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White House on closing Gitmo this year: 'We'll see'

By Matt DeLong
As Obama administration officials fanned out across the Sunday talk shows to push White House talking points on the economy, the gulf oil spill, and the Arizona immigration lawsuit, one topic that has fallen off the radar lately made a comeback: the closure of the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

One of President Obama's first promises after taking the oath of office was that the prison camp would be closed within one year. That deadline came and went in January.

White House adviser David Axelrod, appearing on CNN's "State of the Union," chalked up the failure largely to congressional resistance.

"We identified a location [for the transfer of detainees]," Axelrod said, referring to the Thomson [Ill.] Correctional Facility. "We have not yet gotten a consensus to move forward on that, and we're going to continue to work on it."

Asked point-blank if the prison will be closed this year, Axelrod replied, "We'll see."

Attorney General Eric Holder said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that the closure of Guantanamo was "still a priority," and the administration has "done all we can to close" the camp.

Holder said the administration was evaluating the detainees on a case-by-case basis to determine whether they would be tried, released to a foreign country or continue to be held under the "laws of war" at a to-be-determined facility in the United States.

He pointed to Congress' failure to appropriate money for a new prison on U.S. soil, but he noted that the administration had decreased the number of inmates held at Guanatanamo Bay from 220 to 180. He lamented that the issue had become infused with politics.

"I think there's a lot of misinformation out there," Holder said. "We have proven an ability to hold in our federal prison system people convicted of, charged with terrorist offenses very effectively, very safely. There is no reason to believe that people held in Guantanamo cannot be held wherever we put them in the United States."

The attorney general also said that the White House had not yet decided where to hold the trial of self-described 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, but said a decision would be made "as soon as we can."

By Matt DeLong  |  July 11, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Gibbs: No premature 'mission accomplished' on the economy
Next: Sunday Rundown: Holder: Second immigration lawsuit possible; Netanyahu: Israel has no better friend than U.S.; Axelrod on Gitmo: 'We'll see'

Comments

But didn't the Annointed One sign an executive order eliminating GITMO in one year? It appears that the Annointed One's demogoguery on this issue has been side tracked by reality. He doesn't know what he is doing. After his scorching criticism of Bush on GITMO Obama fully deserves the political backlash on this.

Posted by: Rotbart | July 12, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

I'm assuming that this story was circulated by the right wing noise machine and their fraternal loons were prompted to post reader feedback. There is just too much stupidity in the wee hours for this to have been an accident.

The poorly designed Hardin jail was one of the latest schemes by a bunch of Texas hustlers who have bilked town after town by convincing them to issue bonds to build vastly overpriced facilities. They make off with millions, even if the hoosegows they build never hold a prisoner.

The schemers convince the rubes that their scam will make money rain from the skies and grow hair on bald heads. But they're almost always ruinous.

The jail in Hardin, originally illegal, would be a terrible place to hold anything else than transients. It would be impossible to staff with competent professionals because it's so far out in the boons. It's a windowless "warehouse" as a local Sheriff put it.

The notion that they could hold Guantanamo detainees in 24-bed cells, people who have spent the last eight years of their lives locked in dog cages, is ludicrous.

I can't imagine that if they tried to fill it with this sort of prisoner, the first hostage situation would occur in something under 30 seconds.

It is unlikely that they even find a Montana translator to negotiate who could speak competent Arabic, Pashtun, Farsi or whatever.

The original request soliciting detainees was made by the morons who were stupid enough to fall for the grifters' con job and take on $27 million in indebtedness.

"Gitmo" was probably only a publicity stunt, but it lives on in the minds of the addled as if it were real.

Before the "Guantanamo" nonsense, Hardin's TRA and Community Education Centers, which was supposed to operate it, tried to fill it with sex offenders. Those windowless dorms would have sounded like Sodom and Gomorrah after lights out.

After the "Guantanamo" silliness died down, the Texans touted a penniless Southern California con man to take it over, ostensibly as a "training camp" for mercenaries.

The "Shemya" "solution" proposed by another nitwit WP poster is equally ludicrous. The logistical difficulties would be insurmountable.

Where do these ridiculous notions originate? Well, it's clear you can't fix stupid.

Here's the bottom line. If we can't prove cases against the remaining detainees, we need to release them from U.S. custody. This is still another artifact of Bush-Cheney lunacy, like the Transportation "Security" Agency and postal screening for anthrax, that should have been discarded long ago.

