First order of business today was to figure out if my health insurance covers me outside the US — in Cuba.
Answer: Yes it does!
Hopefully, I will not need to use my coverage in GTMO though. I emailed Mr. Fenwick, OMC point of contact, in order to find out further details about the trip. Please see below the questions and answers. Maybe this information can be helpful to future IU Affiliates or other NGO’s traveling to GTMO.
1. When we arrive in Guantanamo, are we allowed to contact family members and let them know we arrived safely? Can we call, text, or email them while we are in GTMO?
***Your cell phone won’t work at GTMO, but there is an ability to purchase calling cards to call home. There is a phone in your tent and the lounge area for your usage. If you sign up for internet ($150 per week) you could contact family that way OR we can get you signed up for the free base WiFi (somewhat reliable). So, yes there will be a way to contact family, but the connectivity is somewhat limited***
2. On the trip from AAFB to Guantanamo, are we limited like a regular flight to 1 carry on and 1 checked bag?
***This would be correct, but most individuals check their luggage rather than worrying about carry-on items. There is the 3 ounce rule as any commercial flight, so I would highly suggest you just pack everything into your checked luggage for your trip***
3. I understand business casual is appropriate during the day. However, do we need to wear a suit and tie when we attend the Hearings? Even if we don’t have to wear a suit and tie, do most NGO’s who attend wear suits & ties? Also, do men have to be cleanly shaven or are we allowed to keep a groomed beard?
***Most individuals wear kakis or other type of outfits for the courtroom gallery. Some have worn suits, but that is totally up to you. As it is very hot/dusty/windy down at GTMO, I would recommend against a suit. Your shaving is totally up to your preference***
4. While at GTMO, do we need to bring towels to shower with or will towels be provided?
***A shower towel will be provided, as with sheets, etc. If you are prone to being cold I would bring an extra blanket. I would also suggest an extra towel if you prefer something softer or larger. Also remember some sandals or flipflops to walk between your tent and the shower tent***
5. Finally, if I bring down a binder of material prepared by the IU McKinney PIHRL MCOP, will I be able to leave it in the GTMO library or somewhere else on base for Judge Patricia Riley who will be attending the USS Cole hearings? Also, if I leave the binder there will other NGO’s have access to it? The idea is for other NGO’s to have access to it if they wish to use it.
***You can leave the binder in the NGO lounge for future participants or individuals to use. There is a small backroom that other NGO groups have left items. The Government is not responsible if anything is lost or stolen though, so just something to keep in mind.***
In addition to helping Qifan Wang with the Briefing Book, I uploaded a PDF entitled “Military Detention of Suspected Terrorists in the 21st Century” to Dropbox. This was a PP presentation I gave last spring in my Military Law class. I could not have imagined that while preparing this PP, I would eventually have the opportunity to go to GTMO where the alleged 9/11 terrorists are being held. I hope this PP presentation gives IU Affiliates and other individuals a general background on who the military can detain, what legal authority governs military detention, and how long suspected terrorists can be detained.
Finally, I read over all of the “Materials prepared by the OMC” in the Briefing Book in order to have a better foundation when I arrive for the hearings.