Jan 152015
 

The Guantanamo Bay detention camp, established in 2002, is a military prison located at our Naval Base in Guantanamo, Cuba. The stated reason for its existence is to “detain extraordinarily dangerous prisoners, to interrogate prisoners in an optimal setting, and to prosecute prisoners for war crimes.” Most Guantanamo prisoners were captured in Afghanistan and have been detained for more than 12 years without being charged. Some of these inmates are “indefinite detainees” – prisoners considered too dangerous to be released but, due to insufficient evidence, cannot be tried in court. Advocates and former prisoners have accused our military of human rights abuses by subjecting these detainees to torture, sexual degradation, forced drugging and religious persecution. At least 6 Guantanamo detainees are reported to have committed suicide and 9 others have reportedly died in custody, but defense lawyers contend these numbers are understated. Prisoners have conducted several hunger strikes which have resulted in camp guards force-feeding detainees. President Obama campaigned on a promise to close this facility but Congress has prevented him from locking these prisoners up in stateside federal prisons or sending them abroad. There are now 143 detainees remaining at Guantanamo Bay even though 73 of these men were cleared for release years ago. The remaining 70 detainees are awaiting Congressional approval for transfer to stateside federal penitentiaries. Those opposed to releases say these prisoners should stay behind bars until we can assure they will not return to the battlefield. One recent study confirmed that 107 of 620 detainees released from Guantanamo, or 17%, had returned to terrorism as of last July, and another 77, or 12%, are suspected of having done so. Those opposed to this facility say Guantanamo Bay has been a shameful failure since it opened. They claim indefinitely incarcerating those who have not been charged or tried violates everything we’re fighting for and everything we stand for as a nation.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current Guantanamo policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility; conduct detainee trials; relocate those found to be guilty to stateside federal correctional facilities; parole those who are found to be eligible; and repatriate those not tried

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

In response to 9/11 and our war on terrorism, we passed the USA Patriot Act of 2001 which authorizes the use of wartime procedures to capture and prosecute terrorists. This law reversed many of the restrictions which were imposed on the government after it was caught spying on private citizens and political groups in the 1970s. The patriot Act suspends many of the civil liberties basic to our democracy. It allows the use of military tribunals, racial profiling, and indefinite incarceration without due process or evidence of wrongdoing. It gives federal prosecutors the authority to conduct wiretap and surveillance operations without proof of criminal activity. It also allows law enforcement to seize bank, telephone and e-mail records for counterterrorism investigations without significant oversight. Patriot Act supporters claim that we must choose between these civil liberties and fighting terrorism. Civil libertarians say this law puts at risk the personal freedoms and rights embodied in the Constitution which, in the past, we have gone to war to protect. They claim the Patriot Act is unnecessary because our usual civil procedures are capable of prosecuting terrorists. Contrary to this law’s intent, our Justice Department has used the Patriot Act’s anti-terrorist provisions to pursue defendants for crimes unrelated to terrorism, including drug violations, credit card fraud and bank theft. The NSA has also used the Patriot Act to justify eavesdropping on the private communications of millions of law-abiding Americans. The sunset date for the Patriot Act is June of 2017.

Pending Legislation: None

I oppose reforming current Patriot Act policy

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to advance the Patriot Act’s sunset date to 2015

 Posted by at 12:00 am
Jan 152015
 

After 9/11, our CIA received authority from the Bush administration to engage in extraordinary rendition, or the transfer without due process, of suspected terrorists to the custody of foreign governments for the purpose of interrogation and detention. These detainees were then subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including abuse and torture. Most assumed these techniques consisted of sleep and sensory depravation or overload, and waterboarding -pouring water over the cloth-covered face of a restrained suspect. However it has recently been revealed that our interrogators also held suspects underwater in bathtubs until they nearly died, while doctors stood by to ensure they didn’t. This secret program was conducted in places beyond reach of our laws. For this reason, we still do not know the full extent of participation by still-unidentified foreign governments, or the number of people victimized by our rendition and torture programs. Critics say that although this program held little regard for the rule of domestic or international law, no official has ever been charged with these crimes. Our government has refused to acknowledge its involvement in any specific rendition case but claims only 16 “high value detainees” were sent to overseas jails before finally ending up at Guantanamo. However, experts believe there were at least 136 detainees that were transferred to 54 complicit foreign governments. Advocates claim the time has come for us to definitively repudiate these practices and to prohibit their reoccurrence by law.

Pending Legislation:

H.R.2390 – No Detention without Charge Act of 2013

I oppose reforming current rendition and torture policy and wish to defeat H.R.2390

I support prohibiting the U.S. Armed Forces from authorizing the apprehension or detention of any person except to the extent that is allowed by the Constitution or the law of war; the detention without charge of any person apprehended or detained in the United States or a U.S. territory or possession, except as expressly provided by an Act of Congress, and wish to pass H.R2390

I support identifying a legislator who will sponsor a bill to bring criminal charges against those responsible for extraordinary rendition and torture

 Posted by at 12:00 am