Now even the report on Guantanamo is delayed

I have been critical before of President Obama’s failure to close Guantanamo and Guantanamo look-alikes. We now learn that the report on how to close it is to be delayed by six months.

Apparently the writers have discovered a problem – that the US has detained people they think too dangerous to let out of prison, where they do not have enough evidence to prosecute them! Wasn’t that always the issue?

The rules of a free society are simple. People are innocent until proven guilty, and cannot be detained without reason given and without a trial to test the allegations.

If there are people in prison who will not stand trial, they must be let out. If they are foreigners, they should be sent back to where they came from. The US need never let them into the country again. If they are US citizens, then they should be released but kept under surveillance if there are grounds for suspicion of future actions. I wouold have thought it will be difficult for them to to do anything after all the information the authroities must by now have collected about them.

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17 Comments

  1. Stuart Fairney
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Yes, it’s been open since 2002, that is a long time to detain people without trial. And the hadful who have been tried by the dubious military tribunals are still in limbo as I understand the supreme court has struck down these verdicts.

    Even Aparteid South Africa gave Mandela a trial of sorts, the USA should do no less.

  2. adam
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    An american soldier has been captured in Afghanistan and the Americans are making noises about international law. It is largely empty rheotric if they have decided to ignore it themselves re renditioned terrorists.

    The strange thing about Guantanamo is its abberant nature.
    Its my understanding and i may be wrong that NATO forces in Afghanistan operate under strict rules of warfare, for example, our troops are not allowed to open fire on the Taliban unless the Taliban open fire on them.
    It seems that Military Intelligence are able to operate outside these rules.

    Im not sure my position on Guantanamo. It is the public face of a larger programme of rendition to secret prisons and torture. All the TV cameras go there but never to the other prisons.
    If only Guantanamo closes that may make getting the truth about what is going on even more difficult.

    I am concerned about the military (NATO) operating without any democratic political oversight.

    • jean baker
      Posted July 21, 2009 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      The Bush/Blair alliance (reportedly) ignored NATO, such was their determination to invade Iraq. One of their appalling legacies is the abominable treament of those held in Guantanomo.

      Perhaps the reported 8 month delay in US report is designed to coincide with Bliar’s long set aim of becoming EU President.

      I find the filming of prisoners highly questionable; it’s inhuman and deeply disturbing to viewers. Film footage of WW2 prisoners in concentration camps pales into insignificance by comparison.
      How can this be allowed to continue ?

  3. Citizen Responsible
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    During Barak Obama’s presidential campaign, his opponents claimed that in his 4 year role as senator for Illinois, he frequently voted “present but abstain” on difficult issues. As President, when his initiatives falter when coming up against the hard realities, he can’t abstain. As President Truman used to say “the buck stops here”.
    As a former constitutional law professor, closing Guantanamo is one election promise Mr Obama should be able to keep and if he continues to procrastinate on this he will look weak and indecisive which will just encourage the leaders of rogue states to put two fingers up to the US.

    • jean baker
      Posted July 21, 2009 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      The question is what’s stopping Obama ? What political pressures, home and abroad, are preventing the action he vowed ?

  4. Mike Stallard
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Another good post.
    Two footnotes:
    1. When I saw the American prisoner on Islamic TV weeping over his lost family, I thought that he had a better time of it than the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. So much for the rule of law.
    2. In October, in order to teach, I shall have to go on a government register to prove my innocence. I shall otherwise be considered a possible threat to children. So much for “The rules of a free society are simple. People are innocent until proven guilty, and cannot be detained without reason given and without a trial to test the allegations.”
    This does not apply to politicians who visit schools and cuddle babies, by the way, because they, natch, are all innocent until proven guilty.

    • Rob
      Posted July 21, 2009 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Do the Americans saw their prisoners’ heads off and post the film on the internet? You do realise that this GI is likely to be tortured and murdered don’t you? You are a pinhead, and, frankly, if that is your morality, I don’t think you are fit to teach.

      • Mike Stallard
        Posted July 21, 2009 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        Waterboarding, extreme rendition, Abu Graib……

        • anonymous
          Posted July 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

          Mike,
          US (or coalition) troops captured have a very high chance of being tortured and killed because that is generally the point of the capture from the Al-Quaeda point of view (unless they can bargain something out of it).

          Waterboarding was approved for 3 detainees at Guantanamo, on the basis that they were known to have information which could save many other lives. It was not done for fun, retribution or out of masochism. When the Obama administration released the details recently, Cheney challenged him to also release the information they got from doing this. Tellingly, this has not been done.

