Baher Azmy in the Boston Review:
Years of litigation and reporting leave no doubt about Guantánamo’s function. The plans for the prison were formulated in the months following Congress’s 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, which became law a week after the September 11 attacks and remains in effect today. In December that year, Department of Justice lawyers John Yoo and Patrick Philbin sent a memo to Department of Defense General Counsel William J. Haynes II identifying Guantánamo as a promising detention location because it likely could evade the habeas corpus jurisdiction of U.S. civilian courts.
Shamelessly providing cover for Defense Department official to act without judicial scrutiny, Yoo and Philbin observed that evasion was necessary in order to avoid the “jurisdiction of U.S. courts” and the risk of triggering protections such as those codified in the Geneva Conventions and thus of disrupting “the system that has been developed to address the detainment and trial of enemy aliens.”