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Human Rights Groups Call on Obama to Shutter Guantanamo Bay on Day One

By Peter Finn
The future of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay barely registered in the campaign, but with the election over, advocacy groups are stepping up calls for the next administration -- with the assistance of U.S. allies --to shutter the controversial facility immediately.

The ACLU took out a full-page ad in the New York Times yesterday urging President-elect Obama to restore "America's moral leadership in the world" on day one of his administration by ordering the closure of the prison where about 255 detainees are currently held. The group also said in a press release that there is "no reason that Guantanamo detainees cannot be prosecuted in traditional U.S. criminal courts or military courts governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice."

The Obama transition team yesterday denied news reports that it was considering a new national security court to handle some detainees -- and future captures -- who might be difficult to prosecute in federal court but who are regarded as too dangerous to release. The size, and even the existence, of a "not prosecutable, but dangerous" group has been at the heart of an escalating debate about the next administration's detention policy.

"There is absolutely no truth to reports that a decision has been made about how and where to try the detainees, and there is no process in place to make that decision until his national security and legal teams are assembled," said Denis McDonough, a senior foreign policy adviser for the transition team, in a statement.

Five human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, also called on European governments to take in detainees who have not been charged with any crime but who cannot be repatriated because of the fear they will be tortured if they are sent home. But any European largesse will likely only follow a decision by the Obama administration to re-settle some small group of detainees in the U.S., advocates said.

Posted at 6:58 PM ET on Nov 10, 2008
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Yes, julia4, close down not only Guantanamo where the freedom fighters are held but the military base there also. We are the agressors there and have no right to be there. We also need to close down all bases outside of US territory, and territories such as Porta Rico, Guam, Mid Way should be given their independence and the military withdrawn.
We need to take the lead in being green. Obama could start with executive orders to do what he can to make the US the greenist nation under the sun. Make the environment the top depertment with Gore in charge and with orders to get rid of all gasguzzlers.
Get rid of all warrentless wire taps and put barriers between FBI, NSA, CIA and all inteligemt agencies like it was under Clinton.
Why do we need military bases in Europe. Are they not strong enough to defend themselves at least untill we could send troups over ther if needed? How many Billions would that save us?

Let me explain it to you since you're obviously to stupid to figure it out on your own. We have bases abroad because in times of war it would take to long to deploy. As far as Guantanamo concerned, we've had a military base there for over 60 years. How do you come to the conclusion that having a base in a country equals being an aggressor. Not even God could make that leap. It's silly little idiots like you that allow terrorism to spread. You would be the first to surrender and second to be beheaded. But that's ok, keep thinking these people are like you and are sitting around their mommy's house singing It's a small world after all. You simply a victim waiting to happen. These people would love to f#$k your girl friend to death while you watch, then cut your head off for their simple enjoyment. So as long as we have ignorant naive people like you more innocent people will die. Why, because you are to afraid to face reality. At least Obama knows who he's dealing with and he'll make toe correct decision. Of course you wont like it. But then again it doesn’t appear that you live in reality.

Posted by: askgees | November 11, 2008 3:37 PM

Guantanamo is a stain on America's honor. It's a slap in the face to the rule of law and should be closed as soon as possible. Those who put such a clearly illegal and unconstitutional place into being should be charged. The shame of Guantanamo will linger for years.

Posted by: thebobbob | November 11, 2008 3:36 PM

Many of us involved in the many Civil Rights issues as well as those of us that want to see justice done in regards to Warrantless Wiretapping , Torture, Secret "Laws", etc, were asked not to rock the boat during the election. At the same time there were many a nod and a wink to suggest our positions would not only be respected, but would be acted upon. Now is the time we remind Obama and others of those promises.
It is already beginning to worry many that if Lieberman is allowed to keep his chairmanship of DHS it will be signal that those promises meant nothing. That is not a good way to start his term if Obama is planning on 2 terms. It is those same activists asking for the return of the Rule of Law, that help Obama raise so much money and so many volunteers.
Pres. Obama, as a Constitutional Scholar has no excuses for not restoring the rule of law. To do that requires proving to Americans and the rest of the world that not even a Pres. of the USA is above the laws of the land.
If Pres. Ford had held Nixon to account for his crimes G.W. Bush would never of been as foolish nor as blatant in his criminality of 8 yrs. Unless Pres. Obama holds Bush and Cheney responsible sometime in our future what Bush has pulled will be made to seem mild by some future Pres. Even worse , it may become legal because of the lack of action today.

