The Post-9/11 World
The War on Terror
A corner of America in Cuba
The Platt Amendment
Still there
Legal limbo
Fighting terrorism
Extremely dangerous cases only
'The Gulag of our times'
780 inmates
Enemy combatants
A violation of the Geneva conventions
Dubya
A view inside the Oval Office
UN, Red Cross,  and Amnesty International
Meet the new boss...
...Same as the old boss?
Forgotten
Promises
Noticias
More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(1/20)
The Post-9/11 World

Located in southeastern Cuba, Guantánamo Bay Naval Base is a symbol of some of the most extreme actions committed by the United States after 9/11. This American facility on foreign soil, the target of countless human rights abuse accusations, is a reminder that we still live in a world shaped by The War on Terror.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(2/20)
The War on Terror

On September 11, 2001, the world changed forever. Overnight, the optimistic, carefree 1990s came to an end and a new chapter began: The War on Terror.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(3/20)
A corner of America in Cuba

One of the most infamous elements of The War on Terror is the Guantánamo Bay Detention Center, a US naval base on Cuban soil that despite many promises still remains open today.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(4/20)
The Platt Amendment

The Guantánamo Bay Naval Base was established in 1903 and was one of the provisions established by the Platt Amendment, the conditions the US government requested to withdraw from Cuba after the Spanish-American War.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(5/20)
Still there

The Platt Amendment was repealed in 1934 by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but the United States Navy still remains in Guantánamo Bay, despite continuous protests from the Cuban government.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(6/20)
Legal limbo

The legal limbo of Guantánamo Bay (run by the United States while officially remaining Cuban territory) is what led Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to use it as a detention center. It could be argued that it was outside US legal jurisdiction.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(7/20)
Fighting terrorism

“As long as there remains a need to keep terrorists from striking again, a facility will continue to be needed,” declared Rumsfeld to the press, as quoted by NPR.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(8/20)
Extremely dangerous cases only

The Secretary of Defense made the case that the facility would only house extremely dangerous cases, interrogate detainees and prosecute them for war crimes if necessary.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(9/20)
'The Gulag of our times'

Amnesty International has dubbed the prison “the Gulag of our times,” as it used to lock up and torture prisoners where they are no longer protected by the rights and conventions established by the US Constitution.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(10/20)
780 inmates

The New York Times reported that since 2002 at least 780 people have been detained in Guantánamo Bay. Only 39 remained by January 2022, of which ten are awaiting trial for war crimes, and two have been convicted.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(11/20)
Enemy combatants

Additionally, 27 people are held under law-of-war detention, meaning that they are enemy combatants detained without charges.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(12/20)
A violation of the Geneva conventions

As The New Republic points out in a 2014 article, Gitmo, as the center is usually nicknamed, exploits a Geneva Convention loophole where enemy combatants are allowed to be detained on the battlefield as long as it’s not punitive. This is not the case in Guantánamo.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(13/20)
Dubya

The facility evolved into an icon of some of the worst excesses committed during the George W. Bush years, which were justified with The War on Terror.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
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A view inside the Oval Office

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, a former aide of Secretary of State Colin Powell (pictured), revealed in 2010 that Bush and Rumsfeld were aware that the majority of detainees first sent to Gitmo were innocent.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(15/20)
"The majority of them had never seen a US soldier"

“Of the initial 742 detainees that had arrived at Guantánamo, the majority of them had never seen a US soldier in the process of their initial detention and their captivity,” declared Wilkerson, as quoted by The Atlantic.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
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UN, Red Cross, and Amnesty International

Reports of torture have been numerous throughout the years and international organizations such as the United Nations, Red Cross, and Amnesty International have denounced the abuses committed inside.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(17/20)
Meet the new boss...

Barack Obama promised to close down Guantánamo Bay and release or transfer those detained, but it proved difficult. The Congress and the Senate blocked most initiatives. By the end of Obama’s presidency, 41 detainees remained at the facility.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(18/20)
...Same as the old boss?

A new addition to the facility during the Obama Administration was a courtroom chamber with a military judge, where trials are recorded and streamed with a 40-second delay. There was more transparency, but many felt that Obama had failed to fulfil his promise.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(19/20)
Forgotten

Press attention to the facility dwindled during the Obama years, and there were virtually no changes in Guantánamo Bay during the Trump administration. The world seems to have forgotten about The War on Terror.

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More than 20 Years of Guantánamo Bay: America’s Infamous Terrorist Detention Center
(20/20)
Promises

One of Joe Biden's promises was closing down Gitmo for good before the end of his administration. However, The New York Times reported in December 2021 that a new courtroom chamber was being built in the facility. One without a public view.

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