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Front Page: Guantanamo Abuses May Be Worse Under Obama

  • Abuse at Guantanamo Bay prison has worsened since Obama took office because guards want to "get their kicks in" before the camp closes, according to a lawyer representing detainees. — Reuters
  • President Obama is set to unveil his $3 trillion budget to the public today. — ABC News
  • General Motors reported a $9.6 billion loss for the fourth quarter. Its executives will lobby the US government for more aid. — CNN
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will promise more than $900 million in aid to Gaza as she prepares to dive into the Arab-Israeli conflict. — Reuters
  • The governor of Afghanistan's troubled Helmand province believes reconciliation with the Taliban is possible. — BBC News
  • Senator Roland Burris's son got a job from ex Gov. Rod Blagojevich, according to new revelations. — Chicago Sun Times


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sjcaban sjcaban 7 years
Hi CS, Thanks for providing this invaluable resource to the web community. Just wanted to let you know that I promoted the "Guantanamo" tagged archive on National Geographic's My Wonderful World blog: Thanks again. I look forward to returning to Citizen Sugar for more breaking news.
stephley stephley 7 years
The connection between the uranium in your article and the pre-war claims is non-existent: The uranium referred to in the article was not weapons grade and was well known to the UN and IAEA and was being stored legally by Saddam's government. It was legally in Iraq according to international law. It could have been from any street corner in the Middle East, any former Soviet country, Africa, China. Niger isn't the yellow cake capital of the world.
Grandpa Grandpa 7 years
Where did all that "yellow cake" come form, if not Niger?
Grandpa Grandpa 7 years
YELLOW CAKE, IRAQ, MSNBC AP as reported on MSNBC updated 3:57 p.m. PT, Sat., July. 5, 2008 The last major remnant of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program — a huge stockpile of concentrated natural uranium — reached a Canadian port Saturday to complete a secret U.S. operation that included a two-week airlift from Baghdad and a ship voyage crossing two oceans. The removal of 550 metric tons of "yellowcake" — the seed material for higher-grade nuclear enrichment — was a significant step toward closing the books on Saddam's nuclear legacy. It also brought relief to U.S. and Iraqi authorities who had worried the cache would reach insurgents or smugglers crossing to Iran to aid its nuclear ambitions. What's now left is the final and complicated push to clean up the remaining radioactive debris at the former Tuwaitha nuclear complex about 12 miles south of Baghdad — using teams that include Iraqi experts recently trained in the Chernobyl fallout zone in Ukraine. Everyone is very happy to have this safely out of Iraq," said a senior U.S. official who outlined the nearly three-month operation to The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. While yellowcake alone is not considered potent enough for a so-called "dirty bomb" — a conventional explosive that disperses radioactive material — it could stir widespread panic if incorporated in a blast. Yellowcake also can be enriched for use in reactors and, at higher levels, nuclear weapons using sophisticated equipment. The Iraqi government sold the yellowcake to a Canadian uranium producer, Cameco Corp., in a transaction the official described as worth "tens of millions of dollars." A Cameco spokesman, Lyle Krahn, declined to discuss the price, but said the yellowcake will be processed at facilities in Ontario for use in energy-producing reactors. "We are pleased ... that we have taken (the yellowcake) from a volatile region into a stable area to produce clean electricity," he said. Secret mission The deal culminated more than a year of intense diplomatic and military initiatives — kept hushed in fear of ambushes or attacks once the convoys were under way: first carrying 3,500 barrels by road to Baghdad, then on 37 military flights to the Indian Ocean atoll of Diego Garcia and finally aboard a U.S.-flagged ship for a 8,500-mile trip to Montreal. And, in a symbolic way, the mission linked the current attempts to stabilize Iraq with some of the high-profile claims about Saddam's weapons capabilities in the buildup to the 2003 invasion. Accusations that Saddam had tried to purchase more yellowcake from the African nation of Niger — and an article by a former U.S. ambassador refuting the claims — led to a wide-ranging probe into Washington leaks that reached high into the Bush administration. Tuwaitha and an adjacent research facility were well known for decades as the centerpiece of Saddam's nuclear efforts. Israeli warplanes bombed a reactor project at the site in 1981. Later, U.N. inspectors documented and safeguarded the yellowcake, which had been stored in aging drums and containers since before the 1991 Gulf War. There was no evidence of any yellowcake dating from after 1991, the official said. U.S. and Iraqi forces have guarded the 23,000-acre site — surrounded by huge sand berms — following a wave of looting after Saddam's fall that included villagers toting away yellowcake storage barrels for use as drinking water cisterns. Yellowcake is obtained by using various solutions to leach out uranium from raw ore and can have a corn meal-like color and consistency. It poses no severe risk if stored and sealed properly. But exposure carries well-documented health concerns associated with heavy metals such as damage to internal organs, experts say. "The big problem comes with any inhalation of any of the yellowcake dust," said Doug Brugge, a professor of public health issues at the Tufts University School of Medicine. Hurdles ahead of hauling yellowcake Diplomats and military leaders first weighed the idea of shipping the yellowcake overland to Kuwait's port on the Persian Gulf. Such a route, however, would pass through Iraq's Shiite heartland and within easy range of extremist factions, including some that Washington claims are aided by Iran. The ship also would need to clear the narrow Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf, where U.S. and Iranian ships often come in close contact. Kuwaiti authorities, too, were reluctant to open their borders to the shipment despite top-level lobbying from Washington. An alternative plan took shape: shipping out the yellowcake on cargo planes. But the yellowcake still needed a final destination. Iraqi government officials sought buyers on the commercial market, where uranium prices spiked at about $120 per pound last year. It's currently selling for about half that. The Cameco deal was reached earlier this year, the official said. At that point, U.S.