The Reason Guantanamo Still Isn't Closed

When it comes to resettling prisoners, others want US to go first
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2011 4:54 PM CST
In this June 27, 2006 file photo, reviewed by a US Department of Defense official, US military guards walk within Camp Delta military-run prison, at the Guantanamo Bay US Naval Base, Cuba.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

(Newser) – Two years ago yesterday, President Obama pledged to close the prison camps at Guantánamo Bay within one year. So why are they still open? Much of the blame falls on Congress, the Miami Herald reports. Because Congress won’t allow any of the captives—even those considered low-risk—to resettle in the US, other countries are similarly unwilling, the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables reveal. That, coupled with Obama's resurrection of Gitmo military trials, makes it seem unlikely the prison will close any time soon.

The cables show a number of reactions from countries reluctant to accept any of the prisoners before the US does so first: Yemen proposed the US move detainees into Colorado’s SuperMax prison; Saudi Arabia suggested micro-chipping prisoners before releasing them. “Were we willing to take a couple of detainees ourselves, it would've made the job of moving detainees out of Guantánamo significantly easier,” says a senior administration official, but so far the administration has only been able to re-home 38 detainees.

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