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Category Archives: Guantanamo: Transfers and Resettlement

A Reply to Steve Vladeck and Raha Wala

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Monday, January 26, 2015 at 6:13 PM

Both Steve Vladeck and Raha Wala have penned responses to my post of last week complaining of the quality of the “Close Guantanamo” debate. I will react very briefly to each. I am, I confess, not sure how to respond to Steve’s post, since it seems to be responding to something I did not write. Says Steve, The fundamental problem with Ben’s . . .
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What the Detention Policy Debate Really Is About

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Monday, January 26, 2015 at 2:16 PM

Ben bemoans the state our nation’s current debate over Guantanamo as “terrible,” observing that “the arguments about Guantanamo are nearly all wrong, disingenuous, irrelevant, or just plain dumb.”  It’s true that Guantanamo—like most political issues—sometimes takes on a special kind of inside-the-beltway rhetorical flavor that can really annoy the wonks, who would much rather focus . . .
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A Return of the Executive Branch Ban on GTMO Transfers to Yemen?

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Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 9:51 AM

From this ABC/Associated Press piece: In another challenge to President Barack Obama’s efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay prison, a ban on transferring detainees to Yemen has been effectively pushed back into place because of security concerns in the volatile Middle Eastern nation, administration officials say. While Obama approved sending detainees back to Yemen nearly two . . .
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Five More Transfers From GTMO

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Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 9:09 AM

The five detainees are Yemeni; four went to Oman, and one to Estonia, apparently. Here’s Helene Cooper, of the New York Times:  WASHINGTON — The United States transferred five more detainees — all of them Yemenis — from the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on Wednesday, the Defense Department announced. Their release intensified the dispute . . .
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Text of Senator Ayotte’s GTMO Transfers Bill

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 2:20 PM

As promised, here it is. The rather unfortunate-seeming proposal provides, in full: 114TH CONGRESS 1ST SESSION S.__ To extend and enhance prohibitions and limitations with respect to the transfer or release of individuals detained at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and for other purposes. IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES Ms. AYOTTE (for herself, Mr. GRAHAM, . . .
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A New Bid to Restrict GTMO Transfers

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at 12:58 PM

The  proposal, put forth today by Senator Kelly Ayotte and others, comes as no real surprise. The Hill reports: Republican senators unveiled a new bill Tuesday to stop President Obama from releasing more detainees from Guantanamo Bay. “Now is not the time to be emptying Guantanamo,” said Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who introduced the bill. The president is . . .
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On War and Crime

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Saturday, January 10, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Yesterday at Lawfare, Bryan Cunningham sought to breathe new life into the “military versus law enforcement” debate over terrorism, along the way deeming the horrific assaults in Paris to be “consequences” of France’s police-centric strategy. He thus finds fault with the current counterterrorism regime generally, and invites others to join in a broader discussion about . . .
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Cliff Sloan on Closing Guantanamo

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015 at 12:12 PM

Worth flagging: yesterday’s New York Times opinion piece, which was published in the wake of Sloan’s departure from the State Department last month.  The op-ed begins: WASHINGTON — WHEN I began as the State Department’s envoy for closing the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, many people advised me that progress was impossible. They were wrong. In the . . .
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Five More GTMO Transfers

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014 at 9:57 AM

The Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg has the scoop; apparently the five men are headed for Kazakhstan. The Pentagon freed five Guantánamo prisoners to resettlement in Kazakhstan on Tuesday, a day after they left on a U.S. Air Force cargo plane that had to circle back to the base in Cuba with a mechanical problem. The transfers of . . .
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Cliff Sloan Stepping Down as State Department GTMO Envoy

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Monday, December 22, 2014 at 9:58 PM

The New York Times reports: WASHINGTON — The State Department envoy who negotiates detainee transfers from the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, is resigning, dealing another blow to President Obama’s efforts to close a facility that top administration officials say is a blight on the country’s international standing. The resignation of Cliff Sloan, a close confidant . . .
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Findings, Conclusions and Areas of Dispute Between the SSCI Report, the Minority and the CIA: Part 2

