Don't Just Close It, Close It Right!

OK, I just ate lunch (yes at 4:39 PM) and I need a few minutes to digest before I dive into emails, so I thought I’d post this, off the top of my head. Please excuse any burrito-coma induced spelling and/or grammatical and/or policy mistakes.

Anyway, there’s been a lot of talk in the last week about when and how President-elect Obama will close GTMO, and while it’s good that he’s said he will close it, it needs to be done the right way.

In part, that means no:

“National Security Courts.” As a New Yorker who saw the towers fall, I want the people responsible held to account–and that means a FAIR trial.  US federal courts can do the trick, and they’ve done it before: e.g., the first WTC bombing and the Oklahoma City bombing. We didn’t need the unfair military commissions set up by the Military Commissions Act and we don’t need a replacement system that’s also unfair.  Agree? Let President-elect Obama know through the change.gov website.

Transfer of detainees to countries where they will be at risk of human rights abuse. The US government is obligated to ensure that people released from U.S. custody are relocated to countries where their human rights will be respected. If the US can’t find a safe place for them, then they should be brought to the US. (Case in point: the Uighurs.) Agree? change.gov website.

Indefinite detention. There’s been talk about people who can’t be tried but who are too dangerous to release. This is absurd. People must either be charged with a crime and given a fair trial, or be released. End of story. That’s the way it works. Either there’s evidence against you or there isn’t. change.gov website.

Lollygagging. I’ve seen quite a few articles, NY Times and The New Yorker included talk about how difficult it will be to close GTMO. I don’t see it. Either charge people and given them a fair trial in a US federal court, or release them to a country where they won’t be at risk of human rights abuse. Problem solved. change.gov

…And no forgetting about Bagram and all the other U.S. facilities–from Afghanistan to Iraq to secret places we don’t know about–where people are held outside of the law. Yup, change.gov

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