Obama to Halt Detainee Transfers to Yemen

And so it begins. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs today said they are halting the transfer of cleared detainees to Yemen:

"One of the very first things Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula used as a tool was Gitmo," Gibbs said. "We're not going to make transfers to a country like Yemen that they're not capable of handling (the detainees). While we remain committed to closing the detention facility, the determination has been made that right now any additional transfers to Yemen is not a good idea."

This is unacceptable. Many of these men have been held 9 years, without charges. Many should never have been arrested in the first place. Sending them to Illinois for more indefinite detention is not only unfair to them, it will engender further animosity towards the U.S. and further devalue our core values and principles. [More...]

As the Center for Constitutional Rights responds, this is unconscionable.

As we approach the eighth anniversary of Guantánamo and the president’s failed deadline for its closure, it is important to remember that the vast majority of the men at Guantánamo should never have been detained in the first place, and that over 550 have been released and are peacefully rebuilding their lives. Most of the nearly 800 men who were brought to Guantánamo were not captured by the American military on any battlefield, but seized in broad sweeps during the chaos of the Afghan war or in other locations around the world and sold to the U.S. in exchange for substantial bounties. We know from the military’s own records that most of the detainees at Guantánamo have no link to terrorism.

When he accepted his Nobel Peace Prize, President Obama said, ‘We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend. And we honor those ideals by upholding them not when it's easy, but when it is hard.’ What he said in December should be just a true a month later.

This is not just giving in to the terrorists who want to destroy our freedoms, this is doing their work for them.

< Lawsuit As Negotiation | DC Circuit Appeals Court Upholds Denial of Yemini Detainee's Habeas Petition >
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  • Display: Sort:
    Wow, he's angry in his presser (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Cream City on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 03:47:59 PM EST
    about security.  Really hard-hitting at agencies.  Good for him.

    And correcting Helen Thomas (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 03:53:35 PM EST
    Bad move - Thomas could break Gibbs in two and not even break a sweat.

    I wish Thomas would break Gibbs in two (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by caseyOR on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 04:19:00 PM EST
    She wins every sparring contest with the head flack. I think Thomas is toying with Gibbs, like a cat with a mouse. I am sure it amuses her, but I would be greatly appreciative if Helen would just break that fool and put us out of the misery.

    I'm with you on that, as I have watched (none / 0) (#5)
    by Cream City on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 04:21:08 PM EST
    a lot of White House PIO's, but Gibbs sets a new low.  He just doesn't even sound believable.

    CC, check the open thread. Mary Daly died. n/t (none / 0) (#27)
    by caseyOR on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 06:54:54 PM EST
    I meant Obama in his presser (none / 0) (#3)
    by Cream City on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 03:59:02 PM EST
    but yeh, I saw that feeble attempt by Gibbs.  What a fool.  This is Helen Thomas, who has had White House flacks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

    Don't you think (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 04:23:28 PM EST
    If they didn't stop the transfers, there would be hell to pay?  You, yourself, noted that 3 of the 4 top AQ commanders in Yemen were released from Gitmo.  Don't you think we should at least investigate the possibility that a cell is somehow forming under our noses there?

    I think they would have found (none / 0) (#10)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 04:29:42 PM EST
    someone to call 'commander' anyway. It does not mean they were masterminds - could be they just had status, having been at Gitmo. Anything they were participating in would have been happening anyway.

    It is the little people (none / 0) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 05:39:31 PM EST
    that empower the network.  It is what we learned in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Being a big shot is only good for recruitment, it is the midlevel and little that get the dirty work of terrorism done.

    Yes, I've always thought (none / 0) (#18)
    by Zorba on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 05:52:48 PM EST
    that the "big shots" don't want to be martyrs for their cause- they want to find others whom they can talk into being martyrs for their cause.

    Oh yeah... (none / 0) (#19)
    by kdog on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 06:03:33 PM EST
    no brainer.  Chasing guys like the Scrotum Bomber around the world would have as much as an effect as their big-shot whackjobs targeting our low-level occupying forces...big-shots safe, the bloodshed continues.

