Torture Began at Guantánamo with Bush’s Presidential Memo 12 Years Ago


I wrote the following article for the “Close Guantánamo” website, which I established in January 2012 with US attorney Tom Wilner. Please join us – just an email address is required to be counted amongst those opposed to the ongoing existence of Guantánamo, and to receive updates of our activities by email.

This is a grim time of year for anniversaries relating to Guantánamo. Two days ago, February 6, was the first anniversary of the start of last year’s prison-wide hunger strike, which woke the world up to the ongoing plight of the prisoners — over half of whom were cleared for release by a Presidential task force over four years ago but are still held.

The hunger strike — which, it should be noted, resumed at the end of last year, and currently involves dozens of prisoners — forced President Obama to promise to resume releasing prisoners, after a three-year period in which the release of prisoners had almost ground to a halt, because of opposition in Congress, and President Obama’s unwillingness to overcome that opposition, even though he had the power to do so.

To mark the anniversary, a number of NGOs — the ACLU, Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Human Rights First and Human Rights Watch — launched a campaign on Thursday, “Take a Stand for Justice,” encouraging people to call the White House (on 202-456-1111) to declare their support for President Obama’s recent call for Guantánamo to be closed for good (in his State of the Union address, he said, “With the Afghan war ending, this needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantánamo Bay”). Please call the White House if you can, and share the page via social media.

Yesterday, February 8, was the 12th anniversary of the founding document of President Bush’s torture program, announced in a short Presidential memo entitled, “Humane Treatment of Taliban and al-Qaeda Detainees.”

This was the disturbing document in which President Bush declared that “none of the provisions of [the] Geneva [Conventions] apply to our conflict with al-Qaeda in Afghanistan or elsewhere through the world, because, among other reasons, al-Qaeda is not a High Contracting Party to Geneva.” He added, “I determine that the Taliban detainees are unlawful combatants and, therefore, do not qualify as prisoners of war under Article 4 of Geneva. I note that, because Geneva does not apply to our conflict with al-Qaeda, al-Qaeda detainees also do not qualify as prisoners of war.”

As I explained in an article marking the 10th anniversary of this memo in 2012:

This was the rationale for holding prisoners neither as criminal suspects or as prisoners of war, but as a third category of human being, without any rights. [This] paved the way for the use of torture, as people with no rights whatsoever had no protection against torture and abuse, and to this end the most alarming passage in the memorandum is the President’s claim that “common Article 3 of Geneva does not apply to either al-Qaeda or Taliban detainees because, among other reasons, the relevant conflicts are international in scope and common Article 3 applies only to ‘armed conflict not of an international character.’”

As I also explained two years ago:

President Bush claimed that the prisoners would be “treated humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of Geneva,” but it was a meaningless addition. By refusing to accept that everyone seized in wartime must be protected from torture and abuse, and by removing the protections of common Article 3 from the prisoners, which prohibit “cruel treatment and torture,” and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment,” President Bush opened the floodgates to the torture programs that were subsequently developed, both for use by the CIA, and at Guantánamo.

The CIA’s torture program — for use in the agency’s global network of secret torture prisons, or “black sites” — was subsequently authorized, on August 1, 2002, through a series of memos that will forever be known as the “torture memos,” written by John Yoo, a lawyer close to Dick Cheney, who worked in the Office of Legal Counsel, a branch of the Justice Department that is supposed to supply impartial legal advice to the executive branch. Instead, Yoo claimed that torture was not torture, and provided the “golden shield” that Bush administration officials used, and still use to try to prevent anyone holding them accountable for their actions.

Later, on December 2, 2002, defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved his own torture program for use at Guantánamo. This was originally intended for use on just one prisoner, Mohammed al-Qahtani, a Saudi considered to be an intended 20th hijacker for the 9/11 attacks, who was tortured for several months at the end of 2002 and the start of 2003 (see the harrowing interrogation log here, which runs from November 23, 2002 to January 11, 2003).

