Yeah.  Obama issues an executive order closing Guantanamo, everybody is thrilled to bits, sings his praises.   Then, less than a month later, he quietly expands plan for another notorious foreign detention center.  And the U.S press doesn’t cover it, so it doesn’t tarnish his image.

This seems to be Obama’s standard m.o.  He seems to have a strong need to make impressive statements and gestures drawing public approval – but behind the scenes, he completely undermines those statements and gestures. 

He’s sort of a pragmatic narcissist, really.  In the average person, an unattractive foible.  In a president, it’s sort of loathesome and despicable.  He should have some cojones and be straight with the public about what he’s doing.  If he’s the great communicator he’s said to be, he’ll find a way to persuade the public, instead of deliberately misleading them.

Obama denies terror suspects right to trial

Less than a month after signing an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp, President Barack Obama has quietly agreed to keep denying the right to trial to hundreds more terror suspects held at a makeshift camp in Afghanistan that human rights lawyers have dubbed “Obama’s Guantanamo”.

In a single-sentence answer filed with a Washington court, the administration dashed hopes that it would immediately rip up Bush-era policies that have kept more than 600 prisoners in legal limbo and in rudimentary conditions at the Bagram air base, north of Kabul.

Now, human rights groups say they are becoming increasingly concerned that the use of extra-judicial methods in Afghanistan could be extended rather than curtailed under the new US administration. The air base is about to undergo a $60m (£42m) expansion that will double its size, meaning it can house five times as many prisoners as remain at Guantanamo.

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Apart from staff at the International Red Cross, human rights groups and journalists have been barred from Bagram, where former prisoners say they were tortured by being shackled to the ceiling of isolation cells and deprived of sleep.

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“Guantanamo Bay was a diversionary tactic in the ‘War on Terror’,” said the lawyer. “Totting up the prisoners around the world – held by the US in Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti, the prison ships and Diego Garcia, or held by US proxies in Jordan, Egypt and Morocco – the numbers dwarf Guantanamo. There are still perhaps as many as 18,000 people in legal black holes. Mr Obama should perhaps be offered more than a month to get the American house in order. However, this early sally from the administration underlines another message: it is far too early for human rights advocates to stand on the USS Abraham Lincoln and announce, ‘Mission Accomplished’.”

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