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Forum Post: Petition to President Obama to close Guantanamo prison

Posted 1 year ago on April 30, 2013, 9:12 p.m. EST by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

By Colonel Morris Davis, USAF retired.

I served 25 years in the US Air Force, I was the Chief Prosecutor for the Terrorism Trials at Guantanamo Bay for more than two years, and now I need your help.

I personally charged Osama Bin Laden’s driver Salim Hamdan, Australian anathema David Hicks, and Canadian teen Omar Khadr. All three were convicted … and then they were released from Guantanamo. More than 160 men who have never been charged with any offense, much less convicted of a war crime, remain at Guantanamo with no end in sight. There is something fundamentally wrong with a system where not being charged with a war crime keeps you locked away indefinitely and a war crime conviction is your ticket home.

As of April 29, 2013 – 100 of the 166 men who remain in Guantanamo are engaged in a hunger strike in protest of their indefinite detention. Twenty-one of them are being force-fed and five are hospitalized. Some of the men have been in prison for more than eleven years without charge or trial. The United States has cleared a majority of the detainees for transfer out of Guantanamo, yet they remain in custody year after year because of their citizenship and ongoing political gamesmanship in the U.S.

That is why I am calling on Secretary of Defense Charles Hagel to use his authority to effect cleared transfers from Guantanamo and on President Obama to appoint an individual within the Administration to lead the effort to close Guantanamo. Obama announced on April 30 that he plans to do his part to close Guantanamo, but he has made this promise before. Now is the time to hold him to his promise and urge him to take the steps necessary to dismantle Guantanamo Bay Prison.

If any other country were treating prisoners the way we are treating those in Guantanamo we would roundly and rightly criticize that country. We can never retake the legal and moral high ground when we claim the right to do unto others that which we would vehemently condemn if done to one of us.

It is probably no surprise that human rights and activist groups like the Center For Constitutional Rights, Witness Against Torture and Amnesty International have been outspoken critics of Guantanamo. It may surprise you that a former military prosecutor and many other retired senior military officers and members of the intelligence community agree with them.

The Patriotic thing, the American thing, the Human thing to do here is to Close Guantanamo. Please join us in the fight by signing this petition.

Sign petition here:

https://www.change.org/petitions/president-obama-close-detention-facility-at-guantanamo-bay

22 Comments

22 Comments


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[-] 4 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

"Guantanamo Attorney Found Dead in Apparent Suicide", by Jason Leopold :

An attorney who represented prisoners detained at Guantanamo Bay was found dead last week in what sources said was a suicide. Andy P. Hart, 38, a federal public defender in Toledo, Ohio, apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Hart left behind a suicide note and a thumb drive, believed to contain his case files. It is unknown where Hart died, what the suicide note said or whether an autopsy was performed.

Hart’s death comes amid escalating chaos that has engulfed Guantanamo over the past three months—from a mass hunger strike to military commissions and renewed pressure on the White House to shut down the prison facility. Hart was one of three-dozen Guantanamo attorneys who signed a letter in March urging Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to take immediate action and bring about an end to the hunger strike.

Because Hart was a federal employee working on sensitive legal issues the FBI was contacted about his death. It is unknown if the agency has been investigating the circumstances surrounding his death. Neither the FBI nor local law enforcement officials in Toledo, Ohio returned calls for comment. A phone number listed for Hart was disconnected Wednesday.

Truthout learned about the details of Hart’s death Wednesday from an investigator who has been tapped by attorneys to work on a number of cases involving Guantanamo prisoners’ habeas corpus petitions. The investigator requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter.

Dennis Terez, the top federal public defender in the Northern District of Ohio, where Hart worked, declined to comment on his colleague’s death. "At this time and out of respect for Mr. Hart's family and friends, we have no comment," Terez said.

Hart’s name has since been removed from the federal public defender’s website.

Hart worked closely with attorney Carlos Warner, who was based out of the federal public defender’s Akron, Ohio office. Warner referred requests for comment about Hart to Terez.

With Warner, Hart was assigned by the government to defend Mohammed Rahim al-Afghani, who was detained by the CIA and allegedly subjected to torture methods until his transfer to Guantanamo in March 2008. The government maintained that al-Afghani was Osama bin Laden's translator and a top al-Qaida official.

