by Sarah Lazare
After President Barack Obama agreed on Tuesday to sign a $607 billion “defense” bill that undermines his own plan to shutter the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, media outlets sounded the death knell for hopes that the facility will close before his term ends in 2017.
But Omar Shakir, a Bertha fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights, told Common Dreams that the president, in fact, still retains the ability to close the prison—and must act now to fulfill his repeated pledges.
“Obama has been able and continues to be able to transfer the men cleared for release by every security and intelligence agency,” Shakir said over the phone from Guantánamo where he is meeting with clients. “It is in his power to accelerate the pace of periodic review boards. He has the ability through the Department of Justice to ensure that those who face trial do so in fair proceedings in federal court.”