Guantanamo Camp Xray

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Guantanamo Camp Xray is also known as Guantánamo, GTMO/GITMO, and Camp Delta. (GTMO is shorthand for GuanTanaMO. "gitmo" is the pronunciation.)

The Offical website of Joint Task Force GTMO, the group designated responsible[1] for operating the detainee detention facility and conducting interrogations, declares "Honor Bound to Defend Freedom".

Reports of abuses

  • Seymour M. Hersh, in his book "Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib" (HarperCollins), "asserts that a Central Intelligence Agency analyst who visited the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in the late summer of 2002 filed a report of abuses there that drew the attention of Gen. John A. Gordon, a deputy to Condoleezza Rice, the White House national security adviser. But when General Gordon called the matter to her attention and she discussed it with other senior officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, no significant change resulted. Mr. Hersh's account is based on anonymous sources, some secondhand, and could not be independently verified." [2]
    "General John A. Gordon, the deputy national security adviser for combating terrorism, who reported directly to Condoleezza Rice, had retired from the military as a four-star general in 2000 had served as a deputy director of the CIA for three years. He was deeply troubled and distressed by the report, and by its implications for the treatment, in retaliation, of captured American soldiers. Gordon, according to a former administration official, told colleagues that he thought "it was totally out of character with the American value system", and "that if the actions at Guantánamo ever became public, it'd be damaging to the president"." [3]

Hunger strikes

On 14 September 2005, the press is reporting 128 detainees, some of them held for over three years, participating in the latest of a series of hunger strikes at the facility. [4]

John Roberts and the Geneva Conventions

It was Robert’s ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that the president was not constrained by international law and that “the Geneva Conventions do not create judicially enforceable rights.” [5]


U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay is the oldest U.S. base overseas and the only one in Cuba. The primary mission of Guantanamo Bay is to serve as a strategic logistics base for the Navy's Atlantic Fleet and to support counter drug operations in the Caribbean. The US jurisdiction is counter to international law given that the Cuban government has sought its removal – payments aren't possible given that the Cubans reject payments and the US refuses to pay base rights.

On June 13, 2003, Brown & Root Services, a division of Kellogg Brown and Root, Arlington, Va., was awarded a $12,495,601 modification to Task Order 0038 at under a cost-reimbursement, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity construction contract for various facilities, Radio Range, U.S. Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay. The work to be performed includes new facilities for traffic control checkpoints (main and secondary checkpoints), troop bed-down facility, troop dining facility and destructive weather improvements to detention facility structures. The project will also include site work, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning, plumbing and electrical work, as required for the various facilities. [6]

Following the events of September 11, 2001, the military operations in Afghanistan and the ensuing capture of numerous inidviduals alleged to be members or fighters aligned with Al Qaida and and the Taliban, a decision was made to transfer a number of detainees to the Camp X-Ray facility. The base was to serve as a temporary holding facility for detainees that come under U.S. control during the war on terrorism.

With the opening of Camp Delta, Camp X-ray was closed on April 29, 2002. 300 detainees previously held at Camp X-Ray were transferred to Camp Delta on April 28, 2002. The rest were transferred on April 29, 2002. [7]

Guantanamo is central to the Bush Administration's strategy to prevent judicial review of the legal status of prisoners. Located on Cuban territory, it is the "legal equivalent of outer space," according to one US government official, unlike military bases on US territories. These other locations were ruled out as prison sites because they fall under the jurisdiction of the often-liberal Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals. [8]

"A year and a half after September 11, 2001, at least two articles of the Bill of Rights were dead letters--the fourth prohibiting unwarranted searches and seizures and the sixth guaranteeing a jury of peers, the assistance of an attorney in offering a defense, the right to confront one's accusers, protection against self-incrimination, and, most critically, the requirement that the government spell out its charges and make them public." [9]

"Of the more than 600 detainees at the US prison camp at Guantanamo, none has been charged with any crime, and none has had access to a lawyer, although some have been in captivity of one kind or another for two years." [10]

On December 18, 2003, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the executive branch may not indefinitely imprison foreign nationals at Guantanamo without charge and without providing them with the effective means to challenge their detention. [11]

  • Opinion by Judge Reinhardt Filed December 18, 2003, in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Falen Gherebi (Petitioner-Appellant) v. George Walker Bush; Donald H. Rumsfeld (Respondents-Appellees), No. 03-55785 D.C. No. CV-03-01267-AHM; Argued and Submitted August 11, 2003, San Francisco, California. [12] (paste into browser).

In July 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court made some decisions about cases pending with regard to Guantanamo detention and the civil liberty rights of enemy combatants. Perspectives on those decisions:

  • Elaine Cassel, Civil Liberties Watch: "Taken together, the decisions are more important for what they did not do. Their significance for the future, particularly if Bush is reelected, cannot be underestimated."

Whitewashing Guantanamo

Move America Forward

In December 2008, staff and leaders of the pro-war group Move America Forward -- Melanie Morgan, Debbie Lee, Catherine Moy, Danny Gonzalez and Ryan Gill -- traveled to the Guantanamo Bay detention center, "to honor soldiers serving away from their loved ones this holiday season." After their return, the group harshly criticized President-elect Barack Obama's stated plan to close the detention center. Morgan claimed that closing the center would "endanger American lives." She, and other members of the delegation, also complained that "Those prisoners are shown too much respect." [1]

In the UK

"The innocence of (Moazzam) Begg, the Tipton Three and the other British detainees who have come home is a part of the story of Guantanamo that no official wants people to hear," writes Victoria Brittain, the co-author with Begg of the book Enemy Combatant. Brittain points to a Daily Telegraph story titled, "Begg told FBI he trained with al-Qaeda." The story was based on an FBI report of a confession that Begg signed after he "had been tortured, threatened with death, offered a job undercover by the CIA, and come to believe he would never see his family again." The U.S. deputy assistant for public diplomacy, Colleen Graffy, recently gave a BBC radio interview about how she "had visited Guantanamo and witness no unpleasant interrogation, no torture and plenty of sports facilities," writes Brittain. Graffy showed her interviewer "a sample tube used for force-feeding prisoners and explained ... that it had no metal edges and was therefore humane." [13]

Spinning suicides

Following three suicides by detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in June 2006, referred to as "the gulag of our times" by Amnesty International, are apparently not what they would seem. Administration officials rejected suggestions the three had killed themselves out of despair at their indefinite confinement. "It does sound like this is part of a strategy in that they don't value their own lives … they certainly don't value ours and they use suicide bombings as a tactic," Colleen Graffy, the deputy assistant secretary of state for public diplomacy, told the BBC. "Taking their own lives was not necessary, but it certainly is a good PR move to draw attention." The camp's commander, Rear Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr., said the suicides were an al-Qaeda tactic. "They have no regard for life, neither ours nor their own," he said. "I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us." [14]


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