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Guantanamo

The Takeaway

Takeouts: Guantanamo to Illinois, MLB Trades, Listeners

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

  • Washington Takeout: Todd Zwillich on the announcement from the White House that they'll move some of the detainees from Guantánamo Bay to a maximum-security prison in the "sleepy" town of Thomson, Illinois.
  • Sports Takeout: Ibrahim Abdul-Matin on Hideki Matsui's move to the Angels and other MLB trades.
  • Listeners' Takeout: We hear from our listeners on their experience with freelance jobs.

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The Takeaway

Detainees: Coming Soon to a Prison Near You?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The federal government needs a place to move the detainees from Guantánamo Bay if they hope to close the detention camp, as President Obama has promised. Moving terrorism suspects onto U.S. soil is a controversial move opposed by many – especially Republicans. But there are also those who support the idea and believe it could be beneficial in a time of high unemployment. One of the places the government is considering is Thomson Correctional Center, in the small town of Thomson, Ill. We speak to Tony Arnold from Chicago Public Radio, along with Illinois state Rep. Mike Boland, a Democrat whose district covers Thomson.

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The Takeaway

Self-Professed 9/11 Planner to Stand Civilian Trial

Monday, November 16, 2009

The man who calls himself the 'mastermind' of the 9/11 terror attacks is heading to trial in U.S. federal court. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four of his alleged co-conspirators will be moved from Guantánamo Bay to face trial in lower Manhattan – just blocks away from the World Trade Center site. We speak to Slate senior editor Dahlia Lithwick about some of the challenges involved in such a trial. We also hear from attorney Jonathan Hafetz, co-editor of "The Guantanamo Lawyers: Inside a Prison Outside the Law." Hafetz represents Mohamedou Slahi, a Guantánamo detainee who may also be headed to the same civilan court.

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The Takeaway

9/11 'Mastermind' to be Tried in New York City

Friday, November 13, 2009

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-described mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, and four other men accused in the plot will be prosecuted in federal court in New York City, a federal law enforcement official said earlier today.

Joining us to discuss the implications of this announcement on the president's promise to close Guantánamo Bay is Jonathan Mahler, contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and author of the book "The Challenge: How a Maverick Navy Officer and a Young Law Professor Risked Their Careers to Defend the Constitution — and Won."

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The Takeaway

Political Climate in Afghanistan Post-Election

Thursday, August 27, 2009

We've been following news coming in from post-election Afghanistan all morning. From Kabul we talk to Chris Morris, BBC's South Asia reporter, about the casualty count among coalition troops, assertions of voting fraud, and the release of the youngest prisoner from Guantánamo Bay: Mohammad Jawad, who was arrested in Afghanistan in 2002.

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The Takeaway

Is Michigan the New Cuba?

Friday, August 14, 2009

President Obama's pledge to shut down the infamous federal detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, by January 2010 means the administration needs to quickly find a place for the 229 detainees still housed there. After federal officials took a tour of the facility on Thursday, speculation mounted that the new Guantánamo might be a maximum security prison in Standish, Michigan (population 1,581). We speak to Detroit Free Press reporter Kathleen Gray, who was at the prison during the tour, and to the mayor of Standish, Kevin King, about what this might mean for the town.

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The Takeaway

Youngest Guantanamo Bay Detainee is Released

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Federal judge has ordered the release of what is believed to be Guantanamo Bay’s youngest detainee. Mohammed Jawad has been detained there since 2002 when he was arrested in Kabul, Afghanistan, for throwing the hand grenade that injured two American troops and their Afghan interpreter. His lawyers claim that he was probably 14 or 15 years old at the time. The judge ruled that Jawad has been held based on a confession he gave after being threatened with death. Joining The Takeaway is Johnathan Hafetz, one of Mohammed Jawad’s lawyers. He's with the National Security Project at the ACLU.

