Last week, Shaker Aamer was released from custody in the Guantanamo Bay prison. Aamer was taken into custody in December 2001 and was brought to the military’s prison at Bagram, in Afghanistan. He was tortured there, as were so many held by the United States. In early 2002, he was brought to Guantanamo. He was cleared for release in 2007, but it took eight years before he was finally sent back to Great Britain. This tale serves as a huge reminder for the need to close the infamous prison.
The White House is almost ready with a plan to close the infamous amenity at Guantanamo Bay. Shutting down the controversial prison would be a colossal victory for human rights and the rule of law, as well as the lives of the detainees affected. But supporters of the prison’s closure have their own reservations about it.
It is important to note here, that counterterrorism chief, Lisa Monaco in the initial weeks of Obamas tenure was requested to be present in the White House Situation Room to talk about how to work towards closing the facility which had received criticism and reprehension worldwide. The plan is expected to be disclosed in early November. Barrack Obama, who is a Democrat, is determined to shut down Guantanamo before his successor takes over in 2017.
“I can’t say with certainty that we’re 100 percent going to get there, but I can tell you we’re going to die trying,” said Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, in an interview.
President Barack Obama has missed on countless chances to work towards its closure in the six years as he initially vowed to do so. If the plan is to truly close the facility at long last, this time has to be different.
Not only is Guantanamo a threat to national security but it has cost USA billions of dollars. Not to mention it is indeed one of the best propaganda which terrorists have at present. The cost of each detainee at Guantánamo is 30 times more than that of the most secure detention facilities in the United States. It’s difficult to justify spending more than $2.5 million per detainee when it costs just $86,374 to hold an inmate in the so-called Supermax federal penitentiary in Colorado.
“I’m certain that Lisa shares the president’s frustrations on the lack of progress towards closing Guantanamo, but at the same time the White House just hasn’t taken the actions necessary to move forward,” said Raha Wala, senior counsel at Human Rights First.
As everyone looks forward to the administration’s decision over the plan to close Guantanamo, the eyes of the world are once again back on the prison. At present, the president has the chance to give hope and relief to the 116 detainees that this plan will be different from his other attempts. For all the Shaker Aamers, Mohamedou Oul Slahis, and Samir Moqbels in Guantanamo, it is time for Obama to complete his promise and to shut down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay permanently.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Wednesday that he did not rule out Obama taking executive action to close the prison if the plan failed. “I wouldn’t take anything off the table when it comes to our efforts to try to accomplish this national security priority,” he said.