Trump expected to announce order to keep Guantanamo Bay prison open

Larry Hoffman
January 31, 2018

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday to keep the detention facility at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, naval base open to take in more prisoners captured overseas, if Congress approves. Though, one aspect not noted in Trump's SOTU is the administration's support of possibly bringing more detainees to the prison.

Hundreds were transferred to sites in the USA or sent to their home countries under President Barack Obama, who failed to close the prison after facing opposition in Congress. 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 Bay.

President Donald Trump pauses as he finishes his first State of the Union address.

"In the past, we have foolishly released hundreds of unsafe terrorists, only to meet them again on the battlefield - including the ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi", Trump said in his address.

In his address, Trump said he was keeping his own campaign promise.

Although many prisoners were released from Guantanamo under Obama, he was unable to make good on the pledge to close it altogether, due to concerns over the fate of some prisoners deemed too risky for either being freed or moved to USA soil.

But the courts have not yet weighed in on that rationale - one of the key reasons that the US hasn't sent anyone to Guantánamo Bay since 2008. "I am also asking the Congress to ensure that, in the fight against ISIS and al-Qa'ida, we continue to have all necessary power to detain terrorists ― wherever we chase them down". When possible, we annihilate them. Bush transferred about 500 out before he left office.

Mr 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.

"While I believe opening Guantanamo after 9/11 was necessary, the detention facility had become a propaganda tool for our enemies and a distraction for our allies". Almost two decades after the 9/11 attacks, mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed still languishes there because of stalled military court proceedings.

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