Say What? White House Errs on Guantanamo Facts

Obama administration claims about Gitmo are riddled with inaccuracies.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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This story first appeared on the ProPublica website.

Yesterday, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs made two claims about the administration’s handling of detainees at Guantanamo Bay that overstated its progress in clearing the prison. According to Gibbs, the administration has carried out large-scale transfers and releases of detainees out of the prison. But those claims are incorrect.

In describing efforts to send some detainees home or to third-country hosts, Gibbs told reporters: “More of those transfers have taken place in the past eight months than have taken – than took place in the previous eight years.”

In fact, in the last eight months, 31 detainees have been transferred out of Guantanamo to other countries.  In the eight years previous, more than 520 detainees were sent home or to third countries.

In total, 32 detainees have been transferred since Obama was inaugurated. In the last year of the Bush administration, 36 detainees were transferred out of Guantanamo.   

We’ve asked the White House for comment and will update when we get it.

Gibbs also claimed that the White House has complied with all court orders to release detainees who won their habeas petitions in US courts in the District of Columbia.  

“We have transferred those [detainees] that courts have said shouldn’t be held [at Guantanamo] to either their home country or third-party countries,” Gibbs told reporters at Wednesday’s briefing.

Yet, there are outstanding court orders for the release of 10 detainees at Guantanamo. Seven of the 10 are Chinese Muslims who are ethnic Uighurs. The Uighurs were ordered released in October, 2008. But the government is struggling to find countries to take them. In the meantime, the Uighurs have a case pending in the Supreme Court seeking their release into the United States.

 

 

 

 

 

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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