Foreign Policy Blogs

U.S. explores legislation if GITMO closed; Case in Madrid train bombing concludes.

As part of the path to close the naval detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, senior advisers to the Bush administration are exploring the legal options for the detention of foreign terrorist suspects in the U.S. civilian prison system.  Officials are proposing legislation that would create three legal categories for the estimated 375 detainees; one for intelligence-sensitive suspects – those whose trials risk exposing national secrets, one for general suspects who would face prosecution in military courts, and a third category for those suspects to be released to their home countries.  Some administration officials are vehemently opposed to closing Guantanamo, however; notably officials working with Vice President Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.  These officials argue closing Guantanamo would remove a central strategy in the ‘war on terror’ and transfer a military campaign into the civilian legal system.  The Supreme Court is expected to review appeals by Guantanamo detainees this fall and it would be expected the Bush administration would hasten their decision on Guantanamo rather than face another blow from the high court.

In other news, hearings have concluded in Spain regarding suspects in the Madrid train bombing of March 11, 2004.  Though widely alleged to be part of a larger transnational effort, many of the suspects are have made statements denying their al Qa’ida affiliation.  Alleged al Qa’ida affiliation has become a catch-all phrase to describe any suspected terrorist activity, effectively branding militant campaigns.  A verdict is expected in October.




Daniel Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer for United Press International covering Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader Levant. He has published works on international and constitutional law pertaining to US terrorism cases and on child soldiers. His first major work, entitled The United States and Israel: The Implications of Alignment, is featured in the text, Strategic Interests in the Middle East: Opposition or Support for US Foreign Policy. He holds a MA in Diplomacy and International Conflict Management from Norwich University, where his focus was international relations theory, international law, and the role of non-state actors.

Areas of Focus:International law; Middle East; Government and Politics; non-state actors