Without Ending Immoral and Illegal Detention, Obama's Gitmo Plan Just 'Empty Talk'

President Barack Obama on Tuesday outlined his long-awaited plan to close the Guantánamo Bay military detention center in Cuba, but rights groups immediately condemned the proposal as a series of “talking points” rather than any real effort to end the indefinite detention of prisoners and restore justice.

“The infamy of Guantánamo has never been just its location, but rather its immoral and illegal regime of indefinite detention,” said the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which represents a number of Guantánamo detainees. “Closing Guantánamo in any meaningful sense means putting an end to that practice.”

During a press briefing, the president outlined the steps that the Pentagon will take to shutter the infamous offshore facility where dozens of alleged terror suspects have been subject to torture, and languished for over a decade without charge or trial. Currently, 91 detainees are still held at the facility.

The plan (pdf) includes transferring abroad the 35 detainees already approved for release, accelerating periodic reviews, reforming the military commissions process, and working with Congress to determine a “secure location” at a maximum security prison within the United States to relocate the remaining prisoners.

“We are dealing with a current group of detainees,” which—because of the “manner in which they were originally apprehended”— are particularly “complex,” Obama said during Tuesday’s press briefing, alluding to the notorious torture and rendition of post-9/11 terrorism suspects.

“We are closing a chapter in our history and reflecting on the lessons learned about 9/11…to guide our nation going forward,” Obama stated. 

The president—who, during the 2008 election, campaigned on a promise to close Guantánamo—said that 15 years after 9/11, “we are still having to defend a facility and a process where not a single verdict has been reached in those attacks.”

Keeping Guantánamo open, he said, is “counter-productive in our fight against terrorists,” drains military resources, harms partnerships with foreign allies, and “undermines our standing in the world.”

“This plan demonstrates what the Guantánamo prisoners have always been: not dangerous men, but the ultimate pawns in the power games of others.”
Click Here: COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES 2019—Aisha Maniar, London Guantánamo Campaign

“I don’t want to pass this problem on to the next president, whoever it is,” he added. However, Obama acknowledged that his plan, which requires substantial Congressional support, faces a “fair amount of opposition” from Republican lawmakers.