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Obama orders Guantánamo Gulag to be Shut

category international | anti-war / imperialism | other press author Thursday January 22, 2009 17:13author by redjade Report this post to the editors

One year....

USA: Move to suspend military tribunals a positive first step
Barack Obama, as US President, takes the oath of office

22 January 2009

Amnesty International has welcomed the new US administration’s moves to suspend military commission proceedings at Guantánamo as a “positive sign”. The organization said that it hoped it was a "clear signal of this administration’s intention to move away from unlawful practices of the past."

"This is an encouraging step from the new administration – and one that we hope will be followed by the permanent abandonment of these unfair trials and the closure of the Guantánamo detention facility," said Susan Lee, Director of the Americas program at Amnesty International.

"Yesterday, in his inaugural address, President Barack Obama underscored the need for a break from the past," said Susan Lee. "He rejected as ‘false’ the choice between security and ideals, and we welcome that. Respect for human rights and the rule of law is the route to security, not the obstacle to it."

In a motion filed in Guantánamo yesterday, prosecutors sought a 120-day suspension of military commission proceedings in the case of five detainees previously held in secret CIA custody.


"We hope that the new administration will move promptly to dismiss all charges pending under the Military Commissions Act, and that any trials that do take place will be conducted in the US federal court system, without recourse to the death penalty," said Susan Lee.

Amnesty International has opposed the military commission trials from the outset, as they fail to comply with international fair trial standards, including the prohibition in international law of admission into evidence of information obtained under cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or other unlawful conditions.

Also see:

Video from:

PDF Document 'Obama 100 Days' flyer from Amnesty Hungary's MultiKulti Group 0.05 Mb

Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video

author by redjadepublication date Thu Jan 22, 2009 18:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Washington Post asked Obama a loaded question...

Question: Obama has said that under his administration the United States will not use torture as part of the U.S. campaign against terrorism, no matter what the circumstance. Do you support this position not to use torture, or do you think there are cases in which the United States should consider torture against terrorism suspects?'s mcjoan writes:
'"No matter what the circumstance." The good news is that the American people are smarter than WaPo, and don't share its Jack Bauer-esque view of the real world. Fifty-eight percent of the respondents reject torture, under any circumstance, including 56 percent of Independents....

• more at

author by redjadepublication date Thu Jan 22, 2009 18:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

read carefully, there will be a test...

Executive Order Regarding Detainee Policy
'Executive order creates a special task force, co-chaired by the attorney general and the secretary of defense, to conduct a review of detainee policy going forward.'

Executive Order Regarding Interrogation
Executive order revokes Executive Order 13440 that interpreted Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. It requires that all interrogations of detainees in armed conflict, by any government agency, follow the Army Field Manual interrogation guidelines. The order also prohibits reliance on any department of justice or other legal advice concerning interrogation that was issued between September 11, 2001, and January 20, 2009.

The order requires all departments and agencies to provide the (International Committee of the Red Cross) access to detainees in a manner consistent with department of defense regulations and practice. It also orders the CIA to close all existing detention facilities and prohibits it from operating detention facilities in the future.

Finally, the order creates a special task force with two missions. The task force will conduct a review of the Army Field Manual interrogation guidelines to determine whether different or additional guidance is necessary for the CIA. It will also look at rendition and other policies for transferring individuals to third countries to be sure that our policies and practices comply with all obligations and are sufficient to ensure that individuals do not face torture and cruel treatment if transferred.

All of the above scraped from the longer article:

author by redjadepublication date Thu Jan 22, 2009 19:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

• Review and Disposition of Individuals Detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and Closure of Detention Facilities

• Review of Detention Policy Options

• Ensuring Lawful Interrogations

• Review of the Detention of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri

The case of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri is unique and required its own Executive Order:

Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri (b. 1966/1967?) is a citizen of Qatar who was arrested while studying at Bradley University in the United States.[1]

He is currently detained at the Naval Consolidated Brig, Charleston in South Carolina. Al-Marri is the only person known to be held as an enemy combatant in the continental United States. In July 2008, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit upheld the government's right to hold Al-Marri as an enemy combatant, but also ruled that he was entitled to refute his detention in federal court.

