What Life For a Prisoner is Actually Like in Guantanamo Bay Prison


Imagine a place so ruthless that doctors are
told to put aside their usual ethical concerns and help interrogators torture prisoners without
actually killing them. An environment so brutal that humans are subjected
to sensory deprivation on a regular basis. The whole time you know your stay is indefinite,
even if you’ve not been charged or convicted, and you fear you might have to stay there
forever… And worst of all, you have to wear an orange
jumpsuit all day. But oh wait, it’s sunrise – time to rise
and shine! This is no place for chit-chat – we’re
in Guantanamo Bay. After feeling badly rested from a terrible
night’s sleep, it’s time to start the day. And consider yourself lucky if you got any
shut-eye at all. Guantanamo Bay officers often deprive prisoners
of their sleep at night thanks to guards under strict orders to make as much noise as possible
by slamming doors and stomping noisily around. Well, nobody likes a night shift after all. Then, at 8 am, you hear the distant sound
of the military broadcasting the national anthem to their officers. It’s time for another day of misery to begin. You’re sitting alone in a cell with a heavy
steel door, a corrugated metal roof, and a concrete floor. The place is tiny – it’s 2.4 meters wide
at its longest part and 1.8 meters at its smallest. The walls are made of wires. In your cell with you, there are a few bare
necessities. Your bed consists of a sleeping mat that’s
not even one-inch-thick, and a cheap blanket. You have two buckets for your waste – but
hey, it’s better than one bucket. There’s one bath towel, a washcloth, toothpaste,
soap, and shampoo. You’ve been provided with a few luxuries
like a skullcap, prayer beads, the Koran, and a prayer rug, but very little else. Still, count yourself lucky. Sometimes you might be handcuffed, blindfolded
or masked for hours on end – last night was plain sailing. This isn’t a scene from a dystopian film,
something that happened fifty years ago, or even a prison from a country we expect to
do barbaric things, like maybe North Korea. In fact, this is happening in a prison owned
by none other than the United States of America. Almost everyone has heard of Guantanamo Bay,
and most of us have already formed some kind of opinion about it. Maybe you believe it’s a hypocritical human
rights abuse or perhaps you think it’s a necessary evil to keep the rest of the world
safe. Yet true, reliable information about the prison
colloquially known as Gitmo is few and far between. Journalists and photographers face serious
restrictions over the photos they can take and release out of fear the images could violate
secrecy or privacy – hmm, slightly convenient. And the only way you can go and see for yourself
is by obtaining permission from the military base commander. Most of the people who make the complicated
trip are base workers or families of those stationed there – journalists are rarely
allowed inside. When you think of Cuba, you might think of
salsa dancing, idyllic beaches, or Havana-oonana (in tone of Camilla Cabello song). You might be wondering how they ended up with
some of the world’s most dangerous detainees and one of its toughest prisons. Guantanamo Bay has actually been a US military
base since 1898. It was the year of the Spanish-American War,
and a US fleet was heading elsewhere to attack when it ended up stopping in Guantanamo for
protection against the wind. Well, they must have ended up growing fond
of the place, because they persuaded Cuba to rent it to them and then basically just
never left. Kind of like that guy sleeping on my couch
… except he isn’t even paying me rent, the cheeky… But anyway. Guantanamo Bay’s prison part of the base
was opened in January 2002 by President Bush. Most of the prisoners detained there were
unlawful combatants from the Afghanistan War or involved in a certain incident from 2001
involving two towers. But enough of the history lesson, it’s time
for breakfast. You must be hungry after a sleepless night! Oh no, wait. You can’t actually eat – you’re on hunger
strike. It’s tough going since you can’t even
fill yourself up with water – the liquid that comes out the tap is a suspicious yellow
color. But it’s part of a protest against the poor
conditions in the prison and the fact they’ve still not even given you a trial, ten years
in. If you did want to eat, the breakfast menu
would be bread, cream cheese, an orange, a pastry, and a roll. But for you, it’s a choice between liquid
nutritional supplements and force-feeding. Prisoners who refuse to eat food are first
offered drinks filled with their essential nutrients and often shut in their rooms with
the stuff until they feel pressured into drinking it. If you refuse this too, military medical teams
who flew out especially for the job will strap you into a restraint chair and shove tubes
up your nose and down your stomach. It’s a painful process that causes a gagging
sensation as the liquid travels up your nose. There have been various hunger strikes throughout
the history of Guantanamo Bay, but the largest and best-known took place in 2013, with more
than half the prison population taking part at its height. Exactly what happened after this is unknown
as the government stopped releasing official fingers. A hunger strike might not sound like the worst
of crimes, but it’s a strong form of rebellion that complicates everything. The people running the place must have been
seriously stressed out. So they did all they could to discourage prisoners
from not eating. Many detainees had their most basic necessities
taken away as a punishment for resisting food, including blankets, shoes, and even medical
equipment. Some were left sleeping on cold, hard concrete. Sometimes food would be left in an inmate’s
cell all day to force them to smell it knowing they hadn’t eaten in months. We don’t know much about what’s happening
in Guantanamo now, or if there are still any hunger strikes going on. All we really know is that most prisoners
are in buildings called Camps five and six. There are communal spaces for well-behaved
general population prisoners here, with perks like the chance to watch a select few TV channels. It doesn’t sound that terrible so far…but
there’s also a top-secret Camp 7 for high-value detainees, and no outsiders are allowed in. Nothing dodgy going on there then. Judging by the past, it might not be a pretty