Hart also represented Saudi Khalid Saad Mohammed, who was transferred back to Saudi Arabia from Guantanamo in 2009. He was also the attorney for Adel Hakeemy, a Tunisian who has been detained at Guantanamo for 11 years.

The Guantanamo prisoners he represents have not yet been notified about Hart’s death, according to the investigator.

In addition to defending Guantanamo prisoners, Hart also was the defense attorney for Richard Schmidt, an alleged white supremacist and convicted felon who was under federal investigation over allegations he amassed high-powered weapons and ammunition. In 2011, Hart was assigned to represent Jeff Boyd Levenderis, 54, who was indicted by a federal grand jury on suspicion of concealing a biological toxin, ricin, and making false statements to federal investigators. Hart was also co-defense counsel for Joshua Stafford, 23, one of five men associated with Occupy Cleveland who were accused of plotting to blow up the Ohio 82 bridge over the Cuyahoga River with fake explosives supplied by an undercover FBI agent. Stafford is due to stand trial in June. It's unclear if Hart's death will have any impact on Stafford's prosecution.

Recently, it was announced Hart's entire office would face furloughs as part of the sequestration.

An 11-year-old daughter survives Hart.

~

fiat justitia ruat caelum ...

~

[Item copied verbatim under ''Fair use' from http://truth-out.org/ & please use the above url to access the embedded links]

[-] 2 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Even more disturbing is that news of Hart's death is completely absent in the mainstream media. NY Times, Huffington Post, CNN, don't even mention his death. Only RT.com and a few others do.

[-] 4 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

Perception management, news control and propaganda, are terms that readily come to mind. What more can we really expect from the 'Corporate MSM' other than such 'Lame Stream Media' and 'Mind Management' ? Further, please consider :

''An amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences is being inserted into the latest defense authorization bill ...

''The amendment would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon, according to the summary of the law at the House Rules Committee's official website.

''The tweak to the bill would essentially neutralize two previous acts - the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987 - that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from our own government’s misinformation campaigns.

''The bi-partisan amendment is sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State.

''In a little noticed press release earlier in the week - buried beneath the other high-profile issues in the $642 billion defense bill, including indefinite detention and a prohibition on gay marriage at military installations - Thornberry warned that in the Internet age, the current law “ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible way.”

''The evaporation of Smith-Mundt and other provisions to safeguard U.S. citizens against government propaganda campaigns is part of a larger trend within the diplomatic and military establishment.

''In December, the Pentagon used software to monitor the Twitter debate over Bradley Manning’s pre-trial hearing; another program being developed by the Pentagon would design software to create “sock puppets” on social media outlets; and, last year, General William Caldwell, deployed an information operations team under his command that had been trained in psychological operations to influence visiting American politicians to Kabul.

''The upshot, at times, is the Department of Defense using the same tools on U.S. citizens as on a hostile, foreign, population.

''A U.S. Army whistleblower, Lieutenant Col. Daniel Davis, noted recently in his scathing 84-page unclassified report on Afghanistan that there remains a strong desire within the defense establishment “to enable Public Affairs officers to influence American public opinion when they deem it necessary to "protect a key friendly center of gravity, to wit US national will," he wrote, quoting a well-regarded general.''

Further, on the wider 'Gitmo Gulag' issue under consideration - please see :

Tens of political activists gathered in front of the White House, calling on US President Barack Obama to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facilty. The protesters in Washington DC wore prison-style jumpsuits in support of the 166 prisoners being held at the notorious US prison. As a direct result of this unreported protest, Pennsylvania Avenue was closed down.

To quote John Pilger from a recent article : ''The medley of voices on the internet has dented monopoly media power, though the same monopolies are now consuming the web. "Social media" are largely introverted, a look-at-me peep show for the digitally besotted. As the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta approaches, hard-won rights such as the presumption of innocence are buried beneath the tentacular might of corporate systems.''

As a footnote, On Saturday (11th May,'13), a number of attorneys representing the hunger striking inmates at 'The Gitmo Gulag' said the prison officials had threatened their clients with humiliating body searches as a tactic to dissuade them from meeting with their lawyers.

Finally : RiP Andy P. Hart - your family's loss and your colleague's loss - is our loss too !! ~*~

veritas vos liberabit et fiat justitia ruat caelum ...