Apparently you don't know what you're talking about. The constitution is a never end always changing document. That's the beauty of it. Amending the constitution is not against the law so there for the administration hasn't violated a single law. As far as wire taps go. It's idiots like you who spread false info and create panic. It is impossible to monitor every phone call. There are over 6 billion a day on Verizon’s network. Now ad the rest up plus the entire cell phone carriers and you looking at trillions of calls a day. The simply scan calls for specific words like nuclear bomb, kill, Hitler and so on. If you want to do your country a favor then get off the posts. You’re doing nothing to help your just spreading lies and rumors. Regarding torture. If the military captures someone whose goal it was t kill innocent people and they torture him. I DON'T CARE. It’s simple, if you don't want to be tortured then don't F#$K with AMERICA. I actually think a little water boarding would be good for you. It may out things back into perspective. One more thing. I bet you were yelling from the roof tops on 9-12. It's amazing how the true cowards are always the one's to cut and run first.

Posted by: askgees | November 11, 2008 3:35 PM

BOBSTERII: If you believe there is a distinction between "civilized" and "uncivilized" wars then you have no blood in your brain. How kind of you to let our enemies out of Guantanamo because they are "probably not guilty" and may become our enemies. If you actually believe that only after their detainment and hopefully torture in Guantanamo they became our enemies then you are truly a mongoloid.

Posted by: garrafa10 | November 11, 2008 3:24 PM

Shutting down Guantanamo... If POTUS Obama determines this to be a day one priority I expect that the Stimulus package will be a done deal.

This has been an election like no other and detailed committments were made. Three specific actions during his first 100 days were announced in PE Obama's speech while America listened.

PE Obama's website has changed dramatically. Detailed plans have disappeared, replaced by an overview of committment to change.

POTUS Obama faces many severe challenges including keeping the committment of many Americans who voted for him.

Posted by: AmericanGirl1 | November 11, 2008 2:56 PM

Does it make more sense to come into the position slowly. One can understand what was going on a little more. If you were to walk into any situation in life and start throwing orders without fully understanding what is going on then you can throw the baby out with the bath water. You might eventually find there is no good idea in any of it and throw it all out, but it's better to be sure. More importantly, Obama is walking a thin line, can he actually over throw everything on the first two weeks without some kind of backlash. Think about all non government parties, corporations and people who have been the ones to encourage the situation as it is. It's better to become friends even if only temporary, but keep your mind clear, and unbiased, keep your thoughts on what needs to change, survey and plan and execute firm and steady change. I am reminded of a situation I once read about in Peru. Thousands of military men from spain led by one man looking for Eldorado down the amazon river. The man insisted on trying to force the natives into Christianity, meanwhile he did not have food, water, and proper clothes for his men or himself. The situation ended with only one man left, himself, out of thousands floating down a raft getting shot by arrows from the sides of the river he floated on. Many times the natives offered food, or even places to stay, yet he refused to speak with them unless they swore on the bible, which they did not, after which he killed them.

My point is that if he had accepted the food, shelter and watched the natives at their lives, and understood how and why they had been living he may have eventually learned something and probably would have been able to teach them a lot as well. Who knows he may also have discovered a way to the end of the river, or a way to return to the ocean where his boats were and perhaps there he would have at least escaped the amazon.

It's possible Obama is another pawn, that would be an interesting thing to discover. So far it seems it can go either way, but I see the logic in the approach, especially when I think of past presidents that have attempted to bring about skilful change and have been killed. Also if you look at how any person in history who has survived an invitation into the den of the unskilful opposing factions, it certainly wasn't by making huge demands on them but rather being compassionate, polite and using the situation to gain information rather than attempting to change immediately. He may be the president, but what does that really mean in todays day and age? He may have to change that first before he can do anything, how long will that take?


Posted by: MakesSense | November 11, 2008 2:10 PM

We voted Barack Obama into office based on a conviction that he is wiser than John McCain or even than Hillary Clinton. Part of his wisdom comprises a deliberate, calm approach to problems.

Now that he has the job, LET HIM DO IT! Demanding that he do something on Day One, even though it is something that he has signalled that he plans to do, is demanding that — like Don Quixote — he immediately "ride furiously off in all directions at once." That's not Obama's style, and that's why he won the election. Some patience, please, folks! It's taken George W. Bush eight years to get our nation this screwed up — give Barack Obama some time to sort the problems out and fix them.

Posted by: cwh2 | November 11, 2008 1:28 PM

WHY ISN'T THE ACLU AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION OF D.O.J. AS CONCERNED WITH DOMESTIC TERRORISM LIKE THIS?

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/american-gestapo-state-supported-terrorism-targets-u-s-citizens
OR http://members.nowpublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 11, 2008 1:04 PM

I know I am about to be castrated, but we should keep Guantanamo Bay open. However, we should only keep the criminals where there is definite proof of their terrorist actions/knowledge. I think the ACLU is misguided in letting people free to create more harm to our world. Wouldn't that simplify things or am I living in a dream world?

