Poll: Most Americans Against Closing Gitmo; Dems Fund Wars, IMF, Not Gitmo Closing
Two-thirds of Americans are against closing the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba with even more rejecting the idea of relocating its detainees to U.S. prisons.
Results of a USA Today/Gallup poll released in newspapers on Tuesday showed that 65 percent of Americans questioned believed the notorious prison should not be closed and some of its detainees should not be transferred to the U.S. prisons. Thirty-two percent of the respondent, on the other hand were supportive of the idea.
When it came to whether you want the detainees to put behind the bars in your home states, the ratio jumped to three to one, the poll revealed, according to AFP.
By 40 to 18 percent, the respondents maintained that Guantanamo has boosted the country’s security, echoing the same claims made by Obama’s predecessor George W. Bush and his vice president Dick Cheney.
The poll of 1,015 adults was conducted Friday through Sunday and has a margin of error of three percentage points.
President Barack Obama on his campaign trail had vowed to shutter the Guantanamo Prison when he would take office.
On the first day of his election, Obama ordered the closure of the detention facility within one year.
Now with the U.S. lawmakers, both Republicans and Democrats, against the plan, Obama has a complicated challenge ahead to put an end to the U.S. symbol of torture and human rights abuse.
A request by the White House to keep secret certain documents regarding the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay has been rejected by a federal judge.
The unclassified documents are considered by the Obama administration as justification for the continued imprisonment of more than 100 prisoners at the detention center in Cuba.
U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan ruled on Monday that the government cannot keep the documents from public disclosure, unless it seeks a court approval to keep specific information secret.
“Public interest in Guantanamo Bay generally and these proceedings specifically has been unwavering,” Hogan wrote.
“Publicly disclosing the factual returns would enlighten the citizenry and improve perceptions of the proceedings’ fairness,” he added.
During his campaign and after his election as the president of the United States, Barack Obama had vowed to close the prison, arguing that it alienated America from the rest of the world.
Closing the top-security prison has, however proved difficult as Republican opposition in Congress has blocked the decision.
Critics claim that bringing the prisoner into the U.S. for trial would put “dangerous terrorists” in American neighborhoods.
The ruling is considered a victory for detainee lawyers and a coalition of news organizations because it obliges the Justice Department to publicly file its unclassified records or show the court what specific information it wants to keep secret by the end of next month.
The military prison was opened on Cuban territory in January 2002 to house so-called terror suspects captured after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.
In June 2005, Amnesty International called the detention center “the gulag of our times”, blasting the then Bush administration for ignoring international law and mistreating detainees held at military prisons.
A Guantanamo Bay military court on Monday held the first open hearing of the Obama administration, examining the case of a young Canadian accused of killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan.
Judge Patrick Parrish, a U.S. Army colonel, decided to publicly hear arguments in the case of Omar Khadr, who was 15 years old when he allegedly killed a U.S. sergeant with a grenade.
The case highlights the many challenges President Barack Obama faces in changing the military commissions system, part of his vow to shutter the prison at Guantanamo Bay — a U.S. naval base in southeastern Cuba where 240 “war on terror” detainees are still held. >>>
Gitmo funding remains out of bill.
The Associated Press is reporting that House and Senate Democrats have reached a tentative agreement on the nearly $100 billion war funding bill. The bill is a supplemental to pay for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars through the end of the year, and also features funding for other programs, including a $5 billion contribution to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). >>>
- President Obama Defends Guantánamo Closure, But Endorses Indefinite Preventive Detention (23 May 09)
- AUDIO — Jeremy Scahill: Obama’s ‘Thug Squad’ at Guantánamo Bay: Part II (22 May 09)
- Senate Democrats Reject Funding to Close Gitmo (20 May 09)