Originally established after the control of Cuba, from Spain (as a result of winning the Spanish-American war in 1898), Guantánamo Bay (often referred to as "Gitmo") was "officially" established in 2002 when the United States would hold the bay - located on the coast of Guantánamo Bay in southeastern Cuba - as a military base to host militants and suspected terrorists captured by US forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc., after the 9/11 attacks as stated by Brittanica.
Picture Credit: Wikipedia Commons, Guantanamo Bay Map
Although intended to close as ordered by President Barack Obama in January 2009, the Bay remained open as of 2010.
The Problem with Guantánamo Bay
Since its establishment, the camp has held almost 800 of these suspected individuals in contempt without charge and legal representation, making the bay the longest-standing war prison in US history, according to the ACLU. Despite over 700 having been shipped out by the Bush and Obama administrations, around 39 of these prisoners remain today, half never being charged with crime, and a quarter awaiting transfer/release for years.
Essentially, Guantánamo Bay is a clear violation of human rights and a clear example of American hypocrisy” because of not just the clear unjust legal circumstances as stated above, but also the violence and torture that these prisoners are subjected to, making the United States a puppeteer of hypocritical justice and equality it preaches to individuals. These prisoners lacked the rights that were stated under the Geneva Convention and Habeas corpus (guidelines for how prisoners of war should be treated humanely), denying the right of presumption of innocence and trial by jury.
Due to this, it should be clear how vital it is for the base to be eradicated. In this article, I will be describing how Guantánamo Bay is filled with implications that actively go against its purpose, and therefore need to be addressed for the site to be eradicated.
Picture Credit: Podex99 from Pixabay
Torture and Violence
An instance in which Guantánamo Bay is an example of human rights violations can be seen with the torture and violence that these prisoners face on the daily.
This could be seen in the case of Majid Khan, a former Guantánamo Bay prisoner, who disclosed his torture experience at Guantánamo Bay. He stated being subject to being naked from a ceiling beam for long periods, doused with ice water to keep him awake from drowning, as well as waterboarding by American authorities trying to get information out of this former Baltimore suburbs resident. Despite having no knowledge of what he was being tortured to release, Khan was still subject to much worse activities like being beaten, given forced enemas, and sexual assault.
"I thought I was going to die" -Majid Khan.
These are not just a couple but multiple clear violations of human rights that prisoners at Guantánamo Bay were subject to. If people thought Khan was lying, it should also be stated that in 2009, the U.S. official in charge of military commissions at Guantánamo declared that the detainee suspected in the 9/11 attacks could not be prosecuted because he had been tortured.
With beatings, solitary confinement, sexual assault, and more, prisoners like Khan were not only tortured in more innovative and worse ways, like waterboarding, but to-be-elected president Donald Trump would further threaten them by claiming that he would bring "a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding", according to the International Business Times.
Because of this, it is a legitimate and clear example of how the United States is nothing but an inflictor of pain on other individuals who were most likely racially and religiously profiled. It is well documented that out of all the prisoners that have been under the Guantanamo Bay system, none of them were any of religion other than Muslim.
Picture Credit: Maria Oswalt from Unsplash
Arguments in support of Guantanamo Bay
Although it could be argued that the use of Guantánamo Bay is beneficial as it acts as an integral military base to keep dangerous prisoners away from US citizens, what seems to be lacking from this claim is the acknowledgment that more prisoners have tried – and succeeded- in committing atrocious crimes like murder and terrorism. They just happen to be on US soil because they are US citizens, otherwise, it could just as easily be them in Guantánamo Bay, harming the citizens of the US.
Moreover, most of these prisoners on US soil have done something as opposed to the prisoners on Guantánamo Bay who were only suspected of trying to commit a crime, and not committing it. This is a further act of clouded injustice towards these prisoners in Guantánamo Bay as they are profiled as very threatening individuals when there is no evidence of keeping these suspected individuals in prison.
Picture Credit: TayebMEZAHDIA from Pixabay
Considering that incriminated individuals at Guantanamo Bay have been subjected to torture and violence by the higher authorities on this base, it would be a further act of monstrosity and hypocrisy on the US’s part to continue this prison base in which the only people there who have committed atrocious deals are the Americans rather than the innocent but wrongly accused and profiled prisoners.