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View Diary: Obama to issue signing statement on Guantanamo restrictions (219 comments)

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  •  No, he is still trying to make good on closing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wishingwell, LarsThorwald

    the prison. It is the Congress that inserted the language that is the cowards. Afraid of guys we've held for years and years and fearful that our system of justice can't deal with assholes (excuse me, alleged assholes) like that.

    Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

    by Something the Dog Said on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 08:47:26 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  trying? (4+ / 0-)

      All he need do, as commander in chief of the military, to close a military installation, is to Order It Closed.

      Very simple, doesn't take years to do.  The simple truth is he has no intention of closing it.

      •  He can close it but where do they go? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Something the Dog Said

        The prisoners have to be housed somewhere.  And it is those Republican House members and Senators who raise a stink about it and those who try to block any efforts to relocate those prisoners. Some countries have volunteered to take some but some will have to be housed in US prisons. There are prisons out there sitting empty who could do this.
        But it is always blocked at every turn.

        Can the President order these states and these prisons to accept Gitmo prisoners is the question I have.

      •  Order the base closed? Give up our position in (0+ / 0-)

        Cuba? I don't think so.

        But there is another problem. You have to have funds to do it, and if Congress says no funds then you are screwed. Congress has absolute power to fund or not fund all activities of the government. Reagan and his merry men tried to get around that with Iran/Contra and if there had not been preemptive pardons some of them would have gone to jail.

        Getting Democrats together and keeping them that way is like herding cats that are high on meth, through L.A., during an earthquake, in the rain -6.25, -6.10

        by Something the Dog Said on Tue Jan 04, 2011 at 08:56:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  OK Whimsical, please inform us what (0+ / 0-)

        happens after Gitmo is ordered closed, another 'flash of the pen' remedy of the kind Kossacks love to suggest but never work out the details of before suggesting to see if they really work.

        So it is  officially closed. But there is no money anywhere to in fact move detainees from where they now are, thanks to the Congress. Are you going to leave them sitting there on that sandy plot in Cuba, but have a closed base with no personnel to do anything about their physical needs, like food and shelter in a hurricane zone? How are you going to give them trials that might satisfy you if there is no money to pay, much less, transport judges and personnel to do that? Or them to where judges may be found. Yes, some of them can be sent home, but the homes to which they can be sent are those which will execute or torture them on arrival, a no no for deportations from the US under separate laws whose violation you will also object to, or which will welcome them as warriors against Satan and send them back into the field.

        The executive order under discussion provided them with some rights to counsel and to contest their detention. What this legislation apparently intends to do is to make that EO also unenforceable because unfunded.

        You who would contend the POTUS should do X need to work out the details rather than just suggesting it. The Devil is always in the details and you do nothing useful by ignoring that fact or those details.

        •  You send them home (0+ / 0-)

          Conviction can't be obtained by evidence gathered using torture.  Period.  I'm also relatively certain that the executive powers gobbled up by Bush would allow Obama to unilaterally make that happen.  Add to that that the administration has had 2 years to figure out the details, and they haven't even started.  The main problem here is the assumption of guilt we place on the detainees, as if "innocent until proven guilty" requires only the word of a tyrant to dissolve as a moral pillar of our society. Since we can't prove them guilty, we must presume them innocent whatever the fear-mongering islamaphobes scream about it.  Once we exclude people from the presumption of innocence, we have lost a crucial part of our collective soul.  It really is that simple, and lack of courage in standing up for our principles against fear based propaganda is no excuse for those who would maintain the status quo.

          •  Where will you get the money for that, and (0+ / 0-)

            what do you do with the ones whom their 'home' state either will not take or will torture if they get their hands on them? Remember the Uighurs who went to a South Pacific Island because they could not be sent home to China, which was ready to execute them and nobody else would take them who could be found.

            •  There was a plan worked out to bring the Uighurs (0+ / 0-)

              to northern Virginia, and Obama personally blocked it.  Greg Craig, Obama's White House counsel, worked out the plan.  Obama personally vetoed it.  Craig then lost his job.  

            •  Here's the link to the Time Magazine story (0+ / 0-)

              describing Obama's veto on Craig's plan to bring 2 Uighurs into northern Virginia, part of a plan that would have facilitated transferring additional Uighurs to other countries.

              Time article

            •  Where? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              The Pentagon has plenty, I would imagine.  

              But I was really trying to speak to the moral issues as well as our consistency with stated values.  Have you a pithy, dismissive response to those issues?

              •  Government 101. (0+ / 0-)

                Money is authorized and appropriated by Congress for specific purposes, or withheld for specific purposes. If DOD has extra cash appropriated and authorized for a purpose it did not carry out, that is simply not the same thing as your not spending all of your grocery money on groceries, so you have enough left to go to the movies. The executive branch cannot spend money appropriated for purpose A on purpose B without the agreement of Congress that the purpose be changed, unless the original appropriation allows that. In this case, Congress has affirmatively defunded the physical steps needed either to close Gitmo or move the detainees to somewhere else. So, show me the money available for this under the condition of defunding.

      •  It's not like it hasn't been done before. (0+ / 0-)

        Under the presidency of George H.W. Bush, the US closed it's military bases in the Philippines.

