I hope you have time to read my latest article for Al-Jazeera, “Waiting for Progress on Guantánamo,” and to like, share and tweet it if you find it useful. Written to mark the first anniversary of President Obama’s promise to resume releasing prisoners from Guantánamo (on May 23, when a global day of action was held to call for renewed action from the president), it provides a round-up of progress — or the lack of it — in the last year.
As I note, although President Obama appointed envoys in the Pentagon and the State Department to work on the release of prisoners and the closure of the prison, and 12 men have been freed since last August, 78 of the prisoners, out of 154 in total who are still held, have been approved for release — 75 in January 2010 by President Obama’s Guantánamo Review Task Force, and three others in recent months by Periodic Review Boards, established to review the cases of the majority of the men have not been cleared for release, including one man, Ghaleb al-Bihani, whose release was approved just yesterday.
The basic message, a year on from the president’s promise, is that — after several years in which Congress raised serious obstacles to the release of prisoners — lawmakers eased those restrictions in December, and the president now has no more excuses, and must release the cleared prisoners as soon as possible, or be judged as a man who failed to keep his word.
Moreover, unless he releases prisoners as soon as possible he will not only be known as the president who normalized indefinite detention without charge or trial, but who did so with a vicious twist — two review processes that purported to approve the release of prisoners, but failed to lead to their release, an outcome that would make the cruellest of dictators blush.
Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).
To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.
After I posted the link to the Al-Jazeera article on Facebook, I wrote:
Thanks to everyone liking and sharing this. It’s very much appreciated. And I’m grateful to Al-Jazeera for responding so positively to my pitch for an article to mark the 1st anniversary of President Obama’s promise to resume releasing prisoners from Guantanamo, looking at what progress has – and hasn’t – been achieved.
News just in is that defense secretary Chuck Hagel is looking closely at President Mujica’s request to offer new homes in Uruguay to six cleared prisoners who cannot be safely repatriated: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2014/05/28/hagel-reviewing-cases-in-transfer-of-six-detainees-to-uruguay/
i dont know about you andy dear but im still a winkywectewal are you?
I believe I am, Damo, my friend. I believe I am. I also perceive that it is more unacceptable to be an intellectual right now than at any other time in my life, which is troubling, as fascism thrives when the intellect is neglected or despised.
Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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