sight. Guantanamo Bay used to contain somewhere called
Camp X-Ray, where prisoners were kept in eight-foot-tall cages fenced in by barbed wire. Clearly, in many ways, Guantanamo Bay remains
shrouded in mystery. Well, breakfast time is over. What next? If it’s a quiet day, breakfast is followed
by the chance to have a shower. Just don’t drop the soap! (forced laughter)
Oh, never mind… There’s then some time for personal activities
like praying, thinking, and trying to get some sleep, before a quick visit from the
doctor. It might seem excessive to see a doctor every
day, but I guess when you’re living in life-threatening conditions it’s kind of understandable. If you’re not on a hunger strike you can
enjoy a delicious lunch dish, like cereal accompanied with, erm, cereal bars. Then more time to enjoy some more praying,
thinking, and trying to get to sleep. You might get the chance to exercise for a
couple of hours or go outside. Your evening meal consists of white rice,
beans, a banana, and bread. And then you’ve got a full night of – you
guessed it – thinking, praying, and trying to get asleep. You might be thinking ‘oh hey, that doesn’t
sound so bad,’ but remember you’ve had no food and no sleep. Plus, you could be subjected to arbitrary
beatings at any point, making existing injuries worse, and every time prisoners need to move,
they’re clamped into irons on a trolley. And if it’s not a quiet day? Oh boy, you might want to stop and have a
long, hard think about whether you really want to know the answer to that question… Just around the corner from prison life are
the thousand-odd military personnel stationed at the military base. Life isn’t exactly sunshine and rainbows
for them either, thanks to a daily routine that might involve heavy abuse and having
prisoners throw literal feces at them as they walk by, then going to see a doctor to check
they haven’t caught any diseases from those human liquids before continuing with their
day. However, they do have more amenities available
to them. Officers get stationed at Guantanamo for nine
months at a time, often without their families, and have to try to go about their lives as
normal. Believe it or not, the base boasts a McDonalds,
a Pizza Hut, a Subway, a TacoBell, and a Starbucks. Jamaicans and Filipinos make up the bulk of
service workers there. As well as fast food outlets, there are bars
and water sports to take advantage of the beautiful surroundings. Many officers go water skiing or sailing on
their days off. But no McDonalds or water ski-ing for you,
inmate. If it’s a bad day, you might just get wheeled
off to an interrogation hut. Enhanced interrogation is the name authorities
gave to procedures designed to extract information from the prisoners that totally weren’t
anything like torture. This not-torture regime often involved doctors
monitoring the vital signs of prisoners to make sure they weren’t accidentally killed. I can tell you’re just dying to know exactly
what happened to the inmates while they were being tortured – sorry, I mean, interrogated
through enhanced means – in vivid detail, and I wouldn’t want to let you down. The main techniques used were based on the
idea that, if prisoners were made to feel completely helpless, they’d stop resisting
and give away secret information. For instance, sensory deprivation was often
used. Because there was no concrete evidence of
these techniques causing significant psychological harm, lawyers concluded it was legal. But it wasn’t just mental techniques that
were used in the end. There’s a Forcible Extraction Team that
work at Guantanamo whose responsibilities include beating detainees, often for no reason
at all. They’d slam inmates into walls, frequently
leading to medical problems. Prisoners also have to wear shackles every
day, which causes swelling in the ankles. Another common procedure was water dousing,
which involved being placed on a plastic tarp with your hands shackled above the head as
buckets of ice-cold water are poured on top and around you until you choke and feel a
drowning sensation. Sometimes, officers locked prisoners into
tiny boxes or kept them shackled in painful positions. One prisoner was even hung from an iron shackle
until all the blood rushed to his feet and his hand was about to be cut off. Humiliation would be used against the detainees
too, with techniques like forced nudity, aggressive naked searches, or being made to wear diapers. One prisoner urinated on the floor during
an interrogation and was dragged through his urine like a human mop. As a result of the techniques used, many prisoners
who survived and got away from Gitmo ended up with similar symptoms to prisoners of war
captured by some of the most brutal regimes in history, including illnesses like PTSD,
paranoia, depression, and psychosis. There are only forty prisoners in Guantanamo
Bay now, and many people are campaigning for the government to close it altogether due
to a controversial history. But it’s not quite that simple. Obama tried to shut the prison down as soon
as he was elected, but he faced one tiny problem – there was nowhere for the detainees to
go. Congress made sure it was illegal for anyone
held as a detainee in Guantanamo to be transferred to the US, even for a trial, detention or
medical care. This is how many people end up as so-called
forever prisoners, who never face a charge or conviction. If you’re lucky enough to be convicted of
a war crime, you might finally be sent back to your own country. But many nations don’t want to take prisoners
convicted of some of the worst crimes in the world, so some prisoners end up being repatriated
to another, similarly murky prison elsewhere in the world. On the bright side, Guantanamo Bay might not
be as bad as its reputation these days. Some recent visitors to the prison claim the
American government has overcompensated for past scandals by giving current inmates far
better treatment than those detained in mainland USA. Yet there’s also some evidence that officers
continue to use sleep deprivation techniques. So, who knows? The only way to find out for sure is to see
for yourself – just don’t send me to find out. Sounds like a job for our local Infographics
Challenge guy! If your curiosity has been piqued by this
topic, maybe you’d be interested in watching our video about why nobody can escape from
Guantanamo Bay, or the differences between US and Swedish prisons. We know you’re going to like them both but
choose one and go watch it now!

