Mohamedou Ould Slahi and over 100 other men remain at Guantanamo, held indefinitely without effective legal recourse. So long as it remains open, the detention camp poses a threat to liberty around the world, as there is nothing to stop a President from seizing and imprisoning there anyone for any reason at all.
However, the process that led to the selection of Guantanamo Bay to house detainees has not been publicly known. The Witness to Guantanamo project recently learned of the process through its interview of Pierre Prosper, Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues.
It's time for the U.S. government to put an end to this fiasco. The legitimacy of such important terrorism cases as the September 11 attacks is not something to be disregarded, nor is the impact on the victims' families, who have yet to see justice done. All the military commission cases could be reliably tried in the seasoned and successful U.S. federal court system.
If the president is serious about wanting to close the prison, and I hope he is, here are some helpful suggestions.
Last Friday, Sen. Tom Cotton toured Guantánamo prison. When he was done with his tour, he said that the prison should stay open and we should be sending more people there. But he did not meet with a single detainee. Presumably, he has not reviewed all the government's information on most, if any of them.
While Obama has slowly stepped up transferring detainees already cleared by a multi-agency process for release from Guantanamo to other countries, his administration has dragged its feet on reviewing the 51 detainees who aren't yet cleared, out of the remaining 122.
President Obama deserves credit for his candor. He admits that we tortured people after 9/11, and that our actions violate our highest ideals as a nation. But apologies are hollow if they are not followed by attempts to make amends. "Sorry" is a lie if it is only a word. President Obama needs to prosecute.
Mujica projected, from his presidential perch, the wildly innocent virtue of Uruguay itself -- and magnified it. If Uruguay as a country is part exile, part refuge, Mujica made the country more the latter. One thing is certain, the world will remember Mujica -- the president, the person.
Was the creation of a domestic Guantanamo-style "black site" made inevitable by the Pentagon's practice of unloading military surplus weapons on local police departments? Maybe -- but it's remarkable how many inevitable things can be avoided if the people in charge just refuse to misbehave.
After the chief Guantanamo commission official convinced Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work to issue an order forcing military judges involved in the commissions to move to Guantanamo until their cases are over, defense attorneys objected. The order puts undue pressure on the judges to get their cases over with so they can get back home, they insisted.
Walter Ruiz, Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi's lawyer and a former Navy commander, told the court that Hawsawi's treatment needs stem from injuries he sustained under U.S.-sponsored torture. Ruiz wants to interview his client's doctors to learn more about the "ongoing bleeding" and "colorectal issues that stem from his time in captivity...."
Let me say this to Senator Cotton: for Emad, who has taught himself English and bears no ill-will to Americans despite his wretched treatment at our hands, being held indefinitely at Guantánamo Bay is rotting in hell.
The bright orange jumpsuit is an authentic piece of evidence to demonstrate that the human species is going bonkers. Rule of law, constitutional rights, mercy, and forgiveness are no longer the prime values.
All three candidates understand that whatever their position, the diplomatic and political maneuvers required to relocate the remaining 122 prisoners will render the base's closure all but impossible by the end of Obama's term.
Hopefully Ashton Carter, President Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense, will make a strong commitment to closing down Guantanamo before the end of President Obama's term. His confirmation hearing will be a key indicator of how committed he is to this goal.
Obama is proceeding to release small handfuls of detainees to places like Uruguay while asking congressional Republicans to lift their ban on sending Guantanamo detainees to high-security U.S. prisons. If those efforts prove fruitless, there now is a new way to achieve his promise.