Will Biden Be the President Who Finally Closes Guantanamo Bay?

In a press briefing on Feb. 12, the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki declared that Biden’s administration was engaged on “a robust interagency process” that will enable them to shut the Guantánamo Bay Detention Center in Cuba, formally referred to as Naval Station Guantanamo Bay (NSGB) or GTMO.

“That certainly is our goal and our intention,” Ms. Psaki replied when requested if the course of was to be full by the finish of Biden’s time period — however objectives and intentions aren’t sufficient. 

The reiterated discuss about closing GTMO has been occurring since the tenure of President George W. Bush. On numerous events, Mr. Bush voiced his intentions and aspirations about closing GTMO — to not point out, the failed makes an attempt and guarantees President Obama made about closing it for years, ever since he was first elected in January 2009. 

Although Ms. Psaki couldn’t give a sure timeline for the course of itself, she added that there have been “many players from different agencies who need to be part of this policy discussion about the steps forward.” 

National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne advised Reuters that the NSC goes to make progress with Departments of State, Defense, and Justice, and can be “in close consultation with Congress.”

GTMO is eleven months away from its 20th anniversary, marking 20 years of not solely the nefarious U.S. violations of worldwide regulation and human rights, but additionally the egregious abuses that the CIA dedicated with the detainees there — one thing Obama acknowledged earlier than leaving workplace.

“Keeping this facility open is contrary to our values,” Obama stated on February 23, 2016. “It undermines our standing in the world. It is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding the highest standards of rule of law,” he added. 

GTMO is eleven months away from its 20th anniversary, marking 20 years of not solely the nefarious U.S. violations of worldwide regulation and human rights, but additionally the egregious abuses that the CIA dedicated with the detainees there

On September 18, 2019, Trump advised reporters aboard Air Force One that his administration was “looking into a lot of things” concerning the state of affairs in Guantánamo Bay when requested if he knew that preserving the detention working costed the U.S. $13 million a 12 months for every inmate. 

“I know about that. I think it’s crazy….It costs a fortune to operate it, and I think it’s crazy,” Mr. Trump stated.

Earlier in 2016, Mr. Trump stated he would preserve GTMO working and “load it up with some bad dudes” — which contradicts the indisputable fact that he later blamed Obama for being unable to shut GTMO and leaving his administration “stuck with it.” Trump usually emphasised his assist for utilizing enhanced interrogation strategies, together with waterboarding, when coping with detainees. “I like it a lot. I don’t think it’s tough enough,” Mr. Trump stated again throughout the U.S. election as his base erupted in cheers over his reply.

Over the previous decade, the CIA used enhanced interrogation strategies with detainees, and hid from Congress the indisputable fact that the base was used as a black web site. Abu Zubaydah — a Palestinian senior member of Al-Qaeda whose actual title is Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn and the first detainee to be topic to the interrogation program that was once permitted by Mr. Bush’s administration — drew self-portraits of assorted interrogation strategies he, in addition to different detainees, had been subjected to — reminiscent of waterboarding, stress positions, brief shackling, walling, massive and small confinement bins, and sleep deprivation — throughout his detention in Guantánamo Bay’s Camp 7, a secret base that none of the reporters was allowed to go to. 

The CIA’s violations additionally included desacralization of Qur’an. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) cited a detainee, interviewed in August 2002, who stated guards had flushed a replica of the Quran in a bathroom.

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The New York Times revealed that Mr. Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 instances, and was the first to be “crammed into a small confinement box.” 

The CIA’s violations additionally included desacralization of Qur’an. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) cited a detainee, interviewed in August 2002, who stated guards had flushed a replica of the Quran in a bathroom.

This isn’t the solely case wherein the U.S. overtly violated worldwide regulation and dedicated human rights abuses. If something, the warfare crimes that the U.S. has dedicated in Iraq can be a dwelling image of the brutality of the U.S. overseas coverage. And, on that account, Obama stating “As Americans, we pride ourselves on being a beacon to other nations, a model of the rule of law” is somewhat ironic and  paradoxical.

On the identical day, Obama voiced his concern concerning the value of preserving GTMO open. “It drains military resources, with nearly $450 million spent last year alone to keep it running,” he stated. “And more than $200 million in additional costs needed to keep it open going forward for less than 100 detainees.”

President Biden has fairly just lately discarded the human rights violations dedicated by China with the Uyghurs as one thing “cultural,” and would depend upon “the UN and other agencies that have an impact on their attitude” — which displays that he has set priorities for his plan apart from human rights. And, on a more in-depth look, he has taken workplace throughout a time when the U.S. is going through an financial disaster, and has demonstrated that truth on numerous events. 

As made clear by President Biden and his predecessors, the “closing a [dark] chapter in our history” type of discuss shouldn’t be the most important motive underlying the makes an attempt to shut the base in Guantánamo Bay. Rather, it’s the value that the taxpayers pay on it that makes the state of affairs momentous for all of them. This is unsurprising for a society that routinely places revenue over folks — however it’s downright hypocritical of the United States to place itself as a harbinger of human rights while concurrently committing egregious human rights violations. One means or one other, it’s time for GTMO to shut.

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