Tuesday, February 23, 2016
MEDIA RELEASE: London Guantánamo Campaign Comment on Barack Obama’s Plan to Close Guantánamo: “Politically expedient, but no viable means to close Guantánamo” For immediate release: Tuesday, 23 February 2016
MEDIA RELEASE: London Guantánamo Campaign Comment on Barack Obama’s Plan to Close Guantánamo: “Politically expedient, but no viable means to close Guantánamo”
For immediate release: Tuesday, 23 February 2016
The administration of US President Barack Obama has today presented to Congress its long-awaited plan for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility by the end of his term in office in January 2017. The 4-point plan involves the release of cleared prisoners, an acceleration of periodic reviews, the reform of military commissions and the transfer of some prisoners to facilities on the US mainland.
Aisha Maniar, organiser of the London Guantánamo Campaign , says: “Without ending arbitrary indefinite detention, there is no end to the “misguided experiment”  that is Guantánamo Bay. Instead, Barack Obama has offered Congress a politically expedient plan that will help to protect his historic legacy as a president who tried. Coming at a key point in this year’s presidential campaign, and anticipating “a fair amount of opposition in Congress”, the plan offers politicians on both sides a talking point to appear tough on terrorism and national security issues, while eschewing real threats. The plan offers no viable solution to ending what Guantánamo represents, any more than it offers either freedom or justice for remaining prisoners.
“Barack Obama’s administration has recently taken positive measures by bringing the prisoner population below 100 for the first time since 2002, and accelerating periodic reviews for prisoners who cannot be released or tried. The fact that almost all of those who have had their status reviewed have been cleared for release raises further fears for the future of those prisoners who are unlikely to be released by this summer, but whose innocent or guilt has never been ascertained in over 14 years of detention.
“The losers in this plan are the very men whose future it determines: there never was a viable plan to release ‘forever’ prisoners. This plan demonstrates what the Guantánamo prisoners have always been: not dangerous men, but the ultimate pawns in the power games of others.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. The London Guantánamo Campaign was set up in 2006 and campaigns for justice for all prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, for the closure of this and other secret prisons, and an end to the practice of extraordinary rendition. http://londonguantanamocampaign.blogspot.com
2. On 21 May 2009, Barack Obama referred to Guantánamo Bay as a “misguided experiment” https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-national-security-5-21-09