Pentagon Guantanamo ‘Fact’ Sheet Highlights High-Tops And Harry Potter, Distorts Real Issues

This week, the Department of Defense (DoD) released a document entitled “Ten Facts About Guantanamo.” The document contains relatively insignificant facts — all detainees receive a pair of “high-top sneakers” — and ignores the facility’s real problems.

Some other highlights:

4. Detainees receive medical, dental, psychiatric, and optometric care at U.S. taxpayers’ expense. In 2005, there were 35 teeth cleanings, 91 cavities filled, and 174 pairs of glasses issued.

9. Guantanamo is the most transparent detention facility in the history of warfare. The Joint Task Force has hosted more than 1,000 journalists from more than 40 countries.

Thirty-five teeth cleanings for approximately 500 detainees isn’t something to brag about. Point 4 also obscures the fact that several detainees have committeed suicide and the European Union has called on the Bush administration to close the camp.


Guantanamo Bay is anything but transparent. Media access to Guantanamo Bay has been severely restricted. Journalists “could not talk to detainees, they had to be accompanied by a military escort and their photos were censored.” In June, the military shut down media access entirely.

Point 8 initially quoted the mother of a Russian detainee saying how great Guatanamo Bay was: “Of course they wanted to stay there. … They had human rights and good living standards there. They had dentists and good meals — everything they wanted.” As the Wasington Post’s Al Kamen notes, “[T]his quote from a March 2004 edition of the London Times was a Russian mother comparing Guantanamo with Russian jails.” It has been removed from the current document available online.