Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 27

Thread: Inside President Obama's meeting with human rights groups

  1. #1
    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    citizen of the world
    Posts
    5,444

    Default Inside President Obama's meeting with human rights groups

    Obama Huddles with Human Rights Group before National Security Speech

    Under heavy criticism for a series of decisions on national security that resembled, for some, those of the Bush years, President Barack Obama hosted a lengthy meeting on Wednesday with the leaders of several key human rights and civil liberties groups.

    Addressed were the topics that promise to be front and center during the President's major foreign policy speech scheduled for Thursday.

    According to an attendee, Obama expressed frustration with Congress' decision to remove funding for the closure of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay. The president declared that his hands were tied in some ways regarding the use of reformed military tribunals, though he pledged to try as many detainees as possible in Article III federal courts.

    Hours after the meeting, the Associated Press reported that the administration plans to send Ahmed Ghailani, a top al-Qaida suspect held at Guantanamo Bay, to New York to face trial. Ghailani will be the first detainee held at GItmo to be brought to the United States, and the first to face trial in a civilian criminal court.

    Speaking to human rights officials on Wednesday, the president also left the door open for the future release of detainee abuse photos, saying that his administration's current opposition to the release was dictated by immediate concern over the complications it could cause to America's mission in Afghanistan.

    More broadly, Obama said he was determined to build a new structure for executive oversight that would last beyond his presidency, preempting the problems he currently confronts from happening again.

    "We talked a lot about the framework in which he is operating, and he talked about his strong desire to reestablish a system under which the executive is not exercising unfettered authority," said Elisa Massimino, CEO of Human Rights First and an attendee at the Wednesday affair. "One of the chief differences between him and his predecessor was that he didn't think he ought to be making these decisions in an ad-hoc, unaccountable way. And so he said that, in thinking through this, he was focused on how his successor might operate."

    In an interview with the Huffington Post, Massimino detailed what she described as a "lively and detailed and serious" discussion on some of the days most vexing national security issues. Over the course of roughly an hour and fifteen minutes, Obama, along with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Attorney General Eric Holder, advisers Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod, foreign policy hand Dennis McDonough, and counter-terrorism chief John Brennan, held court with a group of academics, as well as officials with the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, and the Center for Constitutional Rights.

    Asked to attend the meeting on Tuesday afternoon, the group came prepared with what Massimino described as "some pointed pushback and questions" on a variety of topics. The president, she added, spoke for roughly fifteen minutes before opening up the forum for questions.

    "It was really a back and forth discussion," said Massimino. "It was not, one side makes a presentation and the other side listens and takes notes. It was really probing."
    There was much to probe. According to Massimino, Obama had "two baskets of issues he wanted to talk about: one was Guantanamo and all of the things pertaining to closing it. And the other was transparency."

    On Gitmo, Massimino said, the President "emphasized that he was in this for the long game. He said he realized that you can't change people's misperceptions overnight, that they have had eight long years of a steady dose of fear and a lack of leadership and that is not something that you wave a magic wand and make it go away."

    As for the criticism of Senate Republicans, who suggest that moving terrorism suspects to America would be tantamount to releasing them on the streets, Massimino recalled Obama's remarks as being relatively brief. He dismissed it, she said, "as really an unfounded fear that is being fanned by people who are seeking political advantage."

    While acknowledging that she did not have verbatim quotes from the president, Massimino nevertheless relayed some of the remarks he made on other key foreign policy topics. On the administration's decision to reverse course and oppose the release of photos depicting abuse of terrorist suspects, she said that Obama brought it up without being prompted. "He raised it," she said. "We didn't have to ask."

    "He said that he became convinced that the particular timing of what we were dealing with in Afghanistan right now made this a particularly bad time to release those photos," she explained. "And he said that we should not conclude from his decision right now that those photos will not end up getting released. There are many ways that might happen. The court might order it. Circumstances might change the balance of consideration that would weigh in favor of transparency, which he reiterated would be his default position."

    On his decision to maintain and improve the use of military tribunals to try terrorist suspects, Obama, she said, "seemed to imply that some of the circumstances of capture of some of the people of Guantanomo would lend themselves to trial in a military commission." He reiterated, she added, that "despite the announcement of military commissions on Friday, his strong preference was that we use Article III courts..."

    Taking place in the West Wing, the meeting was a chance for the president and some of those most disappointed by his recent policies to come to grips with the contentious events in recent weeks. While contending that the president's recent declarations on the aforementioned issues do not constitute a change in policy, the White House has clearly begun the process of cooling the political flames. Wednesday's meeting will be followed by a major speech Thursday addressing these very same topics.

