Pentagon Speeds Efforts to Resettle Guantanamo Prisoners

Ahead of Vote on Two-Year Transfer Ban

Democracy Now

HAVANA TIMES – The Washington Post reports the Pentagon plans to increase its efforts to resettle dozens of detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo in the coming months before Congress can block future transfers and derail President Obama’s plan to shutter the U.S. military prison.

As a first step, officials plan to send up to 10 prisoners overseas, possibly in June. In all, the Pentagon hopes that 57 inmates who are approved for transfer will be resettled by the end of 2015. We get reaction from Jameel Jaffer, deputy legal director of the ACLU, who says the new legislation would make it nearly impossible to close the facility.

Transcript

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, very quickly, Jameel Jaffer, this front-page Washington Post report that, lower down in the piece, mentions that President Obama plans to close Guantánamo, any word on this?

JAMEEL JAFFER: Well, this is very important, because next week the House Armed Services Committee is going to vote on new restrictions on transferring prisoners out of Guantánamo. And if that—if Congress does impose these restrictions—I think what’s being proposed right now is a two-year ban on any transfer from Guantánamo—it’s going to make it literally impossible to close that prison. So it’s very important that the president do everything that he can to prevent those restrictions from becoming law. And it’s also important that anyone who can call their member of Congress do so and make clear that it’s important that legislators vote against those proposed transfer bans. It really would make it very, very difficult to close the prison and to transfer out people who have been cleared for release now for many, many years. At least—about half the people who are still held at Guantánamo have been cleared for release, meaning that six different government agencies have agreed that they don’t belong at Guantánamo. And those are the people whom the government couldn’t transfer if Congress impose these restrictions.

AMY GOODMAN: Jameel Jaffer, I want to thank you for being with us, deputy legal director of the ACLU.

JAMEEL JAFFER: Thank you.


4 thoughts on “Pentagon Speeds Efforts to Resettle Guantanamo Prisoners

  • KSM confessed his roll in the 9-11 attacks and several other terrorist plots. He is guilty, as a statement of fact. KSM does not deny his involvement in multiple terrorist attacks. He believes he is justified to commit these murders for religious and political reasons. I’m not sure what the motivation of those who defend him is.

    Should he be considered a mere criminal, or is he an enemy combatant? Different rules apply. He certainly fits the Geneva Convention’s definition of an illegal combatant, or terrorist. Under the Geneva Conventions, such illegal combatants can be executed following a military tribunal.

    After he was arrested in Pakistan, he was subject to waterboarding, through which process he eventually confessed and provided a great deal of intelligence information on Al Qaeda. None of that evidence is admissible in a US court of law, since it was obtained through torture. The Obama administration has made attempts to send KSM for civilian trial, but because of legal and procedural issues it will take years to come to trial, if it ever does.

    I don’t support reinstating the death penalty in Canada. However, in special cases such as KSM, I could support it. I certainly don’t feel any sympathy for him. Obviously, President Obama decided to use the death penalty against Osama bin Laden, and without a criminal trial. The orders he gave to the Navy Seals were to find Osama bin Laden, positively identify him, kill him and dispose of his body at sea. In my opinion, Obama made the right decision.

    KSM has made at least 31 confessions:

    The February 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City

    The September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the United States Capitol using four hijacked commercial airliners.

    A failed “shoe bomber” operation

    The October 2002 attack in Kuwait

    The Paddy’s Pub nightclub bombing in Bali, Indonesia

    A plan for a “second wave” of attacks on major U.S. landmarks after the 9/11 attacks, including the Library Tower in Los Angeles, the Willis Tower(formerly Sears Tower) in Chicago, the Plaza Bank Building in Seattle and the Empire State Building in New York City

    Plots to attack oil tankers and U.S. naval ships in the Straits of Hormuz, the Straits of Gibraltar and in Singapore

    A plan to blow up the Panama Canal

    Plans to assassinate Jimmy Carter

    A plot to blow up suspension bridges in New York City

    A plan to destroy the Sears Tower in Chicago with burning fuel trucks

    Plans to “destroy” London Heathrow Airport, Canary Wharf and Big Ben in London

    A planned attack on “many” nightclubs in Thailand

    A plot targeting the New York Stock Exchange and other U.S. financial targets

    A plan to destroy buildings in Eilat, Israel

    Plans to destroy U.S. embassies in Indonesia, Australia and Japan in 2002.

    Plots to destroy Israeli embassies in India, Azerbaijan, the Philippines and Australia

    Surveying and financing an attack on an Israeli El-Al flight from Bangkok

    Sending several “mujahideen” into Israel to survey “strategic targets” with the intention of attacking them

    The November 2002 suicide bombing of a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya

    The failed attempt to shoot down an Israeli passenger jet leaving Mombasa airport in Kenya

    Plans to attack U.S. targets in South Korea

    Providing financial support for a plan to attack U.S., British and Jewish targets in Turkey

    Surveillance of U.S. nuclear power plants in order to attack them

    A plot to attack NATO’s headquarters in Europe

    Planning and surveillance in a 1995 plan (the “Bojinka plot”) to bomb 12 American passenger jets

    The planned assassination attempt against then-U.S. President Bill Clinton during a mid-1990s trip to the Philippines

    “Shared responsibility” for a plot to kill Pope John Paul II

    Plans to assassinate Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf

    An attempt to attack a U.S. oil company in Sumatra, Indonesia, “owned by the Jewish former [U.S.] Secretary of State Henry Kissinger”

    The beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl

  • Griffin, the United States uses the death penalty more than any “civilized” country. If your man can be proven guilty than he can get the penalty you appear to support. In your Canada the death penalty was abolished nearly 40 years ago. How’s your campaign going to reinstate it?

  • The man who planned and managed the 9-11 attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohamad, is one of the prisoners held at Gitmo. Will Obama release him?

    In my opinion, he should be ‘resettled” in a six foot deep hole.

  • Lately, all Washington politics always seems to trump doing the right thing. Why should closing the prison in Guantanamo be treated any different.

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