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Guest NC1406

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It's great to hear! I hope we can get our Marine back real soon from a Mexican prison. I'm not a big fan of prisoner transfers but it's how this administration works. Wished they could have done this 5 years ago.

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It's great to hear! I hope we can get our Marine back real soon from a Mexican prison. I'm not a big fan of prisoner transfers but it's how this administration works. Wished they could have done this 5 years ago.

I agree it's great with all you said. And to add to it, millions of Mexicans are here illegally and our leaders 'reward' them but can't get one of our military men back. Inept is being generous with the clowns we have running the show.
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Statement from Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on the return of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl

A few hours ago, the family of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was informed by President Obama that their long wait for his return will soon be over. Sgt. Bergdahl is now under the care of the U.S. military after being handed over by his captors in Afghanistan. We will give him all the support he needs to help him recover from this ordeal, and we are grateful that he will soon be reunited with his family.

Also today, I informed Congress of the decision to transfer five detainees from Guantánamo Bay to Qatar. The United States has coordinated closely with Qatar to ensure that security measures are in place and the national security of the United States will not be compromised. I appreciate the efforts of the Emir of Qatar to put these measures in place, and I want to thank him for his instrumental role in facilitating the return of Sgt. Bergdahl.

Sgt. Bergdahl's return is a powerful reminder of the enduring, sacred commitment our nation makes to all those who serve in uniform. The United States government never forgot Sgt. Bergdahl, nor did we stop working to bring him back. I am grateful to all the military and civilian professionals ­ from DOD and our interagency partners ­ who helped make this moment possible, and to all those Americans who stood vigil with the Bergdahl family.

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I'm glad for his family that he was returned home. However he would never had been captured if had not deserted his unit. These were the 5 that were swapped. Fair trade?

—Abdul Haq Wasiq, who served as the Taliban deputy minister of intelligence,

—Mullah Norullah Nori, a senior Taliban commander in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif when the Taliban fought U.S. forces in late 2001

—Mohammed Nabi, who served as chief of security for the Taliban in Qalat, Afghanistan, and later worked as a radio operator for the Taliban's communications office in Kabul

—Khairullah Khairkhwa, who served in various Taliban positions including interior minister and had direct ties to Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden

—Mohammad Fazl, whom Human Rights Watch says could be prosecuted for war crimes for presiding over the mass killing of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001 as the Taliban sought to consolidate their control over the country.

Another point, when prompted about the legality of the transfer the WH said it was done this way because his safety and health were both in jeopardy" and officials had to act quickly to obtain his release.

Nearly five years after his capture by insurgents, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's "safety and health were both in jeopardy" and officials had to act quickly to obtain his release, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday.

Yet,

Bergdahl, in good condition and able to walk, was handed over to U.S. special operations forces by the Taliban in an area of eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border, U.S. officials said.

The 30 days notification seems to have been available

Officials said the Taliban signaled to the U.S. in November that they were ready to start fresh talks on the issue of detainees. After the U.S. received proof that Bergdahl was still alive, indirect talks began, with Qatar sending messages back and forth between the two parties.

http://news.yahoo.co...--politics.html

Again, I am glad for his family he is home. I just am concerned and cynical about the circumstances around his release. To me, it seems like a magic act. Everyone watch this hand over here...

I also think that Shinseki resigned, along with Jay Carney yesterday because they knew the news would be swallowed up by the news that Bergdahl was released – I’m sure the news on tomorrow’s Sunday shows will be about the release of Bergdahl and how the President pulled off this great victory, and it will all be an attempt to cover up the scandals which are legion. By Monday, there will be no scandal about the VA – because Shinseki resigned and because “Bergdahl!”

And, oh, yeah, Bergdahl will be treated as a hero instead of the little coward deserter that he is. If he makes it to a court martial, he’ll get slapped on the wrist, get an honorable discharge and go on his merry way to co-write a book.

http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=49386
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Always happy to see an American POW coming home but I have to question how this was handled by the WH, w/o Congressional approval, and what was given up in return.

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I was not aware of the circumstances surrounding his capture. Unfortunate.

"Bergdahl was seized after finishing his guard shift in an outpost in the southeastern Paktika province on June 30, 2009. He was 23 at the time; he is 28 now. The details surrounding his capture are unclear: Some accounts have him captured during an attack on his post, others put him walking off his outpost during a counterinsurgency mission. An account in Rolling Stone implies that Bergdahl was "ashamed to even be American" and was defecting when he was captured."