100 thoughts on “What Life For a Prisoner is Actually Like in Guantanamo Bay Prison

  1. Regular beatings? Says who exactly? The prisoners? And you believe them. Normally I like your videos. Not in this case.

  2. All these jokes in the comment section about this travesty against humanity? What's wrong with you people. Close Gitmo

  3. US used this out-of-state prison to avoid being charged with human rights violation regarding torture. Quite a clever and cunning move.

  4. 10:41–10:47 lol
    The Challenge Guy (& script-writer) had his revenge on the Narrator with long, difficult pronunciations in a video or 2 of the past. Now, the Narrator's revenge ensues!

  5. Are there any dancing Israelis there?
    No?
    Maybe there should be.
    Would make great entertainment for the other inmates.

  6. USA: "We are a modern democratic country, an example for the world"
    Also USA: ICE deportation camps, police brutality and racism, Guantanamo, Middle East wars for oil, no universal healthcare…

  7. Only a small few are in extreme areas most are in plush areas that are far better than most American prisons

  8. So another concentration camp besides the one ice uses to hold immigrants

  9. Havana Una Na na
    In Guantanamo we roll with eyes covered and hands in the back
    Havana Una na na

  10. Infographics challenge: become a war criminal so I can get sent to Guantanamo.

    The girlfriend was NOT happy about this one!

