In the news...

May 24, 2013

Obama vows to close Guantanamo detention facility

Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

President Barack Obama May 23 vowed to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying the prison has become a symbol of an America that flouts the law.

Obama spoke at the National Defense University at Fort Lesley J. McNair here. His discussion on the Gitmo facility was part of a larger discussion on counterterrorism policy.

The original premise for opening the detention center at Guantanamo was that detainees would not be able to challenge their detention, he noted during his remarks, but added the Supreme Court found that unconstitutional five years ago.

In the meantime, Gitmo has become a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law,î the president said. ìOur allies won’t cooperate with us if they think a terrorist will end up at Gitmo. During a time of budget cuts, we spend $150 million each year to imprison 166 people ñ almost $1 million per prisoner. And the Department of Defense estimates that we must spend another $200 million to keep Gitmo open at a time when we are cutting investments in education and research here at home.

Obama has tried to close the facility and transferred 67 detainees to other countries before Congress stopped the process, he noted. ìThese restrictions make no sense, he said.

Obama said he believes these detainees can be held in U.S. prisons and prosecuted in U.S. courts. ìNo person has ever escaped from one of our super-max or military prisons in the United States,î he said. ìOur courts have convicted hundreds of people for terrorism-related offenses, including some who are more dangerous than most Gitmo detainees.

The president called on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from the facility.

ìI have tasked the Department of Defense to designate a site in the United States where we can hold military commissions, he said. I am appointing a new, senior envoy at the State Department and Defense Department whose sole responsibility will be to achieve the transfer of detainees to third countries. I am lifting the moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen, so we can review them on a case-by-case basis. To the greatest extent possible, we will transfer detainees who have been cleared to go to other countries. Where appropriate, we will bring terrorists to justice in our courts and military justice system. And we will insist that judicial review be available for every detainee.

There will still be detainees who have participated in attacks on Americans who cannot be prosecuted due to tainted evidence, Obama noted. But once we commit to a process of closing Gitmo, I am confident that this legacy problem can be resolved, consistent with our commitment to the rule of law, he said.

The president was interrupted several times by a heckler who yelled that the president should close the facility now. He said her voice needed to be heard.

Obama asked if Guantanamo is the kind of legacy America wants or deserves. Is that who we are? Is that something that our founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave to our children?î he asked. Our sense of justice is stronger than that.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines July 29, 2015

News: Lockheed F-35s reliability found wanting in shipboard testing – The Marine Corps’ version of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter demonstrated poor reliability in a 12-day exercise at sea, according to the U.S. military’s top testing officer.   Business: Rockwell Collins to upgrade Boeing comms system – Rockwell Collins will upgrade the low-frequency transmi...
 
 

Headlines July 27, 2015

News: U.S.-Turkey deal aims to create de facto ‘safe zone’ in northwest Syria – Turkey and the United States have agreed on the outlines of a de facto “safe zone” along the Turkey-Syria border under the terms of a deal that is expected to significantly increase the scope and pace of the U.S.-led air war against...
 
 

Headlines July 24, 2015

News: Turkey bombs Islamic State targets in Syria – Turkish planes have for the first time carried out air strikes against Islamic State group targets in Syria. Turkey to allow airstrikes against ISIS from Incirlik – Turkey will allow the U.S. to strike Islamic State group targets from Incirlik Air Base, according to multiple reports....
 

 

News Briefs July 24, 2015

Officials: Progress made cleaning up massive jet fuel spill State and federal officials are becoming increasingly confident they’ll be able to clean up a massive plume of jet fuel at the edge of Albuquerque, N.M., before it reaches drinking water wells. Kirtland Air Force Base and state environment officials will be updating the public on...
 
 

Headlines July 22, 2015

News: Pentagon confirms drone crashed in Iraq – A Pentagon spokesman said the aircraft was returning from an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission when “technical complications” caused a loss of communication with the aircraft July 16.   Business: Boeing faces eight-month delay on $3 billion tanker contracts – Boeing may have to wait an extra eight...
 
 

News Briefs July 22, 2015

U.S. Navy commander stresses positives in China relationship The Navy’s new commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet sounded a conciliatory note toward China July 21 during the last stop of a three-country Asian tour. “We have much more in common than we do in competition,” Adm. Scott Swift told reporters in Tokyo. He added, though,...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>