Camp X-Ray Experience
The cancellation of today’s hearings left the NGO observers at loose ends. A few of us asked if we were permitted to visit Camp X-Ray. A van and driver were arranged and we headed out late morning for the 15-minute drive to the no-longer used facility.
There is a strange juxtaposition of life here on the base. On our way to Camp X-ray we drove through military family housing–many of the houses are decorated with festive Christmas decorations–and just as we made the last turn out of the neighborhood there was a woman walking her dog and another woman jogging while pushing children in a double stroller. We could have been in any middle class suburb in America!
Within minutes of the neighborhood we pulled over & viewed Camp X-Ray.
Camp X-Ray was the temporary detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. The first detainees arrived in January 2002. In April 2002 Camp X-Ray was closed and the detainees transferred to the permanent prison camp–Camp Delta. It is estimated that Camp X-Ray housed 800 men and teens during its use. Carol Rosenberg (Miami Herald) reported that in 2009 the FBI photographed and documented the camp. U.S. courts have ordered the preservation of Camp X-Ray facilities where detainees were held at the request of defense lawyers who want it kept intact as a crime scene.
Although media representatives and others have toured Camp X-Ray, we were only permitted to view it from the road. Similarly NGO observers are not given access to the detainee facilities and other facilities used by the military commission process. The government challenges the credibility of the NGO observers by limiting our access while demanding that we report that all is well here with the Military Commissions in Guantanamo Bay.