Let me get this straight! Obama is going to close Gitmo because it is wrong for the USA to violate the rights of these people? But he is going to find some other lame ass unconstitutional way to keep them locked up forever because even though they have not commited any crimes they are a danger to the USA? Sounds like there ain't a dimes difference between Obama and Bush!
- and, for some, prolonged and even indefinite detention.
- "clear, defensible and lawful standards" for inmates who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes but who still pose a security threat to the country. [how do you say oxymoron in legalese]
- there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States. ... I am not going to release individuals who endanger the American people."
- But Obama also opened the door to the possibility that some cases may call for indefinite detention.
- he will abandon the misguided plans for indefinite detention of individuals without trial
May 22, 2009
Despite critics, Obama still aims to shut Gitmo
Range of options available to handle detainees, he says
by Christi Parsons and Julian E. Barnes - May. 22, 2009 12:00 AM
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Thursday pledged to forge ahead with plans to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, dealing with detainees through a range of options including release, imprisonment at high-security American prisons, trials in federal courts and military commissions - and, for some, prolonged and even indefinite detention.
Obama said his administration is devising "clear, defensible and lawful standards" for inmates who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes but who still pose a security threat to the country.
"We are going to exhaust every avenue that we have to prosecute those at Guantanamo who pose a danger to our country," Obama said. "But even when this process is complete, there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States. ... I am not going to release individuals who endanger the American people."
Speaking at the National Archives - which houses the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence - Obama argued that the nation should "enlist the power of our most fundamental values" in the effort keep itself safe.
The president's address comes amid signs of growing resistance to his Guantanamo closure plan, highlighted Wednesday when the Senate voted to block funding to shut down the prison.
With former Vice President Dick Cheney offering a forceful defense of Bush administration tactics Thursday, Obama sought to reassure Americans that national security is a chief concern.
"Now, this generation faces a great test in the specter of terrorism," Obama said.
"Neither I nor anyone else can, standing here today, can say that there will not be another terrorist attack that takes American lives," he said. "But I can say with certainty that my administration, along with our extraordinary troops and the patriotic men and women who defend our national security, will do everything in our power to keep the American people safe."
The rule of law demands the release of 21 people held at the prison, Obama said, citing detainees whom "the courts have found that there is no legitimate reason" to hold. He said his administration has found that 50 others can be safely moved to other countries, and that the White House is talking with a number of nations about potential transfers.
Some detainees can go to high-security facilities on American soil, he said. Trials will take place in federal court for those charged with breaking criminal laws and in military commissions for those accused of violating the "laws of war," he said.
But Obama also opened the door to the possibility that some cases may call for indefinite detention. Human-rights advocates believe the government should treat terror suspects like criminal suspects, not as combatants captured on a battlefield, and believe proposals to hold prisoners without trial is a mistake.
Elisa Massimino, chief executive of Human Rights First, said Obama's proposal to create a system of indefinite detention undermined his message that American values are a national-security asset.
"If the president really wants to enlist the power of our fundamental values, he will turn to our federal courts and away from the flawed military-commissions system, and he will abandon the misguided plans for indefinite detention of individuals without trial," Massimino said in a statement.
The U.S. is at war with al-Qaida, Obama said, comparing captured detainees to prisoners of war.