The Watering Hole, Monday, April 8th, 2013: Close GTMO Now!

Until Chris Hayes spoke so strongly and eloquently about the ongoing hunger strike at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, I was completely unaware that it was happening.

“…of the 166 detainees left at Guantanamo over half of them have already been cleared for release, meaning that the government does not have a case against them and does not think they pose a threat to the United States. And yet they languish at the prison at Guantanamo…The dozens of men who have been cleared by the United States government for release should be released immediately, should be paid restitution, and offered legal residence in the United States.

If that sounds radical or outside the boundaries of political feasibility, I would say that shoving tubes up the noses of men a few times a day to force them to stay alive in our prisons, even though we readily admit we have to no reason to continue to keep them, is pretty damn radical, too.

According to a Miami Herald article from March 3rd,

“Under that procedure[force-feeding], military medical staff strap a captive into a feeding chair and pump a can of Ensure nutritional supplement into each man’s stomach through his nose twice a day.

President Obama issued an executive order to close the Guantanamo detention facility back in 2009, and has stated:

“It is a rallying cry for our enemies. It sets back the willingness of our allies to work with us in fighting an enemy that operates in scores of countries. By any measure, the costs of keeping it open far exceed the complications involved in closing it. I want to be very clear that our goal is to construct a legitimate legal framework for the remaining Guantanamo detainees that cannot be transferred.”

It is abundantly clear that the political grandstanding and fear-mongering are blocking such a goal. However, since 2009, President Obama seems to have put the detainee issue on the back burner. And despite the undeniable fact that 86 of the 166 remaining detainees have been cleared for release, and the majority of the other detainees have not even been officially charged with anything, there are plenty of idiots (mostly Republican) who still believe that these prisoners are the “worst of the worst” terrorists. These idiots also seem to suffer under the delusion that if Guantanamo is closed down, the prisoners will be let loose into the streets of America, even though there have been offers from States with empty prisons to take in any or all of them if necessary. However, continued incarceration of most or all of the prisoners is unthinkable to any sane and humane person.

The detainee hunger strike has been going on since about February 6th. RT news has a timeline from that date through April 6th (in reverse chronological order.)

Groups such as Human Rights Watch, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, are all calling for the detention center to be shut down. From John Knefel at Rolling Stone, Pillay says:

“The continuing indefinite incarceration of many of the detainees amounts to arbitrary detention.” “The United States is in clear breach not just of its own commitments but also of international laws and standards that it is obliged to uphold.”

In the meantime, according to the Huffington Post, the press is being blocked from access to the prison base; worse, due to the sequester cuts, even some of the detainees’ lawyers are unable to see their clients, with military flights to Guantanamo being cut back in frequency. Yet, prior to the sequester, the DoD had requested approximate $250,000,000 in funding to upgrade the facility and additional building – why?

The United States of America gave up its moral high ground when we went to war in Iraq based on a lie. We cannot continue this treatment of, if it weren’t for the thrice-damned PATRIOT Act, “prisoners of war.” The detainees who have been cleared for release MUST be released, and the others either charged and tried in civilian courts or released as well. This blackest stain on our country must be cleansed.

If/when the hunger strikes start to gain real national attention, perhaps that simmering pot on the back burner will start to boil over.

This is an Open Thread. What’s on your mind today?

81 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Monday, April 8th, 2013: Close GTMO Now!

  1. Bill Press: Bring Back ‘Real’ Crossfire

    Although CNN’s rumored plans to bring back “Crossfire” has earned the cable network some snark, one former “Crossfire” co-host says it’s not such a bad idea.
    Bill Press, who was on the program from 1996–2002, said, “It would be a good move” if CNN brought back the original “Crossfire.”

    The ‘Real’ Crossfire existed before the Reich schooled all their pundits in the art of the ‘Gish Gallop’ and the strategic interruption, combined with the Frank Luntz focus-group-tested buzzwords and talking points of the day. It wouldn’t be an honest debate like in those early days.

    • maybe they mean to have a “debate” between the two sides in the gun regulation debate, with faux-gnus hosts caught in the “crossfire”….

      • if you had a dry eye after watching 60 minutes’ interview some of the sandyhook parents….you have no soul

    • When the news program host does the 30 seconds on a story (lucky if you get any more) and says “Ok let’s turn now to Moron(i) McWankpot of the American Heritage of Dead Kids for Guns and Jelly O’knees of Brookings Institute for Political Prostitution and put this question to them” – I turn the stupid thing off.

