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“Bush administration warned 9/11 Commission against probing too deeply”: Leftard’s Go Over The Edge Again

Posted by Larry Barnes on March 18, 2010

“Senior Bush administration officials sternly cautioned the 9/11 Commission against probing too deeply into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, according to a document recently obtained by the ACLU.”
Moral Outrage @ Word Press
http://moraloutrage.wordpress.com/

When some people attempt to make history they some how come to the conclusion that repeating forgotten history will do just fine. As History Commons proves the Internet will reveal their folly. Unfortunately the only people who care about this old story don’t care about the most pervasive aspect of the story. That is, the recent release of years old documents can generate a story in the leftard press by the simple act of being tight lipped on the details and meaning of the story.

I am sure the people who want to argue my point are unaware of the ability of the Internet to search for items of interest. This being the case I have transcribed the details of the story here and provided links that may be followed to prove I actually researched this subject

http://www.historycommons.org/

http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=alate03commissionsuspectstreatment

Summer 2003: 9/11 Commission Unhappy with Information Coming from Detainees

http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=asummer03commissiondetainees#asummer03commissiondetainees

The 9/11 Commission becomes unhappy with the quality of information being provided by the CIA, FBI, and Pentagon about detainees in US custody who are being interrogated, because “the government’s investigators [are] not asking the detainees the kinds of questions [it wants] answered” – they
are asking about future threats rather than the history of the 9/11 plot. The Commission is receiving detainee evidence “third-hand – passed from the detainee, to the interrogator, to the person who writes up the interrogation report, and finally to [its] staff in the form of reports, not even transcripts.” It can take up to six weeks for a report on an interrogation to be produced. Due to the absence of any interaction between Commission staff and detainees, they also have “no way of evaluating the credibility of detainee information.” [Kean and Hamilton, 2006, pp. 119-123] In at least one case, it seem possible that the 9/11 Commission was not given all the information from CIA interrogations that it needed.

Counterterrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna will later independently view some interrogation transcripts, and from them he will claim that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) confessed to attending a pivotal al-Qaeda summit in Malaysia where the 9/11 plot was discussed (see January 5-8, 2000). The CIA was in charge of monitoring this meeting, so their failure to notice the presence of KSM, a photographed and well-known terrorist mastermind with a $2 million bounty on his head at the time, would have been nearly inexplicable (see July 9, 2003). The Commission subsequently requests direct access to the detainees, but this request is not granted (see November 5, 2003-January 2004).

http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=alate03commissionsuspectstreatment#a110504commissiondetaineeaccess

November 5, 2003-January 2004: 9/11 Commission’s Attempt to Get Access to Detainees Fails

After the 9/11 Commission becomes unhappy with the information it is getting from detainees in US custody who may know something about the 9/11 plot (see Summer 2003), it asks CIA Director George Tenet to let it either talk to the detainees itself, or at least view interrogations through a one-way mirror. [Kean and Hamilton, 2006, pp. 119-126]
Reasoning – Dieter Snell, the head of the Commission’s plot team and a former prosecutor, is extremely keen that the detainees, such as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, be interviewed. According to author Philip Shenon, he is aware that “testimony from key witnesses like the al-Qaeda detainees would have value only if they were questioned in person, with investigators given the chance to test their credibility with follow-up questions. The face-to-face interrogations would be especially important in situations in which the al-Qaeda members were giving conflicting testimony.” [Shenon, 2008, pp. 182]
Request Denied – However, Tenet denies the request because he does not want the Commission to know where the detainees are, and he claims questioning by a Commission staffer could apparently damage the “relationship” between interrogator and detainee and “upset the flow of questioning.” In addition, Tenet is worried that if the Commission has access to the detainees, Zacarias Moussaoui might also be able to compel them to testify in court, so he rejects compromise proposals.
Pushback – The Commission decides “to push the issue” and drafts a letter outlining why they should have direct access. Although the draft is seen by Tenet and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, it is never officially sent. At a White House meeting attended by Rumsfeld and commissioners Lee Hamilton and Fred Fielding, Tenet and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales repeat the arguments Tenet made previously, but Tenet says the Commission can submit written questions, and a CIA “project manager” will try to get them answered. After the administration “plead[s]” with the Commission not to use public pressure to get access to detainees, the Commission decides to drop the matter. Relatives and Media Blamed – Hamilton and Commission Chairman Thomas Kean will later partially blame the victims’ relatives and media for this failure: “Interestingly, there was no pressure from some of the usual sources for us to push for access. For instance, the 9/11 families never pressed us to seek access to detainees, and the media was never engaged on this issue.” Kean and Hamilton will later say that the “project manager” arrangement works “to a degree.”
Report Includes Disclaimer – However, a disclaimer will be inserted into the 9/11 Commission Report in the first of two chapters that draw heavily on detainees’ alleged statements (see After January 2004). It will say that the Commission could not fully judge the credibility of detainee information, so, according to Kean and Hamilton, “it [is] left to the reader to consider the credibility of the source—we had no opportunity to do so.” [Kean and Hamilton, 2006, pp. 119-126]
Criticism from Staffer – Commission staffer Ernest May will later criticize the Commission’s “reluctance ever to challenge the CIA’s walling off al-Qaeda detainees.” May will also say: “We never had full confidence in the interrogation reports as historical sources. Often we found more reliable the testimony that had been given in open court by those prosecuted for the East African embassy bombings and other crimes.” [New
Republic, 5/23/2005] CIA videotapes and transcripts of interrogations are not provided to the Commission (see Summer 2003-January 2004).

“Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission”

Authors: Thomas H. Kean and Lee H. Hamilton

Book Review From Publishers Weekly:

A re-creation of the inner workings of a government commission threatens to be a dry bureaucratic procedural, but the 9/11 Commission was so politically fraught that its story is compelling in its own right. Chairman Kean and vice-chair Hamilton detail the commission’s fight with Congress for more money and time; its wranglings with the Bush administration to win access to witnesses and classified documents; its delicate relations with victims’ families, who were its harshest critics and staunchest champions; its strategic use of public censure to wring concessions from recalcitrant officials; and the forging of a bipartisan consensus among fractious Republican and Democratic commissioners. Their tone is evenhanded and diplomatic, but some adversaries—NORAD, the FAA, House Republicans—get singled out as stumbling blocks to the investigation. The authors cogently defend the compromises they made and swat conspiracy theories about coverups, but critics unhappy with the commission’s refusal to “point fingers” or its lukewarm resistance to White House claims of executive privilege may not be satisfied. The issues the commission wrestled with—official incapacity to prevent disaster, the government’s use and misuse of intelligence, presidential accountability—are still in the headlines, which makes this lucid, absorbing account of its work very timely.

The commission report was written by the people who wrote the above book and were the recipients of the memo in question. Below is their statement at the close of the commission.

“(W)e believe we have fulfilled our mandate.”

A considerable difference as opposed to “warned against probing too deep”.

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Pentagon to Release Photos From Detainee Custody Investigations

Posted by Larry Barnes on April 24, 2009

Pentagon to Release Photos From Detainee Custody Investigations
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 24, 2009 – The Defense Department soon will release a substantial number of photos associated with concluded past investigations of alleged abuse of detainees, a senior official said here today.

The photos were used as part of internal military investigations conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan, not including the photos used during allegations of detainee abuse at the Abu Ghraib detention facility in Iraq, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters.

The pending late-May release of the photos comes from an agreement reached between the American Civil Liberties Union, the Justice Department and the Defense Department, Whitman said. The ACLU had sued the U.S. government for release of the photos.

A Justice Department letter filed yesterday in a New York District Court stated that the Defense Department would furnish 21 photographs ordered for release by the court and 23 other images involved in the lawsuit.

Additionally, the Justice Department letter stated, the Defense Department also will release “a substantial number of other images” contained in Army Criminal Investigation Division reports that have been closed. The Defense Department is to furnish all cited images by May 28, the letter said.

A number of the images being released in May were part of more than 60 investigations conducted by the U.S. military between 2003 and January 2006, Whitman said.

Since 2003, more than 400 military members charged with detainee abuse were found to be guilty of some form of misconduct, Whitman said. Punishment, he noted, ranged from imprisonment to bad-conduct discharges, reduction in rank and other types of punitive actions.

Defense Department policy always has advocated humane treatment of detainees, Whitman pointed out.

“We have, obviously, over time, found instances where performance has not matched policy,” Whitman said. “And when the performance hasn’t matched the policy, we’ve held people accountable for their actions.”

“There are a number of [lawsuits] that we’re dealing with for detainee photographs and so on,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said to reporters yesterday during his visit to Camp Lejeune, N.C. “There’s a certain inevitability, I believe, that much of this will eventually come out; much has already come out.”

