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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
Contact: editor@arranewsservice.com (Pub. Since July, 2006)
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Today in Washington D. C. - May 22, 2009

Congress in recess until Monday, June 1st. Yesterday, the Senate voted 86-3 to pass a $91.3 billion supplemental funding bill for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, H.R. 2346. Prior to final passage, senators rejected an amendment from Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) to strip a funding increase for the International Monetary Fund.

We already reported yesterday about President Obama 6,000 word speech on Guantanamo and on the GITMO terrorist detainees. But what was lacking was a plan about what to do with the detainees if he moves forward with his hasty decision to close the facility. As many have clearly identified, what was needed was not a speech but a plan which was not presented. It was definitely clear by the President's speech that he had missed the point of the 90-6 vote "barring any federal funds (not new funds - but any federal funds) to “transfer, release or incarcerate” Guantanamo detainees “to or within the United States.” This means that neither the Department of Justice, the FBI, the CIA the Dept of Defense or any other agencies may participate in using their resources to do the above actions. However, Obama speech ignored the actions by the Senate as if it was not an issue and proceed to detail that he would move detainees to the U.S. and in some cases turn jurisdiction for trials over to civilian courts and may even releasing detainees into the U.S. Unfortunately, his speech appeared to be more like the actions of a teenager arrogantly defying his parents rather than a President appropriately responding to the fact that he is not a dictator and that that Congress controls funding and determins restrictions on how the executive branch may spend money.

Obama signaled his interest in was bring some detainees to the United States to try them in civilian court. He mentioned that 1993 World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and 20th hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui were convicted in US courts, saying, “If we can try those terrorists in our courts and hold them in our prisons, then we can do the same with detainees from Guantanamo.”

However, Sen. McConnell pointed out, “We’ve had an experience of trying detainees in civilian court. And in many of the past trials against terrorists in the U.S., sensitive information leaked out, which potentially endangered the security of the country.” Yousef’s trial tipped off terrorists that one of their communication links had been compromised. Sensitive material was inadvertently leaked at Moussaoui’s trial. Osama bin Laden was able to learn that his organizations cell phones were being monitored in the course of trying the East African embassy bombings. And as former Attorney General Michael Mukasey wrote last year, “In the course of prosecuting Omar Abdel Rahman … the government was compelled--as it is in all cases that charge conspiracy--to turn over a list of unindicted co-conspirators to the defendants. … Within 10 days a copy of that list reached bin Laden in Khartoum.”

As Sen. McConnell said, “We don’t have to take all of those risks. Most of these trials ought to be conducted at Guantanamo, a $200 million, state-of-the-art facility with courtrooms for exactly this purpose.” And, The Wall Street Journal notes, Democrat Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) seemed to agree last weekend when he said, “We spend hundreds of millions of dollars building an appropriate facility with all security precautions in Guantanamo to try these cases. There are cases against international law.”

There have been suggestions, from Democrats in Congress and the administration of moving detainees to the Supermax prison facility in Florence, Colorado. But The Denver Post reports today that there’s no room at the facility: “Only one bed was not filled Thursday at Supermax, U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Tracy Billingsley said.”

Today, The Wall Street Journal summed up the problems with President Obama’s approach to Guantanamo. “Mr. Obama called all of this a ‘mess’ that he had inherited, but in truth the mess is of his own haphazard design. He’s the one who announced the end of Guantanamo without any plan for what to do with, or where to put, KSM and other killers. Now he’s found that his erstwhile allies in Congress and Europe want nothing to do with them. Tell us again why Gitmo should be closed?”

Tags: Barack Obama, detainees, GITMO, military funding, US Congress, US House, US Senate, Washington D.C. To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 10:45 AM - Post Link

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