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The Takeaway

A Step to Closing Guantanamo? A Detainee in New York

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The first detainee from Guantanamo Bay prison to face civilian trial in the U.S. pleaded "not guilty" in a New York court on Tuesday. Ahmed Ghailani is charged with helping to coordinate the bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The transfer and trial of this detainee is viewed as an important step in the Obama administration’s plan to close Guantanamo Bay. The Takeaway talks to Jonathan Mahler author of The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the Fight over Presidential Power about what this first trial means for the nation and the detainees.

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The Takeaway

Uighur Detainees Put Palau on the Map

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


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The tiny South Pacific island state of Palau has agreed to temporarily resettle 17 Chinese Muslims being held in Guantanamo Bay prison. The men are ethnic Uighurs from China's north-western Xinjiang province; they were cleared for release four years ago by U.S. authorities but have had nowhere to go. They can't be returned to China for fear they'd be mistreated and their resettlement in the U.S. faced fierce political opposition. Palau's current President, Johnson Toribong, said his country was “honored and proud” to take the detainees. We speak to Palau’s former president Tommy Remengesau, who stepped down in January, about the island's decision.

(Click through for transcript)

"It’s the long-term ramifications. What is the view of the very people we’re trying to invite to Palau as tourists? What will they think of Palau if they know that we are hosting Guantanamo Bay detainees?"
— Former Palau president Tommy Remengesau on the hosting of Guantanamo Bay detainees

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The Takeaway

Obama in Germany: Debating the Future of Guantanamo

Friday, June 05, 2009

President Obama spoke this morning in a joint appearance with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. He talked about some of the same themes as in his major speech yesterday in Cairo. Obama said he's determined to get peace talks started again. Another major issue on the table: the closing of Guantanamo Bay. The Takeaway talks to Jeff Zeleny, White House Correspondent for The New York Times who is in Dresden.

Watch a clip of President Obama's speech in the video below.

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The Takeaway

What Will Obama Do with Bagram Detainees?

Monday, May 25, 2009

The fate of 248 detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center in Cuba has been in the spotlight. We’ve heard much less about the 600 detainees currently being held at Bagram Air Force base in Afghanistan. New reporting from our partners at The New York Times shows that the detainees at Bagram present the U.S. with yet another massive challenge. A federal judge ruled on April 2 that some foreign prisoners have the right to use U.S. courts to challenge their detention. For more, The Takeaway talks to Richard Oppel Jr. the New York Times reporter who has been following this story.

For more, read Richard Oppel Jr.'s article, U.S. Captain Hears Pleas for Afghan Detainee, in today's New York Times.

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The Takeaway

National Security: Obama's Plan for Guantanamo Bay

Thursday, May 21, 2009

This morning President Obama will deliver what the White House is calling a major national security speech. At least part of his speech will detail his plan to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. But with Congressman, Senators and even FBI Director Robert Mueller lining up against the closure of Guantanamo, what can Obama possibly say? The Takeaway talks to Jonathan Mahler. He’s a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and author of the book The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the Fight over Presidential Power.
"It's a diplomatic challenge. It's a political challenge. It's a national security challenge. And it's really an almost impossible situation for him."
—Writer Jonathan Mahler on the closing of Guantanamo Bay

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The Takeaway

Scary Statistic: Many Detainees Return to Terrorism

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In advance of President Obama's speech on national security, a report has leaked out that may strengthen opposition to closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The report indicates that 74 of the 534 prisoners released from Guantanamo so far have returned to terrorism or militant activity. Joining The Takeaway is Elizabeth Bumiller, a reporter for the New York Times who has been following this story.

For more, read Elizabeth Bumiller's article, 1 in 7 Freed Detainees Rejoins Fight, Report Finds, in today's New York Times.

