Obama administration to release six more Gitmo detainees

posted at 9:21 am on July 17, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The Pentagon has notified Congress of its intention to release six detainees from Gitmo, the first since the deal that retrieved Bowe Bergdahl from the Taliban and/or the Haqqani network in Afghanistan.  This release of detainees from Guantanamo Bay won’t generate as much controversy, as it involves “low level” figures, which now comprise about half of Gitmo’s detainee population. This still may be a deal for the White House, which stands to gain at least a little time, and not just the thirty days’ notice that the Pentagon is required to provide:

The Pentagon recently notified members of Congress that it intends to transfer six low-level detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Uruguay soon, including a Syrian man who is legally challenging the manner in which the military force-feeds some prisoners, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

The men — four Syrians, a Palestinian and a Tunisian — are among the more than 70 detainees who have long been cleared for release from the U.S. detention facility because they are not deemed an ongoing threat. The move would mark a significant step in the Obama administration’s long-stymied quest to shut down Guantanamo Bay, where 149 inmates remain.

A congressional aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity said key lawmakers were notified about the imminent transfer last Thursday. None has publicly criticized the proposal. By law, the Pentagon must notify members of Congress of its intention to release Guantanamo Bay inmates at least 30 days in advance.

Uruguay’s outgoing administration has publicly welcomed the six detainees. President José Mujica has said he feels a kinship with the men, having spent years in prison himself during an era of unrest in his country. He also urged Barack Obama and Congress to expedite the transfer rather than have them become “scapegoats in the current bout of U.S. partisan politics.”

There is another good reason for both the White House and Congress to expedite the transfer:

The six detainees bound for Uruguay include a Syrian man who has brought a high-profile court challenge to the Pentagon’s procedures for forcibly feeding detainees who are on a hunger strike. His transfer would most likely render that lawsuit moot, although there are several similar challenges. …

If the transfer takes place in early August, a consequence could be the dismissal, without a ruling on the merits, of a lawsuit brought by one of the men, Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab, challenging the military’s procedures for force-feeding detainees who have been on a long-term hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention without trial.

Mr. Diyab was arrested by the Pakistani police in a raid on a guesthouse in April 2002 and brought to Guantánamo in August 2002. On May 16, Judge Gladys Kessler of United States District Court for the District of Columbia barred the military from force-feeding Mr. Diyab, but she lifted the order a week later as his health deteriorated — even as she publicly rebuked the military for using procedures that she said caused unnecessary “agony.” His legal team has made a motion to depose military officials and gather documents about the details of the force-feeding practices.

It may be that the administration would prefer not to fight that battle with Diyab, whose low-level status might have raised questions about why he was still at Gitmo in the first place. Getting Diyab to Uruguay could shift the focus of those challenges on force feeding to a detainee of more significance, whose continued detention would be less questionable. The list of challenges reported by the New York Times includes a Yemeni on the transfer list and a Pakistani recommended for prosecution. The problem with transferring the Yemeni ahead of the challenge is that Yemen is too unstable to send back potential jihadists, so the Diyab release may only buy the US a little more time to deal with the force-feeding issue in court, if that’s the motivation.


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Space for the illegals to stay

gophergirl on July 17, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Are we having to give them 6 more to take Bergdahl BACK?

ConstantineXI on July 17, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Open the floodgates!

vnvet on July 17, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Force them all with lead, at 3,200 fps.

vnvet on July 17, 2014 at 9:29 AM

Rick Perry or Joe Arpaio will be dealing with these clowns pretty soon, as they walk across the border along with all the other Ecuadoreans.

MTF on July 17, 2014 at 9:29 AM

We shouldn’t be force feeding these rats to begin with. Let them starve to death.

TXUS on July 17, 2014 at 9:31 AM

We should be transferring them to quite a different place. Our government is out of control.

dogsoldier on July 17, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Can someone explain why we need to force feed prisoners who choose to commit suicide by starvation? I never understood peoples reactions to hunger strikes.

