What Kind of Custody Is It When You Secretly Hold an American at a Military Base?

Here’s a fairly minor point about the Gregory Saathoff report on Manssor Arbabsiar, the Scary Iran Plotter.

For the 12 day period when he was being secretly interrogated without a lawyer, he was being held at a military base.

Although at times Mr. Arbabsiar smoked inside the room, he often was escorted outside and on at least one occasion took a walk with agents around the military base.

Let me be clear: Arbabsiar’s arrest was approved by a US Magistrate. He was clearly arrested under civilian law.

And I’m not surprised the government held the cousin of a Quds Force member on a military base while they prepared to make an international incident out of his case. I’m sure Arbabsiar was nowhere near the first American citizen interrogated while in civilian custody at a military base.

But it’s coupled with the other part of this where it begins to get unsavory: the part where Arbabsiar had no lawyer and his legal team is now contesting whether he legally waived his right to a lawyer and presentment (and as I’ll explain if I ever get around to writing that post, I think their claim may have more merit than I originally did). And the part where the government didn’t check in with the Magistrate or have Arbabsiar medically examined until a week after he had been arrested.

So if the defense arguments about coerced waivers hold up (remember, we’re still seeing just part of what they’re complaining about), while a busy Magistrate knew he was in custody, Arbabsiar was otherwise in a black hole on a military base (though likely a quite pleasant one, with his own apartment) for a week to 12 days.

During the debate about the NDAA, people insisted we would never see a hybrid kind of detention where US citizens get indefinitely held, but in civilian custody. That’s not what happened to Arbabsiar; again, his detention had been approved by a Magistrate. But we are clearly inching closer to that kind of hybrid.

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33 Responses to What Kind of Custody Is It When You Secretly Hold an American at a Military Base?

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz @dcbigjohn Aww shit. This is horrible. Condolences.
2mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel I mean, I used to be a hard ass abt this shit at UM, for precisely this reason: future elite should not be taught to skip deadlines.
3mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel Did Mtich McConnell miss all his college paper deadlines, too?
4mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @jadler1969 @smithcp1 @AppellateDaily @rickhasen @CWRU_Law Oh sure, horn in on the glory Adler! So, who is your guess?
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emptywheel RT @ChadPergram: Senate now out until 11 am et Tuesday. On 30 hr post cloture clock. Next vote might not happen until late Tues afternoon
5mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz Continue to need a FitBit to keep track of all the @NYTimes walking back on shameful Clinton email story https://t.co/nZSmVjiQDQ
6mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @fedcourts @rickhasen @jadler1969 You are on. Clement is worth much more to the cause outside. Kavanaugh long been groomed for this.
10mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @brentstandridge @GinnyLaRoe @Richard_Tamor @ScottGreenfield You might want to actually read the story.
11mreplyretweetfavorite
emptywheel I repeat again: McConnell doesn't seem to be having as much fun as Majority Leader as he expected. Won't LBJ's ghost save him?!?!
15mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @benwizner @benjaminwittes Better yet, doe yer best Michael Cohen schticht!
17mreplyretweetfavorite
bmaz @dcbigjohn Thinking about picking up one of these, what you think? http://t.co/qfpBoribCe
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emptywheel @caidid Like math, there was a point where had I learned strategy (football, not war) I might have loved it. @bmaz
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