Tags: obama | guantanamo | bay | prison

Gitmo Lawyer to Obama: Stop Blaming Congress

Image: Gitmo Lawyer to Obama: Stop Blaming Congress Activists take part in the Nationwide for Guantanamo Day of Action on April 11 in New York's Times Square.

Wednesday, 08 May 2013 12:34 PM

By Dan Weil

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President Barack Obama is wrong to put the onus on Congress for closing the Guantanamo Bay prison for suspected terrorists, says Martha Rayner, a lawyer who has represented prisoners there.

At a press conference last week, Obama "inaccurately blamed Congress for the continued existence of the prison, saying 'Congress determined they would not let us close it,'" she writes in The Wall Street Journal.

He was referring to the National Defense Authorization Acts of 2011, 2012, and 2013 — all of which Obama signed into law, says Rayner, a Fordham University law professor.

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Although the president is required to make certain security assurances to Congress before transferring men from Guantanamo to other countries, the law does not prohibit him from carrying out such transfers," she writes.

Rayner is upset with Obama for portraying himself as an outsider when it comes to Guantanamo.

"His promise to return to the issue of Guantanamo implies that he somehow stepped away from the subject — as if he has played no role in the ever-deeper permanency of this prison," she states.

"On the contrary, every day Mr. Obama fails to start the transfer process is another day that he affirmatively decides to keep these men locked up. The courts have made clear that this is Mr. Obama's decision."


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