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Government The Military United States Politics Science

Scientists Propose Biodiversity Lab To Redeem Guantanamo Prison Camp 170

HughPickens.com writes: The American presence at the Guantanamo Prison Camp has been deeply contentious since even before terrorism suspects began to be housed there beginning in 2002. Now as President Obama prepares to make the first presidential visit to Cuba in almost 90 years, ecologists Joe Roman and James Kraska have published their case in the influential journal Science for creating a Guantanamo-based research center to study biodiversity in the Caribbean. The primary benefit of a Guantanamo Bay research station is symbolic. "The main goal is trying to take Guantanamo and make it an inspiring place, and redeem it," says Roman. But the case for Guantanamo Bay as a science lab goes beyond political optics. According to Roman and Kraska the land and the sea offer an ecosystem uniquely worthy of study. The research hub of Roman's dreams would be a state-of-the art facility to help understand how biodiversity loss can be prevented across the Caribbean. "A parcel of the land, perhaps on the developed southeastern side of the base, could become a 'Woods Hole of the Caribbean,' housing research and educational facilities dedicated to addressing climate change, ocean conservation, and biodiversity loss. With genetics laboratories, geographic information systems laboratories, videoconference rooms — even art, music, and design studios — scientists, scholars, and artists from Cuba, the United States, and around the world could gather and study. The new facilities could strive to be carbon neutral, with four 80-meter wind turbines having been installed on the base in 2005, and designed to minimize ecological damage to the surrounding marine and terrestrial ecosystems"
Hugh Pickens continues: According to Roman, the main idea is that science can be healing: a way to bring diverse nations together, a way to rectify a complicated history, and a way to help better the lives of all people through research. The biggest roadblock won't be the Obama administration but Congress. Republican lawmakers have derided Obama's preliminary framework for closing the prison, so for the foreseeable future, the status quo will remain. But Roman can still dream. "At a certain point, I don't know when, that base is going to close. It's going to return to Cuba at some point. This is a great use of that property. You don't have many places in the world like that."
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Scientists Propose Biodiversity Lab To Redeem Guantanamo Prison Camp

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  • Give it back? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    How about just giving it back to Cuba?

    It's as anachronistic and wounding to national pride as it would be for Americans having to tolerate a foreign military base on Manhattan island.

    The Brits gave Hong Kong island back to China for a good reason. Shit like this belongs in the 19th century, not the 21st.

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      "The Brits gave Hong Kong island back to China for a good reason."

      Yeah, because our 99 year lease was up.

    • "The Brits gave Hong Kong island back to China for a good reason"

      Yes, the good reason was that they had a leasing contract done in 1898 for 99 years and that contract expired 1997 so it fell back to China.

      They kept the stuff the conquered.

      They didn't give back Northern Ireland, Scotland, Gibraltar, Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Anguilla, Bermuda, the Falklands, the Cayman islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Saint Helena, Ascension, Tristan da Cunha, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands nor the Turks and Caicos

      • Re:Give it back? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Gavagai80 ( 1275204 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @09:18AM (#51742741) Homepage

        The USA claims that Guantanamo Bay is a lease as well, not a conquest. Analogy: It's like renting an apartment from your brother at a super low token rate of $50 a month. Then he dies and the new owner of the complex tries to evict you. You refuse to leave the apartment and send the new owner a $50 check every month which he refuses to cash, and you tell everyone that this is a legal lease where you have every right to stay in the apartment for as long as you pay your $50 a month. For the next 55 years, because you're the one lucky renter who has more guns than the police who come to evict you.

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          That's certainly colorful and all but I'm not entirely sure it's as accurate as you're implying. In your instance, the renting of the property may well have been transfered as a condition of purchase, this does happen. They're called renter's rights. They are awesome for those one lucky renters.

          So, they won't need guns. They've got the force of law on their side. The new owner should just burn the place down and collect the insurance and pay to put 'em up in a new apartment for a little while. It depends on

      • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

        Scotland wasn't conquered. The rest of them, okay. Although one or two of the others were uninhabited or inhabited solely by British colonists.

