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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  February 26, 2012 10:00am-11:15am EST

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but within a matter of minutes, please had reclaimed broadway. when the streets were cleared of those who defied the police were arrested and gone, some had to change their deflated tires which blocked the morning traffic for an additional 30 minutes. as traffic resumed, those remaining major ways to the squarer general assembly was already debating the movements next step. at 6:00 a.m. the throngs of protesters had disbursed only a few dozen remained among the police and reporters chasing the perfect soundbite. by then the barricades have been making impossible to see this sanitation and security record scrubbing a branch of the empty part of officers stood by issuing a crowd they could return within minutes of sinister crews finish cleaning. this turned out to be false. no one was allowed to enter the part. later reports revealed most of the cops had been informed about the week. they thought they were done in right here is the part of an
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exercise until they heard the orders to head downtown. as december's police corrupt domain of protesters onto one section of the area. if you arrested for refusing to this and barricaded eastern side to the barricades on the list have broadway. city officials were quick with public relations: the evictions a necessary for nonspecific health and safety concerns and spinning negative press the silver lining can answer an initial reports of destruction or five dozen people's library books, mayor bloomberg said they would be available for recovery the following day. the truth it seems like somewhere in between. early in the morning the library twitter account transmitted the following message. the n.y.p.d. has destroyed everything and occupy wall street and put it on dumpsters, including neo-ws library. it is time to shut down nyc. stephen boyer had lived in the part for most of the tomb of the
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cabinets and worked in its labor and help create the massive foes of u.s. poetry with anonymous and famous contributors around the world. that night he said he could barely save the massive anthology before the cops shut them out of the park and watch them books into the back of the tracks. our library has over 9000 books and a little less than 5000 taken at night he said adding the rest of the books stored in a nearby space went to the movement. i see the anthology by strapping both to my back and read during the raid. when asked about the incident, though for the people's library at beyoncé computers which the city had also claimed were recoverable after the raid had been systematically destroyed. a week after the eviction and representatives of the peoples laboring away know where where they retain to sue the city issued a press release stating only 1275 books were recovered with them at 839 and readable condition.
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the city had trashed or destroyed by than 3000 that the books seized. but after -- at the facts of the eviction were slow to emerge, one thing is perfectly clear as the sun rose on a cold november morning. for the first time in nearly two months, the park was empty before a handful of sanitation workers in iraq police. and a press conference that morning, mayor bloomberg chastised the occupiers for having overstayed their welcome for failing to exercise responsibility along with their race. now they'll have to occupy this space at the power of their arguments he said. as he spoke, protesters prepare to do just that and more. thank you. [applause] >> i want to hang thank all of
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the writers of the 99% to bed this evening i wrote this terrific book. it is really not to have published it. this is a book which is designed to build the movement it describes. and spring is coming and we will be out on the streets again. and wall street better look out. thank you, everyone, for coming. [applause]
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>> up next on booktv, jonathan hansen tax that his presence at guantánamo bay and the creation of the naval base at guantánamo and its continued usage despite the call for its closure. it's a little over an hour. >> i want to thank everyone for coming. tonight is special because we have c-span booktv here filming john's talk about beyond and a few weeks. during the question-and-answer of the top u.s. people to court to make said the questions will be heard. i just want to say this event is sponsored by friends of the belmont public library and we're thrilled to have jonathan hansen here tonight to talk about his vote, "guantanamo: an american history." as the century long fascination of cuba from the founding fathers lancie sinuous commerce but the control of runtime and obey to today's notorious
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prisons for enemy combatants. many of you may see this op-ed piece yesterday in "the new york times" entitled give guantánamo back to cuba and ensure people of questions on that later on. jonathan hanson is a lecturer in social studies at harvard and the author of the last promise of future days and coming to beating american identity 18921920. the author here sponsored by the belmont public library. dynamic manner takes care of publicity and lily smith does the website. budgeting during connors, director of the library. i do the author studies. thank you. john,, not. [applause] >> thank you, janney. i was to begin with a heartfelt thanks to the friends of belmont library for inviting me to speak tonight. it's wonderful to be in the company of people who like books, people who appreciate the gift that is a book. i have to -- not to say that
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mike book is a gift, only to say that booklovers appear to be a fairly endangered species. thanks to jenny, thanks to belmont, thanks to all of you for turning out on what is a school night. it's nice to be among friends and friends of friends and maybe friends to be, although friends of course doesn't apply and agreements. i look for two questions, comments, criticisms at the end pair come to think of it, skeptics, naysayers, enemies are welcome, too. this is after all a public library. i begin with a riddle. what is the 16th century tango and he achieves come the 16th century aquinas haircut 18th century american colonists, 19th 19th century u.s. contraband slave trader, fugitive from castro's cuba and
