House Panel Deals Gitmo Closure a Major Setback

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Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 1:01 pm
The sun rises over Guantanamo Bay detention camp

The sun rises over Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay. (MICHELLE SHEPHARD/TORONTO STAR)

The Obama administration’s longstanding pledge to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay just hit a major obstacle in the House, creating doubts over whether the detention facility can be closed this year — if at all.

Last night the House Armed Services Committee finished this year’s bill authorizing $567 billion worth of defense spending and another $159 billion for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars for the fiscal year beginning in October. Following an administration budget plan announced in February by Pentagon comptroller Robert Hale, the Afghanistan war request contained a vague provision — indeed, not even carrying the words “Guantanamo Bay” — called a “transfer fund” to authorize the purchase of the Thomson Correction Center in Illinois. The administration wants to buy Thomson in order to have a secure facility on U.S. soil to house those Guantanamo detainees it designates for military commissions or indefinite detention without charge. Once the federal government buys Thomson, it can shut down Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay.

[Security1] Or that was the plan. The actual bill hasn’t been released yet. But buried at the bottom of an extensive summary the committee released last night is an express prohibition on the use of any Defense Department money to buy a new detention facility. According to the bill summary, the bill now requires Defense Secretary Robert Gates to give Congress a report that “adequately justifies any proposal to build or modify such a facility” if it wants to move forward with any post-Guantanamo detention plan.

“The Committee firmly believes that the construction or modification of any facility in the U.S. to detain or imprison individuals currently being held at Guantanamo must be accompanied by a thorough and comprehensive plan that outlines the merits, costs, and risks associated with utilizing such a facility,” the summary text read. “No such plan has been presented to date. The bill prohibits the use of any funds for this purpose.”

That might place insurmountable obstacles to the the so-called “Gitmo North” plan to transfer Guantanamo detainees to Thomson. “They can’t just create Guantanamo North and move everyone up there. That’s clearly barred,” said Chris Anders, a senior lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union who monitored yesterday’s mark-up. “It doesn’t mean that the proposal is dead, but it’s hard to see how it makes a comeback after the House Armed Services Committee says there can’t be money spent on Thomson.”

That’s not all. While the bill doesn’t renew the current Congressional ban on transferring detainees from Guantanamo into the U.S. — set to expire in October — it requires President Obama to submit a “a comprehensive disposition plan and risk assessment” for any future detainee transfer. Congress would then get “120 days to review the disposition plan before it could be carried out.” Additionally, Congress would get a 30-day review period for the proposed transfer of any detainee from Guantanamo to a foreign country in order to check against a detainee inflicting violence against the U.S. or its interests. The summary instructs Gates to tell Congress that any such foreign transfer meets “strict security criteria to thoroughly vet any foreign country to which a detainee may be transferred.”

The bill, which passed the committee on a vote of 59 to 0, will go to the House floor and receive a vote most likely next week. A Senate Armed Services Committee mark-up of the companion bill in the Senate is scheduled for the end of May.

This is a major setback for Obama’s campaign pledge to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. While it’s theoretically possible for an amendment authorizing the Thomson purchase to come back into the bill during floor debate, “this makes it much, much harder for the administration to move forward with the closure of Guantanamo, there’s no doubt about that,” said Vincent Warren, the executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. “It’s hard to see what reasonable options the president has without jumping through congressional hoops that are unreasonable and unnecessary, and it’s harder to move forward both with prosecuting those who are terrorist suspects and releasing to freedom those who are not.”

But beyond the closure of the detention facility itself, the prohibitions now contained in the bill have policy implications for the dispensation of justice for detainees remaining at Guantanamo, a burning political issue all through this year. Those “abhorrent” prohibitions, Warren said, “essentially prohibit the executive from moving forward with its constitutional and human-rights obligations to try people [and] creates a paradigm where the operative default mechanism will be to detain people without trial.” In April, Attorney General Eric Holder pledged to work with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on a new legal architecture for indefinite detention without charge.

