National Geographic film goes "Inside Guantanamo"

Fri Apr 3, 2009 7:05am EDT
 
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Randall Mikkelsen

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Guantanamo military prison guards call it a "cocktail," the mix of feces, urine and spit that inmates hurl at them and that dramatizes the soldiers' view that they are serving on a battlefield.

The inmates talk of their years behind steel doors, many held without charges, and denounce their American jailers as "attackers of Muslims ... with blood on your hands."

The day-to-day tensions between inmates -- some of whom charge torture -- and the troops who guard them are vividly depicted from both perspectives in a new National Geographic documentary, "Explorer: Inside Guantanamo."

"This is still an integral part of the war on terror," Guantanamo's "warden," Col. Bruce Vargo said in the movie. A former inmate agrees, calling Guantanamo a physical and psychological "war zone."

The documentary is the first in-depth look at the detention center for terrorism suspects that has become a worldwide symbol of U.S. abuses in fighting terrorism after the September 11 attacks. National Geographic Channel will broadcast it on Sunday evening in the United States and other countries.

It may also be the last such look -- President Barack Obama in January ordered the facility at the U.S. naval base on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, closed within a year. His administration is studying what to do with about 240 detainees who remain.

"Guantanamo Bay was the legal equivalent of outer space -- a place with no law," former Navy defense lawyer Charles Swift says in the movie.

Swift's client, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, won major Supreme Court rulings giving Guantanamo prisoners rights in U.S. courts.   Continued...

 
<p>The octogon corridor of Camp 6 is captured from the skywalk at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in this National Geographic Television undated handout image. There are eight pods housing detainees named A through H. TThe-day-to-day tensions between Guatanamo military prison inmates -- some of whom charge torture -- and the troops who guard them are vividly depicted in a new National Geographic documentary, "Explorer: Inside Guantanamo." REUTERS/Lincoln Else/National Geographic Television/Handout</p>