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International Effort Benefits Afghanistan’s Alasay Valley

Posted by Larry Barnes on April 17, 2009

By French Army Maj. Patrick Simo

An Afghan soldier distributes information to local children in a village of Afghanistan's Alasay Valley. A joint effort by the Afghan, French and U.S. militaries conducted a medical operation in the valley April 5 and 6, 2009, providing care to more than 600 Afghans from local villages. French Army photo by Maj. Patrick Simo

An Afghan soldier distributes information to local children in a village of Afghanistan's Alasay Valley. A joint effort by the Afghan, French and U.S. militaries conducted a medical operation in the valley April 5 and 6, 2009, providing care to more than 600 Afghans from local villages. French Army photo by Maj. Patrick Simo


Special to American Forces Press Service

ALASAY VALLEY, Afghanistan, April 17, 2009 – The Afghan, French and American militaries conducted a medical operation here April 5 and 6, providing care to more than 600 Afghans from local villages.

A joint civilian-military cooperation and provincial reconstruction team also met with students and teachers from two schools in the village to determine the community’s needs. The teams distributed more than 500 school kits in Sultankhel, an area known for attacks on coalition troops.

Meanwhile, Afghan and U.S. servicemembers patrolled the bazaar and met with local vendors.

“The patrols with the French were fantastic,” U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Todd Davis said. “Once we entered the bazaar, the French moved very slow and tactically, clearing alleyways and shops one by one.”

Following the community outreach, the teams held several community council meetings with local leaders in the Spee and Skan valleys to review the security situation in the eastern district.

The second-in-command of the Afghan National Army’s 1st Kandak brigade and the head of the Afghan National Police met with the chief American embedded training team and a representative of French Task Force Tiger, discussing security concerns for more than six hours.

“There is a real desire to move forward and unite around the sub-governor in order to extend this quiet situation to the valley bottoms,” one of the local elders from Alasay said.

The key to this mission was to talk, share and find solutions to solidify the still-fragile relationships in the valley, following a major offensive operation in March involving two companies of Task Force Tiger and two companies from the ANA’s 1st Kandak.

Since December, the Kapisa combined tactical group increased security in its area of operations. The daily presence of Afghan and French soldiers in the valleys is particularly effective, Task Force Tiger leaders said.

“In this kind of counter-insurgency war, the people are truly the center of gravity of our operations,” said Col. Nicolas Le Nen, French commander. “We are able to simultaneously conduct kinetic actions and support operations to the inhabitants of the valleys. Winning of the hearts and minds is crucial if we are to improve security, governance and development of the province.”

(Maj. Patrick Simo of the French army serves with the Task Force Tiger public affairs office.)

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Guantanamo Complies With Geneva Conventions

Posted by Larry Barnes on February 23, 2009

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2009 – The detention facilities at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, meet all standards of humane treatment and are in compliance with Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, the vice chief of naval operations said today.

lrs_090223-d-9880w-046a
Navy Adm. Patrick M. Walsh, vice chief of naval operations, briefs Pentagon reporters on Feb. 23, 2009, about his findings concerning the compliance of the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with the stipulations contained in the Geneva Conventions. DoD photo by R.D. Ward

Navy Adm. Patrick M. Walsh was chosen by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to head a team to review and report on the facilities at Guantanamo as part of an executive order President Barack Obama issued Jan. 22.

The review team conducted more than 100 interviews with Joint Task Force Guantanamo personnel over 13 days of investigation in Cuba . The team conducted multiple announced and unannounced inspections of all camps, reviewed paperwork and observed many aspects of daily operations, Walsh said.

“Collectively, we talked to a number of detainees and observed daily activities, including [use of feeding tubes] and interrogations,” Walsh said during a Pentagon news conference.

The team looked at shelter, clothing, food and water, practice of religion, recreation, the detainee discipline system, protections against violence, sensory deprivation and humiliation, human-to-human contact, health care, interrogation and access to attorneys and outside entities. Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention prohibits violence to life and person, taking of hostages, outrages upon personal dignity and passing of sentences without judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court.

“From our review, it was apparent that the chain of command responsible for the detention mission at Guantanamo consistently seeks to go beyond the minimum standard in complying with Common Article 3,” he said. “We found that the chain of command endeavors to enhance conditions in a manner as humane as possible, consistent with security concerns.”

The team also recommended ways to improve conditions at the detention facilities. While Obama wants the facility closed by next year, until it does close, conditions must meet all humane standards, Walsh said.