The torture of Mohammed al-Qahtani is the only example of torture admitted to by a senior Pentagon official, when, just before President Bush left office, Susan Crawford, who oversaw the military commissions at Guantánamo, told Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, “We tortured Qahtani. His treatment met the legal definition of torture.”

Al-Qahtani, however, was not the only prisoner tortured at Guantánamo. As Neil A. Lewis reported for the New York Times in a powerful article in January 2005:

Interviews with former intelligence officers and interrogators provided new details and confirmed earlier accounts of inmates being shackled for hours and left to soil themselves while exposed to blaring music or the insistent meowing of a cat-food commercial. In addition, some may have been forcibly given enemas as punishment.

While all the detainees were threatened with harsh tactics if they did not cooperate, about one in six were eventually subjected to those procedures, one former interrogator estimated. The interrogator said that when new interrogators arrived they were told they had great flexibility in extracting information from detainees because the Geneva Conventions did not apply at the base.

Although these specific techniques eventually came to an end, the Bush administration’s official use of torture did not come to an end until June 2006, when, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court reminded the Bush administration that common article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applied — and applies — to all prisoners held by US forces. Just over two months later, 14 “high-value detainees” were moved from secret CIA prisons to Guantánamo, and President Bush announced that the “black sites” — whose existence he had previously denied — had been closed down.

Torture, of course, did not come to an end. Many of the torture techniques migrated to Appendix M of the Army Field Manual, which was reissued on September 6, 2006, the very same day that the 14 “high-value detainees” arrived at Guantánamo, and the “black sites” were closed down.

More generally, it is worthwhile considering that the very function of Guantánamo is torture, as a place devoted to open-ended, and possibly unending imprisonment without charge or trial. In October 2003, this alarmed the International Committee of the Red Cross to such an extent that, although the organization is not supposed to make public statements, as part of its access arrangements, Christophe Girod, the senior Red Cross official in Washington D.C., told the New York Times, “The open-endedness of the situation and its impact on the mental health of the population has become a major problem.”

He added, as the Times put it, that “in meetings with members of his inspection teams, detainees regularly asked about what was going to happen to them.”

“It’s always the No. 1 question,” he said. “They don’t know about the future.”

Ten years and four months on from Mr. Girod’s comments, it is difficult to gauge quite how much more crushing the impact on the prisoners’ mental health has been in the intervening years, not just through their ongoing indefinite detention without charge or trial, but also as a result of the quashed hopes raised by President Obama’s election in 2009, and, most horribly, the process whereby, in January 2010, 76 of the remaining 155 prisoners were told that they had been cleared for release, and would be released as soon as the necessary arrangements could be made — but they have not been released.

To return to “Take a Stand for Justice,” the campaign launched on Thursday, the time is now to pick up the phone to the White House and to tell President Obama that the cleared prisoners — those 76 men plus a 77th recently cleared for release by a Periodic Review Board — must be released as soon as possible, that justice must be delivered as swiftly as possible to the other 79 men, who should be tried or released, and that no further delays are acceptable.

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the four-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

61 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted the original version of this article on Facebook yesterday, I wrote:

    Yes, it’s 12 years since George W. Bush issued a Presidential memo announcing that the Geneva Conventions didn’t apply to the Guantanamo prisoners, opening the floodgates to the use of torture. One year ago, the men still held, whose indefinite detention is also a form of torture, began a prison-wide hunger strike, in despair at ever being freed, or receiving justice.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Malachy McGreevy wrote:

    Truth, and it has been accepted and continued and even spread some.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    And on Thursday, a group of NGOs launched a campaign, asking people to phone President Obama (on 202-456-1111) to tell him to follow through on his recent call for the closure of Guantanamo in his State of the Union address. Personally, I think telling him to free the 77 cleared prisoners immediately would be more direct!

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Neil Goodwin wrote:

    Islamophobia and pure racism is the only thing keeping that place running..

