The Obama administration on Wednesday ruled out handing over the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, rejecting a central demand of Cuban President Raul Castro for restoring normal relations between the two countries.
Roberta Jacobson, the top U.S. diplomat for Latin America, also said the U.S. would continue transmitting radio and television broadcasts into Cuba that are opposed by Castro’s government. Washington believes that the broadcasts and Guantanamo are not likely to stand in the way of U.S. and Cuban embassies being re-established after a half-century interruption.
However, Raul Castro laid out last week his long-term objectives for the rapprochement, according to the AP.
They do include the U.S. returning the Guantanamo base and prison, lifting the embargo and compensating his country for damages. The U.S. established the naval base in 1903; Cuba’s communist government has sought its return since coming to power in 1959.
The U.S. is hoping to clinch an agreement with Cuba on embassies in the coming months.
An Associated Press-GfK poll found broad support in the United States for warmer ties with Cuba.
Forty-five percent of those surveyed supported full diplomatic relations between the Cold War foes, with only 15 percent opposing. Sixty percent backed the end of the U.S. economic embargo of Cuba, with 35 percent for its continuation.
But the views expressed at Wednesday’s government hearing were different than those in the poll. Senior Republicans and Democrats took turns excoriating President Barack Obama for negotiating in secret a December spy swap that also included promises from him and Castro to turn a new page in the U.S.-Cuban relationship.
In a bizarre attempt to rewrite history, the new chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, wrote to President Obama with an odd request: He wants the Dianne Feinstein Senate Intelligence Committee torture report back.
“Mr. Burr sent a letter last week to the White House saying that his Democratic predecessor, Senator Dianne Feinstein, should never have transmitted the entire 6,700-page report to numerous departments and agencies within the executive branch — and requested that all copies of the report be ‘returned immediately,’ according to people who have seen the letter.
“The Intelligence Committee publicly released only the report’s executive summary. But Congress has since changed hands, and the committee is now controlled by Republican lawmakers like Mr. Burr who have long opposed the committee’s detention investigation, which they said was a partisan effort to discredit the C.I.A. and the Bush administration.
It is a bizarre episode in which the right-wing senator is attempting to rewrite history by asking for the torture reports back to supposedly “bury” them.
New York Times:
“Mr. Burr’s unusual letter to Mr. Obama might have been written with an eye toward future Freedom of Information Act lawsuits.
“Congress is not subject to such requests, and any success he has in getting the Obama administration to return all copies of the Senate report to the Intelligence Committee could hinder attempts to someday have the report declassified and released publicly.
The Times stated, “A spokeswoman for Mr. Burr did not return a request seeking comment on the letter. A White House spokesman declined to comment on how the Obama administration planned to respond.”
According to the New York Times, the director of the Federation of American Scientists project on government secrecy, Steven Aftergood, said he could recall no analogous case of the Senate’s trying to get the executive branch to return a document.
What really happened at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility on the night of June 9, 2006?
According to the official report, three detainees hung themselves in their cells that night.
But according to Vice News, Army Staff Sergeant Joseph Hickman, who was on guard that night at Camp Delta, says it would have been impossible for the three to have committed suicide.
More on Joseph Hickman:
Here is a trailer for the 2007 documentary Taxi To The Dark Side.
Four of the six men released this week more than a decade incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay took their first walk in freedom on Friday in Uruguay, stopping to buy a bit of cheese and bread on a stroll through Montevideo, the capital. No one died.
According to the U.K. Daily Mail, the men – four Syrians, a Tunisian and a Palestinian – are staying at a house in a middle class neighborhood as guests of a major labor union, which has been asked to help by President Jose Mujica.
The union’s executive secretary, Gabriel Melgareo, said Friday that four of them managed to avoid journalists and went on a 6-mile walk along the Rio de la Plata river on Thursday.
The men have been accepted as refugees by Uruguay.
“They were enchanted by the blue sky of Montevideo, the tranquility of the city, the ability to walk through the streets in absolute calm,” Melgareo said.
Bakery worker Laura Larrobla said of the men who stopped by to purchase cheese, yogurt and bread, “They looked good, although they only talked through an interpreter,” she said.
Gitmo costs $147 million a year to operate. Is it worth the money?
Only 5 detainees at Gitmo are being charged with crimes related to 9/11.
On certain topics – such as the problems in Ukraine – RT (Russia Today) seems to give a biased opinion to suit its needs. In Ukraine, Russia Today tends to defend the Russian viewpoint.
However, on other topics where the U.S. must play defense – such as Guantanamo – they will be diligent in their reporting. In these cases, perhaps they are more diligent than many U.S. media outlets.
Abby Martin Breaks the Set on Gitmo ‘transparency’, review board red tape, military commissions sham, Zero Dark Thirty Lies, and closing Guantanamo for good.