Mattis brings holiday greetings to Gitmo

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis visited the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Thursday, on a mission to bring holiday greetings to the troops.

Mattis’ visit is the first to Guantanamo Bay by a defense chief in nearly 16 years.

According to the Associated Press, the secretary did not tour the detention facilities or discuss detainee policy issues during his visit.

There is currently uncertainty regarding the Trump administration’s policy on the continued use of Guantanamo Bay as a military prison.

Since his inauguration, President Donald Trump has not released any prisoners from the facility or added to the list of those officially cleared to return to their home country, or another one, for resettlement.

Forty-one prisoners remain detained at Guantanamo Bay, 10 of whom have been charged by a military commission and five who have been cleared to leave but whose status is in doubt under the Trump administration.

Twenty-six prisoners remain in indefinite confinement, awaiting clearing for release or prosecution.

Attorneys for the prisoners are considering filing new lawsuits, contending that a policy of no release means that the confinement of the detainees can no longer be legally justified as a temporary wartime measure.

Donald Rumsfeld was the last defense secretary to visit Guantanamo Bay. Rumsfeld made the trip in January 2002, weeks after the first detainees arrived from Afghanistan.

The military prison was established shortly after the 9/11 attacks and designed to detain suspected terrorists.

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