Democrats Criticized Trump for His Support of Torture. So Why Do These Dems Want to Keep Gitmo Open?

Protest at the White House last year: https://www.flickr.com/photos/44030564@N03/32147408111

Created in January 2002 by the Bush administration, the Guantanamo Bay detention facility (Gitmo) is now over fifteen years old. And it remains a moral and legal travesty.

Individuals have been held at Gitmo for years without being charged with a crime, facing state-sanctioned torture (Yes, the US still does employ torture) at the hands of guards and lacking the right to a fair trial. The UN and human rights organizations have called out Gitmo for its violation of the US Constitution and international law, and for undermining the moral authority to fight terrorism. Indeed, national security experts have long recognized that Gitmo is used as a recruiting tool by terrorist groups.

Last year, UN human rights experts urged the US to “ clean up its own house,” explaining that “impunity only generates more abuses as States do not feel compelled to stop engaging in illegal practices.”

Although Obama pledged to close Gitmo at the start of his presidency, he never intended to end the unconstitutional practice of indefinite detention, and in some ways made conditions even worse.

The FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), passed by the House of Representatives on Friday, keeps the status quo in place, maintaining the current ban on transferring or releasing Gitmo detainees domestically and preventing the use of funds for construction or modification of US facilities to house detainees.

As he has each year, Jerry Nadler (NY-10) offered amendments to strike these provisions.

His amendment to strike the transfer ban received a recorded vote and went down 167 to 257.

164 Democrats and 3 Republicans — Justin Amash (MI-03), Jimmy Duncan (TN-02), and Walter Jones (NC-03) — voted for it. 232 Republicans and 25 Democrats voted against it.

Here are the 25:

Pete Aguilar (CA-31)

Julia Brownley (CA-26)

Steve Cohen (TN-09)

Lou Correa (CA-46)

Charlie Crist (FL-13)

Henry Cuellar (TX-28)

Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15)

Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05)

Gene Green (TX-29)

Denny Heck (WA-10)

Al Lawson (FL-05)

Dan Lipinski (IL-03)

Sean Maloney (NY-18)

Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01)

Jacky Rosen (NV-03)

Raul Ruiz (CA-36)

Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02)

David Scott (GA-13)

Terri Sewell (AL-07)

Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01)

Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)

Albio Sires (NJ-08)

Tom Suozzi (NY-03)

Filemon Vela (TX-34)

Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)

Given how Democrats often criticized Trump’s comments in support of torture last year, it’s striking to see how many are willing to endorse torture in the form of Gitmo.

The only surprises on the list are Cohen and Watson Coleman. They have typically voted with Nadler on similar amendments, and their offices should be asked for an explanation.

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