We’ve all seen them. In the news. In the papers. In the magazines. On the web.
Pictures and video of Camp X-Ray, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba:
Maybe a bit brutal and inhumane, no? Well, whatever you might think, just remember next time you see reports on the detention facility that Camp X-Ray has been closed since April 29, 2002.
Since then, detainees have been housed in more modern, comfortable facilities, and improvements continue.
“I’d like to think it’s for convenience” that media outlets still use footage that is more than three years old to portray the camp “rather than an attempt to try to portray the camp other than how it is today,” Army Brig. Gen. John Gong, deputy commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, said in an interview.
“More recent footage better depicts what it’s like here today,” he added.
Now, everything’s relative, of course. And “more modern, comfortable facilities” aren’t necessarily “modern, comfortable facilities”. But if there’s a real problem with the current facilities, why do we keep seeing pictures of the old facilities when we’re hearing about how awful Guantanamo is?
Camp X-Ray was a hastily built structure to deal with a rapidly changing situation in the war on terrorism. “It’s important to note that Camp X-Ray was thrown up in a matter of weeks,” Army Lt. Col. John Lonergan, commander of 1st Battalion, 18th Cavalry Regiment, said. Lonergan’s unit provides security at Guantanamo Bay.
The facilities there were never meant to be used for long-term detention, he said. Engineers began construction on Camp Delta, which replaced Camp X-Ray in April 2002, shortly after detainees began arriving here.
Here’s Camp X-Ray today:
The newer, “more modern, comfortable facilities”:
Detainees in Camp 4, a part of Camp Delta and the least restrictive of the base’s detention facilities, live in communal 10-man bays and have nearly full-time access to exercise yards. Gong said officials with the American Correctional Association have looked at Camp Delta and say the facility is in accordance with the standard for modern prisons in the United States.
Camp 5, the newest facility, is designed after state-of-the-art correctional institutions in the United States. Camp 6, to be completed in summer 2006, will be even more modern. When Camp 6 is completed, it and Camp 5 will house 95 percent of the roughly 500 detainees held here now, Gong said.
Are games being played with Guantanamo Bay? You betcha. But they aren’t all being played by the US government.