“Human rights campaigners are calling it the ‘November surprise’ – a last-minute amendment smuggled into a Pentagon finance bill in the US Senate last Thursday.
“Its effects are likely to be devastating: the permanent removal of almost all legal rights from ‘war on terror’ detainees at Guantanamo Bay and every other similar US facility on foreign or American soil.
“‘What the British law lord Lord Steyn once called a legal black hole had begun to be filled in,’ said the British lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, speaking from Guantanamo, where he represents more than 40 detainees. ‘It looks as if it is back, and deeper than before.’
“If the amendment passes the House of Representatives unmodified, one of its immediate effects is that Stafford Smith and all the other lawyers who act for Guantanamo prisoners will again be denied access, as they were for more than two years after Camp X-Ray opened in 2002.”