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an hiv-positive refugee from haiti have in common? anybody? to get the full answer of course you have to read the book, but here's a hint. also guantánamo as a promised land, a land of second chance, a springboard that could bring them closer to their transit peace and splendor, freedom and opportunity, reunion and rebirth. the idea of guantánamo as a promised land is uneasily with the place we've come to know post-9/11. this evening i will try to illustrate the claim by telling a story of one of the carrot varies from the opening riddle. the 18th century american economists in this case, lawrence washington, half-brother to more famous george. first i want to be sure to click the appetite of those who turned out today expecting to hear something about post-9/11 guantánamo. for that too is a critical part of the book. perhaps like many here today, i
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became interested in guantánamo and the spring 2004 when the guantánamo and abu ghraib scandal were breaking of the media. as the u.s. historian and illegal moral boundaries of the state, i was curious about a place that to be beyond the reach of the cube in u.s. and law. you may remember in the aftermath of 9/11, the bush administration defended the denial of constitutional protection of the guantánamo detainees on the ground that guantánamo is simultaneously sovereign territory of cuba and has set aside constitutional jurisdiction at the same time, within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction that the united states beyond the reach of international torture prohibition. now kubo contradicted what i
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thought he knew about the spanish-american war and the subsequent u.s. occupation of cuba. so i decided to take another look. what i discovered refuse the bush policy emphatically. the united states sees spain and one of the opening salvos of what americans think to call the spanish-american war. we retained during the subsequent u.s. occupation to cuba and refers cubit to start the day as part of in a curious amendment which brought the formal occupation of guantánamo to a close in may 1902. in short, cuba has never been sovereign at guantánamo bay. it's u.s. law or nothing there. the book also pushes back against recent attempts by bush administration officials to justify their calamitous policies at guantánamo and elsewhere on the grounds first to the terrorist attacks were so heinous and unprecedented to know what their response could be imagined. second, the u.s. public unanimously endorsed such a
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response. your, criticism of bush policy amounts to monday morning quarterbacking and forth, the torture of prisoners at guantánamo and elsewhere is all listed between america and another terrorist attack, all of which is nonsense. criticism of bush administration policy at guantánamo and elsewhere has not emerged only recently. nor has it emanated largely from liberals or outsiders. internal opposition to the policies unfolding in washington was immediate and adequate the goal. the fact that many high-ranking bush administration officials, many news to the challenge of national security chose to ignore the council does not make it go away. well then, if a unanimous call to protect americans at any cost of not drive u.s. detention and interrogation policies at guantánamo, where did?
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i think there are many ways to ask landa debacle, but often coalesce around a politicization of national security policy at the expense of expertise anti-intellectualism in american life. the leading authority and territory it says that democracy come to torture when military influence overwhelms civilian political institutions. in the case of guantánamo, the reverse seems to be the case. the torture and abuse that occurred there is attributable in the transfer of national security policy out of the hands of seasoned military and national security expert into the clutches of an intimate group of political ideologues who think dick cheney, don rumsfeld, douglas feith and john you. i'd be delighted to return to post-9/11 guantánamo and the q&a. for now i want simply to acknowledge there is something
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new and indeed criminal that the bush administration's attempt to torture into law and at the same time, i want to question the fairly widespread assumption that post-9/11 constitutes an historical anomaly, a fall from grace. is it indeed? the answer on to suggest depends on one's historical perspective. okay, so let stretcher gages back before the american revolution to the expansionist strands of an overpopulated and economically strapped sadness that of british colonies span between the appalachian mountains in the atlantic seaboard. for only by beginning beginnings can we truly understand guantánamo's abiding presence in the united states history for what it is. namely a product of the nations liberal political economy that is its universal, moral and political aspirations on the one
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hand and it's unspeakable appetite for land, labor, resources and markets on the other. to be sure, our liberalism access generous. anyone can be a part of this great american republican experiment at least inferior and at the same time our liberalism makes this presumptuous, often predatory. what is good for us is good for you, whether you like it or not. that paradox is visible in american conquest for north america. it is their interaction with latin american states. it is there in our contemporary involvement in the middle east and despair in our continuing occupation of guantánamo bay. now for a little history. my story begins on july 18, 1741, would reduce admiral edward fernand led 62 ships bearing 3000 british troops plus 1000 jamaican slaves through the entrance of guantánamo bay.
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the british troops were several hundred american colonists, survivors of a much larger colonial contingents joined the british expeditionary force to previous autumn targeting the world sediments. arriving at guantánamo branch an immediate liking he's been a debate not 10 days before renaming it along with two rivers and selecting the ideal spot on which to build the new city. he was not alone in tanking in his words the finest harbor in the west indies comes the rule for other shipping in that tends, and the americans to was quick to report began to look on it as a land of promise already. so who are these americans? just a year earlier most of the 3300 colonists mustered into the original british ranks have been struggling to make ends meet in the sluggish political economy.
