Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- A Bush administration Justice Department official will lead a task force created by President Barack Obama to review the status of suspected terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.
Matthew Olsen, who was deputy assistant attorney general under Republican President George W. Bush, will lead a task force responsible for recommending how to handle the remaining detainees held in the prison camp, the Justice Department said in a statement today.
A Pentagon report requested by President Obama on the conditions at the Guantánamo Bay detention center concluded that the prison complies with the humane-treatment requirements of the Geneva Conventions. But it makes recommendations for improvements including increasing human contact for the prisoners, according to two government officials who have read parts of it....
The report concluded that the Pentagon was in compliance with the requirements of the Geneva Conventions. The review included some of the most contentious issues, including the forced feeding of hunger-striking detainees and claims that many prisoners were suffering from psychosis as a result of conditions in the detention center.
And even here:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Obama administration told a federal court late Friday it will maintain the Bush administration's position that battlefield detainees held without charges by the United States in Afghanistan are not entitled to constitutional rights to challenge their detention.
"Having considered the matter, the government adheres to its previously articulated position," said a Justice Department document filed in federal court in Washington.
Meanwhile, retired Major General Antonio Taguba, who investigate Abu Ghraib, is putting pressure on the administration to investigate Bush-era interrogations:
Feb. 20, 2009 | WASHINGTON -- President Obama vowed that "the United States will not torture" only two days into his new administration. But one big question Obama hasn't answered is whether and how to investigate notorious Bush-era interrogation and detention policies. On Thursday, 18 human rights organizations, former State Department officials and former law enforcement and military leaders asked the president to create a nonpartisan commission to investigate those allegedly abusive detention practices.
Retired Maj. Gen. Tony Taguba, who investigated the famed abuses at Abu Ghraib, signed on to the effort. He explained his support in an interview with Salon. Taguba agrees with many attorneys who think it would be difficult, and perhaps impossible, to prosecute former Bush administration officials. A nonpartisan fact-finding commission, however, might provide some degree of accountability for official U.S. detention and interrogation policies that Taguba called misguided and illegal.
Taguba would like to see a broad mandate for the commission, including a study of administration claims that abuse gleans good intelligence, which he fervently disputes. And while he believes the commission should look at the decisions of military and civilian policymakers, he has a particular interest in getting to the bottom of civilian leaders' claims for the legality of the administration's interrogation and detention policies, which he called "despicable and questionable." The retired general would also like to see the commission empowered to make recommendations for the future, to help ensure such abuses never occur again.
The question, however, is quickly becoming one of how do you investigate the Bush administration when....
A) You seem to think it is OK for the military to investigate itself for compliance with the Geneva Convention?
B) You're using an official from the Dubya Justice Department to review the status of detainees?
C) You keep going to court to maintain Bush-era evasions of the Constitution?
Answer: tell everybody you're going to help them with their home mortgages.