Forums / Political & Legal / It's Starting - Advisers say Obama preparing to close Gitmo

5 years 40 weeks ago, 3:36 PM

samD

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Advisers say Obama preparing to close Gitmo

Behind the Wire FOX News AP – President-elect Barack Obama speaks to reporters during his meeting with Mexico's President Felipe Calderon, … WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama is preparing to issue an executive order his first week in office — and perhaps his first day — to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, according to two presidential transition team advisers.

It's unlikely the detention facility at the Navy base in Cuba will be closed anytime soon. In an interview last weekend, Obama said it would be "a challenge" to close it even within the first 100 days of his administration.

But the order, which one adviser said could be issued as early as Jan. 20, would start the process of deciding what to do with the estimated 250 al-Qaida and Taliban suspects and potential witnesses who are being held there. Most have not been charged with a crime.

The Guantanamo directive would be one of a series of executive orders Obama is planning to issue shortly after he takes office next Tuesday, according to the two advisers. Also expected is an executive order about certain interrogation methods, but details were not immediately available Monday.

The advisers spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the orders that have not yet been finalized.

Obama transition team spokeswoman Brooke Anderson declined comment Monday.

The two advisers said the executive order will direct the new administration to look at each of the cases of the Guantanamo detainees to see whether they can be released or if they should still be held — and if so, where.

Many of the Guantanamo detainees are cleared for release, and others could be sent back to their native countries and held there. But many nations have resisted Bush administration efforts to repatriate the prisoners back home. Both Obama advisers said it's hoped that nations that had initially resisted taking detainees will be more willing to do so after dealing with the new administration.

What remains the thorniest issue for Obama, the advisers said, is what to do with the rest of the prisoners — including at least 15 so-called "high value detainees" considered among the most dangerous there.

Detainees held on U.S. soil would have certain legal rights that they were not entitled to while imprisoned in Cuba. It's also not clear if they would face trial through the current military tribunal system, or in federal civilian courts, or though a to-be-developed legal system that would mark a hybrid of the two.

Where to imprison the detainees also is a problem.

Obama promised during the presidential campaign to shut Guantanamo, endearing him to constitutional law experts, civil libertarians and other critics who called the Bush administration detentions a violation of international law.

But he acknowledged in an interview Sunday that the process of closing the prison would be harder and longer than initially thought.

"That's a challenge," Obama said on ABC's "This Week." "I think it's going to take some time and our legal teams are working in consultation with our national security apparatus as we speak to help design exactly what we need to do.

"But I don't want to be ambiguous about this," he said. "We are going to close Guantanamo and we are going to make sure that the procedures we set up are ones that abide by our constitution."

President George W. Bush established military tribunals to prosecute detainees at Guantanamo. He also supports closing the prison, but strongly opposes bringing prisoners to the United States.

Lawmakers have moved to block transfer of the detainees to at least two potential and frequently discussed military facilities: an Army prison at Fr. Leavenworth, Kan., and a Navy brig in Charleston, S.C. A Marine Corps prison at Camp Pendleton in Southern California also is under consideration, a Pentagon official said.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., said Monday that "it's hard to show why terror suspects should be housed in Kansas."

"If the holding facility at Guantanamo Bay is closed, a new facility should be built, designed specifically to handle detainees," Brownback said in a statement.

A Pentagon team also has been looking at how to shut Guantanamo and move its detainees but spokesman Bryan Whitman did not immediately know Monday whether it was completed.

The executive order marks only a first step at what is likely to be a long legal process. Still, American Civil Liberties Union legislative director Caroline Fredrickson called "extremely meaningful" even if the Guantanamo prison can't be closed immediately.

"It's clear that there is a process of time that will be necessary to close it properly, to make sure that human rights and respected and security is protected," Fredrickson said. "But the fact that it's set in motion is extremely good news."