    Of course, kdog (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by Zorba on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 07:02:34 PM EST
    That extends to big-shots everywhere.  It's not our presidents, representatives, and Pentagon generals who carry rifles- it's our "boots on the ground," so to speak- our soldiers, sailors, airforce, and Marines.

    Actually kdog (none / 0) (#29)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 06:56:05 PM EST
    It is midlevel that is the best way to break the network and dismantle power.  People like scorched scrotum are attracted to the power usually.  No reliable power structure, not so attractive to scrotums seeking instant glory.

    And there is an endless supply of little people (none / 0) (#22)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 06:23:23 PM EST
    We can't kill them all or preventatively lock them all up without cause. I don't know what the answer is, but it is not that.

    Apparently some of the Yemenis (none / 0) (#26)
    by MKS on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 06:48:42 PM EST
    may be innocent....

    But as to the point here (none / 0) (#7)
    by Cream City on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 04:23:32 PM EST
    and apologies for the subthread -- yes, nine years is half a lifetime for some detainees, and the treatment probably has shortened the lives of more.

    Maybe don't send them to Yemen just now, but get them out and going somewhere tomorrow.  They were cleared to be released, so do it.

    As if adding more potential terrorists (none / 0) (#8)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 04:24:36 PM EST
    to the already inexhaustible supply is going to matter at all. If newly released detainees don't participate in further attacks, someone else will.

    All this is doing is caving in to the Cheneyites and giving them credibility.

    I guess that's easy to say (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 04:26:54 PM EST
    But I'm not sure how you would explain that to a family who loses someone the next time one of the guys is successful. "Sorry, for your loss, but we let this guy out without checking things out.  But look on the bright side, it could have been someone else!"

    One would hope . . . (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by nycstray on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 04:57:15 PM EST
    Sorry, for your loss, but we let this guy out without checking things out.

    they are checking things out.


    My point exactly (none / 0) (#14)
    by jbindc on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 04:58:56 PM EST
    That poor family... (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by kdog on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 05:33:51 PM EST
    should realize that tyranny is no security at all...we must do what is right and accept the risk of doing what is right...even risk to life and limb.  Respecting the basic human right of due process is the right thing to do...we all know doing right is sometimes harder than doing wrong.

    Besides, Gitmo might be the cause of the radicalization, not the cure...we don't know.  Assume you're an innocent locked up in Gitmo for almost a decade...if and when you got out you might want some vengeance too jb, I think I might.  What if we have to tell that poor family "we locked up a goat herder and he became a terrorist at Gitmo...our bad".


    To your second point, I think the argument (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 06:21:21 PM EST
    people are making is that instead of taking the chance that he has been radicalized you have to throw away the key. That is just morally and legally wrong to me.

    You're damn right... (5.00 / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 06:22:47 PM EST
    its totally wrong.  

    When that happens (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 06:45:55 PM EST
    We are sending you to explain that to them.

    I'd give it a shot.... (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by kdog on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 06:54:56 PM EST
    they probably wouldn't wanna hear it, I wouldn't wanna hear it.  But thats the whole point of civilization isn't it?  To do righteously as a collective what the individual often cannot.

    To surrender our civilization to the base human instincts that are our own demise, without the benefit of the the individual human conscience as a safe-guard...well, I can't call that anything but defeat.


    We read almost every week right here (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 07:14:22 PM EST
    about people falsely imprisoned, for sometimes half their lives, in  that are released because of exoneration from DNA evidence. If they commit murder when they get out, does it mean we should not have let them out?

    It is horrible, of course it's horrible and no one wants to be that family, or be the one that has to tell that family. And that family would not be allowed as judge or jury for the person that killed their loved one. But we have laws that have to be administered with justice according to the law. If someone did not commit a crime, or there is not enough evidence against him to hold him in the category of detainees going on to the military tribunals or trials, they have to be let go.  


    Your question only make sense when ... (none / 0) (#45)
    by nyrias on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 12:22:56 PM EST
    we cannot reliably predict who is and who isn't going to commit murder.

    If you know for CERTAIN that individual A is going to commit murder, is it gross negligence to the victim if you don't do anything about it?


