The Obama Administration is planning to transfer up to ten more Guantanamo detainees to other countries by the end of June. An unnamed Defense Department official told Defense One: “You’re likely to see some progress in June. I just talked to the National Security Council and State [Department], so we can say maybe up to 10, no specific timeframe, but in the near future. And then we’re actively engaged with a number of countries in additional negotiations regarding the 57 that are eligible.”
Of the remaining 122 detainees, the Pentagon has declared a total of 57 as eligible for transfer to countries willing to accept them. The Obama Administration has vowed to close the facility; however, Congressional restraints have slowed efforts to empty the center. This move, the first under Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, is likely to be greeted as unwelcome news by Congress, which has frequently protested the transfers and has sought to place some limits on the president’s power by writing restrictive language in National Defense bills (NDAA) pending in both chambers.
Emptying the Guantanamo facility represents a remarkably thumbless grasp of reality.
Once declared “the Bermuda Triangle of human rights” by Human Rights Watch’s Wendy Patten, Guantanamo has been the source of unending political wrangling despite evidence furnished to contradict critics’ allegations of widespread abuse of its detainees. In 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder utterly demolished the myth of torture when he announced Gitmo was in full compliance with the humane-treatment provisions of the Geneva Convention. Furthermore, the International Red Cross (IRC) is allowed access to almost all American military prisons and battlefield detention sites.
Having lost the argument of alleged abuse, the Obama Administration is furiously determined to unload the remaining 122 detainees on host countries. This deeply misguided scheme sows fear and anxiety upon an impotent civilian population in these host countries and is a burden to our allies. The Obama Administration is ignoring the likelihood the detainees, once released, will return to their nefarious deeds and unleash their weapons against Americans and other innocents. This holly unsafe plan is motivated not by objective realities, but by a reckless and mysterious attitude.
It is worth mentioning the Obama Administration gained a breathing spell this week and prevented a fiasco from erupting by appealing to the Qatari government to extend a short-term travel ban on the now-notorious “Taliban Five,” who were released in exchange for army deserter, Bowe Bergdahl.
Evidently, not everyone in the Obama White House is clueless.