“We do not intend to suggest that these recommendations are items that the department must pursue to satisfy Common Article 3,” he said. “Rather, they are items that we view as consistent with the approach of the chain of command to continually enhance conditions of detention.”

Socialization, or interaction among detainees, is important for the detainees because of the length of time they have been detained, he said. In certain camps, more socialization is needed. The team called for more “human-to-human contact, recreation opportunities with several detainees together, intellectual stimulation and group prayer,” the admiral said.

The review team recommended better health care, and the task force leaders appreciate the role health care plays at the facility, Walsh said.

Finally, as long as the facility remains open, it must have the requisite resources, the admiral told reporters.

“The most significant activity in this regard involves the continued support for camp improvement projects currently under way that affect the ability to provide socialization opportunities,” he said. “Of significant concern is that the department continued to properly resource Guantanamo until every detainee departs.”

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Shocking Video Unearthed Democrats in their own words Covering up the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Scam that caused our Economic Crisis

Posted by Larry Barnes on February 7, 2009

Democrats in their own words Covering up the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Scam that caused our Economic Crisis. At a 2004 hearing see Democrat after Democrat covering up and attacking the regulators.

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Sons of Iraq’ Graduation Demonstrates Reconciliation

Posted by Larry Barnes on January 18, 2009

By Ray McNulty
Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD, Jan. 15, 2009 – Nearly 900 former members of the “Sons of Iraq” civilian security group officially joined the ranks of the Iraqi police at a graduation ceremony here yesterday.

Former “Sons of Iraq” civilian security group members demonstrate tactical movements that they will incorporate in their duties as police officers as part of their graduation ceremony at Al Furat Iraqi Police Training Center in Baghdad, Jan. 14, 2009.

Numbering 894 men and three women, they are the second class drawn from former Sons of Iraq members to graduate from the month-long police academy course at the Al Furat Police Training Center. Last month’s graduating class of 1,031 included 19 female police officers.

“These two graduations are tangible proof that the government of Iraq has kept its promise,” Maj. Gen. Khadim of the provincial directorate of police for Baghdad, said through an interpreter. “It offered Iraqi police jobs and training to former Sons of Iraq in recognition of their service. We will continue to extend a salute of respect and partnership to those who wish to serve with us.”

Registration has begun for the next class of police candidates, who will begin training before the end of January. Early indications point to another history-making class, which is expected to include nearly 500 female recruits, officials said.

“This transition of Sons of Iraq into the Iraqi police is a visible sign of reconciliation,” Army Col. Byron Freeman, commander of 8th Military Police Brigade, said. “Every graduation like today’s is a clear sign of progress. This effectively heals sectarian conflict with a sought-after job.”

Since Oct. 1, the Sons of Iraq program, previously administered by coalition forces, has been the responsibility of the Iraqi government. At that time, the Sons of Iraq rolls numbered nearly 100,000 throughout the country.

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GITMO Part Four; Defense Officials Address Detainee Concerns

Posted by Larry Barnes on January 17, 2009

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2009 – As the Defense Department prepares plans to close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, defense officials acknowledge the possibility that released detainees could return to the battlefield.

“It’s something that we’re cognizant of. It’s obviously something that we try to assess at the time of transfer when we are looking at these individuals,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told Pentagon reporters today.

President Barack Obama yesterday signed an executive order that directs the closure of the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo within a year.

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The detention center has housed nearly 800 suspected terrorists captured in Afghanistan, Iraq and other places since the start of the global war on terrorism that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. About 250 detainees are being held at Guantanamo, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

Of the more than 500 detainees who have been transferred from Defense Department custody, 18 allegedly have resumed terrorist activities and another 43 former detainees are suspected of having resumed their former lives, Whitman said.

Whitman addressed a query from a reporter citing news reports that a former Guantanamo detainee had apparently become an associate leader for al-Qaida in Yemen.

Guantanamo inmates’ cases are reviewed annually, Whitman said, to ascertain whether or not they qualify for release. However, he said, there’s no guarantee released individuals won’t return to terrorism.

“You can’t have absolute certainly,” Whitman acknowledged.

Speaking to Pentagon reporters, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates yesterday acknowledged there are challenges inherent with shuttering the center.

“Clearly, the challenge that faces us, and that I’ve acknowledged before, is figuring out how do we close Guantanamo and at the same time safeguard the security of the American people,” he said.

There “are answers to those questions,” Gates said, noting there is “a lot of work to do.”

