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July 26, 2013

WH announces two transfers out of Guantanamo

The White House said today it will repatriate two Guantanamo Bay detainees to Algeria as part of President Obama's renewed effort to close the controversial facility.

The White House said in the Defense Department has "certified to Congress its intent to repatriate the detainees," adding it was taking the step "in consultation with the Congress, and in a responsible manner that protects our national security."

Obama in April vowed to redouble efforts on a failed first-term campaign promise to close the prison for terrorism suspects and the White House said it would "continue to call on Congress to join us in supporting these efforts by lifting the current restrictions that significantly limit our ability to transfer detainees out of Guantanamo, even those who have been approved for transfer."

More than half the population of the detention camp is Yemeni and Obama next week will meet at the White House with its president, Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Senate Intelligence chairman Dianne Feinstein applauded the move, noting the detainees had been cleared for transfer "years ago." She called the transfers an "important step toward closing the prison once and for all. At a cost of $454 million annually—or $2.7 million per detainee—it is in the national security interests of the United States to transfer these detainees to their home countries rather than keep them at our isolated military base in Cuba."

Feinstein renewed a call to tranfer 84 other detainees who have been cleared for transfer but "impeded by congressional action." She noted provisions in this year's defense authorization bill would provide Obama with more flexibility to secure transfers.


Republicans have been reluctant to close the camp with Georgia Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, contending that "people across America are very concerned that this administration still has no plan for these hard-core terrorists if efforts to close Guantanamo are successful.

"Sending them to countries where Al Qaeda and its affiliates operate and continue to attack our interests is not a solution," Chambliss said. "With the recidivism rate now at 28 percent, no detainee should be transferred to any place unless we are absolutely confident he will be effectively monitored and cannot renew terrorist ties."


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Richard Raznikov

Great! At this rate, Guantanamo should be emptied out in 75 years. And Saxby Chambliss is either a moron or a demagogue; there is no third possibility. Even the Pentagon has certified that most of the remaining prisoners are factually innocent of any crime.


Chambliss refers to the "recidivism rate", but it has never been shown that these people were terrorists in the first place, which is why they were released. The proper term would have been "recruitment rate". Guantanamo is certainly Al Qaeda's most effective recruitment tool.

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