'A former commander of Guantanamo Bay and the maritime chief of the US-led bombing of Libya in 2011 has been nominated by President Donald Trump as US ambassador to South Korea. He currently heads all US Navy operations in Asia.
Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr, the incumbent commander of US Pacific Command, is President Donald Trump's pick for the American ambassador to South Korea, the White House said in a press release. The key diplomatic position remains vacant after Trump dropped his previous choice for the post, Victor Cha, who was a top North Korea expert on the National Security Council.
Describing Harris as "a highly decorated, combat-proven naval officer with extensive knowledge, leadership, and geopolitical expertise in the Indo-Pacific region," the statement noted that he has served "in every geographic combatant command region."
But there are some other eye-catching elements of Admiral Harris' decades-long career. According to the Pentagon website, he commanded the Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO), a US military unit tasked with overseeing the infamous detention facilities, namely Camp X-Ray and its descendants Camp Delta, Camp V, and Camp Echo.
Shortly after he assumed command over the JTF-GTMO, three detainees – two Saudis and one Yemeni – committed suicide by hanging themselves in their cells with nooses made of sheets and clothing, US media reported at the time. Commenting on the deaths, then-commander Admiral Harris said the deceased had "no regard for life, neither ours nor their own," and dismissed the triple suicide as "a planned event, not a spontaneous event" and "an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us." He then ridiculed the fact that there was a "mythical belief" the Guantanamo detention facility would be closed just because the three captives had died there.
Several years later, Harris was appointed as commander of the US Navy's 6th, concurrently serving as deputy commander of US Naval Forces Europe and Africa. In this role, he lead the maritime part of Operation Odyssey Dawn, a US-led aerial campaign against Libya that left multiple civilians dead and many more injured in the bombings.'
Read more: Trump taps ex-Gitmo commander & Navy chief in 2011 Libya bombing as new envoy to South Korea
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16 May 2018
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