-led crews began removing the yellowcake from the Saddam-era containers — some leaking or weakened by corrosion — and reloading the material into about 3,500 secure barrels. In April, truck convoys started moving the yellowcake from Tuwaitha to Baghdad's international airport, the official said. Then, for two weeks in May, it was ferried in 37 flights to Diego Garcia, a speck of British territory in the Indian Ocean where the U.S. military maintains a base. On June 3, an American ship left the island for Montreal, said the official, who declined to give further details about the operation. The yellowcake wasn't the only dangerous item removed from Tuwaitha. Earlier this year, the military withdrew four devices for controlled radiation exposure from the former nuclear complex. The lead-enclosed irradiation units, used to decontaminate food and other items, contain elements of high radioactivity that could potentially be used in a weapon, according to the official. Their Ottawa-based manufacturer, MDS Nordion, took them back for free, the official said. Saddam's stockpile The yellowcake was the last major stockpile from Saddam's nuclear efforts, but years of final cleanup is ahead for Tuwaitha and other smaller sites. The U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency plans to offer technical expertise. Last month, a team of Iraqi nuclear experts completed training in the Ukrainian ghost town of Pripyat, which once housed the Chernobyl workers before the deadly meltdown in 1986, said an IAEA official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the decontamination plan has not yet been publicly announced. But the job ahead is enormous, complicated by digging out radioactive "hot zones" entombed in concrete during Saddam's rule, said the IAEA official. Last year, an IAEA safety expert, Dennis Reisenweaver, predicted the cleanup could take "many years." The yellowcake issue also is one of the many troubling footnotes of the war for Washington. A CIA officer, Valerie Plame, claimed her identity was leaked to journalists to retaliate against her husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, who wrote that he had found no evidence to support assertions that Iraq tried to buy additional yellowcake from Niger. A federal investigation led to the conviction of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice.
Grandpa Grandpa 7 years
I would be beyond shocked if there are not cameras and video, covering every square inch of that gitmo prison. Just because of accusations like those made by those lawyers
genesisrocks genesisrocks 7 years
CG I love the new avi! I thought those picture frames were hung on nails on the wall and not like built into the wall. That seems tacky.
UnDave35 UnDave35 7 years
Good for you. :)
stephley stephley 7 years
Oh, me. Yes, I called and wrote my Senators, my Congressperson (all three are women by the way) and the White House a number of times before the Iraq war.
stephley stephley 7 years
"Believe" the claims? M'eh, at this point, I'd say pass them on to the attorney general with everything else. Do I think the claims are plausible? Yes, based on anything I've read about Guantanamo, prisons, current political/cultural divides. Dave, who is that addressed to?
UnDave35 UnDave35 7 years
More importantly, did you call your representative and let him know that there were serious problems?
StolzeMama StolzeMama 7 years
But you believe these current abuse claims without proof?
stephley stephley 7 years
My turn what? I haven't made any comments on the subject of the post, just thought it was a valid question. I didn't support the invasion of Iraq - I googled the yellowcake uranium, Niger, Iraq link (even back then the story was floating around) and saw that there were serious problems with the claims the administration was making. Also, I followed the New Yorker magazine's pre-war coverage because I knew the reputation of the work of their reporters. I've always thought Guantanamo was a hideous mistake.
amybdk amybdk 7 years
Again, the word 'attack' is just so overused.
StolzeMama StolzeMama 7 years
Since i, as a lowly commoner, would not be privy to such secret information, which they should have read. Including clinton and McCain and Feinstein who all voted for it. You would think they would have learned their lesson with voting on something before they read it, but no. I was also very young when the invasion happened. So i didn't truly have an opinion on it. Therefore why i said that they are not comparable for me. So i answered, now your turn .
StolzeMama StolzeMama 7 years
I trusted my congress to make that decision.
StolzeMama StolzeMama 7 years
can you not read?
stephley stephley 7 years
So that's yes, you approved the invasion of Iraq?
StolzeMama StolzeMama 7 years
i was just showing the hypocrisy of the question. But i'll bite. I thought that it was congress' job to review the intelligence to see if we had reason to invade Iraq. They voted yes, so I as a citizen, thought he had enough proof. Hindsight is 20/20. At the time when we went into Iraq, i had a brand new baby, and did not do near as much research as I do now. Stupidly, I trusted congress. So I think the 2 are not at all comparable. For me anyways.
stephley stephley 7 years
Answer one question, then ask the other if you want of the people who commented here without proof.
StolzeMama StolzeMama 7 years
well same could be said for those who demanded proof for iraq but don't need it in this situation. Why the difference there?
stephley stephley 7 years
Why is the question not valid? It's reasonable to try and determine what's behind a certain line of thought - without questioning, everything is at risk of being random.
T-S T-S 7 years
My question is not irrelevant, and I'm not attacking any opponent. I just wonder if some people think proof is important in some cases and not others.
StolzeMama StolzeMama 7 years
Well when you don't have a valid argument you attack your opponent.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 7 years
True Song your question is irrelevant. you cannot compare the two.
T-S T-S 7 years
Skb, if you read the linked article, it mentions it. It says the report says there I'd abuse, but it still meets Geneva. Which I don't get.
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