I've been worried that protests against the Guantanamo terrorist resort like the one pictured above would end with the Obama administration since one of his centerpiece proposals is to close the tropical residence for slow and stupid terrorists. But I'm heartened by Michelle Malkin's syndicated piece today in which she describes the dilemma Obama faces when determining the fate of the current clientele at the resort;
Some top legal advisors and supporters of Barack Obama, whose name detainees chanted on election night, are now rethinking the President-elect’s absolutist campaign position on shutting the center down and flooding our mainland courts with every last enemy combatant designee. Yes, reality bites – and Democrats must now grapple with the very real possibility that an Obama administration could potentially release a Gitmo denizen who would turn around and commit mass terrorist acts on American soil or abroad.
But, it seems the Bush Administration is in a hurry to show Obama what a mistake it would be to release prisoners by releasing bin Laden's former driver to his home country of Yemen (AP link);
Salim Hamdan, the first man to go before a U.S. war crimes trial since the end of World War II, was flown from the U.S. Navy base in Cuba to Yemen.
Hamdan was convicted on Aug. 6 of providing material support to terrorism, and the military said it could keep him locked up indefinitely if it considered him to be a continued threat. Instead, he was sent home early.
A Pentagon official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter, said the decision was made by the White House.
Hamdan was sentenced at the war-crimes trial to 5 1/2 years in prison. Being credited with five years and one month for time already served means his sentence ends on Dec. 27, according to the Pentagon.
“As part of a transfer agreement with the United States, the remainder of Hamdan’s sentence will be served in Yemen,” the Defense Department said in a statement.
So he has a month left on his sentence and his return to the terrorist flock is being expedited by sending him to Yemen. The main problem with Yemen is at the center of the plan to release Gitmo alumni, as it's described a few weeks ago by McClatchy;
President-elect Barack Obama's pledge to close the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, faces a major obstacle: Yemen.
The Bush administration has transferred hundreds of Guantanamo prisoners to the custody of their home countries, but it's been unable to win assurances from Yemen — whose approximately 100 prisoners are the largest group still jailed at Guantanamo — that the men, if they're returned, won't pose a threat to the United States.
I guess Hamadan is a good test for Yemen to see if they can hold him for a month. If he shows up on the battlefield before Christmas, we'll have our answer. The Boston Globe outlines the debate within the Obama administration;
However, divisions have emerged among Obama allies on how to proceed. The civil libertarians, legal scholars and lawyers who were united in condemning the Bush administration's policies differ on what to do with the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
All agree that a crucial first step is to review each detainee's case thoroughly to see how many could be put on trial in US courts and how many could be released to their home countries.
"There are 20 to 30 people in Guantanamo that present serious, serious problems," said Donald J. Guter, a retired rear admiral who formerly served as the Navy's top uniformed lawyer and was an adviser to the Obama campaign. "If you can't take them to a court and get legitimate convictions, what do you do with them? Do you hold them, or do you release them?"
Imagine that, lawyers who can't agree on a solution. Seems impossible doesn't it?
So I guess the folks at Amnesty International should hold on to those orange suits a bit longer since the question of what to do with the thugs housed there is just one more thing Obama won't solve in his first term.