The new permanent detention facility at Guantanamo

Monday, July 31, 2006 at 06:07 PM

It's a rather odd story, part military news, part media blackout, part public relations event; publicly announced a month ago, yet reported in foreign press sources as new news, and basically ignored by the American media:

The U.S. is building a new, permanent detention camp at Guantanamo, at the very time that the international community calls for closing the Gitmo detention facilities altogether, and despite President Bush's recently announced desire to, maybe, sort of, do just that.

The reports on the new camp, Camp 6, which will hold up to 200 prisoners in a "state-of-the-art" maximum security setting, were made as recent news over the weekend in various foreign presses, including England, New Zealand, Al Jazeera, and Qatar.  No mention in the U.S. press that I could find with a news search today, although the U.S. press today is full of reports like "Gitmo Guards Often Attacked by Detainees."

Interestingly, the Defense Department publicly announced Camp 6 over a month ago, on June 28, in a press release titled "New Guantanamo Camp to Pave Way for Future Detention Ops."  It was a pretty obscure mention, granted, not appearing until the 11th paragraph, and then making it sound like the point was to make life more comfy for detainees ("...It will offer more communal living, increased access to exercise areas, activities, mail and foreign-language materials, and enhanced medical facilities.")

Even more interestingly, June was also the month that Bush announced that he "would like" to empty Guantanamo.


Why is the foreign press picking up on this a month after it was publicized by the Penatagon?

Why is the U.S. press not picking up on it at all?

How could Bush "like" to empty Guantanamo at the same time that the Pentagon is building a new, permanent facility for detainees?

Is there a PR connection between the publication of details about Camp 6 and the sudden publication of details on detainee attacks on U.S. guards at Guantanamo?

How do you think this whole mess looks to the wider world outside the sphere of American influence?