Guantanamo Legacy?

 

Operation Enduring Freedom

In response to the SALON article:

Guantánamo’s indelible legacy: how this became a Gitmo world

Eight ways in which the toxic policies of Guantánamo Bay have contaminated American institutions since 2002.

https://www.salon.com/2020/01/24/guantnamos-indelible-legacy-how-this-became-a-gitmo-world_partner/

By Karen J. Greenberg and Joshua L. Dratel with research assistance from Julia Tedesco

Published January 24, 2020

My Comments:

Untrue, arbitrary, misleading and proof of Islamist apologists. Let’s take it one item at a time: 1) (Indefinite detention) Just because Carol Rosenberg, chief Islamist apologist, calls unlawful combatant Islamists who want to kill us, “forever prisoners,” doesn’t mean it’s true. Furthermore, “indefinite detention” is a MYTH. During WWII over 400,000 mostly German, lawful combatant POW’s were lawfully held without charge or trial “until the end of hostilities,” as per the Geneva Conventions and Law of War. Unlawful combatants, although not entitled to the protections of Geneva or Law of War, nonetheless were treated within the “spirit of Geneva,” due to the benevolence of the United States. Still, no indefinite detention. When hostilities end they may be repatriated unless accused of war crimes. Some might ask, when will we know when hostilities have ended? When all Islamists are either dead, or no longer have the will or means to kill us. And that’s pretty much up to them.

2) (A new legal language for the purpose of bypassing the law) Unlawful combatant detainees are called detainees because they did not earn the title of Prisoner of War, nor the rights and privileges thereof, because they did not follow the Geneva Conventions or Law of War in their hostilities toward the US and our allies. No “made up” language. Lawful and correct language based on FACTS.

3) (Legal cover) My deployment orders state, “In support of the Global War on Terror.” Because it’s a “Global War,” anywhere we find the enemy he can be killed or captured. Not by our choice, but by the choice of our enemies and the language of the AUMF.

4) (The sidelining and removal of professionals) You couldn’t be more wrong. It’s clear that we have a civilian led military. The President, as Commander in Chief, and the Secretary of Defense, both clearly in our chain of command; look at any wall in the HQ of any Army unit and you will see a line of photos, starting with the president and ending with the unit’s Command Sergeant Major. Knowing the chain of command is an inspectable piece of information that every soldier, from E-Private Snuffy to the commanding general is expected to know at all times. It was Donald Rumsfeld who told my boss, the Camp Commandant at Camp X-Ray while we were there, that we would treat all detainees “within the spirit of Geneva.” The command structure at the time, in early 2002, was two Joint Task Forces. One for incarceration, JTF 160, led by one-star (brigadier) general Lehnert of the US Marine Corps (Lehnert had been in charge of X-Ray back in the early 1990’s with the Cuban and Haitian boat crises). And a second JTF (170), with a two star (major) general, Dunleavy, in charge of intelligence and interrogations. The mission objective was to get as much critical information from the detainees as possible as quickly as possible in order to save lives, and then to keep the detainees safe, secure and healthy; the latter item being my area of responsibility. Not only were we all professionals, we had trained long and hard, and many in my brigade and detachment veterans of the First Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm), where tens of thousands of uniformed, lawful combatant Iraqi soldiers surrendered en mass in a matter of days after the first shots were fired. My unit, the 455th Military Police Detachment (Brigade Liaison Detachment), 800th Military Police Brigade (EPW), formed the essence of the Joint Detainee Operations Group at Gitmo in early 2002, which oversaw the detention operations for JTF 160, the on-site command group. Below us was the incarceration Military Police Battalion, which provided the inside the wire guard force. Incredible soldiers, led by an incredible battalion commander, who worked 12-14 hours days, 7 days a week for over 6 months straight. To the side of us were the various support elements from all other military branches: Marines were the garrison and Camp X-Ray security force; Air Force provided in-flight medical and supplemental JTF 160 medical services (flight surgeons), and also air space security and transportation to and from Gitmo; Coast Guard provided supplemental port security and ground operational guard force, protecting ground access to Camp X-Ray and other classified areas, and Guard Force medical support; The Navy had port security (after all Gitmo is a US Naval Station), ferry service to and from Leeward (airport) to Windward side of the base, hospital and fleet hospital (think navy M*A*S*H unit) for detainee healthcare, environmental and preventive medical support, Seabee’s (“We build, we fight!”) support and other base services, including transportation, recreation, communication and housing, to name a few.

