-called "torture memos" -- in a commencement address to Boston College Law School graduates Friday. Emphasizing the legal complexity of the issues raised in the memos and criticizing the vilification of the authors in some quarters, Mukasey told the audience: