Letter from Atty. David J. Cynamon to John B. Bellinger, III
US Department of State
January 2, 2008
Via E-Mail and First Class Mail
John B. Bellinger, III
Legal Adviser, Office of the Legal Adviser,
United States Department of State
Harry S. Truman Building
2201 C Street, NW, Room 6423
Washington, DC 20520
Re: Kuwaiti Detainees at Guantanamo
We were encouraged by statements of Secretary of State Rice reported by the Guardian Unlimited (attached as Schedule 2 to this letter) that the United States Government (“USG”) would like to close the prison camps at Guantanamo Bay if the countries that would receive the prisoners provide appropriate assurances that these prisoners will not endanger public safety.
As you know, there is no greater ally of the United States than the State of Kuwait. The Government of Kuwait (“GoK”) has been attempting for more than a year to work with the USG to obtain the release of the remaining four Kuwaiti detainees. But, despite the GoK’s continuing efforts, the bilateral negotiations as to the four Kuwaitis remaining at Guantanamo have not resulted in an agreement.
This lack of progress is at odds both with Kuwait’s consistent record of honoring commitments made to the USG and with transfers of prisoners that the USG has successfully and recently negotiated with other countries.
It may be that part of the explanation for the discrepancy between Secretary Rice’s comments and the current lack of bilateral movement on the Kuwaiti prisoners at Guantanamo is that the Department of State and Department of Defense are not in agreement on this issue. For this reason, I have copied Alan Liotta, Principal Director of the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Detainee Affairs, on this communication. Although Mr. Liotta refuses to speak to me about these issues, I presume that he would be more amenable to a discussion with you or another representative of State.
The bottom line is that the State of Kuwait has long been and remains willing to work with the U.S. to repatriate its remaining citizens, as Secretary Rice put it, “with constraints that ensure that they are not going to be a danger to society.” Certainly the State of Kuwait has every reason to want to ensure this protection is achieved both for its ally and its own citizens and residents.
Accordingly, I would appreciate it if you would bring to the Secretary’s attention the information listed in Schedule 1 since the GoK is ready, willing and able to receive its citizens and provide full protections requested, and yet we simply cannot understand why this matter cannot be brought to closure.
Thank you for your professional courtesy and consideration. I remain ready to provide any additional information, or to meet with you or any of your colleagues at any time, to help resolve this situation now.
David J. Cynamon