    • Jon Stewart did the country a great service when he went on that program and told the hosts, “Stop! Please, just stop hurting America.” As they went to commercial, you could hear Stewart telling Tucker Carlson, “Wow, you’re an even bigger dick in person.” A week later, the show was cancelled.

      Thank you, Jon. We may need you again. We don’t need to hear extremists argue from both sides of an issue, when neither one is 100% right.

  2. when the fuck did Exxon Mobile get the right to impose a “no fly zone” over their pipeline rupture and spill?

    Expect to see a lot fewer images of toxic sludge creeping through small communities, thanks to the hard work of ExxonMobil. The company could have used its prodigious resources to make its oil pipelines more secure, preventing town-destroying leaks like the one that hit Mayflower, Arkansas. But they figured out that it would be cheaper to just corrupt the local law to chase reporters out and get the FAA to establish a Temporary Flight Restriction zone over the spill. Problem solved!

    Michael Hibblen, who reports for the radio station KUAR, went to the spill site on Wednesday with state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel. McDaniel was in the area to inspect the site and hold a news conference, and Hibblen and a small group of reporters were following him to report on the visit. Upon arrival, representatives from the county sheriff’s office, which is running security at the site, directed the reporters to a boundary point 10 feet away that they should not pass. The reporters agreed to comply. But the tone shifted abruptly, Hibblen told Mother Jones on Friday:

    It was less than 90 seconds before suddenly the sheriff’s deputies started yelling that all the media people had to leave, that ExxonMobil had decided they don’t want you here, you have to leave. They even referred to it as “Exxon Media”…Some reporters were like, “Who made this decision? Who can we talk to?” The sheriff’s deputies started saying, “You have to leave. You have 10 seconds to leave or you will be arrested.”

    Hibblen says he didn’t really have time to deal with getting arrested, since he needed to file his report on the visit for both the local affiliate and national NPR.

  3. The FAA announced a temporary no-fly zone would be enacted indefinitely over the Arkansas oil spill. With word that an Exxon employee was controlling the airspace, though, speculation pointed to the idea the oil company was trying to keep the media away.

    The Federal Aviation Administration announced Monday that until further notice, no aircraft will be allowed to operate over the Mayflower oil spill in Conway, Arkansas. While there was scant explanation for the mandate, it was “effective immediately” – and ordered to stay in place “until further notice.”

    • I read somewhere that this pipeline was built in the 1940’s. It used to carry refined product to the midwest, but the direction of flow had been reversed and the pressure increased when it was repurposed to carry what sounds like diluted unrefined gunk.

    • Somebody with the legal standing to do so (a helicopter or aircraft pilot) needs to challenge that immediately. There is no national security interest involved, and the only thing preventing aircraft from flying over will do is allow Exxon and the government to hide the extent of the damage from the public. And that’s illegal. Well, highly, highly immoral, anyway.

  4. GOP State Lawmaker Backs Same-Sex Marriage Bill

    State Rep. Ed Sullivan Jr. of Mundelein said Sunday he will support a bill to allow gay marriage in Illinois, becoming the second House Republican to do so and first among leadership.

    Sullivan, who is chairman of the House Republican campaign organization, said his decision to back same-sex marriage represented a personal and family evolution on the issue. Previously an opponent of civil unions, Sullivan told the Tribune that his mother-in-law, who lives in the southwest suburbs, has been in a same-sex relationship.

    One by one, these Republicans realize that gay marriage is just fair, and isn’t going to hurt anybody else. They are losing the wedge issues that have sustained them for the last thirty years, and the other day I read that it’s going to be almost impossible for Republicans to win the Presidency, without sweeping all the swing states. Given the way the 2000 election was disputed, and Ohio was likely stolen in 2004, they may not have won legitimately since 1988.

  5. I’ve heard of ‘Nanites’ (Mr. Crusher), a form of nanobots, nanogenes that repair the body automatically (Are you my mummy?), and now we have ‘Nanowires’, that produce more electricity per square meter than current solar cells.

  6. Hello peeps. I was in the hospital last with ischemic cholitis and missed my day. Sorry. Probably not feeling up to this week either.