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GITMO Part Three

Posted by Larry Barnes on January 17, 2009

    Guantanamo Pair Defiant In Court

Correspondents said the pre-trial hearing was chaotic at times, as two of the men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks on the US made unrepentant court appearances at pre-trial hearings at Guantanamo Bay.

Ramzi Binalshibh said he was proud of the attacks while Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said he did not fear death and was working “for the cause of God”. These two were among five men appearing at a chaotic hearing at the naval base.

US President-elect Barack Obama is expected to issue an order to close the camp within days of taking office. The day’s hearings were intended to determine whether Mr Binalshibh was mentally competent to represent himself. He and his co-defendants have all said they do not want to be represented by US military lawyers.

“We did what we did and we are proud of this. We are proud of 9/11,” Mr Binalshibh told the courtroom in Arabic as guards removed his shackles.

Earlier Mr Mohammed, who claims to have been tortured while in the camp and is the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, had requested the dismissal of all US lawyers on his bench.

“The people who tortured me received their salaries from the American government and the lawyers do too,” he said.

He later told the court he and his co-defendants were not afraid of receiving the death penalty because they were “doing jihad for the cause of God”.

When warned by the judge to stop interrupting the proceedings, he told them: ”This is terrorism, not court, you don’t give us an opportunity to talk.”

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Both defence and prosecution lawyers had asked the military judges to delay proceedings until after Mr Obama’s inauguration, but their request was refused.

The Pentagon last month withdrew and refiled charges in about 20 cases, saying this was merely a procedural step. This has added to the air of uncertainty surrounding the trials, correspondents say.

A Canadian national, Omar Khadr, faces a separate hearing, accused of killing a US soldier in Afghanistan. His lawyers are also arguing for certain statements to be suppressed, saying they were obtained through torture and coercion.

The US military says these were the result of “conversational and non-coercive interviews”.

Mr Khadr, who was 15 years old at the time, is accused of throwing a grenade that killed a US soldier in Afghanistan in 2002. Mr Khadr’s trial is scheduled to begin on 26 January but his lawyer, Navy Lt Cdr Bill Kuebler, says he believes it is unlikely that the military tribunals will go ahead once Mr Obama is in office. “It is simply unimaginable to think that these proceedings would continue when you have an administration that is on the record saying that so clearly,” he said. “What’s very clear… is that they want to take a different course of action on Guantanamo.”

Barack Obama pictured on 12 December during a meeting with Mexican President Felipe Calderon
Mr Obama has said he knows closing the camp will be challenging. Last week, senior advisers confirmed that Mr Obama would issue an executive order within days of entering the White House to close the detention center.

But shutting Guantanamo, where some 245 inmates remain, will not be immediate and Mr Obama himself has signaled that it will be a challenge.

His choice for attorney-general, Eric Holder, told his Senate confirmation hearing that he considered the interrogation technique of water boarding to be torture.

The CIA has admitted using the technique on at least three terrorism suspects, including Mr Mohammed.

The Bush administration set up the Guantanamo Bay camp in 2002 to hold foreign terror suspects captured during the war against the Taleban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

The camp once held some 750 inmates, believed to be mostly foreigners detained in Afghanistan on suspicion of being Islamist fighters.

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GITMO Part Two

Posted by Larry Barnes on January 17, 2009

A judge has suspended for 120 days the Guantanamo Bay trials of five men accused over the 9/11 attacks, as requested by US President Barack Obama.

Among the five is alleged mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who had opposed the suspension saying he wanted to confess to his role in the attacks.

The new administration also circulated a draft order to close the Guantanamo Bay prison within a year. Mr Obama had earlier asked for a four-month halt to all tribunals there. The request was one of his first acts as president.

Before the military judge’s ruling in the 9/11 case, four men including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said they opposed halting the trials. Lawyers for a fifth man supported the proposed suspension.

Earlier a judge in a separate case – that of Omar Khadr, a Canadian man accused of killing an American soldier in Afghanistan in 2002 – suspended that trial. Lt Cmdr William Kuebler, a lawyer for Omar Khadr, said the practical effect of the ruling was “to pronounce this system dead”.

“There will certainly be no more military commissions in Guantanamo Bay,” he said.

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The Obama administration is circulating a draft executive order calling for the closure of the detention centre.

“The detention facilities at Guantanamo for individuals covered by this order shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than one year from the date of this order,” the draft read.

