Death is increasingly looking like the only way out for detainees at the Guantánamo Bay prison.
Charlie Savage reports in the New York Times on Friday:
The United States Southern Command [SouthCom] has requested $49 million to build a new prison building at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for “special” detainees on top of other renovations it says are necessary since Congress has decided to keep it open indefinitely.
That $49 million is in addition to other multi-million dollar renovations at Guantánamo SouthCom listed as "necessary if the prison was to remain open for the indefinite future," Savage reports.
Despite signing an executive order to close the detention facility by January 2010, the new Obama administration "has actually abolished the office to close Guantánamo," and now "there's not even a person at the State Department trying to close it," said attorney Michael Ratner, President Emeritus at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and Chair of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, speaking to the Real News earlier this week.
Explaining why Guantánamo remains open, Ratner blamed President Obama's weakness, congressional hurdles put in place by requiring a certification on detainees to be cleared, which Obama has not signed, and Obama's moratorium on sending people to Yemen.
There are 166 detainees, 86 of whom have been cleared for release, and 56 of those are from Yemen, said Ratner.
On this injustice, Ratner says "we should be screaming."
In an effort to bring attention to their indefinite detention and the deplorable conditions at the prison, a number of detainees have been on a hunger strike. While U.S. officials say the number of hunger strikers is 24, CCR attorney Omar Farah said the number may be far higher, with nearly 130 prisoners in Camp 6 and roughly 20 in Camp 5 on hunger strike.