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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