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Nine Years of Guantánamo: What Now?

On January 11, 2011, the New America Foundation hosted a retrospective discussion on the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. Journalist Andy Worthington, Colonel Morris Davis, Thomas Wilner, and Benjamin Wittes all participated. Patrick Doherty, senior advisor to New America’s Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative and Director of the organization’s Smart Strategy Initiative, moderated the event. Statements and discussion focused on a variety of issues including the ongoing controversy as well as the prison’s future, detention and the application of law, and the utility of keeping the facility open.

Each participant shared their experiences and affiliation with Guantanamo Bay: Worthington offered his perspective as a freelance author whose research stands as some of the most complete to day; Colonel Morris offered details regarding his time spent prosecuting “enemy combatants” held in Cuba; Wittes spoke about the continued utility and necessity of Guantanamo, since the United States will need a detention facility for the foreseeable future; and Wilner expressed his dissatisfaction with the process and the moral shortcomings of Guantanamo and the American response.

The discussion confirmed the controversy will endure and that there is no impulse for moving forward, two years after President Obama signed the order to close the prison. Compelling arguments were made by all participants but there remained reservations about the facility’s future purpose. One thing is certain: Guantanamo still has a future, and the controversy will last until politicians resolve the debate.


Featured Speakers
Andy Worthington
Journalist, Author, Filmmaker, Senior Researcher, Cageprisoners
Author, The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison
Co-director, "Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo"

Col. (ret) Morris Davis
Executive Director, Crimes of War Education Project
Former Chief Prosecutor, U.S. Military Commissions at Guantanamo

Thomas Wilner           
Partner, Shearman & Sterling LLP
Represented Guamtanamo detainees in the Rasul v Bush and Boumediene v Bush cases

Benjamin Wittes
Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Author, Detention and Denial: The Case for Candor After Guantanamo

Patrick Doherty
Senior Advisor, Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative
Director, Smart Strategy Initiative
New America Foundation

Event Time and Location

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - 3:30pm - 5:00pm
New America Foundation
1899 L Street NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

Event Photos

Click here to view these photos.
A range of photos from this event are available on Flickr. Click on the icon at left to view or download the photos.