Author: Harold

George Gascón’s Op-ed on Guantanamo Bay

George Gascón’s Op-ed on Guantanamo Bay

Letters to the Editor: George Gascón needs to reexamine old murder convictions right now

Editor’s note: George Gascón, a former special prosecutor for the nation’s Public Prosecutor’s Office, recently wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in which he offered his views on President Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo Bay, saying that Obama’s policy had made it “more difficult to prosecute crimes.”

In his op-ed, Gascón, a former federal prosecutor and now the executive director of Human Rights Watch, argued that the current administration’s policy on the use of “extraordinary rendition” to capture terrorist suspects, including Americans, was simply too broad and had created a climate in which the rules of evidence could be bent on a whim. He concluded with a number of talking points that he described as part of a “well-researched” analysis that could be used if Obama’s policy is rescinded.

Perhaps Gascón’s most salient point was that “Obama’s administration has failed to establish even basic rules of evidence that can now be wielded to try an American.” That is simply not true. The rules of evidence that existed when the Bush administration began using “extraordinary rendition” were largely limited to American citizens. American citizens who were being held abroad for the prosecution of their own cases were not subject to the same rules that Americans were subject to back in the day.

The use of “extraordinary rendition” of accused terrorists was authorized by the Department of Justice in secret, without any court order and without notice to defense attorneys. It was authorized by President Bush as part of an effort to try as many people as possible in the United States who were involved in terrorist activities overseas. The Bush administration’s “extraordinary rendition” program was meant to be done in

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