    Asked whether the president had pacified some of the concerns she brought to the White House on Wednesday, Massimino said that she was pleased with the opportunity for engagement. Beyond that, she still registered concerns.

    "I think that many of us were disappointed by the announcement about the military commissions and wondered what the reasoning was behind that. And to be honest, I am still wondering having been in this meeting today. I don't think that this fits the overall framework that the president had articulated about using our values to reinforce a counter terrorism strategy against al Qaeda."
    An email to the White House for clarification or comment was not immediately returned.

    Obama Huddles With Human Rights Groups Before Security Speech

    ETA: Here's a link to the full transcript and video of his National Security speech:
    Obama National Archives Speech (TRANSCRIPT, VIDEO)

  2. #2
    Hit By Ban Bus!
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Back of Beyond
    Posts
    11,082

    Default

    Obama Is Said to Consider Preventive Detention Plan
    By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
    Published: May 20, 2009

    WASHINGTON — President Obama told human rights advocates at the White House on Wednesday that he was mulling the need for a “preventive detention” system that would establish a legal basis for the United States to incarcerate terrorism suspects who are deemed a threat to national security but cannot be tried, two participants in the private session said.

    The discussion, in a 90-minute meeting in the Cabinet Room that included Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and other top administration officials, came on the eve of a much-anticipated speech Mr. Obama is to give Thursday on a number of thorny national security matters, including his promise to close the detention center at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

    Human rights advocates are growing deeply uneasy with Mr. Obama’s stance on these issues, especially his recent move to block the release of photographs showing abuse of detainees, and his announcement that he is willing to try terrorism suspects in military commissions — a concept he criticized bitterly as a presidential candidate.

    The two participants, outsiders who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the session was intended to be off the record, said they left the meeting dismayed.

    They said Mr. Obama told them he was thinking about “the long game” — how to establish a legal system that would endure for future presidents. He raised the issue of preventive detention himself, but made clear that he had not made a decision on it. Several senior White House officials did not respond to requests for comment on the outsiders’ accounts.

    “He was almost ruminating over the need for statutory change to the laws so that we can deal with individuals who we can’t charge and detain,” one participant said. “We’ve known this is on the horizon for many years, but we were able to hold it off with George Bush. The idea that we might find ourselves fighting with the Obama administration over these powers is really stunning.”

    The other participant said Mr. Obama did not seem to be thinking about preventive detention for terrorism suspects now held at Guantánamo Bay, but rather for those captured in the future, in settings other than a legitimate battlefield like Afghanistan. “The issue is,” the participant said, “What are the options left open to a future president?”

    Mr. Obama did not specify how he intended to deal with Guantánamo detainees who posed a threat and could not be tried, nor did he share the contents of Thursday’s speech, the participants said.

    He will deliver the speech at a site laden with symbolism — the National Archives, home to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Across town, his biggest Republican critic, former Vice President Dick Cheney, will deliver a speech at the American Enterprise Institute.

    Mr. Cheney and other hawkish critics have sought to portray Mr. Obama as weak on terror, and their argument seems to be catching on with the public. On Tuesday, Senate Democrats, in a clear rebuke to the White House, blocked the $80 million Mr. Obama had requested in financing to close the Guantánamo prison.

    The lawmakers say they want a detailed plan before releasing the money; there is deep opposition on Capitol Hill to housing terrorism suspects inside the United States.

    “He needs to convince people that he’s got a game plan that will protect us as well as be fair to the detainees,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, who agrees with Mr. Obama that the prison should be closed. “If he can do that, then we’re back on track. But if he doesn’t make that case, then we’ve lost control of this debate.”

    But Mr. Obama will not use the speech to provide the details lawmakers want.

    “What it’s not going to be is a prescriptive speech,” said David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s senior adviser. “The president wants to take some time and put this whole issue in perspective to identify what the challenges are and how he will approach dealing with them.”

  3. #3
    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    10 miles from Pootie Tang
    Posts
    21,909

    Default

    I heard about this meeting yesterday on Rachel Maddow. Apparently, Obama wasn't pleased when they compared him to George Bush.

  4. #4
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    In WhoreLand fucking your MOM
    Posts
    55,372

    Default

    Oh well, boo hoo for him.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  5. #5
    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    citizen of the world
    Posts
    5,444

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha View Post
    They said Mr. Obama told them he was thinking about “the long game” — how to establish a legal system that would endure for future presidents. He raised the issue of preventive detention himself, but made clear that he had not made a decision on it. Several senior White House officials did not respond to requests for comment on the outsiders’ accounts.

