Archive for the ‘Guantanamo Bay’ Category

Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

March 9, 2009

Like it or not, the era of President Barack Obama and American weakness, real or perceived, has already emboldened many nations with long-term anti-American strategic goals: namely, Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

Many in the world have already concluded that Brack Obama is soft, for his overtures so far toward the Taliban, Russia, Iran and others.

Related:
Various Views On Obama Foreign Policy: “Just Like Bush” Or Radical Change?

President Obama’s move to close the terrorist prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (Gitmo) was cause for applause in human rights circles and also with terrorists.

On Afghanistan, Peter Begen of the New America Foundation said “It is a longstanding cliché that there is no military solution in Afghanistan, only a political one.”  On President Obama’s idea to hold talks with the Taliban he said, “Doing deals with the Taliban today could further destabilize Afghanistan. ”

And economically, there is no dobt that the U.S. is weakened.

Just today, North Korea threatened war with the United States — a war that would certainly involve Japan and South Korea.  North Korea could not be making such threats and could not even think about testing a long range strategic missile just now unless China consented to this brazen move or at least looked the other way.  China supplies North Korea with almost all of its food, oil, luxury goods and currency.  Without China, North Korea would be impotent and meaningless.

Yet China is acceding to North Korea’s bluster and browbeating of the United States just as China itself is harassing a U.S. Naval vessel in international waters — a violation of international law.

This US Navy file photo shows the military Sealift Command ocean ... 
This US Navy file photo shows the military Sealift Command ocean surveillance ship USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS-23). Five Chinese vessels maneuvered dangerously close to a US Navy ship in the South China Sea on Sunday, March 8, 2009, approaching within 25 feet of the unarmed surveillance ship, the Pentagon said.(AFP/NVNS)

China doesn’t care much for international law and international waters: just ask Japan and Vietnam.  Both those nations have long struggles with China encroaching upon the coasts of Japan and Vietnam as the Chinese super power searches for more oil beneath the sea floor.

China has become the most voracious user of oil and other mineral resources on the planet as it strives to keep its factories busy producing goods for sale overseas.  China is in Afghanistan, protected from the Taliban by U.S. troops, while Chinese companies exploit Afghan copper.  And China just signed a $50 billion (U.S. dollars, cast) agreement to get oil from Russia for ten years.

Last year China was no help when the U.S. wanted access to Myanmar to deliver humanitarian relief supplies to those stricken by the cyclone.  After the crisis passed, China signed a big oil deal with Myanmar.

China wants the U.S. out of its sphere of influence from North Asia to Somalia, and is planning an ocean-going navy to eventualy make that goal a military reality.

China recently opened the largest sea port in the world, in Gwadar, Pakistan — directly astride the sea lanes used to bring out out of the Persian Gulf to Japan, the U.S. and others.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to go into debt — to China.

China allows North Korea to antagonize the United States because that is in China’s long term strategic interest — and a weakening U.S. plays into China’s strategy perfectly.

Russia also wants the U.S. out of its area of influencce.  Russia recently paid off Kyrgyzstan, which was helping the American effort in Afghanistan with an air base. Just after Russia gave  Kyrgyzstan its big aid deal, that nation announced the closure of the Manas air base supporting the U.S.

File:ManasAirbase KC135.jpg
A KC-135 Stratotanker sits on the flightline at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006. Ground crews will have to de-ice the tanker before it can take off on a refueling mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Paul Clifford)

Generous Russian loans to Kyrgyzstan totaling US$2 billion and a non-repayable US$150 million grant, were announced the day before Kyrgyzstan said Manas would be closed and the U.S. Air Force evicted.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation had been insisting on the closure of Manas to the U.S. Air Force since 2005.

What the heck is the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation?

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an intergovernmental mutual-security organisation which was founded in 2001 by the leaders of China , Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

But the key players of the SCO are Russia and China who don’t want the U.S. or anyone else in the West anywhere near that region of the world, rich in oil and other minerals, that includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

China and Russia conducted their largest joint military exercise ever last year.

