May 23, 2013
In a speech aired on Thursday, Obama called for the Guantanamo Bay detention and torture facility to be moved from Cuba to the United States.
“As President, I have tried to close GTMO [Joint Task Force Guantanamo]. I transferred 67 detainees to other countries before Congress imposed restrictions to effectively prevent us from either transferring detainees to other countries, or imprisoning them in the United States,” Obama said during the National Defense University speech. “Today, I once again call on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from GTMO. I have asked the Department of Defense to designate a site in the United States where we can hold military commissions.”
In 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that the president does not have the sole authority to create and operate military tribunals and is required to get authorization from Congress under the separation of powers.
The Senate and House of Representatives passed the Military Commissions Act and Bush signed it into law on October 17, 2006. It authorizes the president to declare individuals as “unlawful enemy combatants” and subject them to military commissions and strip them of habeas corpus rights enumerated under Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution.
Obama now wants to import this process into the United States in violation of the Constitution.
The move to domesticate Gitmo compliments H.R. 5122, the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act of 2007, allowing the president to declare martial law, and the 2012 NDAA, codifying indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law for the first time in American history.
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