Sunday, March 27, 2016

Getting Out of Gitmo

You really have to use your mind:

Pentagon curbs use of psychologists with Guantánamo detainees

Curbs use means they are still using them.

"Prisoner population at Guantanamo drops to 93, with 10 Yemenis sent to Oman" by Ben Fox Associated Press  January 14, 2016

MIAMI — Ten prisoners from Yemen who were held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been released and sent to the Middle Eastern nation of Oman for resettlement, officials said Thursday, portraying it as a significant milestone in the long-stalled effort to shutter the detention center.

The release, among the largest on a single day under President Obama, puts the prison population below 100 for the first time since shortly after it opened in January 2002 to hold men suspected of links to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. There are now 93 still held.

Lee Wolosky, the State Department’s special envoy for Guantanamo Closure, said the United States expects to transfer the remaining prisoners who are cleared to leave, about a third of the total, by summer.

Guantanamo held nearly 680 prisoners at its peak in 2003 and about 245 when Obama took office, pledging to close it as a symbol of overreach in the war against terrorism and a needless propaganda symbol for enemies of the United States.

As if nothing really went wrong there, and the whole show, if you like, was based on lies. 

They took people who had nothing to do with 9/11, the people who were the framed patsies and those caught up in the dragnet that drove the pushing of the agenda so early on in those hectic and heady days of fear. 

By now the cat is out of the bag, most of the paying-attention world -- including other governments -- know 9/11 was an USraeli job. The framing narrative from their pre$$ organs and propaganda mouthpieces ever since has indicated it.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced the release of the Yemenis at a change-of-command ceremony in Miami at US Southern Command, which oversees Guantanamo. He said the administration would submit a plan to Congress, where many want to keep the prison open, to move those who can’t be freed to a facility in the United States.

That's important to remember because -- previous reports have admitted this, but we will see about the current spin on this issue, as if such things could be spun -- a number of those who have to be moved and can't be freed will be kept indefinitely in detention while never facing charges. There is no evidence against them, or the government claims some phony-baloney national security threat while citing future threats from the individuals.

With all due respect to the shrinks, the whole charade has reached a point of sickness with the damage too these unfortunates incalculable. It's a war-criminal government covering its war-criminal ass.

‘‘Not everyone in Gitmo can be safely transferred to another country, so we need an alternative,’’ Carter said.

It's a fate worse than death, actually. 

And with talk like that from good old Ash, what makes you think FEMA concentration camps aren't at least a consideration?


RelatedPentagon repatriates last Kuwaiti prisoner at Guantanamo Bay

Going home to the po$h lifestyle after fulfilling his mission?

"There are 91 men left in the prison at Guantanamo Bay" by Ben Fox Associated Press  February 05, 2016

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — Empty cells outnumber occupied ones. There are fewer prisoners than the assorted medical personnel to care for them. The number of hunger strikers is down to a handful.

The Pentagon told the media to stop reporting those.

After 14 years, the detention center on the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, appears to be winding down despite opposition in Congress to President Obama’s intent to close the facility, which once held nearly 700 people, and confine the remaining prisoners someplace else.

A military task force of 2,000 is now devoted to holding just 91 men, a number expected to drop by a third this summer.

The military this week allowed journalists inside the detention center, a cluster of camps encircled by razor wire amid the rolling hills and cactus of southeastern Cuba, for the first time since a series of recent releases brought the population below 100, the lowest number since shortly after it opened to hold suspected enemy combatants. Officials portrayed the environment as calmer, with few attacks on the Army soldiers who guard the men and fewer disciplinary problems overall, perhaps related to the fact that for many their long period of confinement is nearing an end.

‘‘I believe there is some optimism on the part of the detainees who are left here that they might be next,’’ said Army Col. David Heath, commander of the guard force.

Obama is expected later this month to submit a Guantanamo closure plan to Congress, where it is likely to encounter the same resistance that has prevented the president from making good on the vow to close the facility he made shortly after taking office.

That's a lie. The president could issue an order as commander-in-chief and close it right now.

Yup, he can fire off environmental and immigration diktats that are against the law, but when it comes to stopping torture.... ah, never mind the wails, screams, and cries. He can't hear 'em.

Soon, however, officials hope there may be so few prisoners that some of the opposition will melt away.

Cryptic, but that's what you think looking at cell walls -- metaphorically speaking.

What other scribblings are there?

The remaining prisoners include 34 who authorities have determined can be released without a security risk, most of whom are from Yemen. The U.S. won’t send Yemeni prisoners to their homeland because it is too unstable and it must find other countries to take them. Lee Wolosky, the State Department’s special envoy for Guantanamo Closure, said in January that it was expected to be done by the summer.

You know what it is? 

That dog-gone global warming thing. 

I mean, look at Alaska

Now about that prison they want to build in Kansas....

The remaining 57 pose a more complex challenge. Some cannot be charged because there is insufficient evidence against them or what there is has been tainted by their treatment in custody.

That's a polite way of saying all the "testimony" gained from torture has to be thrown out.

Some were either designated for prosecution or for indefinite detention under the international laws of war.



I doubt indefinite detention without charge is lawful under international law, but be that as it may; I'm damn sure it is illegal under the Constitution of the United States -- even if this government doesn't abide by it and in fact violates it constantly. I know that makes me a, you know, for speaking my mind on my soapbox. 

Heck, it's an Easter sermon for God's sake -- and those lost souls down there, broken a charade to keep a cover story narrative going so murderous wars could be furthered.

Now they wanna let you out so they don't have to listen to it.

Seven of those in custody are in the early stages of trial by military commission, including the five men accused of planning and aiding the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, and three have been convicted and are serving sentences.

You got 15 years?

