WPR at Gitmo Last Week, in New York City Next Week

If you were reading the blog last week (see “What About KSM?” and Cuban and American Military Officials Meet Regularly“), you know that WPR Senior International Editor Guy Taylor paid a visit to Guantanamo Bay.

We’ll be featuring more of Guy’s reporting from that trip soon in our pages. In the meantime, however, check out this story he filed for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which, among other issues, examines the question of whether Gitmo’s prison facilities will be shut down anytime soon. Here’s an excerpt:

. . . with public and political debate raging over whether the Guantanamo prison ought to be closed, some, including the military officials in charge here, say the prison’s future hinges on what is to come of these lesser-known prisoners.

Asked in an interview this week if the prison may soon be shut down, Army Brig. Gen. Cameron A. Crawford, deputy commander of the joint task force that runs the prison, said: “I don’t know.”

“A better question might be, ‘What are we going to do with the 380-some detainees we have here?’ ” he said.

“What is going to be their disposition? That will, in turn, drive how long Guantanamo is open as a detention facility.”

See also this op-ed by Taylor that appeared in today’s Daily Star of Beirut. The war crimes tribunal process is under way, but what comes next is still uncertain, he writes:

. . . with the Hicks case decided, consider it now only a matter of time before charges are announced against Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a Pakistani who, according to Pentagon transcripts, has admitted to masterminding the attacks of September 11, 2001; bin al-Shibh, a Yemeni, who is said to have also been involved in plotting the attacks; and Abu Zubaydah, a Saudi, whom Bush has described as “a senior terrorist leader and trusted associate of Osama bin Laden.”

But many questions remain. What will these men be charged with? Will the status of diplomatic relations between the United States and their home countries affect the outcome of their trials and the severity of their sentences, as it so apparently has in the case of David Hicks?

Most importantly, will they be executed at Guantanamo, if found guilty? Will family members of those who died on 9/11 be granted the right to watch?

In other World Politics Review news, WPR publisher Hampton Stephens will appear on a panel hosted by Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs next Tuesday in New York. The topic: “Global News Evolution: The Extinction of the Foreign News Bureau and the Rise of a New Journalistic Species.” The other panelists will be Bartle Bull, foreign editor for the London-based Prospect magazine, and Alex McCabe, North Asia bureau chief for Bloomberg News.


Any WPR readers who will be in New York are invited to attend. It will be at 7 p.m. April 10 on the 7th Floor of the International Affairs building on Columbia’s campus. The IA building is at 118th and Amsterdam.