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our burgeoning population combined with conflicts along the colonial frontier to limit access to and abroad a spanish monopoly on trade to the west indies brought colonial commerce and industry with the result was a society characterized a frenzy geographical activity, mobility weather running from dad, any law or leaving a chance to these americans were desperately on the move. tourists out by a shared duty which shall be taken from the enemy, the american colonists met with crushing disappointment upon arrival in the andes. within a matter of days and 300 colonists were stricken with yellow fever along with dysentery, cholera, malaria claim more lives than any spanish arms. inexplicable delays for over two months that languished in jamaica, british stronghold,
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forfeiting element of surprise inviting further disease in introducing the colony to that particular brand of snobbery, british disdain. and yet at the claim that stood out not only regarding british and colonial interest is one in the same, before his solicitude the americans an experienced politician as well as the seasons sailor, brendan had gone to the more cultivated americans into one in particular, lawrence washington. a 23-year-old captain in the virginia company. british educated and immensely ambitious washington came to the attention for his leadership in an unsuccessful assault on the spanish came in back and forward struck up a lasting friendship with young washington before they embark to cuba and guantánamo. the record survived in washington and bernard above the
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flagship, but it's possible to imagine something of its content. why should my should make lee confirmed the impression that all talk in the colonies was lovely and peered washington himself groping a family with a vehicle of wealth in advance that rather than a means of subsistence. in the year 1657 with lawrence's great-grandfathers john washington first arrived off the mountain of the potomac, the washington improvement skills and cunning bachelors snatching up the pride real estate in its most little pride. more of his father a surveyor, afforded him firsthand knowledge of the virginia countryside but also the frontier territory west of the appellations. lawrence was every bit father's son, he wrote augustine from
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port royal which if i return i shall make use of as my drawing. a lot in question consisted of 25 acres for huntington creek virginia which washington and augustine transferred before he embarked andes. he would rename his virginia estate mount vernon after watson, lawrence can buy a two his hopes for the ohio country. which judging from activity upon returning to virginia was always top on his mind. on the junior is by 1743 theorist father died, lawrence carried on in the tradition, married the wealthy arafat, forging powerful social and
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political alliances pursuing his landing eye and interest back and forth across the transatlantic teed off with prominent virginia and english investors found that the company of virginia eventually winning 200,000 acres near present-day pittsburgh pa. now, those types of resources at the ohio country had to figure out a way to bring it through to market. we simply carried east over the appalachian mountains in the old port of baltimore, new york and philadelphia. better to ship it down the allegheny and ohio rivers ultimately to the mississippi river to mexico. this only raises bigger questions about access not only to the french port of new orleans, but also to regional and shipping lanes at the time largely and control us pain.
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here is where vernon must've cut in. washington already heard from his father is a surveyor, he would almost certainly learned for vernon the plans for developing american hinterlands tend shun command of three key waterways. the yucatán channel of florida straits and the wayward passage. the mississippi river drains into the gulf of mexico as everybody knows. the gulf of mexico as part of a regional circulation system that governs access with various parts. current in the gulf of mexico flows clockwise and enters through the yucatán channel and access to the florida strait and the aegis sale, travel against the current is difficult, often impossible, which meant the ships access to the gulf of mexico through the caribbean sea. finally, caribbean in turn has entryways through many passages,
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none deeper and more convenient to europe and north to me at than the windward passage on which is guantánamo bay. in short, cuba was a gravitational center around which the system churned. a country that controlled cuba would trade and traffic not only the atlantic seaboard and north american continent, but the western hemisphere south. when it arrived at guantánamo with high hopes, what he found exceeded expect tatian was not simply that guantánamo afforded ready access at montego to cuba, spain's second capital in cuba, north of the day could insert the entire sleeve and offer better protection and tropical storm support for that is ideally situated to safeguard british shipping throughout the caribbean, all of which is true, but one time a over-the-top mind native splendor and navigable rivers rolling hills and fertile
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plains. and yet from the beginning of the expedition, a fatal disagreement between the navy in the army during the expedition to cuba despite a surprising absence of spanish troops on an open rookie santiago for guantánamo's british army never danced. the nine days knew that the absence of the enemy nor is the establishment induced ferments army counterpart general thomas well worth, vernon set off the local countryside on his own. descending the ladder he boarded a long boat and headed off to guantánamo river. the delight of what he found apparently exaggerated by his fear of moving it. i thought the most beautiful prospect i ever saw he wrote and guantánamo. the navigable river about 100 yards wide all the way with green trees on both sides appear in magazines and, skirting he
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pressed the hope to become face-to-face with an finest plains and the west indies by the river of the farthest navigable. well worth the while occupied to rise along the river as beautiful a situation for a time as any this country can afford with the fertile soil behind it. takes only a little imagination to wonder if that could've been the site of the original mount vernon in both washington nine. guantánamo began to seep the colony to, recognize the campaign. in early autumn 1741, newspapers have been down the atlantic seaboard announced almost accurately that admiral vernon was the right to to cuba and forces had safe assured a village a small distance from the city. they detailed descriptions of guantánamo company transports north. a finest harbor i ever saw, a
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pleasant island far exceeding all the west indies has been in come a country late and with cattle groups of horsemen, a place is healthy and no one of good deeds with indian court in abundance and what are plenty and peer as good as any i've seen among us. these are some of the images calculated distracted that the leaker columnists anticipating another long winter. make the best of the way here one writer said for a make no doubt we shall in a very short time have quiet possession of first come first serve now or never for plantation of cuba. unfortunately for the americans and supporters, british land officers did not share the enthusiasm for the campaign that they mention. colonial troops over europeans if they called them protesting be enough to expose the lies for procuring settlements and one of the earliest instances of the
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use of americans who describe columnists. and the military lacking the find command the oppositions was enough to carry the day. as the ads of delivering his land of promise dwindled, he sold himself what they thought he at least understood the americans directly. i think the information has been entirely conformable. he wrote to what i believe the principal motive of foggy american officers of engaging in the service. the hosts had been several in the west indies in cuba preferably to all other places. weeks of reports have left him disfigured and to her and to higher latitudes. the whistle on could do nothing to stand aside at the american dream went up in smoke. we discerned the camp young player he on november 16. mr. worth having marched down
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for impaired aboard the majesty's ship. to vernon himself felt the burden of completing this self humiliation. couric said on december 6th on a sunday he sets fire to a fine new battery at the center of the day and sailed out of guantánamo never to return. the americans by contrast would be back. not these americans and not anytime soon, but soon enough before any rival power including spain, but occupied guantánamo. few of the original americans survived the expedition. massachusetts and fight on our troops and returned it 50. i would've sent 200 troops in return 20, the astounding figures replicated throughout the colony. so i flush agendas among the fortunate to return in u.s.