But military commissions have proven to be grindingly slow so the government is looking at ‘‘alternative dispositions’’ that would include transferring them overseas for prosecution in another country, according to an administration official.

Yeah, sometimes I think the legal $y$tem is set up that way. Thus the rich and powerful can always outlast common folk.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to discuss internal matters, declined to say which prisoners or where they might be sent but said they number about a dozen and would be sent to places whose citizens were victims of terrorist attacks.

The Justice Department is also considering an argument by lawyers for Guantanamo prisoners that some could be charged in federal court, something that had previously not been considered legally feasible. That option would increase the number who could be charged following court rulings that limited the jurisdiction of military commissions in terrorism cases.

Well, you know.... you shift a goal post or two.

Wells Dixon, a lawyer for a prisoner who pleaded guilty in the military commission and is awaiting a chance to testify in the slowly moving Sept. 11 case as part of a plea agreement, welcomed that approach. ‘‘I do think as a general matter that if the administration is serious about closing Guantanamo they are going to have to think creatively about options like federal court prosecutions,’’ he said.

Yeah, well, it's been that way from the beginning because they really don't want people going down that road in any way, and how do you like the outright flip to what can only be described as fascism?

The administration official said that through a combination of measures they could reduce the number of prisoners currently held at Guantanamo to an ‘‘irreducible number,’’ that could be small enough to make their presence in the United States acceptable to Congress.

Ooooohhhh, boy. 

They got us all worked up into a lather about IS -- cha-ching -- attacking anywhere at anytime and not knowing where are the Syrian terrorists hidden in the masses of Obama's Syrian war refugees -- still got a hug 'em here at home, though -- and know they want to hide these poor souls they locked up and tortured while sneaking them in like illegal immigrant kids. 

The metaphor for me is head-spinning by the propaganda pre$$ and its mixed messages. 

Only problem with that is it sooooo trivial what these poor innocents down there endured.

‘‘We are looking at ultimately two dozen people who we would be looking at holding in the United States. It’s a lot better than 90,’’ the official said. 

That they would be holding forever, and that's where my print ended.

At Guantanamo, which held nearly 680 prisoners at its peak in 2003 and about 245 when Obama took office, the dwindling population has made for a quieter detention center and one that is only partially being used. Half of the eight blocks in Camp 6 are being used and three of the four in Camp 5. Much of an area known as Camp Delta that used to house hundreds of prisoners is now used for administrative offices. 

Next thing you know they will be telling us it is a Club-Med destination -- and I say it should have reservations for Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and a few others if that is the case.

Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command until he left the post last month, said the operating
budget for the detention center is about $100 million

(Blog editor screams) 

Lies have a lot of hidden costs!

For now, officials at the base said there are
no plans to reduce the guard force or cut back troops, though they may consolidate prisoners within the camps. ‘‘We are looking at different ways to create efficiencies here and reduce the bill for the taxpayer,’’ Heath said. 

Oh, now they care about the taxpayer as visions of Nazi concentration camps run through my head. That's what they did. Consolidate for efficiency.


Looks like there will be no dinner tonight.

"Much of the blame for this lies with Congress, but the good news is that some progress is being made

I might have a hard time stomaching the rest.

There will almost certainly be a handful left over whom US officials deem too dangerous to let go, but impossible to prosecute successfully. They are currently held under laws of war that allow a country to keep “enemy combatants” until the end of a conflict. But what does that mean in an era of global, open-ended warfare against non-state actors? Americans have yet to agree. The lack of consensus should not prevent the closing of Guantanamo Bay, which has come to symbolize American hypocrisy and injustice

One more bite.

Moving detainees to US soil — even if they continue to be held without trial as “enemy combatants” — would be better than the status quo. How can we expect other countries to accept these detainees when we refuse to do so ourselves? And the smaller the number of detainees gets, the harder it will be to justify keeping the $400 million facility open. 

With a $100 million annual budget.

Members of Congress who care about government waste, and those who care about America’s image, must reverse their illogical ban on detainee transfers to the United States. If they refuse to do so, Obama should challenge the legality of their ban. If President George W. Bush had the power to create this problematic prison system, President Obama has the power to shut it down."

And he's going to use it:

"Obama pushes to close Guantanamo ‘once and for all’" by Lolita C. Baldor and Kathleen Hennessey Associated Press  February 23, 2016

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Tuesday proposed to ‘‘once and for all’’ close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transfer remaining detainees to a facility in the U.S., though his plan does not specify where.

Obama said that despite significant political hurdles and congressional opposition he is making one last effort to shutter the facility.

Rah. Rah.

"President Barack Obama's plan to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba slammed into a wall of Republican opposition on Tuesday, stopping cold Obama's hope for a bipartisan effort to "close a chapter" that began in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

The long-awaited proposal, which was requested by Congress, is Obama's last attempt to make good on an unfulfilled campaign promise by persuading Congress to change the law that prohibits moving detainees accused of violent extremist acts to U.S. soil. Fourteen years after the facility opened and seven years after Obama took office, the president argued it was "finally" time to shutter a facility that has sparked persistent legal battles, become a recruitment tool for Islamic militants and garnered strong opposition from some allies abroad."

It's the difference between print and web pieces, and I've been so abused I can remember which is which now.

‘‘I don’t want to pass this problem on the next president, whoever it is. Are we going to let this linger on for another 15 years?’’ he said, in an appearance at the White House. ‘‘Keeping this facility open is contrary to our values. It undermines our standing in the world. It is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding the highest standards of rule of law.’’

He's right about one thing there; otherwise, the decades of mass-murdering wars based on lies and all the war crimes that have flowed from them render the rest moot. 

Of course, he's contributed mightily to it during his eight years as well.

