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GuantanamoBay is a US detention facility in Cuba. The facility was established by the Bush administration in 2002 to try the detainees from the Afghanistan and Iraq war. The detention center has three camps namely camp Iguana, CampX-ray and campDelta. In military terms, the center is abbreviated as GTMO. Initially in the 70s, the center was a Naval Base, which was used to host Cuban and Haitian refugees intercepted specifically in the high seas.
Every time the question of detainees in GuantanamoBay comes to mind, the debate about whether the process of declaring them as enemy combatants or “The worst of the worst” comes into play (Joan, 2002). It has been the rule that all detainees who are found to have even the slightest links with terrorist groups like Al Qaeda are always outright “enemy combatants”. Assessments of the status of the 517 detainees at GuantanamoBay reveal that up to 68 of the 164 linked to the department of defense terrorist exclusion, would legally get into the United States. The State department and the Department for Defense have different versions of what terrorism or terrorist groups are and as a result, some detainees have had to stay in detention at GuantanamoBay due to this confusion. According to the records at the department of Defense, 773 persons have been detained in GuantanamoBay detention facility since the year 2002. Despite the fact that the detainees are derived from 44 nations across the world, a whopping 75% of the detainees are from just six countries namely, Afghanistan, Algeria, China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen (Andy, 2007). Up to about 201 detainees who had not even put through the CSRT (Combat Status Review Tribunals) were released by 2006. The procedure that puts the detainees into
The defense department list contains the names of 72 terrorist organizations as used in the Combatant status Review Tribunals (CSRT). According to the department of defense, any GuantanamoBay detainee whose name appears in the list, are ‘enemy combatants” and should face continued detention. The State Department Other List does not constitute all those listed in the Department of Defense List but are not in the Patriot Act Terrorist Exclusion List nor are they in the other two separate State Department Designated and Other Foreign Terrorist Organizations List. Both the lists are used to ensure that the government is sufficiently at a place where it can guarantee the safety of the citizens. The major discrepancy in the Department of Defense List is that up to 89% of those associated with the terrorist groups in its list, would still be allowed into the US by either the State Department Other List or Patriot Act Terrorist Exclusion List (David, 2003). The 46 organizations, which the State Department presented to the US Congress as the terrorist organizations in the State Department Other List do not really appear on the Patriot Act Terrorist Exclusion List hence the discrepancy and loopholes in fighting against terrorism. The Patriot Act Terrorist Exclusion List is more concerned about immigration issues and is simply more of a “Broader standard of inclusion”. It therefore does not recognize up to about 39 groups that the State Department other list declares as terrorists. This boils down to the fact that the State Department simply allows members of the outlawed terrorist groups to come into the country or that the Defense Department have nothing against the detainees but is simply holding them on false premise that they are enemy combatants.
The department of defense practice of releasing detainees has never been consistent with their alleged association with terrorist groups like al Qaeda and or Taliban but rather based on their nationalities (Mark, 2003). It has been argued that those released earlier than others were released because either the US department of defense was initially wrong about arresting them or simply because there is no evidence that could suffic iently make them to be declared as dissents. For instance, of all the detainees in Guantanamo Bay, those of Afghanistan origin were normally released earlier than others with about 42% of them being released into freedom while the rest repatriated to serve terms in their own country correction facilities.