British Company under Investigation for Offering Services to Guantanamo Base

Rogelio Manuel Díaz Moreno

G4S staff manage security and the facilities at Cedars, near GatwickHAVANA TIMES — Internationally recognized agencies such as Amnesty International and Scotland Yard have undertaken an investigation into individuals who allegedly participated in acts of torture carried out in Cuba.

I came across this startling bit of news in the British newspaper The Independent on January 14. There, I read that the British human rights group Reprieve submitted a report to the renowned police agency, asking that it investigate a British company for alleged complicity in extremely serious human rights violations.

The accused company is named “G4S.” The British government, the newspaper adds, has been investigating G4S for some time to determine whether it has violated principles established by international conventions. According to the charges, the company offered administrative services to a harrowing prison, notorious for its abuses and for confining human beings without previous or due process: the United States’ Guantanamo Naval Base.

As you may recall, at the beginning of the 20th century, the United States forced Cuban leaders to accept dishonorable conditions as a requirement for proclaiming independence. Allotting the United States lands for naval bases was one of those conditions, and one of them was set up in the easternmost province of Guantanamo. After 1959, Fidel Castro’s government condemned the treaties but the situation has not yet been resolved.

When former US president George W. Bush launched his “global war on terrorism,” he ran into the problem of having taken many people prisoner. Most of them were captured in Afghanistan and did not enjoy the rights commonly granted war prisoners. Keeping them in Afghanistan was complicated because of continuous attacks by insurgents, logistics and other factors. The prison in the Guantanamo base offered the Pentagon a number of advantages.

Years before, the densely-mined area around the base had been the stage of rather tense moments. A pair of Cuban coast guards lost their lives there. The many people who left the country illegally in 1994 also headed in that dangerous direction. At the beginning of the 21st century, however, the most heated tensions between the US Army and Navy and their Cuban counterparts had been left behind. Military forces from the two countries maintained certain levels of cooperation in migratory issues and other areas, very discretely, to be sure. Several hundred Afghans and a handful of people of other nationalities or living in England and other countries where whizzed over there. Some were simply poor bastards who didn’t even belong to the Taliban but were at the “wrong place at the wrong time.”

What came after is well-known, but only to those interested in these issues. The Guantanamo Base prison was soon witness to actions described as harrowing affronts on the principles of democracy by several, prestigious international institutions, such as Amnesty International (AI). AI was one of the institutions to demand an investigation into the role played by G4S and its complicity with these actions.

According to The Independent, there are still 127 Guantanamo prisoners who have never been tried and some who have never heard any concrete charges against them. In recent months, more reports of abuses (such as force-feeding techniques) have come to light.

The Obama administration committed to closing the opprobrious base. However, reaching this goal has become more and more difficult and it has met with much resistance among the country’s elites. Evidently, many politicians think that keeping these prisoners under these debasing conditions is plausible and hope never to be held accountable for them. Perhaps Great Britain may manage to punish at least a handful of the many who are responsible around the world.

18 thoughts on “British Company under Investigation for Offering Services to Guantanamo Base

  • Why are they dubbed terrorists? They should be treated like any other prisoner of war. You don´t try prisoners of war, you keep them until the war is over then return them.

  • There are British citizens in Guantanamo who have been declared innocent years ago but have not been released.

  • Before Bush & company be put on trial, I can think of several other countries which are guilty of those crimes you accuse Bush of.

    Russia, China, Egypt, Syria, Iran, North Korea, & Cuba all have secret prisons where they torture & hold prisoners without any rights. Compared to those states, Bush was a small time amateur. It will be a very crowded docket.

  • I stated very clearly I oppose torture for any reason and by anybody.

  • Where would their trials take place you ask. In the USA if that’s the country that holds them prisoner. If they have nothing to charge them with they should be released to wherever they want to go as innocent free men. They should also be given some compensation to start a new life after their mistaken detention.

    Related to Cuba, if the Cuban Five got their day in a kangaroo court why shouldn’t the GITMO prisoners get theirs.

    I really believe that Bush and company should be put on trial in an international court for the secret prisons, torture and holding prisoners without any rights. The Brits that helped out as well.

    And my real proposal is for the US to offer to give back the territory they occupy at Guantanamo Bay in exhange for Cuba accepting all the prisoners there. Now that would kill two birds with one stone. Or three, because it would save the US taxpayers a fortune.

  • Tea Party Griffin, “treatment most people consider torture”, “a few very bad guys” (without charges or trials). Great, we can all see where you are coming from.

    Oh, but it is Know-it-all Griffin again who has all the details on what the GITMO prisoners did to be there. Maybe you can get a job as the prosecuting attorney’s assistant of a military court if you think a civilian one would be inappropriate. Everyone could learn a lot from you.

    And by the way you haven’t said whether you also support the British company taking part in the torturing.

  • Despite unfounded criticisms to the contrary, detainees held in GITMO are there for a reason. They were not simply “rounded-up” and sent to GITMO. Moreover, if you are still in GITMO today, it is because your country of origin does not want you. What would you suggest Obama do with these people? Where should their trials take place? It’s a real mess. Once again, Obama inherited this disaster. I am convinced that he is fully committed to closing the detention center. But as Griffin noted earlier, some of the earlier released detainees have resurfaced in Syria and Iraq as part of the ISIS leadership. Obama sent 5 of the former GITMO detainees to Uruguay. Are you interested in letting a couple of these terrorists move in with you?

