Far from shutting it down as Barack Obama promised soon after he was sworn in as president for the first time in January 2009, Guantanamo Bay prison camp is being expanded. The Pentagon has sought $69 million for expansion work. There are still 150 prisoners held there despite no charges being brought against them except for a few but even they have not been tried in any court of law.
Washington DC, Crescent online
November 12, 2014, 08:57 EST
Remember Guantanamo Bay (aka Gitmo)? The US is still holding more than 150 prisoners at the illegally-occupied Cuban island prison 13 years after it was first opened to incarcerate people rounded up in Afghanistan and other parts of the world.
Gitmo was the prison of choice for the “worst of the worst,” in the infamous words of Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense during George W. Bush’s presidency.
Some 700 inmates have been circulated through the notorious prison camp. All but 150 have been released because these people were completely innocent.
Among the detainees were a 10-year-old Afghan tea boy rounded up by the Americans in Kabul who was released six years later. There was also a 90-year-old Afghan farmer among those swept in the dragnet.
Of the 150 still held there, the Pentagon has cleared at least 86 for release. These people have not been involved in any crimes whatsoever. They were simply caught in the US dragnet.
The US military, CIA and Pentagon after completing their investigations found these people totally innocent and were cleared for release.
That was in 2009 yet they still languish in the torture chamber. So much for the US being a country ruled by law! Of the remainder, apart from about 10 of them, the rest have not been charged with any crime.
The day after Barack Obama was sworn in as president in January 2009, he signed an executive order to close the notorious torture camp within one year. He said the torture camp was trashing America’s reputation abroad!
The sixth anniversary of Obama’s Executive Order signing is approaching but Gitmo has yet to be shut down.
Instead, the Pentagon has asked for $69 million to build a new terror facility at Gitmo to hold CIA detainees after Obama leaves office.
The information was released on Friday, November 7, 2014, during an interview Rear Admiral Kyle Cozad gave to the Miami Herald.
The Florida paper reported: “The House Armed Services Committee included the $69 million in its proposed omnibus defense funding bill earlier this year. But the Democrat-led Senate and Obama’s Defense Department rejected it. The current Senate effectively killed funding by proposing a countermeasure requiring the Secretary of Defense to certify any new building’s enduring value.”
The interview tangentially pointed to the inhumane conditions suffered by the detainees. US policy for CIA detainees is to subject them to silence, in order to prevent details associated with the torture they are subjected to (including waterboarding techniques and forced feeding of hunger strikers) from leaking to the media.
In his November 7 interview, Cozak defended the inhumane conditions and secrecy by declaring, “detainees manipulate the media on a routine basis.”
The Guantanamo issue, which helped bring Obama to power, is now in the process of being buried. Despite Obama’s promise to shut it down because of its gross abuses of Muslim captives and detainees, military hard-liners are pushing to prevent any more prisoners from being released.
The Pentagon is pushing propaganda that detainees released from Gitmo would join ISIS, and are demanding that the US government prevent other detainees from being released.
For instance, the Republican representative of California, Buck McKeon, demanded: “The US government must not release terrorist detainees at the same time we have committed US service members to fight ISIL,” his office reported.
“To continue to do so just as we have had to open a new front in the war on terror is unthinkable.” These polemics are condemning innocent lives in Guantanamo to a lifetime of torture and detention.
Even the conservative Fox News, which reported on this story on October 30, 2014, admitted that this position is more propaganda than reality. To back up this position, Fox News quoted US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey.
“We know that some of the detainees that have come out of Guantanamo have gone back to the fight, the battlefield. We're aware of that and we think that overall the policy of getting to close Guantanamo is clearly in the interest of the United States, as the president has articulated,” Hagel said.
General Dempsey said: “We believe that the recidivism is a relatively small fraction of those detainees which have been placed into conditions where the risk of recidivism is mitigated.”