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Malachy, and thanks, Neil. In addition to Islamophobia and racism, however, I do think Guantanamo is also still running because of the hollow heart of the political process, where right and wrong mean nothing, and all is spin and political maneuvering (or, as we say, manoeuvring). That said, it’s clear that if, say, white Western Christians were held at Guantanamo, it wouldn’t still be open – and, in fact, would never have opened.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Amatullah Hill wrote:

    I admire you Andy Worthington!!! Great writer and human rights hero!!!

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Thank you, Amatullah. I just switched on my computer this morning and your message has set me up for the day.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Barbara Cummings wrote:

    I hope I live long enough for him to suffer.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, such a lot of them who need to be held accountable for their crimes, Barbara – George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, David Addington, Jim Haynes, Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, Jay Bybee, Douglas Feith, Tim Flanigan, Steven Bradbury …
    I found a useful website here:

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Zilma L. Nunes wrote:

    yes arrest him, just do it ..

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, well put, Zilma. Unfortunately,Bush learned from the threat of being arrested as a torturer when he called off a planned visit to Switzerland three years ago:

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    And here’s the first part of the indictment for torture against Bush, containing the facts – and what a long, long list it is!

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Ward Reilly wrote:


  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Ward. Much appreciated.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Ward Reilly wrote:

    “Never Forget”…this country will never recover until justice is served to Bushco. :>)

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, Ward, I think that’s an appropriate response to the enormity of the crimes committed by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the many other criminals of the Bush administration.

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Holly Marie wrote:

    John Yoo and David Addington should burn in hell. They had every opportunity to tell Cheney and Bush that they were wrong and, instead, wrote the hideous legal framework that allows it. You have to read the actual memo to believe it.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, they were hugely important facilitators of the entire lawless program, Holly. I remember that there were times under Bush when I really felt that Addington was running the country.
    Also, I had the wrong link to the Presidential memo, so I’ve just corrected it. It’s from PEGC, the Project for the Enforcement of the Geneva Conventions that my friend Charly Gittings, who passed away in 2010, established in November 2001, after the Bush administration’s military order was issued, authorizing detentions in the “war on terror,” and establishing the military commissions:
    Check out:
    And also see:

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Holly Marie wrote:

    It sickens me. I had many friends who died on 9/11 and had they lived to see what was done in their name, they wouldn’t have believed it. It was hard to live through the 8 years of Bush, Cheney and the completely lawless presidency he had and what they did to the world.

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    That’s a very powerful comment, Holly. And it’s also disappointing how little Obama has done to roll back the malevolent innovations of the Bush administration. Now we have drone killings replacing detention, numerous “dirty wars,” and indefinite detention without charge or trial continuing at Guantanamo. I can’t even adequately estimate how much has been normalized as a result of Obama’s refusal to thoroughly repudiate the madness he inherited, but I would say that the list definitely includes indefinite detention without charge or trial, torture and assassinations – and that is not the sign of a healthy, well-functioning society.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Holly Marie wrote:

    It’s horrible that Obama hasn’t done that..if he doesn’t turn over what they did, what precedent does that set for him when he leaves office? Not that I defend it…and, the drone program – I really have no words. The expansion of war power post 9/11 is incredibly awful and out of control. As an American, I am sorry to the entire world for what my country has become.

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    It is difficult for all of us, Holly, when our governments no longer represent us. It’s the same in the UK, of course. We must keep chipping away, in the hope that our fellow citizens wake up and demand an alternative. We are many, and they are few, after all.

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Ward Reilly wrote:

    Never before has it been so glaringly-obvious that the president is simply a puppet of the war machine…during his first month in office he commanded that ‘Gitmo would be closed within a year’ …and that was 5 years ago.

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, Ward, and clearly what we need is a mass movement against the military-industrial-intelligence complex, which is out of control, and devouring the rest of the US economy.

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    Ward Reilly wrote:

    Commander. In. Chief.

    If his orders aren’t be followed, he should resign in protest.

