Obama Wants to Shut Down Guantanamo Bay

Guantanamo Bay map

As the military hearing for Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri is set to take place at Guantanamo Bay later this month, the Obama administration hopes to permanently close down the U.S. naval detention center before the presidential elections next year. Al-Nashiri is allegedly responsible for the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Adem Harbour, Yemen, which resulted in 17 fatalities. This will be the first capital punishment war crime trial under Obama’s leadership. Following al-Nashiri’s case, it is expected that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man suspected of being the main architect behind 9/11, will stand trial.

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With the approaching terror-related court proceedings set to take place on the Cuban Isle, the Obama government is at odds with members of Congress (both Republicans and some Democrats) regarding legal terrorist policies. Under Bush, terror suspects began to be detained at Guantanamo Bay. Obama hoped to shut down the detention camp within his first presidential year and continues to strive for its closure. According to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, “[The administration] is pressing for the closure of the facility between now and the [next election] — and after that election, we will try to close it as well. He adds that the government hopes to move prisoners suspected of terrorism to American soil and try them in U.S. federal courts or to other countries; Holder asserts that torture, such as sleep deprivation and simulated drowning, should be tolerated no more.

Due to pressure from opposition, Obama conceded to passing, along with Congress, the defense bill last year and the spending bill in the spring, which basically prevented the transfer of alleged terrorists from Guantanamo Bay to the U.S. and deterred the improvement of American facilities to accommodate such transfers.

But presently, Obama’s administration is putting a halt to the passing of the new defense bill because it does not agree with the provision that members of terrorist groups planning attacks on the U.S. must be held in military custody. This legislation, equating to $683 Billion for military staff, weaponry and the wars in the Middle East, is put on hold despite the fact that the fiscal year began on October 1st.

If you are interested in the issue of detaining terror suspects, whether you are for or against the closure of Guantanamo Bay’s naval prison, a career in policy may be just the niche for you to fill. To learn about foreign affairs, criminal justice legislation, homeland security and a slue of other policy issues, consider taking a Public Policy Degree or a Political Science Degree. This will guide you to a future as a policy analyst, public servant, lawyer, lobbyist, politician or a number of other careers.

Sources: Associated Press, CNN, Reuters and CBC News