Obama Administration Abandons Enemy Combatant Label, Invents New Rationale

Justice Dept. Describes Its New Position on Gitmo Detainees

by Jason Ditz, March 13, 2009

A memorandum filed by the Justice Department today reveals that the Obama Administration is abandoning the “enemy combatant” label for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, while maintaining that they can continue to hold them on the basis of executive authority.

Obama is rather pointing to the international laws of war as a basis for indefinite detentions, as well as the joint resolution passed by the 107th Congress in the wake of 9/11, which does not contain the word “detain” or “detention.”

Attorney General Eric Holder told the court that the administration hadn’t completely settled on a rationale for the ongoing detentions, and that their legal position could “evolve” as time goes on.

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