Final GTMO census number under now former President Barack Obama... forty-one men were handed off to the tender mercies of [gak] President Donald Trump, as of his inauguration mid-day on January 20. Andy, nearing the end of his American post-reality reality tour here has more on the ten men recently released to Oman.
And so we have a challenge...and an opportunity. As Andy and GTMO attorney Tom Wilner recently noted in an op-ed in NY's Daily News, at this census level, it costs around $10 million per prisoner each year... an insane amount of money simply to continue a pointless injustice. It would be a bizarre "only Nixon could go to China" development if Trump manages to shove the actual closing of Guantanamo through a Republican Congress. Not how you bet- but an opportunity. IMHO, people of goodwill were all too often stymied by Obama being notionally "on our side". It made getting public traction quite difficult.
Nothing will likely happen in the short run-- obviously, the rush for transfers comes to an end, and the Obama Administration itself has been oh so helpful in shutting down any legal options for detainees. Trump has threatened to "fill Guantanamo up with bad dudes," whatever that means.
But Guantanamo is still an insane expense, an insane moral stain on this nation, and will, hopefully, be a source of irritation to Team Trump, as, I hope, genuine left-wing opposition becomes a thing again. The concept of someone "who cannot be tried but is too dangerous to release" is anathema to an allegedly free country bound by the rule of law... but that is what GTMO is. But 26 men still fit that definition, including Candace's client Saeed Bakhouche, and have no recourse save executive whim; the courts have abrogated any responsibility over them. And five more are "cleared for release"-- some for as long as eight years in that status-- and yet... we the USA taxpayers will shell out $50 million a year to continue to hold them. And then we hold ten alleged terrorist kingpins as "high value detainees" subject to military commission trials at incredible cost, even though it is almost certain that, if the commission trials ever happen, that any convictions would probably be overturned by real courts.
But the game goes on. We need a better story-- and outrageous cost-- financial and moral-- is as good as any. Facts mean nothing to the American people-- as the obvious facts about the odiousness of the orange-hued cretinous boor we have just handed the presidency too mattered not a whit to millions of voters. They just liked his stories better. And so... the fact, of course, is that most of the men at Guantanamo are not, and have never been "terrorists"-- and the fact that only three have been "convicted" even by the flawed commissions tells you all you need to know. Indeed, they represent only about five per cent of the men who have cycled through the place, and again, five are "cleared" as it is, and, assuming the review process set up by Obama continues, we could assume more would be "cleared." And maybe "cleared" will lead to "transferred." Will any of this happen?
There's the challenge. I for one aren't giving up. Who's with me?