5 years 40 weeks ago, 3:54 PM

Jane

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Obviously Guantanamo Bay needs to be closed. Whatever you want to do with the prisoners, theres pretty much nothing to be done there that could clean it up in the eyes of the American public or those of the world. And while the ideal that American dosen't need friends and can muscle its way through any kind of diplomatic is a nice one to have, some degree of cooperation is needed.

I honestly recommend sticking the "new" facility out in the Mojave desert. Unless someone wants to say that we're fighting ultra-human killing machines that could feasibly survive a journey from there to civilization, or that the "terrorists" we check for under our beds before we turn out the lights will somehow get us because we're holding suspects within our own borders, then theres no real reason to be unbudgingly against the idea of closing down Guantanamo.

Aside from that, if we haven't suffered a domestic attack for taking prisoners in the first place, they aren't suddenly going to happen because we moved them.

5 years 40 weeks ago, 4:01 PM

Reaper308

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Guantanamo

we get tons of intelligence from Guantanamo. The reason that we can do what we do, is because it isn't on U.S soil. I don't think putting a detention camp where strong arm tactics are often needed to retrieve vital intel in the dem captiol of the U.S is the answer.

"Proelium Comminus Auctoritate" "Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is a muzzle flash."
5 years 40 weeks ago, 5:16 PM

Jane

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Its pretty much known that information gathered through whats now being called "enhanced interrogation" is as likely to be untrue as just asking them with words. If you put someone on the verge of death and then ask them something, they're going to tell you what they think you want to know, not the truth. ( Assuming they actually know what your asking them to begin with )

Torture, as a weapon of fear, is much more useful then it is as a means of gathering intelligence.

5 years 40 weeks ago, 5:18 PM

scudrunnernrh

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i say we should invade cuba and use it as a base against drug runners, and a vacationing place

We're not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we're going to rip out their living guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. Gen. George S. Patton
5 years 40 weeks ago, 10:41 PM

jack010203

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Gitmo should not be closed, the "human rights abuses" and "torture" that took place was just BS That was not torture and they have no rights, given they did not sign or follow the Geneva convention

jane what do you base this statment on?:

"Its pretty much known that information gathered through whats now being called "enhanced interrogation" is as likely to be untrue as just asking them with words."

"The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it." -Thomas Jefferson
5 years 40 weeks ago, 1:28 AM

Jane

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Jack

This article, written by Major Anthony Milavic, USMC ( Retired ).

http://www.americanthinker.com/2004/10/torture_as_an_interrogation_te.html

Thats obviously not the only place to find people who know their business stating that torture is largely ineffective as a means of gathering intelligence. Note that the examples of "successful" torture were only used to make someone cooperate, not give reliable intelligence. It even contains an example of someone saying anything they can to end the torture.

Our military spending its time and manpower chasing every false lead we get dunking peoples heads in buckets is going to give us as much progress on finding Bin Laden as it has so far.

5 years 40 weeks ago, 2:08 AM

Pkato

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There are other studies which show enhanced interrogation and torture is actually much better at getting information than previously thought...that argument can go on forever, however the main reason for NOT closing Guantanamo is the rights that would be afforded to these guys...especially the high value targets...why give them anything? I also think everything at Guantanamo was blown out of proportion...many reports counter those allegations as well.

Patrolman Kato
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They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone
under independence. -- George Washington
5 years 40 weeks ago, 1:24 PM

Jane

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Again, if torture ( And I can promise you wouldn't be calling it "enhanced interrogation" if a story broke involving American citizens being water boarded ) is effective enough for us to degrade ourselves to the morality of the people we fight, then where is the progress from it?

Forget the humanity of our enemies, forget the morality of torture, and forget how it reflects on our society. From a practical perspective, torture has not worked. We do not have Osama Bin Laden. We do not have the ring leaders. We do not have anything to show for it but our acceptance of torture.

The most basic question that comes from the attitude that its okay to torture people as long as they're not nice to you, is where is a line drawn? If its perfectly alright to deny a persons rights as a human being simply because your told they're bad people, when does it become American citizens who are "suspected terrorists"? When does it become anyone who is "suspicious"?

