ABC News has learned that President Bush will announce that high-value detainees now being held at secret CIA prisons will be transferred to the Department of Defense and granted protections under the 1949 Geneva Conventions. It will be the first time the Administration publicly acknowledges the existence of the prisons.
A source familiar with the president’s announcement says it will apply to all prisoners now being held by the CIA, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept.11 attacks, and senior al Qaeda leader Ramzi Binalshibh.
The source says there are “about a dozen” prisoners now being held by the CIA.
Would say more but it’s a very busy day.
UPDATE: I think ABC was far too optimistic. The NYT report just says they are going out of the secret CIA Torture facilities and into Guantanamo; common article 3 will apply but not POW status. This is not as big a win as it sounded, though it is a step in the right direction.
In fact the key objective here seems to be domestic politics as explained by by Digby:
According to Pete Williams on MSNBC, Bush’s announcement that they are moving the 14 terrorists we’ve had holed up in secret prisons to Guantanamo is a political ploy to force Democrats to have to give “rights” to Khalid Sheik Mohammed if they want to challenge his Guantanamo policies. It’s quite clever.
Might I suggest that since they’ve just spent the last week shrieking about fascists and Nazi’s and comparing the GWOT to WWII, that Democrats simply remind them that the gold standard for trials of fascists is the Nuremberg trials? Perhaps we could settle this whole thing by simply saying that Nuremberg should serve as the basis for these new “Islamo-fascist” trials and put an end to the controversy.
Of course, that means the trials would have to be public.