Former president Barack Obama had vowed to close the US military-run prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but now it will stay open for at least 25 years, the officer in charge of the facility said Tuesday.
Rear Admiral John Ring said the prison, which holds several alleged plotters of the 9/11 attacks, is focused on readiness to make “sure that the facilities are going to last for 25 years.”
In January, President Donald Trump signed an executive order, reversing his predecessor Obama’s ultimately fruitless 2009 directive to shutter the facility that has drawn global scorn.
Following Trump’s move, “they told us we are going to be here for 25 years or more,” said Ring, Commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo.
The Pentagon “sent us a memo saying plan to be open” for at least 25 years, Ring said during a visit regularly organized by the US military for journalists, with the aim of showing that prisoners are treated humanely at the American enclave in communist Cuba’s southeast.
In December, the top torture expert at the United Nations said reports from sources indicated at least one inmate was still being tortured at Guantanamo Bay.
Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture, said he had received information that torture through noise and vibrations was taking place against Ammar al-Baluchi, a suspected 9/11 plotter.
Melzer voiced particular concern about detainees who had been held for long periods of time in almost complete isolation.
Under president George W. Bush, the military hastily built the prison camp following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001.
Over the years, roughly 780 people have been detained at Guantanamo, mostly for their alleged ties to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
First under Bush and then under Obama, the US released hundreds of detainees from the prison.
The most notorious inmates, including accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, are still awaiting trial but their cases have been beset by legal woes.
Guantanamo has not received any new inmates since 2008, and 40 remain.
Some have never been charged yet have been deemed too dangerous to release.
On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to load Guantanamo with “bad dudes,” and later in office he said Islamic State fighters would be sent there.
Ring said that so far there is “no indication” that such new detainees would be transferred soon to Guantanamo.
‘No president is a dictator’: John Kelly backs Mattis’s take on Trump — and says we need leaders with ‘ethics’
President Donald Trump's former chief of staff on Friday spoke out in defense of former Trump Secretary of Defense James Mattis's scathing assessment of President Donald Trump.
In an interview with former Trump White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, Kelly said that "I agree" with what Mattis said about how dangerous it is for the president to propose using the American military against American citizens who are protesting against police brutality.
"The idea you would unleash American active duty folks unless it's an extreme situation... the troops hate it," Kelly said. "They don't see it as their jobs. They don't want to be used in that way."
Trump says it’s a ‘great day’ for George Floyd as he brags about jobs report – black unemployment increased to 10 year high
President Donald Trump is taking full credit for May's drop in unemployment numbers, calling it a "tremendous tribute to equality," and even saying that it's a "great day" for George Floyd, a Black man killed by police.
Black unemployment increased to "the highest in more than a decade."
— Bloomberg Economics (@economics) June 5, 2020
WATCH: Bat-wielding 75-year-old white woman tries to block peaceful protesters from marching
In an incident that was caught on video this Wednesday, an elderly woman in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, brandished a bat as she confronted people protesting the death of George Floyd.
Speaking to WOODTV, the woman said she was just simply defending her community.
“I just simply stated, you know, ‘You’re not going to burn down East,'” 75-year-old Karla Anderson said.
The video shows protesters marching down the street when Anderson, hoisting the bat in a confrontational manner. Some protesters yell, "Leave her alone," but one man on the bike attempted to take the bat away from her anyway. Others stepped in to try to diffuse the situation.