Anders took a more optimistic view. If the bill passes, as is likely, the administration “will have to work harder and work faster at what they’ve been doing effectively for the past 16 or 17 months, which is repatriating and resettling detainees one by one who have been cleared and then bring people here for prosecution,” Anders said, even with the new congressional repatriation restrictions. This week, one of those detainees the administration designated for civilian prosecution, Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, who has been transfered to a Manhattan prison, unsuccessfully urged a federal judge to dismiss his case.

But such an incremental approach would not allow Obama to close the facility until the last detainee either leaves or faces criminal charges, a process likely to take years even without all of the political obstacles that have emerged around terrorism trials and holding terrorism defendants in federal corrections facilities. Additionally, it would require Holder and the Obama administration to abandon a decision that has been much reviled in the civil libertarian community: designating 48 detainees currently held at Guantanamo for continued indefinite detention without charge.

Closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay was a bipartisan goal before President Obama took office, with both President Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, rhetorically committed to shutting down an international symbol of American lawlessness. But an effective campaign waged by conservatives to portray the closure as negligent with national security — and Obama and the Democrats as weak for seeking it — has raised the political stakes for Democratic members of Congress. Last year, the Senate voted with 90 votes to prohibit the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo to the U.S., and this year, the still-unresolved question of whether Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and the 9/11 conspirators ought to be tried in civilian courts or military commissions has become Holder’s defining challenge. With Republicans hostile to the Guantanamo closure plan likely to gain seats in Congress after the November midterm elections, future attempts at closing the facility are likely to face even greater political opposition.

Requests for comment to the White House and the Office of the Secretary of Defense were not immediately returned.

Follow Spencer Ackerman on Twitter


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North Capitol Street » Blog Archive » House Panel Deals Gitmo Closure a Major Setback
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HERCULE TRIATHLON SAVINIEN
Comment posted May 20, 2010 @ 7:21 pm

JAPAN CUBA EAST!

Now, all week, we have had writers block, which may people would say is a blessing to them, the jerk didn’t write anything, and we can feel their pain as much as Clinton feels anyone’s pain, but that being said, we were thinking things over about the Foothold Troops in the Far East Japan situation. And, everyone has a backside and an opinion, so here is our considered opinion.

The Japanese [PM] Prime Minister of Japan Yukio Hatoyama and his [LDP] Left-leaning government is trying to put something together that will be a stop gap measure between what the Israel-American Empire [THE EMPIRE] demands, and what he can realistically deliver. Japan is a powered keg about to explode; to date the Japanese population has put on the smiling face, and dealt with the prolonged Occupation, but their stoic reservation is wearing thin, so far the demonstrations in opposition to [THE EMPIRE] Occupation has been one of Peaceful Protests, much like the [60’s] in the Empire led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but like the peaceful demonstrations turned into eruptions across [THE EMPIRE] when the shot was fired that ended his life. The Japanese are just a breath away from taking violent actions, and both [EMPIRE] service members and their dependents are at risk.

The Japanese [PM] has decided upon the Cuban Solution, which would mean [EMPIRE] Occupation Forces would be moved to a more remote part of the Island of Okinawa, from the Prefecture of Ginowan, to that of Nago, over the objections of Nago and the relief of Ginowan, which is not in accordance with the so called [2006] Japan-U.S. Roadmap for Realignment Implementation, and more than just kicking the can down the road, its more in line with keeping the fuse to the powder keg from being lit. We believe that vise having a Cuban style fence and guard post, the Japanese Government will have to implement severe restriction for this all to work;

* Curfew for all [EMPIRE] Military Personnel, they will have to within the perimeters of their camp [NLT] not later than [1700/5 P.M.] each day.

* They will find many unwelcome signs within the Nago Prefecture, Americans Not Welcome Here, this is Japan not the [EMPIRE] and the Japanese have the right to refuse service to whome ever they like.

* Japan for the safety of [EMPIRE] Service Member may not be allowed too have dependents accompany the service member for duty in Japan but be on an unaccompanied tour.

