Archive for Gitmo

Good News, Bad News

Hey, Gitmo detainees, you’re getting sprung!

To Uruguay!

Hey, I never heard of it either, but Wikipedia says it’s a real place.

Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica has confirmed his country will resettle six Guantanamo Bay prisoners on humanitarian grounds.

President Mujica was himself held for over a decade in terrible prison conditions during his country’s period of military rule in the 1970s and 80s.

An October opinion poll showed 58% of Uruguayans were opposed to bringing in the prisoners.

Look up; maybe you’re getting Uighurs. Uighur, Uruguay—no one will know the difference.

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Hey O-Bots! Why Hasn’t Obama Closed GITMO?

The prisoners are starving there after more than a decade of imprisonment without trial.

ONE man here weighs just 77 pounds. Another, 98. Last thing I knew, I weighed 132, but that was a month ago.

I’ve been on a hunger strike since Feb. 10 and have lost well over 30 pounds. I will not eat until they restore my dignity.

I’ve been detained at Guantánamo for 11 years and three months. I have never been charged with any crime. I have never received a trial.

I could have been home years ago — no one seriously thinks I am a threat — but still I am here. Years ago the military said I was a “guard” for Osama bin Laden, but this was nonsense, like something out of the American movies I used to watch. They don’t even seem to believe it anymore. But they don’t seem to care how long I sit here, either.

When I was at home in Yemen, in 2000, a childhood friend told me that in Afghanistan I could do better than the $50 a month I earned in a factory, and support my family. I’d never really traveled, and knew nothing about Afghanistan, but I gave it a try.

I was wrong to trust him. There was no work. I wanted to leave, but had no money to fly home. After the American invasion in 2001, I fled to Pakistan like everyone else. The Pakistanis arrested me when I asked to see someone from the Yemeni Embassy. I was then sent to Kandahar, and put on the first plane to Gitmo.

Last month, on March 15, I was sick in the prison hospital and refused to be fed. A team from the E.R.F. (Extreme Reaction Force), a squad of eight military police officers in riot gear, burst in. They tied my hands and feet to the bed. They forcibly inserted an IV into my hand. I spent 26 hours in this state, tied to the bed. During this time I was not permitted to go to the toilet. They inserted a catheter, which was painful, degrading and unnecessary. I was not even permitted to pray.

I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can’t describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone.

I am still being force-fed. Two times a day they tie me to a chair in my cell. My arms, legs and head are strapped down. I never know when they will come. Sometimes they come during the night, as late as 11 p.m., when I’m sleeping.

Etc. Is there any question that if an article like this had appeared during the Bush years, there would have been traffic blocking demonstrations and countless candlelight vigils? Nothing says hypocrisy so much as a committed Progressive.

– Aggie

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Gitmo Closing Update

Say, how’s that going anyway?

Guards and prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay prison clashed Saturday as the military attempted to move hunger strikers out of a communal section of the detention center on the U.S. base in Cuba, officials said.

The violence erupted during an early morning raid that military officials said was necessary because prisoners had covered up security cameras and windows as part of a weekslong protest and hunger strike over their indefinite confinement and conditions at the U.S. base in Cuba.

Prisoners fought guards with makeshift weapons that included broomsticks and mop handles when troops arrived to move them out of a communal wing of the section of the prison known as Camp 6, said Navy Capt. Robert Durand, a military spokesman. Guards responded by firing four “less-than-lethal rounds,” he said.

There were no serious injuries from the rounds, which included a modified shotgun shell that fires small rubber pellets as well as a type of bean-bag projectile, said Army Col. Greg Julian, a spokesman for Miami-based U.S. Southern Command, which oversees the prison at the U.S. base in Cuba.

Obama blasted, prisoners fasted!

The confrontation came a day after a team from the International Committee of the Red Cross finished a three-week visit to Guantanamo to meet with prisoners and assess conditions.

