Guantanamo – Throughout 15 years following the inauguration of Guantanamo Bay in January 2002, the US military base in Cuba has developed, the number of military personnel has increased and construction of major services within the base has expanded to include housing, dining halls, cafes, playgrounds and schools for all levels of education, and places of worship and entertainment.
On the other far side of the GTMO Bay, lies the famous prison, which included a large number of terrorists and detainees whose news and stories on how they are subjected to violence and torture were published in all newspapers after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
The number of detainees put in that prison without trial amounted to 780, and during the term of former President George Bush 540 detainees were released whereas in the term of former US President Barack Obama 201 detainees were released leaving only 41 detainees, most of which known as “life-time prisoners.”
Guantanamo Bay is consisted of several camps in different parts of the base where prisons and camps are built in isolated areas that are far away and highly secured.
Most of these camps were closed and the remaining 41 detainees are now distributed among three camps, which are Camp Echo and Camp 6 and 7 – that include 15 detainees who are considered the most dangerous terrorists.
* Camp X-Ray was the first camp with 311 cells made of chain-link fencing, has emerged as the iconic image of the rugged, makeshift accommodations granted so-called enemy combatants in remote Cuba. A maze of kennel-like cages, the camp housed prisoners for about four months. It was an arrangement that allowed them to chat and pray communally and at one point organize the first hunger strike. One captive’s leaked interrogation log indicated it was used even after it was closed in April 2002 for the “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Now, it is abandoned and overgrown with weeds.
* Camp Delta, also known as Camps 1-2-3, was the first improvement for housing the detainees. Halliburton workers from the Indian subcontinent welded metal shipping containers to create about 720 individual steel and mesh cells in boxcar-style arrangements on a site near the coast, which the captives could not see.
It was being used to house an undisclosed number of hunger-striking detainees being force-fed nutritional shakes through tubes snaked up their noses to reach their stomachs. After that, it was used to jail detainees considered leaders or troublemakers in a special section called One-Alpha.
It also contains meeting rooms for some defense lawyers to consult with their client captives and the prison library. It is a storage site that in February 2017 held 33,500 books, magazines, audio recordings and DVDs available to circulate among low-value detainees.
* Camp Echo contains 24 cells that are used by the military as a segregation site for captives who can’t mix with others. It has also been used routinely as a meeting site between captives and their lawyers, who for years shared meals with their clients inside the shed-style buildings containing a tiny cell, a toilet and shower, with adjoining space for a table and chairs, and an ankle shackle fixed to the floor.
Until a federal judge ordered the practice halted in November 2004, it was used as a special segregation site for detainees facing war-crimes trials before Military Commissions.
*Camp 4 is meant to be a showcase, pre-release detention area for 175 or so of the most cooperative, least dangerous captives; it was designed to resemble a traditional POW lockup. It had 10-cot bunkhouses, communal showers and toilets and a common outdoor eating area with picnic tables where captives could pray together. Commanders also added exercise bicycles and let play pickup soccer beneath a watchtower in “The Big Sky Camp,” as captives called it for its open-air spaces.
In May 2006, one block was the scene of what guards described as a foiled uprising. Later, the site had a classroom with desks and leg shackles for Arabic, Pashto and art classes as well as a satellite TV trailer.
The military emptied the camps in January 2011 for repairs but by Sept. 11, 2011 it was out of service.
*Camp 7: Little is known about this secret camp within the camps, whose existence was revealed in Dec. 8, 2007, in declassified notes of the first attorneys to meet former CIA-held captives. The Pentagon refuses to say how much taxpayers paid to build it, when it went up and what firm got the contract.
The camp currently has 15 detainees, who are considered the most dangerous such as alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and the alleged USS Cole bomber, Abd al Rahim al Nashiri.
In February 2009, then Vice Adm. Patrick Walsh described it as similar to a SuperMax prison in the United States — with climate controlled cells, a recreation yard surrounded by a chain-link fence and rooms where detainees can watch videos and play with hand-held games. It also has can provide dental services so ex-CIA captives need not be taken to the main detainee medical facility.
Its special guard force, called Task Force Platinum, is drawn from National Guard troops who come and go on a nine-month rotation.
Only one Camp 7 detainee has been known to ever leave detention there: Tanzanian Ahmed Ghailani, who on June 9, 2009 was sent to New York for a federal criminal trial.
The Army sought a $69 million earmark from Congress to replace it but got no support from the White House, the Department of Defense or the US Senate.