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history. the washington last cuba with more than a new name. base diapering case accompanied him home late and 1743 by the end of the decade ultimately killing him on july 46, 1752 at the time ripe age of 33. it was five to washington for further storage card to transfer mount vernon from a silent at that to a military campaign into a transit symbol of a new nation. the more mount vernon became associated with its new owner, further connection to guantánamo bay receded so today guantánamo's place in american history is all but forgotten. one time i was there at the beginning and has been there ever since reflect team, sometime shaping aspirations in his two shins of the people who like to call themselves americans and of the american people to whom they have been so
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closely and controversially tied. okay, so there is a taste of historical guantánamo. and the 10 remaining of that to say a few words about where we are today. incidentally a always thought that obviously should be suspicious when a story and then turned to contemporary affairs than they should run for the door when we reach into them and move into the future. but given the subject and the occasion of the opening of the guantánamo prison, i hope the lentils we just a little so they can have some nice debate at the end of the top. someone has come the 10th anniversary of the opening of the guantánamo prison, is safe to say the guantánamo prison enjoys more public today than at a time its history. in poll after poll taken since
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president de palma took office, americans have overwhelmingly rejected the idea of closing the prison in transferring his populations stateside. in december 2010, just before proceeding its majority, they democratically controlled congress dealt a fatal blow to close the prison by prohibiting the president from transferring detainees to the united states from buying or construct team a prison on u.s. soil and from repeat treating detainees without a signed guarantee from the secretary of defense that three detainees would not return to battle, something no secretary of defense in their right mind would ever give. all these provisions were enacted without parliamentary debate and virtually without any public notice. ..
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>> i think 17 americans died. this case is a capital case. his commission goes for the next week. should be guantánamo commission declare him guilty, the president will find himself in the awkward position of presiding over the first military execution. one can only imagine the headlines blazoned across media, around the world.
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guantánamo execution, because we tortured al-nashiri, admittedly. so how than in the world has this come to pass? much of the responsibility i think belongs to the bush administration. for al-nashiri is no ordinary defendant. captured and united hammer it into a 200 2002, his transfer to u.s. custody and taken to black sites in afghanistan and later polar what he was waterboarded, threatened with an electric drill, and mock execution and more than his family would be treated to the same treatment if he didn't tell his interrogators what they wanted to hear. after arriving at guantánamo in 2006, he retracted a confession given under torture about his leadership of the attackers the songs evidence against now appears to consist of secondhand hearsay. inadmissible in federal court by the way.
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the convicted driver of osama bin laden told an fbi agent you've heard on al-nashiri planning to bomb. the degree of collusion that produce that information is anybody's guess. some of the responsibility rests with congress, determined to maintain and exploit the fear that about him at the public to a blind i on bush administration crime, concerts and congress. trying and kissed years in federal court would be too dangerous, too costly and too lenient. notwithstanding the record of successful federal terrorism prosecutions and the fact that census in such cases have tended to be far more severe for those by the guantánamo military commission. in the case exemplifying the
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supposed inability of the federal court system to handle terrorist crime, the alleged planner of the 1990 east african embassy attacks was given a life sentence, while tried at guantánamo and allows military commission before obama's shut the system down, was given five months in addition to time already served. the charges on which the two were convicted were essentially the same or material support for terrorism or conspiracy. it's worth emphasizing the longest send sentence handed down in guantánamo is nine months, nine months to australian david hicks. meanwhile, congressional democrats are only too happy to play along. this is an equal opportunity pointing. elected to be accused of being soft on terrorism, they joined republican majority in blocking transfer of detainees, would
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merely reconciles themselves to the status quo. when this is the bane of what one present a candidate used to refer to as straight talk on guantánamo. but surely much a response the rest with mr. obama himself. in august 2007, candidate obama told a woodrow wilson center for international scholars that as president he would jettison the guantánamo military commission. as a venue for trying terrorist, he observed, guantánamo was a perfect failure. mr. obama vowed to close guantánamo can reject mr. commissions act and a tear to the geneva convention. demonstrate to all the world, these are his words, that law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers and that justice is not arbitrary. the challenge confronting presidents is practical. still mr. obama insist a series of reforms carried out after he
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took office puts the guantánamo commission on a par with federal courts in military courts martial in terms of constitutional safeguards. but logic alone future. if the standards are equal why do we need both? military tribunals have a stroke of the objects of last resort rather than a political convenience, which they appear to be today. the al-nashiri? exudes the width of an administration cherry-picking the menu which seems most likely to produce the favored outcome. hardly evidence of a judicial system depoliticized. furthermore, by a long for a review at the same time admitting hearsay evidence and ignoring the sixth amendment safeguard of confrontation among other defects the commissions virtually guaranteed the guilty verdicts will be mired in protracted appeal. in short, the candidate got it right, the guantánamo
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commissions are unjust and unnecessary and not the past the swiss justice americans deserve. but mr. obama bears responsibility for the position in which he now finds himself in another way. those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it, the philosopher once remarked. i doubt that history repeats itself, but there's ample evidence of it haunting those who ignored. why has mr. obama failed to close the guantánamo prison? the president can't move forward i want to suggest because you've been unwilling to look back. there's been no records public accounting of the crimes committed there, and no account of how they fit into the more distant history. so if i can repeat my history a little bit, post 9/11 guantánamo is not the historical anomaly we like to believe. in selecting guantánamo as a place for prison to hold detainees around the reach of
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u.s. constitutional protection, the bush administration chose a site that had been used that way before. in the 1990s under presidents bush one and clinton when as many as 85,000, that's right, 85,000 haitian and cuban refuge were detained behind barbwire at guantánamo bay. on two separate episodes, some for up to two years. that policy and turned its back to 1970s when u.s. immigration officials first broached the idea of using guantánamo as a holding facility for haitian boat people unwanted in florida, on the same grounds, with no due process of the day the united states could process the refugees out of sight, prying journalists and human rights lawyers alike. and so the record goes. it strikes me that an american public armed with the facts about and distant use activity at guantánamo would seem less likely to remain complacent about it.
