Pre-Dawn Raid at Guantanamo, Detainees Rebel

Guards at Guantanamo this morning conducted a pre-dawn raid of Camp 6, the communal housing block where most of the inmates are on a hunger strike. The purpose was to move the hunger-striking inmates to maximum security cells.

The detainees fought back. According to Guantanamo officials:

“Some detainees resisted with improvised weapons, and in response, four less-than-lethal rounds were fired,” according to a statement issued by the prison camps at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba. “There were no serious injuries to guards or detainees.”

....“In order to reestablish proper observation, the guards entered the Camp 6 communal living spaces to transition detainees into single cells, remove obstructions to cameras, windows and partitions, and to assess the medical condition of each detainee,” the prison said.

Yesterday, Guantanamo's prison camp Commander was replaced. [More...]

Rear Adm. Richard W. Butler is now the 13th Commander of the Gitmo prison system.

The commander of the prison camps at Guantánamo runs what is known as a Joint Task Force, currently a 1,700-member staff that is made up mostly of U.S. Army Military Police, both active-duty and mobilized reservists, but also draws forces from the Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard as well as civilian intelligence employees and contractors.

It seems like Gitmo is rapidly becoming a cinderblock ready to explode.

Also this week, the Pentagon began advising Guantanamo defense lawyers if their clients are one of the hunger-striking inmates. Sami Mukbel of Yemen is one of them, and he was allowed to speak to his lawyer on Monday. He confirmed what the media has been reporting as the cause of the hunger strikes:

[Mukbel said he] has lost about 30 pounds since the strike began in February as a protest over indefinite confinement and what prisoners say are intrusive searches of their Qurans.

The Atlantic has an article on how Guantanamo helps al Qaeda recruit more terrorists. As to the numbers: Of the 166 prisoners being held at Gitmo:

  • 86 have been cleared for release.
  • 46 are being held "without enough evidence" to prosecute, but are still "too dangerous to transfer."
  • 6 have been charged with a crime

Guantanamo is not only an indelible stain on America, it is a recuruitment tool for jihadist terrorists. Two years ago, CIA director John Brennan said:

"The prison at Guantánamo Bay undermines our national security, and our nation will be more secure the day when that prison is finally and responsibly closed."

In 2009, Gen. David Petraus warned:

I've been on the record on that for well over a year as well, saying that it [Guantanamo] should be closed. . . . And I think that whenever we have, perhaps, taken expedient measures, they have turned around and bitten us in the backside. . . . Abu Ghraib and other situations like that are nonbiodegradables. They don't go away. The enemy continues to beat you with them like a stick.

Colin Powell agreed, saying in 2010:

Powell said unless Guantanamo is closed, it gives "radicals an opportunity to say, you see, this is what America is all about. They're all about torture and detention centers." In Powell's words, the continuation of Guantanamo reinforces Al-Qaeda's "own positions."

Even crime-warrior Joe Biden said in 2005:

Guantanamo is the "greatest propaganda tool that exists for recruiting of terrorists around the world"

The military knows it. The world knows it. Only Congress still has its head in the sand.

< Friday Open Thread | CA Federal Court Threatens Gov. Brown With Contempt >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    I have (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by lentinel on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 01:48:42 PM EST
    to say, as an American citizen, that the continued existence of Guantanamo is a source of great shame to me.

    Obama knows how shameful it is. He campaigned on closing it.
    But all he has done is to close the agency charged with closing Gitmo.

    I had the most contempt for any president ever for Bush - with Johnson a close second.

    But Obama may make the top of the list.
    Because he knows better.

    It's Congress that has prevented (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 03:05:41 PM EST
    Guantanamo from closing by enacting laws preventing funds from being used to transfer detainees. They are contained in the Defense Authorization bills. He has opposed the restrictions. You can criticize him for not vetoing the funding bills, but the blame lies more with the Republicans in Congress.

    OK (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by lentinel on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 03:51:33 PM EST
    You can criticize him for not vetoing the funding bills, but the blame lies more with the Republicans in Congress.

    I criticize him for not vetoing the funding bills.


    Obama would close Guantanamo, if he could, but (none / 0) (#4)
    by womanwarrior on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 04:42:54 PM EST
    Congress forbade it and made it impossible for him to do so.  He can't veto an entire federal funding bill.  
    I do, however, blame Obama for things he deserves blame for, such as pushing the Chained CPI which will hurt the vulnerable.  