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Also, a very peculiar tweet by this guys' dad:

free-guantanimo-prisoners-tweet-zigler.png

Hmmm........

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Guest NC1406

I did not know this was a prisoner swap situation when I started this topic. While I am very pleased that he is free, I do not feel good about this process. Remember we probably only know a few of the real facts in this situation which could make it appear better or worse if we knew all the facts.

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I'm glad for his family that he was returned home. However he would never had been captured if had not deserted his unit. These were the 5 that were swapped. Fair trade?

—Abdul Haq Wasiq, who served as the Taliban deputy minister of intelligence,

—Mullah Norullah Nori, a senior Taliban commander in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif when the Taliban fought U.S. forces in late 2001

—Mohammed Nabi, who served as chief of security for the Taliban in Qalat, Afghanistan, and later worked as a radio operator for the Taliban's communications office in Kabul

—Khairullah Khairkhwa, who served in various Taliban positions including interior minister and had direct ties to Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden

—Mohammad Fazl, whom Human Rights Watch says could be prosecuted for war crimes for presiding over the mass killing of Shiite Muslims in Afghanistan in 2000 and 2001 as the Taliban sought to consolidate their control over the country.

Another point, when prompted about the legality of the transfer the WH said it was done this way because his safety and health were both in jeopardy" and officials had to act quickly to obtain his release.

Nearly five years after his capture by insurgents, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's "safety and health were both in jeopardy" and officials had to act quickly to obtain his release, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Sunday.

Yet,

Bergdahl, in good condition and able to walk, was handed over to U.S. special operations forces by the Taliban in an area of eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border, U.S. officials said.

The 30 days notification seems to have been available

Officials said the Taliban signaled to the U.S. in November that they were ready to start fresh talks on the issue of detainees. After the U.S. received proof that Bergdahl was still alive, indirect talks began, with Qatar sending messages back and forth between the two parties.

http://news.yahoo.co...--politics.html

Again, I am glad for his family he is home. I just am concerned and cynical about the circumstances around his release. To me, it seems like a magic act. Everyone watch this hand over here...

I also think that Shinseki resigned, along with Jay Carney yesterday because they knew the news would be swallowed up by the news that Bergdahl was released – I’m sure the news on tomorrow’s Sunday shows will be about the release of Bergdahl and how the President pulled off this great victory, and it will all be an attempt to cover up the scandals which are legion. By Monday, there will be no scandal about the VA – because Shinseki resigned and because “Bergdahl!”

And, oh, yeah, Bergdahl will be treated as a hero instead of the little coward deserter that he is. If he makes it to a court martial, he’ll get slapped on the wrist, get an honorable discharge and go on his merry way to co-write a book.

http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=49386

Great post! Thank you for pointing out the truth.
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I don't like the politics around this. I'm glad the solider is on the way home, but this is strange. Obama getting this done in the middle of his VA scandal, failing to notify congress of the swap, and making a big White House announcement with the solider's parents present seems very political. Having the father recite a Moslem prayer probably did not make the bunch at the White House happy.

The fact they have him in Germany at a us military hospital for evaluation may indicate they are trying decide what to do with him. Court martial him for desertion, parade him around as a hero, or let him quietly be discharged.

There were a few US deserters during the Korean and Vietnam wars. They were dishonorably discharged, but the ones that later returned to the US were not punished.

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I'm guessing his dad's twitter account wasn't hacked, was it ?

<_<

His words might as well have come from bin Laden himself.

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Have we exchanged people for prisoners like this before? I cannot remember a case.

No. We've never negotiated with terrorists before. I along with many in our armed forces are struggling to understand this decision. As details emerge, I feel certain most will struggle with the decision as well.
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Does anyone other than the POTUS have the right to stand and speak at the podium behind the presidential seal?

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Afghans say Taliban prisoners freed by U.S. will rejoin battle

The men had been held at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since 2002 and were classed by the Pentagon as "high-risk" and "likely to pose a threat".

Two are also implicated in the murder of thousands of minority Shi'ite Muslims in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. military.

They were released in a swap with U.S. army sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, the sole American prisoner of war held in Afghanistan who was flown to a U.S. military hospital in Germany on Sunday.

"They will definitely go back to fight, if health-wise they are able to go," said a top official at Afghanistan's spy agency, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the topic.

