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(NPR)   How the Democrats wrecked Obama's hopes of closing Guantanamo Bay   (npr.org) divider line 33
    More: Ironic, Guantanamo Bay prison, President Obama, Guantanamo Bay, Democrats, Guantanamo, harsh interrogation, home country, indefinite detention  
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1070 clicks; posted to Politics » on 23 Jan 2013 at 10:17 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-23 10:30:51 AM
"Six months into the new administration, a Democratically controlled Congress passed legislation that prevented the president from moving any Guantanamo detainee into the U.S. or to other countries, a policy that continues today."

If the President were to conclude that continued detention of individuals without charges or conviction is illegal and unconstitutional (it is) then he could order them release regardless of what this law says.
 
2013-01-23 10:32:48 AM

cefm: "Six months into the new administration, a Democratically controlled Congress passed legislation that prevented the president from moving any Guantanamo detainee into the U.S. or to other countries, a policy that continues today."

If the President were to conclude that continued detention of individuals without charges or conviction is illegal and unconstitutional (it is) then he could order them release regardless of what this law says.


The President does not get to conclude what is "unconstitutional". Only the Supreme Court can do that.
 
2013-01-23 10:35:19 AM

max_pooper: cefm: "Six months into the new administration, a Democratically controlled Congress passed legislation that prevented the president from moving any Guantanamo detainee into the U.S. or to other countries, a policy that continues today."

If the President were to conclude that continued detention of individuals without charges or conviction is illegal and unconstitutional (it is) then he could order them release regardless of what this law says.

The President does not get to conclude what is "unconstitutional". Only the Supreme Court can do that.


I would like to see the SCOTUS take up this case.

I do understand and appreciate the complexities of all this business, but this cannot be left to fester indefinitely.
 
2013-01-23 10:41:48 AM

make me some tea: I would like to see the SCOTUS take up this case.

I do understand and appreciate the complexities of all this business, but this cannot be left to fester indefinitely.


Not so fast. I think you have to stop and think about whether you want Gitmo closed or not. If this case goes to the SCOTUS you have to think that this group would declare Gitmo constitutional with a 5-4 vote.
 
2013-01-23 10:46:55 AM

Mercutio74: make me some tea: I would like to see the SCOTUS take up this case.

I do understand and appreciate the complexities of all this business, but this cannot be left to fester indefinitely.

Not so fast. I think you have to stop and think about whether you want Gitmo closed or not. If this case goes to the SCOTUS you have to think that this group would declare Gitmo constitutional with a 5-4 vote.


Well then, if so, then so be it. At least it will be settled.
 
2013-01-23 10:56:59 AM

make me some tea: Well then, if so, then so be it. At least it will be settled.


You know, I was going to write something snappy back at that, but I kinda agree. Perhaps one of the conservative judges would actually do the right thing and force the gov't to deal with the problem like adults rather than just conveniently let the prisoners exist in limbo until they die.

Again, I doubt that they would, but maybe one of them still has a conscience and an understanding of the constitution and international law, especially the Geneva convention.
 
2013-01-23 10:58:53 AM
FTFA: "A review by the Obama administration found that probably only two dozen of the detainees could be successfully prosecuted in a federal court, because of weak or little available evidence. They also found that about 50 prisoners were deemed too dangerous to ever release."

There is just so much wrong with this statement.
/I know no one talks about it these days, but what upholding about the 4th and 14th Amendments?
 
2013-01-23 10:58:59 AM
He just wanted to relocate the prisoners. He is all for indefinite detention w/o charge or trial. I don't know why people waste their time with this.

If the prison is in Cuba or Illinois makes no difference when the policy caging folks is the same.

And Bagram Air base is worse by all accounts and that is completely under Obamas watch and they continue to argue that folks there don't even get the same kind of "rights" as the folks in gitmo
 
2013-01-23 11:25:18 AM
2009: In a rare, bipartisan defeat for President Barack Obama, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to keep the prison at Guantanamo Bay open for the foreseeable future and forbid the transfer of any detainees to facilities in the United States.
Democrats lined up with Republicans in the 90-6 vote that came on the heels of a similar move a week ago in the House, underscoring widespread apprehension among Obama's congressional allies over voters' strong feelings about bringing detainees to the U.S. from the prison in Cuba.


So they did. Wow, is that the only thing Congress has passed in the last four years without arguing and stonewalling about it? Gitmo--because we don't the balls or the moral authority to do it out in the open. USA! USA!
 
2013-01-23 11:28:55 AM
Only 9 comments? Wha? Obama not holding to his promises? No one cares... :)
 
2013-01-23 11:39:18 AM

poorcku: Only 9 comments? Wha? Obama not holding to his promises? No one cares... :)


Because everyone knows Obama tried to close it and was stopped.
 
2013-01-23 11:50:42 AM

poorcku: Only 9 comments? Wha? Obama not holding to his promises? No one cares... :)


You can't read, can you?
 
2013-01-23 11:51:30 AM

Darth_Lukecash: Because everyone knows Obama tried to close it and was stopped.