"I don't want to pass this problem onto the next president, whoever it is," Obama said in an appearance at the White House. "If we don't do what's required now, I think future generations are going to look back and ask why we failed to act when the right course, the right side of history, and justice and our best American traditions was clear." 

We already have. 

Despite the big ambitions, Obama's proposed path remained unclear. 

Like when he first started!

The plan leaves unanswered the politically thorny question of where in the U.S a new facility would be located. It offered broad cost estimates. The White House described it as more of a conversation starter than a definitive outline. 

Can you still snort in your cell?

Republican leaders in Congress showed no interest in having that conversation. 

Same with the judge, and what's wrong with "a court which is now evenly split 4-to-4 along ideological lines?" 

The way I see, that is less damage they can do. 

No split ruling? 

No harm, no foul!!

"We will review President Obama's plan but since it includes bringing dangerous terrorists to facilities in U.S. communities, he knows that the bipartisan will of Congress has already been expressed against that proposal," said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky. 

Oh, yeah, did they tell you a whole bunch of Democrats also rose in objection?

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Obama had yet to convince Americans that moving detainees to U.S. soil is "smart or safe." 


"It is against the law — and it will stay against the law," Ryan said. 

What does that mean when they are arbitrarily enforced?

Even Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a former prisoner of war and an advocate of closing the prison, called Obama's report a "vague menu of options," which does not include a policy for dealing with future detainees."

McCain's shame!!

Obama’s proposal ducks the thorny question of where the new facility would be located and whether Obama could complete the closure before he leaves office. The proposal is part of Obama’s last effort to make good on his unfulfilled 2008 campaign vow to close Guantanamo and persuade lawmakers to allow the Defense Department to move nearly 60 detainees to the U.S. but with few specifics.

I guess it's a mix and match thing.

Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, chairman of House Armed Services Committee, has said his panel would hold a hearing on a closure plan. But he sent a letter to Obama warning that Congress has made clear what details must be included in any plan and that anything less than that would be unacceptable. They say the plan doesn’t recommend a preferred site and the cost estimates are meant to provide a starting point for a conversation with Congress.

The seven facilities reviewed by a Pentagon assessment team last year were: the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks and Midwest Joint Regional Corrections Facility at Leavenworth, Kansas; the Consolidated Naval Brig, Charleston, South Carolina; the Federal Correctional Complex, which includes the medium, maximum and supermax facilities in Florence, Colorado; and the Colorado State Penitentiary II in Canon City, Colorado, also known as the Centennial Correctional Facility.

According to the officials, the U.S. facilities would cost between $265 million and $305 million to operate each year. The annual operating cost for Guantanamo is $445 million, but the officials said the Cuba detention center will need about $225 million in repairs and construction costs if it continues to be used.


And if you want to build (will help the economy, right?):

They said it will cost between $290 million and $475 million for construction at the various U.S. sites, depending on the location. Some of the more expensive sites are on the military bases, which would need more construction.

Does that make sense?

Because of the annual operating savings, the officials said the U.S. would make up the initial construction costs in three to five years.

Does that make sense? 

They are going to save us money to sustain a lie. 


More detailed spending figures, which are considered classified, will be provided to Congress, said the officials, who were not authorized to discuss the plan publicly ahead of its release, so spoke on condition of anonymity.

But its taxpayers money.

Late last year, other U.S. officials said that the assessments done by the Pentagon team suggested that the Centennial Correctional Facility in Colorado is a more suitable site to send detainees whom officials believe should never be released. Those officials were not authorized to discuss that matter publicly, so spoke on condition of anonymity.

You see, readers? 

I remember. 

I remember!

Members of Congress have been demanding the Guantanamo plan for months, and those representing South Carolina, Kansas and Colorado have voiced opposition to housing the detainees in their states.

Regardless of party affiliation.

‘‘I remain committed to blocking the transfer of Guantanamo detainees anywhere in the United States, especially Fort Leavenworth,’’ Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., said in a statement Tuesday. ‘‘We must safeguard the missions on Fort Leavenworth, the nearly 14,000 military and civilian personnel and their family members, and the thousands of Kansans who live in the Leavenworth community.’’

He makes it sound like they are releasing these guys into the community.

The administration is currently prohibited by law from moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States.

Like that ever stopped 'em before!

Obama has long opposed that prohibition and the White House has not ruled out the possibility that the president may attempt to close the prison through executive action. The plan submitted Tuesday does not address that option, officials said.

That got my attention! 

Go for it! 

I'll actually back 'em on that. 

Probably do it in the lame-duck period after November so that it won't be a yoke on the next monster that takes office, whomever they be.

"Momentum to close the facility has slowed dramatically under Obama's tenure. Congress remains deadlocked on far less contentious matters, and the issue has little resonance on the presidential campaign trail. 

Well, you are far off the trail here.

Still, for Obama, the facility stands as painful reminder of the limits on his power: His first executive order sketched out a timeline for closing the prison, but was ultimately derailed by Congress.

The White House has not ruled out the possibility that the president may again attempt to close the prison through executive action — a move that would directly challenge Congress' authority. The plan submitted Tuesday does not address that option.

Instead, the proposal reflects the administration's strategy of shrinking the population, hoping the cost of housing the diminished population would ultimately make closure inevitable."

How my print ended, more or less verbatim overlap:

There are currently 91 detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Of those, 35 are expected to be transferred out by this summer. The rest are either facing trial by military commission or have been determined to be too dangerous to release but are not facing chargesSome can’t be charged because of insufficient evidence and some may face future prosecution or have been designated for indefinite detention under the international laws of war.

Not, for obvious reasons.

The plan, which was requested by Congress, makes a financial argument for closing the controversial detention center.

Yeah, I like that, too, but the top thing is IT'S WRONG!

I'm one of them people who doesn't like my country be attached to such things because of a government operating without permission or sanction.