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5) (The use of military for detention operations) Is legal and proper, but remember, the Reserves and National Guard hold almost all combat support and combat service support units in the military during peace time. You don’t need Enemy Prisoner of War (EPW) or many medical or transportation assets unless there is a war. So it takes TIME to train necessary regular unit types after the balloon goes up. Gitmo was used because of the prison riot in Afghanistan in the fall of 2001. The Law of War dictates detention operations in the theater of operations UNLESS it is unsafe to do so. The prison riot proved it was too dangerous to keep detainees in a war zone; too much of a high value target for fratricide (enemy killing enemy), to stay in Afghanistan. My unit was one of the only EPW units in the Army, and the Army is the only branch that does EPW operations. Army military police who are not EPW trained are at least trained in military incarceration, but are not specialists. Just like a civilian police officer is not trained for full time corrections, they are familiar with incarcerating people. Marines were only perimeter guards and in the very early days some of the internal reaction and security inside the wire. The Army and Marines both worked the perimeter security, supplemented by the Coast Guard at check points. As things settled into a battle rhythm, the Army picked up the perimeter mission full time. Yes, things were put together quickly, and there may have been concerns, but inside the wire you had professional soldiers doing their jobs in all aspects of the mission better than any other force on earth. In fact, International Committee of the Red Cross physicians I worked with at Gitmo and later in Iraq, told me, “No one does [detention operations] better than the US.”

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6) (Secrecy and the withholding of information) We hid things and kept secrets from the press because it was classified information essential for the safe, effective and secure operation of the mission. You only get to know what you need to know. I’ll never forget CNN correspondent Bob Franken threatening to “make it up” if we didn’t share classified information with him. We refused and so, almost on a daily bases, he filed FICTIONAL REPORTS. That’s right, pure FICTION! This is where I learned to loathe the MSM. The daily reports from Franked included things such as non-existent “riots” at Camp X-Ray, abuses, clandestine operations, complaints from the ICRC, and on and on. The kicker was when he insisted on knowing when we were going to move the detainees from the spartan Camp X-Ray to the new Camp Delta in the spring of 2002. He accused us of not letting him do his job. We accused him of trying to find out classified information to leak which would put the mission and those conducting it in unnecessary danger. We wouldn’t tell him, so he published a lie. We made sure the detainees were NOT moved when he said they were going to be moved, and instead of a two or three day operation, on the spur of the moment during the actual move, we decided to move them all on one day, a nearly 16 hour operation of continuous movement. Each detainee, nearly 300 of them, moved individually by two MP’s, one at a time, from their cells to a bus to their new cell. I observed every single transfer. Most of them thought they were being taken to be executed. Why? Because that’s what they would have done with us.

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7) (Disregard for international law and treaties) As for international law and treaties, NONE of them were written to protect unlawful combatants. In fact, all of the detainees could have been lawfully shot dead on the battlefield. The Geneva Conventions nor the Law of War applied to them, virtually all of them technically clandestine operatives, spies, mercenaries, soldiers of fortune, etc. not a one of them a lawful combatant entitled to the rights and privileges of a lawful combatant POW. They were all lucky to be alive. 731 of the nearly 800 detainees were eventually RELEASED, and NONE of them beheaded, executed, blown up, hacked to death, dragged naked and lifeless through the streets, drowned or burned alive. All things our enemies have done to us and/or our allies. They were all treated with dignity and respect and under the spirit of Geneva, as per Mr. Rumsfeld’s directive. They received FREE Qurans, prayer rugs/beads, directions to Mecca, time and space to pray, white robes, beards, halal and special holy Muslim holiday meals, featuring baklava and lamb, services of US military Muslim chaplains, world class health, dental and vision care, library, correspondence, TV, DVDs, video games, entertainment, recreation and sports. Club Gitmo indeed. All this and still guards would be sucker punched, spat on, and doused with Gitmo Cocktails – bodily fluids of detainees “splashed” onto them unawares. Unlawful combatant detainees earned no rights or privileges under any international law or policy. As for torture, there was none at Gitmo. And only a handful of detainees were waterboarded which provided valuable information which saved many lives. Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIT) were NOT torture, and were legal and approved when used at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and only by trained CIA operatives. No DoD personnel were ever trained on EIT and never performed EIT.

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8) (Lack of accountability) As for accountability, no other country on earth treats its detainees or prisoners even half as good as the US does. We were as transparent as possible, even to the point where Don Rumsfeld wrote later in his autobiography, “Known and Unknown,” that he regrets the level of transparency shown the press at Gitmo. The early photographs exploited, mislabeled, misunderstood, misconstrued and mystified the place and the fine people who work there. Possibly one of the most emotionally challenging military missions, Gitmo presented myriad difficulties that some could not handle. In the end, Gitmo is a small but essential piece to the big puzzle of how we win the Global War on Terror. It is legal, ethical and moral. In fact, there is no moral comparison between Gitmo and how our enemies treat their captives. The Islamist equivalent to Gitmo is a PILE OF HEADS. Let that sink in. Sincerely, Major Montgomery J. Granger, US Army, Retired. Former ranking US Army Medical Department officer with the Joint Detainee Operations Group, Joint task Force 160, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Author: Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior.

