Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Obama's Latest Phony Guantanamo Closure Scheme

Obama’s Latest Phony Guantanamo Closure Scheme

by Stephen Lendman

In August 2007, candidate Obama lied, saying “(a)s president, I will close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act and adhere to the Geneva Conventions.” 

“Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists.”

Straightaway in office in January 2009, he vowed to close Guantanamo within one year, lying again, saying:

“This is me following through on not just a commitment I made during the campaign, but I think an understanding that dates back to our founding fathers, that we are willing to observe core standards of conduct, not just when it's easy, but also when it's hard.”

He signed meaningless executive orders without follow-through, banning torture, ordering the CIA to close its black sites, along with closure of the Pentagon’s detention facilities at Guantanamo within one year.

He ordered an “immediate review of all” detainees within 30 days, halting use of Military Commissions, and strict observance of international humanitarian laws - notably Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, prohibiting the following:

  • “violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

  • outrages of personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;”

  • carrying out sentences or executions "without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples;” and

  • caring for the wounded and sick, including by an impartial body like the ICRC “offer(ing) its services to the Parties to the conflict.”

Guantanamo remains open, a black hole of injustice, 91 remaining prisoners still incarcerated, the vast majority of the nearly 800 Muslim men and boys detained never charged with a crime, many cleared for release - yet held longterm by bureaucratic and political inaction.

After seven years in office, Obama is expected to release another duplicitous Guantanamo closure plan, as phony as all his earlier promises, made to be broken.

According to a meaningless Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis statement, “(t)he plan is to submit to Congress what our thoughts are on the issue and what we see is a way ahead necessary to achieve the closure of Guantanamo and to specifically point out the need for legislative relief.”

Fact: As president and commander-in-chief, Obama has legal authority to close Guantanamo now or on any date he chooses.

Fact: No congressional or judicial authorization is needed. He could begin the process today. He could have done it long ago. A presidential signature is all it takes - mostly the will to make it binding.

Guantanamo remains open because he spurned numerous pledges to close it. Innocence unless proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt remains a fundamental legal principle.

Throughout his tenure, Obama consistently breached it, allowing innocent victims to rot in US prisons, Guantanamo and other offshore black sites - still operating in numerous countries after he pledged to close them. 

He continues governing lawlessly, ruthlessly and recklessly. All his pledges lack credibility. It’s unclear what he intends now.

A federal law prohibits transferring Guantanamo detainees to America. They threaten no one. 

Davis said transfers to other countries will continue - claiming, without justification, some prisoners are too dangerous to release, despite no evidence proving it.

Expect little if any progress toward ending one of the darkest chapters in America’s sordid history.

Guantanamo is the tip of the iceberg. Global black sites continue operating, part of America’s imperial project, what media scoundrels never report.

Obama maintained dirty business as usual for over seven years. Expect no meaningful change ahead.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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