Placing Guantánamo detainees was even more difficult even during the Bush administration, the WikiLeaks cables show.
Sweden in 2007 turned down a request that Stockholm provide safe haven for two Uzbek detainees who feared going home.
A cable quotes Sweden's counterterrorism ambassador, Cecilia Ruthstrom-Ruin, as declaring ``it is natural to wonder why,'' if as free men the ex-captives need monitoring, the United States doesn't undertake to handle it.
In spite of those questions, the Bush administration transferred more than 500 detainees, nearly all to their home countries, and when Obama took office there were just 245 detainees at Guantánamo.
Resettling those that are cleared for release, however, has been difficult, and Congress, concerned by U.S. intelligence estimates that one-fourth of the captives freed over nine years are suspected of having joined anti-American insurgencies, has placed ever stricter limits on their transfers to other countries.
Under the Defense Department appropriations bill that Obama signed into law two weeks ago, the administration not only can't use Pentagon funds to bring detainees to the United States for trial, but must certify that countries meet a set of security conditions before the U.S. can send detainees to them.
In a signing statement, Obama objected to those restrictions, but he did not say he'd ignore them.
Not even Yemen, 90 of whose citizens make up the largest group by nationality of Guantánamo detainees, has been helpful.
In March 2009, according to one of the cables, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh told Obama's counter-terrorism advisor John Brennan that he would not agree to Yemenis going from Guantánamo to a rehabilitation program in neighboring Saudi Arabia.
Instead, he suggested the United States send his citizens to the federal SuperMax prison in Florence, Colo., that houses such notorious killers as Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, shoe bomber Richard Reid and World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Youssef.
$11 MILLION IDEA
Saleh was seeking $11 million to build its own rehab center in the port city where al-Qaida suicide bombers in 2000 blew up the U.S. destroyer Cole, killing 17 American sailors.
``We will offer the land in Aden, and you and the Saudis will provide the funding,'' he was quoted as saying in a March 2009 cable.
A September 2009 cable from Strasbourg, France, made clear what the Obama administration was up against in setting its hopes on European resettlement for long-held Guantánamo captives with ties there.
The Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg, told members ``the U.S. could not expect European countries to accept detainees from Guantánamo if the U.S. were not willing to accept some on U.S. soil.''
The stigma of Guantánamo also was a problem, even for those eventually cleared of terror ties. In February 2009, an Estonian diplomat told an American envoy in Brussels that the United States needed to begin educating its own citizens ``that while some detainees are very dangerous, many of them do not pose a serious threat.''
She provided a suggestion for changing public opinion.
``We need better pictures,'' she said, urging the United States to replace the image of the iconic Guantánamo detainees on his knees in orange jumpsuit.
Christopher Boucek, an expert on Islamic extremist rehabilitation programs in the Arab World at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, says the cables illustrate the disconnect between international contempt for Guantánamo and Congress' ``zero willingness'' to accept that some detainees might be released into the United States.
``We let rapists and pedophiles out of custody every day, and there's an acceptance that there is a risk they will reoffend,'' says Boucek.
Boucek noted that neither the Bush administration nor Obama's have ``made a good argument that every time you let somebody out of a custodial situation there's a risk.''