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and informed galvanize public is a cynical and on for shuttering both britain and the military commission and thereby saving mr. obama from compound guantánamo's and america's notoriety. so where does this leave us going forward? and this is where some of you might run for the exits. welcome in the face of these developments, this impenetrable block on closing the prison, i've come to conclude that if president obama truly wants to close the prison, the most realistic way to do so at this point would be to begin negotiations with cuba to return the base itself. the navy neither needs nor wants the base, and i've heard this in person on and on hold onto it as a goodwill gesture that fellow military branches in the state department ensures it is taking one for the team. guantánamo is expensive.
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to me, the debate over whether to shutter or make permanent much deeper very that dates back more than a century and implicates all of us, left, right and center, namely our continued occupation of guantánamo itself. i think it is past time to return this colonial legacy to cuba. from the moment the united states government force to cuba to lease the day in june 1901, the american presence there has been more than a thorn in castro's side, and serve to remind people the world over of america's long history of interventionist militants. few gestures would have a salutary effect from the current impasse in americans cuba relations in handing over the base. bear with me as our turn one less time to the historic window that preceded the u.s. occupation of guantánamo. as a circumstances by which that
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came about what is troubling and subsequent use activity there. in april 1898, american forces intervened in cuba's three year-old struggle for independence when it was all but one. thus transformed the cuban war of independence, what we like to call the spanish-american war. american officials excluded the cuban army, and then excluded cuba from the paris peace conference, that formally ended with spain's holding a cuba. there is so much natural anger throughout the island, the cuban general remarked in january 1899, after the peace treaty was signed, that the people haven't really been able to celebrate the triumph of the end of their formal rulers power. curiously the nazis declaration of war on spain included the assurance that america did not seek sovereignty, jurisdiction
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or control over cuba. and intend to leave the government in control of the islands to its people. now, this pledge devised to censure of america aspiration for cuba. clearly something would have to be done. cuba would have to be made to seem independent while remaining under u.s. dominion. the u.s. would have to retain the naval bases from which to exercise its authority. enter general leonard wood, u.s. military government of cuba bearing a set of provisions that became known as the plat amendment. to work particularly odious to cuba. one guaranteeing the right the united states the right to intervene at will in cuban affairs at the other providing for the sale or lease a full become the the guantánamo naval station. a leading delegate to the cuban constitutional convention remarked that the mmo would render queue and as he put it a
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facile people. anticipate a given missile crisis, he warned foreign bases on cuban so would only draw cuba into a conflict not of her own making, and in which we have no stake. they got the message. there was little or no real indie pendants left. the more sensible cubans realize this, the only consistent thing out is to seek annexation. but with plat in place, who needed annexation? over the next two decades the united states repeatedly dispatch guantánamo marines to protect its interests in cuba and block any land reform or social reform. between 191920, some 44,000 americans flocked to cuba to left combusting capital invest on the island to just over a
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billion dollars from roughly 89 at the start of the century. this prompted one journalist to remark, little by little the whole island is passing into the hands of the americans. so how did this look from a cuba's perspective? imagine the end of the american revolution, the french have decided to remain here. and managing that the french refused to allow washington and his army to attend the armistice at yorktown. imagined that the did not allow the continental congress a seat at the treaty of paris, prohibited acts of procreation of tory property, occupied new york harbor, dispatched troops to quash popular rebellions, and then integrated to the colonies in droves snatching up the most valuable land. for such is the context in which the united states came to occupy guantánamo. it is a history excluded from american textbooks and neglect in the debates over terrorism.
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but it's a history known in cuba were in the debate in 1959 revolution, another store, and throughout latin america it explains why guantánamo remains the symbol of hypocrisy around the world. who needs to speak of the last 10 years? if president obama were to acknowledge this history, and initiate a process of returning guantánamo to cuba he might not only begin to put mistakes of the last 10 years behind us but he would rectify an age-old grievance, and lay the groundwork for new relations with cuba and other countries in the western hemisphere, and around the world. there's a lot we can talk about. let me close with a reading. this is my favorite passage from the project. but it remains for reasons i am at a loss to explain, out of the book, on the cutting room floor. it returns to the
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counterintuitive thing i introduced at the beginning of people using guantánamo as a springboard to fulfill their dreams. this time you meet one of the last characters from my rental, a cuban fugitive it in this case, fugitives from castro's cuba. cuba celebrates september 8 as the nativity of the virgin, a day of miracles and wonder. the little boat winding its way of the windward passage the morning of september 8, 1994, we did all the help it could get. it was leaving cuba for good, bound for the u.s. naval base at guantánamo bay. just the previous month, cuban president fidel castro open cuba to immigration. in response to u.s. immigration officials established a temporary processing center at the naval base. cubans capable of making it to guantánamo can't expect to end up in the united states.