U.S. officials say it calls for up to $475 million in construction costs that would ultimately be offset by as much as $180 million per year in operating cost savings.

I didn't highlight that, but read it again. 

Spending more money will save them money. 

If that's the thinking down there, there is no wonder the nation's bankrupting into oblivion.

U.S. officials say the plan considers, but does not name, 13 different locations in the U.S., including seven existing prison facilities in Colorado, South Carolina and Kansas, as well as six other locations on current military bases. The proposal may only further antagonize lawmakers who have repeatedly passed legislation banning any effort to move detainees to the U.S.

 It's the opposite of base closings.

Advocates of closing Guantanamo say the prison has long been a recruiting tool for militant groups and that holding extremists suspected of violent acts indefinitely without charges or trial sparks anger and dismay among U.S. allies.

Opponents, however, say changing the detention center’s zip code won’t eliminate that problem.

On that point, Obama’s proposal faced criticism even from those who endorse closing the detention center. His initial campaign pledge was widely viewed as a promise to end the practice of detaining prisoners indefinitely without charge, not to bring that practice to the U.S., said Naureen Shah, director of Amnesty International USA’s Security and Human Rights Program.

‘‘Whatever the president proposes, even if it doesn’t come to fruition, the administration is changing the goal posts on this issue,’’ she said....

Talk about moving goal posts!


Maybe they could stay at your House:

"House is preparing legal challenge on Guantanamo, Ryan says" Associated Press  February 24, 2016

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday Republicans are taking legal steps to stop President Barack Obama from closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a day after the president unveiled his plan to shutter the facility and move the detainees to the United States.


But he's going to change the rules at the Republican convention as to deny Trump.

Ryan told reporters that lawmakers have the votes to block Obama’s plan in Congress and enough votes to override any veto.

Then why the legal bull?

Separately, the Wisconsin Republican said the GOP is ‘‘preparing our legal challenge’’ to ensure the prison remains open and detainees aren’t moved to the U.S.

Earlier this month, House Republicans awarded the Jones Day law firm a $150,000 contract to perform the legal work in case Obama tries to move Guantanamo detainees to federal prisons.

‘‘These detainees cannot come to American soil,’’ Ryan said.

Obama has pushed to fulfill a 2008 campaign promise and close Guantanamo, arguing that the facility is a recruitment tool for terrorism worldwide and opposed by some allies.

I'll take just one, and if this is it....

The president has faced strong opposition in Congress, where Republicans and some Democrats maintain there is no alternative and argue they don’t want these detainees transferred to U.S. prisons, even maximum security facilities. 

First I've scene of 'em, and it wasn't in print.

Under Obama’s plan, roughly 35 of the 91 current prisoners will be transferred to other countries in the coming months, leaving up to 60 detainees who are either facing trial by military commission or have been determined to be too dangerous to release but are not facing charges.

Those detainees would be relocated to a U.S. facility.

Ryan said Obama’s plan flouts a longstanding ban annually passed by Congress that blocks the president from transferring Guantanamo detainees to U.S. soil.

‘‘If the president proceeds with knowingly breaking the law ... he will be met with fierce bipartisan opposition here in Congress and we are taking all legal preparations necessary to meet with that resistance,’’ Ryan told reporters. ‘‘He can’t do it because the law is really clear. I’ll just leave it at that.’’ 

Did he say impeachment, because if not get off the pot.

Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., criticized Republicans for spending taxpayer dollars on the issue. 

That made me laugh.

‘‘Republicans must stop playing politics with our national security and stop awarding no-bid, taxpayer-funded contracts to politically-connected Washington lawyers to the tune of hundreds of dollars an hour,’’ Hammill said.

In the Senate, Armed Services Chairman John McCain dismissed the plan as incomplete and said GOP senators would join their House counterparts on any legal challenge.

‘‘Absolutely,’’ McCain told reporters at a news conference, adding that Obama has ‘‘a proclivity to act by executive order.’’ 

So did Bush and you were for it. Big game you guys down there play.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the Senate would hold hearings on Obama’s plan in the coming weeks.


Hear this!

"Many at Guantanamo apparently not ‘too dangerous’ after all" by Ben Fox Associated Press  March 19, 2016

MIAMI — In the last comprehensive review of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. government decided nearly 50 were ‘‘too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution,’’ leaving them in an open-ended legal limbo.

Now it seems many may not be so dangerous after all.

A review board that includes military and intelligence officials has been taking a hard look at these men and helping to steadily chip away at the list of indefinite detainees, who are a significant obstacle to President Barack Obama’s push to shut down the detention center at the U.S. military base in Cuba.

The first 23 decisions announced by the Periodic Review Board as of this month have skewed heavily in favor of the prisoners. It has unanimously cleared 19 for release, and said five will continue to be held but will be re-evaluated again later. Some of the approved have already left Guantanamo while the rest are expected to depart over the summer.

Lawyers for detainees welcomed the initial results, although they say the men shouldn’t have been held without charge for so long in the first place.


‘‘These people have not been reviewed in over six years. They have changed, circumstances have changed, and they have needed a fresh look,’’ said Pardiss Kebriaei, a lawyer for the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights who represented a prisoner cleared by the Periodic Review Board.

The deliberations of the board are private. But David Glazier, a professor at Loyola Law School who has analyzed records of the proceedings released by the Pentagon, said the members appear to be treating past assessments of prisoners ‘‘with a healthier degree of skepticism’’ than officials did in the past.

‘‘If you just care about justice for human beings it’s a little odd that it’s taken 14 years to ask the questions in a hard enough way to discover that,’’ said Glazier, a former Navy officer and expert in military law.

And if you don't care.... yeah.

