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Thread: President Obama can't review Guantanamo case files: they don't exist

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Default President Obama can't review Guantanamo case files: they don't exist

    President Obama's plans to expeditiously determine the fates of about 245 terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and quickly close the military prison there were set back last week when incoming legal and national security officials -- barred until the inauguration from examining classified material on the detainees -- discovered that there were no comprehensive case files on many of them.
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    Instead, they found that information on individual prisoners is "scattered throughout the executive branch," a senior administration official said. The executive order Obama signed Thursday orders the prison closed within one year, and a Cabinet-level panel named to review each case separately will have to spend its initial weeks and perhaps months scouring the corners of the federal government in search of relevant material.
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    Several former Bush administration officials agreed that the files are incomplete and that no single government entity was charged with pulling together all the facts and the range of options for each prisoner. They said that the CIA and other intelligence agencies were reluctant to share information, and that the Bush administration's focus on detention and interrogation made preparation of viable prosecutions a far lower priority.

    But other former officials took issue with the criticism and suggested that the new team has begun to appreciate the complexity and dangers of the issue and is looking for excuses.

    After promising quick solutions, one former senior official said, the Obama administration is now "backpedaling and trying to buy time" by blaming its predecessor. Unless political appointees decide to overrule the recommendations of the career bureaucrats handling the issue under both administrations, he predicted, the new review will reach the same conclusion as the last: that most of the detainees can be neither released nor easily tried in this country.

    "All but about 60 who have been approved for release," assuming countries can be found to accept them, "are either high-level al-Qaeda people responsible for 9/11 or bombings, or were high-level Taliban or al-Qaeda facilitators or money people," said the former official who, like others, insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters about such matters. He acknowledged that he relied on Pentagon assurances that the files were comprehensive and in order rather than reading them himself.

    Obama officials said they want to make their own judgments.

    "The consensus among almost everyone is that the current system is not in our national interest and not sustainable," another senior official said. But "it's clear that we can't clear up this issue overnight" partly because the files "are not comprehensive."

    Charles D. "Cully" Stimson, who served as deputy assistant defense secretary for detainee affairs in 2006-2007, said he had persistent problems in attempts to assemble all information on individual cases. Threats to recommend the release or transfer of a detainee were often required, he said, to persuade the CIA to "cough up a sentence or two."

    A second former Pentagon official said most individual files are heavily summarized dossiers that do not contain the kind of background and investigative work that would be put together by a federal prosecution team. He described "regular food fights" among different parts of the government over information-sharing on the detainees.

    A CIA spokesman denied that the agency had not been "forthcoming" with detainee information, saying that such suggestions were "simply wrong" and that "we have worked very closely with other agencies to share what we know" about the prisoners. While denying there had been problems, one intelligence official said the Defense Department was far more likely to be responsible for any information lapses, since it had initially detained and interrogated most of the prisoners and had been in charge of them at the prison.

    Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said that the Defense Department would cooperate fully in the review.

    "Fundamentally, we believe that the individual files on each detainee are comprehensive and sufficiently organized," Morrell said. He added that "in many cases, there will be thousands of pages of documents . . . which makes a comprehensive assessment a time-consuming endeavor."

    "Not all the documents are physically located in one place," Morrell said, but most are available through a database.

    "The main point here is that there are lots of records, and we are prepared to make them available to anybody who needs to see them as part of this review."

    There have been indications from within and outside the government for some time, however, that evidence and other materials on the Guantanamo prisoners were in disarray, even though most of the detainees have been held for years.

    Justice Department lawyers responding in federal courts to defense challenges over the past six months have said repeatedly that the government was overwhelmed by the sudden need to assemble material after Supreme Court rulings giving detainees habeas corpus and other rights.

    In one federal filing, the Justice Department said that "the record . . . is not simply a collection of papers sitting in a box at the Defense Department. It is a massive undertaking just to produce the record in this one case." In another filing, the department said that "defending these cases requires an intense, inter-agency coordination of efforts. None of the relevant agencies, however, was prepared to handle this volume of habeas cases on an expedited basis."

    Evidence gathered for military commission trials is in disarray, according to some former officials, who said military lawyers lacked the trial experience to prosecute complex international terrorism cases.

    In a court filing this month, Darrel Vandeveld, a former military prosecutor at Guantanamo who asked to be relieved of his duties, said evidence was "strewn throughout the prosecution offices in desk drawers, bookcases packed with vaguely-labeled plastic containers, or even simply piled on the tops of desks."

    He said he once accidentally found "crucial physical evidence" that "had been tossed in a locker located at Guantanamo and promptly forgotten." washingtonpost.com
    You did a heck of a job, Bushie.
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    Elite Member kingcap72's Avatar
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    After promising quick solutions, one former senior official said, the Obama administration is now "backpedaling and trying to buy time" by blaming its predecessor.
    A former Bush official whining about blaming the previous administration is funny, since Bush started and ended his presidency blaming Clinton for everything.