AGitmo

Independence Day for Patriots

This July 4, there is much to celebrate, with the economy, world peace and Supreme Court nominations looking good, but there is also a lot to keep battling for, such as better race relations, border security and fair news coverage among them.

We are it seems, in a constant state of war for independence; independence from harassment, fake news and un-American activities.

Democracies are messy (and please, no nonsense here about the United States of America not being a democracy, but a Constitutional Republic. The two things are not mutually exclusive. That’s a semantic argument, not a substantive one.). Democracies sometimes fight themselves, but all should be in an effort to improve the QUALITY of our little experiment.

During times of war (and we ARE in a Global War on Terror), there are two acts for which there can be no forgiveness and no quarter; they are sedition and invasion.

During the Revolutionary War traitors were hung or shot on the battlefield. Bowe Bergdahl would not have lasted two seconds had he been retrieved from his desertion back then.

After signing the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin stated that “If we do not hang together we shall certainly hang separately.” He was not kidding or using hyperbole.

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When the 56 Signers of The Declaration of Independence attached their signatures to that document, each knew they were committing treason against the British Crown.  If caught and captured, they risked death. But death would not be swift. It would be by hanging to the point of unconsciousness, then being revived, disemboweled, their body parts boiled in oil and their ashes scattered into the wind. Our Founding Fathers valued freedom, for themselves and their posterity (us), to the extent that they found this fate worth the risk.

Five signers were captured by the British and brutally tortured as traitors. Nine fought in the War for Independence and died from wounds or from hardships they suffered. Two lost their sons in the Continental Army. Another two had sons captured. At least a dozen of the 56 had their homes pillaged and burned.

What kind of men were they? Twenty-five were lawyers or jurists. Eleven were merchants. Nine were farmers or large plantation owners. One was a teacher, one a musician, and one a printer. These were men of means and education, yet they signed the Declaration of Independence, knowing full well that the penalty could be death if they were captured.

Today we have manifest treason morphed into sedition (conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of the state) in the form of acts against a duly nominated and then elected president, our democratic election process and our democracy itself.

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Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials have broken sacred trust with We the People. They have abused their standing and power in an effort at a soft coup. It is ongoing, but slowly the curtain is being pulled back to reveal yet more disturbing facts than we could have imagined just a few short years ago.

The Deep State has robbed us of our national pride. The Alt-Left have driven divisive pillars all around us in an attempt to corral our patriotism and then destroy it. The Mainstream Media perpetrate divisive propaganda and fake news.

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Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., used the American flag as his symbol for the Civil Rights movement. His dream of Americans judging each other based on our character (our words and deeds) instead of the color of our skin, or origin, or religion, etc., if far from realized.

Selma to Montgomery, Alabama Civil Rights March

Having grown up in the 1960’s and 1970’s in Southern California, I can tell you even though things weren’t perfect; there was far less racial vitriol than there is today. Rev. King’s dream was becoming a reality.

Today, Rev. King might say that anyone who would divide us for any reason is UN-American. Rev. King was about loving your neighbor as yourself. He was about togetherness and celebrating similarities.

Americans are generous, benevolent, kind, hardworking, fierce and persistent. We are persistent in our belief that all men (and women) are created equal, but that equality must be protected and preserved by the character of our people. Rights are not given so much as they are earned through citizenship. Opportunity is not a gift; it is a hard-won prize of effort and conviction.

The Justice Department and FBI scandals of today should be met with the same consequence that befell Major John Andre, Benedict Arnold’s accomplice, who was captured and then hung.

John Andre's Execution

In time of invasion or sedition, the President can suspend habeas corpus (legal due process) and have invaders and traitors tried under the rules of the Uniform Code of Military Justice in a military commission.

We are at war (Global War on Terror), and traitors (FBI, DOJ officials) and invaders (unlawful border crossers) abound!

In 1942, during WWII, six of eight German saboteurs were caught dry foot on US soil, were denied habeas corpus, tried by military commission (unanimously approved by the Supreme Court), and then executed by electric chair less than eight weeks after their capture.

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What then is the difference between the German saboteurs (who were proven to have the means and intent to kill and to destroy property in the name of the Third Reich, and were found guilty of breaking the Geneva Conventions) and those who illegally cross our borders, or unlawful combatant Islamists who want to kill us being held at the US military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and who still perpetrate deadly terror throughout the world, including on our own soil?

