In another colossal Obama Administration blunder, The U.S. has transferred a dozen Guantanamo detainees to Afghanistan, Yemen and the Somaliland region as the Obama administration continues to move captives out of the facility in Cuba in preparation for its closure.
The Justice Department said Sunday that a government task force had reviewed each case. Officials considered the potential threat and the government’s likelihood of success in court challenges to the detentions.
Over the weekend, four Afghan detainees were transferred to their home country. Two Somali detainees were transferred to authorities in Somaliland, the semi-autonomous northern region of Somalia. Six Yemeni detainees also were sent home.
The Justice Department said that since 2002, more than 560 detainees have departed the military prison in Cuba and 198 remain.
The Justice Department identified those sent home as:
Mohammed Albasha, Yemen’s embassy spokesman, said his embassy “hails the release and transfer of six of its citizens from Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. Yemen will continue its diplomatic dialogue with the United States Government to repatriate the remaining Yemeni detainees.”
The administration has announced that five Guantanamo detainees will be tried in a New York federal court and more are likely to be tried in this country.
Up to 100 detainees will be sent to a nearly empty prison in Thomson, Ill.
In Rome, state-run and private television stations said a third Tunisian detainee from Guantanamo Bay is being moved to Italy to face international terrorism charges for having allegedly recruited fighters for Afghanistan.
Brittany Murphy died of cardiac arrest early Sunday morning, according to a report by TMZ. The actress was 32.
It is reported that a call went out to 911 from her Los Angeles home at 8 a.m. Attempts to revive her were not successful, and she was pronounced dead upon arrival at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
In addition to The White Hotel and Clueless, the Atlanta-born Murphy costarred in 8 Mile and Riding in Cars with Boys.
In May of 2007, she married her White Hotel director, Simon Monjack.
Before meeting the British writer-director, Murphy had been engaged twice. She split with best-boy grip Joe Macaluso in August 2006, and ended her engagement to Jeff Kwatinetz, CEO of the Hollywood talent agency The Firm, in 2004.
She previously dated Kutcher”, her costar in 2003′s Just Married.
COVINA – For as long as anyone can remember, the Ortega family gathered together for an annual Christmas Eve celebration at the Knollcrest Drive home of Joe and Alice Ortega.
This year, little remains of the two-story home that was once nestled in the quiet cul-de-sac.
The lawn is littered with “No Trespassing” signs. A handmade cross with floral designs and the words “Rest in Peace” painted on it hangs near the center of a green fence that surrounds the property.
The only reminder of Christmas is a wreath decorated with a snowman and four white light-up reindeer decorations displayed on the front lawn. They belonged to the Ortegas and were salvaged from their home and repaired by next-door-neighbor Theresa Ginez. She and her family designed new ears out of coat hangers and dressed them in lights.
“It was Mrs. Ortega’s favorite holiday and she would put those out every year,” said Ginez, who lived next to the family for 10 years. “We decided as a family to save what we could. It was healing putting them back up and having a connection to the family. We feel as though they are still here with us.”
When tragedy struck Covina last Christmas Eve, the community launched an effort to heal and foster togetherness which continues to flourish a year later.
Nine members of the close-knit family died on Christmas Eve. They were Sylvia Pardo; her parents, Joseph and Alicia Ortega; her brothers, James and Charlie Ortega; their wives, Cheri and Teresa; her sister, Alicia Ortiz; and Alicia’s 17-year-old son, Michael.
Their killer, Sylvia’s estranged husband Bruce Pardo, 45, of Montrose arrived at the Knollcrest home dressed as Santa Claus. He systematically executed several family members with a handgun before his homemade flamethrower exploded.
As the first anniversary of the event nears, the Ortega’s neighbors don’t want to remember Christmas Eve as a terrifying night full of death, fear and flames. Instead, they and many Covina residents want to focus on home and bring healing to the community.
“It’s been a tough year of firsts,” Ginez said. “The first Easter was tough. Now its the first Christmas. We are learning from the family how to be brave and how to show a lot of class.”
A driving force in the grass-roots campaign to heal the city has been resident Kim Rogers, who initiated the orange ribbon movement in an effort to turn “tragedy into triumph.”
Days after the tragedy, orange ribbons were tied around trees lining Knollcrest Drive.
Community members began walking around town with the orange ribbons pinned on their shirts and even Ortega and Ortiz family members donned the symbols.
Orange represents peace and comfort, Joseph Ortega explained.
The movement toward healing went public at the Tournament of Roses Parade. West Covina Rose Float Foundation President Frank Scalfaro carried nine rose vials in memory of the slain family members.
It continued at Santa Anita a month later when Return of the King, a thoroughbred owned by the family finished first in a race in honor of the Ortegas.
Covina had its chance to honor the family during the city’s annual Christmas Parade.
Joseph, son of Cheri and Charlie, and Carlos Ortiz, father of Michael, sat inside a yellow school bus that was decorated in the late family’s honor.
In the front of the bus were angel wings and a huge orange ribbon.
Nine orange balloons in the shape of stars were tied to the bus. Written on each balloon was the name of one of the nine Ortega and Ortiz family members who died.
“It is pretty nice how the community came together a year later,” Joseph Ortega said. “They (the city) haven’t changed the spirit of Christmas.”
At the parade, custom car builder George Barris, creator of the “Batmobile” and the “Munster’s Koach,” was the grand marshal. He wanted to be part of the parade to “help heal Covina,” he said.
“When I heard what happened to the wonderful family I wanted to help,” Barris said. “I gave part of my heart to participate in that.”
The parade turned out to be an important moment for Covina residents.
“The community came together,” Rogers said. “Christmas continues to be Christmas.”
At the end of the Covina parade, the nine orange balloons were taken from the bus, released into the cool night air and peacefully floated over the city.
“Angels live forever,” Rogers said. “We are not going to stop, we will continue to heal this community.”