"They will be very dangerous people, because they have connections with regional and international terror organizations around the world."

The Taliban denied the prisoners would return to battle but said the swap should not be regarded as a gesture of good will or a step towards the revival of peace talks between Islamist insurgents and the Afghan government.

"This is purely a negotiation between the Taliban and the Americans... It won't help the peace process in any way, because we don't believe in the peace process," said Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid.

The prisoners would return to their families and live in Qatar - the Gulf emirate that brokered the exchange - where they would lead normal lives, he added.

LOOSE ENDS

The prisoner swap comes just days after the United States announced plans to withdraw all but 9,800 troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year and the rest by 2016.

Many senior Afghan officials and diplomats say the drawdown will happen much faster than expected and reflects a U.S. desire to disengage from Afghanistan as quickly as possible.

The prisoner swap is further evidence of U.S. efforts to tie up as many loose ends as possible before leaving, diplomats say.

"They have made a mess of things," said one Western diplomat, frustrated with the pace of the drawdown.

In a further reflection of the rupture in relations between the two countries, the United States did not inform President Hamid Karzai's government about the swap in advance.

His palace declined to comment.

On the streets of the capital Kabul many expressed anger at the decision to release the five men, a contrast with scenes of celebration in Bergdahl's home town in Idaho.

"This decision showed that the region, Afghanistan and its people aren’t worth anything to American government," said Gul Mohammad, a high school teacher.

"Otherwise, why would they swap a useless army soldier who broke the law with the five most dangerous Taliban fighters?"

Some among Afghanistan's security forces also expressed unease about the release, which comes as the Taliban's summer offensive gathers pace ahead of a second round of voting in the presidential election on June 14.

"This act will boost the Taliban's morale and encourage them to fight harder to capture foreign soldiers. Now they are confident that their efforts won't be wasted," said army colonel Asadullah Samadi.

(Additional reporting by Mirwais Harooni; Editing by Maria Golovnina and Rosalind Russell)

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I expect they will be back on the battle field in short order.

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One way for Obama to fulfill his promise to close GITMO.

Bergdahl Deal Could Be First Step to Emptying Gitmo

Now that President Obama has proven Congress can’t stop him from releasing terrorists, the administration could be primed to empty out the prison at Guantanamo Bay.

President Obama released five Taliban leaders from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility on Saturday without consulting Congress and without strict assurances that the militants won’t somehow return to the fight. Republicans on Capitol Hill worry that the swap of these Taliban leaders for American hostage Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is a prelude to a bigger move—the emptying out of Guantanamo entirely.

In his 2014 State of the Union address, Obama promised to shutter the prison built on Cuban soil by the end of the year. Obama now has seven months to fulfill his latest promise to shut down Guantanamo—or come as close to it as he can. During that time, Congress will be unable to prevent the release of the 149 prisoners still there.

“This whole deal may have been a test to see how far the administration can actually push it, and if Congress doesn’t fight back they will feel more empowered to move forward with additional transfers,” said one senior GOP senate aide close to the issue. “They’ve lined up all the dominoes to be able to move a lot more detainees out of Guantanamo and this could be just the beginning.”

On Saturday, only three days after announcing the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan by 2017, the White House revealed that it was releasing the Taliban commanders in exchange for Bergdahl. The law requires 30 days’ advance Congressional notification before such a release from Guantanamo. But it was simply not workable in this case, White House officials, said; the soldier’s health was failing, and the Qatari-brokered deal for the prisoner swap unfolded too quickly.

Lawmakers’ surprise fueled their confusion and skepticism about the deal—especially since the on-again off-again negotiations for Bergdahl were an open secret, dating back years. GOP leaders, in particular, were offended that they received calls from their Democratic counterparts and administration officials only after Bergdahl’s release was reported in the news.

Now there’s growing concern on Capitol Hill that President Obama intends to bypass Congress to fulfill his promise to close the prison by releasing scores of more Guantanamo prisoners with little public or even private debate. Lawmakers and staffers see the Bergdahl case as only the latest maneuver in a larger plan to cut Congress out of the Guantanamo issue; and they’re not exactly reassured by senior administration officials’ refusal to disclose what steps will be taken to mitigate the risk that these prisoners could become involved again in the Afghan insurgency.

