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Raf Casert reports: "US Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the Obama administration will do its utmost to close the US prison at Guantanamo Bay before next year's presidential elections despite political opposition. Holder said at the European Parliament that even if the current administration fails to close it ahead of elections, it will continue to press ahead if it wins the November 2012 presidential vote."

With attempts by the Obama administration to close Guantanamo stalled, some 170 detainees remain at the detention center. (photo: Getty Images)
With attempts by the Obama administration to close Guantanamo stalled, some 170 detainees remain at the detention center. (photo: Getty Images)



Eric Holder Vows to Close Guantanamo and End Torture

By Raf Casert, Associated Press

20 September 11

 

S Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday that the Obama administration will do its utmost to close the US prison at Guantanamo Bay before next year's presidential elections despite political opposition.

The campaign promise to close Guantanamo has been a major problem for President Barack Obama since he took office. He had promised to close the prison within a year but it remains open as his campaign for re-election gets under way. (photo: AFP) Holder said at the European Parliament that even if the current administration fails to close it ahead of elections, it will continue to press ahead if it wins the November 2012 presidential vote.

Republican presidential rival Rick Perry has said he is happy the US prison at Guantanamo has been kept open.

Holder said the administration wants to close the facility "as quickly as possible, recognizing that we will face substantial pressure."

The campaign promise to close Guantanamo has been a major problem for President Barack Obama since he took office. He had promised to close the prison within a year but it remains open as his campaign for re-election gets under way.

"We will be pressing for the closure of the facility between now and then - and after that election, we will try to close it as well," Holder said. "Some people have made this a political issue without looking at, I think, the real benefits that would flow from the closure of the facility."

The administration of George W. Bush opened the prison for terrorist suspects at the US Navy base in Cuba, and Obama, amid a clamor on both sides of the Atlantic to close the prison, vowed to do just that and move the detainees elsewhere.

In December, congressional conservatives spearheaded legislation that barred the transfer of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States. In several other congressional votes last year, many Democrats joined Republicans in opposing bringing such prisoners to the US for trial or detention.

Holder also said that the United States would stick to the "fundamental break" with some interrogation techniques that were criticized around the world as amounting to torture.

Some suspected terrorists faced sleep deprivation and the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding. In the wake of US raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May, a debate began over the extent to which such techniques led to the hideout where Bin Laden was found and killed.

"We have indicated that certain techniques that were used previously are in fact torture, and will not be engaged in again by the United States," Holder said.

 

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+14 # CL38 2011-09-20 21:34
It's been 3 years. What the hell has he been waiting for???
 
 
0 # Erdajean 2011-09-21 01:42
Amen and AMEN! This news is not all that great for prisoners there who may not make it another year in such captivity. In fact, it's disgusting. That Holder, and his boss, are just now getting around to thinking about it says terrible things about who has been really running the White House. Evil has been OK until public wrath is heating up again, at election time. We must make NO mistake -- the low-grade criminal minds that now run the GOP have also had far too much to say to Obama since the last election day -- and whatever his excuse, he has paid far too much attention. Were I he -- and Holder -- I would not depend on just more promises, to ease this administration over into another term. Do it NOW, or shut up about it -- and face the consequences. Who IS boss,after all?
 
 
+4 # AndreM5 2011-09-21 07:20
This is not anti-Obama but let's check current events. After 2 years of nothing in the news about these issues from the Demos, all of sudden last week we get forceful rhetoric about expiring tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Then this week Holder plainly states they will close Gitmo and that acts of "torture" were used/condoned by US officials. What do you guess will be announced next week?
I am sure the skeptics on this board will see these pronouncements as pure pre-election postures, talk with no action and so far they would be right. So the test is clear: action is needed to back these up.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2011-09-21 08:52
Next week they will "boldly" announce an initiative that will remove all occupying colonial forces from Iraq and Afghanistan by some time after the election of 2068, or whenever the wells run dry, whichever comes first. Next, repugs will call the President a traitor for making a "time line". The President will counter that we simply cannot afford to continue these multi-trillion dollar wars that are draining our budget, for more than another 56 years.
 