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    It's almost frightening, though, that they've held these people for so bloody long and haven't compiled comprehensive files on them. Good work, fellas.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
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    Elite Member Mariesoleil's Avatar
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    Let's count how many rules from the Geneva convetion the US has broken with Guantanamo Bay. I've bolded the ones the US did not respect. Some I'm not sure.


    The third Geneva Convention ("Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War") covers members of the armed forces who fall into enemy hands. They are in the power of the enemy State, not of the individuals or troops who have captured them


    Prisoners of war MUST be:

    - Treated humanely with respect for their persons and their honour.
    - Enabled to inform their next of kin and the Central Prisoners of War Agency (ICRC, the International Red Cross) of their capture.
    - Allowed to correspond regularly with relatives and to receive relief parcels.
    - Allowed to keep their clothes, feeding utensils and personal effects.
    - Supplied with adequate food and clothing.
    - Provided with quarters not inferior to those of their captor's troops.
    - Given the medical care their state of health demands.
    - Paid for any work they do.
    - Repatriated if certified seriously ill or wounded, (but they must not resume active military duties afterwards) .
    - Quickly released and repatriated when hostilities cease.

    Prisoners of war must NOT be:
    -Compelled to give any information other than their name, age, rank and service number.
    - Deprived of money or valuables without a receipt (and these must be returned at the time of release).
    - Given individual privileges other than for reasons of health, sex, age, military rank or professional qualifications.
    - Held in close confinement except for breaches of the law, although their liberty can be restricted for security reasons.
    - Compelled to do military work, nor work which is dangerous, unhealthy or degrading.

    The fourth Geneva Convention ("Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War") covers all individuals "who do not belong to the armed forces, take no part in the hostilities and find themselves in the hands of the Enemy or an Occupying Power".


    Protected civilians MUST be:
    - Treated humanely at all times and protected against acts or threats of violence, insults and public curiosity.
    - Entitled to respect for their honour, family rights, religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs.

    - Specially protected, for example in safety zones, if wounded, sick, old, children under 15, expectant mothers or mothers of children under 7.
    - Enabled to exchange family news of a personal kind. - Helped to secure news of family members dispersed by the conflict
    - Allowed to practise their religion with ministers of their own faith. Civilians who are interned have the same rights as prisoners of war. They may also ask to have their children interned with them, and wherever possible families should be housed together and provided with the facilities to continue normal family life. Wounded or sick civilians, civilian hospitals and staff, and hospital transport by land, sea or air must be specially respected and may be placed under protection of the red cross/crescent emblem.


    Protected civilians must NOT be:
    - Discriminated against because of race, religion or political opinion. - Forced to give information.
    - Used to shield military operations or make an area immune from military operations.
    - Punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. - Women must not be indecently assaulted, raped, or forced into prostitution.
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Technically, the US didn't break any Geneva convention rules.. because they simply labelled the people they scooped up as "enemy combatants", which means they are outside of said rules and articles of war.

    It's a war on terror, ya'll.. except the literal definition of war isn't the one they're usng. All very convenient.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Gold Member Glitter's Avatar
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    I'd say all of this has been Bushed.
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    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    Yeah, I say free all of them. send them to Canada and France.
    Kill him.
    Kill her.
    Kill It.
    Kill everything... that IS the solution!
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    *SNORT*

    Clean up your own mess, thanks. We're still cleaning up yours in Afghanifuck.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Mel1973's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    *SNORT*

    Clean up your own mess, thanks. We're still cleaning up yours in Afghanifuck.
    oh come ON!!! These are nice guys, they really contribute to society and the US has violated their rights. They won't want to be here!
    Kill him.
    Kill her.
    Kill It.
    Kill everything... that IS the solution!
    П(_)П
    twitchy molests my signature!

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    The only one we're taking back is Khadr, cuz as hideous as his family is, he's a canadian citizen and he'll be tried by our laws like he should have been all along.

    The rest you can deal with. You scooped them up.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Look, no one is saying some of these guys aren't rotten people who would destroy much of the western world, given half a chance. But they've been illegally held without trial or even charges for far too long and the fact that the idiotic Bushies couldn't even compile a decent file on them is outrageous and makes me wonder if they were just going to be held until they died. I mean, what was teh plan? After six years did they not get any and all info they wanted and needed out of these guys? I don't think anyone could argue they're still in the loop as far as devious plotting goes. And there are most certainly any number of people there who were simply caught up in the hysterical sweep that brought them there in the first place.

    If we're going to sit up on our high moral horse then we need to start by treating prisoners according to the rules, because if we don't we're fucking our own soldiers.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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