And finally Iran wants the U.S. out of the Persian Gulf, away from Arab oil, and at arms length from Isreal.

Joshua Gross wrote for the Christian Sciences Monitor today,  “Iran recently launched its first satellite into orbit in what The New York Times called, ‘a shot across the bow of American diplomacy,’ and US President Barack Obama passed along a secret letter to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in an attempt to enlist the Russians in an international effort to contain Iran’s nuclear program.”

The global economic crisis, which has eliminated something like $50 trillion in world wealth, has hit the United States and NATO very hard, which fuels the beliefe that Mr. Obama and the U.S. are weaker than ever just now.

That’s why Iran and North Korea are talking missiles and nukes, China has chosen just now to harass a U.S. ship, and Russia is gloating like a cat bird that Obama is already pleading for help with Iran from Putin and Medvedev….

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
March 9, 2009

Iranian clerics watch the launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile ... 
Iranian clerics watch the launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile outside Qom in 2006. A top Iranian military commander said that the country has missiles that can reach the nuclear sites of its arch-foe Israel.(AFP/File/null)

Related:
Stimulus: China Will Fund U.S. Debt But “We Hate You Guys”

Russia, “Desperate For Cash,” Sells Oil to China In “Very Bad Deal”

India, China jostle for influence in Indian Ocean

 China Extends Navy’s Anti-Piracy Mission Near Somalia

 China Says Its Navy Expansion “No threat to others”

 Pentagon: Chinese Ships Harassed Unarmed U.S. Navy Craft in International Waters

 North Korea Warns: Shoot Down Our Satellite Will “Prompt Counterstrikes by the Most Powerful Military Means”

Obama’s First Major Foreign Crisis Brewing?

China’s thirst for copper could hold key to Afghanistan’s future

Obama says US is losing war in Afghanistan and hints at Taleban talks

Despite Global Economy Downturn, China Still Lending

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/09/analys
ts-to-obama-there-are-no-taliban-moderates-yo
u-nitwit/

What’s China’s Long Term Global Strategy?

http://jonathanturley.org/2009/03/09/ira
nian-justice-eight-women-face-stoning-dea
ths-for-adultery/

http://spectator.org/archives/2009/03
/09/slickness-with-a-straight-face

CNN on Peter Bergen and Afghanistan:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/PO
LITICS/03/09/bergen.taliban/index.html

Joshua Gross on Iran:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20
090309/cm_csm/ygross

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Gitmo Judge Refuses President Obama’s “Request” To Stop Trial

January 29, 2009

A military judge at Guantanamo Bay Thursday rejected President Barack Obama‘s request to suspend the trial of a Saudi accused in the 2000 attack on the USS Cole, the Pentagon said.

AFP

Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen.

Seventeen U.S. sailors were killed in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Aden, Yemen

“Judge James Pohl denied the motion” put forward by the prosecution at Obama’s request to suspend the trial for 120 days, said Defense Department spokesman J.D. Gordon, confirming a report by The Washington Post.

The Post added the Pohl had found the government’s argument “unpersuasive.”

The paper said the decision threw into disarray the administration’s plan to buy time to review the cases against some 245 prisoners still held in the Guantanamo Bay camp in southern Cuba.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090129/p
l_afp/usguantanamojustice

CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/01/2
9/cole.charges/index.html?iref=newssearch

Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/c
ontent/article/2009/01/29/AR2009012
902021.html?hpid=topnews

The government, Pohl wrote, sought a delay because if cases went ahead, the administration’s review could “render moot any proceedings conducted during the review”; “necessitate re-litigation of issues”; or “produce legal consequences affecting options available to the Administration after completion of the review.”

“The Commission is unaware of how conducting an arraignment would preclude any option by the administration,” said Pohl in a written opinion, which was obtained by The Post. “Congress passed the military commissions act, which remains in effect. The Commission is bound by the law as it currently exists, not as it may change in the future.”