 
0 # RLF 2011-09-22 04:21
He has been really busy trying to get the wikileaks people, Anonymous, and torturing Jeffery Manning. Certainly not prosecuting any one that it would take guts or piss anyone off to do. He is AG equivalent of Obama...no balls and a traitor to progressives.
 
 
+1 # phrixus 2011-09-21 02:02
"...vows...do it's utmost...will be pressing..." This administration, from its CEO on down, has demonstrated an outstanding ability to blow smoke while accomplishing nothing of substance. CL38 asks (rightly so) "What the hell has he been waiting for?" The answer of course, is reelection. "Ok, guys. Now we're REALLY gonna do what we promised almost four years ago. No kidding. No messing around THIS time. Gonna tear it up." Yeah, right.
 
 
+4 # futhark 2011-09-21 04:29
Good for Eric Holder! Now how about his boss man? You know, the guy who was swept into office back a couple of years ago on a popular tidal wave of revulsion against these expensive, counterproducti ve, and unnecessary wars and the criminal atrocities attendant upon their prosecution.

It seems to me that the lack of action on these issues is tantamount to complicity.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2011-09-21 08:48
It's not a complicit lack of action. It's an ACTIVE participation. To not stop torturing people is to continue torturing people.
 
 
0 # Doctoretty 2011-09-21 04:39
Does anyone understand why it is taking so long?
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2011-09-21 08:46
I do. President Obama wasn't running for re-election yet, when he first took office.
 
 
+4 # Billy Bob 2011-09-21 04:46
"Republican presidential rival Rick Perry has said he is happy the US prison at Guantanamo has been kept open.

Holder said the administration wants to close the facility 'as quickly as possible, RECOGNIZING THAT WE WILL FACE SUBSTANTIAL PRESSURE.' "

-Apparently, they are starting to remember who voted for them in the first place.

I've been proposing the same campaign slogan for the past 6 months:

OBAMA / BIDEN - TOO LITTLE TOO LATE
 
 
+1 # RLF 2011-09-22 04:23
Or maybe...TOO LITTLE TO BELIEVE IN
 
 
+4 # fredboy 2011-09-21 05:09
Will he close other "black" overseas prisons and interrogation/t orture sites--or does he even know about them?
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2011-09-21 08:46
Of course he knows about them. I bet, that if they do anything at all to follow through on this new campaign promise, they'll just transfer torture victims (excuse me, "high profile terror suspects") to the black sites you mention. That's the point of having black sites. If they openly state they'll stop torturing people at ALL of the torture/death camps and that they'll stop cooperating with foreign nations that do, THEN I'd take it seriously. Until then, it's all talk.
 
 
+6 # AndreM5 2011-09-21 06:34
"...certain techniques that were used previously are in fact torture..."

If this quote is accurate it is the Atty Gen of the USA stating plainly that the highest "officials" in the US Govt conducted, condoned and authorized illegal action. He acknowledges publicly that crimes were committed by US personnel, so can he now legally ignore them?
 
 
+1 # edensasp 2011-09-21 08:28
It's seems I vaguely remember watching a broadcast on television that depicted President Obama signing such an order to close GITMO. Whatever happened to that?

As for ending torture?

Eric Holder.... Define exactly what "Torture" means to you personally and then all the applications of "Torture" currently being used and could be used in the future that you will "End".

Specifics please.

(Does enhanced interrogations fall under the category of "torture"?)
 
 
+4 # Billy Bob 2011-09-21 12:21
"Enhanced interrogation" is a government euphemism for torture. A corpse by any other name will still attract maggots.
 
 
+1 # Abigail 2011-09-21 12:52
Guantanamo will close when pigs fly.
 