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[-] 3 points by shadz66 (19985) 1 year ago

@ 'PS' : What does that reactionary comment mean ?! What ''fateful day'' are you referring to and just what do you mean by, ''close the doors and walk away'' ?!! Does the Rule of Law have ANY meaning any more in The ''United States of Amnesia'' [Gore Vidal, RiP] ?!!!

"The grand old man of letters Gore Vidal claims America is ‘rotting away’ — and don’t expect Barack Obama to save it", from this prescient piece from September 2009. Colonel Morris Davis is clearly an honourable man - shame that you can't see it.

legum servi sumus ut liberi esse possimus ...

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[-] 0 points by justiceforzim (-17) 1 year ago

Obama has yet to offer an alternative plan. The petition is addressed properly. Congress (bipartisanly) will not close it until there is some new plan.

http://pjmedia.com/blog/obamas-impassioned-gitmo-slam-doesnt-match-administrations-history/

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[-] 1 points by justiceforzim (-17) 1 year ago

I admit I didn't read much more than "you lying fuk"....charming dog, persuasive too. As Dowd says today in the NYT....

Closing Guantánamo doesn’t address the fundamental problem of rights. Obama’s solution, blocked by Congress, is to move the hornet’s nest to a Supermax prison in Illinois — dubbed “Gitmo North” — and keep holding men as POWs in a war that has no end. They’re not hunger-striking for a change in scenery.

It’s true that Congress put restrictions on transfers of individuals to other countries with bad security situations. But, since 2012, Congress has granted authority to the secretary of defense to waive those restrictions on a case-by-case basis. The administration hasn’t made use of that power once. So it’s a little stale to blame Congress at this point.

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[-] -1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Good idea. Send a copy of it to your Congressman and Senators too.

[-] 0 points by WSmith (1972) from Cornelius, OR 1 year ago

Tell the GOP WEEPER of the House, John Boner, and his crib of T-BAG Psychos and comrades in the Senate, bent on apposing everything sane and holding the country hostage!!!

GOP Senator Calls Gitmo A ‘Good Deal’ For The U.S.

By Ben Armbruster on Apr 25, 2013 at 11:55 am

Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) on Wednesday praised the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, calling it “the greatest resource” the United States has in combating terrorism.

Gitmo has been back in the news in recent weeks as now more than half of the detainees there are on hunger strike and more than a dozen are being force-fed. And despite the wide-spread recognition — including [Obama, Dems] and from the likes of Gen. David Petraeus — that the prison there should be closed and its existence serves as an al-Qaeda recruitment tool, Inhofe told Frank Gaffney on his radio show this week that “it’s one of the few good deals we have”:

INHOFE: This administration, Frank, has done so many things just totally wrong [read sane], that you almost give up trying to change that. A good example is what they’re doing with Gitmo [CLOSE IT!!]. How many people realize there hasn’t been anyone new going in to Gitmo when [it's] the greatest resource is that we have in this country to stop terrorism since this guy has been President.

There’s no place else in the world that we can do this [detain and interrogate] and I often say that it’s one of the few good deals that we have in America, Frank. We only pay $4,000 a year for it and half the time they don’t bill us and I have yet seen one person go down to Gitmo … who didn’t come back shaking his head saying, “Why aren’t we using this resource?” And so that’s, we’ll get back to it as soon as we get rid of this president.

Listen to the clip: http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/04/25/1920951/inhofe-gitmo-good-deal/

The United States pays Cuba $4,000 per year to lease the land for the entire Guantanamo Bay military base, but that’s far less than what it costs the U.S. taxpayer for the detention center housing the terror suspect detainees. In fact, the prison, which has been dubbed “the most expensive prison on earth,” costs the U.S. $150 million per year.

Meanwhile, the situation at Gitmo is becoming more dire by the day. On Tuesday, 84 detainees were reported to be on hunger strike — up from 30 just one month ago — and today that number has increased to 93. While controversy over guards’ alleged mistreatment of Qurans sparked the current hunger strike, many believe that desperation that the prison has not been closed is providing the fuel to carry it out.

“President Obama has publicly and privately abandoned his promise to close Guantánamo,” said Carlos Warner, a lawyer who represents one of 17 hunger strikers being kept alive by force-feeding through nasal tubes, told the New York Times. “His tragic political decision has caused the men to lose all hope. Thus, many innocent men have chosen death over a life of unjust indefinite detention.”

http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/04/25/1920951/inhofe-gitmo-good-deal/

http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/04/30/1941371/obama-gitmo-try-again/

[-] 0 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

If you care about justice, sign the petition. If you want to see your small contribution to justice grow a thousand fold, share this petition.