Corsair on July 17, 2014 at 9:32 AM

The goal here people is to have blood thirsty Savages
staying in a 4 star hotel with swimming pools,
and continental breakfasts near you, sometime soon….

You know, like we do for folks who cross our Southern
Border, and are “in need”.

ToddPA on July 17, 2014 at 9:32 AM

It’s off-season in Punta del Este, so they’re May end up in swanky digs.

Christien on July 17, 2014 at 9:35 AM

s/b they may

Christien on July 17, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Simple solution: Enroll the savages in the V.A. health care system. They’ll die before their court date.

partsnlabor on July 17, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Can someone explain why we need to force feed prisoners who choose to commit suicide by starvation? I never understood peoples reactions to hunger strikes.

Corsair on July 17, 2014 at 9:32 AM

i’m not sure either. that’s so weird. if someone chooses to kill themselves… it’s not like it’s our fault.

Sachiko on July 17, 2014 at 9:46 AM

President José Mujica has said he feels a kinship with the men, having spent years in prison himself during an era of unrest in his country.

I’m a biker but I feel no kinship with the Mongols or Angels.

How many terrorist attacks have you committed, Jose?

Bishop on July 17, 2014 at 9:47 AM

Let’s sum up the Dem party:

- release terrorists
- admit illegals
- house 9 year old girls with illegal males in small rooms for long periods of time
- kill babies
- release killers from prison

And the GOP can’t seem to beat them.

faraway on July 17, 2014 at 9:52 AM

Well at least our southern boarder is secure. These six won’t be just walking back into this county.

Walter L. Newton on July 17, 2014 at 9:53 AM

BTW-

I guess that “closed door” briefing with the Senate on Obama’s invaders went nowhere. I’ve read or seen nothing that indicates it was more than just the usual lies from filthy Democrats who see the invaders as a voting bloc.

Happy Nomad on July 17, 2014 at 9:55 AM

How much is this going to cost us?

Kissmygrits on July 17, 2014 at 10:03 AM

How much is this going to cost us?

Kissmygrits on July 17, 2014 at 10:03 AM

Lots

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – Honduran officials on Wednesday called for U.S. aid to Central America to reduce violence that has fueled a surge of child migration to the United States, with the foreign minister calling for a “mini-Marshall plan” to attack the broader underlying problems.

Happy Nomad on July 17, 2014 at 10:06 AM

This release of detainees from Guantanamo Bay won’t generate as much controversy, as it involves “low level” figures, which now comprise about half of Gitmo’s detainee population.

What exactly defines “low level” figures? If they’re at Gitmo, and comprise half the population of detainees there, why are they there in the first place? It’s not like Gitmo is the size of Las Vegas or anything, and I’d like to assume anyone detained there was put there for a good reason.

I’d like to add: To those who, since Obama offered this “trade” for Bergdhal, predicted this thing of “clearing out” Gitmo, you were right…I was wrong.

JetBoy on July 17, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Free ammo now!

Jackson on July 17, 2014 at 10:18 AM

So basically the Obama administration’s stance is that only white males should be in jail, pay taxes and be tightly monitored and regulated.

All others are exempt.

Not our finest hour.

Skywise on July 17, 2014 at 10:19 AM

Ed:
 

This still may be a deal for the White House, which stands to gain at least a little time, and not just the thirty days’ notice that the Pentagon is required to provide:

 
Washington Post:
 

None has publicly criticized the proposal. By law, the Pentagon must notify members of Congress of its intention to release Guantanamo Bay inmates at least 30 days in advance.

 
But they’re not required by law to provide it. Not any longer, at least.
 

The statutes say… that the secretary notify Congress 30 days before any transfer of his determination… When Mr. Obama signed a bill containing the latest version of the transfer restrictions into law, he issued a signing statement claiming that he could lawfully override them under his executive powers.
 