        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          > Scotland wasn't conquered.

          Not by the Romans, no... But, umm... Are you *sure* that Scotland wasn't conquered? I seem to recall them getting their asses handed to them - some melodramatic guy in a long coat and with long hair told me about it in his giant 5 hour long series about the history of Scotland. It was BBC so I don't think they'd lie about it. Some Lion King or something like that - sometime around 1200 IIRC? I think it might have happened more than once. There was some dude named Bruce but he

          • by tnk1 ( 899206 )

            Yes, forgive me, I was specifically talking about their incorporation into United Kingdom of Great Britain. The English and others had certainly invaded before, and there was even a period were a great deal of lowland Scotland was under English domination, but Scotland had not been ever rendered permanently defunct as a country by military conquest.

            However, the actual incorporation of Scotland into the UK started as a personal union of England and Scotland under King James (the first of England and the Six

            • by KGIII ( 973947 )

              Ah! Okay. I get it now. I was awfully confused 'cause I was pretty sure I'd seen you post enough times to not think you're dumb. Now that I look at the thread, in context, I probably should have picked up on that - so the fault is partially my own. I understand how they came to be a part of the UK - within reason and probably pretty well for a non-historian. I was awfully confused, as I said.

              It could be worse, they could be Wales. I forget the name of the King who stomped through just building castles - a w

              • To add to what precedes, that's the reason why a vote of separation by Scotland would be legally valid, and the UK couldn't do much about it.
                • by KGIII ( 973947 )

                  I am kind of curious as to how that plays out. It pops up on NPR once in a while. I keep an ear out to see if anything major happens but nothing yet. I think they might bail if the UK splits with the EU. I figure they might split then and then join the EU directly. It should be interesting.

                  • I'm no expert on the subject, and I'm not even from the UK. I base my view on the vulgarized analyses I've seen from actual experts on French media, plus some web-browsing to check for different angles.

                    If the UK leaves the EU, most French experts I've heard and read claim Scotland leaving the UK to join the EU separately is a credible scenario. But I've also read analyses stating that Scotland would have too much to lose, and that while it's possible, it's far to be likely. It's true that the Scottish Natio

    • We don't give it back for the same reason that we've implemented most of our Cuban policies over the last 50 years: because a bunch of old Batista cronies in Miami are still pissed that Fidel Castro took their corrupt oligarchy away.

    • by fche ( 36607 )

      Aw poor commie "national pride". My heart bleeds, beyond redemption.

    • We didn't give it back ... our lease ran out. Read your history book
    • How about just giving it back to Cuba?

      What? Are you crazy? You can't go handing over prime tropical real estate to third world dictators (or third world leaders at all, for that matter). These scientists have a great idea, and I'm sure there will be tons of junkets by congressmen, business professionals, and all sorts of elite university researchers. All paid by the expense account of course - what a capital plan!

      I mean, we let Haiti take over all that prime vacation land for SOOO long! Good thing that "natural" earthquake came along and ru

    • It's as anachronistic and wounding to national pride as it would be for Americans having to tolerate a foreign military base on Manhattan island.

      It's worth pointing out that the US gave all the rest of Cuba back to Cuba. The Spanish gave it to the US, and the US granted them freedom. Heck, the whole Spanish American war was caused by the US coming in on the pro-Independence side of Cuba in their revolution.

      That the US voluntarily wanted to grant Cuba their Independence kept it form becoming a territory li

    • The Brits gave Hong Kong island back to China for a good reason. Shit like this belongs in the 19th century, not the 21st.

      I appreciate the sentiment, but this is a pretty bad example.

      The British government had a 100-year lease on the property, they did not own it. They tried to extend the lease but the Chinese were pretty insistent that they hand back their property. And since the British Empire no longer existed as such, and the Chinese army, navy and airforce were quite capable of taking the island by force, if necessary, they ground their teeth and handed it over. Lock, stock and barrel. But not before the British governmen

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @08:19AM (#51742319) Homepage

    to Redeem Guantanamo Prison Camp...

    there is no redemption in a torture camp. Auschwitz and Dachau didnt find salvation in an agricultural or a climate research institute. Instead they perist in silence, discipline, and remorse as a sterling reminder of some of the most profound human genocide mankind has ever committed. Many israeli jews, including new IDF troops, make a pilgrimage to these sites yearly to remember.