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rumor had it president castro and clinton were about to sign an immigration accord, the window of opportunity appears to be closing. for the crew of the miracle, the day had begun early. they hoped to leave the beach by 7 a.m. but first dedicate the little motor boat to water, which involved a truck. making them dependent on not one but two internal combustion engines unreliable in cuba, and their truck broke down. after convincing a passing motorist to ferry them to the beach, they departed about an hour late, bidding goodbye to stricken friends and family. after seeing the excess off, the families dispersed to the small town just north of city i go up the road, site of an epic battle in the cuban spanish american war. what were the odds of them
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making 40 miles down the coast? better than those of fellow exiles who went to the florida strait where the prevailing winds and currents threaten to drive them into the atlantic. it's an overstatement to call many of the vessels that lets cuba that summer both of which is why these immigrants are known as rafters, after the the craft in which many of them took to the sea. it was a true boat powered by little engine, she would be heading directly into the wind and waves. difficult but definitely doable. every minute mattered, and she was already running late. the windward passage rarely tranquil, its columnist in early morning. before the sun generates heat and, before the sun's heat generates wind and the wind kicks up the speaker got an avid early march and september, the
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seas is relatively flat. by 10 a.m. or so it has begun to mount and it will continue to do so through midafternoon, spawning ways they can intimidate seasoned sailors. by 10 a.m. at home, family members could be certain that it was plunging headfirst into daunting ways to all eyes were on the heaven. cubans arrived at the guantánamo naval base in late summer 1994 were a loud one focal to miami. where everyone knew somebody at work communications network immediately spring into action getting word anxious relatives back home. that this could take hours, sometimes days, a period torturous for exiles and their family. among the last objects lowered onto the tiny boat as it the parted the beach was a bird cage, covered by a sheet.
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inside of which fluttered to pigeons, agitated by the bumpy car ride. the birds were brought along not as food in the event of emergency, no, they might have served as that, but as a means of communication. they were homing pigeons, trained by one of the passengers. around 11 a.m., as it approached the mouth of guantánamo bay, a u.s. cutter came alongside to take the cubans into custody. but not before they tore the sheets off the cage, sprung the latch and released the pigeons into the air. within minutes, the birds disappeared over the mountain that will align cuba's south east coast. to black specks dot at the sky. the pigeons had made it home. they bore a note. [speaking in spanish]
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we arrive safely at 11 a.m. at guantánamo naval base. thank you for listening. [applause] >> so happy to take questions, and questioners are asked to line up. what's that about giving it back? [laughter] but you may not ask a question from the floor. you have to come up. >> okay. if this works. i have a question. in your following of the republican primaries, shall we say, iowa and new hampshire thus far, have you heard any questions at all on the part of guantánamo? >> in the last several weeks i have heard not much talk about
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guantánamo. mitt romney, about two months ago or three months ago said that he was really dying to make it permanent. and so in that way though he was just reflecting opinion, majority republican opinion, but also considerable democratic opinion, too. but i haven't heard a ton. as i say, this congress recently passed a new defense national defense authorization act, and that makes it as tough as it was last year for guantánamo, for president obama to do anything to the prison. because by and large it simply withholds funds from him to bring, to transfer detainees from guantánamo. so you'd have to go around congress and i think that would create a political firestorm. so i haven't heard a ton about it. has anyone else? i don't know. i'm sure that if you look carefully enough they're saying something about it but it's mostly that they want to keep
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it. [inaudible] been ex ord, we can hear anybody from the floor. >> i will yell. [inaudible] >> nope. even -- even -- [inaudible] >> that's right, but come say that. [inaudible] >> but first say that romney said he wanted to increase the number of prisoners there, not just not get rid of it. that's part of the legislation but they would use guantánamo not to have -- it's interesting, several years ago i made an argument at the time of the surge that maybe it was imprudent for us to close guantánamo, given that there is a modicum of habeas corpus and a modicum of. >> translator: , well, remind you at guantánamo. where else are we detaining detainees, under what conditions and for how long? we don't know. there's 3000 detainees at the moment in bagram. who knows where else?
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and being held under conditions that are apparently are not as good, people say, as at guantánamo. and guantánamo isn't a happy place, of course. interesting. so romney wants to increase the number. in that he is in very good company. >> so, we kind of take it as a historical inevitability that the u.s. is there. but did castro ever, during his might, did he ever try to take over guantánamo? was ever in jeopardy? been a good question. and what is the defense like that castro never made it into guantánamo? >> so, guantánamo has served both castro's interest in some ways as having something to rail against, and the american interest in having something to stick in castro's eye. that castro is way too smart. the united states since the revolution has been looking for
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an excuse to just war into cuba and take it over. castro was way too smart to create, give a reason to do that at guantánamo bay. that didn't keep the americans from top trying to stage any number of things. let me read you a fantastic set of ideas about this. this is random, okay? quote from a list of pretense, this is in 1961 or two. a list of pretext to justify u.s. military u.s. state department stuff for national security. there's a list of pretext to justify your smelter intervention in cuba, and it's included in potential actions undertaken at or near the naval base. oh, a series of well coordinate incident should be plenty take place in iran guantánamo to give genuine appearance of being done by hostile cuban forces. later on, a credible human attack on the naval base, to
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stage an attack on base, start riots near the base, blow up ammunitions inside the base. start fires, lob mortars years, capture military groups, sabotage ships. we could blow up a u.s. ship in guantánamo bay and blame cuba. we could blow up address so in our own cuban waters. the u.s. could follow up with an air sea rescue operation. i write here, this was an administrative want to play hardball. these are kennedy liberals, right? the ideas kept coming. we can think of cubans, on the way to florida, foster attempts on cuban refugees even to the extent to be widely publicized.
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auto terrorism, exploding a few plastic bumps and carefully chosen spots to rescue cubans and on and on it when. i mean it's really hard to believe. it makes for good, ultimately intriguing, but there you have it. so yes, i may, there was a lot of talk with castro, castro, castro was aware of it and he tried to basically stay out of it. this book is no brief for castro by the way. so you guys can ask questions but according to the rules, the guy blew can come up to the stage in. >> early on page 87, it's fascinating. >> thank you. and the whole history of the united states relations, even the dreams that your friend vernon had. i mean, tainted i would say.
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there was always some risk to take to procure, to gain access to, get rid of those who are there. army, the most horrible one is on page 87. they wanted to exterminate the various foes of american interests in order to annex the pearl of the antilles, you're right. and dear mr. teddy roosevelt, then assistant secretary of navy, was not uninvolved in these imaginations economy, there were many things back then as now. was equally interesting to me is you don't have to be a lunatic to believe so much of this. the idea that will just go in and lay waste to cuba. part of the book, one of the things i insist on, one of the
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argument, the reason i talk about this argument from political economy is because my point is, as i say and don't say it again, we are all sort of implicated. look at our standard of living in a world of gross disparity. that takes force, right? guantánamo was a cejka american nation making. nation making, anybody's, even ours with our vaunted principles, which i like, isn't pretty, right? i say that, there's this talk of a fault increase. grace is what nation making is about. our liberal blue economy that locks individuals presumes growth and expansion, and whether. the great african-american critic of some of my last book at the turn of the 20th century was looking at world war i and the race for colonies and things. and he said, a proponent of democracy. he wanted after and americans to be included in that as well. and women, union.
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but he said on host birds, whose back will fall the burden of rising that lists all people across the world? where to go to get those resources. the rising standard of living, you know, i don't know. i have a father-in-law who is a physicist who is interested in energy conversation and says we can do it. but who knows? i think your point is a good one, and it's a sad story. yes, there are weirdos like breckenridge who i quote and roosevelt sometimes, but i think my point is that guantánamo serves all of our interest even if you don't like to admit it. you know, jack nicholson, you want to truth? you can't stand a true. i think there's an element of the. a lot of other people i met with in guantánamo and the military, year, so that even though it
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didn't happen. >> please. >> just a couple of points if i may. i was probably at guantánamo before you were born, so i can envision what you're talking about. >> in 1970. >> really? oh, i was there in the '50s in i was born before the 1970s. [laughter] >> i guess i would like to say, what is your solution to the present problem? because i would say that turning the prisoners and the bay is not a solution from my point of view. because they will do, they will let the prisoners go back home. and as somebody once said, how do you get rid of a prisoner of war? the idea is you surrender. now, in world war ii, when italy surrendered, boston was loaded with italian prisoners of war.
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they didn't just say go home. they stay there until the war was over. and then they sent them back. well, the few prisoners that have been let go from cuba, at the daily some sort of history, who have gotten back into conflict again. so you get an enemy that you're keeping out of trouble for us, and you let him go, he can get back in trouble with us again. and so i would just say, i don't think just turning it back to cuba is a solution to the prisoner problem. my second question is, as your last little quote about the guys that sailed up to guantánamo, since the pigeons home and they were there and what a wonderful thing, what's your point? they were cubans in cuba who saw a better way, that is, come to the united states, get out of cuba. and i understand a little bit of background. i was there when castro's predecessor was running things.
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and i can see in my mind in the cuban who live there, who was in a part of his regime, probably wanted to see him out. and by illustrator i was a i was on a train in guantánamo cd, lousy city. >> i won't ask you where you're going to i didn't do anything bad, i can tell you that. >> guantánamo city was a famous place. everyone is but never me. >> i was there. and the user running train from guantánamo bay, liberty, come back. we were getting on the train that night, and a lot of -- the trains are open by the way. no windows. it's all open, good weather. there were vendors who would come up to the window and try to say things to get you last money before they went.