In Boumediene vs. Bush, the Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision (the swing vote and decision written by Justice Kennedy, who has announced he will be retiring from the bench by the end of July), it was mentioned that the US presence at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (Gitmo), was tantamount to “de facto” US territory, which laid the groundwork for detainees to petition for habeas corpus, as if they were on actual US soil.

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In the early 1990’s then President Bill Clinton used Guantanamo Bay as a detention center for unlawful immigrants from both Haiti and Cuba. Conditions were harsh, just like they were for the first detainees in the Global War on Terror at Camp X-Ray for three months, until better accommodations at Camp Delta could be built in April of 2002.

If the current law of the land considers Gitmo to be de facto US soil, then there is no bar to sending those accused of sedition and invasion there to await trial by military commission.

Why then is the penalty less, or non-existent for those who now would take away the freedom, independence and liberty fought for and won with the blood of our forbearers and framers?

Now more than ever we must rally to the side of our President, who, despite sometimes unsavory characteristics, has made the pledge of his good name, livelihood and life to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, so help him, God.

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On this Independence Day, please be mindful of your combat veteran neighbors, and be thrifty with your fireworks if you have them. Remember those who helped create this great nation pledged (and some gave) the full measure of their existence so that WE may be entrusted with carrying on with the hard work of preserving this great Union, with all of its pitfalls and tribulations, wonder and beauty, but to see through the fog of war and the false pretenses of un-America activities.

This land is our land, and we need to protect it with the conviction and vigor that motivated the original 56 patriots. This day is for them and for us; it is Independence Day for Patriots. Let’s act like it.

Now is the time for Trump’s Gitmo to flourish

Now that Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced his retirement from the bench, President Donald Trump can revisit the matter of Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723 (2008), in which Kennedy cast the deciding 5-4 vote, and wrote the majority opinion, which gave unlawful combatant Islamists who want to kill us, housed at the US military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the right to petition for habeas corpus, or due process rights.

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One of the main points of contention in Boumediene came down to whether or not the 45 square mile slice of extreme southeastern Cuba, is considered Cuban or US soil. The Court could not deny that geographically and politically, Guantanamo Bay is Cuban territory, but, playing fast and loose with the facts, nonetheless declared it “de facto US territory.”

Habeas corpus was denied unlawful combatants held at Gitmo via President George W. Bush’s 2006 Military Commission’s Act. Detainees and their attorney’s argued that since the US controlled the territory and were holding them “indefinitely,” that their clients should be afforded due process of the law and challenge their internment. This is way oversimplifying the decision, nonetheless . . . .

Geneva Conventions and the Law of Land Warfare dictate that only lawful combatants (POW’s) are entitled to extra legal privileges and certain treatment. Unlawful combatants may be shot on sight on the battlefield and have ZERO rights.

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In early 2002, after it was determined that unlawful combatants could not be safely and securely held in-country in Afghanistan (see The Battle of Qala-i-Jangi), the detention facilities at Gitmo previously used to isolate trouble makers among the early 1990’s Hatian and Cuban boat people, was available and could be used to house over 250 War on Terror detainees temporarily while a more suitable facility was constructed. Detainees were moved from the initial facility, called Camp X-Ray, to the new facility, Camp Delta, in April of 2002.

The initial Camp X-Ray was used for only 3 months, but was and still is the image the Left chooses to perpetuate when they cry abuse and torture of detainees at Gitmo.

What the Left will never tell you, and even hid at the time, is that the detainees were treated much better than even our own US troops who guarded the detainees and who served there.

Unlawful combatant Islamists who want to kill us who were and are housed at the US military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are given FREE Qurans, prayer rugs and beads, directions to Mecca on guard towers and detention cell floors; halal and special holy holiday Muslim meals including lamb and baklava; services of US military Muslim chaplains, white robes, beards; world class health care including dental and vision services; special medical equipment not available to host country personnel was/is flown in for them; TV, DVD’s, books, games, sports, an artificial turf field and communication with relatives and loved ones.

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To those who would cry abuse at Gitmo, NONE of the 731 detainees who have ben released, nor the 40 currently interred have been beheaded, executed, blown up, hacked to death, dragged naked and lifeless through the streets, drowned or burned alive, all things our enemies have done to us and/or our allies.

There is no moral comparison between how detainees are treated at Gitmo and how our enemy treats captives.

Back to Mr. Trump and how he can take advantage of a retiring Justice Kennedy.

Mr. Trump can write a new Military Commissions Act (MCA). The current one, written in 2009 by then President Barack Hussein Obama and his head of the Department of Justice, Eric Holder, gave unlawful combatant Islamists who want to kill us virtually the SAME rights you or I would enjoy in a federal court of law.

