US struggle in Afghanistan drawing to an in depth however final vestige of battle limps on at Guantanamo Bay | US Information


A row of vibrant household homes with picket fence gardens and a junk yard overlook the location of some of the controversial chapters in current American historical past.

Weeds and vines are actually wrapped across the rings of barbed wire, the wood watchtowers are decaying and indicators warning of a restricted space are torn in half.

That is the location of the outdated Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay.

Martha Kelner Guantanamo
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Camp X-Ray has lengthy been closed

Pictures of males in orange jumpsuits, shackled, blindfolded and kneeling in out of doors cages in oppressive warmth are what most individuals world wide nonetheless affiliate with Guantanamo.

This a part of the detention facility has lengthy since been closed down though it will probably’t be destroyed due to ongoing felony investigations.

However what occurred right here nonetheless casts a darkish shadow over this American Naval base, which existed for nearly a century earlier than 9/11 however is now synonymous with torture and inhumane therapy.

The primary detainees captured within the early days of the Battle on Terror – suspected terrorists – have been dropped at Camp X-Ray in January 2002 and it was solely ever meant to be a short lived website.

Martha Kelner Guantanamo
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Indicators for the outdated Camp X-Ray

However a collection of experiences since then have revealed what unfolded right here and methods used throughout interrogation, together with beatings, waterboarding and different types of torture.

No journalists had been allowed into Guantanamo Bay for the previous 500 days due to the coronavirus pandemic so we did not know fairly what to anticipate arriving at Joint Base Andrews (JBA) navy terminal two days earlier for the flight right down to Cuba.

JBA is half-an-hour drive outdoors Washington DC and is utilized by the navy and the president and vice chairman.

On the day we depart Kamala Harris is flying to Michigan so the air strip is closed for half-an-hour for safety causes.

Martha Kelner Guantanamo
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The American detention centre in Cuba is essentially the most controversial on Earth

We had been warned forward of time that the principles dictating how journalists function in Guantanamo are extremely restrictive.

Always when shifting across the base we’re accompanied by an escort and all our images and movies must cross a safety inspection to ensure they do not reveal any categorised websites or data.

One little nook of Cuba, round 45 sq. miles, has been an American Naval base since 1903, however for the previous twenty years it has been dwelling to the costliest and controversial jail on Earth.

For the 5,500 individuals residing right here, on a regular basis life is a world faraway from the detention centre past the hills on the outskirts of the downtown space.

There’s a McDonalds, an Irish bar, an out of doors cinema and a bowling alley.

The brand new boss of the naval base, Captain Samuel White, needs to convey that Guantanamo is greater than a jail camp.

Capt. Samuel White, Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Commander
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Naval Station Guantanamo Bay commander Captain Samuel White

“This set up has been in existence for over 100 years. The publicity it obtained primarily based on the detention facility is comprehensible, however it’s not the only operate of this set up,” he mentioned.

We’re not allowed to movie, and even see, the present detention centre however it prices the American individuals round £10m yearly for every of the 39 prisoners who stay at Guantanamo.

There have been 780 detainees held right here since 2002 however solely eight have been convicted and 4 have had these convictions overturned.

Abd al Hadi al Iraqi, whose real name is Nashwan al Tamir
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Abd al Hadi al Iraqi, whose actual title is Nashwan al Tamir, is accused of being an al Qaeda commander

Many have been ready greater than 15 years for a trial.

We’re right here for a pre-trial listening to of Abdul Hadi al Iraqi, who says his actual title is Nashwan al-Tamir.

He is charged with being an al Qaeda commander in Afghanistan, accused of being concerned within the planning or financing of rebel assaults which have resulted in a number of deaths.

The judicial course of takes place not within the American federal system as many assume it ought to, however at Camp Justice, an space of Guantanamo Bay surrounded by sniper netting and barbed wire, overseen by a navy choose.

Martha Kelner Guantanamo
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Camp Justice is the place Guantanamo’s courtroom circumstances happen
Martha Kelner Guantanamo
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The doorway to the courtroom at Camp Justice

Mr Hadi has been held at Guantanamo since 2007 and was in CIA custody earlier than that, however his trial nonetheless hasn’t began but.

His case has now been presided over by 4 totally different judges and several other defenders, an expertise which typifies a judicial course of many say is not match for function.

His present defence lawyer, Susan Hensler, says the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan ought to imply the everlasting closure of Guantanamo Bay detention facility and the repatriation of Mr Hadi, an Iraqi nationwide and Afghani citizen.

Susan Hensler, Defence lawyer
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Defence lawyer Susan Hensler

“This case is basically the litigation of the struggle in Afghanistan and the struggle in Afghanistan is now over,” she says. “President Biden instructed us that final week.

“America entered right into a peace settlement with the Taliban a year-and-a-half in the past and positively at this level Guantanamo Bay should not be the one place the struggle in Afghanistan is being fought. My shopper ought to be launched and despatched dwelling.”

Former President Barack Obama tried and did not shut down Guantanamo and the Biden administration is now working quietly within the background to wind down the jail.

Omar Ashwamy, former Guantanamo prosecutor
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Former Guantanamo prosecutor Omar Ashwamy

Former Guantanamo prosecutor Omar Ashmawy has switched sides and now believes the jail is an unacceptable legacy of the Battle on Terror.

“Basically it was unsuitable to take individuals and place them in a cage and throw away the important thing. If there was ever a real intent to comply with by with significant honest trials then that wanted to occur shortly,” he mentioned.

With the pre-trial listening to of the 5 suspects within the 9/11 case scheduled to proceed later in the summertime, there isn’t a proof of any imminent closure of Guantanamo.

As America’s ‘eternally wars’ draw to an in depth, the final vestige of that battle limps on.



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