Posted by: shields011 | November 11, 2008 12:49 PM

The people who post on this site are as goofy as those that post on Al Jazeera!

How about some editorial input?

Posted by: droeger | November 11, 2008 11:00 AM

Great idea. Divide them up between Jessup and the Monkey Cty jail. And maybe the College Park plant the post is vacating.

Posted by: robeste | November 11, 2008 10:58 AM

One has to hope that now having a constitutional law professor as President means that he can make more intelligent decisions on these matters than the outgoing incumbent. The latter depended on a group of know-nothing lawyers that basically ignored the Constitution for 8 years.

Posted by: mischanova | November 11, 2008 10:24 AM

SOME OF YOU IDIOTS NEED TO GET THEIR HEADS OUT OF SAND AND LIVE IN 21st CENTURY NOT "WW II". HOW STUPID YOU CAN BE TO COMPARE TODAY'S WARS TO UNCIVILIZED "WW II".

Posted by: BOBSTERII | November 11, 2008 10:01 AM

Washington and these military commissions and the "justice" that they have hoped to bring because of these "terrorists" has turned this country upside down and inside out. To be fair, the families of these "detainees" were allowed into this country to help justify their actions or help in their defense or glean information to start other terrorist groups in this country. That will probably be debated until there is another attack on American soil or more oil wells are burning or more middle eastern owned restuarants are closed for sending money back to the "homeland" to finance their war or more religious sects are formed or more Qurans are left on doorsteps. There was a similar detainee facility during World War II which housed, behind barbed wire, a culture of people known as Japanese. What religion that culture practiced didn't factor into the equation then, but then there wasn't the cumalitive affect of injustice for real American citizens as there is now.

Posted by: formerheap | November 11, 2008 9:56 AM

Yes, julia4, close down not only Guantanamo where the freedom fighters are held but the military base there also. We are the agressors there and have no right to be there. We also need to close down all bases outside of US territory, and territories such as Porta Rico, Guam, Mid Way should be given their independence and the military withdrawn.
We need to take the lead in being green. Obama could start with executive orders to do what he can to make the US the greenist nation under the sun. Make the environment the top depertment with Gore in charge and with orders to get rid of all gasguzzlers.
Get rid of all warrentless wire taps and put barriers between FBI, NSA, CIA and all inteligemt agencies like it was under Clinton.
Why do we need military bases in Europe. Are they not strong enough to defend themselves at least untill we could send troups over ther if needed? How many Billions would that save us?

Posted by: Curly4 | November 11, 2008 9:55 AM

WE HAVE TO PROVE THAT THESE GUYS ARE "TERRORISTS" AND LOCK THEM UP FOREVER. IF WE CAN'T PROVE IR, LET THEM GO, WE MADE MORE HARM TO OUR COUNTRY THAN GOOD WITH THIS KIND OF PRISON. PROBABLY SOME OF THOSE GUYS ARE NOT GUILTY AND GOT CAUGHT BY SOME WRONG MISSINFORMATION (LIKE WMD's), BUT WHEN WE LET THEM GO, THEY WILL BECOME OUR WORST ENEMIES. GUESS WHY?

Posted by: BOBSTERII | November 11, 2008 9:42 AM

Dolmance: "There are a couple of hundred guys locked up in Cuba who make no secret of their desire to kill a lot of Americans."

Prove it.

Posted by: strum | November 11, 2008 9:24 AM

There are a couple of hundred guys locked up in Cuba who make no secret of their desire to kill a lot of Americans. If they get out and one of them manages to pull off his dearest wish, the Democrats will be disgraced.

Back in WWII, we used to hang enemy soldiers caught behind the lines wearing civilian clothes. The enemy in Gitmo wear no uniforms and are not operating under the authority of any government. FDR would have hanged them all.

Obama running Gitmo will be much more acceptable than a George Bush running Gitmo. I say, keep those miscreants where they are before they kill anyone else. They're murderers. The world has better things to do than worry about those guys.

Posted by: Dolmance | November 11, 2008 9:03 AM

I hope the ACLU ask Obama to vet his cabinet carefully. For instance if he were to Google Howard Dean and Abenaki he would learn how Vermont's ex-governor acted in a completely racist manner putting down these original peoples.

Posted by: kbrichard | November 11, 2008 8:27 AM

Yes, a thousand times, yes! Close Guantanamo down on day one. Yes, appoint Gore on day 1 to the newly appointed role of Energy Czar. Don´t make him Secretary of State....elevate the environment to a new positon. Finally, please Obama do NOT bail out GM, Ford, etc. That's been the Republican way of bailing out banks. Let them die for their mass production of gas guzzlers. The worst thing you can do is RESCUE them.

