Planting the seeds of jihad in countries all around the world. via Pentagon to send about a dozen Guantanamo inmates to other countries soon – AOL
WASHINGTON, March 30 (Reuters) – The Pentagon plans to transfer about a dozen inmates of the Guantanamo military prison to at least two countries that have agreed to take them, a U.S. official said on Wednesday, the latest move in President Barack Obama’s final push to close the facility.
The first of the transfers are expected in the next few days and the others will take place in coming weeks, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Among them will be Tariq Ba Odah, a Yemeni man who has been on a long-term hunger strike and has lost about half of his body weight.
There are now 91 prisoners at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Most have been held without charge or trial for more than a decade, drawing international condemnation.
Obama, who last month presented Congress with a blueprint for closing the prison, is seeking to make good on his long-time pledge before he leaves office in January. But he faces stiff opposition from many Republican lawmakers, as well as some of his fellow Democrats.
The Pentagon has notified Congress of its latest planned transfers from among the 37 detainees already cleared to be sent to their homelands or other countries, the official said. U.S. officials have said they expect to move out all members of that group by this summer.
Obama’s plan for shuttering the facility calls for bringing the several dozen remaining prisoners to maximum-security prison in the United States. But U.S. law bars such transfers to the mainland, and Obama has not ruled out doing so by use of executive action.
“I do not have a timeline on when particular detainees will be transferred from Guantanamo,” Commander Gary Ross, a Defense Department spokesman, said in a statement. “However, the administration is committed to reducing the detainee population and to closing the detention facility responsibly.”
The plan to resettle about a dozen inmates was first reported by the Washington Post. The U.S. official declined to name the countries ready to take them in.
Ten Yemeni men were sent to Oman in January. Others were recently sent to Ghana, Bosnia and Montenegro. The Obama administration has ruled out sending Yemenis, who make up the bulk of the remaining prisoners, to their homeland because it is engulfed in civil war and has an active Al Qaeda branch.
The number of former Guantánamo Bay detainees suspected of re-engaging in terrorism or insurgency after being released by President Obama doubled from six to 12 in the six months through January, according to data released Tuesday by the administration.
Critics of Obama’s plan to close the Guantánamo detention facility are certain to use the new totals to bolster their arguments that the recidivism rate is too high to continue releasing prisoners to foreign countries.
Of the 144 detainees released under Obama, the number now confirmed to be back in the fight is seven, according to the report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The number of Obama-era releases suspected of re-engaging is now 12.
In addition, one more former detainee who was released under President George W. Bush is now suspected of rejoining the fight.
Overall, 118 of the 676 prisoners released under both presidents are confirmed to have participated in terrorism, while another 86 are suspected.