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White House Threatens to Veto Defense Bill Over Provisions to Prevent Closure of Guantanamo Detention Facility

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Update June 13th: On Thursday the House began its consideration of 172 amendments to National Defense Authorization bill.  Earlier in the week,  the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a Statement of Administration Policy outlining objections to parts of the NDAA, and threatening to veto legislation.    The SAB indicates that the Administration "strongly objects" to the sections of the NDAA which "unwisely and inappropriately interfere with the Executive Branch's ability to manage detainees in a time of armed conflict," as well as  "unwise funding restrictions that would prohibit the construction or modification of a detention facility in the United States to house Guantanamo detainees, and would constrain our ability to transfer Guantanamo detainees, including those who have already been designated for transfer to other countries."  

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(earlier post)

The Human Rights organization Amnesty International just put an alert out for US citizens to call their Representatives to support Guantanamo by 5PM EDT Wednesday, June 12th, because of provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that aim "to keep the Cuba prison facility running, and to make it permanent, in defiance of President Barack Obama's recently renewed goal to close it."  
 

Over $250 million is authorized in the House version of the NDAA to maintain the prison and hold trials for some of the 166 detainees in Guantanamo.  Also included is $247 million to build two new barracks at the facility, with the aim of making them permanent.

 

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), should Congress approve this funding, beginning next year "we will be paying close to 100 times as much to house detainees in Guantánamo as we do inmates in federal prisons in the United States, at a rate of roughly $3 million per detainee."  A full breakdown of the costs associated with housing the detainees at the Guantanamo facility can be found on Representative Smith's website.

 

The NDAA, which passed the House Armed Services Committee on Friday, June 7, also continues to restrict the President's ability to move prisoners out, despite an attempt by top Democratic Committee member Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) to return that authority to the President. 

 

The choices in front of the House, says Amnesty International, "are clear: each detainee must either be a) charged and fairly tried in federal court or b) released. This isn't just about the detainees. The right to be free from arbitrary detention and the right to a fair trial protects all of us from abuse."

 

Click here for more information on how to take action on this issue, and check out our media gallery below to learn more about human rights violations at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.