Posted by: chrisjakeeuro | November 11, 2008 8:08 AM

Just what I would expect from Obama. His priorities on day one are sympathy for his buddy terrorists. Not the American people who are suffering with job losses and loosing their homes.

He's the ACLU's pawn and will be their puppet for the next four years.

Posted by: northerngrl | November 11, 2008 7:34 AM

The Guantanamo Concentration Camp is an American Abomination - illegal ! a disgrace !
and above all it represents the worst elements of poor human character !

Posted by: rhda | November 11, 2008 7:17 AM

julia4, I agree. The thing about Obama is that in the beginning of his campaign he really was different. But as the months wore on, he was transformed. His policies, aside from certain trivialities are indistinguishable from those of Bush or McCain. One of the things I used to like about Obama was the idea that he would use words before bombs in his foreign policy.

But having been beaten down by AIPAC, he now insists that all countries must be America before America will talk to them. Which is kind of like saying, "I won't teach you to play chess until you can play chess."

The only hope for the Obama Presidency is that more is expected of him. Around the world, and around this country, people are waiting for him to set things right. Nothing was ever expected of Bush. It was known from day one that he was beyond reason. But with Obama, we can't lose really. Either he delivers, which would be a miracle. Or he puts an end to the illusion that the Democratic Party still exists.

Posted by: omega_man | November 10, 2008 10:39 PM

finally proof that Fox news is definately gone too far. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKFyNkNbO3g

Posted by: pastor123 | November 10, 2008 10:33 PM

"As President, I will close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act, and adhere to the Geneva Conventions-Barack Obmama,8/1/07" and that, and only that, is exactly what I expect him to do, and as close after the date of 20 Jan 09 as possible.

No adjusting, no back-pedalling, no "signing statement," no reflections,no re-considerations, nothing but what he has stated.

I want to see the "change" platform that he stood on,
and that I heard and saw for over 24 months, and that got him into office, put into action--poste haste.

Anything else will soon have him under the same scrutiny as his soon to be departing host.

Obama cannot afford to squander all of the good will and hopes that the people of the United States and of the world have invested in him.

Posted by: julia4 | November 10, 2008 9:53 PM

Toritto ... all wrong.

To call war "great" is a travesty of war's true nature.

My family luckily survived WW2 in the middle of Europe. More than 50 million Europeans did not. Something "great" about death, torture & violence against civilians of all ages?

War is immoral, it's madness & so is any spurious glorification of war, past or present. If all people refused to go to war we would all be better off. Let them shout obscenities at each other all day long if they really have nothing other to do. How anyone could feel "proud" to participate in human slaughter made legal is beyond me.

Posted by: hchiba | November 10, 2008 9:46 PM

Many of us involved in the many Civil Rights issues as well as those of us that want to see justice done in regards to Warrantless Wiretapping , Torture, Secret "Laws", etc, were asked not to rock the boat during the election. At the same time there were many a nod and a wink to suggest our positions would not only be respected, but would be acted upon. Now is the time we remind Obama and others of those promises.
It is already beginning to worry many that if Lieberman is allowed to keep his chairmanship of DHS it will be signal that those promises meant nothing. That is not a good way to start his term if Obama is planning on 2 terms. It is those same activists asking for the return of the Rule of Law, that help Obama raise so much money and so many volunteers.
Pres. Obama, as a Constitutional Scholar has no excuses for not restoring the rule of law. To do that requires proving to Americans and the rest of the world that not even a Pres. of the USA is above the laws of the land.
If Pres. Ford had held Nixon to account for his crimes G.W. Bush would never of been as foolish nor as blatant in his criminality of 8 yrs. Unless Pres. Obama holds Bush and Cheney responsible sometime in our future what Bush has pulled will be made to seem mild by some future Pres. Even worse , it may become legal because of the lack of action today.

Posted by: SmileySam | November 10, 2008 9:14 PM

At a time when Osama bin Lying is talking about a Bigger than 911 event, the ACLU has lost its collective Mind, recommending the RELEASE of those Hard-core Terrorists!

Exterminate them now, before Barry does free them!

Posted by: SAINT---The | November 10, 2008 7:25 PM

WHY ISN'T THE ACLU AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION OF D.O.J. AS CONCERNED WITH DOMESTIC TERRORISM LIKE THIS?

http://www.nowpublic.com/world/american-gestapo-state-supported-terrorism-targets-u-s-citizens
OR http://members.nowpublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | November 10, 2008 7:12 PM

Tomorrow - Armistice Day / Veterans Day

Exactly ninety years since the end of the Great War.

My Grandpa's War.

Although an Italian citizen, he joined the U. S. Army and went to France with Black Jack Pershing.

He was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart.

He was also awarded his American citzenship.

R. I. P. Pops.

Posted by: toritto | November 10, 2008 7:12 PM

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