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[casi] First British reporter inside Camp Delta

Telegraph man is first British reporter inside Camp Delta
By David Rennie in Guantanamo Bay
(Filed: 24/05/2003)

It is not horror that crushes your spirits when you enter the cells at Camp
Delta. Instead, it is an absolute sense of defeat, of being hopelessly
caught in a great steel machine, remorseless in its efficiency and patience.

Just a moment inside a maximum security cell - newly vacated for repairs -
is enough to bring on despair. The hundreds of terrorist suspects brought to
Camp Delta, on its scrubby hillside at the eastern tip of Cuba, were men
seething with dreams, fuelled by visions of conquest and hate.
Camp Delta, newly built to replace the temporary facility of Camp X-Ray, is
designed to smother such dreams, reducing the world to a steel cage, 8ft by
6ft 8in.

It is not a place of visible humiliation or cruelty. Some of its key
facilities, from medical care to the food, are exactly the same as those
provided to the guard force of US military police.

The call to prayer is piped through the cells five times a day, and each
inmate has a copy of the Koran, prayer beads and holy oil.

But from the Stars and Stripes flags nailed to the camp's watchtowers, to
the female troops who help patrol its cell blocks (outraging many inmates),
it is intended to assert the final victory of the United States.

The Guantanamo Bay camp was, until very recently, shrouded in secrecy. The
Pentagon will not confirm the nationalities of its 680 detainees, though it
is known that nine are from Britain.

But the camp is clearly here to stay. American military commanders have
drawn up plans for a permanent terrorists' prison at the site, including a
possible execution chamber. Special military tribunals that could pass death
sentences are expected to begin sitting this year, with defence lawyers
asked to secure "secret-grade" security clearance.

Commanders in Guantanamo stressed that it is up to senior Bush
administration officials in Washington to take final decisions on where the
tribunals, or commissions, will be held, and to decide where convicted
terrorists will be punished.

Maj Gen Geoffrey Miller heads the Joint Task Force (JTF) in charge of
suspects from Afghanistan and across the globe. He said: "We have laid out a
very extensive plan should long-term detention and imprisonment be given to
JTF Guantanamo."

Camp Delta opened last year on a rocky shoreline overlooking the Caribbean,
and is still expanding. However, its steel mesh cages require refurbishment
every few months, because of corrosion in the salty, humid air.

Building a Death Row at Guantanamo "is one of the plans", said Gen Miller.

The special tribunals will involve no juries and there will be no appeals to
higher courts, only reviews of verdicts by the defence secretary, and
ultimately, the president.

For security reasons, only American lawyers will be allowed to act for the
Guantanamo detainees, all of whom are foreigners.

Some 42 countries are represented at Camp Delta. Allies of the United
States, including Britain, have pushed for an end to the legal limbo for
their citizens, who are not considered to be on American soil, but have no
redress to Cuban courts.

pg, nyc

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