* That a date and plan be put into place for the removal of all [EMPIRE] Troops of Occupation from Japanese soil before the year [2020] if not sooner.

* The [60] Sixty F-15 Fighter, [15] fifteen KC-135 Air refueling tankers, and [2] two P-3 Orion Navy reconnaissance aircraft, will have to be removed from Japan, and their operations taken over by Empire Naval Air from an Aircraft Carrier positioned in the Sea of Japan, outside of Japanese Territorial Waters, with limited visiting aircraft missions to or thru the Japanese Empire.

Japan is [2nd] only to the [PRC] People’s Republic of China when it comes to Empire debt held, and Japan could call upon the [PRC] if the Empire refused to comply with the government of Japan, there is very little wiggle room that the [PM] of Japan has concerning this matter, and at best any offer put on the table would be a stop gap one, and could still cause the fall of the Parliamentary Government of Japan, to be replaced by a yet more unfriendly Japanese Government while the [EU] European Foothold Europe was watching, old Hillary had better take what she can get, and be glad she got it, if not she’s not going to like what offered next.

The Israeli-American Empire is coming to its end, things are in a flux, but one thing is for certain if as longer as the Troops of Foothold Far East Japan remain an irritant to the Japanese the more the resentment will grow and increasingly Japan will become Cuba East, but with the potential to cause economic pain to its tormentor, and within the protection and Geo-Sphere of the [BRIC], Brazil, The Republic of Russia, India, and [PRC] The Peoples Republic of China, with Japan within the Sphere of the [PRC]

Now, the latest new out of Japan is that the [PM] has in fact decided to go it alone with a Cuban Solution Package, which has [2] two possible outcomes, Japan becoming Cuba East with it’s own Gitmo/Nago facility, or the fall of the [PM] The Japanese [PM] Prime Minister of Japan Yukio Hatoyama and his [LDP] Left-leaning government, either way the relations between Japan and the Israeli-American Empire are headed in the same direction as the Israeli-American Empire’s [THE EMPIRE] with the Republic of Cuba, down the tube’s, as long as the irritant remains the problem will only worsen, Japan is now Cuba East.

HERCULE TRIATHLON SAVINIEN


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HERCULE TRIATHLON SAVINIEN
Comment posted May 21, 2010 @ 9:46 pm

TOM SCHIEFFER ON OKINAWA

[Empire AER or Sphere Member]

Now the Israeli-American Empire [The Empire] former Ambassador Thomas Schieffer got our attention, the boy seems to agree with us that the move of the Marines based on Okinawa, to a more remote location on the Island would be a good idea, well it is only a good idea if it happens, and the move is not a done deal and many not be. Now Tom keeps referring to the so called [2006] Japan-U.S. Roadmap for Realignment Implementation, as if it was written in stone by some deity, and the fact is its only an agreement as long as both parties agree to it, and in this case its more than an iffy deal. Tom keeps talking about some grand alliance, and the Japanese have already said that any idea of Japan having some Unbreakable Special Relationship with [The Empire] is bogus, and in fact Japan wants to have a closer relationship to the local Sphere of Geo-Influence the [PRC] Peoples Republic of China, a member of the [BRIC] Brazil, The Russian Federation, India, and [PRC] People’s Republic of China, and is not an [AER] Area of Empire Responsibility.

[D-I-V-O-R-C-E]