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks again, Ward. Yes. Can’t really see that happening, though. Obviously the job isn’t supposed to be about principles …

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    Holly Marie ·wrote:

    Congressional obstruction had alot to do with it, not all Obama’s fault, but he does take the blame. You have to understand the legal issues because the previous administration labeled them ‘enemy combatants,’ held them offshore, now it cannot get untangled without a lot of cooperation which is non-existant in the US now. It is shameful that they have been held for all this time WITHOUT charge even…if any other country had done that, I am sure the US would be screaming.

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    I agree about Congress and the realities of political maneuvering, Holly, but in the end when such a manifest injustice lingers on, the president has to lead, and he hasn’t done so. On drone attacks, I worry because, as we have been told, he takes it seriously and presides over “kill lists,” when he shouldn’t be embracing, or even putting up with any of it.

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    Holly Marie wrote:

    It’s horrible. I guess I have lost any hope that I used to have. I really thought Obama would release them and stop these horrid drones. I am still hoping.

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    Ward Reilly wrote:

    Imagine the outcry {and our military reaction} if Pakistan was picking different U.S. citizens to hit with drone strikes each day.

  31. Andy Worthington says...

    Holly Marie wrote:

    The US would invade them with shock’n’awe

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    Well, the good news, Holly, is that Obama promised to resume releasing prisoners last May, and appointed two envoys to help him, and he has released 11 prisoners and appointed the envoys, who are taking their jobs seriously. However, he needs to step up the releases, because 76 of the remaining 155 prisoners have been cleared for release for over four years, and a 77th was recently cleared for release after a Periodic Review Board. The release of as as many of these men as soon as possible must be a priority if we are to believe that he has any intention of following up on his fine words.
    On drones, I’m not as well informed, although there are certainly voices raised in opposition to the program – most recently the UN, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch:

  33. anonymous says...

    Andy, the war on terror is based on a fraud. 9/11 was a Mossad operation.

    A new book on 9/11 is out. The author knew the Mossad agent who organised the events of that day.

    Dimitri Khalezov has spent 10 years researching and writing this book. Download links:

    Or read at:

    In a 2010 interview, Khalezov explained that you can’t build a skyscraper in NYC without an approved demolition plan. On 9/11, the World Trade Center’s demolition plan was put into action to demolish the complex.

    Khalezov learned of this demolition plan from his job in the Soviet Union. He had worked in the nuclear intelligence unit and under an agreement between the Soviet Union and the USA, each country was obliged to inform the other of peaceful uses of nuclear explosions. The WTC was built with 3 thermo-nuclear charges in its foundations.

    Note: underground nuclear explosions do not produce mushroom clouds. This is only ever seen when the explosion takes place above ground. On 9/11, the explosions were deep underground.

    More info:

    You can watch the 2010 interview at:
    Video # 4 – WTC’s demolition plan
    Video # 14 – WTC 7 (which fell ½ hour AFTER the BBC announced its collapse).
    Videos # 24/25 – chronic radiation sickness of WTC responders (their cancers are not due to asbestos poisoning)

    Khalezov was interviewed on 4 Sept 2013:

    Here is a recent article mentioning Khalezov:

    I know it is preposterous to claim that the WTC was brought down by nukes. But note that the place where the WTC once stood is called ‘Ground Zero’. If you look up the meaning of ‘ground zero’ in the old dictionaries you have at home, you’ll find that there would only be one definition. It is what you call a place that has been nuked.

    After 9/11, the US government sent people out to switch all the dictionaries in the public domain. The replacements differed only in the meaning of ‘ground zero’. They show extra definitions for that term, to obfuscate the original single meaning.

    For example, if you have a genuine old Merriam-Webster dictionary, you would see this:
    ground zero n (1946) : the point directly above, below, or at which a nuclear explosion occurs.

    The replacement books (even of old editions) show two extra definitions and this is what you’ll see:
    ground zero n (1946) 1 : the point directly above, below, or at which a nuclear explosion occurs. 2: the center or origin of rapid, intense, or violent activity or change 3: the very beginning : SQUARE ONE

    Have a look at this video:
    At 6:05 mins, he shows the old and new definitions of ‘ground zero’.

