Congress Passes Guantanamo Bill

The Senate has passed the bill authorizing trials of Guantanamo detainees in U.S. criminal courts. But, it also prevents those who are acquitted from remaining in the U.S. What happens to those who can't return to their home country for fear of torture? If they can't stay in the U.S., Guantanamo is closed and they can't go to their home country, where will they go?

Also, those who are convicted won't be allowed to serve their sentences in US prisons. Will we build new prisons abroad for them? That's a terrible idea. We need to get out of the prison business.

The bill now goes to President Obama for signing.

There's more to the bill: No release of torture photos: [More...]

The bill would also allow the Pentagon to block the release of photographs showing the abuse of terrorism suspects, which have figured prominently in several scandals.

And it doesn't mandate federal criminal trials. It allows the possibility that some of the detainees would be sent abroad for trials or face military tribunals.

I'm not sure how this is different than existing policy, or why Congressional approval is necessary to charge them in federal court. It wasn't necessary to try Jose Padilla or Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani.

The bill also authorizes $42.8 billion to fund the Homeland Security Department. That's a lot of money. Where's it going? Didn't we just pass a bill with a ton of money for law enforcement?

There are 220 detainees remaining at Guantanamo.

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    This afternoon, TL sidebar had a (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by oculus on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 09:21:57 PM EST
    headline (from another blog) about Congress passing bill to permit detainees from Guantanamo to be tried in U.S. federal criminal courts.  Without reading the posts, I though--why does the U.S. Department of Justice need the permission of Congress to do this?  More to it than meets the eye--those photos (what will the judge say) and what to do with people DOJ fails to get a conviction on.

    You know (1.00 / 1) (#2)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 09:40:00 PM EST
    I understand that some may  have a problem in their home country... but isn't that their problem? I mean you are Syrian, you beat the rap... whatever problems you have are your problems.

    Some nations (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by Watermark on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 12:38:28 AM EST
    have human rights acts that disallow deportation if the convict could face human rights abuses in their home country.  I think it's just basic human decency.  We have universal jurisdiction to stop crimes against humanity.

    no takers, Jim (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 10:33:48 PM EST
    not even worth discussing. This is close to a troll comment.

    Well, one man's troll comment (none / 0) (#5)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 10:40:34 PM EST
    can be another's thoughtful question. And I think you know me well enough to know I don't troll.

    So let me restate. We have arrested someone who has a problem with their home country. Now, we fail to convict them. Why should we be concerned about their previous problem? Shouldn't we honor existing treaties?

    Think about it.


    got it, you didn't say in your (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 12:19:34 AM EST
    first comment you were talking about those acquitted. I thought you meant those held at Guantanamo should be sent to their home countries even if they would be tortured there.

    Could convicted individuals (none / 0) (#3)
    by mg7505 on Tue Oct 20, 2009 at 09:54:47 PM EST
    get sent to foreign prisons (not US-controlled)? And would extraordinary rendition would be the right legal term for that? I'd prefer we keep the convicted in Guantánamo instead of, say, Syria.

    Spain (none / 0) (#8)
    by diogenes on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 08:26:44 PM EST
    There's a judge in Spain who has a great fondness for trying to indict right-wing dictators (Pinochet, etc).  Since GITMO is ostensibly a right-wing war crime too then perhaps the acquitted detainees can go to Spain.