Monday, February 2, 2009

Is Guantanamo Bay really closing?

No. The base at Guantanamo Bay will stay open for now. It is the detention center that will temporarily close.
By ordering shut the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, closing any remaining CIA secret prisons overseas and banning harsh interrogation practices, Obama said he was signaling that the U.S. would confront global violence without sacrificing "our values and our ideals." Read more at

Guantanamo Bay was used as a detention center during President Bush #1's term. He used it to hold Haitian political activists who'd fled their homeland after a military coup in 1991.
It was finally closed by President Clinton.
On the campaign trail in 1992, Bill Clinton said in so many words that he would close the camp if elected. After becoming president, Clinton flip-flopped on the issue, but finally released the last of the Haitians in June 1993, in response to a federal court ruling. Read more at Radio Free Europe.

The base at Guantanamo Bay can be turned back into a detention center any time a President wants to. President Obama ordered the detention centers closed by executive order. He can change that at any time. He has left the door open for secret CIA detention camps.
They could also allow Mr. Obama to reinstate the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation operations in the future, by presidential order, as some have argued would be appropriate if Osama bin Laden or another top-level leader of Al Qaeda were captured.

A government official said Mr. Obama’s order on the C.I.A. would still allow its officers abroad to temporarily detain terrorism suspects and transfer them to other agencies, but would no longer allow the agency to carry out long-term detentions.Read more at the

According to President Obama's executive order, the Guantanamo Bay detention center should close within one year. Serious problems with this timetable are emerging.
House Minority Leader John Boehner was among a group of GOP lawmakers who quickly introduced legislation seeking to bar federal courts from ordering Guantanamo detainees to be released into the United States.

Boehner, R-Ohio, said it "would be irresponsible to close this terrorist detainee facility" before answering such important questions as where the detainees would be sent. Read more at

Where will these detainees go? The Europeans don't seem to want them. I foresee a lot of excuses for why there will have to be a delay. The cracks are already appearing. It seems their case files are in disarray and it will take some time to get them together. President Obama has left open an easy "get out of jail" card. The executive orders he signed may not be legally valid anyway. He signed them before taking the oath of office for a second time and did not resign them afterwords. The first oath was incorrectly worded.
Gibbs noted that twice before in history -- Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Chester Arthur -- the oath had been re-administered for similar reasons.

He said the executive orders signed by Obama before the second oath were not signed a second time.Read more at


Mike K said...

This will be an interesting thing to watch over the next few years. I did not think of all of the loop holes you have pointed out. Thanks for the info.

Stunatra said...

Obama was President at 12 noon on January 20th per the constitution, oath or not.