The judge wrote that “the public interest in a speedy trial will be harmed by the delay in the arraignment.”

http://alphainventions.com/

Gitmo, Human Rights, Legalities and Terrorist: Will This Be the Bipartisan Test for Obama?

January 25, 2009

Senator John McCain is a former prisoner of war (POW).  A tortured prisoner of war.

Senator Lindsey Graham is a lawyer.  A military lawyer.

Both these allies could be just the help President Barack Obama needs as he tries to navigate the difficult waters of the prisoner, legal, human rights and torture issues surrounding the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The president has asked that the issue be handled with bipartisan resolve and principled care.

“We look forward to working with the president and his administration on these issues, keeping in mind that the first priority of the U.S. government is to guarantee the security of the American people,” McCain  said in a joint statement with Graham.

“This is a tough battleground to determine if we can work in a bipartisan manner,” said one old U.S. Senate hand.  “But the economic stimulus bill will be tough too.”

In this Jan. 11, 2002 file photo, released by the Department ... 
In this Jan. 11, 2002 file photo, released by the Department of Defense, detainees wearing orange jump suits sit in a holding area as military police patrol during in-processing at the temporary detention facility Camp X-Ray on Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba. (AP Photo/U.S. Navy, Shane T.McCoy, File)

*******

From Senator John Kerry:

Thursday was an important day for the rule of law in the United States of America.

With a handful of signatures to executive orders, President Obama ordered the eventual closure of Guantanamo Bay prison and CIA “black site” prisons, and placed interrogation in all American facilities by all U.S. personnel under the guidelines of the Army Field Manual.

In a season of transformational changes, these are among the most meaningful, because they send a powerful message that America’s struggle against terrorism will once against honor some of the most cherished ideals of our republic: respect for the rule of law, individual rights, and America’s moral leadership.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/01/25/k
erry.guantanamo/index.html?iref=newssearch

John Kerry says Barack Obama sent a message that fight against terror will respect America's values.

John Kerry says Barack Obama sent a message that fight against terror will respect America’s values.

********************

By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer

President Barack Obama‘s pledge of bipartisan cooperation with Congress will be tested as he tries to fulfill a campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay and establish a new system for prosecuting suspected terrorists.

The undertaking is an ambitious one. Fraught with legal complexities, it gives Republicans ample opportunity to score political points if he doesn’t get it right. There’s also the liklihood of a run-in with his former rival, Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war who before running for president staked his career on overhauling the nation’s detainee policies.

“We look forward to working with the president and his administration on these issues, keeping in mind that the first priority of the U.S. government is to guarantee the security of the American people,” McCain, R-Ariz., said in a joint statement with Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

The statement seemed aimed at putting Obama on notice that he must deal with Congress on the matter.

In his first week in office, Obama ordered Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba to be closed within a year, CIA secret prisons shuttered and abusive interrogations ended.

So far, Obama’s team has given every indication it will engage lawmakers, including Republicans, on the issue. Graham and McCain were among several Republicans briefed last week by White House counsel Greg Craig and handed drafts of the executive orders.

But once the two sides begin delving into details, there will be ample room for dispute.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090125/a
p_on_go_pr_wh/guantanamo_politics

McCain on working with Democrats:
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/politi
cs/2009/01/22/sot.lkl.mccain.inauguration.cnn

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/0
1/25/mccain-i-wont-be-a-rubber-stamp-for-obama/

Advisers say Obama preparing to close Gitmo

January 12, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama is preparing to issue an executive order his first week in office — and perhaps his first day — to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, according to two presidential transition team advisers.

It’s unlikely the detention facility at the Navy base in Cuba will be closed anytime soon. In an interview last weekend, Obama said it would be “a challenge” to close it even within the first 100 days of his administration.

But the order, which one adviser said could be issued as early as Jan. 20, would start the process of deciding what to do with the estimated 250 al-Qaida and Taliban suspects and potential witnesses who are being held there. Most have not been charged with a crime.