Detainees approved for release by the board over the past two years have included a Saudi accused of being a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden who waged one of the longest hunger strikes while at Guantanamo and a Kuwaiti who was alleged to be a ‘‘spiritual adviser’’ to the al-Qaida leader, though he would only have been about 20 at the time.

Turns out bin Laden was a crank conspiracy guy (ha-ha-ha-ha).

A Yemeni prisoner was cleared in January after authorities determined he was just a low-level jihadist fighter but had been mistaken for an al-Qaida facilitator or courier with a similar alias. 

I smell a lawsuit.

In Congress, where there is strong opposition to closing the detention center, the administration is seen as moving too fast to release men some fear will resume the behavior that got them locked up in the first place. ‘‘The administration’s mad rush to push detainees on allies and partners has to stop,’’ Rep. Ed Royce, a California Republican who is chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said in January after 10 prisoners on the cleared list of 2010 were sent to Oman for resettlement.

There are 91 men held at Guantanamo, down from nearly 250 when Obama assumed the presidency. Those left include 36 who are cleared for release if security conditions can be met in the countries where they will settle. Seven face trial by military commission, including five charged with planning and supporting the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001. Three others have been convicted.

The Obama administration wants to close the detention center and hopes to overcome the opposition in Congress to moving any prisoners to the U.S. by bringing down the population at Guantanamo to what officials have called the ‘‘irreducible minimum.’’

The administration says it has no plans to go further and turn the base itself over to Cuba — a demand Obama is likely to hear during his visit to Havana starting Sunday. 

I'll be getting into that shortly.

The January 2010 review designated 48 men for indefinite detention under the international law of war until the end of hostilities, a vague time frame in the war against terrorist groups such as al-Qaida. It also said 44 other detainees should be considered for prosecution. But few can now be tried due to court rulings that limited the jurisdiction of military commissions and the ban on sending them to the U.S., where they might otherwise be tried in federal court.

Men from both categories are now eligible to go before the Periodic Review Board, including some not likely to be released.

‘‘There are people in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility who it is not safe to transfer ... They have to stay in U.S. detention,’’ Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters last month.

The board is made up of representatives of six agencies, including the Defense Department, Justice Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence. They convene in Arlington, Virginia, while the detainee sits in a trailer on the base, one foot shackled to the floor. They communicate by video teleconference.

Board members consider not just past allegations, but whether the detainee could pose a threat in the future, weighing such factors as his behavior while in custody and what he might do after Guantanamo, said David Remes, a Washington-based lawyer who has represented four detaineees cleared by the board.

That is SO UN-AMERICAN!!!!

‘‘These guys have been held at Guantanamo for 14 plus years, most of them. It’s not that surprising that after all this time the board concludes that they are no longer significant threats,’’ Remes said.

The Director of National Intelligence reported this month that 5 percent of Guantanamo prisoners released since January 2009, when the U.S. began using the multi-agency screening process, have re-engaged in terrorism and 8 percent are suspected of it. That compares to 21 percent confirmed and 14 percent suspected under the earlier system.

Typical of those cleared for release by the PRB is Ghaleb al-Bihani. Born in Saudi Arabia but a citizen of Yemen, he traveled to Afghanistan as a 22-year-old and trained at an al-Qaida camp. 

As usual, the Saudis are supplying the manpower.

His lawyers told the board he worked as an assistant cook. When he appeared before the board, he assured the members he would lead a peaceful life, that all he wanted was to get out of Guantanamo, get an education and find a wife. He has studied English and Spanish while at Guantanamo and asked the board to send him to Europe, Latin America, Asia or Qatar.

‘‘I am against violence and I want to build a new life,’’ he said, according to a transcript released by the Pentagon.

He may get that chance. The Pentagon announced about a month after his hearing that he was cleared for release. But that was two years ago and his lawyer says his departure is long overdue.

‘‘Most of these men want to forget about this chapter, want to forget that Guantanamo ever happened to them,’’ Kebriaei said.

We can never forget.


RelatedOfficials say ex-Guantanamo prisoners have killed Americans

Now the defense's closing argument: 

"After more than a decade of sustained war, when multiple deployments were the rule and not the exception, the moral obligation for veterans preference has grown exponentially. We have an all-volunteer military, in which, since 9/11, only about 1 percent of the population has served through two wars that took lives, limbs, and peace of mind. 

The other 1%?

Veterans preference is one of the few incentives afforded those who volunteer for military service. Of course, there is a simple way to eliminate the need for veterans preference, and that is to institute mandatory national service, so that everyone can be a veteran. Bringing back the draft would have the added benefit of eliminating unnecessary wars, because politicians and their richest backers won’t start the wars they’ve been sending other people’s kids to fight. But that isn’t going to happen." 

Comes off as antiwar, but that's no defense at all. That's about as close as they get to criticizing the people he works for.

Didn't the Nazis compel "national service?" 

Some of those being released aren't leaving:

"Guantánamo detainee refuses to leave" by Charlie Savage New York Times  January 21, 2016

WASHINGTON — Three Guantánamo detainees were slated to leave the US prison in Cuba this week after about 14 years in captivity. But early Wednesday morning, only two were willing to board the plane.

The third, Mohammed Ali Abdullah Bwazir of Yemen, balked at the last minute, even though he has a history of hunger striking to protest his indefinite detention without trial. In recent days, Bwazir was “frightened” to leave the prison and go to a country where he has no family, his lawyer, John Chandler, said. The country has not been identified.

Chandler also said his client, who was born around 1980 and brought to Guantánamo in 2002, was depressed. He compared his client to a character in the prison movie “The Shawshank Redemption” who has spent so much of his life behind bars that he cannot handle life on the outside after finally being paroled.

Well, this isn't a movie!

“Can you imagine being there for 14 years, and going to a plane where you could finally leave, and saying ‘No, take me back to my cell?’ ” Chandler said. “This is one of the saddest days of my life.”

