Guantanamo Bay: Inside the world’s most notorious detention centre as the war on terror fades away
Jul 21, 2021 2 mins, 19 secs
The courtroom here at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba has moved, and the base in which it sits has grown larger.

Susan Hensler, al-Tamir’s lead defence counsel since 2017, says the military court system through which her client is being prosecuted here on Guantánamo has yet to catch up to the new reality.

Camp Justice on Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, where military trials of terror suspects take place.

Those who conceived of using the naval base as a detention facility saw it as a place where detainees could be held outside the boundaries of US law.

Camp X-Ray, where the first prisoners were brought to Guantánamo Bay in 2002, now lies abandoned.

In pushing to close the detention facility at Guantánamo, Biden is aiming to succeed where his Democratic predecessor failed.

In the military commission system, presiding judges rotate every few years, a process which ensures repetition and delays.

Holding the trials in Guantánamo, outside of the US justice system, means that prosecution and defence teams have to be flown in for each hearing at an enormous cost.

“Every military commission case involves at its centre someone who has been tortured and mistreated by the US government,” she says.

As for what should be done with the detention facility and the military commission, she says: “The war is over and that should be the end of this commission.”.

It’s more than a prison, it’s more than a detention facility.

When asked if there were lessons to be learned from the use of the base as a detention facility, he says: “There was an urgent need to deal with difficult detention issues after 9/11, but Gitmo policy was initially made with inadequate attention to long-term costs.”.

The inhabitants of Guantánamo Bay Naval Base appear mostly immune to the debate raging outside.

The base looks more like an American town than it does a military installation.

A bowling alley at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba?

The Cuban government today says the base is illegal and has repeatedly called for its removal

While he oversees the base operations, there is a separate command in charge of the prison and the military commission

“The exposure that it received based on the detention facility is understandable, but it’s not the sole function of this installation,” he tells The Independent in his office overlooking the ocean

Captain White compares his role as the commander of the base as a landlord overseeing tenants – one of which happens to be a detention facility

Camp Justice on Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, where military trials of terror suspects take place

Camp X-Ray, where the first prisoners were brought to Guantánamo Bay in 2002, now lies abandoned

A bowling alley at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba

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