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Friday, January 23, 2009

President Obama orders closure of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp and CIA's Secret prisons worldwide.




Alhamdulillah!

President Barack Hussein Obama has signed an Executive Order to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp in Cuba and also ordered the closure of the Central Intelligence Agency's secret prisons worldwide within a year from yesterday.

Praise be to Almighty Allah for this decisive measure by the current President of the United States of America as a proof of his keeping to his presidential campaign promises to the American people and to the world.

I am quite relieved to see President Obama practicing what he has preached!

If he keeps on revoking all the destructive measures of the previous American administration and works to undo the damage that President George W.Bush Jr. has done throughout the last 8 years, I am confident that restoring the United States of America's honor, integrity and position in the world won't be a matter too hard to achieve within President Barack Obama's term and I am sure in the next one to come, Insya Allah!

It's not an easy task for President Obama to help heal the world after the heartless incompetent war criminal in the form of George Wacko Bush Jr destroyed the lives of millions of innocent people and their families in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon through his complicity with the Zionist terrorist regime of illegal Israel in the Middle East.

It's not going to be a breeze for President Obama to undo the wrongs done to the world by Bush Jr. and those in his misadministration.

In fact if President Barack Hussein Obama succeeds in bringing about the very change that he has been speaking about during the last 2 years of his presidential campaign, I am confident that his name will be entrenched in the Halls of Fame of great leaders of the entire human race for times to come!

As I have said before to one of my readers, let's give President Barack Hussein Obama his space and allow him to work fulfilling his promises and bring about a better world, that is just and will unite the entire world as we all wish him to be able to!

President Obama,

As a Muslim from Malaysia, I thank you for what you are doing and what you have promised us that you will do.

May Allah Azza Wa Jalla watch over you.

Ameen.

Here's a report from the New York Times about it:

January 23, 2009

Obama Orders Secret Prisons and Detention Camps Closed

WASHINGTON — Saying that “our ideals give us the strength and moral high ground” to combat terrorism, President Obama signed executive orders Thursday ending the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret overseas prisons, banning coercive interrogation methods and closing the Guantánamo Bay detention camp within a year.

But even as he reversed the most disputed counterterrorism policies of the Bush years, Mr. Obama postponed for at least six months difficult decisions on the details. He ordered a cabinet-level review of the most challenging questions his administration faces — what to do with dangerous prisoners who cannot be tried in American courts; whether some interrogation methods should remain secret to keep Al Qaeda from training to resist them; and how the United States can make sure prisoners transferred to other countries will not be tortured.

As Mr. Obama signed three orders in a White House ceremony, 16 retired generals and admirals who have fought for months for a ban on coercive interrogations stood behind him and applauded. The group, organized to lobby the Obama transition team by the group Human Rights First, did not include any career C.I.A. officers or retirees.

“We intend to win this fight,” Mr. Obama said, “We are going to win it on our own terms.”

One of Mr. Obama’s orders requires the C.I.A. to use only the 19 interrogation methods outlined in the Army Field Manual, ending President Bush’s policy of permitting the agency to use some secret methods that went beyond those allowed for military interrogators.

“We believe we can abide by a rule that says, we don’t torture, but we can effectively obtain the intelligence we need,” Mr. Obama said.

The orders, and Mr. Obama’s televised statement, marked an abrupt break with the Bush administration. Critics for years have accused Mr. Bush of permitting torture and damaging the country’s moral standing in the world, while Dick Cheney, the former president and vice president, insisted that all their programs were lawful and had prevented a repeat of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

John D. Hutson, a retired admiral and law school dean, was at the signing ceremony “He really gets it,” Mr. Hutson said of Mr. Obama in an interview a few minutes after the ceremony. “He acknowledged that this isn’t easy. But he is absolutely dedicated to getting us back on track as a nation. This is the right thing to do morally, diplomatically, militarily and Constitutionally. But it also makes us safer.”

Democrats in Congress and human rights groups largely hailed Mr. Obama’s moves, while some Republicans said they were unrealistic.

Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said the decision to close Guantánamo by a year from now “places hope ahead of reality — it sets an objective without a plan to get there.”

He said that in briefings for Congress on Wednesday, administration officials “could not answer questions as to what they will do with any new jihadists or enemy combatants that we capture.”

“What are we to do with these people, bring them to the very place they hoped to attack: The United States? What do we do with confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his fellow terrorist conspirators, offer them jail cells in American communities?”

By contrast, Sen. John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, “Today is a great day for the rule of law in the United States of America,” adding: “America is ready to lead again — not just with our words, but by our example.”

