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GAO Report on Guantanamo Doesn't Touch Indefinite Detention, Civil Liberties Offenses

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abuse, bushadministration, congress, constitution, cover-up, crime, dishonesty, ethics, elections, freedoms, Gitmo, Govtfearmongering, justice, lies, media, military, politics, propaganda, republicans, usa )

- 1086 days ago -
The infamous Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba opened in January 2002. Now, ten years later, a report from the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds it would be possible to close the military facility and move the 166 detainees to the US

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Kit B. (276)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 8:53 am
(photo credit: Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Photo: Marion Doss / Flickr)

The infamous Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba opened in January 2002. Now, ten years later, a report from the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds it would be possible to close the military facility and move the 166 detainees to the United States.

Attorneys working with Guantanamo detainees argue that the report does not touch on whether moving detainees would help the transparency or human rights issues that have plagued the facility since it was first built.

"Transferring detainees from Guantanamo to federal prison in the US is not the way to close Guantanamo," said Wells Dixon, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). "It's important to remember that Guantanamo is not just a place, but a regime of indefinite detention. That is the fundamental problem - the issue is less where you hold someone."

The report was commissioned by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

"This report demonstrates that if the political will exists, we could finally close Guantanamo without imperiling our national security," Feinstein said. "The GAO report makes clear that numerous prisons exist inside the United States - operated by both the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice - capable of holding the 166 detainees who remain at Guantanamo in an environment that meets the security requirements."

The report notes that there are already 373 individuals charged with or convicted of terrorism held in 98 prisons in the United States.

According to the press release, "the Department of Defense and the Department of Justice both operate detention facilities comparable to Guantanamo Bay and currently hold convicted terrorists and other felons connected to terrorism."

The facilities may need some adjustment as detainees from Guantanamo would need to be held separately from the rest of the prison population. Six of these are Defense Department facilities, working at 48 percent capacity, that are already in place to "confine service members for more than 1 year."

Feinstein said that the cost of running Guantanamo is unsustainable.

"As far as I know, there hasn't been a single security problem reported in any of these cases. This fact outweighs not only the high cost of maintaining Guantanamo - which costs more than $114 million a year - but also provides the same degree of security without the criticism of operating a military prison in an isolated location," she said.

Brent Mickum, a US lawyer representing Guantanamo detainee Abu Zubaydah, told Truthout the question is not whether there is enough space in US prisons.

"Clearly there are facilities in the US that can house 66 or 166 individuals," he said. "The bigger issue here that nobody wants to touch is the extent to which the majority of people who remain at Guantanamo are in fact not terrorists and not dangerous."

Dixon argues that looking at the number of people who have been charged supports this assertion. "More men have died at Guantanamo than have been convicted. Nine people have died, seven individuals have been convicted and seven have charges pending."

In September 2012, the Justice Department confirmed that 55 detainees had been approved to be transferred to other countries. The report was released three years after it had been confirmed that the individuals could be released, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

"There is no reason to bring these detainees to federal prison in the US," said Dixon. "They should be released. Eighty-six of 166 men who remain at Guantanamo have been unanimously approved to be transferred by the United States government, the CIA and Homeland Security."

Even if they are brought to the United States, Dixon, with CCR, said that the court system for people charged with terrorism is riddled with problems. "The federal court system in the US is well established, but it has issues for individuals with terrorism offense. These include unfair trial practices and impaired right to confront witnesses," said Dixon.

"That said, we advocate that when detainees are charged with terrorism, they should be brought to a fair trial."

The long-term detention of Bradley Manning, accused of leaking confidential documents to WikiLeaks, is often used to illustrate the lack of due process in national security cases. Manning has been detained since May 2010. He was held for nearly two years without charge.

Mickum, whose client is considered one of the most "high value" detainees at the Guantanamo facility, said that there is little political will to ask what he considers the right questions on the detention facility.

"If people started to really examine the evidence, we'd have a vastly different dialogue," said Mickum. "Instead, everyone just sits there and listens to Lindsey Graham [the Republican senator from South Carolina] or John McCain. They make sure that everybody really thinks that those that remain at Guantanamo are the worst of the worst. I doubt there will even ever be 25 trials at Guantanamo."
***More detailed information in links within body of article at Visit Site***********

By Yana Kunichoff, Truthout | Report

Jae A. (320)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 10:46 am
Very Interesting,informative read. To it all I can think to add is this just the beginning of such detentions or is it near the end of them ?

Kit B. (276)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 11:03 am

Good question Jae, what does NDAA potentially mean for the future?

I remember reading how disappointed FDR was with our bombing of cities in Germany and Japan, though his military commanders convinced him there was no other way to win. Yet, playing on inherent racism and hate of all enemies he signed away the rights and property of legal law abiding citizens with the stroke a pen. Those were of course, Japanese American, Italian Americans, German American that were shipped off to internment camps with their only property being what they could carry. (During WWII)

Now we have a new face for the enemy both one of foreign nationality and foreign religion and it is easy to inspire hate.

Rose Becke (287)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 3:32 pm
Close it down

Angelika R. (145)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 4:00 pm
I suppose that as long as the Manning case is not resolved the govt. has issues to touch the Gitmo case. As much as Obama wanted and hoptefully still wants to close gitmo, he also wants Manning detained and punished hardest possible way. The conflict becomes clear when considering this.
Thx Kit, it was interesting to learn that so many have in fact been already transfered to other countries or approved for that, time it happens!

