Call me cynical. I see a clear connection between 1) the recent New York Times and Washington Post stories about our government's moves to further limit contacts between Guantanamo prisoners and their lawyers, 2) recent Senate efforts to restore prisoners' habeas rights, and 3) today's big splash: 'Al Qaeda Suspect Caught, Sent to Guantanamo'.
Abdul al-Hadi al-Iraqi has apparently been held for months now in one of the CIA's many secret prisons around the world. His very public transfer to Guantanamo is meant to reinforce the picture the government wants to paint of that prison as holding "the worst of the worst," a term that might be fairly applied to up to thirty detainees there.
Today's news, like the ruling regime's efforts to hamstring and stigmatize defense and human rights lawyers, is part of an ongoing effort to obscure the disgraceful reality: We are holding hundreds of men in living coffins. Most have been there for years without being charged with any crime; indeed, most probably never will. They have never had anything remotely resembling a fair process to determine the basis on which we are holding them. The question faces us: will we hold them forever?
Fine with the senior senator from my state: "What is the hurry?" Sen. John Warner, R-Va., asked at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing."
[Further detail from one of the lawyers affected in comments at Jim Henley's blog.]
Update: 27 April, 2:45 pm - Jan in San Francisco has an excellent roundup of the Democratic presidential candidates' statements on the subject of closing Guantanamo.