The Obama administration announced on Tuesday it is doing everything “as quickly as possible” to shut down its US prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a move which will likely lead to increased objections over the facility’s closure.
Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking Tuesday at the European Parliament, said the administration is attempting to close the controversial prison “as quickly as possible, recognizing that we will face substantial pressure,” according to the Associated Press.
President Barack Obama has made repeated promises to close the troubled facility, going back as far as August 2007, when still a senator, stating: “As President, I will close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act and adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Shortly after being sworn into office in January 2009, Obama signed an executive order to close Guantanamo. Six months later he granted a commission overseeing the closing of Guantanamo an extra six months for further evaluation.
On Tuesday, Holder went as far as suggesting the prison’s closure could happen after the 2012 elections. “We will be pressing for the closure of the facility between now and then - and after that election, we will try to close it as well.”
Obama’s failure to close Guantanamo as he had promised has been one of his signature failures while in office, with Politico saying “Guantanamo has been a headache for President Barack obama throughout his presidency.”
Last December, Congress passed legislation which bars transfer of Guantanamo detainees to the US, another hurdle as the administration pursues its latest quest. Earlier this month, Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan said: “It’s this administration’s policy to close Guantanamo and, despite some congressional hurdles that have been put in our path, we’re going to continue to pursue that,” Politico reports. He added the administration is not sending any future war-on-terror suspects to Guantanamo.
In a news release, Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino said: “Nobody thought closing the facility would be easy, but it never should have been a political fight. Attorney General Holder’s remarks indicate that the administration is determined to make good on the promise made by President Obama on his second day in office.”