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Top 5 Insane Guantánamo Bay Facts

Script written by Michael Wynands It turns out that the American prison in Cuba – Guantanamo Bay – isn’t exactly how Harold and Kumar depicted it when they were incarcerated with terrorists and other international criminals and prisoners. Turns out, you can get sent there indefinitely with no scheduling of a trial, release date, and if you die: that’s on you! And yeah it was supposed to be closed, but Barack Obama was a little too busy to close down Guantánamo Bay it turns out.

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Top 5 SURPRISING Guantánamo Bay Facts

Welcome to Gitmo! How long will you be staying with us? No one really knows. Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Facts.

In today’s instalment, we’re counting down the Top 5 Facts about Guantánamo Bay. On 45 square miles of land leased from Cuba sits the most notorious American prison. Once a naval base, it has been used as a military detention centre since 2002 as part of the “War on Terror,” and has earned itself a reputation for major Human Rights Violations. Detainees have been subjected to psychological abuse, sleep deprivation, sound and light manipulation, repeated physical beatings, indefinite isolation, and of course, waterboarding. Well, try to enjoy your stay.

#5: Prisoners Have Died There

We’re skipping the foreplay. In total, 9 detainees have died while in the custody of Guantánamo Bay. One died of cancer... but the other 8 cases– 1 heart attack and 7 suicides – have been met with scrutiny, particularly the alleged suicide of three men in 2006. The NCIS investigation into the event was heavily criticized for inconsistencies. These doubts, coupled with the presence of rags in the throats of the men aroused further suspicion of foul play– suspicions that were fully expanded upon in a joint investigation by NBC and Harper’s magazine– which suggested they were tortured to death during interrogation. As of 2011, it’s believed that a technique called dry-boarding may have been used. According to ex-Guantánamo guard turned whistleblower Joseph Hickman, the triple suicide was almost certainly a cover-up.

#4: Inmates are Detained Indefinitely Without Trial

In America, everyone has the right to a fair trial. Unfortunately for the detainees at Guantánamo Bay, that doesn’t apply to them as suspected foreign terrorists, which the U.S. view as “enemy combatants.” In some cases, individuals have been held more than a decade without charges or a trial. Under the “Authorization for Use of Military Force” or AUMF of 2001, America justifies indefinite detention, deeming their detainees to be security risks. Legal loopholes aside, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations have both called this practice illegal. Worse yet, detainees cleared for release remained in detention for months or years without legal justification. Prisoners have protested indefinite detention with hunger strikes, to which the US responded with forced nasal and rectal feedings… another violation of human rights.

#3: Minors Can Be Detained

Ever heard of Camp Iguana? They have outdoor activities, air-conditioning, televisions, twin beds and you can see the ocean. It’s basically sleep-away camp! Except... it’s a special section of Guantánamo Bay used to house detainees under the age of 16, who they refer to as “juvenile enemy combatants”. Call them whatever you want… they ARE children… and everywhere else in the world, taking them by force is called kidnapping, no matter how well you treat them. The parents of Asadullah Rahman searched for their son for 7 months before being informed of his whereabouts. The youngest detainee ever, he was taken at just 10 years old. In total, it’s been reported that 22 minors have been admitted.

#2: The Rent Might Be Cheap, but the Cost Is High

America’s Guantánamo Bay land lease reportedly only costs $4,085 per month - an arrangement dating back to the 1903 Platt Amendment. In protest of this occupation, however, Cuba has allegedly refused to cash the checks in 55 years. Despite low rent, Guantánamo Bay is staggeringly expensive. No one seems to be able to agree on an exact figure, but the annual cost per prisoner is $900,000 according to President Obama, $2.7 million according to Democrat Representative Adam Smith and $5 million by the ACLU’s estimation. Any of these numbers are astronomical when compared to the average cost per prisoner at a maximum-security federal prison - roughly $34,000. Last tallied in 2015, Guantánamo Bay has cost the U.S. $5.6 billion.

#1: It May Never Close

When President Obama took office in 2009, he promised to close Guantánamo Bay. We’ve covered the wide variety of horrors perpetrated at this institution - any one of which should’ve been enough to get the place shut down. But try as he might, Obama repeatedly failed. The reason? A government divided. At every turn, Obama’s efforts were blocked, including the passing of a bill by Congressional Republicans forbidding the transfer of detainees to U.S. soil, or spending any funds to alter or build new structures to house them. With the election of Donald Trump came a promise to not only keep the prison open, but “load it up with some bad dudes”, including Americans… despite that being illegal. With 56% of Americans opposing its closure, it’ll likely stay open or even grow.

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