Obama pushing again to ease Gitmo transfers
By Nedra Pickler ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is pushing to overcome obstacles to closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, setting the White House on a collision course with Congress in its bid to loosen restrictions for moving out detainees.
Administration officials say a Senate defense-policy bill coming up for debate within days would allow them to move out prisoners who long have been cleared for transfer overseas but are still held, in part because of a complicated Pentagon certification process.
- The bill would ease those restrictions and lift a ban on bringing suspected terrorist prisoners from Guantanamo to the United States for detention, trial or emergency medical treatment.
Obama has wanted to close Guantanamo since taking office, but restrictions imposed by Congress have slowed movement out of the prison to a virtual standstill. The White House effort to lighten those barriers faces dogged resistance, with opponents pointing out that some former detainees have joined terrorist efforts after being released from the remote U.S. naval prison in Cuba.
Even if the Senate passes the White House-backed legislation, the House this year approved a measure that further restricts transfers, including an outright ban on sending detainees to Yemen. More than half of the 164 detainees are from Yemen, which is also home to the world’s most-active al-Qaida branch.
Obama himself imposed a ban on Yemeni transfers from Guantanamo after a Nigerian man attempted to blow up a U.S.-bound flight on Christmas 2009 with explosives hidden in his underwear on instructions from al-Qaida operatives in Yemen. But Obama lifted that moratorium in his speech on May 23 at National Defense University in which he said Guantanamo “has become a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law.”
In a letter to Congress last week, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper listed examples of al-Qaida citing Guantanamo to justify its activities.
“Closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility would deprive al-Qaida’s leaders of the ability to use the alleged ongoing mistreatment of detainees to further their global jihadist narrative,” Clapper wrote.
- The administration also points to Guantanamo’s high cost. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Congress that annual spending on Guantanamo was $454 million — or about $2.7 million per detainee.
This is, in fact one of the most stupid calculations on the part of Congress with all the games they like to play in their childish moves — too ignorant even for the level of understanding of childhood play-ground activity.
Everyone gets the message, Congress. All of us know what you are after — the total annilalation of anything Barack Obama might want to do. No system in the world can function properly without it’s justice system, yet you have mercilessly blocked any and all of the highly qualified individuals being put up.
An urgent goal was to close the Guantanamo Bay Prison. No matter that these humans are being submitted to torturous conditions beyond what death offers them. They would rather die than accept what is being foisted on them. The height of cruelty and faulty thinking. So many were already set for release before Obama’s “win,” and the arrival of resultant hatred of this man with the staggering sweep into office became their #1 goal in their political life. The real scam is all the newly elected Republicans falling into line behind all these misguided leaders whose passion runs so deeply that they are willing to inflict pain on anyone at any time for any reason that gets in their way. How can anyone hate that much? Or be so “racist” as to lose all perspective? One would think the ability for ‘critical thinking’ to be a prerequisite for membership in Congress — a Hallowed Hall. Great men have stood there who love our nation and “all the people in it”. It is inconceivable to me that anyone with a thinking, working brain could take any pleasure in bringing a country down by eating away at it’s core principles. It is hard to imagine what “God” you think you are serving.
If the prez couldn’t make a dent in almost 5 years, chances are slim that you and I can do anything worth mentioning. If it matters to any of you, why not try giving your representatives a call and a “wake-up” to the fact that it does matter to you; and that your vote has sent them to Washington to do the People’s work, not to destroy what has been built by millions over the centuries! And these are based on justice and equality. Remind them that America is against ‘torture’ — it’s not our way. . . just sayin’. . . Jan