The White House announced on Wednesday that it is preparing the final stages of the plan aimed at closing the Guantanamo prison for foreign terrorists. President Barack Obama has made the plan one of his priorities.
The prison at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval base in Cuba was set after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 for every Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorist that the U.S. gets a hold of.
Democrat Barack Obama, during his campaign for the 2008 Elections promised to have the prison closed within a year of his coming to office.
However, his plans have been put to a major objection by the Republican Party and many Republicans have been barring transfers to America from the facility, as well as Pentagon opposition to the plan to repatriate those that are still considered as potential threat and that they would plan other attacks on America.
According to Reuters, The White House spokesman Josh Earnest stated that the Obama administration is hoping to “short circuit” the Republican objections in Congress and reach the top goal set by Obama. He said “The administration is … in final stages of drafting a plan to safely, responsibly, the prison at Guantanamo and to present that plan to Congress.”
According to Reuters, a New York Times report said that National Security Adviser Susan Rice asked of U.S. Secretary of Defense and Pentagon Chief to decide on proposals for transfers of prisoners.
Last year alone there were two transfers of people to their home states and the number f prisoners has been lowered from 127 to 116, after reaching a peak in 2003 with 680 prisoners. The American Civil Liberties Union says that 50 of those prisoners are still imprisoned even after government clearing their release. However, Pentagon has refused transferring 69 Yemenis because of the situation in their homeland.
There are debates in the U.S. Senate about closing the deal, however Senators are expecting the President propose a draft bill which would then be approved by the House of Representatives and then moved for Senate approval. Republican Senator John McCain who was a prisoner of war and the head of the Senate Armed Services Committee has personally asked Obama to draft a plane for closure and backs the National Defense Authorization Act. According to Reuters, McCain has asked for the bill to contain a plan for hearing the cases for the prisoners that are still in captivity at Guantanamo, as well as a proposal for any future detentions of the detainees.
The Guantanamo prison is a topic of many debates among human rights activists whether the prisoners should be treated and prosecuted by U.S. civil legal system or held under laws of war.
The Senate has also issued a report of having a large amount of abuse in the prison, with using interrogation techniques that are considered inhumane by human rights advocates, including waterboarding, to which the White House has replied that it is used as propaganda for militant extremists in their fight against the United States.