Guantánamo captives tuned into debate too

 
 
A detainee relaxes inside a communal area of Camp Six in this November 2010 Pentagon photo distributed by the prison camps at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
A detainee relaxes inside a communal area of Camp Six in this November 2010 Pentagon photo distributed by the prison camps at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
ELISHA DAWKINS / U.S. NAVY

crosenberg@miamiherald.com

Dozens of well-behaved captives tuned into Monday night’s foreign affairs debate between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney, a detention center official said Tuesday.

Detainees watched in two separate cellblocks that get satellite TV broadcasts at Camp 6, the communal prison building for cooperative captives, said Army Capt. Jennifer Palmeri. Another block listened to it over the radio.

If they were hoping to hear about their own situation, they were disappointed. Guantánamo didn’t come up, although there was a short exchange over U.S. drone policy, a likely subject of interest because most U.S. drone strikes are in Yemen and most of the 166 detainees at Guantánamo are Yemeni.

No polls were conducted, nor were focus groups assembled. So it was not immediately known who the detainees thought won the debate.

It also was not immediately known in what language they followed the debate, or on what channel. Guantánamo captives get mostly free-of-charge broadcasts from the Middle East and North Africa, but also have access to Al Jazeera’s English channel.

Listening by radio may seem a bit archaic at the state-of-the-art prison where each cellblock has a flat screen television bolted high above the floor, headsets to listen to broadcasts and remote controls to switch channels. But some of the more traditional Muslims shun television, guards say, to avoid seeing scantily clad or simply uncovered women in keeping with their strict interpretations of Islam.

Read more Guantánamo stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category