Chandler said that he had spoken to Bwazir by phone repeatedly in recent weeks and that his client had said he wanted to go to a country where he had relatives like the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, or Indonesia. Bwazir had reluctantly said he would go when they last spoke Tuesday night, his lawyer said, but apparently changed his mind. Chandler said he understood that the door was now closed on the opportunity.

All because they wanted to dump him in the middle of nowhere with no money, no connections, nothing, not even a goddamn apology.

Ian Moss, the chief of staff for the State Department’s office of Guantánamo Bay closure, confirmed the incident but would not say which country had agreed to take in Bwazir or whether the department was negotiating with it to take someone else instead.

Little patsy pawns!

Earlier in the Obama administration, five Uighur detainees — Muslims from China — rejected offers to be resettled in Palau or the Maldives, spending several more years at Guantánamo before they were finally transferred to El Salvador and Slovakia.

On Wednesday, one of the two detainees who did board the plane was Tariq Mahmoud Ahmed al Sawah, who was born in Egypt and sent to Bosnia, where he is a dual citizen, according to a leaked dossier. The other detainee was Abdul Aziz Abdullah Ali al Suadi, a Yemeni who was resettled in Montenegro.


Where did they send those guys?

"Ex-Guantanamo detainees thank Ghana for taking them in" Associated Press  January 12, 2016

ACCRA, Ghana — Two former Guantanamo prisoners thanked Ghana for allowing them to settle in the country following their release, as the president of the West African nation sought to quell fears that the men posed any danger.

The two Yemenis, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, were held at the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as enemy combatants, accused of training with al-Qaida and fighting with the Taliban. They had been cleared for release in 2009, but the U.S. won’t send Guantanamo prisoners to Yemen because of instability there and officials had to find another country to accept them.

They had to wait seven years for that?

Ghana’s president, John Mahama, on Tuesday urged residents to not be fearful nearly a week after the government announced it would allow the two Guantanamo Bay detainees to resettle in Ghana.

I wouldn't be. 

I mean, once you know "terrorism" is all intelligence agency creations and allied operations it all falls apart!

Mahama said that the country took in the detainees after a direct request by the U.S. government, with whom he said Ghana has been partners in every sphere. He said ‘‘no monetary consideration was made to us’’ to accept them. 

Ah, an ally that was threatened with a cutoff of funds if they didn't do this.

Mahama reassured the public saying ‘‘I will not take any decision that will jeopardize the safety of the nation.’’

Al-Dhuby and Bin Atef, who are in their 30s, are the first Guantanamo prisoners resettled in sub-Sahara Africa, and among the first wave of 17 expected to be released this month.

Bin Atef told Ghana Broadcasting Corp. radio they are grateful to the people of Ghana for accepting them.

‘‘We have
been wrongly arrested for 14 years without any charge against us and we have suffered,’’ he said on an interview that aired Tuesday. ‘‘We are not looking for revenge because we are not bitter. We only want to live in Ghana because we couldn’t go back to our country because of the current conflict situation.’’ 



Might have some torture scars, too!

The foreign ministry said they would be able to leave after two years. Bin Atef said ‘‘We look forward to go back to our country.’’

On Monday, the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, the Christian Council of Ghana and the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council all asked the government to reconsider the decision in separate statements that questioned the security risks.

President Barack Obama’s administration seeks to whittle down the population of low-level prisoners as part of a broader effort, opposed by many in Congress, to close the detention center and move remaining detainees to the U.S.


So what other African countries will take 'em?

"Algeria’s Parliament OKs new constitution with term limits" Associated Press  February 07, 2016

ALGIERS — Algeria’s Parliament overwhelmingly approved a new constitution aimed at reforming the country by limiting presidents to two terms and recognizing the language used by its Berber minority as official.

Sounds good to me.

The text was presented Sunday to the Assembly and the Senate — with 499 lawmakers voting for it, two against, and 16 abstentions. The reforms were promised by 79-year-old President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and his government following the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings in neighboring countries.

Trumpeting the victory, Algeria’s Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal said ‘‘history will remember that you all have contributed to a renewed republic, to which the people can aspire.’’

I don't.

The new constitution limits presidents to two five-year terms, even though the long-ailing Bouteflika was elected for a fourth term himself in 2014. It also requires a parliamentary majority to name a prime minister, who is now appointed by the president.

It also includes Amazigh as an official language. The move was hailed by activists, who had pushed for the recognition for years. Arabic will remain the country’s official government language.

Last week, a law was enacted that punishes violence against women and sexual harassment. Feminist groups had long fought for the law.


Where else?

"Officials say police have restored order in the southern city of Roquetas de Mar after clashes broke out following the stabbing death of an immigrant, allegedly by a Spanish resident in a road-rage incident. Interior Ministry spokesman Andres Garcia Lorca says 100 officers are on duty Saturday after garbage containers were set on fire and property was damaged during nighttime altercations. Regional government spokesman Gabriel Amat says scuffles broke out in a poor part of the town mainly inhabited by immigrants who work in the region’s sprawling greenhouses after the body of a 42-year-old immigrant from Guinea-Bissau was found. Residents had celebrated on Wednesday when news broke that a lottery agency in the city had sold over 1,000 winning tickets in Spain’s rich Christmas lottery."

No, they are Muslim:

"Residents in the Senegalese town of Kaolack say police have arrested 11 people accused of homosexual acts. Boukhari Ndiaye said the arrested were among 20 people attending a celebration of a gay marriage at a school in the town about 125 miles southeast of the capital, Dakar, on Friday. He said the 11 remain at the police station. Homosexual acts are criminalized in at least 34 African countries, including Senegal, where they are punishable by up to five years prison and fines of up to $2,500. A well-known Senegalese journalist was sentenced in July to six months in prison for acts of homosexuality."