By LARA JAKES, Associated Press Writer

Related:
 Talks on Iran, a delay on Guantánamo, Economy: Barack Obama’s agenda for his first 100 days

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090112/a
p_on_go_pr_wh/obama_guantanamo

Talks on Iran, a delay on Guantánamo, Economy: Barack Obama’s agenda for his first 100 days

January 12, 2009

Barack Obama signalled a new era in relations with Iran yesterday but conceded that he would not be able to close Guantánamo Bay prison camp early in his presidency.

In his most wide-ranging television interview since his election, Mr Obama made clear the scale of the challenges confronting him at home and abroad. He vowed to act immediately on the US economy and the Middle East crisis, promised to engage with Iran, confront terrorism and work out a plan to close Guantánamo. Those issues are only part of a hugely ambitious agenda that some analysts believe will prove unrealistic.

Mr Obama, who will be sworn in as President next Tuesday, repeated his pledge to close Guantánamo Bay, which still holds 248 detainees, but acknowledged that it would not happen in his first 100 days in office. “It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realise,” he said. “Part of the challenge is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom may be very dangerous, who have not been put on trial,” Mr Obama told ABC’s This Week. “And some of the evidence against them may be tainted even though it’s true” – a reference to claims that some inmates were subjected to torture and harsh interrogations.

Robert Gates, President Bush’s Defence Secretary, who has been asked by Mr Obama to stay in his post, ordered closure plans to be drawn up last month. Options being looked at combine a special trial system on US soil for the most dangerous inmates, while transferring other detainees overseas.

Read the rest:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/wo
rld/us_and_americas/article5497266.ece

In this photograph provided by ABC News, President-elect Barack ... 
In this photograph provided by ABC News, President-elect Barack Obama is interviewed by George Stephanopoulos during the taping of ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos’ Saturday, Jan. 10, 2009 at the Newseum in Washington.(AP Photo/This Week, Lauren Victoria Burke)

Obama to wait on Gitmo closure

January 12, 2009

“It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize,” the President-elect explained.

President-elect Barack Obama said Sunday that some of his campaign promises will have to wait – domestic-policy changes may be on hold because of the dire economic situation, and legal and national security concerns have postponed his promised closure of Guantanamo Bay.  

In an interview with ABC’s “This Week” that aired Sunday, Mr. Obama said he has come to realize that his pledge to close the federal detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within his first 100 days in office won’t happen that soon.

By Christina Bellantoni   
The Washington Times

When he was campaigning for the presidency, Mr. Obama regularly said the prison “sends a negative message to the world” and taints even trade-deal negotiations.

“To the extent that we are not being true to our values and our ideals, that sends a negative message to the world, and it gives us less leverage then when we want to deal with countries that are abusing human rights,” he said during a primary-season debate in Iowa in December 2007.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/200
9/jan/12/obama-to-wait-on-gitmo-closure/

From This Week on ABC:
http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/Econom
y/story?id=6619291&page=1

Bipartisan Report: Bush, Rumsfeld Responsible for Detainee Abuse

December 11, 2008

A bipartisan Senate report released today says that former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and other top Bush administration officials are directly responsible for abuses of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and charges that decisions by those officials led to serious offenses against prisoners in Iraq and elsewhere. 

By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 11, 2008; 12:39 PM

The Senate Armed Services Committee report accuses Rumsfeld and his deputies of being the principal architects of the plan to use harsh interrogation techniques on captured fighters and terrorism suspects, rejecting the Bush administration’s contention that the policies originated lower down the command chain.

Carl Levin
Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)
spearheaded the report….

“The abuse of detainees in U.S. custody cannot simply be attributed to the actions of ‘a few bad apples’ acting on their own,” the panel concludes. “The fact is that senior officials in the United States government solicited information on how to use aggressive techniques, redefined the law to create the appearance of their legality, and authorized their use against detainees.”

Donald Rumsfeld
Above: Mr. Rumsfeld.  Senators McCain and Levin
were never leaders in his fan club….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20
08/12/11/AR2008121101969.html?hpid=topnews