Mr. Obama’s order closing Guantánamo assigns the attorney general to lead a review of what should happen to the remaining detainees and does not rule out the possibility of trying some of them using military commissions, as has the Bush administration, though possibly with different procedures.

One task force, with the attorney general and secretary of defense as co-chairmen, will study detainee policy and report to the president in six months. A second task force, led by the attorney general, and with the secretary of defense and director of national intelligence as vice co-chairs, will study whether the Army Field Manual should remain the only standard for interrogators and review the practice of extraordinary rendition, in which captured terrorist suspects are transferred to other countries.

One more order directed a high-level review of the case of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a suspected terrorist — Mr. Obama called him “dangerous” — who is currently being held in a military jail in South Carolina.

The new White House counsel, Gregory B. Craig, briefed lawmakers about some elements of the orders on Wednesday evening. A Congressional official who attended the session said Mr. Craig acknowledged concerns from intelligence officials that new restrictions on C.I.A. methods might be unwise and indicated that the White House might be open to allowing the use of methods other the 19 techniques allowed for the military.

But the executive order on interrogations is certain to be received with some skepticism at the C.I.A., which for years has maintained that the military’s interrogation rules are insufficient to get information from senior Qaeda figures like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The Bush administration asserted that the harsh interrogation methods were instrumental in gaining valuable intelligence on Qaeda operations.

The intelligence agency built a network of secret prisons in 2002 to house and interrogate senior Qaeda figures captured overseas. The exact number of suspects to have moved through the prisons is unknown, although Michael V. Hayden, the departing director of the agency, has in the past put the number at “fewer than 100.”

The secret detentions brought international condemnation, and in September 2006, Mr. Bush ordered that the remaining 14 detainees in C.I.A. custody be transferred to Guantánamo Bay and tried by military tribunals.

But Mr. Bush made clear then that he was not shutting down the C.I.A. detention system, and in the last two years, two Qaeda operatives are believed to have been detained in agency prisons for several months each before being sent to Guantánamo.

A government official said Mr. Obama’s order on the C.I.A. would still allow its officers abroad to temporarily detain terrorism suspects and transfer them to other agencies, but would no longer allow the agency to carry out long-term detentions.

Since the early days after the 2001 attacks, the intelligence agency’s role in detaining terrorism suspects has been significantly scaled back, as has the severity of interrogation methods the agency is permitted to use. The most controversial practice, the simulated drowning technique known as water-boarding, was used on three suspects but has not been used since 2003, C.I.A. officials said.

But at the urging of the Bush administration, Congress in 2006 authorized the agency to continue using harsher interrogation methods than those permitted for use by other agencies, including the military. Those exact methods remain classified. The order on Guantánamo says that the camp, which received its first hooded and chained detainees seven years ago this month, “shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than one year from the date of this order.”

The order calls for a cabinet-level panel to grapple with issues including where in the United States prisoners might be moved and what courts they could be tried in. It also provides for a new diplomatic effort to transfer some of the remaining men, including more than 60 that the Bush administration had cleared for release.

The order also directs an immediate assessment of the prison itself to ensure that the men are held in conditions that meet the humanitarian requirements of the Geneva Convention. That provision appeared to be a pointed embrace of the international treaties that the Bush administration often argued did not apply to detainees captured in the war against terrorism.

The seven years of the detention camp have included four suicides, hunger strikes by scores of detainees, and accusations of extensive use of solitary confinement and abusive interrogations, which the Department of Defense has long denied. Last week a senior Pentagon official said she had concluded that interrogators at Guantánamo had tortured one detainee, who officials have said was a would-be “20th hijacker” in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The new administration late Tuesday night ordered an immediate halt to the military commission proceedings for prosecuting detainees at Guantánamo and filed a request in Federal District Court in Washington to stay habeas corpus proceedings there. Government lawyers described both delays as necessary for the administration to make a broad assessment of detention policy.

The cases immediately affected include those of five detainees charged as the coordinators of the 2001 attacks, including the case against Mr. Mohammed, the self-described mastermind.

The decision to stop the commissions was described by the military prosecutors as a pause in the war-crimes system “to permit the newly inaugurated president and his administration time to review the military commission process generally and the cases currently pending before the military commissions, specifically.”

More than 200 detainees’ habeas corpus cases have been filed in federal court, and lawyers said they expected that all of the cases would be stayed.

Mr. Obama had suggested in the campaign that, in place of military commissions, he would prefer prosecutions in federal courts or, perhaps, in the existing military justice system, which provides legal guarantees similar to those of American civilian courts.

William Glaberson contributed reporting from New York.

*All rights of the report and photo above belong to The New York Times.
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