Washington (CNN) - President Barack Obama's efforts to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are expected to face some crucial Senate votes this week, and for the first time in four years, he stands a chance to win some.
A Senate bill to authorize defense spending contains some of the loosest restrictions yet on transferring Guantanamo prisoners, including possibly to the United States for detention, trial or medical care.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama said Monday that the United States will resume using military commissions to prosecute alleged terrorists held at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility.
The announcement said the Obama administration remains committed to closing the controversial detention facility, but will rescind its previous suspension on bringing new charges before military commissions.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - President Obama signed a defense spending bill into law Friday, saying he would work to repeal provisions making it harder to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
H.R. 6523, which authorizes the funding for all military activities of the United States for fiscal year 2011, includes a provision that bars the use of funds, authorized by the law, to transfer detainees from the detention facility into the United States. In a written statement after signing the bill into law, Obama called the provision "a dangerous and unprecedented challenge to critical executive branch authority to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees, based on the facts and the circumstances of each case and our national security interests."
(CNN) - A year has passed since the Obama administration said the Guantanamo Bay military prison would close, but White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday that the facility won't go away in the near future.
In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Gibbs said that even though the site is a recruiting tool for Islamic terrorists, legal and legislative issues have contributed to the delay in its closing.
Washington (CNN) - House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer acknowledged Tuesday that closing down the Guantanamo Bay prison is not a top priority for congressional Democrats.
In response to a question from a reporter about where shutting down Gitmo stands, Hoyer said, "I think that's not an item, as you point out, of real current discussion. There's some very big issues confronting us - dealing with growing the economy and Iraq and Afghanistan."
Hoyer added, "I think you're not going to see it discussed very broadly in the near term."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The U.S. military prison at Guantanamo is unlikely to close by the Obama administration's deadline of January 2010, two senior administration officials said late Friday.
They cited legal complications for the delay, but said they were still optimistic about shutting the facility soon.
The announcement represents a blow to the president, who signed an executive order with great fanfare in January, during his first week in office, setting the deadline to close the facility.
The delay may provide fodder for Republicans like former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has argued that shutting the prison would make the United States less safe. He said Obama should have had a detailed plan in place before signing the order.
In a written statement, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky noted the announcement, and said, "even White House officials are now acknowledging that there is still no alternative that will keep Americans as safe as housing detainees at that secure facility off our shores.
"Americans and a bipartisan majority in Congress will continue to reject
any effort to close Guantanamo until there is a plan that keeps Americans as safe or safer than keeping detainees in the secure detention center."
The senior administration officials insisted the White House is making progress in finding third-party countries to accept the remaining detainees.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a move that could reignite tensions with liberals in his own party, President Barack Obama is planning on Friday to resume the Bush administration's highly-controversial military commissions system - which Obama suspended his first week in office - for some Guantanamo detainees, according to three administration officials.
Some of the high-profile terror suspects who are currently being charged in the tribunal process include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-confessed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.
The administration officials stressed that the updated system will include expanded due-process rights for the terror suspects, which administration officials note is consistent with what Obama pushed for as a Senator in 2006 in order to improve upon the widely-criticized approach created by the Bush administration.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking in Berlin Wednesday night, appealed to European nations to accept some of the detainees held by the U.S. at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to help the Obama Administration close down the prison facility.
"I know that Europe did not open Guantanamo, and that in fact, a great many on this continent opposed it, Holder said in his address at the American Academy of Berlin. "To close Guantanamo, we must all make sacrifices and we must all be willing to make unpopular choices," Holder said.
"The United States is ready to do its part, and we hope that Europe will join us– not out of a sense of responsibility, but from a commitment to work with one of its oldest allies to confront one of the world's most pressing challenges," the Attorney General said.
Holder did not indicate when and how the United States would release or criminally charge detainees on U.S. soil.
Hours earlier, Holder told reporters that to date 30 of the remaining 241 Guantanamo detainees have been cleared to be released. U.S. officials have signalled they expect at least a few of the 17 Chinese Muslims held at the naval prison to be freed in the U.S.
MADRID, Spain (CNN) – A Spanish judge Thursday ordered an investigation into harsh treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay under the Bush administration on suspicion
that there was "an authorized and systematic plan for torture," according to a court document.
The case involves four former Guantanamo prisoners - a Spaniard, a Moroccan, a Palestinian and a Lebanese - who testified before the judge, Baltasar Garzon, that they had been tortured while held at the U.S. detention camp for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Two of the four were acquitted in Spain of terrorism charges, while similar charges against two others were shelved, according to the 10-page court order from Judge Garzon on Thursday, viewed by CNN.
The judge wrote there is sufficient evidence to open an investigation, based on the testimony from the four, plus news media reports about newly-declassified U.S. government documents.
The declassified U.S. documents, he wrote, revealed "an authorized and systematic plan for torture and harsh treatment of people deprived of their freedom without any charges and without the most basic elemental rights for detainees, set forth and demanded by international treaties."
The alleged plan at Guantanamo and other prisons, including a detention facility at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan, "acquire almost an official and therefore generate penal responsibility in the different structures of execution - command, design and authorization of this systematic plan of torture," the judge wrote.