Of course, the Bergdahl case is a special one. Partially due to concern over Bergdahl’s fate, Congress actually gave up a significant amount of oversight of Guantanamo releases last December by passing a defense policy bill that eased the burden on the administration before releasing prisoners. Now, it’s just a simple Congressional notification. The law itself contains no enforcement measures and Obama even issued a signing statement at the time saying even the remaining restrictions violated his Constitutional prerogative.

(Candidate Obama pledged to do away with signing statements as an unconstitutional “end-run around Congress,” but often in these matters, where you sit is where you stand.)

“The whole reason the administration ignores reporting requirements is because they know there is no consequence for ignoring them,” the senior GOP senate aide said.

It’s also true that the Obama administration has been steadily transferring Guantanamo prisoners to third countries for years, as the George W. Bush administration did before it. But the Bergdahl deal was the first major release under the new, looser restrictions and the five Taliban former prisoners were seen as some of the worst of the worst being held at the facility.

Despite outrage by several Republican leaders—including House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon and Senate Armed Services Committee Ranking Republican James Inhofe —about the release of the Taliban commanders, privately GOP offices admit that the deal is done.

All they can do now is demand more transparency. But the GOP does intend to ramp up the fight over the larger issue of releasing the other 149 prisoners by taking trying to take some of their oversight authority back.

“At this point, I don’t think Congress can do anything on his case. Nothing Congress is going to do is going to bring these guys back. But what this might lead to is tightening restrictions overall to make it harder for the administration to do this again,” another senior GOP senate aide said.

Behind the scenes, several GOP senators had already been working to further restrict the Obama administration’s authority to release Guantanamo prisoners, even before the news of the Bergdahl prisoner swap broke. In a previously unreported closed-door meeting of the Senate Armed Services Committee over next year’s defense policy bill, a fierce debate erupted over GOP efforts to slow the release of the prisoners.

Committee leaders Carl Levin and Inhofe had already included in their original version of the bill a provision requiring the administration to report on its overall strategy for handling the prisoners, the risk they posed if released, and their overall plan to close the prison before releasing the rest of the detainees. In the closed session, Sen. Lindsey Graham won support for an amendment that would provide for Congress to vote on that strategy on the Senate floor if it ever surfaced.

Then, Sen. Kelly Ayotte narrowly won support for her amendment, an outright ban on transferring Guantanamo prisoners to Yemen for one year. If implemented, that would effectively stop Obama from closing the prison in 2014. Over half of the remaining prisoners are Yemeni, and would presumably be shipped back there. Several Yemeni Guantanamo alumni released over the years have now reportedly taken up leadership positions in an al Qaeda affiliate there.

The GOP effort, however, will take longer than seven months to have any effect because the defense policy bill won’t even be considered in the Senate until after the election. Typically, the defense bill is passed in late December. There’s no chance Congress will pass an appropriations bill this year, meaning Congress can’t remove the funding for transfers. That gives Obama plenty of time to use the current looseness of the law to push forward the releases of many more prisoners.

The Republican-controlled House already passed its version of the defense policy bill and won’t get another chance to amend it until a potential conference with the Senate, after they pass their bill. House GOP aides said it’s unlikely the House would take up a stand-alone measure on Guantanamo prisoner releases and even if that passed, the Senate Democratic leadership would never take it up.

The drive to stop Obama from releasing Guantanamo prisoners without Congressional oversight over the next seven months has also lost its key Democratic ally, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, who celebrated the Bergdahl-Taliban swap this weekend.

“I support the president’s decision, particularly in light of Sgt. Bergdahl’s declining health. It demonstrates that America leaves no soldier behind,” she said in a statement.

That’s a change of position for Feinstein. Back in 2012, when the prisoner swap negotiations were done directly by State Department, Pentagon, and White House officials in secret meetings with the Taliban in Berlin and Doha, Feinstein was vehemently opposed to the idea.

“These are major Taliban figures, they are not minor people. And they will not be in the same kind of custody, maximum-security custody. Forget that it won’t be Guantánamo, just maximum-security custody,” she said at the time. “And in my view, there’s no way of knowing what they may do and what kind of propaganda they may breed.”

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That sounds like the bunch running things in D.C.

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As someone who travels a lot to many places that are not on the typical Conde Neste travel locations list; I really don't like this precedent. I fear we have just put open season on Americans abroad. What do you think the price is of an American businessman these days? 1 Gitmo detainee? 5 Gitmo Detaines? 10 Gitmo detainees???????

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