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New Research on Guantanamo Bay Prison

Mobashra Tazamal speaks on the harsh and cruel realities of the Guantanamo Bay prison, and other black site prison practices.


Mobashra Tazamal is a Senior Research Fellow at The Bridge Initiative, a research project on Islamophobia at Georgetown University. Her current research focuses on China’s campaign of genocide targeting Uyghur Muslims and rising Hindu nationalism in India. Her analysis has been published in The Independent, Al-Jazeera, Middle East Eye, The New Arab, and Religious Response.


Expand on the Bridge initiative.

How have you gone forward from Guantanamo Bay to other genocides? 

“The military prison at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base opened on January 11, 2002 and was created in order to house suspected terrorists captured in the US-led global “War on Terror.””

How has the public’s opinion around the prison changed since it was opened? 

“As of November 2020, the military prison at Guantánamo has been open for 18 years and ten months. Because of the prison’s location, the U.S. government has claimed that detainees are not covered by the U.S. Constitution.”

Question: How does this affect the judicial process that is able to occur in regard to the prisoners?

Can the U.S government claim they are truly working to imprison terrorist threats when they do not have a regulated system to assess their involvement, determine punishment, and dispense apologies and reparations for wrongful imprisonment?

  • The ones being picked up from their homes included minors and the elderly.
  • This affects individuals from over 70 countries and were not released to their country of origin, leading to further detention.
  • The Guantanamo Diaries were written by an individual who was detained for a decade. People languish without charge for decades as “forever prisoners”. They were not charged and they are not getting fair or speedy trials due to the legal limbo the prison occupies outside of the U.S.
  • Torture was performed in order to coerce information under the practice of “enhanced interrogation”. This information was deemed unreliable due to the nature of its acquisition.
  • The torture methods were created by mental health professionals.
  • The war on terror acts as state sanctioned Islamophobia. The label of “terrorist” has been blanketly applied to Muslims and Muslim majority populations in order to justify criminalizing them.
  • As a community we should be doing more to speak out against it because they are being targeted from our communities.
  • Even communications to and from family are censored. The Guantanamo Diaries were only allowed to be published after heavy redaction by the government.
  • When testing the torture method, test subjects were waterboarded over 80 times. sleep deprivation, torture, both mental and physical, force feeding and assault were commonplace in Guantanamo.
  • We need to have serious accountability about the violation of the Hippocratic oath that the professionals in Guantanamo committed.
  • The public was primed to hate and fear the suspects, to the point of dehumanization, by the media. We do not know the truth about what black sites are doing and that prevents any meaningful accountability anywhere that the U.S. detains people extrajudicially.
  • Many countries do not want to take these people because of political pressure. Just because you are released from Guantanamo, you are not home free.
  • There are hesitations on vaccinating the individuals in Guantanamo despite the clear risk for everyone, not just the prisoners.
  • They are preparing Guantanamo to be a hospice for the aging population.
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