[-] -1 points by bensdad (8977) 1 year ago

Obama wants Gitmo closed
Bush wants Gitmo closed
McCain wants Gitmo closed


Can Obama unilaterally close Gitmo?
Do you know why Gitmo is not closed ?

[-] 6 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Tell us.

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[-] 0 points by justiceforzim (-17) 1 year ago

Obama SAYS he wants it closed. Just another of his lies. You really need to pay more attention to his actions than his rhetoric. Here's some info. State had a liason for closing gitmo and that person has left and Obama doesn't want to fill it. 86 detainees have been cleared, but Obama won't let them return home (Yemen). Those 6 Chinese muslims are still living on Pauala with no financial assistance.

http://pjmedia.com/blog/obamas-impassioned-gitmo-slam-doesnt-match-administrations-history/

[-] 2 points by Builder (4202) 1 year ago

The hypocrisy seems endless.

I can't believe the power of cognitive dissonance.

Have the people been so severely impaired by decades of propaganda?

I'd best txt someone and ask them.

[-] 1 points by bensdad (8977) 1 year ago

lies are easy- the truth is hard


from the BBC in 2009:

Obama orders Guantanamo closure

President Obama said American values would be maintained

US President Barack Obama has ordered the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp as well as all overseas CIA detention centres for terror suspects.

Signing the orders, Mr Obama said the US would continue to fight terror, but maintain "our values and our ideals".

He also ordered a review of military trials for terror suspects and a ban on harsh interrogation methods.

Continuing a flurry of announcements, he named his envoys to the Middle East, and to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

At Mr Obama's request, military judges have suspended several of the trials of suspects at Guantanamo so that the legal process can be reviewed.

'Ongoing struggle'

Mr Obama signed the three executive orders on Thursday, further distancing his new administration from the policies of his predecessor, George W Bush.

He said the Guantanamo prison "will be closed no later than one year from now."

The US would continue to fight terror, he said, but maintain American values while doing so.

"The United States intends to prosecute the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism," he said.

"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."

Mr Obama believed Americans will be safer with the prison closed, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in his first media briefing.

Mr Obama has repeatedly promised to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, where some 250 inmates accused of having links to terrorism remain and 21 cases are pending.

The legal process for these prisoners has been widely criticised because the US military acts as jailer, judge and jury, the BBC's Jonathan Beale reports from Guantanamo.

However, closing the prison will not be easy, he says.


Kafka at Gitmo: Why 86 prisoners are cleared for release but might never get it

For the 86 prisoners, it’s a plight almost Kafkaesque in its cruel absurdity: though the United States believes they should be released from their concrete cells at Guantanamo Bay, they have stayed in prison, often for years, not because of any crime they committed or immediate threat they pose, but because of diplomatic and political hurdles out of their control.

For the Obama administration, it’s a maze with no obvious exits: it doesn’t want to keep these prisoners locked up in Gitmo, which is politically and diplomatically costly, not to mention antithetical to Obama’s stated desire to close the prison, but Congress has forbidden the prisoners from being transferred to U.S. soil. Though, after years of searching, the administration had searched for foreign countries to which the detainees could be released, it appears to have since given up, having closed the office responsible for finding those countries.

All of this means that a number of Guantanamo’s detainees are stuck in the facility even though the United States believes they should be released. Perhaps understandably, the detainees are not happy about this. Increasingly aware that the world has largely given up on them, they are starting to make noise.

The past three months have been hard ones at Guantanamo. A hunger strike that began in February now includes 93 of the camp’s 166 detainees, fighting has broken out in the normally sedate Camp Six between inmates and guards, and tensions are reportedly worsening at the facility.

So who are the 86 detainees who have been cleared for transfer out of Guantanamo, and why are they still there? When the Obama administration came into office and took ownership of the camp, it announced its intention to close it. The administration had four ways to deal with the detainees: put them through civilian trials, put them through military tribunals, send them to a foreign country’s prison system or, for a lucky few dozen, release them. Obama has since released 31 detainees to their home countries and another 40 to countries that were not their homelands, either because their home country would not accept them or because the United States believed the home country might subject them to torture or other abuses.

