Guantanamo Bay Prison is still not closed despite President Obama’s effort for trying over the previous eight years. According to the New York Times, Congress and elected officials have reportedly pushed back against President Trump’s upcoming executive order to reopen black sites, after a first draft had circulated that threatened to restart illegal torture programs that were active under the Bush administration.
Now, the Times has reported that the Trump administration has changed the language in a new draft which is focused on keeping the Guantanamo Bay Prison from being closed.
The latest draft about Guantanamo Bay Prison was in circulation on Thursday to members of the National Security Council, which orders the freezing of the transfer of detainees left at Guantanamo Bay to prison systems in other nations.
The article recalls President Obama’s campaign promise to have the Guantanamo Bay Prison closed as part of a rollback from the former Bush administration, saying that keeping the prison open was a symbol of recruitment for terrorist groups like ISIS.
The forces of opposition that President Obama faced over his policies, including those to the closing of the Guantanamo Bay Prison, were aggressive and widely reported. Despite this, the former president was at least able to reduce the number of Gitmo detainees from 245 to 41.
In August of 2016, it was reported that President Obama had 20 detainees from 61 cleared for transfer. Now, there are various reports saying that five out of the 41 were still being held over for transfer from the Obama era, as they did not get the chance to complete the transfer which will likely be affected by President Trump’s transfer freeze.
Fox 9 reported on January 29 that the Minnesota National Guard had been deployed to the Guantanamo Bay Prison location to provide care and the custody of all of the detainees left at the base. Even with the crimes that the U.S. have charged (or lack thereof) the Guantanamo Bay detainees with, the secret prison has amenities and routines that many Americans have frowned upon as better treatment than they receive.
The Miami Herald reported on Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-Colo.) claimed that 30 percent of those released from Guantanamo had gone back into battle and killed Americans. This view has gone uncontested by anyone who was opposed to President Obama’s decision to have the prison closed. But the report says that it’s not clear whether his claim is even true.
Every six months, the Director of National Intelligence publishes a report required by a congressional mandate, which reports how many of those released from the Guantanamo Bay Prison “have re-engaged in terrorist or insurgent activity.”
The last report published was in September which showed re-engagement through July 15, 2016. It showed that out of the 693 prisoners who were released, 122 were confirmed to have entered the “battlefield,” while 86 were suspected of it.
The article says that Gardner’s 30 percent estimate would total both confirmed and those suspected of “re-engagement,” but it points out that 90 percent of those who are either suspected or confirmed were under the Bush administration before Obama took office.
Other details published in the report seem to point to vague estimates and language, mildly suggesting that Republicans intentionally manipulated their argument to keep the Guantanamo Bay Prison from being closed. Further, there is little evidence from the information gathered to say that those released had actually killed Americans, or that the Obama administration was to blame, as proving it as true is a difficult and complex matter altogether.
In July of last year, two officials of the Obama administration who were in charge of shutting down the prison, were put before a committee where Sen. Ed Royce (R-Cali.) and Sen. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Cali.) grilled Lee Wolosky about a detainee named Jihad Diyab, who had apparently gone missing after being transferred to Uruguay in 2014, which the New York Times reported on.
Almost immediately, it was discovered that the man, whose real name is Jihad Ahmed Mustafa Dhiab, had said that he was on a retreat. After being released from Guantanamo Bay Prison, he had taken asylum in Uruguay and was found to be on a hunger strike, in defiance against the authorities there. It’s been reported that he wanted to go back to Turkey with his family who he hadn’t seen in 14 years. His determination to see through a hunger strike effectively was not an empty threat, as he was one of the prisoners who had staged a hunger strike the longest while detained.
His commitment to seeing his protest to the very end was such that his attorney published a piece with PRI about Dhiab being force fed while at the Guantanamo Bay Prison.
[Featured Image by Charles Dharapak/AP Images]