    I remember when NYC booed (none / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 07:00:23 PM EST
    Richard Gere right off the stage when he told them they had to forgive their attackers.  Karma will not be denied, and terrorists are personally responsible for their own karma that they have created for themselves.

    I gotta believe that sister... (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by kdog on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 07:08:55 PM EST
    or else why get outta bed in this f*cked up world.

    Just thought of something...who we gonna send to the cook's kin to explain the situation?  And will they wanna hear it?  


    I'll bet you there is at least (none / 0) (#34)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 07:17:04 PM EST
    One member of his family who was/is ticked at him for getting involved with the people he was involved with.  Probably more.  Even though Islamic Fundies have certain teachings that back up what they do they defy thrice as many teachings and lesser jihads at least in preforming what has now become the trumped up distorted greater jihad.

    Yeah, I have no problem with that (none / 0) (#35)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 07:17:55 PM EST
    No one has to forgive anyone for anything. That is up to them. And I do believe there is justice, at the very minimum living in the prison of a mind that thinks that blowing up children is the right thing to do.

    I don't think that is the point of civilization (none / 0) (#44)
    by nyrias on Wed Jan 06, 2010 at 12:20:54 PM EST
    Civilization is merely a collection of humans who found banding together is more efficient than going their own way.

    Righteousness, as shown by history, is NOT an absolute concept and changes as culture changes. Just go to the middle east, or even singapore and you will find completely different believes of right & wrong, justice & righteousness. Who is to say YOU have the "correct" brand of justice?

    Lastly, civilization succumbed to human instincts all the time. It is just nature. "To do the right thing" only works in the movie unless you don't care about consequences that may come back to bite you.

    You may think this is defeat. I only chalk it up as human nature.


    Well that is pretty much the way I look at things (none / 0) (#11)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 04:32:25 PM EST
    even when they do impact my own family. And our legal system and military are supposed to be at least as logical as I am.

    I'll add - I'm hardly calling it a bright side (none / 0) (#12)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 04:33:52 PM EST
    It is a dreadful futility side, if anything

    I do not believe that forever is the (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 06:48:40 PM EST
    goal, but they won't be released into the midst of what we are dealing with there right now.

    I guess I am not feeling very hopeful these days (none / 0) (#36)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 07:24:33 PM EST
    I don't think it is ever going to get much better, at least in the lifetime of these detainees. If Yemen is where they came from, send them back. The cynical part of me says that if they are hanging with the wrong crowd and are revered and elevated, it will make them easier for us to target.

    That would be terrible (none / 0) (#40)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 07:55:52 PM EST
    I have greater hope right now.  I hope I continue to have a greater hope too, but who knows at this point?

    I wish I had your heart MT (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 08:05:51 PM EST
    You may very well have the security/freedom  balance better calibrated than I do at this point. I hope you are right.

    I have no way of knowing (none / 0) (#43)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 09:22:02 PM EST
    I don't even think the people with the SIPR accounts with no partitions have a way of knowing at this point, and I don't think I know one of those people to ask their opinion either.  I think we may need a true blue miracle of some kind to reign in peace.  My husband told me that what is happening in Iran has given many of them  hope.  I don't pretend to understand all the particulars of what is taking place there either.  The change really must come from within though I'm told.  It must be an awakening within Islam and they say it is happening in Iran right now.

    Change (none / 0) (#17)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 05:48:19 PM EST

    Changing this failed Bush policy is wonderful.

    550 of 800 is a vast majority (none / 0) (#37)
    by diogenes on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 07:24:58 PM EST
    1.  What proportion of the eight hundred were terrorists?  Perhaps one third?  That's what they have now.  
    2.  Saddam Hussein falsely imprisoned a lot more people than 250.  I take it that the war to overthrow him was justified, then.

    Huh? Who said anyone would have the right (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by ruffian on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 07:33:25 PM EST
    to invade us to retaliate for the treatment of these detainees?

    Correct me if I'm wrong (none / 0) (#39)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 07:55:04 PM EST
    But if we had declared war, we would have perfect right under the GC to keep the prisoner until hostilities were over.

    True (none / 0) (#41)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Jan 05, 2010 at 07:57:19 PM EST