Kit B. (276)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 4:21 pm

I think they should stay in the US and be tried in a US court. Let's air this out in a court of law. Manning has been terribly abused, though he is not the first and I doubt will be the last. Some see him as a traitor, but once those wiki-leaks were available I read them and suspect that many did as well. Other than some slightly now mostly forgotten incidents of embarrassment for a few "dignitaries"... I fail to see what the buzz is. There were no big security leaks.

Yvonne White (233)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 5:34 pm
If we really are intent on prosecuting these detainees - then they Should be in the United States & our law should apply! This Military Tribunal crap CAN'T apply if they were not in the military to begin with. Noriega was tried & convicted in America & we kidnapped him from a how are these detainees bigger & stronger & more magically militant than a Dictator who had he own army??? We try, convict, & imprison gangsters & gang bangers & even the occasional bankster (*shudder*) - how is it the Government (CONgre$$) is so afraid of these prisoners?

JL A. (287)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 5:48 pm
I give Feinstein kudos for commissioning the report that addresses and should lay to rest the government fear mongering in Congress during Obama's first year when he moved to close Gitmo. But there are indeed many other human rights issues that I suspect the law would be more in protecting the detainee if they are on U.S. soil.

Dorothy N. (63)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 7:12 pm
... Brent Mickum, a US lawyer representing Guantanamo detainee Abu Zubaydah, told Truthout the question is not whether there is enough space in US prisons.

"Clearly there are facilities in the US that can house 66 or 166 individuals," he said. "The bigger issue here that nobody wants to touch is the extent to which the majority of people who remain at Guantanamo are in fact not terrorists and not dangerous." ...


Past Member (0)
Sunday December 2, 2012, 10:41 pm
The place is an abomination.

How can America give little lectures to other countries about human rights as long as it remains open?

Rose Becke (287)
Monday December 3, 2012, 2:57 am

John Gregoire (286)
Monday December 3, 2012, 6:35 am
This prison is probably the nest place these terrorists have ever lived. If Roger and others feel that strongly, perhaps we could detain them in your home or home town? They've sworn to kill all Americans but I'm sure they would leave you be.

Past Member (0)
Monday December 3, 2012, 9:21 am
Well, John, as some of the men there have never had a trial we don't know too much about what they have said or done, do we?

Everyone has a right to a fair trial. Everyone. If there's proof that they've committed crimes then let's see it. If they're found guilty then so be it. Until then, I believe they are innocent until proven guilty under American law. And so as it stands innocent men have been held in an appalling prison for a decade. And you're content with this?

Past Member (0)
Monday December 3, 2012, 9:23 am
By the way, I assume you mean best when you say nest.

To say that it's the best place they've ever lived is despicable.

Kit B. (276)
Monday December 3, 2012, 11:22 am

Some people do not support the death penalty even in cases of extreme slaughter of others, say a serial killer. Does that mean they should house them in their own homes? That is neither logical nor rational thinking, to the contrary it is reactive and irrational. It offers no effort of deep thinking on a highly charged and nationally expensive issue. We spent far more on killing a prisoner than housing he/she in lock up for the rest of their lives. Look it up, that is factual information.

I'm afraid, John that statement comes from the notorious and mostly incorrect propaganda surrounding those in the Guantanamo facility, rather than from the facts. Why are you so afraid to have this become public trails?

If each person in Guantanamo Bay facility is proven guilty of crimes against the United States than you can be sure (or look up the information) that we have laws that address foreign nationals that conspire to do harm to the citizens of this country.

What we can not do currently, is speak with honesty and integrity to those countries holding US citizens without legal charges not being properly tried or returned to the United States.
I do not say that we can expect all other countries to behave as the US does by convening a public trial, though without doing just that, we are opening the dialogue from a point of hyporcracy.

We want to believe that we are just a bit better than other countries - let us begin to act in that way.

Yvonne White (233)
Monday December 3, 2012, 2:30 pm
All this was started (at least openly) by Reagan & Bu$h $r., with the kidnapping of Noriega and I thought then that it was insanely arrogant..but only Bu$h the Le$$er could go even lower with mass kidnappings (yeah, "detaining", much more PC), but this Indefinite crap HAS to STOP! Obama HAS to Close GITMO publicly & with Media Exposure to convince the World and the US citizens paying for this fiasco that it Won't be Allowed in the future! I was VERY upset that he didn't close it in his 1st term, but now it's Doubly Important to close & get rid of the UNConstitutional "indefinite detention" bull$hit!!!! We don't need it & the very thought that any future RepubliCON President could use it is Horrifying!!!!

Kit B. (276)
Monday December 3, 2012, 2:40 pm

Not much to add to that Yvonne, but we have done the same with others, many others since WWII and that has made the US the terrorists in the eyes of many other countries. NDAA - must be repealed and squashed.

Lois Jordan (61)
Monday December 3, 2012, 5:49 pm
I've signed numerous petitions to close Gitmo. Here's one good thing Feinstein has done. I don't know why it took her so long, though. I'm 100% with you on NDAA, as well as the Patriot Act---two lousy pieces of legislation that should've never been passed.
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