The outrageous standards of the 2009 MCA completely ignore the written language in the Geneva Conventions and Law of War, which stipulate that if a Prisoner of War (POW), or detained person is accused of war crimes, they are to be tried with the same standards as US troops would be tried under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). That is fair, and legal.

What Bush and then Obama created was MCA Light and MCA Extra Light, respectively.

Bush did it so that the US would appear to be more fair than required, and Obama did it so that the legal process would be so arduous and complicated that people would just eventually throw up their hands and then let the bad guys go! Letting the bad guys go was Obama’s mantra during his eight, free-styling years in office, which saw him release the “worst of the worst” of our captured enemies, some of whom went directly back to their previous deadly deeds, including one who had a hand in the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi, on September 11, 2012.

Trump has PROMISED to “fill up” Guantanamo with “some bad dudes.” That’s great, but how they are treated there and how those accused of war crimes are prosecuted matter.

In 1942, six of eight German saboteurs who were caught dry-foot on US soil, were denied habeas corpus, tried by military commission under the UCMJ, and then executed by electric chair, all within eight weeks of their capture. At the time, the US Supreme Court unanimously approved the denial of habeas and the establishment of a military commission, as per the Constitution and the Law of War.

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The system can and has worked, but not if everybody needs their fingerprints on a way to prevent justice from being done.

So, Mr. President, I implore you to take charge. Search for your new Supreme Court Justice and then ask the candidates whether they would overturn Boumediene v. Bush. If the answer is “yes,” then you have your man/woman.

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From there, craft your new Military Commissions Act, or revert to the original that took care of unlawful combatants during WWII. You could even use the law to deal with invaders (aka illegal immigrants) from other countries. It would be too easy to call them invaders, deny them habeas rights, and then prosecute them under the new MCA. After all, who’s to say whether or not these invaders are not also unlawful combatant Islamists who want to kill us? Besides, there is a war going on, the Global War on Terror, and it’s about time we started acting like it, and the timing just couldn’t be better.

 

 

What if NYC Terrorist was bin Laden?

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The question is asked because even though President Donald Trump initially said that the man who killed 8 and injured about twice as many in an Islamist rampage on the Lower West Side of Manhattan bike lane using a rental truck should be sent to Gitmo and tried as an enemy combatant, but then later changed his mind, saying it would take too much time compared to a Federal prosecution.

He had it right the first time.

If the NYC terrorist is an unlawful combatant in the Global War on Terror, then he belongs at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (a.k.a. Gitmo).

The problem is Obama’s 2009 Military Commissions Act, which gives unlawful combatant detainees accused of war crimes virtually the SAME rights you or I would enjoy in a Federal court of law. That’s why it’s taken years for several accused detainees to come to trial.

The Law of Land Warfare (U.S. Army Field Manual 27-10) and the Geneva Conventions allow accused war criminals only the same rights as an accused U.S. soldier would have under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Giving accused terrorists (unlawful combatants) an opportunity in U.S. Federal Court to be read Miranda rights, go free on technicalities, go to a Federal prison where they can spread their rhetoric and recruit other inmates and then eventually be set free puts us all at risk. Expediency should never come before security.

Gitmo is legal, and it is a small but essential piece to the big puzzle of how we defend ourselves in the Global War on Terror.

Trump needs to get Gitmo right and use Gitmo as a tool in our efforts to defeat the Islamist threat. He is fence-sitting, and it doesn’t suit him or his objective of winning the Global War on Terror.

Imagine for a moment that Osama bin Laden had been captured instead of killed in a raid. Would the President believe he should be tried in Federal court or a Military Commission? Why?

If Osama bin Laden had been captured it would have been the ultimate test of legal and political wills.

We are either at war or we are not at war. The Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) provides the legal permission to wage war against terrorists. It allows us to capture, interrogate and retain detainees. Once captured, the Law of War and Geneva take over as guiding edicts on treatment and privileges for those detained and those accused of war crimes.

Would bin Laden have been tried in Federal court or a military tribunal?

His status as the leader of al Qaeda and the planner of the attacks of September 11, 2001, would make him the top commander for the opposing forces. Surely if anyone could be tried for war crimes it would have been him.

Why then is there even a debate about the status of those who followed his example and perpetuate the jihad against the infidels?

Lawfare and politics.

Using the liberal legal system of the United States against us is not a new tactic, and has been practiced vigorously by our enemies since the very beginning of the Global War on Terror, shortly after the attacks of 9/11/01.

An al Qaeda manual captured by British intelligence prior to 9/11 revealed our enemy’s protocols if captured. They should lie about their treatment, claim they were abused and tortured, disrupt detention operations, threaten and harass guards and demand a lawyer.