    Prisoners at Guantanamo have been beaten, waterboarded, subjected to forced intubation and rectal feeding, extreme temperatures, and have experienced some of the most brutal and least reported abuse under the US governments authority that any human has seen in the 21st century outside of Darfur. Some prisoners have been kidnapped from their home countries under extraordinary rendition, and others simply scooped up during the occupation campaign in Iraq. Once theyre free, many are in limbo as their home countries no longer want them and no foreign nation will consider them for immigrant status.

    • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @08:40AM (#51742437) Journal
      Guantanamo is not a source of pride for many Americans, and yet, the bulk of the human rights violations that did exist there were flushed out by the American people and the US press.

      Yes. Obama was unable to fulfill that campaign promise, and the base should be converted to something else, but comparing this to the WWII concentration camps is a bit much.

      These people are being held without American constitutional protection, but they are, by and large bad guys, and they were not indiscriminately rounded up man, woman, and child because of their race.

      • Well, technically, the big single thing that's missing to be a good ol' Nazi KZ is the human experiments.

        But since they're now planning to make it a research facility, hey, ain't too late for that yet!

        • by KGIII ( 973947 ) <uninvolved@outlook.com> on Monday March 21, 2016 @10:59AM (#51743613) Journal

          I'd say the mass killing, slavery, burning, starvation (we definitely won't let them starve), lack of health-care, etc... Nah, there's still a whole lot of differences.

          That doesn't mean that I like it - it just means you're minimizing the hell out of the WWII era NAZI concentration camps when you compare the two. I don't give two shit but I suspect somewhere there are people who'd be either appalled or angry with your doing so. I've been to two of the old camps and I've seen a lot of documentaries as well as read a bunch of books.

          Maybe you just don't know what happened in them? They're not even remotely similar. Not really. That doesn't mean this isn't a tragedy in and of itself but, c'mon now... That's pretty hyperbolic, don't you think? Or do you really not know what went on in them?

      • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

        they are, by and large bad guys.

        Are they now? And you know this how? If there ever was a case of [citation required]...
        I think for most of them, no one even knows why they are being held. I mean, check out this list [wikipedia.org]. If entries such as "Determined to be innocent. Still detained" or "Ruled innocent. Claims beating crippled him" do not scare you, I don't know what will.

        Considering that they are not guaranteed access to evidence against them or proper access to lawyers, the fact that some were still ruled innocent, implies that majority

    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      Equating the naval base at Guantanamo Bay to Auschwitz and Dachau is one of the main reasons that people turn their brains off when people like you start shouting and spewing spittle. If you had a more reasoned argument, maybe it would make some headway and people would listen. But freaking Auschwitz? The sad part is, I don't even think you and your left-wing progressive friends understand what I'm talking about, and you really think the two places are the same. :(

      I notice that not a word has been said a

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by argStyopa ( 232550 )

      "most brutal and least reported abuse under the US governments authority that any human has seen in the 21st century"
      And this is why nothing happens with Guantanamo. Serious discussions are impossible when the starting point is such ridiculous hyperbole.

      FIRST:
      It's almost inevitable that you'd go straight to Godwin the thread, of course. But I'd remark there's a pretty substantial gulf in agency and innocence between Nazi death camps (where people all the way down to children were rounded up and ultimately

      • I stopped reading after 'executed'. You are a psycho.
      • by Mitreya ( 579078 )
        I don't think I know where to start...

        US detention facility which was largely used for COMBATANTS seized in what is effectively a war zone, but whose status was questionable as they chose not to wear uniforms.

