Bin Laden kill does not change Gitmo plans: US

The US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
© AFP/POOL/File Brennan Linsley


PARIS (AFP) – The success of the operation to kill Osama bin Laden has not changed US President Barack Obama’s plan to eventually close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, Attorney General Eric Holder said Monday.

Some opposition figures in the United States have argued that last week’s commando strike was only possible thanks to clues gleaned by interrogating suspected Al Qaeda members at the US detention centre on Cuba.

But, speaking to reporters in Paris, Holder said: “It is still the intention of the president, it is still my intention, to close the facility at Guantanamo, and we will continue our efforts in that regard.

“We think that by closing that facility the national security of the United States will be enhanced,” he explained, at a news conference after a meeting with French Interior Minister Glaude Gueant.

“I’m not sure that the death of Bin Laden will have an impact on the timing of the closure,” he said, after he was asked whether Bin Laden’s death made it more or less likely that the jail would be closed.

“Many of those who have opposed the closure of Guantanamo within the United States have done so on a basis that I’m not sure is affected by the death of Bin Laden,” he argued.

“But the president feels, as do I, that we can close Guantanamo and maintain the safety of the American people and ultimately make the United States more secure,” he concluded.

Obama came to office in January 2009 vowing to close the Guantanamo Bay prison within the first year of his mandate. He failed to carry through on that promise, but has insisted he still intends to do so.

The site was set up by former US president George W. Bush to house alleged “enemy combatants” — suspected terrorists picked up by US military units and intelligence agencies around the world.

Human rights groups challenge the legality of the camp and of the harsh interrogation techniques once used there, and its continued existence is seen by many as a propaganda gift to extremist militants.

© AFP — Published at Activist Post with license

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