    “He was almost ruminating over the need for statutory change to the laws so that we can deal with individuals who we can’t charge and detain,” one participant said. “We’ve known this is on the horizon for many years, but we were able to hold it off with George Bush. The idea that we might find ourselves fighting with the Obama administration over these powers is really stunning.”
    I get that people here like to bash Obama but it really bugs me how much the media is politicizing this and how much people are buying into it.

    Here's where Obama stands on the issue of detaining people who we can't try in court, straight from his own mouth, in his speech today:
    Finally, there remains the question of detainees at Guantanamo who cannot be prosecuted yet who pose a clear danger to the American people.

    I want to be honest: this is the toughest issue we will face. We are going to exhaust every avenue that we have to prosecute those at Guantanamo who pose a danger to our country. But even when this process is complete, there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States. Examples of that threat include people who have received extensive explosives training at al Qaeda training camps, commanded Taliban troops in battle, expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden, or otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans. These are people who, in effect, remain at war with the United States.

    As I said, I am not going to release individuals who endanger the American people. Al Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates are at war with the United States, and those that we capture - like other prisoners of war - must be prevented from attacking us again. However, we must recognize that these detention policies cannot be unbounded. That is why my Administration has begun to reshape these standards to ensure they are in line with the rule of law. We must have clear, defensible and lawful standards for those who fall in this category. We must have fair procedures so that we don't make mistakes. We must have a thorough process of periodic review, so that any prolonged detention is carefully evaluated and justified.

    I know that creating such a system poses unique challenges. Other countries have grappled with this question, and so must we. But I want to be very clear that our goal is to construct a legitimate legal framework for Guantanamo detainees - not to avoid one. In our constitutional system, prolonged detention should not be the decision of any one man. If and when we determine that the United States must hold individuals to keep them from carrying out an act of war, we will do so within a system that involves judicial and congressional oversight. And so going forward, my Administration will work with Congress to develop an appropriate legal regime so that our efforts are consistent with our values and our Constitution.'
    Obama National Archives Speech (TRANSCRIPT, VIDEO)
    Also, this is not a new issue. We detained Nazi's so that they couldn't participate in the organization during war. Most of those people were released or re-settled once the war ended. And the Third Geneva Convention allows a person to be detained during wartime if they are just a member of a nation's 'enemy armed groups.'

    That worked out in past wars, where the war came to an end. But this war pretty much has no end. So we have Taliban and Al-qaeda members detained under that clause, and we may not even have a crime to charge them with.

  6. #6
    Hit By Ban Bus!
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Back of Beyond
    Posts
    11,082

    Default

    But even when this process is complete, there may be a number of people who cannot be prosecuted for past crimes, but who nonetheless pose a threat to the security of the United States. Examples of that threat include people who have received extensive explosives training at al Qaeda training camps, commanded Taliban troops in battle, expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden, or otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans. These are people who, in effect, remain at war with the United States.
    If they have proof of all that, then the so-called terrorists can be prosecuted. If there is no proof or evidence of all that then the so-called terrorists might be innocent so they should be set free. A gov't should not be allowed to incarcerate people with no evidence against them. Just because a president, or anyone else, claims these people "received explosives training at al Qaeda training camps" or "commanded Taliban trrops in battle" or "expressed their allegiance to Osama bin Laden" or "otherwise made it clear that they want to kill Americans" does not make it true. None of us are under any obligation to take the word of any gov't official on faith. Indeed, it is our duty as good citizens to force the president or any gov't official to prove any allegation against a person that would result in incarceration. They should have to prove their claims in a court of law before being allowed to throw people into a black hole. If it's ok to do this to the so-called terrorist of the world, what is to stop them from eventually taking it further and throwing you or your loved ones into prison without trial or legal recourse because you/they are suspected of a crime they can't prove in a court of law?

  7. #7
    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    citizen of the world
    Posts
    5,444

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sasha View Post
    If they have proof of all that, then the so-called terrorists can be prosecuted. If there is no proof or evidence of all that then the so-called terrorists might be innocent so they should be set free.
    That's the problem- they really can't be prosecuted at this time because there literally aren't laws on the books for those things. In the Uniform Code of Military Justice, there are only 2 applicable crimes: Terrorism and Providing Material Support for Terrorists. They could potentially be prosecuted for Conspiracy but it might be a stretch.

    A gov't should not be allowed to incarcerate people with no evidence against them.
    The Geneva Convention and international law of war allows it during time of war.

