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A Decade of Guantanamo

Posted on Jan 11, 2012
AP / Brennan Linsley

A detainee yells from his cell window in this 2009 photo after spotting a group of journalists who were visiting the Guantanamo Bay U.S. military prison in Cuba. The prison, which marked its 10th anniversary on Wednesday, seems more established than ever. The deadline set by President Obama for closing it came and went two years ago. No detainee has left in a year because of restrictions on transfers, and indefinite military detention is now enshrined in U.S. law. Prisoners plan to mark the day with sit-ins, banners and a refusal of meals, said Ramzi Kassem, a lawyer who represents seven inmates.

The indefinite detention center that has undermined American justice since the first prisoners arrived from Afghanistan 10 years ago Wednesday is still open for business in Cuba.

President Obama promised to close the island gulag, but he ran into the Great Wall of Congress. Obama’s continued reliance on George W. Bush’s less ethical national security measures has further diminished his credibility among civil libertarians who would like to see Guantanamo prisoners either tried in court or released. Still, just in time for Guantanamo’s birthday, the White House reiterated the president’s commitment to shut down the prison.

The Washington Post reports that the administration could release or repatriate 89 of the 171 prisoners were it not for restrictions imposed by Congress.

NPR reports that there may be hope yet for the 48 or so detainees whom the government cannot convict, yet considers too dangerous to release. They could be served up as an olive branch to the Taliban, a first foray into serious peace negotiations with an enemy the United States has been at war with for 11 long years.  —PZS

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By ardee, January 13, 2012 at 4:25 am Link to this comment

objective observer, January 11 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ardee!  miracle of miracles

we actually agree on something!

Continue to come into the light, OO….

Outraged, January 11 at 5:00 am

Please close the bedroom door on your actions with Obama, it is embarrassing to watch.

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By slammin23, January 12, 2012 at 5:04 pm Link to this comment

Interesting that the detainee in this photo is barricading his window with
sudoku puzzles and his legal mail.

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By scotttpot, January 11, 2012 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

.A sad reminder of how immoral and apathetic we have become .

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By berniem, January 11, 2012 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

Barry-O is every bit as much a war criminal and imperialist as any of his predecessors how ever far back into the history of this beacon of truth and liberty you may wish to go. This nation was born in greed, intolerance, and deceit and continues as such despite superficial laws and constitutional amendments to the contrary enacted to keep the rabble from getting too rambunctious. After the lies and duplicity inflicted on the American people in ‘08 and here-to-fore the only truth that I believe in now is that this nation will continue to sink into authoritarian and dictatorial fascism where words like freedom, liberty, and justice will become more and more just slogans bandied about for consumption by the ever expanding population of under educated and just plain ignorant masses. FREE BRADLEY MANNING!!!!

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By objective observer, January 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ardee!  miracle of miracles

we actually agree on something!  President Obama and his supporters can blame congress all they want, but if he TRULY wanted gitmo closed, it would’ve been closed long ago…

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By gerard, January 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

Sinbad:  Of course you know about the work of
          Amnesty International
          Center for Constitutional Rights

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By Jim Yell, January 11, 2012 at 10:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is one more episode in Obama’s lack of honesty and ethics. No one believing in Democracy and the Bill of Rights could allow this abomination to continue and no one with any moral fiber would continually cave to Right Wing, Wrong Headed policies.

If we still had a Democracy Bush and Cheney would be awaiting trial for treason and malignant criminal mischief.

My recommendation is vote for a 3rd party candidate or write in a protest if only Democrats and Republican’s are on the ballot, or only right wing candidates are running. This mess was started by bribery under the disguise of campaign contributions and has been made worse by a Supreme Court stacked with Right Wing Know Nothings.

We will not survive as a Democracy with this kind of extremism which is fueled by racist and narcistic egos.

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Arabian Sinbad's avatar

By Arabian Sinbad, January 11, 2012 at 10:04 am Link to this comment

By California Ray, January 11 at 8:21

I concur with your post naming the criminals who have much American and non-American blood on their hands.

