Today, the media obtained a memo from Undersecretary of Defense Gordon England telling Pentagon officials that all detainees are entitled to protections under the Geneva Conventions. Specifically, England says the Supreme Court found the administration’s “military commissions…are not consistent with Common Article 3″ of Geneva:
The Supreme Court has determined that Common Article 3 to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 applies as a matter of law to the conflict with Al Qaeda. The Court found that the military commissions as constituted by the Department of Defense are not consistent with Common Article 3.
Apparently, someone from the Pentagon’s legal team didn’t get the memo. From today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on detainee treatment:
Under questioning from the committee, Daniel Dell’Orto, principal deputy general counsel at the Pentagon, said he believes the current treatment of detainees — as well as the existing tribunal process — already complies with Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. [...]
“The military commission set up does provide a right to counsel, a trained military defense counsel and the right to private counsel of the detainee’s choice,” Mr. Dell’Orto said. “We see no reason to change that in legislation.”
The Pentagon needs to get on the same page – this page in particular.