Tag Archives: prisoners

GOP Tries To Halt Gitmo Prisoner Transfer

There is no question that Republican members of Congress stand in the fore in the fight to protect America against violence in jails. Currently, as any American knows, our jails are institutions of peace in which any prisoner would feel safe and secure in his spacious cell. Congressional Republicans failed to pass legislation that would allow transfer of FOREIGN TERRORISTS to the quiet and peaceful jails of America. Just imagine, allowing al-Qaeda terrorists into jails that presently house innocent men like members of the Aryan Brotherhood or drug gangs. Frankly, if Republicans won and Guantanamo prisoners were not allowed to be transfered the only winners would be Guantanamo prisoners. Just imagine sending Muslims into jails filled with angry Catholic Mexican prisoners or the infamous Aryan Brotherhood. Who do you think would be at risk — the Muslim terrorists or the other prisoners?

This is among the silliest arguments in America. A Muslim “terrorist” in an American jail is at risk, not the American prisoners.

Can Defendants Be Forced To Testify?

The madness of Guantanamo prisoners continues with the latest episode in which some defendants argued they had a right to have someone speak for them and when denied, they refused to attend the session. The Prosecutor asked the judge to allow Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to have five minutes to speak, but the request was denied. The question whether a defendant can be forced to attend his trial is now up in the air. At times, judges have allowed guards to use force to bring defendants to a trial, in other situations, they have been allowed to boycott the session.

The current system is a legal and moral mess. Step one in bringing about change is to allow defendants to participate in a regular court session. The United States of America has more people in jail than any nation in the world. Surely, we can allow a few more trials without causing a collapse of the judiciary system.

I assume a defendant has a right to keep silent.

Obama On Defensive About Guantanamo

President Obama offered a strong defense of his plans to close Guantanamo prison and initiate military tribunals which faced the problem that many cases could not proceed due to contaminated evidence. He made clear his opposition to the Bush torture and coercion approach to gathering information which Obama believes is too costly in terms of public opinion in the Arab world. “In short, they(torture approaches) did not advance our war and counter terrorism efforts.” The president is being attacked by Cheney and right wing groups which insist that torture has proved effective.

The problem is what to do with prisoners in Guantanamo since Republicans and the right wing media are spreading fear that allow those prisoners in a tight security prison and somehow they will break loose and terrorize communities, rape women, and do God knows what else. As Obama noted; “nobody has ever escaped from one of our federal super-max prisons.” I doubt if that information will temper criticism from right wingers.

European Union Might Accept Guantanamo Prisoners

Right wing Republican conservatives have been filling television with their weird comments about releasing prisoners from Guantanamo into the “streets of America” as though the Obama administration was simply going to dump them in the nearest city and walk away. the European Union is examining the possibility it could take some of the released prisoners and find jails which would house them until there could be trials. Benita Ferrero-Walder, EU Commissioner for External Relations, said the EU would urge member states to accept the men. In the Czech Republic, a spokesperson for Amnesty International in that country, said, “”we believes that Europe should take some of these detainees.”

There are nations prepared to become involved in finding solutions as to the guilt or innocence of the detainees. The assumption of right wing Republicans is that all detainees are guilty because the Bush administration put them in a jail. At least 24 already have been released because after eight years, the Bush people could not find sufficient evidence to link the men to any crime.

Palestinians Hail Child Murderer!

The writer of this blog supports the right of Palestinians for a homeland as well as for a future in which people of Palestine and Israel live in peace. One of the tragedies of Palestinians in their struggle for independence is transforming thugs and murderers into national heroes. Israel and Hezbollah completed the the prisoner swap which witnessed the return of the bodies of two members of Israel Defense Force soldiers while Israel handed over the two bit thug and murderer Samir Kuntar. Mr. Kuntar killed an innocent Israeli civilian and then bashed in the head of a baby–an action hailed by many Palestinians as heroic! This “brave”man never uttered a word of reflective concern about his behavior other than to promise “my people and dear ones in Palestine that I and my dear comrades in the valiant Islamic resistance are returning.”

Now that the exchange has taken place, Israel is waiting for further Hezbollah action along its border with Lebanon. A Kuwait newspaper last week reported Hezbollah has new sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles hidden in the mountains in central Lebanon which might be used against Israel planes.

The war continues between Hezbollah and Israel. How many more innocent Arab and Israeli children must die in this struggle over power?

German Agent Brokers Mideast Peace

A member of the German intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst(BND) has been responsible for brokering an exchange deal between Israel and Hezbollah on behalf of the United Nations. He has now enabled development of an official proposal which is on the table and the Israeli government will shortly decide whether or not to accept it. Gerhard C, who goes by the nickname, ‘Mr. Hezbollah,” has been shuttling back and forth in an effort to secure the release of two Israeli soldiers, either held prisoner or more likely are dead, who will be exchanged for four Hezbollah miitiamen. A sticking point is that one of the four Hezbollah prisoneers is Samir Kuntar who murdered an Israeli family including smashing in the head of a young girl.

A major issue standing in the way of an exchange is the demand of Hezbollah for the additional release of a few dozen Palestinians held prisoner. Israel fears releasing them will weaken its hand in negotiations with Hamas which has made similar demands for release of hundreds of prisoners in exchange for a captured Israeli soldier. Gerhard C. is prposing that after the return of the Israeli soldiers, a period of time would elapse before Israel releases other prisoners to avoid allowing Hezbollah to claim it obtained their freedom.

Hamas Claim Israel Rejects Cease Fire

A senior member of Hamas insists his group has offered a cease fire agreement but it is being rejected by Israel. Moussa Abu Marzouk said his organization had made such offers through an Egyptian mediation group but had not received a response from the Israel government. Abu Marzuk made clear Hamas would not release the captured Israel soldiers, Gilad Shalit until Israel is willing to release Palestinian prisoners in their hands. Last wek, Hamas plitical leader Khaled Mehsai insisted: “Gilad is still alive nd we treat him in a good way while the Israelis treat ur prisoners badly and everyone knows that.”

There is always a bottom line reality factor in any standoff between opposing forces. At some point, both sides have to be willing to compromise. Israel does not wish to negotiate with Hamas and it does not wish to surrender some Palestinian prisoners. They may well take the high moral ground but it will not lead to peace or the release of Mr. Shalit.