Trump signs or­der to keep Guan­tanamo prison open

Ripon Bulletin - - Nation/Dollars & Sense -

WASH­ING­TON (AP) — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Tues­day signed a new ex­ec­u­tive or­der to keep open the U.S. mil­i­tary prison at Guan­tanamo Bay, mark­ing a for­mal re­ver­sal of his pre­de­ces­sor’s eight-year ef­fort to shut it down.

Trump made it clear dur­ing his cam­paign that he wanted Guan­tanamo to re­main open and to “load it up with some bad dudes,” but he has not yet sent a new de­tainee to the fa­cil­ity.

The or­der, which he signed just be­fore de­liv­er­ing his first State of the Union ad­dress, says the U.S. main­tains the op­tion to de­tain ad­di­tional en­emy com­bat­ants at the de­ten­tion cen­ter in Cuba when law­ful and nec­es­sary to pro­tect U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity. It re­quires the de­fense sec­re­tary to rec­om­mend cri­te­ria for de­ter­min­ing the fate of in­di­vid­u­als cap­tured by the United States in armed con­flict, in­clud­ing send­ing them to Guan­tanamo.

“Ter­ror­ists who do things like place bombs in civil­ian hos­pi­tals are evil,” Trump said. “When pos­si­ble, we have no choice but to an­ni­hi­late them. When nec­es­sary, we must be able to de­tain and ques­tion them. But we must be clear: Ter­ror­ists are not merely crim­i­nals. They are un­law­ful en­emy com­bat­ants.”

“In the past, we have fool­ishly re­leased hun­dreds and hun­dreds of dan­ger­ous ter­ror­ists only to meet them again on the bat­tle­field, in­clud­ing the ISIS leader, al-Bagh­dadi, who we cap­tured, who we had, who we re­leased,” he said, re­fer­ring to Is­lamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Bagh­dadi.

The office of the Di­rec­tor of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence said in its most re­cent re­port on the sub­ject that about 17 per­cent of the 728 de­tainees who have been re­leased from Guan­tanamo are “con­firmed” and 12 per­cent are “sus­pected” of re-en­gag­ing in mil­i­tant ac­tiv­i­ties.

But the vast ma­jor­ity of those re-en­gage­ments oc­curred with for­mer pris­on­ers who did not go through the se­cu­rity re­view that was set up un­der Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. Trump’s or­der says this re­view process would con­tinue to be used to de­ter­mine whether de­tainees should be held.

Prac­ti­cally, not much is ex­pected to change with Trump’s new or­der, said Lee Wolosky, who was Obama’s spe­cial en­voy at the State Depart­ment for clos­ing Guan­tanamo.

“But as a sym­bolic mat­ter, it changes a great deal be­cause the two pres­i­dents be­fore him were try­ing to close Guan­tanamo be­cause they rec­og­nized that it was a detri­ment to our na­tional se­cu­rity,” he said. “Sym­bol­i­cally, it reaf­firms his in­ter­est in per­pe­trat­ing a sym­bol that has greatly dam­aged the United States.”

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