It calls for a review of all pending cases, and provides for some prisoners to be released and others to be transferred. It is not known when Mr Obama will issue the order. Mr Obama has repeatedly promised to close the camp, where some 250 inmates accused of having links to terrorism remain and 21 cases are pending.

In his inaugural address on Tuesday, he emphasized the idea of respect for justice and the rights of the individual, rejecting “as false the choice between our safety and our ideals”.

A two-page document issued late the same day and ordered jointly by Mr Obama and the US Department of Defense, sought a 120-day suspension of trials. The delay would “permit the newly inaugurated president and his administration time to review the military commission process”, the document said.

The legal process has been widely criticised because the US military acts as jailer, judge and jury, the BBC’s Jonathan Beale reports from Guantanamo. Closing Guantanamo Bay will not be easy. Questions remain over where those charged will be tried and where those freed can be safely sent.

Our correspondent reports that the written ruling to suspend the 9/11 cases brought anger and frustration among representatives from five families of victims of the attacks, with one accusing Mr Obama of political posturing.

But there was a sense of relief among defense lawyers, who had criticized the cases as “show trials”.

Michele Cercone, a spokesman for the EU Justice and Home Affairs Commission, said the Commission was “very pleased that one of the first actions of Mr Obama has been to turn the page on this sad episode of Guantanamo”.

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GITMO Part One: Detainee Treatment Remains Key as Officials Weigh Guantanamo’s Future

Posted by Larry Barnes on January 14, 2009

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2009

With both Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and President-elect Barack Obama advocating closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba, the Defense Department is focused on a way forward that protects the American people while also ensuring proper detainee treatment, a senior defense official said today. A decision by the convening authority for military commissions that a detainee suspected of being the 20th 9/11 hijacker was submitted to inappropriate interrogation methods does not mean the case against him won’t ultimately go forward, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

Judge Susan. J. Crawford told the Washington Post in an interview published today that she did not refer the case against Mohammed al-Qhatani to a military commission because she believed his treatment met the legal definition of torture. Crawford told the Washington Post she did not refer the case against Qhatani because he had been subjected to so-called “special interrogation techniques” that were authorized for a brief period in 2002. Instead, she dismissed the case without prejudice, meaning that the prosecution can return to the convening authority at a later time with more evidence to re-swear the charges.” Some of the aggressive questioning techniques used on al-Qhatani, although permissible at the time, are no longer allowed in the updated Army field manual,” Whitman told reporters today. The Army published Field Manual 2-22.3, “Human Intelligence Collector Operations,” in 2006 to replace the previous manual with clearly worded doctrinal guidance on conducting military interrogations within U.S. and international law. Whitman said the Defense Department has taken great efforts to ensure it conducts interrogations and detainee operations in a legal manner.” We have conducted more than a dozen investigations and reviews of our detention operations, including specifically the interrogation of al-Qhatani, the alleged 20th hijacker,” he said. “The investigations concluded the interrogation methods used at [Guantanamo Bay], including the special interrogation techniques used with Qhatani in 2002, were legal.”

Despite those findings, department officials adopted new and more restrictive policies, Whitman said, as well as improved oversight procedures for interrogation and detainee operations. Whitman emphasized that the department does not tolerate detainee abuse.” We have always taken allegations of abuse seriously,” he said. “We investigate all credible allegations of abuse,” including more than a dozen internal investigations and major reviews of interrogation procedures and detainee operations.

Crawford’s decision on the Qhatani case made news as two other detainees were being arraigned at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the alleged mastermind behind the USS Cole bombing and other terrorist attacks, and Noor Uthman Muhammad, an alleged Taliban and al-Qaida leader, were scheduled to be arraigned today. The Defense Department works to ensure full and fair proceedings that give both the prosecution and defense the opportunity to present evidence, Whitman said.

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The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of six detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Four detainees were transferred to Iraq, one to Algeria and one to Afghanistan. These detainees were determined to be eligible for departure following a comprehensive series of review processes.

The transfer is a demonstration of the United States’ desire not to hold detainees any longer than necessary. It also underscores the processes put in place to assess each individual and make a determination about their detention while hostilities are ongoing – an unprecedented step in the history of warfare.

The Department of Defense has determined – through its comprehensive review processes – that approximately 60 detainees at Guantanamo are eligible for transfer or release. Departure of these detainees is subject to ongoing discussions between the United States and other nations.

Since 2002, more than 525 detainees have departed Guantanamo for other countries including Albania, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, France, Great Britain, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom and Yemen.

There are approximately 245 detainees currently at Guantanamo.

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