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Joint Chiefs chairman: Close Guantanamo

Old 01-14-08, 07:53 AM
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Joint Chiefs chairman: Close Guantanamo

Yahoo Story

By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer 1 hour, 29 minutes ago

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - The chief of the U.S. military said he favors closing the prison here as soon as possible because he believes negative publicity worldwide about treatment of terrorist suspects has been "pretty damaging" to the image of the United States.

"I'd like to see it shut down," Adm. Mike Mullen said Sunday in an interview with three reporters who toured the detention center with him on his first visit since becoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff last October.


His visit came two days after the sixth anniversary of the prison's opening in January 2002. He stressed that a closure decision was not his to make and that he understands there are numerous complex legal questions the administration believes would have to be settled first, such as where to move prisoners.

The admiral also noted that some of Guantanamo Bay's prisoners are deemed high security threats. During a tour of Camp Six, which is a high-security facility holding about 100 prisoners, Mullen got a firsthand look at some of the cells; one prisoner glared at Mullen through his narrow cell window as U.S. officers explained to the Joint Chiefs chairman how they maintain almost-constant watch over each prisoner.

Mullen, whose previous visit was in December 2005 as head of the U.S. Navy, noted that President Bush and Defense Secretary Robert Gates also have spoken publicly in favor of closing the prison. But Mullen said he is unaware of any active discussion in the administration about how to do it.

"I'm not aware that there is any immediate consideration to closing Guantanamo Bay," Mullen said.

Asked why he thinks Guantanamo Bay, commonly dubbed Gitmo, should be closed, and the prisoners perhaps moved to U.S. soil, Mullen said, "More than anything else it's been the image how Gitmo has become around the world, in terms of representing the United States."

Critics have charged that detainees have been mistreated in some cases and that the legal conditions of their detentions are not consistent with the rule of law.

"I believe that from the standpoint of how it reflects on us that it's been pretty damaging," Mullen said, speaking in a small boat that ferried him to and from the detention facilities across a glistening bay.

He said he was encouraged to hear from U.S. officers here that the prison population has shrunk by about 100 over the past year, to 277. At one time the population exceeded 600. Hundreds have been returned to their home countries but U.S. officials say some are such serious security threats that they cannot be released for the foreseeable future. Only four are currently facing military trials after being formally charged with crimes.


Mullen also walked through an almost-completed top-security courtroom where the military expects to hold trials beginning this spring for the 14 "high-value" terror suspects who had previously been held at secret CIA prisons abroad. He was told that audio of the proceedings might be piped to locations in the United States where families of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, and perhaps others, could hear them.

Mullen's predecessor, retired Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, is a defendant in a lawsuit by four British men who allege they were systematically tortured throughout their two years of detention at this remote outpost. On Friday a federal appeals court in Washington ruled against the four men.

It was six years ago that Guantanamo Bay received its first prisoners, suspected terrorists picked up on the battlefields of Afghanistan as the Taliban government was being ousted from power.

The facility is on land leased from the Cuban government under terms of a long-term deal that predates the rule of President Fidel Castro. It is commanded by Navy Rear Adm. Mark Buzby.

Gates, at a Dec. 21 news conference at the Pentagon, noted the administration's failure to settle the closure debate.

"I think that the principal obstacle has been resolving a lot of the legal issues associated with closing Guantanamo and what you do with the prisoners when they come back (to the United States)," Gates said.

"Because of some of these legal concerns some of which are shared by people in both parties on Capitol Hill there has not been much progress in this respect," he added.

After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration considered Guantanamo Bay a suitable place to hold men suspected of links to the Taliban and al-Qaida, contending that U.S. laws do not apply there because Guantanamo is not part of the United States. Lawyers for the detainees have challenged that interpretation ever since.

Before he finished his Guantanmo Bay visit and flew to Key West, Fla., Mullen got a look at a site on the eastern shore of Guantanamo Bay opposite the terrorist detention center where the U.S. military is building a new refugee camp that would be used in the event of a sudden, major influx of refugees in the area. Initially the camp will be designed to hold 10,000 refugees and is scheduled to be finished by June.
Now that even military people are saying to close Gitmo...this is news.
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Old 01-14-08, 08:12 AM
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Doesn't Romney want to increase its size or was that someone else?
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Old 01-14-08, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
Now that even military people are saying to close Gitmo...this is news.
They seem to be saying it because of it's negative publicity, not it's effectiveness.

A dangerous premise indeed.
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Old 01-14-08, 08:41 AM
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Please correct me if I'm wrong... but the whole appeal of Guantanamo is that it's technically not part of the US, right? But it's also not part of any other country. So we can engage in acts that would be considered illegal here, and would be violations of international treaty anywhere else. True?
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Old 01-14-08, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Rockmjd23
Yes he said he wanted to double Guantanamo. That was step 1 in my gradual removal from supporting him in any way.
Step 2.
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Old 01-14-08, 08:48 AM
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He quite obviously hates America.
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Old 01-14-08, 08:55 AM
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If we close it down - where are we going to practice waterboarding and other forms of torture. I say '- 'Guantanamo must be kept open. We've got to keep in practice'.
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Old 01-14-08, 08:57 AM
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Government should get a clue from successful American big business and instead of closing Gitmo they should re-brand it with a spiffy new name, jingle and logo.
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Old 01-14-08, 09:56 AM
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I agree. Shoot all of the [NYT]freedom fighters[/NYT] held there and leave. Under no circumstances should the terrorists that are held there come to the US court system. Better to let them go free and tell them to swim home.

What is wrong with this guy? Is he aware that the "critics" of Gitmo are all the America-hating leftists around the world who are more concerned with the cult-of-death terrorists than they are their victims?

