LA TIMES: Chalk it up as one last big win for Vice President Dick Cheney and his secretive — OK, that’s redundent when talking about a Cheney guy — chief of staff, David Addington. Remember when the U.S. Supreme Court last June rejected President Bush’s policy of holding foreign prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and said the men had a right to seek their freedom before a federal judge? Remember when the president said in August 2007, “it should be a goal of the nation to shut down Guantanamo?” (Of course, he added, closing it is easier said than done.)Never mind — at least for now or anytime in the near future.
The State Department reportedly prepared memos on transferring the prisoners; so did the Pentagon. Bush considered none of them. That’s according to a report in today’s New York Times, which said that after the Supreme Court ruling, Bush “adopted the view of his most hawkish advisors that closing Guantanamo would involve too many legal and political risks to be acceptable, now or any time soon.” Steven Lee Myers, writing in The Times, says that despite the president’s stated desire to close Gitmo, and the pressure that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have applied to accomplishing that, they have “acquiesced to the arguments of more hawkish advisors, including Vice President Dick Cheney.” MORE
ASSOCIATED PRESS: The Pentagon announced Tuesday it dropped war-crimes charges against five Guantanamo Bay detainees after the former prosecutor for all cases complained that the military was withholding evidence helpful to the defense. America’s first war-crimes trials since the close of World War II have come under persistent criticism, including from officers appointed to prosecute the alleged terrorists. The military’s unprecedented move was directly related to accusations brought by the very man who was to bring all five prisoners to justice. Army Lt. Col. Darrel Vandeveld had been appointed the prosecutor for all five cases, but at a pretrial hearing for a sixth detainee earlier this month, he openly criticized the war-crimes trials as unfair. Vandeveld said the military was withholding exculpatory evidence from the defense, and was doing so in other cases. MORE