George Diepenbrock
KU News Service

Media advisory: Both sides still entrenched on Guantanamo closing, professor says

Tue, 02/23/2016

LAWRENCE — As President Barack Obama has submitted another plan to Congress to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facilities, a University of Kansas researcher can comment on the politics surrounding the long-simmering issue.
Obama's plan — offered in the final year of his presidency — would identify 13 potential sites in the United States to which detainees could be transferred. Republican lawmakers, who control Congress, are expected to oppose the plan.
Don Haider-Markel,  professor and chair of the Department of Political Science, can speak about the politics surrounding Guantanamo, also known as Gitmo, and how the site's history intersects with efforts to combat terrorist groups such as the Islamic State and al-Qaida. His research includes terrorism, extremist groups, public policy and American politics.
"For Obama this is a legacy issue because he made this promise on day one of his presidency, and many in the administration believe that Guantanamo continues to be a source of grievance for Muslims around the world and that it also harms our image with other nations," Haider-Markel said. "This point is held by many observers and is evidenced by the fact that al-Qaida and Islamic State have continuously made reference to Guantanamo and that Islamic State mockingly dresses prisoners in Gitmo-style orange jumpsuits before they are killed. "
Haider-Markel said many Republicans in Congress have argued moving detainees to American soil could make the U.S. and the site a target. 
"If the detainees are on U.S. soil, there is also the possibility that effective legal arguments could be made that could lead a court to increase the legal rights of the detainees, possibly allowing for their release without an 'adequate' trial," he said.
To arrange an interview with Haider-Markel, contact George Diepenbrock at or 785-864-8853.


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