Monday, June 29, 2009

White House Floats Story of Indefinite Detention

In a story from the Washington Post Saturday that I considered a float, was a notice that the White House was considering an Executive Order for Indefinite Detention of the detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Now, according to Ben La Bolt, who is a "White House spokesman" there is NO "executive order and that the administration has not decided whether to issue one. But one administration official suggested that the White House is already trying to build support for an order." That's a direct quote from the story.

It goes on to say:

"Civil liberties groups have encouraged the administration, that if a prolonged detention system were to be sought, to do it through executive order," the official said. Such an order could be rescinded and would not block later efforts to write legislation, but civil liberties groups generally oppose long-term detention, arguing that detainees should be prosecuted or released.

This makes perfect sense to me, however to others I guess it doesn't. We have a bunch of spineless cowards in Congress. Look how they have been acting over this mess at Guantanamo Bay. They refused to give the President the money he needed to close the facility, which would be used for trials, moving the prisoners here to the mainland, for guarding, for investigations, but the cowards just wouldn't do it.

Then they started talking and moving toward passing legislation making Guantanamo Bay permanent and not closing it at all. After blocking the money by a vote in the Senate 90 to 6 and in the House 213 to 212, that speaks volumes as to the support he can count on from Congress.

When he ignored them and transferred Ahmed Ghailani, to face capital charges in the 1998 East Africa bombings it marked the first time a detainee who is not an American citizen has been brought from the prison in Cuba to the United States.

Human rights groups, which earlier expressed dismay about President Obama's announcement that some suspects would be tried in reformed military commissions, welcomed Ghailani's transfer. But Republicans and some military groups, who were cheered by the prospect of renewed military tribunals, sharply attacked the decision to hold any trials in the United States.

Mitch McConnell,(KY,R idiot) also questioned whether Obama has the authority to transfer detainees, saying, "There's an argument that existing law prohibits bringing terrorists into the United States." He declined to say whether Congress would consider further action to stop the administration from bringing other detainees here.

In his briefing to reporters, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs ignored questions about whether moving Ghailani to New York essentially bypassed Congress. He insisted the timing of the move was driven by a desire for justice in a case that dates back more than 10 years.

Some in Congress also remain vehemently opposed to resettling in the United States any detainees who have been ordered released by the courts, a stance that has complicated efforts to persuade U.S. allies to accept some inmates who cannot be sent home because of fear of torture or execution. Some European allies are reluctant to resettle detainees unless the United States does the same, forcing the administration to turn elsewhere.

That's exactly the problem. How can we expect other countries to take these people when we won't take them here. For example the 17 Chinese Uighurs cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay, are considered completely harmless, in fact 4 of them are now in the Bahamas and are living the high life we have recently seen, and no one seems to be afraid or bothered by them. Yet we had a NIMBY problem here, and no one wanted these peaceful men in their neighborhoods.

What cowards we have become. But we expect other countries to take our problems off our hands. Then we have this problem, Yasir Esam Hamdi, who was captured in Afghanistan in 2001, was detained at Guantanamo Bay until it was discovered he was a U.S. citizen. He was then moved to military facilities in the United States and then transferred to Saudi Arabia. Why was he not tried and put in prison right here in the United States? If he was a citizen it looks to me like he should have been tried for probably treason if he was fighting for the so called enemy and that would have been it. But why send him to another country?

I think it is again because we are a country of COWARDS. However we have a president that is a brave man, who is willing to take heat and take the criticism from a lot of people around him for this in order to try to get these people processed. To try to hold off Congress from passing a law tying his hands on closing Guantanamo Bay, he is willing to sign an Executive Order, putting them all, all 229 or so, left there in Indefinite Detention, so he has room to work.

The Justice Department has declined to comment on the prospects for a long-term detention system while internal reviews of Guantanamo detainees' cases are underway. One task force, which is assessing detainee policy, is expected to complete its work by July 21.

They are working on trying to figure out exactly what evidence they have against each of the detainees. Some of it is good, some not so good. When Pres. Obama first sent AG Holder to Cuba to look things over and some of the other attorneys had reported back they had made the statements the files were a mess. That's what is taking so long to review these cases.

I think that was deliberate, in order to make it harder or even more impossible to process these people, through trial and/or free them. Some of these people are just innocent and need to be freed, but if the files are not clear, or the evidence is tainted and would have to be reviewed before it could ever be used in court.

Some of these people, have been tortured and therefore maybe never can be tried. If so what to do with them. Can we just let them go? It is hard to say, it seems if they have been held for a long time, and some of them were only picked up because someone had a grudge against them and turned them in for money. Yes, there was a reward system by the Bush Administration.. remember the Deck of Cards he put out.. Well, a lot of the people in Guantanamo just might be the results of those.

Such detainees -- those at Guantanamo and those who may be captured in the future -- would also have the right to legal representation during confinement and access to some of the information that is being used to keep them behind bars. Anyone detained under this order would have a right to challenge his detention before a judge.

Officials say the plan would give detainees more rights and allow them a better chance than they have now at Guantanamo to one day end their indefinite incarceration.

This is much better than anything they had during the Bush Mis-Administration, and would be better than some say they are getting now. It would remove the stain that is Guantanamo Bay, by closing it, moving the guards, and giving the people there a chance for due process.

Call me a fool, but I still have faith and belief in our President. Yes, we have been crapped on, lied to and pushed around for 8 years. But, we have got to believe we are on the right track, and if we don't start believing in someone now, and start having trust in our President just a little, we might as well just give up and expect the right wingers to take over everything.

That's not something I am ready to do. I am not saying, close your eyes and be blind. But, do we have to just automatically assume everything he does is as bad as what Bush did? Can't we look a little deeper and see the possibility that there maybe some good in there?

I guess I am just a bit of an optimist, or try to be, and I want there to be a good side. Let there be a bit of light in the darkness.

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