I listened to this short clip (7:30 mm:ss) dated Jan 14, 2013 from NPR entitled “Guantanamo Bay Still Unresolved” recapping Obama’s 2008 election promises to “Shut Down Gitmo” and that “America doesn’t Torture” and why he failed to execute on those bold claims after taking office January 20, 2009.
Guests include NPR’s Counter Terrorism expert Dina Temple-Rastman and Karen Greenberg – Director of the Center on National Security at Fordham University‘s School of Law. Ms Greenberg wrote “The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo’s First 100 Days” (Oxford University Press, 2009) selected one of the best books in 2009 by the Washington Post and SLATE.com.
Among some points made:
- Obama had said” Shutdown of Gitmo and stopping torture are part of my efforts to regain America’s moral stature in the world.”
- Ms. Temple-Rastman said that this month marks the 11th Anniversary* of Gitmo and it may be even further from closing than it was 4 years ago. Congress has “effectively tied the Presidents hands on this” by making it almost impossible to transfer detainees out of the facility, the Military Commission procedures for trying detainees is a “glacial process” and 46 detainees remain under “indefinite detention” meaning that the Obama Administration “doesn’t think that they can be released but they also think that they can not try them.”
- Ms. Greenberg suggests concerns remain by the Legal Community about the Civil Liberties of detainees subject to “unlimited detention” and who else might be subject to this kind of treatment?
- Are any remaining Constitutional issues about Gitmo? No. Various Task Forces effectively accepted that fact that we need to put these people somewhere and not establishing a permanent structure to deal with them.
- Temple-Rastman believes that Gitmo remains a high priority of AG Eric Holder and as the Drone Strategy so successfully employed by the Obama Administration draws to a close as all Al Queada operatives have been killed/eliminated – the “War on Terror” is over – then the closure of Gitmo will have to addressed and how remaining detainees are dealt with.
- When the “War on Terror” is declared over – there will no longer be an argument to hold this facility open.
* The exact date was Jan 11, 2002. Interestingly a Canadian who in Sept 2002 was improperly deported to Syria (he had dual Syrian/Canadian citizenship) and eventually received $10.3 million compensation for this treatment – Maher Arar – was featured in this “Raging Granny” Protest Event along side Amnesty International in Palo Alto CA.