The military is also spending up to $750,000 to replace the aging, rusting prison camp hospital with a new infirmary hub and so-called expeditionary medical shelters around the prison camps. Equipping the new hospital will cost more so the Navy Medical Logistics Command has put out a bid for everything from microscopes to resuscitators. Price? Unknown.
Millions go to an intelligence operation whose early Guantánamo interrogations may have fed tips to the U.S. manhunt that tracked Osama bin Laden to his hideout in Pakistan this year. It continues to interrogate some of the captives and maintains risk assessments on each one.
A guard with four years in the Navy, with the rank of petty officer 3rd class, gets $2,985.84 a month, including the same hazardous duty pay as theyd pull in Kabul. A Navy commander with 15 years but no kids gets $7,840 a month, including hazardous duty pay.
But Guantánamos a place where today an Army colonel can talk about the battle rhythm of the camps, have his family on the base and his kids in the bases school system, which currently has 247 students.
Prison staff have their own gym, housing and newsletter, dining rooms and first-run movie theater at Camp America, adjacent to the camps. They have their own chapel, mental health services and mini-mart that was recently peddling a $99.99 SCUBA bodyglove and tacky souvenirs such as Cuba Libre-Gitmo fridge magnets and a full aisle of protein supplements.
Guards and other staff also cross over to the larger Navy base for the programs of any sailor or contractor pulling permanent duty on the base a golf course and deep-sea diving, beach parties and fishing trips.
They can hit the Irish pub, which was built after the al-Qaida airlifts began, take classes over the Internet, which were established once the prison was opened, and can grab McDonalds drive-through on their way to work.
And thats just for the guards.
Both captives and captors also have their own kitchen, health services, transportation and security services all fueled by a steady supply line.
In their cellblocks, cooperative captives get satellite television with sports, news and religious programming as well as Arabic soap operas. Pentagon contract workers maintain a 24,000-title book, video and magazine library and are building yet another soccer field for cooperative captives. Unless theyre hunger strikers fed Ensure through tubes tethered through their nose into the stomach, each detainee is offered up to 4,500 calories a day including lamb certified as halal, Islams version of kosher.
We are running a five-star resort and not a detention facility for terrorists, says Florida Republican Rep. Allen West, the fiscal conservative and former Army lieutenant colonel who toured the facility in March. For example, why do they need 24 cable TV channels?
Soldiers and sailors consistently gripe that the Internet is slow inside their private quarters, which mostly range from trailer parks to townhouses.
But, unlike in Afghanistan, some prison camp staff officers have brought their families, gotten suburban-style housing and put the kids in the Navy base school. Sailors said it is better than ship duty. Sure its surrounded by water. But you get private quarters, scuba diving and can check in on weekends at guest housing complete with big-screen TVs and backyard patio with barbecue grill.