Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Guantanamo Detention Facility Meets Geneva Convention Requirements

This is sure to stick in President Obama's craw. A report assembled by Admiral Patrick Walsh, the vice chief of naval operations, shows that the detainees in the detention facility on the Guantanamo Bay naval base are being treated fairly and humanely in accordance with Geneva Convention rules:

A Pentagon report requested by President Obama on the conditions at the Guantánamo Bay detention center concludes that the prison complies with the humanitarian requirements of the Geneva conventions, but it makes many recommendations for increasing human contact among the prisoners, according to two government officials who have read portions of it.

The review, requested by President Obama on the second day of his administration, is due to be delivered to the White House this weekend.

The request, made as part of a plan to close the center within a year, was widely seen as an effort by the new administration to defuse the power of allegations during the Bush administration that there were widespread abuses at Guantánamo, and that many detainees were suffering severe psychological effects after years of isolation.

The review, conducted by Adm. Patrick M. Walsh, the vice chief of naval operations, describes a series of steps that could be taken to allow detainees to speak to one another more often and to engage in group activities, the government officials said. For years, critics of the prison have said that many detainees spend as many as 23 hours a day within the confines of cement cells and were only permitted recreation alone in fenced-off outdoor pens.

The report, which Admiral Walsh is scheduled to discuss publicly at the Pentagon next week, is being presented to a White House that some government officials have described as caught off guard by the extreme emotions and political cross-currents provoked by Guantánamo. Some critics said that the report’s conclusions are likely to intensify the debate about the prison, and put the Obama White House for the first time in the position of defending it.

Included in the report are recommendations to increase social contact among the 16 prisoners described by the Bush administration as “high value detainees,” the men once held in secret overseas prisons by the
Central Intelligence Agency. Among them are the accused architects of many major terrorist attacks, including those of Sept. 11, 2001.

According to one official, the report notes that some detainees have great difficulty communicating from cell to cell, a contention that many detainees’ lawyers have also made. Though many detainees at Guantánamo are held in their cells alone, the Pentagon has long insisted that none of the men are held in solitary confinement. Military officials instead have said the prisoners are held in “single-occupancy cells.”

A Pentagon official who has seen the report said that a military team with Admiral Walsh conducted a detailed review of many specific allegations of abuse that critics have made about the prison, and that the team concluded that the Pentagon was in compliance with the requirements of the Geneva conventions. The review included some of the most contentious issues, including the forced feeding of hunger-striking detainees and claims that a large number of the prisoners are suffering from psychosis as a result of conditions in the detention center.

The White House did not immediately respond on Friday to a request for comment.

It has been clear that some Pentagon officials have continued to press the case that the Bush administration’s approach to handling detainee issues — and the Guantánamo Bay prison itself — should not be abandoned. The report is likely to continue that behind-the-scenes struggle.

One Pentagon official, speaking anonymously because no one had been authorized to discuss the report publicly, said it showed that the Bush administration created a humane detention camp that has been unfairly characterized by critics. Speaking of the remaining 245 detainees there, this official said the report underscored that if the men are moved, they may “go from a humane environment to a less humane environment.”

We have long held that the Guantanamo Bay detention facility was the most ideal place to house the illegal combatants and detainees for several reasons. Among them is the fact that they are not here on US soil where the risk of their escape is simply too high. Another reason why we wanted them to stay at the naval base in Cuba is the fact that some legal experts have claimed if they are detained stateside they might successfully lobby for the same protections that we, as citizens, maintain in criminal proceedings.

We think it was a mistake for the president to sign the executive order calling for the closing of the detention facility. It was a move to cater to his far-Left base of antiwar zealots; the same sort of people who would rather hug a terrorist instead of killing them. These people will not be rehabilitated. Too many that have been released from Guantanamo Bay have returned to the battlefield against our soldiers, and those of our allies. One released last year has been made the deputy commander of al-Qaeda in Yemen.

If this report clears up the speculation surrounding the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, then the president should reverse his executive order, and make the necessary changes recommended in the report. The last thing American citizens want to hear is that we are either letting the terrorists into the US, or that they will be sent to other countries for detention which may not have the necessary security measures in place to keep them from escaping.

Marcie

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