Victoria Derbyshire: my time inside Guantanamo Bay

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by singha61, Sep 11, 2011.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Heard this on Radio 5 Live the other day

    “This is the kind of place you thought you'd never come to as a reporter,” says BBC Radio 5 Live's morning presenter Victoria Derbyshire. She's on the phone from inside one of the world's most infamous prisons: Guantánamo Bay, the facility run by the US military on territory leased from Cuba, used to detain and interrogate those suspected of terrorism. Since it opened in January 2002 it's been surrounded by secrecy and controversy because so many of the inmates have been held without charge.

    The place has become a symbol of America's “war on terror”, conducted in the aftermath of 9/11: ten years since the twin towers were brought down, Derbyshire's two two-hour shows this week were the centrepiece of the station's special programmes to mark the anniversary. They were the first of their kind to be broadcast live from within Guantanamo, and were the end of a months-long effort that has audibly left Derbyshire both fatigued and exhilarated.

    “Back in April we submitted a 30-page document detailing our proposal for what we would do on air,” Derbyshire recalls. “The whole time we've been here we've been escorted, and every interview we've recorded, they've recorded it too.

    “It's intimidating,” says Derbyshire of the compound itself. “You have to get a small boat to approach, and it's a Caribbean island: palm trees, crickets, villas with manicured lawns. Then you're at the checkpoint which takes you to the camps and there's a totally different atmosphere. There are a number of 80-foot-high wire-mesh gates with rolled barbed wire on top before you even get to the building where the detainees are housed, and several more thick steel doors after that. I'm not allowed to tell you the number of gates and doors, but there were several gates and many doors.

    “There are watch towers, fencing, spotlights. It looks like a concentration camp. But the atmosphere is very orderly - peaceful, bizarre as it may sound. There are no American military shouting at anybody. It's very calm. You never feel frightened or under threat.”

    The regime at Guantánamo has, say the American authorities, been relaxed considerably in recent years. Allowing live broadcasts from within the camp is part of an attempt to change our perceptions. But it didn't extend as far as letting Derbyshire talk to the prisoners: “Out of the question - even though two solicitors who represent detainees said their clients would be very happy to talk to us. The military said it would break the Geneva Convention!”

    Derbyshire did observe some detainees up close, via a sequence of events that illustrated how life at Guantánamo can be both sinister and mundane. “We were led into Camp 6, the medium-security facility. The guards suddenly requested that we spoke quietly. Then they opened these venetian blinds. I held my breath because I wasn't quite sure what was behind them. There was one-way soundproofed glass through which you could see detainees in white, loose tunics, which indicates that they are 'compliant'. They're not breaking rules or abusing the guards.

    “Some wore prayer caps, and they were all eating and chatting. Despite the security paraphernalia it was a very ordinary scene, like a group of friends socialising. They didn't know we could observe them – I asked if that was in breach of the Geneva Convention, which says you shouldn't expose prisoners to public curiosity. They said no, it's about us being transparent. It was like watching a silent movie.

    “As we left that facility, a guard with a long stick was poking a football which had become trapped in the rolled barbed wire at the top of this 18-foot fence. The detainees on the other side had kicked it up from their recreational area. You could hear them shouting and cheering when he got it out.”

    Victoria Derbyshire: my time inside Guantanamo Bay | Radio Times
     
  2. Best place for her.
     
  3. Looks like a concentration camp...

    or indeed a prison.

    Nice graphic description there.
     
  4. '"It's intimidating,” says Derbyshire of the compound itself. “You have to get a small boat to approach, and it's a Caribbean island: palm trees, crickets, villas with manicured lawns.'


    '"There are watch towers, fencing, spotlights. It looks like a concentration camp. But the atmosphere is very orderly - peaceful, bizarre as it may sound. There are no American military shouting at anybody. It's very calm. You never feel frightened or under threat."'

    ….. What a twerp.
     
  5. Interesting, she's a very intelligent woman. Good piece.
     
  6. Well, I for one, wish they would keep her in there, shove a hose pipe up her jacksie and drop a Steinway on her. ****ing useless.