“By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, in order to effect the appropriate disposition of individuals currently detained by the Department of Defense at Guantánamo and promptly to close the detention facility at Guantánamo consistent with the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States, in the interest of justice, I hereby order ... Guantánamo will be closed no later than one year from now.”
~President Barack Obama, Jan. 22, 2009
According to a draft obtained by Politico, Pr*@%!^#t Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order to keep the military prison at Guantánamo Bay open. This would reverse the order signed by President Barack Obama on his second day in office. Thanks to congressional opposition, Obama was unable to keep his vow to shut the place down. Trump, on the other hand, will have no problem with Congress in keeping it open despite the shameful indifference to human rights and international law it represents. Nahal Toosi and Andrew Restuccia report:
The executive order, according to a draft State Department cable that officials are planning to soon send to U.S. embassies around the world, would rescind part of a separate 2009 order signed by then-President Barack Obama mandating that the facility be “closed as soon as practicable.” [...]
But for Trump, it is a powerful political statement. Trump promised during the presidential campaign to keep the Guantanamo Bay detention center open, saying in February 2016 he wanted to “load it up with bad dudes.” Last year, he said he was considering sending a man who rammed a truck into people in New York City to the facility.
It is also a rebuke to Trump's predecessor, Obama, who worked for years to close the detention center, which he warned was a recruitment tool for terrorist groups.
All told, 780 detainees have been held at the prison during its 17 years of existence. The Bush administration transferred or released 532 detainees. During his two terms, though frustrated in his objective to shutter the place, Obama transferred, repatriated, or resettled 197 detainees in 59 other countries. More than four-fifths of those Obama released were not even suspected of terrorist activity.
The first prisoner arrived at the prison 16 years ago this month. Now at least a decade after they were captured, 41 men are still held at Guantánamo. Five have been approved for transfer, and 23 are being held without charge or trial. Many bear the physical and psychological scars of torture and abuse which makes it next to impossible for them to obtain a fair trial. They remain indefinitely detained with no end in sight.