        In November 1991, the United States Air Force lowered the Stars and Stripes and transferred Clark Air Base to the Philippine government.

        Finally, on November 24, 1992, the American Flag was lowered in Subic for the last time and the last 1,416 Sailors and Marines at Subic Bay Naval Base left by plane from NAS Cubi Point and by the USS Belleau Wood. This withdrawal marked the first time since the 16th Century that no foreign military forces were present in the Philippines.

        Even Castro is optimistic that Guantanamo Bay will be returned to Cuba...

        "If we have to wait for the collapse of the (capitalist) system, we will wait."

    •  Remember what the diary quotation said. (0+ / 0-)

      The Guantanamo provisions, which include limits on where and how prisoners can be tried, were attached to a spending bill for military pay and benefits approved by Congress late last year. Some Administration officials are recommending that President Obama sign the spending bill and then issue a "signing statement" challenging at least some of the Guantanamo provisions as intrusions on his constitutional authority. Others have recommended that he express opposition to the Guantanamo sections without addressing their constitutionality

      The problem being addressed by the signing statement is rather specific. It seems, subject to more detail being provided by someone with access to the text of the provisions in question, which is not me, that what Congress has done is by statute removed from the detainees all sorts of rights which we know Obama was prepared to recognize because of some of the terror trials which have occurred successfully (setting aside the R objection that they were not convicted of enough crimes - a problem to address to the jury and not DOJ or POTUS) and others which were proposed and objected to by Peter King and his ilk. Two methods are both used, legislative provision and defunding, since all executive acts have to be paid for and the paying has been forbidden as well as the acting.

      The legislation poses both constitutional objections, can Congress by statute limit the rights of detainees to due process of the law, and require the POTUS to honor those restrictions, and more generally can Congress micromanage trials and the like for specific persons, an executive function and as here done probably a violation of the ex post facto or bill of attainder provisions of the Constitution as well. And can it require violation of Constitutional rights of specific persons for acts committed before the Congress acted,  by limiting or defunding executive recognition of those rights. Two  or three separate questions.

      The commentary here assumes that a POTUS can be Alexander cutting thruogh the Gordian knot with a sword, an option not necessarily available to a POTUS, because there is still no money available to allow the POTUS to take the steps to recognize and honor the constitutional rights of detainees as well as a supposed legislative bar to doing so.

      Sniping at POTUS personally does not alter these problems, but not thinking through the problems as they actually present themselves only makes some here angry, or allows them to feel justified in anger that POTUS is not exercising some right the commenter thinks he has in this situation which he may not or does not in fact have.

      And I also note that nobody here thusfar has suggested finding out which idiots in Congress put these provisions in, and which idiots voted them in and suggested writing to and calling such idiots rather than just doing some more Obama bashing. Being our usual unhelpful selves.

      Obama bashing will not get due process for detainees, fellas.

      •  No (0+ / 0-)

        The commentary here does not assume that Obama is a magician a la Alexander the Great slicing the Gordian knot.  It spells out in a very specific manner how Obama has undermined reform and betrayed the prisoners at Guantanamo, condemning many innocent persons to the hell of indefinite detention without trial.  Obama has proactively  taken steps that have directly  harmed GTMO prisoners, formally endorsing indefinite detention, fighting habeas requests, imposing a blanket deportation ban on Yemeni prisoners, and personally blocking the transfer of Uighurs to northern Virginia.

        •  Theory is wonderful but not helpful' (0+ / 0-)

          HOW do you propose him to close GITMO when faced with a Congressional bar on doing so and no money to do it, no funds for trials, no funds for conventional jurisdiction prisons? Do remember that Shrub had his EXOs to back him up and an opinion from the Office of Legal Counsel. all of which he rescinded five days before leaving office so that Obama would not have the same tools he had taken for himself and got backed up by one of his authoritative because of position jerk opinion writers. Please address the 'how' question under the circumstances prevailing now, not just how much you, or I, dislike the current options.  

          •  The recent legislation (0+ / 0-)

            makes things much harder, but the tragedy is that if Obama had acted differently a lot of prisoners who now are trapped in GTMO would have been free.  Prior to this legislation, Obama did not have to impose the transfer ban on Yemen, and he did not have to resist the meritorious habeas cases.  Before earlier legislation passed by Congress prohibiting release of inmates in the US he did not have to personally block the release of Uighurs in northern Virginia.  I am heartbroken because, due to Obama's dithering, cowardice, and lack of leadership, individuals who would otherwise have been free will now have a very difficult time getting out of GTMO.  Let me repeat till I'm blue in the face: There are many innocent people in GTMO who now could be free if Obama had done the decent thing and let them return to their home countries or move to countries willing to accept them or (in the case of the Uighurs) let them come to the United States.  Obama could have done these things.  Congress wasn't stopping him.  He chose not to, and now innocent people are left with the prospect of indefinite detention possibly until the end of their lives.  It is unforgivable.

            •  You may be mad at Obama, but what I do not see in (0+ / 0-)

              your response is any answer to the practical question of HOW to close GITMO under the present prevailing circumstances. Anger generalized is not a substitute for a workable plan.

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