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White House Peddles Misinformation on Gitmo

Here’s a nice catch by Dafna Linzer at ProPublica. At yesterday’s press conference, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs made two statements about the Obama administration’s connection to the more than 200 Guantanamo detainees left at the prison camp.

First, Gibbs told reporters that more transfers of Guantanamo detainees out of the prison camp “have taken place in the past eight months than have taken — than took place in the previous eight years.”

Uh, wrong. As Linzer points out, the Obama administration has transferred 31 detainees in the last eight months, as compared to some 520 transferred by the Bush administration before that.

Gibbs also went on to claim that, when courts have ruled that the government is unlawfully holding a detainee, the Obama administration has transferred the detainees “back to either their home country or third-party countries.”

Well, not really. As of today, 11 detainees who’ve won the right to be released by a federal court are still imprisoned at Guantanamo, as we note on our Gitmo Habeas Scoreboard, posted earlier today. We’ll continue to update that as developments occur.

It’s worth noting that not only has the Obama administration not complied with court orders for release, but when lawyers for the Chinese Muslim Uighurs detained at Gitmo won an order to be released into the United States — since they can’t go home to China and the U.S. hasn’t been able to place them all in other countries — the Obama administration fought back hard. That case, Kiyemba v. Obama, is now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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