Photo: JTF Gitmo
Guantánamo Bay is currently going through a rebirth of sorts – instead of being closed down, the terrorist detention facility run by Joint Task Force (JTF) Guantánamo is getting a new look.The announcements of a $40 million communications upgrade – including a underwater fibre optic cable that will stretch to the coast of Florida – and multi-million dollar upgrades to the grounds all but guarantee that the 45-square-mile base will stay open indefinitely.
Gitmo currently houses 168 detainees after Osama bin Laden’s alleged cook was repatriated to Sudan last week. The Supreme Court has refused to hear any new Guantánamo appeals even though 87 prisoners were cleared for release by President Obama’s Guantánamo Review Task Force. (It’s unknown if prisoners are still given heavy anti-psychotic medicine before being interrogated.)
Since Gitmo costs about $140 million a year to operate, we became curious about the kind of amenities that taxpayer dollars provide to the detainees as well as the 6,000 troops and civilians who administer the facility.
All detainees are given a copy of the Koran and surgical masks so they can keep it off the floor and prevent guards from touching it
Detainees can pray together in the communal area of Camp Six, but are shackled to the floor while taking advantage of TV privileges
There are 8,000 books and magazines in English, Pashtu and Arabic from the JTF library that detainees can choose from
The newly renovated JTF library offers service members and civilians more than 25,000 items as well as 18 new computers and recliners
The JTF runs a medical facility for detainees that is equipped with a physical-therapy area, pharmacy, radiology department, central sterilization area and a single-bed operating room
In 2008 the Navy's Surgeon General reported that 6500 dental procedures had been administered to Guantanamo captives since 2002
Service members have a lot of sports offering, including a command-wide softball tournament held at Cooper Sports Field
There is also a beach volleyball court, flag football field, indoor swimming pool, basketball courts (indoor and outdoor), and a bowling alley
Renovations include new mobile guard towers because Gitmo is a maximum security detention facility, after all
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