“The ICRC continues to follow the current tensions and the hunger strike at Guantanamo very closely and with concern,” spokesman Simon Schorno said. “If necessary, an ICRC team will in coming days return to Guantanamo to assess the situation of the detainees on hunger strike in view of this latest development.”

Tensions had been high at the prison for months. Lawyers for prisoners said a hunger strike began Feb. 6 in protest over their indefinite confinement and what the men believed were tighter restrictions and intrusive searches of their Qurans for contraband. Prisoners offered to give up the Muslim holy book that each one is issued by the government but officials refused, considering it a tacit admission of wrongdoing.

“This is exactly the opposite of what they should be doing,” Carlos Warner, a federal public defender in Ohio, said of the decision to move prisoners into single cells instead of negotiating an end to the strike. “The military is escalating the conflict.”

Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But in Bush’s time, this would have been on the front page. No one ever talks about Guantanamo anymore.

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Harsh Interrogations Led To Bin Laden

I wonder if those that are pleased that Osama bin Laden is gone, but wanted enhanced interrogation ended, can reconcile the two stances and come to a comfortable closure?

The trail that led to the doorstep of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan began years earlier with aggressive interrogations of al-Qaida detainees at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and CIA “black site” prisons overseas, according to U.S. officials.

It was those sometimes controversial interrogations that first produced descriptions of members of bin Laden’s courier network, including one critical Middle Eastern courier who along with his brother was protecting bin Laden at his heavily fortified compound in Abbottabad on Sunday. Both the courier and his brother were among those killed, along with bin Laden, in the dramatic raid by U.S. special forces.

The behind-the-scenes story of how bin Laden was finally located is yet to be fully told, but emerging details seem likely to reignite the debate over whether “enhanced interrogation” techniques and other aggressive methods that have been widely criticized by human rights groups provided useful – or timely — intelligence about al-Qaida. While some current and former U.S. officials credited those interrogations Monday with producing the big break in the case, others countered that they failed to produce what turned out to be the most crucial piece of intelligence of all: the identity and whereabouts of the most important figure in bin Laden courier’s network.

“Multiple sources of intelligence led us to where we are,” one senior U.S. intelligence official, who like the others spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters on Monday. “Key information was gleaned from detainees (and) that detainee reporting provided insight into the (bin Laden) courier network.”

’20th hijacker’ may have fingered courier
The identity of at least one of the detainees who provided early information about the courier who led to bin Laden could be politically explosive. According to a U.S. official, that detainee was notorious Saudi al-Qaida operative and accused 9/11 conspirator Mohammed al-Qahtani, who was subjected to some of the most humiliating interrogations at Guantanamo. Among the enhanced interrogation techniques used on him were being forced to wear a woman’s bra, being led around on a leash and forced to perform dog tricks and being subjected to cold temperatures that twice required his hospitalization, according to a later U.S. military report.

An official in the Bush administration told the Washington Post that they could not prosecute him, because his treatment met the legal definition of torture.

Question for Progressives: Was it worth it? Because this sounds a lot like what went on at Abu Ghraib. If it turns out that it eventually led us to bin Laden, was it worth it? Or would it have been better never to have known where he was?

– Aggie

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News From Other Universes: It’s Bush’s Fault.

One of the things that this blog does best is to peek into the lives and thoughts of our neighbors in nearby universes. Today we look at the NY Times and how they have interpreted the failure of Barack Obama to close GITMO.

People in this universe look at Obama’s promise to close GITMO and he decision not to, and say either: He lied! or He’s finally accepting reality.

People in other universes often blame Bush.

The Prison That Won’t Go Away
Published: March 8, 2011

The prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has long been the embodiment of Bush-era arrogance and lawlessness, and Barack Obama raised the hopes of millions around the world in 2008 when he campaigned on the promise of closing it. On Monday, that promise crumbled, the victim of Congressional spinelessness and President Obama’s inability to create political support for a way out of the moral quagmire created by his predecessor.

