Tag Archives: Obama;s Guantánamo policy

Obama’s Guantanamo politics feeds terrorism

Nothing so exemplifies Pres. Obama’s failed foreign policies and his attempts to usurp Congressional power than the mess that the White House has created at Guantanamo.
Obama promised in his 2008 campaign speeches that he would close the prisoner-of-war camp which the Bush Administration had created in the American Naval Base in southeast Cuba. The oldest overseas American base, originally leased from Havana after the U.S. liberated Cuba in the Spanish-American War in 1899, it has become an object of dispute since the advent of the Castro Communist dictatorship. The Bush Administration in its undeclared war against the stateless terrorists, first Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and then Daesh [ISIS or ISIL] and other terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, had used the facility for imprisoning and interrogating prisoners.
Obama has claimed, with little or no evidence, that “Guantanamo” had become a rallying issue for recruiting anti-American terrorists. He repeatedly expressed — the last time early this year in another message to the Congress — that he wants to close it down and transfer its prisoners to Mainland federal prisons. Congressional opposition to both goals has been fierce, even including some Democrats – -particularly those close to possible federal institutions that might be used.
The Castro government has demanded that Guantanamo be returned as part of the Obama Administration’s reestablishing diplomatic relations and attempting to normalize contacts after a half century of the U.S. attempting to isolate the Cuban dictatorship. So far, the White House has refused.
The 45 square miles of rocky, cactus-speckled hills and jagged coastline along a pristine blue-green bay filled with manatees and dolphins continues even with the latest digital communications to have strategic value for the U.S. Navy. As a self-contained town of 4,200 American service members, their families and a small army of mostly Jamaicans and Philippines contract workers, “Gitmo” is still seen as extending the Navy’s reach.. Coast Guard and Navy ships regularly refuel while serving on missions in the Caribbean, allowing such sea craft to extend their counter-narcotics trafficking operations and expand their rescue of commercial shipping..
Despite Congressional opposition, Obama not only has not instituted military courts to try Guantanamo prisoners but instead has been releasing them to various countries. They would ostensibly assure Washington that the prisoners would not return to combat. In some cases, the recipient governments have given less than firm guarantees but instead on humanitarian grounds have released their charges. Opponents of Obama’s policy see his steady release of prisoners as his way of evading Congress’ expressed wish that the facility continue to hold what would normally be prisoners-of-war held under international law were the U,S. engaged in fight with another sovereign government.
As of January 2016, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence [ODNI], 676 detainees Obama has transferred out of Guantanamo Bay. U.S. Authorities have confirmed 118 have returned to terrorist activities, while another 86 are suspected of doing so. Abdul Qayyum Zakir, released by the U.S. to Pakistan authorities, became head of the revived Taliban but was ousted in 2014 in a struggle among the top leadership.Mullah Abdul Kayum Sakir, another of the released prisoners,has been reported participating in the struggle for leadership in Afganistan. As early as 2004, former Vice President Dick Cheney claimed that detainees had hidden their real identities from interrogators, convincing them they were harmless to secure their release. There is also evidence that some of prisoners who had only marginal relations with the terrorists have been further radicalized in prison before their release to foreign governments.
There seems to be little doubt that the Obama Administration has minimized the use of possible intelligence from Guantanamo prisoners. And by releasing growing numbers, it is strengthening the leadership of the very terrorist organizations the White House has just announced it is sending an additional military increment of some 500 soldiers to fight.

Guantánamo and common sense

The voice from the dead [former fellow travelers who went out of style with the Soviet Union’s implosion], The Guardian, tells us that the lawyers for the remaining prisoners at Guantánamo are unhappy. Why? Because they say the White House is not doing enough to fulfill Pres. Barak Obama’s campaign promise to close the prisoner of war camp.
Obama has insisted over the years that Guantánamo and its method of dealing with terrorist captives or suspects is extra-legal, a violation of American Constitutional practice, and most of all, a recruiting tool for the Islamic terrorists. However, the fact is that its very sophisticated propaganda – especially now that of Daesh [ISIL, ISI] – hardly mentions the issue.
Some of you with longer memories will remember that Obama promised to close Guantánamo down on his second day in office. And he has flown much rhetoric in the past few weeks about his intent despite Congressional law which forbids him to transfer its occupants to U.S. Mainland federal prisons. The Congress reinforced its aversion of transfers to U.S. prisons in the National Defense Authorization Act [NDAA] which the President has signed.
Congress” toughening stance came about, in part, because of what critics of the Administration see as the controversial swap of five senior Taliban prisoners for Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier held by the Islamic terrorists. Fragmentary reports suggest that some if not all of these have returned to combat against the U.S. and its allies. Now Bergdahl, who got a Presidential Rose Garden reception as some kind of hero on his return, faces an Army court martial on desertion and other charges.
Despite all this, The New York Times reports that Sec. of Defense Ashton Carter would try and push 17 transfers of lower-level detainees through by the end of January. That’s’ despite what many interpret as Carter and The Pentagon’s opposition to the Obama attempt to close it down. There are still 106 prisoners left in the pokey, 86 of whom the lawyers estimate could be transferred to their countries of origin But this pattern would not close down the installation before Obama leaves office, much to the lawyers; chagrin. Now Administration spokesmen have made the issue of the high cost of maintaining fewer and fewer prisoners as one of their main talking points for closing it down and transferring or releasing its inmates.
There is no doubt that there are problems at Guantánamo. In the fog of war – and the action in Afghanistan was full-fledged warfare whatever its euphemistic titles – there is little doubt that there were mistakes, perhaps innocents picked up as seeming collaborators in guerrilla actions.
But it is our position that the bulk of those apprehended and confined at Guantánamo are prisoners of war. It is a different kind of war, in part because the enemy is not a full-fledged state. In earlier wars, the pattern has been for the U.S. as with its adversaries to hold prisoners until the conflict is resolved. Granted that may be a long time coming, or even that the end may not conclude with a signature, as Obama has said, on a surrender document on a battleship somewhere.
We think the military trials of the Guantánamo inmates should be speeded up. If there are, indeed, innocents who should be released, well and good. But common sense tells us that former fighters, who have had time to network with other prisoners and improved their skills by reading and studying, should not be released to return to battle. Despite Obama’s assurances that has rarely been the case, objective reports indicate that the majority – not the minority – of those repatriated have returned to the fight. That is not the way to win a war, no matter how unconventional it may be.