 
0 # Paul Scott 2011-09-21 22:13
GITMO is presidential politics. File charges against “our” War Criminals; that’s a move, for justice, and may also close GITMO. Chief Justice Taney wrote for the court, in 1850; that as Commander-in-Ch ief the president’s powers were strictly military, so the powers that (R) DOJ lawyers granted GWB, over statute laws and treaties, have no foundation in law.
War Crimes (water-boarding ) have been confessed to by Cheney. It is Anti-Christ, Anti-Constituti on, and Anti-statute law and Anti-internatio nal treaty. Anti-Christ (Romans 12: 17), Anti-Constituti on The United States Constitution Section 8, Clause 1, reads: “The Congress shall have power to …” Clause 11: “… make rules concerning captures on land and water;” Clause 14: “To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;” and Clause 18: “To make all laws … .” Anti-laws at USC Title 18 Part 1 Chapter 113C, and at Geneva Conventions IV signed by U.S. on 12/Aug/1949 ratified by same on 02/Aug/1955, and the 1984 UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment: signed by U.S. on 18/ Apr/ 1988 and ratified by same on 21/ Oct/ 1994.
Article II, Section 2 [Presidential powers] does not grant the president power to set aside criminal laws nor treaties, at any time. Section 3 says “ .. he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, …”
 
 
+4 # propsguy 2011-09-21 22:23
what happened? has obama been reading all the articles by the like of frank rich, etc that say his is the greatest betrayal and his presidency is a failure? was he shocked when james carville said he needed to fire all his advisers and do something different?
did he suddenly realize that even running against a crazy person, his reelection was not in the bag? that perhaps you actually have to stand for SOMETHING? did his volunteers tells him that i've called the white house several times and cried on the phone, saying that i've regretted my vote and will never do it again?

it's very strange to me that he's suddenly acting like a man, like a president

do i dare hope? i'm suspicious and too burned to be betrayed again
 
 
+3 # tomo 2011-09-22 07:49
I'm with you, Propsguy. Why does Obama only remember his base when he is in election mode? I can recall the several cases in which he or Rahm Emanuel expressed positive contempt for "the professional liberals" who got him elected. Those were Barack's more candid moments--acknow ledging he despises those who take progressive ideology seriously. In his far more routine moments, he simply does whatever will generate the least friction with the corporatocracy and with the Bush/Cheney foreign policy which has become the new orthodoxy for BOTH parties. The true Obama is much better revealed (than in this new readiness to close Guantanamo) in Obama's fervent and public resistance to Palestinian resolve to take their case to the UN. To do this would be very bad, according to Obama. Never mind that, as its principal sponsor, this is just the kind of case for which we created the UN. Eleanor must be turning in her grave. The man in the White House today is a consummate hypocrite and deceiver. While I do not share the "birthers'" interest in his birth certificate, I would be interested in a study of his tenure as editor of the Harvard Law Review. Reflecting on his dismally inadequate concern for law, I cannot imagine that the law review prospered during his stewardship. Also I cannot imagine voting to re-elect him President.
 
 
+2 # David Starr 2011-09-22 11:38
Given the blatant criminality practiced in Gitmo prison, it's indeed friggin time that Holder, Obama, etc. vow to shut it down. But then, we have words right now. Let's see if actions speak louder. I don't feel too confident right now, especially given the opposition to it-Righties like Perry coldly/even sadistically, supporting business-as-usu al-& in turn, the idea that Obama may repeat the pattern of "compromise," surrendering again.

The thing is, the whole damn U.S. naval base in Guatanamo should be shut down, exited from Cuba. It is a product of the one-sided Platt Amendment, enacted in the early 1900s. Cuban leaders intially refused to sign it, seeing it as a violation of Cuba's sovereignty. But they were given the ultimatum of either signing it, or U.S. leaders would put Cuba under permanent, overall military occupation.
 

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