It'll be nice when that purgatory mess is over.
Fuck me, like a dream come trueWASHINGTON – U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's advisers are quietly crafting a proposal to ship dozens, if not hundreds, of imprisoned terrorism suspects to the United States to face criminal trials, a plan that would make good on his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison but could require creation of a controversial new system of justice.
During his campaign, Obama described Guantanamo as a "sad chapter in American history" and has said generally that the U.S. legal system is equipped to handle the detainees. But he has offered few details on what he planned to do once the facility is closed.
Among the detainees is Canadian-born Omar Khadr, who has been held at the facility since his arrest in Afghanistan in 2002.
Khadr, who was captured when he was 15-years-old, is accused of killing an American army medic during a firefight. Lawyers and human rights activists have unsuccessfully lobbied Prime Minister Stephen Harper in hopes of having Khadr repatriated to Canada. His war crimes trial is slated to begin Jan. 26, six days after Obama is sworn into office.
Under plans being put together in Obama's camp, some detainees would be released and many others would be prosecuted in U.S. criminal courts.
A third group of detainees – the ones whose cases are most entangled in highly classified information – might have to go before a new court designed especially to handle sensitive national security cases, according to advisers and Democrats involved in the talks. Advisers participating directly in the planning spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans aren't final.
The move would be a sharp deviation from the administration of President George W. Bush, which established military tribunals to prosecute detainees at the navy base in Cuba and strongly opposes bringing prisoners to the United States.
Obama's Republican challenger, John McCain, had also pledged to close Guantanamo. But McCain opposed criminal trials, saying the Bush administration's tribunals should continue on U.S. soil.
The plan being developed by Obama's team has been championed by legal scholars from both political parties. But it is almost certain to face opposition from Republicans who oppose bringing terrorism suspects to the U.S. and from Democrats who oppose creating a new court system with fewer rights for detainees.
The plan drew criticism from some detainee lawyers shortly after it surfaced Monday.
"I think that creating a new alternative court system in response to the abject failure of Guantanamo would be a profound mistake," said Jonathan Hafetz, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who represents detainees. "We do not need a new court system. The last eight years are a testament to the problems of trying to create new systems."
Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor and Obama legal adviser, said discussions about plans for Guantanamo had been "theoretical" before the election but would quickly become very focused because closing the prison is a top priority. Bringing the detainees to the United States will be controversial, he said, but could be accomplished.
"I think the answer is going to be, they can be as securely guarded on U.S. soil as anywhere else," Tribe said. "We can't put people in a dungeon forever without processing whether they deserve to be there."
The tougher challenge will be allaying fears by Democrats who believe the Bush administration's military commissions were a farce and dislike the idea of giving detainees anything less than the full constitutional rights normally enjoyed by everyone on U.S. soil.
"There would be concern about establishing a completely new system," said Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee and former federal prosecutor who is aware of the discussions in the Obama camp.
"And in the sense that establishing a regimen of detention that includes American citizens and foreign nationals that takes place on U.S. soil and departs from the criminal justice system – trying to establish that would be very difficult."
Obama has said the civilian and military court-martial systems provide "a framework for dealing with the terrorists," and Tribe said the administration would look to those venues before creating a new legal system. But discussions of what a new system would look like have already started.
According to three advisers participating in the process, Obama is expected to propose a new court system, appointing a committee to decide how such a court would operate.
Some detainees likely would be returned to the countries where they were first captured for further detention or rehabilitation.
The rest could probably be prosecuted in U.S. criminal courts, one adviser said. All spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing talks, which have been private.
Whatever form it takes, Tribe said he expects Obama to move quickly.
"In reality and symbolically, the idea that we have people in legal black holes is an extremely serious black mark," Tribe said. "It has to be dealt with."
TheStar.com | World | Obama plans to close Guantanmo, try detainees in U.S.
I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.
Thank fuck! About time! Now, if they could just put all the neocons that approving waterboarding and other nonsense on trial at the same time...
I think the ones who were advocating it should try waterboarding and see how it feels since they think its not really torture.
^ I volunteer Dick Cheney to go first.
He was the one who signed for it in the first place.
KILLING ME WON'T BRING BACK YOUR GOD DAMNED HONEY!!!!!!!!!!
Come on, let's have lots of drinks.
Should have been done a LONG fucking time ago. It's despicable that it's taken this long for it to happen. This'll ruffle a few neocon feathers, but fuck 'em... the right man is in power. *neener neener*
Now, now, now... Ann Coulter needs to get in on the fun now too.. don't be greedy..
How about Klannity? - I bet he could blow it wide open with his big gob
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