Tag Archives | Guantanamo Bay
As we assess Barack Obama’s first term, why hasn’t his reneging on his pledge to close Guantanamo Bay stirred more outrage? TPMMuckraker writes:
Bryan Broyles, the Pentagon’s deputy chief defense counsel at Guantanamo, and other observers believe that some policy changes instituted under the Obama administration would have sparked outrage if President George W. Bush was still in the White House.
Kammen called the reforms instituted by the Obama administration in 2009 “quite superficial” and said there are “huge, huge problems” in the military commissions system. “There is nothing about this system that the average American, if they were caught up in it, would see as being fair,” Kammen said. “The Republicans have an interest in keeping this process going and the Democrats have an interest, to a certain extent, in not embarrassing Obama.”
It’s an important question. But you can be sure that not even Ron Paul, would mention this in a televised debate. Still, it’d be interesting to see what sort of response Gingrich comes up with, given his recent financial commitments. From the Sydney Morning Herald:
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Assassinating US President Barack Obama for refusing to wage war on Iran is an opinion Andrew Adler wishes he never published. But that’s exactly what the owner of the Atlanta Jewish Times did on January 13 and now he’s facing vocal opposition and a Secret Service investigation.
”Give the go-ahead for US-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice-president to take his place and forcefully dictate that the United States’ policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies,” Adler wrote in a piece called ”What would you do?” Adler issued an apology, saying, ”I very much regret it.
Someone forward this to Obama? In the New York Times, a Bosnian citizen and former humanitarian aid worker discusses being tortured and imprisoned at Guantanamo for seven years as an innocent man without facing charges, before the Supreme Court ordered him freed:
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Wednesday, America’s detention camp at Guantánamo Bay will have been open for 10 years. For seven of them, I was held there without explanation or charge. During that time my daughters grew up without me. They were toddlers when I was imprisoned, and were never allowed to visit or speak to me by phone.
Some American politicians say that people at Guantánamo are terrorists, but I have never been a terrorist. Had I been brought before a court when I was seized, my children’s lives would not have been torn apart, and my family would not have been thrown into poverty. It was only after the United States Supreme Court ordered the government to defend its actions before a federal judge that I was finally able to clear my name and be with them again.
Curious as to what sort of art one makes when experiencing sensory deprivation halfway around the world? Since the beginning of the Obama presidency, inmates at Guantanamo Bay have been given art classes as a reward for good behavior. The BBC has a sampling of their works, many of which touch on themes of isolation or fantasies of home:
Although the prisoners can’t see the sea from the jail — which is located just a few meters away from the coast — nor the Caribbean vegetation that surrounds Guantanamo, many of their works depict islands with palm trees. Others recall their villages or meals reminiscent of home.
Adam Rawnsley asks on the always intriguing WIRED’s Danger Room:
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It’s one of the oldest tricks in the spying book: Tempt a guy with sex; record him in a compromising position, and then blackmail him into working for you. According to a new file released by WikiLeaks, that’s exactly what happened to one inmate there. But be wary of this espionage tale. As with a lot of Gitmo detainee accounts, the detainee’s history of trying to please interrogators and his experience being tortured make it difficult to say for sure what really happened.
Abd Al Rahim Abdul Raza Janko told interrogators at Guantanamo Bay that his journey into an al-Qaida guest house began with blackmail while he was studying Islamic law and Arabic literature in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). He claimed Prince Fisal Sudid Qasmi invited him to hang out with his college friends at a local hotel. When he arrived, he said a raging sex party was already in progress and he promptly took part in it.
Via Guernica, Karen Greenberg sounds the warning on what she terms “enemy creep.” Treatments once reserved for foreign terror suspects will be applied to the U.S. populace, as the definition of the “enemy” continually expands.
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It has been a persistent worry of civil libertarians that violations of the rights of non-citizens would eventually contaminate the ways citizens are treated, too; that a process of “enemy creep” would, in the end, result in the Guantanamo-ization of American terrorism suspects.
When rights were first denied to captives at Guantanamo Bay, the Bush administration argued that a prison in Cuba should not be considered subject to the constitutional principles that apply to Americans everywhere or to anyone within the territorial boundaries of the U.S. It is, however, quite another matter, as in the King hearings, to single out Muslims or others in our midst as potential terrorists and then to argue that when arrested—even if they are U.S.
For all he has managed to accomplish in the presidency, these are perhaps the five biggest disappointments thus far. Stephen Webster of Raw Story examines Obama’s campaign promises that never came true:
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1. Health care for all
Ultimately, the [health care] debate in Washington became so heated and rife with disinformation that the administration agreed to forgo the public option, using it as a bargaining chip to ensure other proposals were passed. They also gave in to Republican demands and extended the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, promising to take on the issue again in 2012. In spite of the modest legislative victory of actually getting health reform passed, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that even after all the elements take effect in 2014, over 22 million Americans will still lack access to basic health services.
2. Close Guantanamo
As a symbol of everything that liberals thought to be wrong with the Bush-era, closing the Guantanamo Bay military prison should have been an easy target for the new and popular president and his Democratic super-majority in Congress — and, in fact, then-candidate Obama promised to do just that.
President Barack Obama approved Monday the resumption of military trials for detainees at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ending a two-year ban. It was the latest acknowledgement that the detention facility Obama had vowed to shut down within a year of taking office will remain open for some time to come. But even while announcing a resumption of military commission trials, Obama reaffirmed his support for trying terror suspects in U.S. federal courts - something that's met vehement resistance on Capitol Hill. "I strongly believe that the American system of justice is a key part of our arsenal in the war against al-Qaida and its affiliates, and we will continue to draw on all aspects of our justice system - including Article III courts - to ensure that our security and our values are strengthened," the president said in a statement.