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Obama to detail terrorism policy including drone attacks and Guantánamo Bay prison

In a national security speech, President Obama will explain his policies dealing with terrorism, the use of drone aircraft, Al Qaeda, and the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

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As of Sunday, notes the British publication, 103 of the 166 inmates still at Guantánamo Bay were refusing food. Of those, 30 were being force-fed.

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International protests over Guantánamo Bay are a regular occurrence now, and the cost of what seems to be endless incarceration for a relative handful of those with suspected ties to terrorism has become an issue as well.

CNN reported this past week that it costs about $900,000 a year per inmate at the military facility there.

“By comparison, costs for a typical federal prison inmate run about $25,000 a year,” according to CNN. “At the ‘supermax’ prison in Colorado that holds domestic terrorists Eric Rudolph and Ted Kaczynski, it's about $60,000.”

About 1,900 US troops are assigned to guard the 166 inmates. Facilities are in need of repair and renovation is estimated to cost more than $200 million.

Guantánamo inmates include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid bin Attash, and Ramzi Bin al-Shahb – accused coconspirators in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 – as well as Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused of leading the plot to bomb the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000, which killed 17 American sailors.

Those four face trial on war crimes charges before the military courts set up to try Al Qaeda and Taliban figures. Most of the rest of the prisoners face no charges at all, reports CNN.

The other controversial issue Obama plans to address in his speech this week is the use of pilotless armed drones to attack terrorist threats, mainly in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen.

The drone program under Obama has vastly increased since it began in the Bush administration, and it’s come under fire across the political spectrum for its secretiveness as well as for what critics say is a large number of civilian casualties, including children.

The administration was forced to respond last month when US Sen. Rand Paul (R) of Kentucky filibustered for 13 hours in protest of a policy that allows for the drone targeting of US citizens affiliated with terrorist groups.


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