And honestly, I have to feel that if I were this president and I knew that my major opposition was opposed to anything I did and how hard it's going to be to get any legitimate legislation through the house and congress, I would likely be putting my political capital to work on other things. Like for example protecting the middle class from the very, very rich.

Yes, it is a source of national shame that Gitmo exists, and it's an indication to the rest of the world that the US does not respect its own constitution or the Geneva conventions, but from a practical level there are more important things to accomplish if you really did campaign on the idea that you would help the middle class.
 
2013-01-23 12:02:26 PM
Amazing...for as many different groups that heinously prevent our President from doing what he "hopes"...you'd think he might be the most ineffective president ever.
 
2013-01-23 12:06:04 PM
If Obama really wanted to close it, he'd exercise his powers as Commander in Chief of the armed forces to relocate every single soldier stationed there to a base in, say, Nebraska. It's hard to run a prison when there's nobody there to guard it, and Congress can't do jack shiat to prevent him from making military personnel assignments.
 
2013-01-23 12:18:44 PM
We all know that most, if not all, of those people will die there. Frankly, If I was to be held for the remainder of my life without charge or trial, never knowing when or if I would ever be released...I'd rather be in Gitmo than Leavenworth any day of the farking week, and so would all of you.

I am ashamed of my country for doing this.
 
2013-01-23 12:25:54 PM

Uzzah: If Obama really wanted to close it, he'd exercise his powers as Commander in Chief of the armed forces to relocate every single soldier stationed there to a base in, say, Nebraska. It's hard to run a prison when there's nobody there to guard it, and Congress can't do jack shiat to prevent him from making military personnel assignments.


As already pointed out, if the DoJ really doesn't have the evidence to bring them to trial, the correct course of action is to let them all go, whether it'd embarrass the US or not.

There is no "prisoner transfer" funding necessary, because if we haven't formally charged and convicted them then they should not be prisoners in the first place. Prisoner transfer/relocation is a giant farking red herring on this issue.
 
2013-01-23 02:57:42 PM
"Six months into the new administration, a Democratically controlled Congress passed legislation that prevented the president from moving any Guantanamo detainee into the U.S. or to other countries, a policy that continues today."

True but deceiving statement.  Somebody (haven't been able to determine who, yet) added an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009 to block funds needed to close Gitmo.  Seeing how it passed 90-6 I'm assuming it was one of those 'must pass' spending bills.  But Obama has tried to close Gitmo and I expect him to continue trying.
 
2013-01-23 03:23:41 PM
I say grant them full citizenship, with all rights and priveleges of any other american, and give them a home in our colony in Antarctica. Air drops of supplies twice a year, whether they need it or not.
 
2013-01-23 04:02:36 PM

Darth_Lukecash: poorcku: Only 9 comments? Wha? Obama not holding to his promises? No one cares... :)

Because everyone knows Obama tried to close it and was stopped.


IMO he should have tried harder. 1) he's supposed to be a constitutional scholar 2) gitmo is a blight on our record and is the gift that keeps on giving to terrorist recruiters. also to say that a poll of the great unwashed wants it open or are afraid of the terrorists being in jail here says so much bad about the education of the aforementioned unwashed masses. hell you can gin up the unwashed masses about a "ground zero" mosque. just ask pam geller.
 
2013-01-23 06:48:11 PM
Couldn't he close it through an executive order? Or is that not something an EO could do?
 
2013-01-23 10:05:45 PM
RedT
I know no one talks about it these days, but what upholding about the 4th and 14th Amendments?

Bush successfully set the precedent that the Constitution only counts when the government decides that it should. Obama is following suit.

Hey, look on the bright side. At least 1/7th of the people being indefinitely held captive there might possibly have evidence against them that might possibly convince a hypothetical court to imprison them for some amount of time.
 
2013-01-23 10:08:14 PM
Madbassist1
I'd rather be in Gitmo than Leavenworth any day of the farking week, and so would all of you.

What the hell are you basing that on?
 
2013-01-24 10:03:23 AM
Leavenworth Weather10°FMostly Cloudy Feels like -4°F Guantanamo Bay NAS, Cuba Weather 76°FPartly CloudyFeels like 77°F
 
2013-01-24 07:22:50 PM
Madbassist1: That's utterly facile. It's much colder in Nunavut than Vietnam, so you'd rather have been in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp than a Canadian jail?
 
2013-01-25 10:03:46 AM

mrexcess: Madbassist1: That's utterly facile. It's much colder in Nunavut than Vietnam, so you'd rather have been in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp than a Canadian jail?


Good point, I was being slightly facetious, but my actual point is living conditions in general would be better in Gitmo than 23 hr a day solitary in Leavenworth.
 
2013-01-25 09:13:19 PM
Madbassist1
Good point, I was being slightly facetious, but my actual point is living conditions in general would be better in Gitmo than 23 hr a day solitary in Leavenworth.

Putting aside the fact that prisoners in Leavenworth have definitive sentences and access to courts of law, why would you claim that Gitmo captives are treated better? Is there any evidence of this, or actual reason you're claiming that?