      • The only thing better than Godzilla movies are Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon flics.

        I don’t think Roger Ebert would agree with me on that.

    • She and I share the exact same b-date; Oct 22, 1942. I wrote to her when I was, maybe, 16? Didn’t have any address other than ‘Annette, The Mickey Mouse Club’, etc.’ but still . . . well, you know how hope springs . . . eternal? Never heard back, of course. But still . . . [big sigh] . . . she was, well, she was ANNETTE!

      R.I.P, dear one. See you ‘over there’ . . . manana, or whenever. 😉

      • I was 5 or 6 when she was on “The Club” and not certain of her name, I called her, “Annette Flip the Jello”.

    • I virtually bumped into Annette in Disneyland several years back. She was there for the opening of their refurbished FantasyLand. She was waiting to be escorted onto the Peter Pan boat me and my family just got off of….we rounded the corner and there she was. All I had time to do was say “hi.” She said “hi” back. ‘Twas the entire scope and extent of my one and only meeting with my child-hood heart-throb.

      She will be missed. Rest in Peace, Annette, your battle with MS is finally over.

  7. Thatcher quotes:

    “It will be years – and not in my time – before a woman will lead the party or become Prime Minister,” – 1974.

    “In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman,” – 1982.

    “I am painted as the greatest little dictator, which is ridiculous – you always take some consultations,” – 1983.

    “I can trust my husband not to fall asleep on a public platform and he usually claps in the right places,” – 1978.

    • Funny how the quotes I’m seeing are many of he lighterweight quotes. Some of the ones where she was clearly wrong on the issues may yet emerge:

      South Africa and lack of support for sanctions and labelling Nelson Mandela a terrorist.
      Chile – General Pinochet – whaddaguy!

      The implications of stationing police checkpoints around the country to stop striking miners from travelling from one pit to another to spread the strike in 1984 (that the miners were on strike without a vote was itself lawless and that strikers thought they had the right to shutdown pits that continued to work was what prompted the action).

      The years before and during Thatcher’s first 6 years were very divisive times indeed. When she tried to convert the property tax model from one based on the value of the property to one based on the number of adults – the ‘Poll tax’, wow the place blew up and it cost her her job.

      Mixed opinions even today about Margaret Thatcher.

      • Palin’s Facebook page is full of adoring, clueless sycophants comparing a less than half-term Governor of a sparsely populated state and reluctant presidential candidate, to Thatcher and calling Palin ‘America’s Iron Lady.’


        • *barf*

          Yes. A most able and single word summation of Sarah Palin . . . a fart in a tornado relative to Margaret Thatcher. Descriptive yes. Also sad. Very sad. Also descriptive of what Amurka has become. Sad.

          How much sad is there out there, I wonder? I hope enough, because really, ‘we’ do indeed need a whole lot of it.

          • Palin, America’s Iron Lady – – let we forget that the U.S. Steel Industry has been dismantled and its jobs shifted to China. But then, maybe it’s because her hair’s rusted?

            • Ya, and she was probably also the “iron” in Cheney’s dick (for at least a moment or two , , , before the ‘Dick’ shot his ‘friend’ in the face). And therein lies, most likely, that rub, a tale embedded in ummm . . . rusted hair? Well, OK, and sotospeak. Etc.

              Sigh. It’s SO TRICKY! to find and use the right word(s) to describe Palin, et al.,and her political ilk.


              Oops, was that inadvertent?

    • Been there in that ‘getting better soon’ category. I managed. But the day I woke up was the day that George W. Bush was president.

      Maybe I should just shut up . . . ?

  8. The dead kids in Newtown won’t get to go to college.

    Teen Girl’s Pro-Gun Video Gets 2.3 Million Hits – Yahoo! News

    Merkle, who says that her favorite rifle is a Bushmaster, makes a gripping plea to legislators who are considering passing legislation to enact stricter gun control laws.
    In her testimony, Merkle tells that she has become eligible for various shooting scholarships at prestigious universities, and the laws proposed would interfere with her eligibility to join their shooting teams.
    “Achieving stricter gun control laws would obliterate any opportunity I could have had to attend a decent college on a shooting scholarship,” she says.

    • According to her biographer she was forced into doing that against her judgement, but it made for a catchy insult. She said it was a lesson in taking the most personal political damage for the smallest policy gain ….

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