That last part has proved most advantageous. The result? 730 Gitmo detainees have been released. None have been executed, beheaded, blown up, hacked to death, dragged naked and lifeless through the streets, drowned or burned alive, all things our enemies have done to us and/or our allies.

Never mind that at least 30 percent of released detainees are either confirmed or suspected to have returned to the fight. My concern is more about the 70 percent of released detainees we don’t know about. Where are they, your neighborhood, trying to rent a truck?

Even in a game of Capture the Flag the jailer knows not to release captured members of the other team until the game is over. Why then has our strategy been to release unlawful combatants before the end of hostilities? That’s not a winning formula, and it sends a message to the enemy that we are inferior and weak.

Some released detainees have been paid off by their governments of origin and profited from published book proceeds. So, if you survive the jihad and get captured by the Americans, you’ve hit the jackpot!

Former Gitmo detainees were allowed to claim habeas corpus, even though precedent dictated that even lawful combatant POW’s could not challenge their wartime status in civilian court. How then did we get from there to here, where an obvious and confirmed case of jihad has been turned almost matter-of-factly into a civilian crime? Expediency?  Convenience?

My patience with the POTUS on this one is running thin.

If your gut tells you that the NYC terrorist should be held and tried at Gitmo then so let it be done.

If bin Laden would have been taken and then tried at Gitmo, then so too, should the lowest member of the group.

If not, then we are not at war with unlawful combatant Islamists who want to kill us; we  are victims of random, disconnected violence, and should study the childhood of every terrorist and attempt to empathize with their disadvantaged upbringing and feel sorry for them and others like them, and then bear our throats for beheading.

Gitmo Trials and Unending Wars: PC Myths Prevail

In a recent article in the Gloucester Times, that covered a trip to the U.S. Military Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by Essex County District Attorney Jon Blodgett, he discussed the place and the current trial procedures against accused war criminals there. This is my reaction to the story.

Don’t fall into the trap of saying “We are now in a series of unending wars.” That ends the conversation.

The “war” is the point after all, the Global War on Terror, the “thing” over which all the PC talking heads cringe. They won’t say it, you won’t say it, and until we all say it and then talk about, it won’t go away.

Generals NEVER discuss a battle or war without also discussing an end state. Be it cyclical or linear, an objective is the goal. So here’s one for you: Until all Islamists are dead or no longer have the means or will to kill us we must defend ourselves. From that you can build courses of action, choose one and then close on the objective.

The problem is politics and PC rangers. Unless one’s political and military goals are the same, one CANNOT be successful in war. And, like anything else in life, if you can’t be honest about the problem you cannot possibly hope to solve it.

Winning the Global War on Terror will be measured in part by the lack of seeming random acts of terror. If the world does not come together to defend itself against the radical Islamists, perhaps like many countries did against Barbary Pirates several hundred years ago, then the war will seem endless due to it’s prolonged persistence over generations.

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One question I have is, why are so few Arab countries actively involved in the battle against ISIS, the Taliban and radical Islam? So it will take a group effort. And those closest to it must be reminded, “You are either with us or with the terrorists.”

Regarding the Gitmo trials you neglect to discuss the major difference between what’s going on there and what occurred at Nuremberg or even Washington, D.C. in 1942, when 6 of 8 dry-foot German saboteurs were executed for nothing more than breaking the Law of Land Warfare and the Geneva Conventions. Gitmo holds murderers and terrorists. The German saboteurs hurt no one and destroyed no property, yet, less than eight weeks after their capture six of them were dead. How in God’s name did that happen?

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We followed the law. Military Commissions were established – with the unanimous consent of the Supreme Court. Habeas corpus was denied. The trial took place according to the Geneva Conventions and Law of Land Warfare, giving the accused the SAME rights a U.S. soldier would enjoy in a courts martial.

Now, instead of going by the established law, we go by former President Obama’s 2009 Military Commissions Act, which gives unlawful combatants accused of war crimes virtually the SAME rights you or I would enjoy in a federal court of law. See the difference?

Lawfare is one of the techniques Islamists are taught in training if they are captured. We know this from training documents obtained from them, such as the “Al Qaeda Manual.“. They are trained to lie about their treatment in captivity, lie about their past, lie about who they are, where they are from and what they were doing when apprehended.

They are trained to demand better conditions and to demand a lawyer. And they are trained to disrupt detention operations and to threaten, befriend and wage psychological warfare on guards and others who are responsible for their fair treatment and care.

Now, sadly, we have the legal debacle on stage at the Gitmo trials.

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It’s too bad we don’t have the fortitude or courage to simply do what’s right and follow the Law of War or Geneva. It worked at Nuremberg and it worked in D.C. with the German saboteurs, and it would work at Gitmo.

Maybe President Trump will get wind of this and then erase the 2009 Military Commissions Act, simply follow the Law of War and Geneva, and then move these trials along. Maybe.