These remaining 86 detainees are the ones who, the United States believes, should be released to either their home or another country, but haven’t been because of diplomatic and political hurdles. There are two theories as to why an individual detainee cleared for release might not get it. The first is that no country will accept him. It’s not implausible; as an example of how tough it can be to find safe homes for the detainees, some Chinese Muslim dissidents held at Gitmo had to released to, of all places, Bermuda. But the second theory that’s increasingly mentioned by critics: some administration officials might fear that a released detainee could later participate in terrorism, for which the administration might well be blamed.

Rep. Howard P. McKeon (R-Calif.) said in the New York Times that Congress recently gave the Pentagon the power to circumvent some of the restrictions that make it tough for them to release detainees to foreign countries, but that the Pentagon doesn’t appear to have taken advantage of this.

“It’s just a political game,” McKeon told the paper. “They like to point to this as our intransigence, but we have worked with them.”

A recent study by a U.S. intelligence office estimated that between 16 and 27 percent of released Gitmo detainees have participated in terrorism since leaving the facility. Imagine the reaction if, hypothetically, the Boston Marathon bombings were discovered to have been conducted by detainees whom the Obama administration had cleared from Guantanamo and you can perhaps start to understand the White House’s possible thinking.

To be clear, I’m not defending this position or arguing that it’s correct. If this is indeed part of the administration’s thinking, it raises the questions: How do you weigh that risk against the continued detention of 86 men who might otherwise go free? And isn’t there something distasteful and unsettling about imprisoning people not because they’ve done anything wrong but because they might in the future?

It’s exactly this sort of dilemma that President Obama was likely hoping to avoid when he pledged, at the start of his presidency, to close Guantanamo. And perhaps you can see some of what can make these decisions so difficult. Still, every day they go unresolved, dozens of men are waking, living, praying and now, in many cases, going hungry in concrete cells that, according to the administration, they don’t need to be in any more. But there they are, and, unless something changes, there they will remain.

[-] 0 points by justiceforzim (-17) 1 year ago

Your lengthy posts reinforces my point. Obama is LYING. He can release these people but the politics are getting in his way. He wants to close Gitmo and move the prisoners to the states. Is THAT really a solution???? Dowd of NYT sums it up nicely

Closing Guantánamo doesn’t address the fundamental problem of rights. Obama’s solution, blocked by Congress, is to move the hornet’s nest to a Supermax prison in Illinois — dubbed “Gitmo North” — and keep holding men as POWs in a war that has no end. They’re not hunger-striking for a change in scenery.

It’s true that Congress put restrictions on transfers of individuals to other countries with bad security situations. But, since 2012, Congress has granted authority to the secretary of defense to waive those restrictions on a case-by-case basis. The administration hasn’t made use of that power once. So it’s a little stale to blame Congress at this point.

It should be clear to all that Gitmo remains a problem because OBAMA won't do anything. He has gone from blaming Bush to blaming Congress for his inaction and incompetence and people like you eat it up with a 2 fisted spoon.

[-] 0 points by bensdad (8977) 1 year ago

WIKI:

On January 22, 2009, President Barack Obama
signed an order to suspend the proceedings of the Guantanamo military commission for 120 days and to shut down the detention facility within the year. On January 29, 2009, a military judge at Guantanamo rejected the White House request in the case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, creating an unexpected challenge for the administration as it reviewed how the United States brings Guantanamo detainees to trial.
On May 20, 2009, the United States Senate passed an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009 (H.R. 2346) to block funds needed for the transfer or release of prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

President Obama issued a Presidential memorandum dated December 15, 2009, ordering Thomson Correctional Center, Thomson, Illinois to be prepared to accept transferred Guantanamo prisoners.[

The Final Report of the Guantanamo Review Task Force, dated January 22, 2010, published the results for the 240 detainees subject to the Review: 36 were the subject of active cases or investigations; 30 detainees from Yemen were designated for 'conditional detention' due to the poor security environment in Yemen; 126 detainees were approved for transfer; 48 detainees were determined 'too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution'.

Since then, over 70 prisoners have been released by Obama

[-] -1 points by DKAtoday (26682) from Coon Rapids, MN 1 year ago

Gitmo should have been closed a long long time ago.

[-] 1 points by jrhirsch (4714) from Sun City, CA 1 year ago

Definitely. Here's another good link related to why Guantanamo should be closed.

http://jurist.org/forum/2009/01/no-room-left-for-doubt-new-revelations.php

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