Frozen or Forgotten Promise?
Back in January 2009, President Obama signed an agreement promising that the US administration would endeavour to resolve all of the remaining cases of detainees in Guantanamo Bay with a view of closing down the centre entirely “no later than one year from the date of this order”. It is now February 2011, and the reality is a far cry from Obama’s promises that are fast approaching the two year date.
@ President Obama's Promise to Close Gitmo
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Guantánamo Bay is a detainment facility of the United States located in Cuba. The facility was established in 2002 by the Bush Administration to hold detainees from the war in Afghanistan and later Iraq. It is operated by the Joint Task Force Guantánamo of the United States government in Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, which is on the shore of Guantánamo Bay. The detainment areas consist of three camps: Camp Delta (which includes Camp Echo), Camp Iguana, and Camp X-Ray, the last of which has been closed. The facility is often referred to as Guantánamo, or Gitmo, and has the military abbreviation GTMO.
After the Justice Department advised that the Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp could be considered outside U.S. legal jurisdiction, the first twenty captives arrived at Guantánamo on January 11, 2002. After the Bush administration asserted that detainees were not entitled to any of the protections of the Geneva Conventions, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld on June 29, 2006, that they were entitled to the minimal protections listed under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. Following this, on July 7, 2006, the Department of Defense issued an internal memo stating that prisoners would in the future be entitled to protection under Common Article 3. The detainees held as of June 2008 have been classified by the United States as "enemy combatants".
On January 22, 2009, the White House announced that President Barack Obama had signed an order to suspend the proceedings of the Guantanamo military commission for 120 days and that the detention facility would be shut down within the year. On January 29, 2009, a military judge at Guantánamo rejected the White House request in the case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, creating an unexpected challenge for the administration as it reviews how America puts Guantánamo detainees on trial.
On May 20, 2009, the United States Senate passed an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009 (H.R. 2346) by a 90-6 vote to block funds needed for the transfer or release of prisoners held at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp. As of February 2011, 172 detainees remain at Guantanamo.
President Obama issued a Presidential memorandum dated December 15, 2009, ordering the preparation of the Thomson Correctional Center, Thomson, Illinois so as to enable the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners there.
The Final Report of the Guantanamo Review Task Force dated January 22, 2010 published the results for the 240 detainees subject to the Review: 36 were the subject of active cases or investigations; 30 detainees from Yemen were designated for 'conditional detention' due to the security environment in Yemen; 126 detainees were approved for transfer; 48 detainees were determined 'too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution'. The Federation of American Scientists published a report entitled 'Enemy Combatant Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court'.
On Jan 7, 2011, President Obama signed the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill which contains provisions preventing the transfer of Guantanomo prisoners to the mainland or to other foreign countries, and thus effectively stops the closure of the detention facility. However he strongly objected to the clauses and stated that he would work with Congress to oppose the measures. U.S. Secretary of Defense Gates said during a testimony before the US Senate Armed Services Committee on February 17, 2011: “The prospects for closing Guantanamo as best I can tell are very, very low given very broad opposition to doing that here in the Congress.”
After the United Nations called unsuccessfully for the Guantanamo Bay detention camp to be closed, one judge observed 'America's idea of what is torture ... does not appear to coincide with that of most civilised nations'.
17/02/2011 - Chances of closing Guantanamo jail very low: Gates!!
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