  11. I thought they shut that down it's only full of men and women who are fighting for there right to sell their oils and other resources to who they want besides Americans

  12. These people are enemies of America and freedom, they want to hurt innocent people. They represent direct threats to the west and the US. Is it perfect????? No, but the ends justify the means. It keeps the world safe.

  13. Since Camilla was born and raised in Cajimar Cuba, why did she leave her heart in East Atlanta ownahnah..? Ever since the song came out I've wondered what the significance was for Atalanta GA and her. Anyone who knows and will share I would take appreciate it, thanks!!

  14. Please don't oscillates the camera give me nausea! is so bad! thank you.

  15. And just remember these people are never charged nor convinced so even without the horrendous torture, keeping then as prisoner is still a violation to their right to a fair trial, USA is the real rogue state.

  16. I think all prisons should be like this because it would reduce crime due to the fact people would be scared of what happens to them in there

  17. You can say September 11 attacks. Happen almost 20 years go…. Most ppl have move on

  18. Next challenge please: have a vacation for 1 month and 24 days with out telling anyone

  19. The US must be worse than England if it has these things:
    Prisons of Torture
    More of the Coronavirus [Or as I like to call it, the Beervirus, or the Modern Black Plague.]

  20. If anyone ever finds out what it truly is, can you do "You vs. The Entity"? (Dead By Daylight)

  21. Can you do a life of a nba player or explaining what happen in draft night in nba

  22. I've watched the infographic show forever and I think he could survive alot of the things that he talks about

  23. Why can't we just close Guantanamo down after these 40 prisoners die/finish out their sentences???

  24. I don’t know if I believe all of this. I’ve seen and read a lot. Although obviously supervised by their rules, it’s still a lot of articles against your one video. Not saying all of this is wrong either.

  25. I'm beginning to be addicted to these videos, these things are very very interesting, real, and addicting. Once I finish a video I immediately start the next.

  26. Just curious… has anyone else ever set themselves on fire while shooting a video for you tube?

  27. If I'm arrested in Guatemala Bay they rather torture well they might not know that my mental state is gonna be there problem if they like torture bet they won't like a suicide attempt

  28. This place is a waste of taxpayer dollars, and a violation of civil rights that is beneath the dignity of the America I believe in! Let's get the trials over with, hang the guilty, and send the not guilty back to their home countries, whether they want to take them back or not!

  29. This scripts are getting worse video by video, this channel has really been dropping off, quality-wise.

  30. We are one of the most brutal regimes the world has ever seen… 😞

  31. My sister's boyfriend is a guard in Guantanamo bay. I'm going to send him this video to see if this is all true lol

  32. The people who gave the go ahead to carry out torture deserve to spend the rest of their lives in prison. There is absolutely no excuse for torture, it doesn't even provide reliable information.

  33. You missed out the most integral part; Big Bob's c*ck meat sandwich!

  34. Guess they would have to shoot me. I would attack a guard just so they would shoot me

  35. I get it, inhumanity.
    BUT let’s not forget these are some of the most ruthless terrorist alive in Guantanamo Bay.

  36. The terries need to buy their own food. I’m not givin my tax dollars away to feed these mad terries

  37. I am the one who got irritated after seeing the character shaking up & down like they are in a boat !!!

  38. My last cruise back in either 03 or 04 was a UNITAS. I've been to Gitmo and NEVER want to see that place again!

  39. We should call the police and ask them to perform a welfare check on the Infographics writers. They talk a lot about prisons and torture.

  40. I was deployed there in 2012 and worked in detainee operations. Without violating my NDA, let me say this… about 95% of what was said in this video is wrong.

  41. Maybe try to not be a terrorist.. They should be happy they haven’t been shot yet 🤷🏽

  42. Nobody:
    Every five year old using this format to tell an unfunny but relatable joke:

  43. My mother and uncle were the officers who sued President Bush and the army to the supreme court of prisoner treatment in Gitmo. They won.

    Prisoner or not, we can't lose our honor.

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