The United States Southern Command has requested $49 million to build a new prison building at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for “special” detainees on top of other renovations it says are necessary since Congress has decided to keep it open indefinitely.
That brings the potential taxpayer bill for upgrading the deteriorating facilities to an estimated $195.7 million, the military said on Thursday.
That overall price tag is significantly higher than the estimate of $150 million to $170 million that General John F. Kelly, the Southcom commander, gave in Congressional testimony on Wednesday.
The special detainee facility was not included on the list of requested construction projects released by Southcom on Wednesday when reporters asked for details. NY Times
Lt. Cmdr. Ron Flanders of the Navy, a Southcom spokesman, said the first version of the list for reporters did not include the special detainee facility because it was not clear whether that proposal was public information. NY Times
Other items on the list include $99 million for two barracks facilities; $12 million for a new mess hall; and replacing legal, medical and communications facilities that are scattered around the base with new ones at the main detention camps, reducing the need for guards to transport prisoners. NY Times
All these projects have been signed off by Kelly in the last few months and been forwarded to the Pentagon, where they are being reviewed by budget officials in Secretary Chuck Hagel’s office. NBC News
“And there’s other projects…none of them have to do with creature comforts for the detainees,” said Kelly. NBC News
Obama's predecessor George W Bush set up the prison after the September 11, 2001, attacks. Many detainees have been held there for years without being charged. DPA
More than four years ago, President Obama pledged to close the Guantanamo prison, recognizing that it symbolized the U.S. government's violation of human rights and the best of American values in the name of "global war." Not only has President Obama failed to close it, he has embraced two fundamental violations of human rights that make Guantanamo a stain on the United States' credibility worldwide: unfair trials and indefinite detention. The Huffington Post
In January, 2012, U.N. human rights Chief Navi Pillay said the United States was still flouting international law at Guantanamo Bay by arbitrarily and indefinitely detaining individuals. The Economic Times
Most of the detainees at Guantanamo have been imprisoned by the U.S. government for close to a decade without charges and with no end in sight to their captivity. Salon
Human rights organizations have reported hundreds of suicide attempts, at least seven of which were successful. Last September, a Yemeni detainee took his life after spending more than a decade at Guantanamo. Adnan Latif had been cleared for release by both the Bush and Obama administrations, but was never freed. RT
Lawyers for Guantanamo Bay detainees and human rights officials have reported over 100 detainees are engaged in a hunger strike, protesting mistreatment and the confiscation of Qur’ans. Antiwar