Showtime – Andrews Air Force Base to Guantanamo Bay
I am scheduled to travel to Guantanamo Bay today to monitor hearings in the case of al Nashiri, who is the alleged mastermind of the 2000 U.S.S. Cole bombing off the coast of Yemen that killed and wounded dozens of U.S. sailors. I am representing the Military Commission Observation Project of Indiana University McKinney School of Law, where I am a student. I am looking forward to carrying out my observer / monitor responsibilities, which include to attend, observe, analyze, critique and report on the military commissions that have charged several men with perpetrating war crimes.
Arrival at Andrews Air Force Base
Most of the military commission flights to Guantanamo Bay depart from Andrews Air Force Base (AAFB).
Last night I stayed at a nearby Holiday Inn, and took a (taxi?) to the Andrews Visitor Center at 7:00 AM, where I met two other NGO representatives — Carol and Michelle – who were scheduled to join me on the trip to Guantanamo.
A government representative (Tony) picked us up around 7:30 AM and drove us to the Andrews terminal, where we met the rest of the NGO reps.
After we passed through security and I obtained my boarding pass, I handed all the NGO reps who were present a copy of the Know Before You Go To Guantanamo guide and the Guantanamo Bay Fair Trial Manual excerpts. These documents were produced by the Indiana McKinney Military Commission Observation Project (Gitmo Observer). I received many thanks for providing such helpful documents.
While waiting to board, we saw Vice President Mike Pence board what looked like Air Force One, but was actually Air Force Two. There were several security personnel around him, including secret service agents and military. An hour after Pence departed, we boarded a bus that took us to the commercial plane (Atlas Air) bound for Guantanamo.
I am now on the plane about an hour away from arrival. I am looking forward for what’s in store to come.
Tex Boonjue, J.D. Candidate
Military Commission Observation Project
Program in International Human Rights Law
Indiana University McKinney School of Law