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The Takeaway

Why Is It So Hard to Close Guantanamo?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

One of President Obama's first acts as president was to order the closing of the famous prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by the end of the year. But Congress may not make it so easy for him. Senate Democrats said yesterday they would strip $80 million from a war funding bill meant to be used to close the prison, leaving Obama with no money to move forward. Both political parties have demanded a more detailed plan for what would happen to the approximately 240 prisoners held at Guantanamo: nobody wants detainees to end up in their own district. Joining The Takeaway is Vijay Padmanabhan, Professor at Cardozo School of Law and formerly an attorney adviser in the State Department with a responsibility for detainee issues.
"Why are [Guantanamo] detainees so much more dangerous than ordinary criminals in terms of being detained in prison?"
—Former State Department adviser Vijay Padmanabhan on the release of Guantanamo Bay detainees

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The Takeaway

Congressman Jerrold Nadler reacts to possible inquiry into CIA interrogation tactics

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On Tuesday, President Obama made it clear that he is leaving open the possibility of investigating the members of the Bush administration who authorized the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques against terror suspects. The use of waterboarding, hanging from the ceiling, and other tactics could constitute illegal torture and President Obama suggested creating a commission to investigate these potential abuses. The President's remarks on Tuesday caused both controversy and confusion in light of earlier statements by both Mr. Obama and his staff that suggested he was interested in turning the page on the past abuses and moving forward. To help us understand what Congress is thinking about this issue, The Takeaway talks to the man in charge, New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who is Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
"Even the people who actually did torture in the CIA, if they reasonably relied on instructions or legal guidance from the Justice Department, they should not be prosecuted."
—Congressman Jerrold Nadler on investigating interrogators

Did you miss the President's remarks to the CIA? Here they are:

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WNYC News

Inside Guantanamo

Friday, April 03, 2009

"Jane Smith," a former Army sergeant and guard, talks about working with detainees at a maximum security detention camp in Guantanamo.

Her experience--and those of other guards, as well as the detainees--is chronicled in the upcoming documentary Explorer: Inside Guantanamo.

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The Takeaway

The week ahead with Marcus Mabry

Monday, March 16, 2009

Each Monday morning The Takeaway invites a person-in-the-know to look into their crystal ball and tell us about the events of the coming week. Today we're joined by Marcus Mabry, the international business editor of the New York Times, for a look at this week's economic numbers, Europe's involvement in closing Guantanamo Bay, what may be ahead for Pakistan, and maybe the winning lottery numbers.

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The Takeaway

Guantanamo detainee returns to Britain

Monday, February 23, 2009

Former British resident Binyam Mohamed is being released from Guantanamo today and returning to the UK. His case is controversial because he alleges that he was tortured while in CIA custody, and a British court says that classified documents support his claim. BBC Security Correspondent Rob Watson joins John with a look at Mohamed’s story, and what it says about how the Obama Administration is handling detainees and the alleged abuses of the Bush Administration.

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The Takeaway

Guantanamo may be closing but ethnic Uighurs stuck in limbo

Thursday, February 05, 2009

President Obama may have ordered that the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba be closed by the end of the year and the detainees either tried or freed. But for some inmates being set free does not mean being able to go home. One population in particular is stuck in limbo. Seventeen ethnic Chinese Uighurs can not be sent back to China for fears they would face persecution by their home government. But China doesn’t want them to go anywhere else, either. The Takeaway talks to George Clarke, lawyer with Miller & Chevalier, who is representing two of the 17 Chinese Uighurs in custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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The Takeaway

Former Guantanamo inmates shown in al-Qaida video

Monday, January 26, 2009

Two former Guantanamo Bay inmates have joined the ranks of al-Qaida in Yemen, according to a video released by the terrorist group on Friday. President Obama has signed an executive order calling for the detention center to be closed within a year. Will this development make that more difficult? For more on this troubling situation we turn to terrorism analyst Gregory Johnsen from the Jamestown Foundation in Princeton, N.J. and Robert Worth, the New York Times correspondent based in Beirut.

For more information, read Robert Worth's article, 2 Ex-Detainees in Qaeda Video, in the New York Times.

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