The Obama Administration insists that it wants to close Gitmo, but Congress is preventing them from doing so.
They rarely talk about the other big detainee prison–the one with significantly less transparency and due process than exists at Gitmo: Parwan prison in Bagram.
Perhaps that’s because we’ve just awarded a $35 million contract to expand that prison for the second time in Obama’s Administration, this time to add 2,000 beds.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineer (USACE) Middle East District has a requirement to construct detainee housing capability for approximately 2000 detainees in Parwan, Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Primary facilities include detainee housing, guard towers, administrative facility and Vehicle/Personnel Access Control Gates, security surveillance and restricted access systems. Primary power will be tie into the Bagram electrical distribution grid. Backup power will be provided by generators. Supporting facilities include site preparation, utilities, sidewalks, access road, lighting, and information systems. Anti-terrorism/Force Protection measures will be included. The project will be delivered using a design-build approach. All work identified in the Scope of Work shall be completed within 369 calendar days from award.
And remember: Obama’s NDAA signing statement suggested that the Administration would push the requirement under Section 1024 to give detainees meaningful reviews of their detention (the Administration suggests it will hold detainees for more than 6 months before giving such a meaningful review).
So yes, it is nice the Administration intends to close Gitmo. But I’d prefer if it stopped expanding our prison capacity in general.