Six Years Later, A New Push To Shutter Guantanamo

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Secret midnight flights and a flurry of prisoner releases. We’ll look at the new push to shut down the prison at Guantanamo.

An entrance sign near the quarters for guards at the U.S. military detention center at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, June 7, 2014. (AP)
An entrance sign near the quarters for guards at the U.S. military detention center at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, June 7, 2014. (AP)

Guantanamo has been the prison that would not close.  Cages and orange jump suits thrown into service right after 9.11.  Shackles and legal limbo for hundreds – including so-called “forever prisoners” – at the US naval base on the eastern tip of Cuba.  Candidate Obama promised to shut Guantanamo down.  As president, he’s failed.  But now, there’s a big push on again.  Prisoners being flown out in the dead of night.  Broomed off to Uruguay and Kazakhstan.  A push to nearly empty the camp, then bring the hard core to the US mainland.  This hour On Point:  the push to finally wrap up Guantanamo.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Peter Baker, White House correspondent for the New York Times. (@peterbakernyt)

Jess Bravin, Supreme Court correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. Author of "The Terror Courts." (@jessbravin)

Carol Rosenberg, Guantanamo Bay Naval Base reporter at the Miami Herald. (@carolrosenberg)

J. Wells Dixon, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights. (@jwellsdixon)

Tom Rogan, political columnist for the National Review and the Daily Caller. (@tomrtweets)

From Tom’s Reading List

Miami Herald: Kazakhstan took in 5 Guantánamo captives as asylum seekers — "The government of Kazakhstan said it accepted five cleared Guantánamo detainees from the Obama administration last month as asylum seekers. The Pentagon sent the three Yemenis and two Tunisians from the base in southeast Cuba for resettlement in Kazakhstan on Dec. 30. But the Kazak Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website Monday that their asylum requests were still under review by the Ministry of Internal Affairs."

Defense One: Will a GOP Senate Let Obama Close Guantanamo? — "The president’s quest has been a tough, slow slog. There were 242 detainees when Obama took office, and he’s released more than 100 inmates during the past six years. But to finish the job, the president would have to transfer even more than that—136—in a little more than two years. While closing Guantanamo Bay is an issue that divides Republicans, Sen. John McCain said they’ve got a simple request: Give us a plan."

The Daily Caller: Why Guantanamo Bay should remain open — "Ultimately, the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay provides an imperfect solution to a highly complex problem. While 82% of all Guantanamo detainees have already been released, wherever possible the U.S. government should expedite this process, repatriating those who are no longer believed to pose a substantial threat. At the same time, the accused should face military commissions."

This program aired on January 7, 2015.


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