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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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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)

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Today in Washington D. C. - June 9, 2009

Senate resumes consideration of the FDA tobacco regulation bill, H.R. 1256. Yesterday, the Senate finally voted 61-30 to invoke cloture on the Dodd substitute amendment to H.R. 1256. The Senate will vote today on an alternative substitute amendment to the tobacco regulation bill from Sens. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Kay Hagan (D-NC).

GITMO: Last week, President Barack Obama choose to speak to the religious followers of Islam as Barack Huessein Obama declaring his Muslim roots in a speech in Cairo to 1.5 billion Muslims of the world. He did that while having previously denied that his own country was a Christian country. He choose to speak to the followers of a religion as if it were a country and to begin to negotiate verbally with that religion. Knowing that the Senate had voted overwhelmingly to ban using any federal funds by any federal agency to to move GITMO detainees to the U.S. for release, for trial or for detention, he declared to the Muslim world, as if they should be deferred to as a nation, that he would close GITMO.

Now the AP reports this morning, “U.S. authorities have brought the first Guantanamo Bay detainee to the United States, flying him into New York to face trial for bombing U.S. embassies, the Justice Department said Tuesday.” Ahmed Ghailani, accused of helping build one of the bombs that blew up the American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998, is now being held in Manhattan, as the Justice Department prepares for a trial.

This action by the Obama administration ignores the Senate’s recent 90-6 vote to deny ('ban") funding “to transfer, release, or incarcerate any individual who was detained as of May 19, 2009, at Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to or within the United States.” Of course, Democrats in Congress have yet to finish work on the bill this provision is attached to, the fiscal year 2009 supplemental appropriations bill. And part of the reason they have not finished work on the bill is because they are being pressured by the White House to allow funding for moving detainees to the U.S. for incarceration or trial.

But there is strong bipartisan opposition to such a move. Asked at a May 19th press conference if he would be okay with Guantanamo detainees being transferred to an American prison, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “Not in the United States.” Was moving Ghailani to New York City an attempt to present a fait accompli to Congress and pre-empt the Senate’s action?

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin took the occasion of Ghailani’s transfer today to attack Republicans for their opposition to bringing Guantanamo detainees to the U.S., apparently forgetting that 48 Democrats voted the same way. Durbin claimed that those opposed to these transfers are arguing that detainees can’t be tried in American courts. But no one is making that claim. Rather, as Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a press conference last month, “it’s not a question of whether we’re capable of trying them here. It’s a question of whether we should try them here. . . . And I think, in most instances, the answer would be no.”

Indeed, previous trials in U.S. federal court have inadvertently aided terrorists, by tipping them off to intelligence methods, leaking of sensitive material, and even lawyers smuggling orders to terrorists.

Further, as Sen. McConnell explained in a May floor speech, “It’s one thing to transfer one or two terrorists — disruptive as that may be. It’s quite another to transfer 50-100, or more, as Secretary Gates has said would be involved in any transfer from Guantanamo.” Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) told bloggers last week that part of the problem of brining dangerous Guantanamo detainees to the U.S. “isn’t about keeping them in, it’s about keeping other terrorists out.” Facilities holding detainees would become prime targets for terrorist attacks.

Sen. McConnell addressed the problems with the administration’s actions in his press conference last month. “I think the director of the FBI . . . pretty well summed up the potential problems with putting these terrorists in U.S. jails, that they have the ability to operate and develop gangs, to recruit other prisoners to be a part of the movement. This is a particularly troubling kind of individual that is best separated from the United States. In addition to that, when you bring them into the U.S., you have the U.S. court system to deal with, which is different in procedures from the military commission or a military courtroom, and you run the risk, as I suggested earlier, during that proceeding of having classified information get out that’s useful to other terrorists in the war on terror. Could we? Yes. The issue is: Should we? The answer is no.”

Tags: FDA tobacco regulation bill, GITMO, US Congress, US Senate, Washington D.C. Barack Obama, Muslim roots, Cairo, Egypt 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 10:40 AM - Post Link


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