Guantanamo Bay

Guantanamo Bay is located at the southeastern tip of Cuba, a small area of land under the possession of the United States. This bay area houses the military prison used to contain dangerous criminals and terrorists. The history and use of Guantanamo Bay are unusual pieces in the United States military history. While it seems odd that the United States has a prison facility, Guantanamo Bay is a very important detainee facility.

Guantanamo Bay was established in 2002 as a facility intended to house war criminals and facilitate optimal interrogation. The prison is divided into camps, each with a specific purpose, and is run by the Joint Task Force Guantanamo. In the prison’s early days, during the Bush administration of 2004, it was determined the Guantanamo was outside of legal jurisdiction and prisoners were not even entitled to rights of the Geneva Convention. After legal battles, the United States Department of Defense released a memo that stated detainees were indeed entitled to rights of the Geneva Convention—giving them protection. Much controversy of the practices at Guantanamo Bay has been speculated, so much that the United Nations called for its shutdown in 2009. The shutdown was called due to possible torture detainees underwent, violating regulations of the United Nations. Once Obama took office in 2009, he promptly ordered for the suspension of Guantanamo Bay for the year. This effort was shot down, but Obama called for the transfer of prisoners. In 2011, Obama signed the Defense Authorization Bill, which limits the transfer of prisoners to other countries or the U.S. Despite struggle and controversy, the shutdown of Guantanamo Bay is very unlikely. Congress would not support the shutdown. As of today, there are over one hundred prisoners still detained at Guantanamo Bay.

Guantanamo Bay Naval Base is used to house prisoners that are considered war criminals or too dangerous to stand trial in the mainland. Today the camp is split up into two areas, Camp Delta and Camp Echo. There used to also be a Camp X-Ray, but it has since been closed and detainees transferred to Camp Delta. Camp Delta is composed of multiple subcamps and a psychiatric facility. Each camp within Camp Delta has different features and each area is intended for a different level of prisoner or detainee.

The rights of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay are unclear as the military prison is not on domestic soil. We use this facility to house war criminals unsafe to be on the mainland. Looking at the facility’s history and use—despite speculation—the prion is an important asset to our military task force.

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