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Senate Proceeding 05-19-09 on May 19th, 2009 :: 2:50:45 to 3:01:15
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Mel Martinez

2:50:45 to 3:01:15( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Mel Martinez

Mel Martinez

2:50:47 to 2:51:07( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: quorum call: the presiding officer: the sena mr. me rise to speak the presiding officer: quorum call is in p mr. mendez: i ask that the quorum call be vitiated. the presiding officer: without objection. the senator from florida. mr. martinez: the issue before the senate includes the question

Mel Martinez

2:51:08 to 2:51:28( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: of guantanamo, which i know there has been some recent activity on this legislation. mr. president, addressing this issue, the federal government has no higher responsibility than ensuring the safety and security since 9/11, our nation has taken a number of steps to safeguard

Mel Martinez

2:51:29 to 2:51:49( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: us from the threat of terrorism, facility to detain enemy combatants at the united states naval station at guantanamo bay. over the course of our campaign against trirvelg the detention facility came under harsh scrutiny, doing great thoorm our stature around the world n june of 2005, i told a group of newspaper editors that the detention facility at the u.s.

Mel Martinez

2:51:50 to 2:52:11( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: naval station at guantanamo bay had become a lightning global criticism and at some point a country has to examine the cost-benefit ratio of operate ago facility that has such a poor public face. as a lawyer, i noted that it was very american to be people indefinitely with no system in place to process and grant review of the detention,

Mel Martinez

2:52:12 to 2:52:32( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: the conditions of the detention and some form of due process. suspected enemy combatants had essentially become akin to p.o.w.'p.o.w.'s but because of the unique nature, they could not be released. as i knew then and now, though many have wanted to close

Mel Martinez

2:52:33 to 2:52:54( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: guantanamo, a view that would be shared both by president bush and both candidates for president -- senator john mccain and then-senator barack obama -- we did not have a plan for how we lollly advanced beyond that wish. so we had an idea to close guantanamo but no good path to achieve that without endangering americans. the world has changed since 2005.

Mel Martinez

2:52:55 to 2:53:17( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: since then system was established, prisoners were processed, the trying of unlawful enemy combatants began, trials concluded and in some cases former guantanamo detainees convicted of their charges while others were acquitted and released. now we have gone from the rhetoric of the campaign to the very real pronouncementy the president that guantanamo shall

Mel Martinez

2:53:18 to 2:53:38( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: be closed down by january of 2010. i agree that we nee to close guantanamo but not before we have a concrete plan in place that combatts accountable for their actions while not endangering the american public. president obama's director of national intligence dane nighs blair laid that "the guiding palestian for

Mel Martinez

2:53:39 to 2:54:01( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: closing theenter should be protecting our national security, protecting the geneva nvenons and the rule of law, and respecting the existing institutions of justice in this country." and he continues, and i quote, "i also believe we should revitalize efforts to transfer detainees to their countries of origin or other countries whenever that would be consistent with these principles."

Mel Martinez

2:54:02 to 2:54:22( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: and he said finally, "closing this center and satisfying these principles will take time and is the work of many departments and agencies." so once again we that we can all agree on but in practice there is no plan, there is no clear path to achieving these goals. when choosing a path, we need to act very carefully and consider this decision in the context of

Mel Martinez

2:54:23 to 2:54:43( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: our ability to continue processing prisoners under the military commissions act. we need to consider whether and how habeas corpus would apply to detainees transferred from u.s. facilities and we need to know the implications of trying gitmo detainees in federal courts. today some 240 individuals are held at gitmo's detention

Mel Martinez

2:54:44 to 2:55:05( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: center. of these, 80 potentially face prosecution for war crimes before military commissions at guantanamo and two individuals have already been convicted of war crimes before the very commissions. these commissions were created by congress under the detainee treatment act and the military commissions act as a means for

Mel Martinez

2:55:06 to 2:55:26( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: prosecuting the unique type of enemy we confront in this new type of warfare. but then came the supreme court's opinion in bomadine v. bush n that opinion authored by justice kennedy on behalf of the five-member majority, the court did mething that has never been done in the history of our nation. the court extended the

Mel Martinez

2:55:27 to 2:55:49( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: constituonal writ of habeas corpus to foreigners detained in foreign land. that means that the court extended to foreign terror suspects detained at guantanamo the same constitutional rights and privileges that u.s. citizens enjoy in u.s. courts. seizing on this unprecedented constitutional interpretation,

Mel Martinez

2:55:50 to 2:56:10( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: the lawyers of several detainees quickly filed motions seeking to have their clients released or paroled onto the street of american cities and communities. this is the world we live in, giving the court's decision and a world in which foreigners who have been trained as terrorists

Mel Martinez

2:56:11 to 2:56:32( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: in camps in afghanistan have been granted the the right to be released onto the streets of american cities. it was against this back drop that president obama decided on the first day in office further military commission trials and to mandate the closing of gitmo by january of next year. let's be clear about what we're doing here. these detainees are not accused of shoplifting. they're not accused of robbing a bank.