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one of these sergeants with a campaign hat on in the army, he just ran down with his sword, slapping, slashing at them. if he killed, no corporate that was the regime those people lived under. and the last point i would make is that why do those people want us to be there? number one, we employed a tremendous number of cuban citizens in that base. they used to come in the morning and go home at night, and they were paid probably the fairest wages of anybody in cuba. so there were a lot of reasons they wanted us, want to keep us there. >> fair points, good questions. let me just go to the birds, the story of the birth. you wouldn't know it from the advocacy that i'm doing on stage, but the goal of the book was at least sort of around its
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fairest at southwest to distinguish what distorted in history and when historians are doing politics. as moynihan once said, everyone is welcome to the own opinion but not to their own facts. so on the facts i will fight anybody. on ethicacy, let's fight. but the point of the birds was just to show to cut against this notion of this bad guantánamo. that's a point at the beginning. what's the point of the rental? people have been dying to get there, forever. it's been this incredible place, super valuable. americans have been tried to get there. cubans have been trying to get her to get out. i went into the book having talked to one cuban who said getting back transfer is the one thing all cubans, americans, getting it back from america is the one thing all cubans want. then interviewed 10, 15 people who liked this, came to the united states through guantánamo in the 1990s, and at the at the end of these interviews i've asked every single one, i said,
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what's the last word you wanted to americans, everyone of them? totally different political affiliations that don't give it back. so that cut against this bigger issue. so the point of the birds is kind of your point. it's a complicated place. people are political and people are good and bad, but places are the places are were people, and the research is used by people. so that the guantánamo itself is interesting and competent. i just wanted to show off my writing, if nothing else. as i said, that was my proudest writing, and it never made into the book and i'm still angry at my editor. bad regime, right, yes, interesting. i wish i've spoken to you earlier. i spoke to tens of people are there and they're great stories in the chapter. i'm not as political as i sat i suppose. is a great stories in their of a young kid who comes down to guantánamo with his office
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appearance at 19, i'll make a long story really short, friends, cubans in the running guns off the base in to help the cuban resistance movement against this terrible dictator. everybody knew about it, right clicks and then eventually, this was before castro lands, and eventually goes up and joins the cast of victor and one calls him the great enabler of castro. when castellena, the personal use, maybe even killed common, until 1960, cast was basically a liberal member of the orthodox a party, ordinary party in cuba. so is complicated. the story of castro, political affiliations and things should be a book. so that's my next project, but then finally, you know, so, you know, we can't release any of these guys because then they go back and then they fight in the
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war. who says they fight in the war? the american government. what's the record on american intelligence in the last 10 years? i don't believe any of that. they get the names from all the time. i don't doubt that some of them go back. we live by the rule of law. you shake your head. i mean, on that one the record is with me i think and that you. there's no evidence that all of those people actually buy. and also you can't call them rescinded this because recidivists have been, right, not only embedded but convicted of something. these people were never convicted of anything. [inaudible] >> i don't doubt that there are some bad ones there. what was the last thing kashmir want to do with the prisoners. this is crucial. so, i mean, this is not me talking. but people all across the clinical spectrum, it's hard to the ones from the right in this, primary process, but who recognize it's ridiculous to say
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that we can bring, close that prison, bring them here, try them in federal court. i'm sorry, but this is habeas corpus. released the ones we can't hold after the war. there's a problem that we all have good and it. anyone on any because it's a war on terror, we will tear and? 3055? that's a long time to be detained, right, with no charges. it's complicated i think many of your points are fair but i think we could have a good debate. >> you said the navy doesn't, or people in the navy to talk to did not hold on to guantánamo. is it an active navy base now apart from the prison? >> so very good question. i want to quote a couple people from the conclusion.
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so, this is from general mccaffrey, the four-star marine corps general. and another four-star, and then another person who is the head, the commander of public works while i was there. here they say, this is on 356 if you're following, 50 years after castro trusted our guantánamo strategic irrelevance is universally acknowledged. guantánamo served no military purpose, of course no strategic advantage. we are not going to attack cuba, the place that is the policy of inadequate inertia. others strategic naval silicon and it was important, as was the esta. there are people who disagree with them. he is a marine guy. today jeffrey johnson,
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guantánamo as absolute nothing to the navy. if guantánamo disappeared from every ship would sell, every sailor would be trained. more with the navy would say $50 million per year. so as i said, the navy feels like you're taking one for the team. the coast guard uses it. the date department uses it. you know, there's talks that we're using it for covert stuff. a lot of evidence over the last 50 years. castro says, he's a very straightforward man, he doesn't like a lot of the bush administration pulls. the recent tragedy is that it is gone. we can't use as this great secret place anymore. but it is not a ship repair facility. been i'm not really. it was up until about 1994 during the second of the migrant operations when he moved back to florida. there was something called the fleet training group, and that's been moved. >> because that was my question. if cashman i don't know the important of the windward
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passage to movement to now being widened panama canal up to east coast port. >> it's still the essential ports. that's interesting. they can get along without it. >> from florida, then they have got a base in charleston, and, but the ports along east coast, the major ones are what, savannah, norfolk, new york, new jersey? >> right. we are missing one. be at baltimore. anyway, can't think of it. [inaudible] >> but also, the navy is working in pakistan just are at the basic. you're sort of floating cities of naval ships right now. they are less depend on any one place. >> so whatever monitoring of seedling documentation that would have taken place, based in guantánamo, is now either done by satellites or other means?
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>> right. and i think they feel that they did the best enough without having to be based there. world war ii, is a great transit point for shipping. it protected, and sort of the linchpin in a convoy system that protected shipping that went the panama, up the eastern seaboard. after that i couldn't a lot of people who know, it hasn't been essential. is essential for fleet training in document for is important. >> okay, thank you. >> i don't know if there's maybe one more question, but we have books for sale in the back. and jonathan said he would siphon. >> sure. another question? no? to all of my kids want to come up and get on tv and asked what time have to get up in the morning? [laughter] all right, i'm going to walk away and go sign books. [applause] >> thank you very much. >> here's a look at some
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