• more at

Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video

author by redjadepublication date Thu Jan 22, 2009 19:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Chris Arendt, a former guard at the prison camp
and Moazzam Begg an ex-detainee spoke to the BBC.

. . . . .

Chris Arendt
'How to Become a Concentration Camp Guard Without Even Trying'

Moazzam Begg
'Guantánamo and back: an interview with Moazzam Begg'

Moazzam Begg & Chris Arendt
Moazzam Begg & Chris Arendt

author by Ciotogpublication date Thu Jan 22, 2009 20:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tonight Reuters has a story on closing the Guantanamo concentration camp.

"Some of those being held include Chinese Muslim Uighurs who Washington says would face persecution if they returned home, together with Libyans, Uzbeks and Algerians who are also at risk."

So the five years of torture and imprisonment without trial was to protect their civil rights?
Beggars beleif.

author by redjadepublication date Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'When Barack Obama ordered the closure of Guantánamo Bay, human rights activists said it was just the tip of the iceberg. This time he's gone after the iceberg.

The US president's order to close the network of secret prisons around the world - known as CIA "black sites" - which contain an untold number of "ghost detainees" whose existence has never properly been confirmed will be just as satisfying for campaigners.

The black sites were authorised by a classified presidential directive six days after the September 11 attacks in 2001, and only acknowledged five years later in a speech in which George Bush declined to say where they were and insisted only that the interrogation techniques used there were "tough ... safe, and lawful, and necessary".

The point of black sites appears to be to allow detainees to be interrogated in ways that would not have been allowed elsewhere.'

• more at

For me, this is the action I have been waiting for. GTMO was always an intentional media distraction. 'Hey media! Look over there at Cuba! and ignore the secret prisons in Romania, Poland and Shannon (maybe)'

The fact that Obama is openly and publicly addressing the issue of Black Sites shows he is willing to go beyond the symbolic. Time will tell, of course, the reality of these executive orders.

author by redjadepublication date Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"I can say without exception or equivocation that the United States will not torture," the president said at the State Department.

"The message that we are sending around the world," he said as he signed the executive orders in the Oval Office, "is that the United States intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism, and we are going to do so vigilantly, we are going to do so effectively and we are going to do so in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals."

"It is precisely our ideals that give us the strength and the moral high ground to be able to effectively deal with the unthinking violence that we see emanating from terrorist organizations around the world," he added. "We intend to win this fight. We're going to win it on our terms."

• more at

More great stuff! Let's see what he does (or if he does anything) about the School of the Americas...

The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC or WHINSEC), formerly the School of the Americas (SOA)

author by OBpublication date Fri Jan 23, 2009 10:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

some more

Related Link:
author by ecpublication date Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

But for the people of the Middle East, the absence of the word "Gaza" - indeed, the word "Israel" as well - was the dark shadow over Obama's inaugural address. Didn't he care? Was he frightened? Did Obama's young speech-writer not realise that talking about black rights - why a black man's father might not have been served in a restaurant 60 years ago - would concentrate Arab minds on the fate of a people who gained the vote only three years ago but were then punished because they voted for the wrong people?

author by redjadepublication date Fri Jan 23, 2009 11:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fisk, really now.... this is silly. Shame on Obama for not mentioning another country by name? In his inauguration speech?

Obama was elected president of the USA, not Israel or Palestine. Did Fisk mention that Obama didn't mention any other country either? No.

Did Fisk mention that in Obama's inaugural speech he said the word Muslim twice while he mentioned the word Jew only once? - No. Does that really matter? - No. Does it signify something important - perhaps. I do suspect this was the first inauguration speech ever to mention Islam at all.

Inauguration speeches are supposed to be Poems not Prose. In the next 4 years we will have to see if Obama can do prose, as well.