    If it's ok to do this to the so-called terrorist of the world, what is to stop them from eventually taking it further and throwing you or your loved ones into prison without trial or legal recourse because you/they are suspected of a crime they can't prove in a court of law?
    The difference is that we are American citizens and have a justice system that we can be tried through. That's not entirely true here- some of the terrorists can be tried in Federal court, some in the military courts.

    But that 5th category is the trickiest because we literally do not have a justice system or laws in place to deal with them. We are likely going to have to create a new system from the ground up.

  8. #8
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    In WhoreLand fucking your MOM
    Posts
    55,372

    Default

    Also, this isn't a war. All wars generally have endings, unless they're low grade civil wars (basque, the JUST ended tamil thing).. indefinite detention during a time of war means they get repatriated when it ends, with rhe expectation that in a few years it's over.

    How in the name of hell do you do that with the nebulous, never ending, incredibly vague "war on terror"?
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  9. #9
    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    citizen of the world
    Posts
    5,444

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    Also, this isn't a war. All wars generally have endings, unless they're low grade civil wars (basque, the JUST ended tamil thing).. indefinite detention during a time of war means they get repatriated when it ends, with rhe expectation that in a few years it's over.

    How in the name of hell do you do that with the nebulous, never ending, incredibly vague "war on terror"?
    Technically, it is still a war- Congress authorized it back in 2001. But you're right and thats exactly the problem. What determines when this war is over, and when some of those people will be repatriated?

    Its an epic mess. But at least Obama is aware of it and working to find solutions.

  10. #10
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    In WhoreLand fucking your MOM
    Posts
    55,372

    Default

    See, that's the funny part.

    Congress authorized a war, so technically it's a war.. and yet prisoners taken aren't afforded the protections inherent to the articles of war.

    So which is it? A war or not? How do you declare it a war, and then not obey the rules of war?
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  11. #11
    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    citizen of the world
    Posts
    5,444

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    yet prisoners taken aren't afforded the protections inherent to the articles of war.

    So which is it? A war or not? How do you declare it a war, and then not obey the rules of war?
    To my knowledge they are afforded the protections inherent to articles of war. Are you talking about all the detainee abuse and whatnot, or something else?

  12. #12
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    In WhoreLand fucking your MOM
    Posts
    55,372

    Default

    the abuse, and the fact that they're held indefinitely in a never ending fake war. They aren't afforded the protections because theyr'e classified as "enemy combatant", which removes them from Geneva convention articles

    Kinda like how torture isn't torture, it's "enhanced interrogation"
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  13. #13
    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    citizen of the world
    Posts
    5,444

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    the abuse, and the fact that they're held indefinitely in a never ending fake war. They aren't afforded the protections because theyr'e classified as "enemy combatant", which removes them from Geneva convention articles

    Kinda like how torture isn't torture, it's "enhanced interrogation"
    Well, that's something that has changed. The 'enemy combatant' crap was struck down by the Supreme Court, the DOD and both the Bush Admin (in its 2nd term) and the Obama Admin- all have said that all prisoners are protected under the Geneva Conventions.

    Plus, no matter what they say, those prisoners are protected under Article 3 of the Geneva Convention whether they like it or not.

    The abuse obviously violated the Convention though. Its a shitty, antiquated system and I think the Obama Admin is honestly trying to craft something better.

  14. #14
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Acerbia
    Posts
    33,488

    Default

    I'm old enough, and politically involved enough to know that any politician, be it Obama, Bush, whomever, can give a speech that says whatever it is they like. I no longer listen to speeches with any seriousness. It's just a scripted performance

    The proof is in the policy.

    And it's the policy that many oppose, not the man.

    We opposed it under Bush, and we see no reason to rationalize it now that we have a different President.
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

  15. #15
    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    citizen of the world
    Posts
    5,444

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    We opposed it under Bush, and we see no reason to rationalize it now that we have a different President.
    There isn't any rationalization going on here. The policy- and the statutes- have in fact changed.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 10
    Last Post: November 18th, 2008, 05:20 AM
  2. Christian groups halt gay rights event in Ukraine
    By Honey in forum Faith and Religion
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: May 28th, 2008, 12:34 PM
  3. Jennifer Lopez to get human rights award
    By celeb_2006 in forum Gossip Archive
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: February 5th, 2007, 12:40 PM
  4. Madonna isn't afraid of the human-rights groups
    By SVZ in forum Gossip Archive
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: December 3rd, 2006, 06:07 PM
  5. Replies: 0
    Last Post: November 29th, 2006, 11:22 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •