"As far as our clients are concerned, it's probably preferable for them to remain at Guantánamo."
11:42 PM, Jan 6, 2010 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
It wasn't for lack of a good reason that the administration fought so desperately to avoid being pinned down on whether detainee transfers to Yemen would continue. Days before the Christmas Day attack, a "senior administration official" told the New York Times that the White House was "gaining confidence in Yemen’s willingness to handle returning detainees." On Thursday a "senior administration official" told the New York Times the White House had decided to halt the transfers weeks ago. Josh Gerstein described the back and forth spin as "whiplash inducing," only to update his post hours later when John Brennan told CNN the transfers would continue. Yesterday, the White House reversed course again: "We will not be returning detainees to Yemen at this time," Obama told reporters, due to the "unsettled situation" in the country.
Here's the problem: if you can't send them to Yemen, you can't close Gitmo:
The only conceivable solution, as Newsweek reports, is to bring the Yemenis to Gitmo North -- which hasn't even been acquired by the federal government yet, let alone brought up to spec to hold the most dangerous terrorists on the planet in the heart of middle America. And that's no solution at all: "Moving more than 100 detainees—the vast majority of whom would end up being held without charge—to a U.S. facility that is already being dubbed 'Gitmo North' will blunt the positive message Obama hoped to send by shutting Guantánamo in the first place," Mark Malinkowski tells Newsweek. Oh, and Malinkowski "served as an adviser to the Obama campaign on Guantánamo matters."
The real kicker:
Not only do they not want to go to Thomson because they will lose their Geneva protections, but they plan on using the court system to prevent their transfer!
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