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Commentary :: Human Rights
BTL:Obama Adopts Bush-Lite Policies on Guantanamo Detainees
31 May 2009
BETWEEN THE LINES Syndicated Radio Newsmagazine
Obama Adopts Bush-Lite Policies on Guantanamo Detainees

Interview with Elizabeth Goitein, director of the Liberty and National Security Program, at the Brennan Center for Justice, conducted by Scott Harris

Soon after taking office President Barack Obama, issued an executive order calling for the closure of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba within a year, but the question of how to treat and where to place the detainees held there remain unresolved. In a speech on national security issues made at the National Archive on May 21, Obama issued a set of policy statements, often contradicting the principles he articulated during his campaign for the White House.

While banning torture and abuse of terrorist suspects held by the U.S. military and CIA, the president now says he'll adopt the Bush-era policy of indefinite preventive detention of certain terrorist suspects, denying them due process in military or civilian courts. Obama also reversed his prior forceful opposition to George W. Bush's military commissions, used to try terrorist suspects being held at Guantanamo. Now the president says he wants to make several congressionally approved changes to the commissions -- a position that many human rights groups reject as inadequate to address the deep flaws of the system.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Cheney, Republican legislators and right-wing talk show hosts, accuse Obama of endangering national security with his plan to move many of the 240 detainees held at Guantanamo to U.S. prisons. Between The Lines spoke with Elizabeth Goitein, director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law. Goitein explains why she is troubled by many of President Obama's positions on the treatment of Guantanamo detainees.

Contact the Brennan Center for Justice by calling (212) 998-6730 or visit their website at


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"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
betweenthelines (at)
Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions
©2009 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
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