          Abu Graib was abuse of some prisoners (who had been causing disruptions) and the offending guards were punished. It was not a matter of policy.

          Extraordinary rendition is a matter of breaking international law to arrest people genuinely seen as a danger. In and of itself it is not particularly abusive towards those taken.

          So, clearly as Rob said, your inability to differenciate between Al-Quaida torturing and killing as a matter of policy, and a very small number tortured in order to attempt to save many lives (plus criminal activities from some guards who were subsequently punished) renders you a pinhead 🙂

    • jean baker
      Posted July 21, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      No law has been debated or passed in Parliament regarding Nulabor’s ‘wish’ for a ‘licence to teach’ anymore than a law exists for their wish to invoke compulsory ID.

      Licence aim is not about child safety, it will be political; those not towing or preaching the party line will be ‘struck off’. ‘Social engineering’ – rewriting our history and heritage is Nulabor’s idea of “ederkashun”.

      Ed Balls proclaimed ‘freedom for teachers’ by abolishing the £136 m SATS fiasco whilst planning great strictures – a ‘licence to operate’.

    • alan jutson
      Posted July 21, 2009 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Mike

      Also applies to volunteer workers as well, who should prove their innocence under the CRB system.

      At the last count it has been suggested that 11,000,000 people will need to prove their innocence, before being allowed near children elderly or vunerable people.

      the joke is (not funny, and more Government crap) is that you have to be cleared for every different task you do.

      EG a schoolteacher, has to prove their innocence again if they work out of hours doing something else with children.

      A nurse has to be checked again, if they care for other people outside of the hospital.

      In our local Lions Club we have some members who have 4 different CRB registration checks for 4 different tasks.

      Its all a bloody nonesense, and a huge paperwork mountain which proves at the time the check was made, you were innocent. Nothing else.

      Innocent until proven guilty, NOT UNDER THIS GOVERNMENT.

      • adam
        Posted July 28, 2009 at 12:40 am | Permalink

        this is (the government’s -ed) vision of justice. Stamp on the face of the free and innocent.

  5. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Just as in this country, a politician saying something to help get elected with no idea of how to deliver.

    • jean baker
      Posted July 21, 2009 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      You’re thinking only of Bliar – check out the footage of Margaret Thatcher’s heartfelt honesty and leadership qualities up to, throughout and after her Election win.

      Her speeches are on a par with Churchill’s.

      Nulabor’s the only party who operates on the sole basis of empty rhetoric, spin and manipulation …. such is their contempt for us.

  6. anonymous
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Hmm.. I see my earlier post, reproduced below, is still “awaiting moderation”. Not really sure what can possibly be considered offensive, provocative or inaccurate though. Please email if this is somehow inappropriate.

    “If they are foreigners, they should be sent back to where they came from. The US need never let them into the country again.”

    John they did not let them into the country in the first place, they were mostly caught during fighting in Afghanistan/Iraq. These are people who have sought out the grand jihad against the great satan – they believe it is the calling of their god that they do this. If they are released they will just turn up again in the same or another jihad battlefield.

    This is what has happened repeatedly already. Jihadists released from Guantanamo turning up dead or captured again in Iraq/Afghanistan. They are a vile combination of stupid, violent and ideologically brainwashed. The only responsible thing to do is NOT to release them, on the same grounds that other equally mentally disturbed people are kept locked up. Not because it’s possible to pin a charge on them, but because they are a danger to peaceful society. They choose their insanity, but we must treat them accordingly.

    • Citizen Responsible
      Posted July 23, 2009 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

      In January, two former Guantanamo prisoners appeared in a video on a jihad website, taunting the US. They identified themselves by their Guantanamo prison numbers. However, President Obama knew or should have known the consequences, when he grandstanded his intention to close Guantanamo during the presidential election.

  7. Dr. Christopher Wood
    Posted July 21, 2009 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Redwood,
    I agree with most of what you write, but on this issue your analysis is both shallow and poor. President Obama had your simplified view.

    To begin with many of the countries that the prisoners held at Guantanamo come from refuse to take them back or would happily take them back with grave risk for the prisoners transferred to their home country.

    By all means if you want them in your backyard then tell your government to take them.

    The Guantánamo Uighurs being a case in point – Chinal will take them back, but the Guantánamo Uighurs are very nervous of going back to their home – they fear what would happen to them if they ended up under the control of the Chinese authorities, these are men who were training to fight what they saw as Chinese oppression. All the same, if you want them, President Obama would be happy to fly them to Heathrow!

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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