Montgomery Granger is a retired, three-times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major, and author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior.” He has made many appearances on Fox News programs discussing Gitmo and detainees.

Trump needs to get Gitmo right

President Donald J. Trump has said “We are fighting sneaky rats right now that are sick and demented,” “We’re going to win,” and it would be “fine” if US terror suspects were sent to the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for trial.

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One of the President’s first actions then should be to shred the 2009 Military Commissions Act and then proceed using the military commissions’ guidelines from Army Field Manual (FM) 27-10 (a.k.a. The Law of Land Warfare), which is the U.S. adaptation of the Geneva Conventions. By that law, those accused of committing war crimes would receive the SAME rights as U.S. soldiers covered by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). This would be fair, just and speedy.

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Currently, the Military Commissions Act of 2009, hastily written by then President Barack Hussein Obama and Department of Justice head Eric Holder, and then passed by a Democrat majority Congress, gives detainees accused of war crimes virtually the SAME rights as you or I would enjoy in a Federal court of law. Outrageous!

According to FM 27-10 and Geneva, by NOT following the rules for lawful combatants, unlawful combatant detainees actually earn ZERO extra legal privileges. That’s why these detainees are not considered Prisoners of War, they didn’t EARN the status, which carries many privileges.

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In 2009, Congress provided these Islamists-who-want-to-kill-us with the full blessing of the “lawfare” they were seeking. Captured al Qaeda training manuals we read at Gitmo back in 2002, identified strategies the “Brothers” should use if captured. “Lie about your treatment.” “Claim you were abused and tortured.” “Demand a lawyer.” The bad guys know that once allowed into the American justice system they could use lawfare to their advantage and either delay punishment, or get early release. Both have come to pass for virtually all detainees.

In WWII six of eight German saboteurs caught dry foot on U.S. soil were executed within eight weeks of their capture. They had hurt no one, nor had they destroyed any property. However, they were not wearing uniforms, did not carry their weapons openly, and had the means, motivation and intent to kill Americans and to destroy U.S. property. Two of the eight captured saboteurs flipped on the others and were spared the electric chair.

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Remember, those six German saboteurs who were executed had not hurt a fly nor blown anything up. They were deemed spies and in violation of the Geneva Conventions. After being denied habeas corpus, they were tried by military commission unanimously approved by the U.S. Supreme Court. Spies caught on the WWII battlefield could expect summary executions ordered by field grade officers and above. Every detainee brought to Gitmo could have been lawfully shot dead on the battlefield.

Instead, they were taken to Gitmo for interrogation to “obtain valuable information” that would “save many lives,” according to President George W. Bush, in his memoir, “Decision Points.”

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What’s different now? Why did we release at least 730 known/suspected terrorists? Why are we allowing foot dragging in the court room? Why are we allowing religious garb, prayer time, Qurans, prayer rugs/beads, directions to Mecca on guard towers, use of U.S. military chaplains, halal and special holy holiday meals to known enemies?

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The moniker “Club Gitmo” certainly applies. In the early days, when I was the ranking U.S. Army Medical Department officer with the Joint Detainee Operations Group, Joint Task Force 160, tasked with overall monitoring of bad guy and good guy care, I was appalled at the difference between how we treated the detainees medically and how we treated our own soldiers. The detainees had immediate and full medical attention and care. Daily visits from an Army medical Non-Commissioned Officer, who collected medical intelligence that I would scrub and then utilize for reports to the Army incarceration command and Navy medical command, provided insight into how the enemy was trying to take advantage of the system.

In the end, each detainee received the highest quality medical care available in the U.S. military. If a specialist or special equipment were needed, they would be flow in from the States. If U.S. personnel required specialized treatment, they were sent home, a medical re-tread.

Sick-call for detainees was 24/7/365. All they had to do was cry and complain about this thing or that and then ZIP! Into the internal medical facility. Signs and symptoms of an illness or disease and BINGO! Off to the JTF detention medical facility. All air conditioned, and doting-over by Navy medical personnel who did not leave their bedside manner at the door.

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If U.S. military personnel needed medical attention they could NOT be taken to the Naval Station GTMO medical facility (Navy Hospital), which was reserved for permanent party military and civilian residents. JTF personnel had to first see their organic unit medical personnel (medics), then wait to see someone with more medical expertise if necessary and available. Most U.S. personnel could not find adequate transportation to take them to an authorized medical facility, as most Army units guarding the detainees had to leave their organic vehicles behind in the continental U.S. Many walked or had to take the base shuttle bus, sometimes waiting hours between buses.

This doting behavior towards detainees must stop. Detainees should never receive better care than our own troops. The goal was of course to keep them alive, but the pandering and doting was difficult to witness.