Is he aware that many among the hundreds who have been released already have been recaptured trying to kill more innocents?

He sounds like the wrong man for the job.
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Old 01-14-08, 10:00 AM
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It seems bhk and Red Dog are in agreement.
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Old 01-14-08, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by VinVega
It seems bhk and Red Dog are in agreement.
For some reason, the comparison reminds me of the scene from As Good As It Gets:

Receptionist: How do you write women so well?
Melvin Udall: I just think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability.
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Old 01-14-08, 10:39 AM
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Supporting the closing of Gitmo and releasing the suspects are two different things. I didn't see where he supports the latter. So he is really just thinking of image and wants them somewhere else. My guess is we could hand them over to the Saudis. The Gitmo prisoners probably would prefer to stay in Cuba, though.
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Old 01-14-08, 10:45 AM
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If we close Gitmo they'll just be sent to whatever top-secret prison they were sent to before Guantanamo. And I don't mean a prison we know about.
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Old 01-14-08, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by kvrdave
Supporting the closing of Gitmo and releasing the suspects are two different things. I didn't see where he supports the latter. So he is really just thinking of image and wants them somewhere else. My guess is we could hand them over to the Saudis. The Gitmo prisoners probably would prefer to stay in Cuba, though.
I have no problem with detaining the actual terrorists, although I'd rather see them imprisoned here in the US than in a camp whose very name is now synonymous with US imperialism. But there are a lot of other people in Guantanamo who were just picked up in sweeps in Iraq and Afghanistan. These people need to be given a fair trial and either sentenced or released -- in the case of many of the "enemy combatants" (i.e. the members of the Taliban picked up off the battlefield) I think they should either be detained as POWs or let go, not subjected to 24 hour a day incarceration and "hard interrogation".

The whole operation just stinks.
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Old 01-14-08, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by bhk

Is he aware that the "critics" of Gitmo are all the America-hating leftists around the world who are more concerned with the cult-of-death terrorists than they are their victims?


While the chicken hawks (who have no idea what America stand for and what it means to be an American and are more loyal to one man than America) would love to make it out to be that those who want gitmo closed are for the terrorists, anyone with above a 5th grade education would know that is pure crap.
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Old 01-14-08, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
For some reason, the comparison reminds me of the scene from As Good As It Gets:

Receptionist: How do you write women so well?
Melvin Udall: I just think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability.
You shouldn't insult Red Dog like that.
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Old 01-14-08, 11:00 AM
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I have no problem with detaining the actual terrorists, although I'd rather see them imprisoned here in the US than in a camp whose very name is now synonymous with US imperialism.
People who believe that Guantanamo represents US imperalism are stupid and should be discounted completely. No need to bother about what they think.

These people need to be given a fair trial and either sentenced or released -- in the case of many of the "enemy combatants" (i.e. the members of the Taliban picked up off the battlefield) I think they should either be detained as POWs or let go, not subjected to 24 hour a day incarceration and "hard interrogation".
The ACLU and the other liberal groups have put up roadblock after roadblock in doing just this via military courts.

While the chicken hawks (who have no idea what America stand for and what it means to be an American and are more loyal to one man than America) would love to make it out to be that those who want gitmo closed are for the terrorists, anyone with above a 5th grade education would know that is pure crap.
When one wants a little R&R from the trials of jihad......

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Old 01-14-08, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by bhk
I agree. Shoot all of the [NYT]freedom fighters[/NYT] held there and leave. Under no circumstances should the terrorists that are held there come to the US court system. Better to let them go free and tell them to swim home.

What is wrong with this guy? Is he aware that the "critics" of Gitmo are all the America-hating leftists around the world who are more concerned with the cult-of-death terrorists than they are their victims?

Is he aware that many among the hundreds who have been released already have been recaptured trying to kill more innocents?

He sounds like the wrong man for the job.
I see! Everyone who is opposed to torture or feels like habeas corpus is somewhat important is an American-hating leftist.

Oh, my God!
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Old 01-14-08, 11:11 AM
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That's why I love that Guantanamo isn't actually in the US. Oh and c-man, don't cry about habeus corpus. If you cared about it, you would never ever have voted for dems. After all, hasn't Bush incarcerated thousands of innocent US citizens? Wait no that was a dem president.
And anyways, it wouldn't apply. These terrorists were captured overseas by soldiers and not US policemen. Furthermore, they aren't in this country.
And I would tell this general that he shouldn't worry about the image of the USA. If the image survived dropping 2 atomic bombs on civilians and firebombing Dresden, it'll survive Guantanamo.

Last edited by bhk; 01-14-08 at 11:25 AM.
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Old 01-14-08, 11:17 AM
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Ah - another WWII parallel. That never gets old.
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Old 01-14-08, 11:18 AM
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It is somewhat ironic that the more bhk defends his POV, the more converts he almost certainly gets for the other side.
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Old 01-14-08, 11:23 AM
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Doesn't bother me at all. Anyone on this board is like a eunuch in a harem as far as their ability to actually shut down Guantanamo.
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Old 01-14-08, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by cinten


While the chicken hawks (who have no idea what America stand for and what it means to be an American and are more loyal to one man than America)


At least you set the stage for your post nicely.
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Old 02-11-08, 07:47 AM
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The New York Times is reporting that the U.S. is planning to bring 6 gitmo prisoners to trial. The government will seek the death penalty.

These 6 supposedly have signficant ties to 9/11.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080211/...LkkcEiv2QE1vAI

Last edited by classicman2; 02-11-08 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 01-11-12, 09:58 AM
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Re: Joint Chiefs chairman: Close Guantanamo

I read today that there are currently 171 detainees. Of those, 170 have yet to be formally charged.
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