Attorney General vows to close Guantanamo

PARIS Mon May 9, 2011 2:30pm EDT

Attorney General Eric Holder attends a press conference at the Interior Ministry in Paris on May 9, 2011. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Attorney General Eric Holder attends a press conference at the Interior Ministry in Paris on May 9, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Benoit Tessier

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PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday the United States would close the Guantanamo Bay facility holding terrorism suspects in Cuba, despite missing a previous deadline to do so.

On an official visit to Paris, Holder stressed what he called unprecedented intelligence-sharing ties between France and the United States against a united enemy, al Qaeda, that he said still held the two countries and its allies in its sights.

The recent killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was unlikely to affect the timing of the closure of the Guantanamo facility, Holder said.

"Although we have not closed Guantanamo within the time period that we initially indicated ... it is still the intention of the president, and it is still my intention, to close the facility that exists in Guantanamo," Holder told a joint news briefing with French Interior Minister Claude Gueant.

"We think that by closing that facility the national security of the United States will be enhanced," he added.

U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to shut down the Guantanamo Bay facility in the first year of his presidency and transfer its inmates to prisons in the United States.

Obama has said the center, set up by his predecessor George W. Bush, has helped drive recruitment for anti-American groups and that allegations of mistreatment of prisoners have hurt America's reputation.

Holder said it would take time for intelligence and law enforcement agencies to go through the trove of data collected from bin Laden's compound, adding the information would be shared with allies as soon as possible.

"With the death of bin Laden, the world is safer but the world is not yet safe," said Holder. "In addition to bin Laden and within the al Qaeda network, there are still parts of that organization that want to strike France, that want to strike the U.S. and our allies," he said.

(Reporting by Alexandria Sage; editing by John Irish and Jon Boyle)

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Comments (12)
ertdfg wrote:
And put them where Holder? Bring the to the US to our liberal courts can give them full rights (and then let them go for not being read their Miranda, etc.)? Just let them all go? Shoot them all and close the base?

Seriously, this isn’t a plan it’s a bumper sticker without any ideas of how to actually go about doing it.

You’re not going to close Guantanamo, because closing it is too hard; but you’ll talk about it because talking is easy and gets you free points.

Unfortunately people have figured out that you’re all talk.

May 09, 2011 3:09pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
wizone wrote:
Good! It’s about time. It should have been closed long ago but the GOP started the fear mongering and FOX did its best to sway public opinion against it. If there is credible evidence against these captives then they will be found guilty and punished as they should. We don’t want other countries holding our citizens without due process and we shouldn’t be doing it ourselves. The terrorists that first attempted to blow up the twin towers were tried in federal court and are now serving life sentences. We need to have faith in our own court system and prison system.

May 09, 2011 3:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
RMax304823 wrote:
It’s about time they closed it. Previous to the “enemy combatant detainees” we had two classes of prisoners: American convicts and POWs. The former were covered by evolved rules — hardly all liveral. The latter were covered by the Geneva Conventions. This third class was created out of the whole cloth with no governing rules whatever. Some have received “military tribunals” but aren’t covered by the military’s UCMJ.

Whatever they once knew (if anything) is now more than five years old and is useless. Most of these detainees were swept up in neighborhood patrols by untrained grunts who were told to bring in anyone who looked suspicious. Some were turned over to our military by jealous neighbors or by Iraqis eager for the bounty.

If we want to summarily execute all of them, there’s no legal reason why we can’t do exactly that, except that we might want to explain our reasoning to the International Criminal Court at the Hague.

If they were tried in American court rooms they’d probably wind up being released, and for good reason. There’s likely to be little or no evidence against most of them. We don’t even know who arrested them or why. It would be risky to release them, but it’s also risky to provide jihadists with Gitmo as a rallying cry for American imperialism.

May 09, 2011 4:10pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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