The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a controversial detainment and interrogation facility of the United States located within Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba. The facility was established in 2002 by the Bush Administration to hold detainees from the war in Afghanistan and later Iraq. It is operated by the US Joint Task Force Guantanamo.
“The tragedy of Guantanamo is compounded every day it stays open,” said Andrea Prasow, senior counterterrorism counsel and advocate. “This 10th anniversary should mark the moment when the Obama administration seriously commits to closing Guantanamo by seeking to change the law barring federal court trials and by releasing Guantanamo detainees already cleared for transfer.”
Provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that mandate military custody for certain terrorism suspects and codify indefinite detention without trial into US law are a complete rejection of the vision Obama outlined for counterterrorism policy when he took office, Human Rights Watch said.
The White House said Tuesday that it will transfer a limited number of terrorism suspects from the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba to a prison in rural Illinois, prompting swift criticism from Republicans worried about increased security risks on U.S. soil.
Officials say federal inmates and no more than 100 detainees would be housed at the maximum-security Thomson Correctional Center, located about 150 miles west of Chicago.
In March 2008, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit to compel the US government to release unredacted transcripts of military hearings that allegedly described the torture of detainees. In response to the Freedom of Information Act request, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) released the requested documents in June 2009. While still redacted, the documents clearly described the physical and mental abuse of Guantanamo detainees.
On March 7, 2011, President Barack Obama signed an executive order making a number of changes to policies regarding those detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In a reversal of his previous policy, the order resumes military trials for Gitmo detainees. It also establishes a "periodic review" process for for long-held Guantanamo detainees who have not been charged, convicted or designated for transfer, "but must continue to be detained because they 'in effect, remain at war with the United States,'" according to a White House fact-sheet.
On 7 February 2002 the White House stated that both Al Qaeda and Taliban members held in the US Guantanamo Bay prison facilities following the 11 September 2001 attacks were not entitled to POW status but were all ‘unlawful combatants’. Over a year after the statement no charge has been formally brought against the detainees, who number over 600.
Health information has been routinely available to behavioral science consultants and others who are responsible for crafting and carrying out interrogation strategies. Through early 2003 (and possibly later), interrogators themselves had access to medical records. And since late 2002, psychiatrists and psychologists have been part of a strategy that employs extreme stress, combined with behavior-shaping rewards, to extract actionable intelligence from resistant captives.
June, 2004. The U.S. Supreme Court rules (Rasul v. Bush) that foreign nationals in captivity at Guantánamo have the right to legal counsel and to challenge the legality of their captivity. Erickson: “More than four hundred detainees have been set free in the first four years since that ruling, and many of the released prisoners have alleged that they suffered torture at the hands of the United States.” (pg. 91)
On May 18, 2011, US Southern Command announced that a Guantanamo Bay detainee known as Inayatullah was found dead in his cell in an apparent suicide. In 2007, the families of two other Guantanamo detainees who committed suicide filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the United States and 24 government officials, including former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Their suit was dismissed by the US District Court for the District of Columbia and affirmed by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit following appeal.
In March, 1996, the fate of Guantánamo took another sad turn when it was incorporated into the Helms Burton Law authored by the anti-Castro community and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Section 201 (12) of Chapter II modifies the existing 1903/1934 treaty so that “the duration of the base,” as explained by Olga Miranda in her essay How To Exit the Guantánamo Treaty, “will now depend on whether Cuba has a government that Washington approves of.”
"Contrary to what you've been told," Thiessen said, "the United States did not use the same interrogation techniques as the Spanish Inquisition, Imperial Japan, the Khmer Rouge or Nazi Germany. No one was ever waterboarded at Guantanamo Bay. In fact, no one at Guantanamo Bay was ever subjected to enhanced interrogation of any kind. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed [(KSM), an al-Qaeda member who masterminded several attacks including 9/11] was not waterboarded 183 times. Waterboarding as practiced by the CIA is not torture."