Didn't they have some kind of vote?

"Senegal voted on a constitutional referendum that proposes 15 major changes. In contrast with many African leaders, Senegal’s President Macky Sall is asking voters to shorten the presidential term from seven years to five."

Other candidates:

"Republic of Congo: President Denis Sassou N’Guesso, 72, who has been in power for more than 30 years, is seeking another term after he organized a constitutional referendum that did away with an age limit that would have disqualified him from running again. His critics denounced the vote as a ‘‘constitutional coup.’’

The Globe did not endorse him. 

"Zanzibar: A low turnout marked a rerun of elections in Zanzibar, the semiautonomous archipelago, as the main opposition party boycotted the vote."

Not really a legitimate vote then, is it?

"Benin: President Thomas Boni Yayi is stepping down after the maximum of two terms, enhancing the West African country’s democratic credentials. The race was between the current prime minister, Lionel Zinsou, and a prominent businessman, Patrice Talon, who was once accused of trying to poison the outgoing president."

And I thought our politics were rough. 


"Benin prime minister concedes defeat in presidential runoff" Associated Press  March 22, 2016

COTONOU, Benin — Benin’s prime minister phoned businessman Patrice Talon on Monday to concede defeat and congratulate him on his victory in the West African country’s presidential runoff election, one of five national elections held Sunday across Africa.

Benin’s president, Thomas Boni Yayi, is stepping down after two terms. The smooth transition contrasts sharply with that in other African countries, where leaders have recently extended their rule by amending their countries’ constitutions to remove term limits.

Prime Minister Lionel Zinsou said late Sunday in a statement provisional results showed a clear victory for Talon.

Zinsou, a French-born investment banker named prime minister last year, said that he called Talon, known locally as ‘‘the king of cotton,’’ to say he would help with the transition.

He's out?

Benin’s electoral commission will announce official provisional results in the coming days before the Constitutional Court ratifies them.

Talon trailed Zinsou after the first round of votes March 6. He has denied plotting to poison Boni Yayi and authorities permitted his return from France last October.

Just the suggestion did it.

In other elections Sunday:

■ Zanzibar: The election commission said Monday that Tanzania’s ruling party won a presidential vote rerun in the semiautonomous archipelago off the coast of Tanzania.

Jecha Salim Jecha, the head of the commission, announced that President Ali Mohamed Shein of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi party had been reelected with more than 91 percent of the votes.

Zanzibar’s main opposition party, the Civic United Front, and its ally Chadema boycotted the rerun, saying it violates electoral laws and the constitution of Zanzibar. The electoral commission annulled results of the presidential election in October that the Civic United Front believes it won.

■ Senegal: Early results for Senegal’s referendum showed the West African nation will approve changes to its constitution, including a proposal to reduce the length of the president’s term in office, reported l’Observateur.

Of the fifth of votes counted, 55 percent of them back the changes, while 45 percent oppose, according to the newspaper, based in the capital, Dakar. About 40 percent of registered voters cast a ballot, it said.

Voters were asked whether they want to reduce the time a president serves to five years from seven. The change has the support of President Macky Sall, who was elected in 2012 on a promise to cut the term his predecessor had extended.

■ Republic of Congo: The longtime President Denis Sassou N’Guesso faced off against eight opponents Sunday in a presidential contest held five months after a referendum removed term and age limits that would have barred him from running. Results had not been reported Monday.

The run-up to October’s referendum was marred by violence, with security forces cracking down on antireferendum demonstrators. The official death toll was three, though critics of Sassou N’Guesso say the number of demonstrators killed was likely higher. 

Is that where AmeriKan elections are headed?

Residents of the capital, Brazzaville, were worried about security during the vote. ‘‘All conditions are currently met for political violence in Brazzaville,’’ said Marcelle Foundou, who lives in the city’s southern Bacongo neighborhood but has temporarily moved to a northern neighborhood believed to be safer....

I pray to God no.


Got some things to do in the Congo:

"Congo drafts new adoption legislation, reviews pending cases" Associated Press  January 19, 2016

KINSHASA, Congo — Congo has drafted new adoption legislation and reviewed cases pending since it halted international adoptions in 2013, the government said Tuesday.

Among the recommendations in the legislation, international adoptions will only be allowed if solutions in Congo are lacking, both in the family and public, said government spokesman Lambert Mende. The new law also states that those seeking to adopt must present themselves before a tribunal in Congo and adoptions will only be considered from countries with good diplomatic relations with Congo, he said.

The law obliges the government ‘‘to fight against human trafficking as well as other risks to which children may be exposed when taken from their natural environment for permanent care in another country,’’ said Mende.

Authorities in Congo put a halt to international adoptions in 2013, saying their adoption system was beset by corruption and falsified documents. The adoptions had been legally approved by the Congolese courts but then the government suspended the issuing of exit permits, causing heartache and frustration for families around the world.

In November, Congolese authorities approved exit permits for about 72 children — 14 for children adopted by Americans and about 58 for children adopted by Canadian and European families. But more than 1,000 children whose adoptions had been approved remain in Congolese orphanages and foster homes pending the completion of the new adoption law.

The Congo embassy in Washington says the draft law will be voted on in March.

‘‘The government has completed its review of all international adoption applications that have been pending since the establishment of a moratorium in 2013,’’ Francois Balumuene, Congo’s ambassador to the United States, said in a statement. ‘‘Adoptive parents will be informed of decisions made on these cases by their respective embassies soon.’’


The reason is, I hate to say it, is because of the indentured slavery and child pedophile networks of the elite. That's why these countries do these kinds of things. 

