A New Zip Code

Guantanamo the eternal, despite the promises President Obama made for his first year in office. And the promised new closing date for the internationally criticized detainment camp that was supposed to be announced during the course of this past year is also rapidly coming due. Meanwhile, the U.S. media hints at a 2011 deadline, and that’s not entirely because of legal pitfalls: the government in Washington succeeded in locating a suitable prison in the United States that would allow the transfer of all Guantanamo prisoners unwanted by the rest of the world. The catch is, it doesn’t have the money to acquire and retrofit the high-security Illinois facility. An attempt to conceal the funding in the newly approved Pentagon budget didn’t work. And, above all, Republicans have raised the specter of imminent terrorist attack if the suspects are brought to the United States.

So in all probability, 200 prisoners will have to celebrate Obama’s one-year anniversary in power right there in Guantanamo. Thus the prison – simultaneously a synonym for the despised Bush era and for expected change under Obama – will only remain a symbol for the manacled hopes of its inmates. The planned “Gitmo-North” will remain a legal no-man’s land without proper legal procedures for its prisoners.

As Amnesty International said, the only thing Barack Obama will change about Guantanamo is its zip code.

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