And again Tom seems to have put his foot in his mouth, with statements that about the grand bilateral agreement and the Marines aren’t going anywhere until [The Empire] has a new facility and have moved in, and that is the only move they are going to make. Basically Tom has put his foot down, but down his own throat, and if anything is putting stress on the Japanese [PM] Prime Minister of Japan Yukio Hatoyama and his [LDP] Left-leaning government, to pull off what maybe a miracle statements like Tom’s do the trick , Tom doesn’t see it as a crisis, and when any of the Washington, D.C., District of Clowns, over paid and under productive Bureaucratic class says there is not a crisis or they have it under control its time to start worrying. Old Tom said and we quote; I think that they could be, if we take each other for granted or if we think that the [The Empire] -Japan alliance is something that doesn't need to be cared for and nurtured, unquote, and the Japanese have already said they don’t want anymore lovie dovie caring and nurturing they want a D-I-V-O-R-C-E, [The Empire] out of the house, there is nothing left to resolve, and the only differences is Japan is going the way of the Sphere of Influence of the [21st] twenty-first century were as [The Empire] is mired in the [20th] Century of Wars of Economic Stimulus, and the only interests [The Empire] is trying to protect is what it seems to believe is an [AER] Area of Empire Responsibility Northeast Asia, An area that is no longer an [AER] of [The Empire] but part of the Sphere of Influence of the [PRC]. Now, Tom did know one thing that Japan understands how difficult Northeast Asia can be, its [The Empire] that is clueless to the changes that have taken place over the years, living in denial and not facing up to the reality of the facts on the ground, [The Empire] doesn’t live here, and neither does Tom, the Marines would never get off Okinawa, but are only targets themselves and making Okinawa a target to a Nuclear Attack, Tom suffers from pre-Nuclear Weapons mind think, backup reserve troops will never put foot in Korea, in the event of a Second Korean Police Action.

[D-I-V-O-R-C-E Papers]

The LDP Election Mandate; The Prime Minister of Japan Yukio Hatoyama and his [LDP] Left-leaning government took office in September [2009] , backed by the [SDP] Social Democratic Party within its coalition, vehemently opposed to Israeli-American Troops of Foothold Far East Occupation of Japan, and their remaining on Japanese soil, and with a solid majority mandate of the Japanese electorate upon a promise that ALL Israeli-American Empire Foothold Troop in the Far East on Japanese soil, would be removed from Japanese soil the New [21st] Century Dreamers, Thinkers, Workers, and [Netcitizens], People and their New Government would tear up the Roadmap for Realignment Implementation replacing it with a [GPS] Ground Position System of Reappraisal, Reassessment and Removal Achievement;

* The reassessing of present alliances/ commitments/ relationship with the American-Israeli Empire in the [21st] Century, with change to the Status Quo, which now exists.

* The ending of all Japanese military involvement in the Wars of Economic Stimulus, Blood for Oil, wars in progress against the Islamic Peoples upon the Islamic Crescent/Arabian Peninsula/Hindu Cush, which has taken place with the removal of Japanese Troops, and the ending Japan’s refueling missions within the Indian Ocean of their fleets.

* The ending of the [2006] agreement allowing the [47K] Forty-Seven Thousand, [FOOTHOLD] Troops of Far East Occupation, to remain on Japanese soil, demanding their total removal from Japan, and its occupation of the southern Japanese Island of Okinawa, with the closing of their Marine Corp Air Station Futenma.

* The ending of port calls of any American-Israeli Empire, nuclear-armed warships to Japanese ports, ending hidden past agreements, violating the hallowed anti-nuclear principle of postwar Japan.

* Calling for a closer relationship with [PRC] People’s Republic of China, a member of the [PRC] Peoples Republic of China a member of the [BRIC] Brazil, The Russian Federation, India, and the Peoples Republic of China Sphere of Influence of the [21st] Century [within the Chinese Sphere of Influence.

* Membership within the [ASEAN] Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of [16] nations using a single [ASEAN] trading currency by [2020] within the bloc and [PRC/ASEAN] Sphere of Influence; Australia, Brunei, China, India, Indo-China [Vietnam], Indonesia, Japan, A United Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, The Paracel Islands, The Philippines, and The Spratly Islands.

* The selling of Israeli-American Empire debt in the form of Bond’s and legal tender, to support a more diversified Japanese economic position.

HERCULE TRIATHLON SAVINIEN


OncealwaysaMarine
Comment posted May 22, 2010 @ 3:25 am

What the hell are you talking about? You sound like a nut.


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[...] text of the defense authorization bill it marked up last night. And look what the bill does, just like its House counterpart: Eliminates availability of funding for the construction of a military detention facility in [...]


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Comment posted June 17, 2010 @ 6:30 pm

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