Posted by: fsmith3 | July 12, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Hardin, Montana has a facility that requires prisoners to remain open. It is in the most economically deprived areas of the country which is starving for employment opportunity.

Instead; Obama is rewarding his own constituents which is bias and favoritism at it's finest.

Obama has failed Montana as President's before him have done time and again without batting an eye. Good job Selected One and Messiah we won't worship you in Montana. You lost Hardin, Montana support.

BTW... where is your Long Form Birth Certificate? Do you ever plan on showing it?

Posted by: ElCentroCaBoy | July 12, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Hardin, Montana has a facility that requires prisoners to remain open. It is in the most economically deprived areas of the country which is starving for employment opportunity.

Instead; Obama is rewarding his own constituents which is bias and favoritism at it's finest.

Obama has failed Montana as President's before him have done time and again without batting an eye. Good job Selected One and Messiah we won't worship you in Montana. You lost Hardin, Montana support.

BTW... where is your Long Form Birth Certificate? Do you ever plan on showing it?

Posted by: ElCentroCaBoy | July 12, 2010 12:40 AM | Report abuse

Hardin, Montana has a facility that requires prisoners to remain open. It is in the most economically deprived areas of the country which is starving for employment opportunity.

Instead; Obama is rewarding his own constituents which is bias and favoritism at it's finest.

Obama has failed Montana as President's efore him have done time and again without batting an eye. Good job Selected One and Messiah we won't worship you in Montana. You lost Hardin, Montana support.

BTW... where is your Long Form Birth Certificate? Do you ever plan on showing it?

Posted by: ElCentroCaBoy | July 12, 2010 12:39 AM | Report abuse

If Holder were a smart guy, which he's not, he'd make a pitch to Congress to IMPROVE GITMO.

He'd take that money and make it really nice with a "guarded and protected beach", hot tubs, four star restaurant for the prisoners, and so on.

That's 'cause he's gonna' wish he'd done so after we lock him up in February!

Posted by: muawiyah | July 11, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Hey, aren't you supposed to by going after Social Security, next?

Will it be like the last time you launched an attack on Social Security?

ROTFLMAO

I can set my watch by you guys -- in fact, we do...

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | July 11, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

No money for the comfort of terrorists. They can hang out in Guantanamo until Obama decides what to do with them. Obama needs to spend stimulus money on Americans and help our businesses so we can create private sector jobs. He said he was focusing on JOBS JOBS JOBS but he's still zig zagging on anything but. Pathetic.

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Posted by: jianchibu | July 11, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Everything's gone, everything's gone, everythings' gone.

Can't wait until your dumb DC $$$$$ are gone, too.

The dumbest, ever!

Is it still Tuesday, ko0ks?

Gosh, remember the wealthy New England Yankee who actally went to Harvard and thought it is his responsibilty to uphold the American philosopical and legal code?

What ever happened to him? Oh, yeah, he had a view from 35,000 feet...didn't matter, and not as smart as Dick Cheney.

Good breeding, good brains and all that -- now we have a fat constipated neocon in the form of Rush, or Cheney, with tiny little peaches, leading the troops.

So to speak.

ROTFLMAO.

Yer dumb, can't hide dumb, no matter how loud ya get.

Hm.

Pingback is getting more and more brutal for you with every cycle, isn' it?

LOL.

Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | July 11, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Re Gitmo: Mr. President -- "through away the key, Lee. And set yourself free."

Posted by: cpameetingbook | July 11, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Big mistake closing Gitmo. It is truly needed and very useful for the military and the country. Think twice and very carefully Mr. Obama. It's politically a very bad move on your part.

Posted by: wilson0004 | July 11, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Big mistake closing Gitmo. It is truly needed and very useful for the military and the country. Think twice and very carefully Mr. Obama. It's politically a very bad move on your part.

Posted by: wilson0004 | July 11, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Big mistake closing Gitmo. It is truly needed and very useful for the military and the country. Think twice and very carefully Mr. Obama. It's politically a very bad move on your part.

Posted by: wilson0004 | July 11, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse


Barry the incompetent boob Obama signed an executive order to close Gitmo on his first day in office.

Now a year and a half later, Gitmo is still open and Barry the inept bungler is still making excuses.