    Yes, he could veto an entire spending bill (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 12:19:32 PM EST
    and bring the issue to a head.

    He doesn't because he understands that the American voter doesn't want the prisoners there brought to the US mainland.

    It is past time for us to realize that the thing to do is notice that we truly are engaged in a war, go to Congress and ask that we formally declare a War On Terror and treat them as POW's.

    If we don't want to do that then try the ones we have charged and cut the others lose.


    Completely agree (none / 0) (#10)
    by ruffian on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 07:01:53 PM EST
    Hmm... (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Dadler on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 06:01:25 PM EST
    He is CIC of the armed forces, I would suggest he has more power to close a disgraceful POW camp than he wants to claim -- Mr. Executive Privilege has no problem getting around the "law" when he needs to, so I can only conclude he just doesn't think it's important with Gitmo. But he has proven a certifiably awful politician in the salesmanship sense, so it probably wouldn't have mattered if he'd actually tried.  Obama has made it clear that he believes to passionately defend anything to the hilt is folly. Read his books, he says it clear as day -- if you are a committed activist, you're essentially deluded and useless. That is his philosophy.

    Also, good old greasing of pockets and palms plays a huge role, being as we're the biggest corporate kleptocracy in the world:

    One reason why the Pentagon needs to build a costly new facility has to do with the role of private contractors in driving detention policy. At Gitmo, corporate contractors run the show. They share signage with military units; enjoy better housing than military personnel; run the food services; and import Southeast Asian workers to build the gigantic infrastructure, which was new when I visited in 2009 (calling into question the "deterioration" cited to justify the latest cash infusion).

    Contractors also ran the military tribunal facility, and even set policy - deciding, for example, what could be told to the press. Based on some disputes that I witnessed, contractors appeared to outrank soldiers.

    The vast, often undocumentable profits that flow to these companies go a long way toward explaining why facilities like Gitmo - and privately owned and operated prisons in the US itself - never close. The transfer of public money to private corporations is far more attractive than old-fashioned market capitalism.

    Is Obama equally powerless in (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Anne on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 02:00:36 PM EST
    determining how detainees are treated?  

    I think not.

    There's a lot of territory in between letting them go and treating them so poorly that many of them are on a hunger strike, but once again, here we have one more issue that gets the either-or treatment in an effort to convince people these are the only choices available.


    Come On... (none / 0) (#11)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Apr 15, 2013 at 12:33:59 PM EST
    ...the fact that the Commander in Chief asked Congress for funding in regards to military prisoners, pretty much says it all.  Something he didn't do in Libya, which is actually required.

    Not to mention being the head of Executive Branch in regards to these trials, whether they use the military of civilian courts, he is the top dog and could at the very least, ensure all prisoners in US custody are afforded the same Constitutional rights.


    It is a nightmare, shameful, and inexcusable (none / 0) (#9)
    by ruffian on Sun Apr 14, 2013 at 06:58:08 PM EST
    No argument for keeping it open makes any sense to me.

    Propaganda (none / 0) (#5)
    by koshembos on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 05:44:20 PM EST
    The Republicans and Al Qaida use Gitmo as a propaganda tool each to acheive different goals. I'll put Obama on top of many negative lists and almost no positive list; Gitmo existence is mainly a Republican legacy.

    We tend to say that "... Guantanamo helps al Qaeda recruit more terrorists." That's only marginally correct. There are many reasons an individual joins an anti American terrorist group. Gitmo is an additional nudge. Gitmo is a travesty without helping anyone. Gitmo makes us less democratic. Gitmo depresses our ethical standing.

    But if this is true... (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by Dadler on Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 06:18:03 PM EST
    ...it is more reason for him to passionately fight it and logically lay out the case for the American people, lather rinse repeat. As a practical political practice, Obama should be broadcasting from the White House every night, in a little studio, throwing the empty chair bullsh*t back at Republicans, offering them an open opportunity to debate him face to face on any issue at any time.  That utter lack of political imagination is inexcusable and depressing to me. These folks couldn't draw a circle with a pencil, paper and soupcan to trace around. They'd get bored and steal the pencil before they were halfway around.