Now, the detainees are allowed to wear white robes and long beards. In the beginning, for hygiene reasons, all detainees were clean shaven and had shaved heads. I think we need to go back to orange jumpsuits and no beards or head hair. It’s cooler in the hot climate of the Caribbean and more fitting for unlawful combatant Islamists who want to kill us.

President Trump, who said he would fill Gitmo up “with some bad dudes,” could turn all of this around. He now has the chance to get it right. Let’s hope and pray that he does.

Trump vs Obama: The Gitmo Challenge

As sure as Casey Jones perished in a pile of smoke and broken steel amid the flame and fury of a head on collision between two burly and brave locomotives, President Barack Obama and President Elect Donald Trump are bearing down for a modern version of that fateful clash.

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“There should be no further releases from Gitmo,” Started the determined Tweet. “These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.”

With this pure and logical Tweet, almost as if on cue, the President Elect seemed to be responding to an editorial by the Washington Post earlier in the day, calling for him to close Gitmo.

His response? In your face.

Even more, it is finally a direct challenge to the President regarding his failed policy of releasing unlawful combatant Islamists back into the Global War on Terror.

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According to the Director of National Intelligence, 30 percent of released detainees have returned or are suspected to have returned to the fight. And what about the other 70 percent we don’t know about, where are they?

Everyone except the President and his floundering administration knows that releasing dangerous terrorists into a world plagued by terrorism is not in the best interests of the American People, or anyone for that matter.

For a President Elect who ran on and has repeated his top priority of “America First,” his Tweet about not releasing more detainees is consistent and shows the courage of his convictions.

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The President Elect has now done more than any other person, in government or out, in the last eight years to challenge and put the President on notice over his catch and release policy with regard to emptying Gitmo, most recently of the “worst of the worst,” as labeled by Donald Rumsfeld back in 2002, when Gitmo opened. These men are dyed-in-the-wool terrorists, highly trained, skilled and committed to killing innocent people of any race, age, gender or nationality.

Recently, President Obama announced the probable release of up to 22 more detainees from the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This prompted a few outcries from this law maker or that, but nothing seemed to get the President’s attention regarding the fact that we are still at war, and that releasing our enemies while that war is hot is at worst treasonous, and at best pretty damn stupid.

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The gloves are off, the face slapped and the challenge laid bare. The President can run, but he cannot hide from this test of manhood made in a simple Tweet. He must face the issue or move along quietly into private life and then leave the Big Boy issues to the Big Boys.

Sending Josh Earnest to deal with this one would be inadequate, even for Barack Obama. He has got to respond, and respond in a positive way or risk any shred of rationality left in his now fast crumbling presidency.

When the President responds, he must do so without the tired and false narrative regurgitated one more time in the Washington Post article. There is no “international outcry” to close Gitmo. Gitmo has never been used by our enemies as a recruiting tool, and the Administration has never once provided evidence of this claim. There is not nor has there ever been systemic torture or abuse at Gitmo, and calling the approved and legal enhanced interrogation technique “waterboarding” torture is a lame liberal after-the-fact label that just won’t stick. The fact is that there is no moral comparison between Gitmo and how our enemies treat captives.

Waterboarding works, and maybe it saved your life. Just ask Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks, whether or not it is effective, and whether or not he is none-the-worse for the wear.

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No, Barack Hussein Obama must for once stand up, look Donald J. Trump in the eye, and then respond to this challenge of character. The same-old, same-old responses didn’t work eight years ago when he promised to shut Gitmo down, and they are not going to work now. He must capitulate.

Unfortunately for us, the President’s modus operandi related to challenges of his failed policies are either to ignore them, lie about them, or double down and make the whole damn thing worse.

Like Barack Obama’s apology tour, red line in the sand, Benghazi lie, trading terrorist leaders for an Army deserter, calling terrorism in the US “workplace violence,” “no boots on the ground,” “overseas contingencies,” “the Global War on Terror is over,” Gitmo is his failed crucible. He will die on this hill as sure as you’re reading these words.

The political world of Barack Hussein Obama is falling down, has run its course, is absent of any credibility.

Unlike Casey Jones, who piloted his locomotive to the bitter end in order to save lives, knowing it would kill him, President Obama will almost certainly jump from the train in an effort to save his own skin and fight another day.

Rumors of the President working to establish a “shadow government” upon his exit from the Presidency in just several days is both typical of his personality and fateful for his legacy. One last temper tantrum from the man who could never get out of his own way because of failed liberal beliefs, he will disappear into the twisted wreckage of his tenure as our Chief Executive, and it appears that President Elect Donald Trump is going to make sure of it, Tweet by blessed Tweet.