Guantanamo as a 'Legal Black Hole': A Base for Expanding Space, Markets, and Culture
Ernesto Hernandez Lopez
Chapman University School of Law
October 10, 2010
University of San Francisco Law Review, Vol. 45, pp. 141-214, 2010
Guantanamo appears as a "legal black hole" especially when examining detainee rights, but in reality empire purposefully creates these jurisdictional anomalies. To further U.S. interests overseas in 1903, base jurisdiction was crafted as anomalous between Cuban sovereignty and American occupation. For the 174 still detained, it's still a black hole. After four Supreme Court decisions, anomaly continues to pervade detention litigation. Functional tests for extraterritorial constitutional rights, habeas proceedings, and the unclear fate of Uighur-detainees all suffer from doctrinal obfuscation. Detainees rights, or lack of, are just one aspect of anomaly. Empire's dynamic forces produced these ambiguities. Guantanamo represents American assumptions on: expanding geographic authority, overseas market protections, and cultural superiority. Alejandro Colas explains empires require these three, i.e. "space, markets, and culture." Accordingly, this Essay explores the base and: extraterritorial authority as "empire's space," intelligence acquired through detention for resources wars as "empire's markets," and discriminatory detention for Middle-Eastern and Central Asian nationals as "empire's culture." This Essay asks how assumptions on these three concepts shape law's extraterritorial application.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 74
Keywords: Guantanamo, extraterritorial, habeas, war on terror, post-colonialism, empireAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 11, 2011
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