Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Senate rebuffs Obama on closing Guantanamo, despite his promises

Today, the Senate voted 90-6 to deny President Obama the authority to transfer prisoners from Guantanamo to anywhere in the United States and the $80 million in appropriations he would need to close the facility.

A number of officials, including a former FBI director, have said that detainees could disrupt US prisons, although that is hard to believe: how could they disrupt a supermax? Surely federal prisons aren’t beset with the cell phone problems reported recently.

Some prisoners have been transferred to a “reeducation camp” in Saudi Arabia, and have been reported to be rejoining Al Qaeda.

Obama had made closing Guantanamo one of the biggest promises of his campaign. He signed an executive order ordering the closure two days after his inauguration, and also terminated harsh interrogation techniques, which some conservatives were necessary to prevent another major homeland terrorist attack.

Richard Wolf and Mimi Hall have a typical story in "USA Today" May 20 “Obama’s anti-terrorism policies hit walls,” link here.

As recently as April 5, 2009, National Geographic had aired a controversial documentary on Guantanamo, reviewed here.

Update: May 21

Barack Obama and Dick Cheney gave contrasting views on national security and Guantanamo today in back-to-back contrasting speeches, CNN link here.

Update: May 24

Obama indicated that some detainees could be held indefinitely without trial "if they are at war with the United States."

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