The president announced that military commission trials for detainees would resume at Guantánamo after a two-year suspension. That became inevitable in December after members of Congress from both parties, in an act of notable political cowardice, banned moving those trials to the United States. The ban, inserted in a needed defense bill, also makes it virtually impossible to release prisoners to other countries willing to take them.

The White House says the president remains committed to closing Guantánamo, but, given the political cast of Congress, it seems likely that the prison camp will remain a scar on the nation’s conscience for years.

To be fair, the NY Times is also blaming Congress. They are circling their wagons around this empty suit of a President, hoping to protect his sorry behind.

– Aggie

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We Cannot Make This Stuff Up, Folks

Citizens of Berkeley, California looking for some guys to date their favorite cousins. So they are offering housing to former inmates of GITMO.

On Feb. 15, on the recommendation of its Peace & Justice Commission, the Berkeley (Calif.) City Council is set to vote on a resolution to invite “one or two cleared” Guantanamo Bay detainees to resettle in Berkeley.

Peace & Justice Commissioner Rita Maran told me that the idea was to invite to Berkeley “the kind of people you’d like to have living next door to you or dating your cousin.”

While the resolution doesn’t name the one or two detainees, her panel presented material that cites two — Russian-born Ravil Mingazov and Algerian-born Djamel Ameziane — whom it claims have been “cleared.” The resolution also asserts that “cleared” detainees have been determined to “pose no threat to the United States.” Where they got that information, I do not know.

Given that the Director of National Intelligence reported in December that 25 percent of released Gitmo detainees have been confirmed or suspected of engaging in terrorism, the commission’s assertion would not be reassuring, if it were true.

As Thomas Joscelyn, senior fellow for the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, observed, “There’s an entire mythology” about detainees being exonerated, when they’ve simply won conditional releases or habeas corpus petitions.

President Obama’s own task force looked into Guantanamo’s 240 detainees in 2009. While it approved some transfers and conditional releases, Joscelyn noted, “They didn’t find any innocent goat herders.”

I guess I probably don’t need to tell you to go to the link. You’re already there.

– Aggie

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House Blocks Closing GITMO

Another promise bites the dust

By Stephen Dinan

Congress on Wednesday signaled it won’t close the prison at Guantanamo Bay or allow any of its suspected terrorist detainees to be transferred to the U.S., dealing what is likely the final blow to President Obama’s campaign pledge to shutter the facility in Cuba.

The move to block the prison’s closure was written into a massive year-end spending bill that passed the House on Wednesday evening on a vote of 212-206, part of a last-minute legislative rush by Democrats to push through their priorities before ceding the House to Republican control in January.

News of the Guantanamo provision brought a quick and sharp rebuke from the Obama administration Wednesday.

“We strongly oppose this provision,” Department of Justice spokesman Matt Miller said in a statement. “Congress should not limit the tools available to the executive branch in bringing terrorists to justice and advancing our national security interests.”

Current law allows the Justice Department to bring detainees to the U.S. for trial as long as the Justice Department gives Congress 45 days notice of the transfer.

Teeheee… they did it without notifying the White House? Oh, that’s funny…hahahahahahaha.

Unprecedented irrelevance, thy name is Barack Obama. I bet he’s just hopping mad.

– Aggie

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Obama’s Problem

While mulling the annoying problem of terrorists trying to blow up airplanes with 300 innocents aboardtoo harsh.. while kicking around solutions to the Freedom Fighter Problem understandable situation, caused by insensitive Westerners who want to fly all the time, thereby ridiculously increasing our carbon footprint, I wondered about interrogating the latest Freedom Fighter Czar, Sargent Whatever-His-Name-Is of the Underpants Brigade. If he remains in the United States, do we interrogate him with lattes and wonderful pastries? I don’t think that will work on him, since, like most Freedom Fighters, he comes from a privileged background. (Shhhh…. Don’t tell Barack I said that. He believes that they are all poor and desperate, yearning to be free). The most efficient thing to do would be to send him to GITMO, but we can’t do that, can we? After all, we’re closing the dump down. And if one of the interrogators slapped him or something, he or she could end up on the front pages of all the newspapers, plus facing many years behind bars. Who would sign up for that job?