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 9:46 PM

Below, you will find the second installment in our ongoing effort to identify, in summary form, key areas of dispute as between the SSCI, the SSCI minority, and the CIA with regard the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. As you surely know by now, all three today released long-anticipated reports regarding the CIA’s post-9/11 detention and . . .
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There Is a Recent Silver Lining for Gitmo Policy – But It’s Not What People Have Been Talking About

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Monday, December 8, 2014 at 7:06 AM

The new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is likely to extend the ban on any transfers of Guantanamo detainees into the United States but ease restrictions on transfers to other countries. Some commentators are hailing this as a decent compromise, containing some silver lining for the White House’s proclaimed policy of closing Guantanamo (see here . . .
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Six More Guantanamo Transfers—to Uruguay

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Sunday, December 7, 2014 at 9:09 AM

Here’s the news from the New York Times this morning: WASHINGTON– The United States transferred six detainees from the Guantánamo Bay prison to Uruguay this weekend, the Defense Department announced early Sunday. It was the largest single group of inmates to depart the wartime prison in Cuba since 2009, and the first detainees to be resettled in South America. The . . .
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5 Guantanamo Detainees Transferred to Europe Today

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Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 2:33 PM

At the Miami Herald, Carol Rosenberg reports that the Pentagon today transferred 5 inmates at Guantanamo Bay to two countries in Europe. According to Rosenberg, three of the detainees were sent to Georgia. Of that trio, Abdul Khaled al Baidani and Abdel Ghalib Hakim are Yemeni nationals, while Salah Mohammed al Thabbi is Tunisian. Two other detainees . . .
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Detainee Transferred from Afghanistan to US for Trial: A Model for GTMO Closure?

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 6:28 PM

A very interesting development today with respect to the ongoing effort to complete the shut-down of US-administered military detention in Afghanistan: As you may recall, we have long since ceased holding any Afghans in military detention in Afghanistan, but we have maintained a rump population of non-Afghan detainees in our control. It has been clear . . .
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PRB Recommends Repatriation for One Saudi Detainee, Continued Detention for Another

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014 at 2:56 PM

Yesterday the Periodic Review Board recommended the repatriation of Muhammad Murdi Issa al-Zahrani, a Saudi detainee who has been held in Guantanamo for 12 years after being captured in Afghanistan in 2002. The Board’s short statement concluded that given the “uncorroborated nature” of Zahrani’s association with Al Qaeda, his lack of ties to at-large extremists, and . . .
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Signing Statements, the Commander in Chief Power, and Guantanamo Closure

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Friday, October 10, 2014 at 4:00 PM

According to the Wall Street Journal,  the President’s people are “drafting options” to bring about Guantanamo’s closure, an objective that would require the White House to get around a statutory restriction on transferring GTMO detainees to the United States.  Or not: Vice’s Jason Leopold reports that NSC Spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden today said the Administration does not know what “‘new press . . .
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More Partisanship Over Guantanamo Closure

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Friday, October 10, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Congressional Republicans are reportedly rushing to condemn the White House’s alleged consideration of ways to close Guantanamo and move detainees to the United States despite legislative prohibitions.   Senator Pat Roberts has vowed to “shut down the Senate” if the President tries to bring Guantanamo detainees to the United States (Fort Leavenworth is in his home state . . .
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Unilateral Executive Action to Close Guantanamo? Bah!

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Friday, October 10, 2014 at 10:32 AM

The estimable Carol E. Lee and Jess Bravin, over at the Wall Street Journal, are reporting this morning that: The White House is drafting options that would allow President Barack Obama to close the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by overriding a congressional ban on bringing detainees to the U.S., senior administration officials said. Such a . . .
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Administration Response to GAO Report on Bergdahl

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Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Here’s the government’s response to the GAO report, to which Wells linked yesterday, concluding that the Bergdahl trade violated the law. A statement from Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby reads: As Secretary Hagel has testified before Congress, the recovery of SGT Bergdahl was conducted lawfully. This decision was made after consultation with the Department . . .
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