        Keeping combatants would have been fine if someone bothered to check carefully if they are, in fact, combatants. They have no access to evidence against them or proper access to lawyers. If someone was not a combatant, what do you think they can do to prove it?
        "effectively a war zone" I believe covers all of the countries where we had a military operation at one time? I have heard numerous statements that include United States territory as the "war zone" in "war on te

      • Nazis in the 21st century?

        Also you don't forcefeed anyone rectally. Digestion literally doesn't work that way.

    • by hey! ( 33014 )

      I don't think anyone actually believes in any kind of ethical calculus where having a nice research facility makes it OK to have tortured people. I think what's up for PR grabs is whether it's OK to still have a base there. So what the pitch here is that it'll be a like concealer makeup on a black eye.

      Welcome to the world of diplomacy, where a lie isn't a lie because everyone knows it's a lie.

  • and chagos marine protected area https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] was created to protect marine life. ha!

  • The US military isn't giving that real estate up period. Obama said he would close it and failed to do so. The next president will do the same. Where do you think the extremists will go for their rightfully deserved enhanced information gathering sessions?
    • Congress has made it nearly impossible to transfer captives elsewhere.

      Defense Intelligence Agency concluded that at least a fourth of the detainees the United States has released from Guantanamo were confirmed or suspected of later engaging in terrorism or insurgent activity.

      ISIL has taken hold in Yemen, the very country where the Obama administration had planned to transfer many detainees.

      Please keep in mind the folks these prisoners are fighting for are beheading their prisoners, while the men at Guant

      • Well, then drop the detainees there and throw a few bombs afterwards for good measure and be done with it.

        Jeesh, you Americans are always so complicated, things are so much easier in mother Russia...

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Monday March 21, 2016 @08:34AM (#51742411)
    Guantanamo Bay is primarily a U.S. Navy Base. It is only secondarily, if that, a prison camp for those who made war against the U.S. outside of the boundaries of the Geneva Convention (this may not be true of all of those imprisoned there, but that is the justification for the prison camp aspect).

    Guantanamo Bay is the best harbor in the Caribbean for Naval operations and the U.S. has retained control over it for that reason.
  • I mean, since we're dreaming.

  • At least the terrorists may have won ...by having passengers take off their belts and shoes prior to boarding, ...by 3-hour long security and frisking measures even if your name is not even the least bit shadowed by a hint of an arabic-sounding name, ...by making us turn off our phones before the movie starts,

    but they will NOT DENY US A BIO DIVERSITY LAB while I sip my Coronas catching some rays at Guanta-frickin-mo bay! Where I can surfboard while you waterboard...

    • There are a lot of stupid comments in this thread already but this is the winner for -1 Offtopic, -1 Troll, -1 Unfunny, and -1 Overrated all in the same 500 characters. That's actually pretty hard to do.
  • "A parcel of the land, perhaps on the developed southeastern side of the base, could become a 'Woods Hole of the Caribbean,' housing research and educational facilities dedicated to addressing climate change, ocean conservation, and biodiversity loss. With genetics laboratories, geographic information systems laboratories, videoconference rooms — even art, music, and design studios — scientists, scholars, and artists from Cuba, the United States, and around the world could gather and study. The new facilities could strive to be carbon neutral, with four 80-meter wind turbines having been installed on the base in 2005, and designed to minimize ecological damage to the surrounding marine and terrestrial ecosystems"

    It would be nirvana, heaven on Earth: diverse, socially and environmentally conscious. All it needs is some magic pixie dust to make it a reality.[/sarcasm]

  • Right. Because there aren't dozens of other locations in the Caribbean to build a research lab.

  • Castro should tell Obama "Your lease is up. As of 00:00 AM January 1 2020, it reverts to Cuban internal territory. Being Cuba, INTERnational law does not count, only INTRAnatinal (Cuban) law counts. We will mortar the power plant, poison the ground water, sink tankers, put holes in the runway. Get all your junk out of here. Until the end of 2019 ships and planes LEAVING Guantanamo will not be interfered with."

    Quantanamo is one of the most shameful things in U.S. history. Why weren't those prisoners taken

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