  34. Andy Worthington says...

    Holly Marie wrote:

    Our CIA anti-terrorism group is totally off the rails.

  35. Andy Worthington says...

    And the other disturbing organization, of course, is JSOC (the Joint Special Operations Command), Holly, which managed to stay below the radar until quite recently.

  36. Andy Worthington says...

    Sun Beams wrote:

    It makes me feel sick to my stomach to read about the torture programs utilized by the American government! It makes me feel even sicker to think of the fact that they were able to strip humans of their rights! And to think — that the evil place is still functioning all these years later while the majority of Americans close a blind eye. They must be so manipulated into believing that it is right what is going on, not just in Guantanamo – but all kinds of injustices are being perpetrated under their noses and very few are standing up against them. Maybe it is a lack of information? Maybe this global brainwashing of the ‘war on terror’ has worked? Maybe people really do view these men as non-humans? I don’t know. But I am very thankful for the work that you, Andy Worthington, and your colleagues do — even though it seems like it is going no where.

    Call me crazy, but one morning I would like to wake up and hear on the news that people are getting along! They are helping one another, they are finding common ground, they are helping the less fortunate, they are working to build a better future for our children, they are working on repairing the earth, they are putting their short time here to good use by doing lots of good deeds!!! YES, I am a dreamer!

  37. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, thanks, Sun Beams. Sometimes it needs spelling out clearly, and I think you got it – “they were able to strip humans of their rights! And to think — that the evil place is still functioning all these years later while the majority of Americans close a blind eye.” That’s it in a nutshell.
    Oh, and I dream of a better world too!

  38. Andy Worthington says...

    Sun Beams wrote:

    At least you aren’t just sitting idle while dreaming of it — it seems to me that you are working hard for it. May your example be an inspiration to others!

  39. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks again, Sun Beams. I try to make some sort of difference.

  40. Andy Worthington says...

    Pauline Kiernan wrote:

    I can’t bear to look – THREE MONSTERS in one photograph.
    A reminder of CHENEY’S obscene profits from the atrocity.

    ‘Halliburton has become the object of several controversies involving the 2003 Iraq War and the company’s ties to former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney retired from the company during the 2000 U.S. presidential election campaign with a severance package worth $36 million. As of 2004, he had received $398,548 in deferred compensation from Halliburton while Vice President.[Cheney was chairman and CEO of Halliburton Company from 1995 to 2000 and has received stock options from Halliburton.
    In the run-up to the Iraq war, Halliburton was awarded a $7 billion contract for which ‘unusually’ only Halliburton was allowed to bid.’

  41. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Pauline. Good to hear from you. Three monsters – and all still walking free. The only consolation for any of us is that they are not at liberty to travel freely around the world.

  42. Andy Worthington says...

    Ward Reilly wrote:

    “We don’t torture”….unCurious George Bush

  43. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, Ward, “uncurious” apparently being the most appropriate adjective to describe Goerge W. Bush, as a friend of mine who attended college at the same time as him explained to me.

  44. Andy Worthington says...

    Ward Reilly wrote:

    That’s always been my nickname for him…trivia: Bush was awol at the same time I was…except I got a Court Martial, and he got to be president. ‘Merica. :>)

  45. Andy Worthington says...

    Ward Reilly wrote:

    “Be the ball”… :>) …..

  46. Andy Worthington says...

    Congratulations, Ward, on the citizen’s arrest attempt. It should happen every time any of these criminals dares to come out in public!

  47. Andy Worthington says...

    Ward Reilly wrote:

    The Secret Service loves (to arrest) me.

  48. Andy Worthington says...

    Badge of honor, Ward!

