Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Obama plans to close Guantanamo, end 'enhanced' interrogations
Let the undoing begin! New U.S. President Barack Obama is expected Thursday to order the closure of the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and end the use of 'enhanced' techniques to interrogate captured militants, the Reuters international news service is reporting. Reuters said today it has obtained a copy of a draft executive order setting a one-year deadline to close the prison, where foreign terrorism suspects have been held since 2002. Former President George W. Bush set up the prison after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon. Another expected order would require all U.S. spy agencies to abide by the Army Field Manual, which bans the use of waterboarding. Waterboarding is simulated drowning designed to break suspects' resistance to questioning. The admitted use of waterboarding, which is banned by the Geneva Conventions, has damaged the reputation of the United States at home and abroad. Obama, who was sworn in as the 44th U.S. president on Tuesday, promised to close the Guantanamo Bay prison during the election campaign. There are 250 prisoners still at the prison, of which 50 have been cleared for release but cannot be returned to their home countries, Reuters said. Some 500 have been released or transferred to other countries.