Mel Martinez

2:56:33 to 2:56:54( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: they are not accused of organizing a single or double homicide. they are accused of working at unlawful enemy combatants with the aim of killing as many americans as they can kill, most of them completely committed to their goal and in fact would be considered irreconcileables. we're still in the midst of a global war on terror against an

Mel Martinez

2:56:55 to 2:57:17( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: enemy bent on attack being americans wherever and whenever they can. there is no question that this war sun precedented. there is no question we face unique and difficult choices. but one thing is very clear: we should never allow alled enemy combatants to enter the united states. no court, civilian or military,

Mel Martinez

2:57:18 to 2:57:39( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: should ever be asked whether the detainees is safe enough to be brought into the u.s. and released into our streets. the american peopleeserve greater protection than us -- that this would warrant for them. and we must rember that their personal safety and our national security is our number-one priority. guantanamo is well-suited for the unique circumstances for the

Mel Martinez

2:57:40 to 2:58:00( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: global war on terror. even attorney general holder has declared the facility to be well run and noted that gitmo personnel conduct themselves in an appropriate way. i myself have visited there and i understand what he is saying, because it is a good example of a fine detention fa facility. it is go

Mel Martinez

2:58:01 to 2:58:21( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: commissions, that we're working and we're achieving fair results may be coming back. for example, salim hamdan, bin laden's personal driver and bodyman,s convicted of providing material support to cied side and sentenced to a mere 5- 1/2 years by a jury of military officers. these results demonstrates the effectiveness and the type of

Mel Martinez

2:58:22 to 2:58:43( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: justice provided by the military commissions. this is why they should resume immediately at the only venue in the world that has been built to facilitate them and facility at gitmo. now, one thing die want to make coleagues, that as we -- i do want to make clear, that as we continue to have debt bait, and talk about the future, when we talk about

Mel Martinez

2:58:44 to 2:59:04( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: the detention, not the united states naval station at guantanamo bay. that naval base is the landlord to the detention center but it also serves as a val base for our navy and as a key strategic place. the over all facility is the united states naval station providing fleet support, ship replenishment and the united states navy and also

Mel Martinez

2:59:05 to 2:59:26( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: for the coast guard as well as allied and friendly nations. it's a key processing center for haitian and cubans seeking asylum. the united states naval station at guantanamo bay is home to more than 8,500 active-duty service members and their families and civilian support contractors. so we cannot lose sight of the important role the base plays in

Mel Martinez

2:59:27 to 2:59:47( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: our national security and the continued need for infrastructure improvements and enhancements, that you will have absolutely nothing to do with the detention facility. as we continue to debate the facility's future, i want to spurned score the importance of making a thoughtful and careful decision rather than one may what is expedient for the moment. we need a plan how to move

Mel Martinez

2:59:48 to 3:00:09( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: forward given the consideratis that i have discussed today, so i happy to as the discussion goes forward, we will put the interests and the safety of the american people first. i know that the portion of this bill before us this dealt with the guantanamo allocation of $80 million to

Mel Martinez

3:00:10 to 3:00:32( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: close down the facility may be removed from the bill or considered in i would be encouraged if we are not at the moment funding the closing of this facility until we have a game plan in mind what we're going to do with the facility and the detainees that are there. we still have not addressed what we're going to do between now

Mel Martinez

3:00:33 to 3:00:53( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: and january of there still is no plan, there still is no future for what will happen to the 240 detainees that currently reside at the detention facility at the united states naval station at guantanamo, cuba. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and a senator: mr. pre the presiding officer: the senator from alabama.

Mel Martinez

3:00:54 to 3:01:14( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: mr. shelby: mr. president, i, too, rise today to thank the distinguished chairman of the appropriations committee, the senator from hawaii, for his amendment to strike the guantanamo bay funding in the supplemental bill before us. last weein the appropriations committee in which he chairs, i raised this issue at the markup

Mel Martinez

3:01:15 to 3:01:16( Edit History Discussion )

Mel Martinez: with the intent to strike the

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