Representative Jim Moran is sponsoring a congressional briefing this Friday, May 10, to inform colleagues about current conditions in Guantanamo, where more than a hundred men are on hunger strike, and to explore prospects for closing the prison. Eighty-six of the 166 men remaining at Guantanamo have been cleared for transfer by US authorities. The hunger strike–a response to their indefinite detention–has snowballed into a humanitarian crisis that requires urgent resolution. But the larger questions of Guantanamo–the policy of indefinite detention and the damage the prison’s continued existence does to America’s reputation and security–also need to be addressed.
Last week, President Obama vowed to renew efforts to close the prison, stating he would re-engage Congress. The briefing will bring together expert voices to further inform Congress about the situation at Guantanamo and discuss the President’s current options for transferring men out of Guantanamo, as well as the long-term feasibility of closing the detention facility.
Panelists will include David R. Irvine, Brigadier General, USA (Retired)and former intelligence officer on prisoner interrogation with Sixth Army Intelligence School; and Lawrence B. Wilkerson, Colonel, United States Army (Retired)and former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell. These panelists will be joined by prominent theologian George Hunsinger, as well as by an attorney representing detainees who visits Guantanamo regularly.
The briefing is co-sponsored by The National Religious Campaign Against Torture, New America Foundation, and The Constitution Project (author of a recent, bi-partisan report on US detention policy and practice).