Tags: guantanamo | transfers | white house | donald trump

Guantanamo Transfers: Expect More, White House Tells Trump

Image: Guantanamo Transfers: Expect More, White House Tells Trump

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Wednesday, 04 Jan 2017 06:01 AM

Expect more transfers of Guantanamo Bay prisoners to be announced before President Barack Obama leaves office on Jan. 20, the White House said on Tuesday after President-elect Donald Trump tweeted a warning against it.

"I would expect at this point additional transfers to be announced before Jan. 20," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters when asked about a message on Twitter by Trump earlier on Tuesday saying "There should be no more releases" from the prison at the U.S. naval base in Cuba, reported Reuters.

Trump will “have an opportunity to implement the policy that he believes is most effective when he takes office on Jan. 20,” said Earnest.

It wasn't clear what prompted Trump to tweet on the topic with such urgency on Tuesday.

“There should be no further releases from Gitmo,” said Trump. “These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.”

Last month a source close to the matter said Obama planned to transfer as many as 18 more prisoners from Guantanamo, nearly a third of the remaining 59 at the facility where the United States has held terrorism suspects since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The Obama administration notified Congress it intends to send the detainees, nearly a third of the remaining 59 held at the U.S. naval base in Cuba, to at least four countries, including Italy, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, before Trump is sworn in, the source said.

The notification came just before this week's deadline, which by law requires Obama to give Congress 30 days' warning before moving prisoners out of Guantanamo. It will be the last in a flurry of recent transfers aimed at leaving as few inmates as possible for the next administration.

But the transfer plan – first reported by the New York Times - also signifies that despite Obama's pledge dating back to the 2008 presidential campaign to close the facility, it is all but certain to be turned over to Trump. He has vowed to keep it open and "load it up with some bad dudes."

The administration wants to move out 17 or 18 of the 22 prisoners who have been declared eligible for transfer in parole-style hearings, the source said, while cautioning that it was still possible one or more of the countries could back out.

If the transfers go according to plan, 41 or 42 prisoners would be left at Guantanamo, including 10 alleged plotters of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks charged in military tribunals. The others have not been charged but are deemed too dangerous to release.

Obama, who inherited 242 detainees when he took office and has called it a "recruiting tool" for terrorists, has slowly whittled the number down to the lowest since shortly after his predecessor George W. Bush opened the facility to hold terrorism suspects rounded up overseas following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Under Bush, the prison came to symbolize aggressive detention practices that opened the United States to accusations of torture.

Obama’s efforts to close the prison have been blocked by mostly Republican opposition in Congress, which has barred him from moving any prisoners to the U.S. mainland. Foot-dragging by Pentagon officials has also been blamed for slowing repatriation and transfers to third countries.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

 
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Expect more transfers of Guantanamo Bay prisoners to be announced before President Barack Obama leaves office on Jan. 20, the White House said on Tuesday after President-elect Donald Trump tweeted a warning against it.
guantanamo, transfers, white house, donald trump
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2017-01-04
Wednesday, 04 Jan 2017 06:01 AM
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