But enough looking at that:

"Congolese politician convicted of war crimes" by Marlise Simons New York Times   March 22, 2016

PARIS — The International Criminal Court convicted a Congolese politician, Jean-Pierre Bemba, of war crimes and crimes against humanity Monday, finding him culpable for a devastating campaign of rape, murder, and torture in the Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003.

That was central to yesterday's posts.

A panel of three judges convicted Bemba of murder and pillaging and defined the large-scale rape by his soldiers as a crime against humanity and as a war crime.

It is; it's just not applied across the whole scale, nor does it rise to certain levels.

Other international courts, including the UN tribunals for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and in Rwanda, have issued convictions for rape as a war crime and a crimes against humanity, but Monday was the first time the International Criminal Court, in The Hague, has done so.

Not to soft sell it, but why is the pre$$ discarding the other two? 

Because they are not gender specific and could implicate our own leaders?

Largely because of pressure from human rights advocates and women’s groups, organized or mass rape is increasingly being recognized and prosecuted as a weapon of war, not as a byproduct of it.

The conviction of Bemba — who was far from the battleground while his militia committed its crimes — was noteworthy in a second respect: It was the first time the court has applied the principle of command or superior responsibility. The judges found that Bemba was culpable for having “failed to prevent” the crimes committed by his subordinates and for doing nothing to punish the offenses.


Mr Bush, Mr Bliar, please step before the bar. 

How do you plead?

The judges on the panel were all women. The presiding judge, Sylvia Steiner of Brazil, read a summary of the verdict, noting such crimes as the gang rape of women and girls as young as 10. Some were assaulted in the presence of family members and other children, she said.

Géraldine Mattioli-Zeltner, international justice advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, said the verdict “offers a stark reminder to commanders — military and civilian — that they are responsible for preventing and halting any attacks by their forces on civilians and for punishing violators.”

Take it to Israel's echelon of leaders.

She said the case also highlights the use of rape as a weapon of war, and she called for additional prosecutions of war crimes perpetrators in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

It's awful, it's horrible, it's something I would never do, but in the end you are still whole and alive in body, right? Mind may be damaged, but that can be overcome. 

Those other weapons of war result in death and dismemberment, no matter what age or gender you are. 

And what of the environmental devastation and resulting sicknesses and cancers that result?

Bemba is only the third person — but the most senior — to be found guilty in the history of the court, a tribunal that opened in 2002 to deal with large-scale atrocities. The others were Congolese warlords: Thomas Lubanga, convicted in 2012, and Germain Katanga, found guilty in 2014, each in connection with atrocities in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

I'm sure I could punch in the names and come up with something here, but....

The UN high commissioner for human rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, praised the verdict but said, “Much remains to be done to ensure justice for the many other terrible crimes that have been committed in CAR since 2002, not least the large-scale violations and abuses committed over the past three years.”

A millionaire businessman from a prominent family, Bemba was vice president before going into exile after losing a 2006 election. His arrest in 2008, during a visit to Belgium, was a shock in Congo. Many Congolese had regarded him as untouchable. Bemba tried, without success, to claim diplomatic immunity.

Prosecutors say that Bemba sent 1,500 members of his Congolese militia into the neighboring Central African Republic, in late 2002 and early 2003, to help put down a military coup there.

The case was notable in part for its focus on rape, which the prosecution said was a main part of the militia’s strategy. Fighters raped not only women and girls in front of their families, but also men and important elders to publicly debase them, prosecutors said.

I'm speechless.

Defense lawyers argued that Bemba had no authority over the militia and that it followed the army of the Central African Republic once it left Congo.

The trial of Bemba began in November 2010, but the proceedings were delayed — notably by an investigation that led to separate charges against Bemba and four associates that they had tried to bribe witnesses to get them testify in Bemba’s favor at his war crimes trial. Closing arguments were delivered in November 2014.


RelatedICC orders Ugandan militia fighter to stand trial

It's related to Kony, and I'd say the ICC is racist but they do prosecute poor and recalcitrant whites, too.

Also seeIndiana authorities investigate 3 fatally shot in home


Karadzic verdict is a victory for civilization

Snow, rain help crews fighting Kansas wildfires

2 suspects in Ivory Coast beach attack arrested in Mali

Also see: Ivory Coast Crisis Drill


"The United Nations mission in Congo says it has received allegations of sexual abuse by Tanzanian peacekeepers based in northeast Congo. The statement late Friday said a response team has been dispatched to investigate Mavivi village where there is initial evidence of sexual abuse of minors and transactional sex, as well as paternity claims. The UN has been in the spotlight for months over allegations of sexual abuses by its peacekeepers, especially those based in Central African Republic and Congo."

Has it been?

Related: Africa Central to Today's Posts 

These are the perverts trying war criminals, huh?

Ex-militia attack military, police in Republic of Congo

2 Libyan Guantánamo detainees are transferred to Senegal

The Congre$$ wants them “locked up forever.”

"The United States on Saturday transferred nine Yemeni detainees from its prison at Guantánamo Bay to Saudi Arabia, completing a long-sought diplomatic deal ahead of a planned visit to Riyadh by President Obama in the coming week. The effort to persuade the Saudi government to take the prisoners began in George W. Bush’s administration and finally resulted in an agreement in February. Current and former officials familiar with the negotiations called the timing of the transfer, which reduced the population at Guantánamo to 80 prisoners, a coincidence. The military brought each of the prisoners from the Afghanistan war to Guantánamo about 14 years ago, soon after the Bush administration opened the prison in early 2002. Later, the Bush administration decided to try to close it, a goal the Obama administration has shared. But finding places to transfer the large number of lower-level Yemeni detainees there has been a big obstacle. US officials have been reluctant to repatriate them because Yemen is chaotic and has an active Al Qaeda affiliate (AP)."