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Military Commission Process Still Moving Ahead

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 17, 2008 – Despite the Supreme Court decision last week, the military is still moving ahead with military commissions at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said today.

During a news conference, Morrell said Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates will be briefed on the issue by the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for policy and the DoD general counsel. “He is scheduled to get that brief, I believe, later this week,” Morrell said.

“But in light of that, and while we wait for that, I can tell you we continue to go forward with our military commissions in an attempt to hold accountable those terrorists who are in our custody in Guantanamo,” Morrell said.

The Supreme Court decision “does not in any way, at this point, impact the military commission process,” he said.

Still, the court decision is the law of the land, Morrell said, and there is an interagency effort “to figure out what the impact is on how we handle detainees and adjudicate them.”

Gates is on record favoring doing away with the facility at Guantanamo.

“The problem we have … was that we're stuck,” the press secretary said. “We do not have a suitable alternative to move the detainees we have in custody in Guantanamo or those that are not suitable to be transferred back to their original countries.”

Morrell called it a “not in my backyard” – or NIMBY -- problem.

“Nobody seems to want to house or confine these detainees within their state,” he said. “So until somebody comes up with … a safe and suitable alternative for detaining these deadly, dangerous terrorists, we are stuck with the situation we have, which is that we've got to house them in Guantanamo.”

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