Examples of Gitmo
Examples of Gitmo
Where does Gitmo come from?
In military code, the area of Guantánamo Bay, Cuba is known as GTMO, evolving into Gitmo based on the common pronunciation of the abbreviation. The US military has maintained the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base there since 1898.
Gitmo specifically named the detention camp once President George W. Bush ordered its establishment in January, 2002 as a holding facility for al-Qaeda and Taliban-aligned terrorists captured during the so-called War on Terror after the 9/11 attacks.
Interest in the secretive Gitmo spiked in 2005 over the human and legal rights of prisoners held there. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin notably compared the American military wardens at Gitmo to Nazis and gulag operators on account of their interrogation tactics. These tactics were widely reported to include denial of food and drink and subjection to extreme temperatures, which violate the Geneva Convention rules for humane treatment of prisoners of war. Later accounts reported more forms of torture, including waterboarding, forcing prisoners to stand for long periods of time, making them go without clothing, disrespecting their holy texts, and subjecting them to months-long periods of isolation. Legal concerns centered on the indefinite detention of the captives without charge or trial.
Barack Obama pledged to close Gitmo as part of his 2008 presidential campaign, though this promise dogged his entire presidency due to resistance to detaining the prisoners on US soil.
Nearly 800 Muslim men have been detained in Gitmo over the prison’s history, with 41 remaining at the end of Obama’s presidency in January, 2018.
Who uses Gitmo?
Like Durbin in the past, high-ranking US political figures continue to use Gitmo as shorthand for the prison, including President Donald Trump, who has lambasted President Barack Obama for apparently releasing “122 vicious prisoners” from Gitmo. Gitmo is also widely used in domestic and international condemnation of the prison.
Because of Gitmo‘s notorious reputation, some people express their outrage at political figures in colloquial speech and writing by wishing they get sent to Gitmo. During the 2016 presidential campaign, for instance, some Trump supporters spoke and wrote online of sending Hillary Clinton to Gitmo.
Gitmo is also still referred to as GTMO or Guantanamo (Bay). These terms usually refer to the prison, though in some cases the naval base more generally.