Watches were taboo for years, although guards posted schedules for Islams five-times daily prayers in prison recreation yards.
In the earliest years of Guantánamo, the Pentagon presumed possession of a Casio wristwatch was a justification for indefinite detention as an enemy combatant because, the military said, a captured al Qaida manual showed how to configure a Casio as a timer for an explosive device.
While we wont discuss specifics on makes, models or types, said Coghill, we can say that these items have been assessed not to pose any force protection concerns.
The new soccer field is surrounded by guard towers and surveillance cameras and accessible by a secure walkway from the prison building itself, to reduce contact and conflict between captive and captor.
Construction costs are high because all equipment and supplies are imported to the 45-square-mile base in southeast Cuba, said Rear Adm. David B. Woods, whos in charge of the detention center.
Thats probably the biggest misperception and lack of understanding of the expense of doing things down here, he added. Its unlike any place else in the world mainly because we dont have the opportunity to capitalize on the local economy.
The Obama administration calculates that it costs $800,000 a year to keep a prisoner at Guantánamo versus about $26,000 on U.S. soil. The base imports and consumes $100,000 of fuel a day to make its own electricity and water and does no business with the Cubans across the minefield. An economic embargo on the Castro government forbids Americans from doing business with Cuba.
Soccer has long been popular since the Pentagon permitted sports in its evolving 10-year effort to conform to the Geneva Conventions and reduce tensions between captives and a rotating guard force and detention center staff of 1,850 troops, agents and government contractors.
Four-term Texas Republican Rep. Ted Poe, a former judge, ridiculed the new soccer field in a congressional floor speech on Thursday.
These radicals should be doing hard time, not soccer time, he said, conjuring up a future terrorist soccer league.
As an elected judge, Poe was known for his Poetic Justice punishments: Ordering released sex offenders to post warning signs on their homes and convicted murderers to post photos of their victims in their cells.
Our government has no business building this tropical Caribbean recreation facility for terrorists, Poe said. Whats next at this terrorist playground? A Tiki hut and bar on the beach?
Bilirakis visited the camps in January 2010 as part of a 14-member delegation, Guantánamo records show. In October 2010, he and Poe voted for legislation that prevented the Obama administration from using federal funds to transfer detainees from Guantánamo Bay to U.S. soil or to their home nations.
Last year, Ross was co-sponsor of a bill to prohibit the use of funds to transfer Guantánamo and certain other enemy belligerents to the United States. That one never reached the Senate.