Unless and until such criminals are brought to justice the American Justice System will remain a cause for mockery and despise by all the world!

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By California Ray, January 11, 2012 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

It’s been ten years since Uncle Sam got over his fixation with human rights. It is high time for him to redeem himself by incarcerating the following war criminals at Guantanamo under prevailing (i.e., harsh) institutional conditions: David S. Addington, Stephen G. Bradbury, George Walker Bush, Jay S. Bybee, Stephen A. Cambone, Richard Bruce “Dick” Cheney, Douglas J. Feith, Alberto R. Gonzales, William “Jim” Haynes II, Donald Henry Rumsfeld, George J. Tenet, and John Choon Yoo. Uncle Sam should also begin making reparations payments to the people of Iraq.

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By Arabian Sinbad, January 11, 2012 at 6:40 am Link to this comment

It’s not easy, spiritually and emotionally, to handle the commemoration of this disgraceful chapter in the history of America.

If there is anything positive and good that might come out of this commemoration it would be to bring awareness to this atrocity and motivate citizens of good will to create a movement to end this sad chapter in American history!

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, January 11, 2012 at 6:00 am Link to this comment

Re: ardee

Your comment:“To blame Congress for Obama’s inability to keep any of his promises is to avoid the reality of Obama’s incompetent Presidency.”

It’s so like you…to IGNORE facts. So it comes as no surprise that you would take this tack. Although it is OBVIOUS that when confronted with the facts, you find them to distasteful to consider.

CONGRESS stopped the closing of Guantanamo, not Obama. Yes, that is a fact.

From Wiki:
“On January 22, 2009, the White House announced that President Barack Obama had signed an order to suspend the proceedings of the Guantanamo military commission for 120 days and that the detention facility would be shut down within the year. On January 29, 2009, a military judge at Guantanamo rejected the White House request in the case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, creating an unexpected challenge for the administration as it reviews how America puts Guantanamo detainees on trial. On May 20, 2009, the United States Senate passed an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009 (H.R. 2346) by a 90-6 vote to block funds needed for the transfer or release of prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. President Obama issued a Presidential memorandum dated December 15, 2009, ordering the preparation of the Thomson correctional Center, Thomson, Illinois so as to enable the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners there. The Final Report of the Guantanamo Review Task Force dated January 22, 2010 published the results for the 240 detainees subject to the Review: 36 were the subject of active cases or investigations; 30 detainees from Yemen were designated for ‘conditional detention’ due to the security environment in Yemen; 126 detainees were approved for transfer; 48 detainees were determined ‘too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution’. The Federation of American Scientists published a report entitled ‘Enemy Combatant Detainees: Habeas Corpus challenges in Federal Court’. On January 7, 2011, President Obama signed the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill which contains provisions preventing the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners to the mainland or to other foreign countries, and thus effectively stops the closure of the detention facility. However he strongly objected to the clauses and stated that he would work with Congress to oppose the measures. U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates said during a testimony before the US Senate Armed Services Committee on February 17, 2011: “The prospects for closing Guantanamo as best I can tell are very, very low given very broad opposition to doing that here in the Congress.

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By thecrow, January 11, 2012 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

And just for old times’ sake:

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By thecrow, January 11, 2012 at 5:40 am Link to this comment

Understand that with Obama’s signing of the NDAA, Gitmo will prove useful for the “indefinite detention” of US citizens. There will be more American faces there—inside the cages. Bet on it.

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By PatrickHenry, January 11, 2012 at 4:27 am Link to this comment

Guantanamo is an anathema to the basis of what America is founded upon.

The longer we have it open and fail to apply the founding principles to all, the more foolish our moral ‘high ground’ appears.

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By ardee, January 11, 2012 at 4:08 am Link to this comment

To blame Congress for Obama’s inability to keep any of his promises is to avoid the reality of Obama’s incompetent Presidency.

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By DarthMiffy, January 11, 2012 at 3:45 am Link to this comment

Anytime….close Gitmo down. It does more harm to America and Americans
than any help. It is a disgrace.

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