  • I do not support the use of torture. The Geneva Conventions grant the right of states to hold unlawful combatants without civil trial. During the Bush years, a few very bad guys were subjected to treatment most people consider torture. That was wrong. Obama ordered those practices stopped. Obama has been doing everything he can to release the remaining terrorists. Some, such as Khalid Sheik Mohammad cannot be released, nor can they be given a civil trial (as was successfully argued by his own lawyer). Therefore he will stay where he is. Do you think KSM should walk free?

    To answer your question: the terrorist at GITMO were captured while engaged in murdering civilians, bombing markets, burning schools and lynching children. The Cuban dissidents were assaulted and arrested for the crime of saying “Down with Fidel & Raul”. Surely to God, even given the warped moral equivalence which poisons the minds of leftists, you can see the difference?

  • Right Moses, so these “suspects” are kept in a tortured limbo forever. How can you call someone a terrorist that’s been in prison for 5 or 10 years and was never charged with anything. Your intelligence sources’ argument is very weak.

    Even the Cuban Five got trials, as poorly administered as they were, with evidence held from the defense for national security reasons and protecting the intelligence sources.

    The fact is the GITMO prisoners were just rounded up on some supposed information, often from questionable sources, that you are saying can’t even be revealed to a judge at a kangaroo court. That’s hogwash.

    Moving to the other side of Cuba… One of the points you have previously made and I totally agree with is the unfairness of how Cubans are arrested for some disturbance or crime they might commit, often used against dissidents and black youth.

    If you as a US citizen, or our Canadian friend Griffin, justify the GITMO prisoners’ limbo status for any reason then what’s to complain about when Cuban dissidents get arrested over nothing?

  • I support Obama’s take on non-state sponsored combatants. I would not take them into custody in the first place. To do so makes the US responsible for their well-being. People who cut off the heads of aid workers and rape children forfeit their right to live. let alone concern for their well-being. Obama inherited Gitmo. He can not release these terrorists nor can put them on trial in many cases without risking intelligence sources. Something must be done eventually but when these detainees were planning to blow up airliners, they were not too concerned about the well-being of others.

  • Mr. Moses, I totally support the right of Tania Bruguera and others to express themselves publicly and in public spaces as well as in the Cuban media, something that is not possible today. I think we’d agree on that. Now let me ask you one. Do you agree with Tea Party Griffin that it’s ok to imprison terrorist suspects without charges or trials for years or decades? I imagine Griffin also agrees with torturing the hell out of them since its not on US soil. Do you?

  • If you “fully support civil rights and freedoms”, then what is your comment regarding the recent detention of Tania Bruguera PRIOR to her efforts to exercise free speech rights with her open microphone event? In general, do you support the tyrannical Castro regime in prohibiting independent media? Please, for chuckles, try to respond without girly comments attacking other commenters or evading the questions altogether and resorting to criticizing the US.

  • You miss the distinction between an unlawful combatant engaged in terrorism and free speech.

    If you support civil rights and freedoms for Cubans, why do you defend the Castro regime?

  • I think Tea Party Griffin fits the shoe because your stances are just that, a carbon copy. You are smack wrong as usual… I fully support civil rights and freedoms for Cubans and at the same time you are dead wrong to call someone that has never been charged with anything, much less convicted, a terrorist. If you were jailed for years without charges for being a dangerous right-wing fanatic I would gladly support your cause.

  • Check the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of terrorist, or unlawful combatants. The Geneva Conventions does stipulate they should not be abused or tortured, but they can be taken out and shot, or held in a prison. President Bush decided they would be more useful to hold and interrogated for intelligence. President Obama decided it would be more politically convenient to kill them with drones rather than capture them.

    Due process under US law applies to US citizens, residents, and visitors to the US. It does not apply to people who are not in the US, which is why GITMO was selected as the location for the prison.

    Typically enough, you seem to be the sort of leftist who champions civil rights for terrorists, but at the same time denies the Cuban people their rights and freedoms.

    PS: I’m not a member of the Tea Party. That’s a US political movement, and I am Canadian.

  • There goes Tea Party Griffin, champion of civil rights and democracy for Cubans, again. He supports indefinite detention of “terrorists” without charges or due process.

  • Considering the fact that many of the senior commanders of ISIS were former inmates at Gitmo, perhaps releasing them was a mistake. There is a reason why the terrrorist prison at Gitmo exists. If the US plans to close it and not open a similar jail somewhere else to hold terrorists, then they have to decide what they plan to do with the terrorists they capture in the future.

    Obama has dealt with that dilemma by not capturing terrorist but instead using drones to vaporize them. That’s proven effective at eliminating the targeted terrorists, but it also eliminates a potential source of intelligence. And still the problem grows as the rise of ISIS and the resurgence of the Taliban demonstrates.

  • A major obstacle preventing the closure of Guantanamo is the disposition of more than a handful of the detainees. Their countries of origin have refused to allow these accused terrorists to be returned. Likewise, the American public has resisted their relocation to the US. Maybe Fidel could expedite the closure by allowing a handful of these accused murderers to move into another place in Cuba known to be well-secured and comfortable for people who enjoy torture and terrorism. Punto Cero.

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