House Committee Approves Bill Blocking Gitmo in Illinois

The House Armed Services Committee has unanimously passed H.R. 5136, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011. Among it's provisions: There can be no money expended on buying Thomson Correctional Center (or any other prison in the U.S.) to house detainees from Guantanamo:


The Committee firmly believes that the construction or modification of any facility in the U.S. to detain or imprison individuals currently being held at Guantanamo must be accompanied by a thorough and comprehensive plan that outlines the merits, costs, and risks associated with utilizing such a facility. No such plan has been presented to date. The bill prohibits the use of any funds for this purpose. Additionally, the bill requires the Secretary of Defense to present Congress with a report that adequately justifies any proposal to build or modify such a facility in the future.


Putting the kabosh on Thomson may not be a bad thing since Obama was planning on using it to imprison at least 48 detainees indefinitely without charges. Thomson wouldn't have resulted in the closure of Gitmo, it would have just changed its zip code.

The bill has some other bad features. Here's one:


The Committee recognizes a rapid increase in the use of the Internet by violent extremist groups such as al Qaeda and the Taliban to disseminate messages and maligned rhetoric to undermine U.S. interests and entice acts of global terrorism. These groups consistently use video sharing, social networking sites, and a number of other popular websites to recruit and train terrorists and to raise funds.

Because of the nature of the digital medium, these persuasive and misleading messages often reach the public first, rendering subsequent factual counter messages useless. The amount of this deceptive and misinformed content continues to grow at a staggering rate, the majority of which remains unanswered and misunderstood by moderate authorities.

To address this rising threat, the bill recommends an additional $2.5 million for a total of $87.8 million for the Combating Terrorism Technical Support office to conduct a study determining the state of the virtual media environment occupied by our adversaries. Additionally, the bill directs the Department to submit a report outlining actions being taken to counter extremist uses of the Internet.

There's also $159.3 billion for FY11 overseas contingency operations, including operations in Afghanistan and the transition in Iraq.

And huge expenditures for "Counter Ideology Programs." Translation: Brain Washing and Just Say No Programs.

The Committee emphasizes the importance of understanding the ideological environment, including how terrorist groups are leveraging digital media to propagate their messages and aid in recruitment, and then translating that understanding into synchronized near‐, mid‐, and long‐term action across the federal government.

The bill authorizes $88.2 million, an increase of $10 million, to fund initiatives identified in the April 2009 Strategic Communication Science and Technology Plan in order to focus DOD counter‐ideology activities.

Elsewhere, the bill grants "$26.5 million to fund counter‐ideology initiatives, including social science research."

And for the "Minerva Initiative":

The Committee is particularly concerned by the lack of focus in understanding the extremist ideologies that help fuel recruitment of terrorists. This year’s NDAA authorizes $96.2 million, $5 million above the budget request, to conduct research to improve our understanding of extremist ideologies, and develop more effective counter messages.

These programs are intended to "undermine the ideological narrative of various terrorist groups." They'll likely be as effective as the ONDCP's "this is your brain on drugs" commercials and Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" program. And we'll be billions of dollars poorer for them.

< Friday Morning Open Thread | Judge Denies Bagram Detainees Access to Courts >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    No problem this (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by scribe on Fri May 21, 2010 at 06:26:52 PM EST
    defunding a prison gambit.

    With the DC Circuit's decision today tossing the Bagram captives' habeas cases, freedom from distracting litigation over Gitmo is just a plane flight (from Gitmo to Bagram) away.  And Obama will be able to say, with a straight face, that he has closed Gitmo after emptying it.

    Scribe, you're so cynical! (none / 0) (#4)
    by Zorba on Fri May 21, 2010 at 07:04:46 PM EST
    My kind of person.

    Well (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Fri May 21, 2010 at 05:11:32 PM EST
    Seems like they could use it for TSA training, so it's not like terror threats are just all made up:

    WASHINGTON (AP) - At least 16 people later linked to terror plots passed through U.S. airports undetected by federal officials who were on duty to spot suspicious behavior, according to a government report.

    The airport-based officials were part of a federal behavior detection program designed to spot potential terrorists and others who pose a threat to aviation. The program, started in 2003, is one of 20 layers built into the nation's aviation security system.

    The Government Accountability Office questioned the scientific basis of the entire program in a report released Thursday. The program is dubbed SPOT _ Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques. It was instituted by the Transportation Security Administration "without first validating the scientific basis for identifying passengers in an airport environment," the GAO said.

    "A scientific consensus does not exist on whether behavior detection principles can be reliably used for counterterrorism purposes," the congressional auditors said.

    The public version of the GAO report did not include the names of the 16 terror suspects who eluded detection. But among the 16 who slipped past the behavior detection officials at Newark Liberty International Airport, the report said, was an individual who "in August 2008 later pleaded guilty to providing material support to al-Qaida."

    Both Najibullah Zazi, the Denver-area shuttle driver who led the plot to blow up the New York City subway system, and an accomplice, Zarein Ahmedzay, pleaded guilty to providing material support to al-Qaida. Federal investigators said both men also traveled through the Newark airport in August 2008.

    The kicker... (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Fri May 21, 2010 at 06:06:36 PM EST
    with this "counter ideology program" is we're primarily concerned with developing "more effective counter messages"...aka trying to out snakeoil sell the competition. No peace plan...lets sell benevolent occupation.

    "Minerva Initiative"...where do they come up with these creepy names? Is there an Aleister Crowley or Illuminati connection we should know about here?