Is Guantanamo becoming an accidental old folks home?

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AP PHOTO/ALEX BRANDON 

26 April 2019 | KATIE BO WILLIAMS | Defense One

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — The oldest man still held in military detention here is 71 years old. Many others are in their 50s.

It’s not entirely clear how the U.S. government plans to care for them in their old age.

The 40 remaining prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base have the same physical ailments of any aging population. They need hip replacements, eye surgeries, treatment for sleep apnea, mental health disorders and, one day, probably cancer and dementia.

As the military commissions designed by the Bush administration lurch unevenly towards convictions — a federal appeals court recently tossed aside three years of litigation in the USS Cole case — it appears increasingly likely that many of these men will grow old and die on the U.S.taxpayer’s dime.

The aging population at Gitmo poses unique challenges for Adm. John Ring, the latest in a string of officers who have led the prison on one-year deployments.

Defense attorneys say many detainees suffer the ill effects of brutal interrogation tactics now considered to be torture.

The United States has committed to providing the same health care to the remaining detainees that it provides to its own troops, as required by the Geneva Conventions. But the secure medical facilities built to treat the detainees — Ring calls them “guests” — can’t cope with every kind of surgery geriatric patients typically need, and weren’t built to last forever.

Congress has prohibited the transfer of detainees to the continental United States, which means any treatment they receive will have to take place at a remote outpost on the tip of Cuba.

“I’m sort of caught between a rock and a hard place,” Ring said. “The Geneva Conventions’ Article III, that says that I have to give the detainees equivalent medical care that I would give to a trooper. But if a trooper got sick, I’d send him home to the United States.

“And so I’m stuck. Whatever I’m going to do, I have to do here.”

For now, with all of the detainees healthy enough to get around without assistance, that system is mostly working. Specialists and equipment are flown in as needed, including a handicapped-accessible cell sent to the war court facility so that a 57-year-old inmate recovering from emergency spinal surgeries could stay overnight at the complex rather than endure transport back and forth from the detention facility.

Officials on the island have been told to expect to keep the lights on for another 25 years. Most of the long-term planning Ring and his successors need to turn Gitmo into a nursing home for terrorists is up to policymakers at the Pentagon — and, it’s not clear how much planning has actually been done […]
via Is Guantanamo becoming an accidental old folks home? — Hawkins Bay Dispatch

5 thoughts on “Is Guantanamo becoming an accidental old folks home?

  1. Those people being held there haven’t even done anything wrong. They have not had access to counsel. They have not been formally charged with a crime. They are just sitting in there because Amerikkka can get away with doing this shit to them! That is barbaric! But then, I expect nothing less from the most depraved, debauched shits to ever exist on this planet.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That is SO very true! Because the shit is in our face and what the hell are we gonna do about it!!! It is that damn bad. Be glad that you are not over here to witness it first hand because it ain’t a pretty sight. But we deserve it because we did not even whimper over the shit that was done in our name to others all across this planet and was paid for by our tax dollars. And now that the shit is hitting the fan for us, we are now starting to moan, whine and wail. Too damn late!

      Like

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