5 years 40 weeks ago, 1:46 PM

samD

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Sometimes it is just necesary to accomplish the mission, if it saves American lives, then so be it. How about when Americans have been drug through the streets of Mogadishu? It was an Amer or Brit that was beheaded by Islamic terrorist and shown on TV. Abdu Gahrib Prison was a fiasco, which I would say wasn't much worse than a frat hazing that I and many others have been through. You can't make nice and coddle these Islamic Extremist, hell they send women and children as human bombs. There is no comparison to what we have done to what they have done.
Sometimes bad things happen to bad people. If I ever caught an American or Allie soldier or citizen, un necessarily torturing someone, I would be the first to stop it.

5 years 40 weeks ago, 2:22 PM

Jane

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But here is the thing. We aren't torturing the actual people who do that. If we caught the people strapping bombs to infants and burning human beings alive, then this would be a different matter. But we're not. We're torturing people based on the assumption that they know something.

And, worse then no information, is bad information.

Lets say that we captured Ahmed, on the grounds that he was transporting potential bomb making materials. So, under "enhanced interrogation" he told us that Samir is secretly a terrorist. And in turn we work over Samir until he tells us that his hospital is really a terror cell. So, naturally, we go in like the U.S. Marshals and do the "kick ass and let god sort 'em out" thing that people on here seem to like.

The problem here is the potential for error. If Ahmed wasn't a terrorist, and did what people under torture often do ( Tell his captors whatever he THINKS they want to know so they'll stop torturing him ), then we captured Samir for no reason. And if we assumed he was a terrorist, and since we can't exactly do a full investigation, then naturally he would be "interrogated" until he also said what he thinks we want to hear. Which leads to us shooting a few doctors because they're a "hot" cell. Which, naturally, leads to some justifiably pissed off families and discourages actual cooperation from people who may have otherwise helped us.

Thats a simplified example of what can happen when one follows and assumes that information gathered under torture is the Gospel truth.

5 years 40 weeks ago, 1:48 PM

runawaygun762

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Gitmo needs to stay open. True, torture as a stand alone does not work well when it is done in a cell. It is much more effective on the ground at the time of detention when the guy's knowledge is current. And rather than torturing an individual, torturing or executing his family members in front of him works much better. For instance: "These IEDs are being planted within sight of your house and the command det wire is running into the palm grove behind your house. Who is doing it?" "I don't know." BANG "Now you have three sons left. Who is doing it?" "I don't know." BANG "Now you have two sons left. Who is doing it?" "Alright, his name is Ali Jassim Fuckhead." "Thank you, sir, you've been most helpful". That works. However, torturing an individual who has nothing to lose because he is already detained and is prepared to die in what he sees as a struggle for his family's feedom from the Western Infidel is not nearly as effective. Unfortunately, if more of us service member could shoot better, Gitmo wouldn't be such a big deal.

"I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. The calling of arms, I have followed from boyhood. I have never sought another." From The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield.
5 years 40 weeks ago, 2:14 PM

undeniable

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Torture,

Here is my two cents on this subject. My first cent goes to keeping GITMO open. Better to have them there then here, it's already in place and will incur no additional financial burden such as the logistics of dispersing them to the ends of the earth. (I like to sound smarter than I am.)

Penny number two says: Physical torture is an archaic and unreliable form of information gathering. People in distress have been know to say whatever they think may make the pain stop. runawaygun762 has a good point in that you go after what makes them believe they have a reason to fight on. Be it thier family, money, country, or whatever else is dear to them. I know that if I kept my mouth shut and the fight continued for what I believed in then I would be more inclined to do so. Now if I didn't speak and they started killing my family members in front of me I might be more free with the information I held if it meant keeping harm from them.

So to try and tie all this in, what I am saying is tortutre can be effective if done the right way. Hell, get most people drunk and you can't shut them up because thier minds are impaired chemically. Don't puch them in the mouth, give them some cheap whiskey and wait a bit.

"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist." Kevin Spacey: (The Usual Suspects)

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