Looks like the voters chose to make it tough to get the information we might kind of wish we had. Or, looking at it another way, perhaps the Left is right and we deserve this? In that case, why don’t we just assist the Freedom Fighters? Perhaps the NY Times could investigate security weaknesses and post them on-line? Perhaps they already have

– Aggie

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Another Broken Promise

Obama’s team always makes this announcements on the weekend

They realize that the young O-bots are sleeping in, nursing hangovers.

The U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is unlikely to close by the Obama administration’s deadline of January 2010, two senior administration officials said late Friday.

They cited legal complications for the delay, but said they were still optimistic about shutting the detention facility for terrorism suspects soon.

The announcement represents a blow to the president, who signed an executive order and set the deadline with great fanfare during his first week in office.

During a signing ceremony at the White House on January 22, Obama reaffirmed his inauguration pledge that the United States does not have “to continue with a false choice between our safety and our ideals.”

The president said he was issuing the order to close the prison camp in order to “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great even in the midst of war, even in dealing with terrorism.”

The delay may provide fodder for Republicans such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has argued that shutting the Guantanamo prison would make the United States less safe. He said Obama should have had a detailed plan in place before signing the order.

There are empty houses and apartments in Colorado, Illinois, Texas and North Carolina, homes of the recent terror arrestees (no such word, but you get the idea). We shouldn’t have to make any false choices between our safety and our Constitution, right? I’m sure the neighbors will understand.

– Aggie

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But He Promised…

whine

WASHINGTON (CNN) — In a move already drawing fire from liberal activists, aides to President Barack Obama acknowledged the administration will miss its own Tuesday deadline to submit a report detailing its policy on detaining terror suspects.

The report is a key part of laying out the White House’s plan for shutting down the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

He’s as full o’sh..t as Hogan’s goat.

– Aggie

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Liar In Chief Drafts Orders To Hold Detainees Indefinitely

Quietly hidden, in the Saturday morning papers

I can imagine the thrill running down Chris Matthew leg. Will he report it? Will Keith Olberman?

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close Guantanamo, has drafted an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.

Such an order would embrace statements by former president George W. Bush that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under the laws of war. Obama advisers are concerned that bypassing Congress could place the president on weaker footing before the courts and anger key supporters, the officials said.

After months of internal debate over how to close the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, White House officials are growing increasingly worried that reaching quick agreement with Congress on a new detention system might prove impossible. Several officials said there is concern in the White House that the administration may not be able to close the facility by the president’s January deadline.

Uh huh. I get it. A friend said this: “That’s a violation o’human rights! I’m shocked. They got to him, didn’t they? Oh my god, if they can get to him, they can get to anybody!” and he spun away, ranting, spitting.

“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.

Civil Liberties groups prefer an executive order? Really? Let’s take a trip in the way-back machine:

In a May speech, President Obama broached the need for a system of long-term detention and suggested that it would include congressional and judicial oversight. “We must recognize that these detention policies cannot be unbounded. They can’t be based simply on what I or the executive branch decide alone,’’ the president said.

If the Left can wake up from their stupor, perhaps they will March on Washington. The Million Leftists March. They could chant: Liar, liar, pants on fire.. and stick out their tongues.

Stay tuned.

– Aggie

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Watch The Left Decide If Obama Is “Just Bush”

Is he Bush-lite or just Bush?

The discussion has to do with torture only. Obviously he is not Bush if you look at domestic politics. And I would argue that he isn’t quite Bush regarding enhanced interrogation techniques because Bush was not stupid enough to publish our protocol.

– Aggie

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