Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Obama backs off on Guantanamo closure promise, condemning prisoners to more torture, illegal detention

by Larry Geller

As we grab our surfboards and six packs for a day on the North Shore, note that innocent people will have spent at least another year in the torture chamber that is Guantanamo because President Obama is “not focused” on whether his deadline to close the prison will be met or not.

Admin Admits It Could Miss Gitmo Closure Deadline

The Obama administration is downplaying its stated pledge to close the Guantanamo Bay prison by next January. On Monday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs admitted the prison might remain open past the January 22nd deadline.

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs: “Well, we’re not focused on whether or not the deadline will or won’t be met on a particular day; we’re focused on ensuring that the facility is closed and doing all that has to be done between now and the 22nd of January to make the most progress that we can that’s possible.”

An estimated 223 prisoners are currently at Guantanamo. On Monday, the White House said it has cleared seventy-five for release. [Democracy Now, 9/29/2009]

Since unannounced inspections of the facility are not allowed, we cannot assume that unconstitutional, inhumane treatment of prisoners has stopped. Certainly, continuing the indefinite detention of people who have not been charged or convicted of any crime remains as wrong now under Obama as it was under Bush.

So the additional year is not just a missed deadline, it is an ongoing disgrace for America and a tragedy for those still held at Guantanamo. If the prison isn’t closed on schedule, it will also be another breach of an oft-repeated campaign promise that helped Obama get elected.


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