Miserable failure Obama

Posted by: screwjob17 | July 11, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Big mistake closing Gitmo. It is truly needed and very useful for the military and the country. Think twice and very carefully Mr. Obama. It's politically a very bad move on your part.

Posted by: wilson0004 | July 11, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Congress is blocking the closure of Gitmo. They REFUSE TO FUND ANYTHING RELATED TO CLOSURE OF GITMO. But you folks go on & whine on! Exactly what Holder said:

"He pointed to Congress' failure to appropriate money for a new prison on U.S. soil, but he noted that the administration had decreased the number of inmates held at Guanatanamo Bay from 220 to 180. He lamented that the issue had become infused with politics."

They voted in the House in May UNANIMOUSLY to deny funding. Those "progressives" in the House!

Posted by: carolerae48 | July 11, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Brian X9:

Maybe it is time to totally rethink what Guantanamo means and develop real alternatives to it.

We really have three categories of prisoners to deal with, and all three have significant counterparts in "Detainees" in CONUS.

The first is the "Worst of the worst." Once upon a time they went to Alcatraz. For them, we need a new Alcatraz, on U. S. Soil and subordinate to U. S. Civil Courts. It has two components, the Permanent storage inmates, that is anyone for whom life imprisonment, permanently is appropriate. This would include ALL capital crimes convicts who have been given the death sentence. They go here and stay here until they die. This does give us the ability to free exonerated prisoners who otherwise might have been dead before we knew they were innocent.

Somewhere in the Aleutians would seem to be a good place for this prison, and Shemya is a good candidate for that somewhere. The fact that it is one depressing Island stands in its favor. There is also an uninhabited island south of Tinian that would be a nice Castle D'If. NOBODY goes here except after full criminal trial and conviction. They may go there immediately after conviction, though, as a deterrent to criminals who might find the thought of Shemya a valid deterrent to bad behavior.

The second class in the indeterminable class. They get held, but in a modestly relaxed resort atmosphere, just somewhere distant, like Palmyra Atoll, or, since that isn't fully U.S. Territory, Wake Island. Reasonable accommodations, local freedom, full access to the outside world, and there they wait for determination. They get better than average accommodations to encourage the U.S. to make a determination. That way conservatives crying that they are getting really nice, work free, vacations are really true, and whoever sent them there, (INS, ICE, State Department, DOD) has every reason to follow proper procedures and determine what really should be done.

The Third class is those who meet criteria for release, but someone, including the prereleasee, isn't ready for release just yet. They go somewhere reasonable, they get put to a real job, and they have reasonable freedom, like maybe just living on Saipan in Government Quarters with no restrictions. If they escape, OK, they aren't our problem.

American jails can be scoured for [prisoners who meet one of those classifications, and those inmates can be sent to Shemya, or Wake, or Saipan.
Obama meets the letter of hyis promises, the Prisoners get what they oughta, and the problem gets diffused.

Shemya is such a great place for fundamentalist terrorists to get religion.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 11, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Eric Holder is a loose canon! He needs to go! Can't Congress do something about this racist, white-hating dictator?

Posted by: georges2 | July 11, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

...."Suing AZ without offering any plan.."

Circumventing federal law is the plan.
Title 8 is very clear about Aliens and Nationality.
AZ circumvented and pre-empted federal law. And federal supermacy law.

Federal law trumps state law
State law does not trump federal law.

States are under the umbrella of federal law.

AZ manipulated federal law to find 2 paragraphs of Title 8 (much longer than 2 paragraphs) to use as loopholes saying Feds were not enforcing law.

Well, Congress hasn't put together a plan or law to address what AZ is whining about.....thereby Title 8, as it stands take precedent.

If Congress wouldn't have taken a full year arguing HCR, we could have gotten to this issue.

AZ didn't do their homework on this one and will lose the lawsuit.
And once again, Arizona will be pond scum in Wash DC. Arizona has always been a thorn in the side of federal law and federal regulation. It is crooked as heck.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | July 11, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I am so disappointed in our President. He has proven he can "talk the talk"; but he can't seem to "walk the walk". He can negotiate; but so far, he can't lead. His "promises" mean nothing but obfuscations. By a stroke of his pen and an hour of time, he could close that prison. Just sign the order to open the gate, usher out the prisoners and lock the gate behind them. Give them to Cuba or shoot them. Who cares. Just fulfill your promise.