  49. Andy Worthington says...

    Coleen Rowley wrote:

    The OLC memo that obliged Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld in creating Guantanamo to be outside the law, declaring that al-Qaeda, Taliban and other “non-state actors” would not be protected by the Geneva Conventions was co-authored by John Yoo and Robert Delahunty beginning on January 9, 2002. Delahunty and Yoo still collaborate on legal articles in support of all powerful “war presidency” powers. I suspect they co-wrote other memos that set up the NSA’s warrantless monitoring of all citizens and people around the world right after 9-11 based on “war presidency” powers. For years now Delahunty is praised by the Catholic St Thomas Law School where he teaches a subverted version of “constitutional” and international law wherein he claims his former OLC memos legalizing torture, kidnapping, (and probably warrantless monitoring) were not wrong. Delahunty has said that the Supreme Court did not overturn his OLC memo! The law school employing Delahunty was founded by some of the most powerful lawyers and law firms in Minnesota and its Board of Trustees contains Senator Amy Klobuchar and many other powerful figures.

  50. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Coleen, for the reminder of the role played in the development of Bush’s Presidential memo declaring that al-Qaeda and Talban prisoners didn’t have the protections of the Geneva Conventions by John Yoo (the UC Berkeley law professor, who is most well known for writing the CIA “torture memos” in the summer of 2002, when he was a lawyer with the Office of Legal Counsel), and Robert Delahunty, who is considerably less well-known, but who clearly deserves to be as reviled as John Yoo. Also worth noting, in the development of Bush’s memo, are David Addington (who wrote the following memo issued on Jan. 25, 2002) and Alberto Gonzales, who signed it:

  51. Andy Worthington says...

    Ward Reilly wrote, in response to 48, above:

    Agree…plus I have a really cool collection of used handcuffs. Your tax dollars at work…lol.

  52. Andy Worthington says...

    Ward Reilly wrote:

    Keep up the great writing, Andy…if we can’t recapture the awol ‘free press’ and an honest media, we don’t have a prayer.

  53. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Ward. As the last seven years of working as an independent journalist online has shown me, those with an appetite for the truth tend to seek it out online, realizing how the mainstream media is failing significantly in informing people about what is important, and in cutting through the spin and lies of the rich, powerful and influential. Unfortunately, far too many people still only get their view of the world through mainstream media outlets whose relationship to the truth is tangential or non-existent. But those are the people – in their millions – who need to wake up somehow if we’re to have a chance of fighting back against our corporate and banking oppressors, the military-industrial-inteligence complex, and their facilitators in government.

  54. Andy Worthington says...

    Ward Reilly wrote:

    Agree 100%…thank goodness for the power of the internet. It’s the one tool that the people that hijacked the media (and our country) couldn’t have considered when they first started {after Nixon resigned} the overthrow of the country… or it wouldn’t exist.

    Fight on, Brother.

  55. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks again, Ward. I’ll keep fighting, as I’m sure you will!

  56. Andy Worthington says...

    Susan Hall wrote:

    Thank you guys for caring for the tortured hostages of my US-Empire’s Concentration Camp, that may be one of the historically longest lasting Concentration Camps. By the way Holly I always like new friends who recognize the horror if the hostages held in Guantanamo, but FB gives me heck when I ask for friendships.

  57. Andy Worthington says...

    Great to hear from you, Susan. I don’t seem to have heard from you for ages. I hope all is well with you.

  58. Andy Worthington says...

    Susan Hall wrote:

    I’m always grateful for your dedication and integrity Andy.

  59. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Susan. And I appreciate your support, and your tireless work for justice.

  60. Andy Worthington says...

    Gordon Smith wrote:

    Andy, why does Cuba allow the base to exist in the first place, US$$?

  61. Andy Worthington says...

    No. The US seized the land in 1898, Gordon, during the Spanish-American War, and was given a lease for a coaling and naval station in 1903. In 1934 the US and Cuba signed a treaty granting the US a perpetual lease, which cannot be terminated unless both parties agree to it. There is a nominal amount paid to Cuba by the US, but, so the story goes, Castro refused to cash any of the checks – except for once, by mistake. So Cuba can only get Guantanamo back by waging war on the US, which looks unlikely, or by the US voluntarily giving up on the terms of the lease.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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