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Expanding Gitmo

By Stephen Lendman

Obama failed to close the infamous torture prison, one of many campaign pledges he breached.

He could have done it by executive order, no congressional authorization needed. He wanted it kept open, not closed.

Trump wants it expanded. On January 3, he tweeted: “There should be no further releases from Gitmo. These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.”

The vast majority of its captives were sold to US forces for bounties. They were held uncharged and untried - guilty of no crimes. Of the hundreds originally held illegally, a few dozen now remain.

Reprieve “help(s) people who suffer extreme human rights abuses at the hands of the world’s most powerful governments” - notably America.

In January before Trump’s inauguration, its deputy director Katie Taylor said:

“Guantanamo is an assault on the principles (of) liberty, justice and the basic rights protected by the (US) Constitution. If the President-elect cares about these principles, he should shut it down.”

Reprieve staff attorney Shelby Sullivan-Bennis explained it costs Washington $445 million annually to keep the prison operating - a double-edged high crime.

It keeps remaining innocent victims incarcerated unjustly. It’s money unavailable for vital homeland needs, including healthcare and education.

An earlier Trump executive order called for using Guantanamo to imprison suspected members of “al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces, including individuals and networks associated with the Islamic State.”

America created and supports al-Qaeda and ISIS. Taliban roots date from the 1980s - then Mujahideen fighters recruited, armed and supported by CIA operatives. Now they’re Washington’s mortal enemies.

Trump vowed to keep Guantanamo open, expand it, and “load it up with some bad dudes.” The worst operate freely in Washington, waging war on humanity at home and abroad.

Trump’s earlier Gitmo executive order is being revised - part of a broader counterterrorism policy once details are finalized.

Chief of staff General John Kelly once ran the facility. He opposes its closing. Operating since January 2002, about 780 detainees were held indefinitely, the vast majority uncharged and untried.

No new detainees were brought to Gitmo during Trump’s tenure so far. European and Middle East US allies won’t transfer detainees to America without assurances they won’t be sent to the torture prison.

It’s unclear who’ll be brought there given US support for ISIS another terrorist groups.

Whoever they are, they’ll likely be targeted Muslims guilty only of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, innocent of any crimes.

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My newest book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

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