Posted by: jackburris1 | July 11, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I am so disappointed in our President. He has proven he can "talk the talk"; but he can't seem to "walk the walk". He can negotiate; but so far, he can't lead. His "promises" mean nothing but obfuscations. By a stroke of his pen and an hour of time, he could close that prison. Just sign the order to open the gate, usher out the prisoners and lock the gate behind them. Give them to Cuba or shoot them. Who cares. Just fulfill your promise.

Posted by: jackburris1 | July 11, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I am so disappointed in our President. He has proven he can "talk the talk"; but he can't seem to "walk the walk". He can negotiate; but so far, he can't lead. His "promises" mean nothing but obfuscations. By a stroke of his pen and an hour of time, he could close that prison. Just sign the order to open the gate, usher out the prisoners and lock the gate behind them. Give them to Cuba or shoot them. Who cares. Just fulfill your promise.

Posted by: jackburris1 | July 11, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

.
I dispute the Axelrod assertion blaming Congressional resistance for the failure.

There are three different challenges to closing the Guantanamo detention facility, corresponding to the three categories of people held captive there.
The Congress has interfered in the solving of one of these three challenges, but the White House has failed to sufficiently address the other two.
If the White House is committed to closing GTMO, they could take on the two categories of captives that they can do something about, without needing any green light from Congress. Once the WH has done THAT, the ball will be squarely in Congress' court.

...


CATEGORY #1.
The easiest of these challenges to solve concerns those captives who have been:
*** thoroughly investigated by the Interagency Task Force on Guantanamo Detainees,
*** found to be innocent by the Task Force; and
*** have been CLEARED FOR RELEASE.
This is a stupid problem to have. A comprehensive solution to this problem has been sitting in the inbox of EOP's Chief Procurement & Contract Management Officer since February. I know because I put it there.

CATEGORY #2.
Captives who will be tried in some sort of court.
In the words Ogilvy & Mather put in the mouth of Philip Knight, "just do it, already."
The WH, Justice and DoD have been treading water, as if they expected people to just forget. Nobody has forgotten.
Get this party started. Use kangaroo military tribunals, or comply with the US Constitution, but don't just stand there.
I presume that the venue will be selected based on where they are guaranteed to be convicted. Once convicted, they will be federal convicts and imprisoned in the federal prison system stateside. Congress won't impede the normal function of the Bureau of Prisons.

CATEGORY #3.
The guys we have a real strong gut feeling are bad, and will hurt us if we release them, but we don't have any evidence to bring them to trial.
These are the ones that Congress has interfered with, preventing the Administration from bringing them into the US.
The US government has determined that these men will be detained "indefinitely," meaning until they die, without the benefit of a trial.
When the Administration has dealt with the first two Categories, Congress will eventually man up and end their interference with the President performing his Constitutionally mandated functions regarding this third group.
But as long as the President delays dealing with the first two Categories, there's no pressure on the Congress to act in the nation's best interests, because they can hide behind the Administration's failures in the other two areas.

...


Note that, in light of what I've presented here, the AG's statement that he's done all he can just doesn't ring true.
.

Posted by: BrianX9 | July 11, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Guantanamo
The comment about the Boston police officer
Deer in the headlights oil spill reaction
Suing AZ without offering any plan
SO disappointing.

Posted by: kls1 | July 11, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

This is truly the most shallow thinking and inept administration I have witnessed in my lifetime.
These guys never seem to have a plan,,,,,but they sure have lots of hot air. So much, that even when it is obvious to God and all that they fail to deliver on a commitment, they travel the nation, blowing hot air in an attempt to convince America to believe what is obviously not true!...really bizarre behavior.
"THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES!!!!" Anyone in the media as brave a a little boy?

Posted by: dmasnaghetti | July 11, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

This is truly the most shallow thinking and inept administration I have witnessed in my lifetime.
These guys never seem to have a plan,,,,,but they sure have lots of hot air. So much, that even when it is obvious to God and all that they fail to deliver on a commitment, they travel the nation, blowing hot air in an attempt to convince America to believe what is obviously not true!...really bizarre behavior.
"THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES!!!!" Anyone in the media as brave a a little boy?

Posted by: dmasnaghetti | July 11, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

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