Look Who Trump Just Decided Is Going To Guantanamo Bay For A Long Time After Obama Tried Clear It
As the year is hitting its halfway mark and the Trump administration is in full swing, many of the administration’s goals and policies are succeeding. One of those is the promise to fill the Cuban Guantanamo Bay prison camp back up with terrorists and those affiliated with organized international crime. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein went to the camp most recently on Friday. They went to analyze the conditions and see what the current operations are.
This will be the largest step the administration has taken towards fulfilling their promise to fill the camp up. The camp is most famously used for holding suspected and convicted terrorists that belong to organizations such as al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Taliban.
Obama had an executive order out to shut down the prison, but it was placed on autopilot once Trump took office. However, President Trump made it clear this action would not stand should he become President and Attorney General Jeff Sessions maintained there is nothing wrong with the camp and it is suitable for new detainees to come.
Constitutional litigator and a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies David Rivkin said the following about the camp,
“We have taken off the table the silly ideas that the previous administration had about Guantanamo.”
He had previously served under Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Both in the counsel’s office and the Justice Department. He has spent a lot of time in the Oval Office. Rivkin also pointed out that Obama didn’t completely close the prison because he left 41 detainees. Five of them had been approved for transfer to either one of two different agencies the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force whose inception dates back to 2009 or the interagency Periodic Review Boards created in 2011. The rest remain in the camp.
No executive order concerning the camp has been signed yet during this current administration. There were draft orders that floated around and were discussed but nothing came to fruition. Any such order would have revoked and rolled back the former presidents orders and suspended all action concerning that order.
Wells Dixon, a lawyer at the Center for Constitutional Rights, told the media the following about the current state affairs at the prison,
“It’s really business as usual at Guantanamo.”
Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior gave the following update in a statement he released to the media,
“In addition to the Department of Justice’s role in handling detainee-related litigation, it is important for the Department of Justice to have an up-to-date understanding of current operations. The purpose of the trip is to gain that understanding by meeting with the people on the ground who are leading our government-wide efforts at GTMO. Keeping this country safe from terrorists is the highest priority of the Trump administration. Recent attacks in Europe and elsewhere confirm that the threat to our nation is immediate and real, and it remains essential that we use every lawful tool available to prevent as many attacks as possible.”
Sessions said in an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that he supports the prison and the presidents attempts to keep it open going on to argue,
“I’ve been there a number of times as a senator, and it’s just a very fine place for holding these kind of dangerous criminals. There’s plenty of space. We are well equipped for it. It’s a perfect place for it. Eventually, this will be decided by the military rather than the Justice Department. But I see no legal problem whatsoever with doing that.”
The Hill reported the following,
“But many legal experts have argued that sending ISIS fighters to Guantanamo could prove risky, since the authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) that is being used to justify indefinite law of war detention does not name ISIS. Dixon said he and his colleagues are prepared to challenge the legality of detaining suspected ISIS fighters the moment one arrives at Guantanamo.
“We are awaiting the arrival of suspected ISIS fighters at Guantanamo so that we can represent them and challenge the application of AUMF,” he said. In the meantime, Dixon said the business-as-usual pace of Guantanamo has taken a toll on the 41 detainees still there. “The men are very aware of fact that no one has left Guantanamo since end of the Obama administration, and that takes a tremendous psychological toll,” he said. “It is torture by any reasonable measure.”
Rivkin chalked Trump’s lack of movement on Guantanamo to other issues taking precedence and needing to get the right staff in place, though he said he hasn’t talked to administration officials specifically about the issue. He’s unconvinced by the argument that the AUMF has been the holdup and said he thinks “associated forces” is a broad enough term that a judge would rule in the government’s favor should ISIS fighters challenge their detention. “If you get an ISIS guy, which court of appeals panel is going to suggest that he be let go,” Rivkin said. “I have every confidence that the issue will work itself out well.””
This prison has been used for decades and it should continue being used. There is no reason to allow known terrorists who threaten our national security be transported to prisons we know are less safe and less secure.