Gitmo prisoners are held virtually incommunicado inside a facility whose location was specifically chosen under the theory that by locating it there, it would not have to adhere to US standards. Many former prisoners there have described the conditions as quite inhumane.
 
2013-01-26 09:33:05 AM

mrexcess: Putting aside the fact that prisoners in Leavenworth have definitive sentences and access to courts of law, why would you claim that Gitmo captives are treated better? Is there any evidence of this, or actual reason you're claiming that?


Well, I'm only going by what I've read (and who knows how accurate that is) but they are allowed access to reading material, are allowed rec time outside (with a soccer field, no less), and food and living conditions customized to their religious beliefs. Wont get that in the US


(Also Leavenworth was just for name recognitions sake. Its actually a medium security facility, not the supermax conditions these super-villans would be getting)
 
2013-01-26 09:35:02 AM

mrexcess: Many former prisoners there have described the conditions as quite inhumane.


Cite?

Also, I am certainly not agreeing with their detention there. I find it quite abhorrent and a stain on our country and its citizens. I am merely stating conditions there would be preferable to supermax conditions here.
 
2013-01-26 09:10:14 PM
Madbassist1
Well, I'm only going by what I've read (and who knows how accurate that is)

That's part of the point. We're holding people in facilities where there can be essentially no scrutiny, whether from press or from the court system. The information that flows in and out about the conditions of Gitmo are almost always violations of NDAs.

Cite?

Sheesh, where to start?! Perhaps by reading Clive Stafford Smith's works such as "The Eight O'Clock Ferry to the Windward Side: Fighting the Lawless World of Guantanamo Bay". He is a former lawyer for Gitmo detainees who spent a long time at the camp itself. He describes, among other things, the use of guard "rapid reaction forces" as one method of common abuse - if a prisoner is not being compliant during interrogations, they can expect a little later to have a storm of shock troops invading their cell, gassing them, and beating them to within an inch of their lives. A guard serving as a mock prisoner for one of these rapid response team exercises at Gitmo was actually killed by his compatriots during a "practice session". When was the last time you heard of that happening in a supermax prison?

We could also review a Harpers Magazine reporter documentation of claims made by a former Camp Delta sergeant that in 2006, several inmates whose deaths were labeled as suicide by hanging were actually murdered, probably accidentally during "dry-boarding", by interrogators.

I am merely stating conditions there would be preferable to supermax conditions here.

That's a revision of your earlier statement, where you compared Guantanamo Bay favorably to a medium security prison. Even if you change that to a supermax prison, the comparison is inane - prisoners in US prisons have access to courts, and are protected in a real sense by the Constitution. When was the last time you heard an accusation from a prisoner in a domestic supermax about guards surreptitiously lacing their toilet paper with pepper spray?
 
2013-01-26 10:10:31 PM
I was always making the comparison to supermax security. Don't nit pick. I am not opposing your point of view, and there is no contest here.

Stating my position is inane is doing a disservice to your point of view on the subject, and your supposition that captives in US prisons are subject to courts and constitutional safeguards is a bit naive. I mean really? Tell that to Jose Padilla or Bradley Manning...held right here in the good ole US of A. Padilla in particular was held for 3 1/2 years before he even saw a lawyer. A lot can happen to a person in 3 1/2 years especially considering you dont know why youre being held, or for how long. Hell its on the record that he was tortured there too...on American soil.

IDK if I'd be too quick to sign on for that.

Thanks for the reference material though, I am hoping Mr. Smiths work is available for Kindle. I intend to read it. I understand your position, and I think you get the gist of mine. You havent convinced me, and I havent convinced you (I am sure). The thing we can agree on is that this is a national tragedy and a shame for every farking citizen of this country.
 
2013-01-26 10:14:38 PM
Available for Kindle at $9.99. Thank you, sir.  :o)
 
2013-01-26 11:06:20 PM
Madbassist1
Stating my position is inane is doing a disservice to your point of view on the subject

No, it isn't. Your claim is essentially that "Gitmo is better than Leavenworth because the weather there is nicer, and I've heard that the prisoners there get to play soccer". My dictionary defines "inane" as that which "lacks sense or substance", which accurately describes your position on this issue.

For example: the amenities provided to prisoners at Gitmo are directly commensurate to how valuable to and cooperative they are with interrogators. That is not the case in any domestic prison. The result is that if you are in Gitmo and don't know anything, but the staff thinks that you do, you're not going to be playing soccer... you might not even have a lavatory in your cell.

Gitmo is organized into several camps, one of these being the formerly-secret "camp platinum", where prisoner treatment likely violates Geneva Convention and other international legal protections... according to statements released by military lawyers in 2012.

and your supposition that captives in US prisons are subject to courts and constitutional safeguards is a bit naive. I mean really? Tell that to Jose Padilla or Bradley Manning...held right here in the good ole US of A.

Manning's treatment might be inhumane, but I have yet to hear of his toilet paper being surprise soaked with pepper spray. The problem that Constitutional protections are only as enforceable as the public's knowledge and willing to hold officials accountable for adhering to permits, is a different matter, and one that deserves a discussion all its own.
 
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