The Great Debate UK
from The Great Debate:
At his news conference on Tuesday, President Barack Obama for the first time in years spoke about the controversial detention center at Guantanamo Bay, which he had promised to close when he first took office.
“Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe,” Obama said, responding to a reporter’s question. “It is expensive. It is inefficient. It hurts us in terms of our international standing. It lessens cooperation with our allies on counterterrorism efforts. It is a recruitment tool for extremists. It needs to be closed.” He went on to acknowledge that more than half the detainees have been officially cleared for release.
As if to forestall the obvious next question – then why hasn’t he closed it? – the president blamed the prison’s continued existence on Congress. “Congress,” he said, “determined that they would not let us close it.”
Though Congress has made closing the prison difficult, Obama is the one who put his legacy on the line by ordering its closure within days of assuming office. It’s still in his power to follow through.
from Reuters Investigates:
Today's special report "The bin Laden kill plan" is based on interviews with two dozen current and former senior intelligence, White House and State Department officials. It explores the policies and actions of the United States in its 13-year hunt for Osama bin Laden.
Richard Armitage, who was deputy secretary of state in Bush's first term, voiced the view that prevailed through two presidencies. "I think we took Osama bin Laden at his word, that he wanted to be a martyr," Armitage told Reuters.
-Clare Algar is executive director of Reprieve. The opinions expressed are her own.-
Disappointed, but not surprised, was my first response to hearing President Barack Obama’s announcement on Wednesday that he would not make the January 22 deadline for closing the prison in Guantanamo Bay.
– Clive Stafford Smith is the director of Reprieve, the UK legal action charity that uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners. The opinions expressed are his own. -
As the British death toll climbed above 200 in Afghanistan this week, it became clearer that the politicians were betraying the soldiers who they were sending to fight and die.
- Moazzam Begg is Director for the British organisation, Cageprisoners. The opinions expressed are his own. -
Little seems to have changed regarding the treatment of prisoners held at the U.S. military-run Bagram prison since I was there (2002-2004). The recent study conducted by the BBC shows allegations of sleep deprivation, stress positions, beatings, degrading treatment, religious and racial abuse have gone unabated. On a personal level though, I can’t help wonder if British intelligence services are still involved.
- Daniel Gorevan is head of Amnesty International‘s Counter Terror with Justice campaign. The opinions expressed are his own. -
Tony Blair’s government reportedly advised MI5 officers that the UK must not be “seen to condone” torture. However, evidence is mounting that British agents knowingly exploited torture perpetrated by others.
- Cori Crider represents 30 Guantánamo prisoners as an attorney with legal charity Reprieve. The opinions expressed are her own. -
You would be hard-pressed to find a kid more thrilled on Barack Obama’s first day in office than Mohammed el Gharani. On January 21, had you been standing at the right corner of Guantanamo Bay, you could have heard him whoop for joy when the U.S. President made history—so we thought—by closing the prison where el Gharani grew up.