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/us/bowe-bergdahl-american-soldier-is-freed-by-taliban.html?_r=0

“He knew very well that he was required by law to give us 30 days’ notice and he didn’t do it.”

Obama told reporters in Poland on Tuesday that the circumstances required an immediate decision within his authority as commander in chief.
 
http://www.c n n.com/2014/06/03/politics/bergdahl-swap-legality/

Since Bergdahl’s release, the administration has faced questions over its decision to free the five Guantanamo detainees and to not notify Congress 30 days in advance, as required by law. The administration has said it was forced to move quickly “due to a near-term opportunity to save Sgt. Bergdahl’s life.” It has also said it had flexibility given a signing statement from Obama last year in which he contended that the notification requirement was an unconstitutional infringement on his powers and that he therefore could override it.
 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama-defends-decision-to-trade-5-guantanamo-detainees-for-bergdahl/2014/06/03/759151a8-eb10-11e3-b98c-72cef4a00499_story.html

A 2013 defense bill makes it clear that the administration “shall notify the appropriate committees of Congress” not later “than 30 days before the transfer or release” of a detainee. The administration has acknowledged that they did not inform Congress of the decision within the time period, and the decision to move on the exchange may have been motivated by concerns about Bergdahl’s health.
 
http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/was-pow-swap-bowe-bergdahl-legal

 
From the same link:
 

Disregarding parts of laws passed by Congress was once a key part of Obama’s bill of grievances against George W. Bush.”
 
ADAM SERWER, MSNBC REPORTER

 
Obama doesn’t have to do jack now. He checked to see if Congress was neutered, they confirmed they were and wouldn’t do anything regarding his overreach, and now the American people just have to sit back and try to enjoy it.
 
It’s not the law anymore. Obama is.

rogerb on July 17, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Six future Democrats when they sneak back into the country as illegals. If they disguise themselves as children they get to stay at Glenn Beck’s place until the proper papers are processed. They also will also get to be blessed by a fatuous pope.

MaiDee on July 17, 2014 at 10:33 AM

rogerb on July 17, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Excellent post, sir. Thank you.

partsnlabor on July 17, 2014 at 10:34 AM

So are they going to help ferry some more illegal kids up here?

Cindy Munford on July 17, 2014 at 10:38 AM

His legal team has made a motion to depose military officials and gather documents about the details of the force-feeding practices

…so he had a lot of money for lawyers?

JugEarsButtHurt on July 17, 2014 at 10:38 AM

Six future Democrats when they sneak back into the country as illegals. If they disguise themselves as children they get to stay at Glenn Beck’s place until the proper papers are processed. They will also get to be blessed by a fatuous pope.

MaiDee on July 17, 2014 at 10:44 AM

These people will still be refusing to get it when that jetliner comes through the Oval Office window.

formwiz on July 17, 2014 at 11:04 AM

if these guys are so safe why not build a new housing unit right next to the white house?

warmairfan on July 17, 2014 at 11:09 AM

Stupidest president ever. I want to see his college transcripts!

sadatoni on July 17, 2014 at 11:34 AM

Remember when Democrats took issue with extraordinary rendition?

Good times.

blammm on July 17, 2014 at 11:39 AM

They’ve been lonely ever since Obama released those other 5 of his Taliban friends….

… and you know how Obama hates it whenever his Taliban friends are lonely.

viking01 on July 17, 2014 at 11:49 AM

Boy, Talibama’s going to be SUPER mad when he reads this in the newspaper next week.

Meople on July 17, 2014 at 12:45 PM

Ship them all to Detroit

SmallGovtGuy on July 17, 2014 at 1:05 PM

This release of detainees from Guantanamo Bay won’t generate as much controversy, as it involves “low level” figures

Wait, what? Weren’t we told, again and again, that the remaining Gitmo guests were “the worst of the worst” and couldn’t be released because of the threats they pose?

Paul_in_NJ on July 17, 2014 at 9:47 PM