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Fri April 19, 2013
Guantanamo Study Gets Replies
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
And now it's time for BackTalk. That's where we lift the curtain on what's happening in the TELL ME MORE blogosphere. Editor Ammad Omar is back with us. What's going on today, Ammad?
AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: Hey, Michel. Well, earlier this week, you spoke with former congressman, Asa Hutchinson. He's with the Constitution Project. That's a bipartisan think tank and they put out a study about Guantanamo Bay and the treatment of U.S. detainees across the world after 9/11. The group said there's no doubt the U.S. tortured inmates all over the world and it also talks about detainees that have been cleared from wrongdoing at Guantanamo Bay, but there's no place to send them. Either their home country won't take them or they might be subject to torture.
And we got a letter from Michelle LaRocco(ph) from Philadelphia about that. She writes, Congressman Hutchinson mentioned that there is nowhere to release some of the detainees and so we need to find countries to accept them. I know it's unpopular, but shouldn't we take responsibility and let them stay in the U.S.?
MARTIN: Thanks for writing, Michelle. Actually, I talked to Congressman Hutchinson about that and he said that that is absolutely a non-starter, so unpopular. Yes. That is true. So we will keep an eye on this story.
I just want to point out a few other items in the report that caught our attention. It said that forced feeding of detainees on hunger strikes has to end. It also says people on the Department of Defense tried to discourage lawyers from representing clients at Guantanamo. They even tried to make detainees distrust their attorneys by spreading stories about them, about their religion or their presumed sexual orientation.
OMAR: And, as far as what to do about people at Guantanamo Bay, that's one - and about the camp itself - that's one thing that even the commission itself couldn't agree on. The majority of the commission says we should shut down Guantanamo by 2014, but Congressman Hutchinson, among others, says, you know, even though it's not great to keep people there indefinitely, for some of these more dangerous detainees, that's the best course of action right now.
We're reaching out to the White House. We're going to talk to some more people about this, so we'll keep you posted.
MARTIN: Thanks. And, of course, remember, at TELL ME MORE, the conversation never ends. To tell us more, you can visit us online at NPR.org/TellMeMore. Please remember to leave us your name. We're on Twitter. Just look for TELL ME MORE NPR.
OMAR: Thank you, Michel.
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MARTIN: Coming up, it's been a whirlwind of breaking news this week. Who better to sit down for a break than with the Barber Shop guys? We'll get their take on the major news of the week. That's ahead on TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.