''To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.''
you can also now download the .mp4 video directly from the servers

I've lost the link now but I read on a blog by an Iranian-American that the phrases 'mutual interest' and 'mutual respect' are identical phrases that have been used in the past by the Iranian elites when peace offerings to the USA were made (and ignored) in the past. If this was intentional, who knows - but just these few words could open up things between the USA and Iran.

author by cartographerpublication date Fri Jan 23, 2009 22:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Of where & when the dark prisons were.

But Jayzhus in these euphoric post Bush times does it matter if they were/are in Poland, or Romania, Pakistan or Georgia or some tax amnestied anonymous industrial estate of the Celtic Tiger?

author by Obamawatchpublication date Sat Jan 24, 2009 15:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Does this mean the US will take no prisoners?

Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video

author by redjadepublication date Sat Jan 24, 2009 19:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Please take a look at this interview with Michael Ratner, President of the US Center for Constitutional Rights.

This is a balanced legal and historical view of how much has changed this week.

Essentially, he seems to be quite surprised by the speed and scope of the changes....

Center for Constitutional Rights

Michael Ratner

His blog

Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video

author by redjadepublication date Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Keith Olbermann & RawStory article:
Pentagon's terror 'recidivism' claims blasted as 'propaganda'
• text and video:

''Ever wonder how many of President Bush's terror war detainees were released, only to "return to the fight"?

"Their numbers have changed from 20, to 12, to seven, to more than five, to two, to a couple, to a few, 25, 29, 12, and then 24," quoted Keith Olbermann on Thursday's edition of Countdown.

The latest figure, 61, which was carried unchallenged by CNN, the MSNBC host noted, appears to be nothing but "propaganda." ''

Glenn Greenwald:
The newest fear-mongering campaign from the Right and the media
''The New York Times today prints a front-page article claiming that a detainee released from Guantanamo last year has now become "the deputy leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch" (it's always amazing how bureaucratically structured Al Qaeda is alleged to be and how well we can discern the structure: "Deputy Leader, Yemen Branch"; do they have business cards and organizational charts?).

But the real fear-mongering is focused on all of the attacks that American communities will suffer if we imprison dangerous Terrorists inside the U.S. rather than in Guantanamo.''

author by -publication date Sun Jan 25, 2009 17:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

this photo was taken in Iraq last week.

obviously sticky labels would not only be overbudget but less unusual & cruel.
obviously sticky labels would not only be overbudget but less unusual & cruel.

author by redjadepublication date Sun Jan 25, 2009 19:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Your example is correct - now imagine imagine a worse fate for those same Iraqi Detainees now by the US...

The agreement signed between the US President and the Prime Minister of Iraq on 14 December 2008 opens the way for the transfer of thousands of detainees from US to Iraqi custody.


According to recent information, the US military will start transferring detainees to the Iraqi authorities on 1 February 2009. Amnesty International is concerned that the SOFA does not provide any safeguards for prisoners transferred to Iraqi custody.

US forces are currently holding about 15,500 detainees in Iraq in three major detention facilities, the largest of these being Camp Bucca, in southern Iraq, near the Kuwaiti border. Most are held without charge or trial, with some having been held for more than five years.


The Iraqi authorities are already holding thousands of people, many without charge or trial and often in appalling conditions and with no access to lawyers. Death sentences have been passed after trials which failed to meet international fair trial standards. Political and security suspects are routinely tortured or ill-treated in prisons and detention facilities controlled by the Iraqi authorities.

•

You can register and download a letter to post to Prez Obama and Sec of State Hillary here:

author by redjadepublication date Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'President Obama's plans to expeditiously determine the fates of about 245 terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and quickly close the military prison there were set back last week when incoming legal and national security officials -- barred until the inauguration from examining classified material on the detainees -- discovered that there were no comprehensive case files on many of them.

Instead, they found that information on individual prisoners is "scattered throughout the executive branch," a senior administration official said. The executive order Obama signed Thursday orders the prison closed within one year, and a Cabinet-level panel named to review each case separately will have to spend its initial weeks and perhaps months scouring the corners of the federal government in search of relevant material.

Several former Bush administration officials agreed that the files are incomplete and that no single government entity was charged with pulling together all the facts and the range of options for each prisoner....'

• more at

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