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White House May Finally Close Gitmo

Updated and bumped:


After reports were published yesterday of a meeting today at the White House to consider the closing of Guantanamo prison, the White House decided to cancel the meeting.

Two administration officials said last night that a meeting about several topics is scheduled for today but that the Guantanamo issue was removed from the agenda after news of the meeting broke.

Still, officials said the discussions are not yet at a decision point because too many issues remain unresolved. Justice officials have argued against moving Guantanamo detainees to the United States because it would immediately grant the alleged terrorists habeas corpus rights, which would launch another round of legal battles in U.S. federal courts. Homeland Security officials have opposed such a move because it would mean bringing some of the people on the nation's terror watch list -- including the highest-level detainees the U.S. has in its custody, such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed -- inside U.S. borders. Cheney's office also has vehemently opposed bringing the detainees into this country.

The move toward closing the facility is rooted in part in the international outrage its existence has provoked, drawing criticism from international human rights groups, legal advocacy organizations and governments which can point to the indefinite detentions there as an example of U.S. hypocrisy about legal rights. Years-old allegations of abuse and severe interrogation tactics have soured the facility's reputation, and despite the military's efforts to make it an example of humane detention, four suicides in the past year have drawn negative attention and publicity.

Original report: Published Jun 21, 07 06:43 PM

White House May Finally Close Gitmo

Or at least that's what the Associated Press is reporting:

President Bush's national security and legal advisers are expected to discuss the move at the White House on Friday and, for the first time, it appears a consensus is developing, senior administration officials said Thursday.

The advisers will consider a proposal to shut the center and transfer detainees to one or more Defense Department facilities, including the maximum security military prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, where they could face trial, said the officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing internal deliberations.

Officials familiar with the agenda of the Friday meeting said Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Peter Pace were expected to attend.[...]

Previous plans to close Guantanamo have run into resistance from Cheney, Gonzales and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. But officials said the new suggestion is gaining momentum with at least tacit support from the State and Homeland Security departments, the Pentagon, and the Intelligence directorate.

Cheney's office and the Justice Department have been dead set against the step, arguing that moving "unlawful" enemy combatant suspects to the U.S. would give them undeserved legal rights.

They could still block the proposal, but pressure to close Guantanamo has been building since a Supreme Court decision last year that found a previous system for prosecuting enemy combatants illegal. Recent rulings by military judges threw out charges against two terrorism suspects under a new tribunal scheme.

Those decisions have dealt a blow to the administration's efforts to begin prosecuting dozens of Guantanamo detainees regarded as the nation's most dangerous terror suspects.

In Congress, recently introduced legislation would require Guantanamo's closure. One measure would designate Fort Leavenworth as the new detention facility.

It's been along time coming, and if it happens then congratulations are in order for everyone who has spoken up, out, and against the Bush administration's horrendous atrocities and assault our Constitution via their Gitmo policies.

The administration will gain a few points if they come to this conclusion on their own rather than having Congress force them to do it, but it's telling that there is still some doubt that Bush can overcome Cheney's objections. Even after the Supreme Court has ruled Cheney is still a holdout? That's incredible.

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Comments (3)

Paul Hamilton:

"Undeserved legal rights." Gee, and all this time I thought that men were endowed by their creator with inalienable rights...

I guess the founding fathers weren't as smart as The Dick.

Lee Ward:

Since the Supreme Court of the United States disagreed with Dick's interpretation you'd think that the Office of the President of the United States would move to act immediately to shut Gitmo down...

but the fact that Bush hasn't done that, coupled with the reports of Cheney resisting it, makes you wonder (a) who is really in charge of the Executive branch, and (b) what the heck are their motives and intentions?

Paul Hamilton:

Dick has been in charge since day one. He just sends the sock puppet out to make appropriate pronouncements when the REAL boss makes up his mind about something.

Combine this with the story about Cheney refusing to allow the legally-mandated search of classified information and it REALLY makes you wonder what's up.

As for their motives, power is an end in itself. When you follow their pattern of concentrating authority in the executive branch, taking away powers from the states and giving it to the feds, and slashing individual rights every time they have the slightest excuse, it's pretty obvious what's up. If you watched the last episode of "The Tudors" about Henry VIII defying the pope on the basis that God puts rulers in place and thus they answer to no one but God, you can see where they took their inspiration.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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