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 August 31, 2015

News: Pilot killed in crash was helping wounded veterans – A pilot who died in a small plane crash in the desert northeast of Los Angeles was giving free glider rides to wounded military veterans. Turkey carries out first air strikes as part of anti-Isis U.S. coalition – Turkish fighter jets have carried out their first air...
 
 

News Briefs August 31, 2015

Pakistan officials: U.S. envoy discusses Afghan peace efforts Pakistani officials say visiting U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice has discussed efforts to revive Afghan peace talks. Rice met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif Aug. 30. Two Pakistani officials say they discussed efforts to revive talks between the Afghan government...
 
 

Headlines August 28, 2015

Business: Rafale, Mistral on agenda for Le Drian in Malaysia, India – French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is due to visit Malaysia Aug. 30, with talks expected to cover the Rafale fighter jet and Mistral helicopter carrier, website La Tribune reported. U.S. Army to choose new landing craft next year – In line with the Pentagon’s...
 

 

News Briefs August 28, 2015

Boeing plans to lay off some Southern California workers Boeing has announced that it plans to lay off employees at its Southern California-based satellite division. The Los Angeles Times reports that the aerospace giant said Aug. 25 that it will lay off as many as several hundred employees at the El Segundo factory. Boeing says...
 
 

Special tactics Airmen killed in hostile incident

Two special tactics airmen, who were deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, were killed near Camp Antonik, Afghanistan, Aug. 26. Capt. Matthew D. Roland, 27, and SSgt. Forrest B. Sibley, 31, were at a vehicle checkpoint when two individuals wearing Afghan National Defense and Security Forces uniforms opened fire on them. NATO service members...
 
 

Headlines August 26, 2015

News: U.S. F-22s deploying to Europe – Weeks after top Pentagon officials began openly calling Russia the greatest threat to the United States, the Air Force is preparing to deploy the F-22 Raptor to Europe for the first time.   Business: Lockheed pays $4.8 million to settle illegal lobbying claim – Sandia Corp. and parent company Lockheed...
 




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>