Guantanamo Bay: Get to Know the High-Security Prison That Will Shock You
Gitmo is the slang term for Guantanamo Bay, a prison known to hold the worst criminals in the world. Not since Alcatraz has a prison been this infamous, both for housing the most dangerous criminals in the world and for the alleged abuses done to the inmates by the guards.
A US military prison in the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, it sits in front of Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay. Inmates here are detained indefinitely without being given a fair trial, and there have also been reports of severe torture. This camp, considered to violate many human rights, according to Amnesty International, is truly infamous.
Established by President George W. Bush in 2002, post-9/11 and during the full swing of the War on Terror, it was supposed to detain extremely dangerous individuals, interrogate prisoners, and prosecute them for war crimes. The truth, however, is that it is just used to detain prisoners indefinitely without trial. The names of the prisoners were, as a matter of national security, kept secret, but because of the Freedom of Information Act, it was revealed that there were almost eight hundred detainees.
It is operated by Joint Task force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMP) and has detention areas known as Camp Delta, including Camp Echo, Camp Iguana, and Camp X-Ray, which, at this time, is now closed.
The first twenty detainees were taken to Guantanamo in 2002, due to the fact that the US Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice advised the Bush administration that the detention camp was and could be considered outside of US legal jurisdiction. This began the series of human rights violations that would haunt the Bush administration for years to come.
Although it is insisted that the detainees were not protected under the rules of the Geneva Convention, they were incarcerated in the detention center. But cases after did prove that these detainees were entitled to minimal protections and that only after in 2006 did the Department of Defense issue an internal memo that the detainees did have these rights.
Unfortunately, many detainees both current and former have accused the detention center for abuse and torture, something that the Bush administration vehemently denied despite reports from Amnesty International. The United Nations pleaded to the United States to close down the camp but was denied as the United States did hold a significant position in the organization. It was also after in 2006 when a Bush appointee went to review the practices used at Guantanamo that the Bush administration finally admitted to the use of torture on inmates.
It remained a hot topic, especially in 2009, when President Barack Obama requested to suspend proceedings at Guantanamo to prepare its shutting down later that year. But a military judge in the same year rejected the case due to some high-profile terrorist who needed to be brought to trial. This led to a back and forth until finally, in December of 2009, President Obama ordered the inmates to be transferred to the Thomson Correctional Center in Thomson, Illinois.
There have been many plans to close it, but the two terms of the Obama administration have come and gone, and now there is a new administration under President Donald Trump. To this day, Guantanamo remains open, with forty-one detainees.
Do you think Guantanamo Bay should remain open, or should it be closed down for good? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section, or tweet me at @Earle_Jacobs to discuss this.