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Volume 9, Issue 12 Friday, December 26, 2008 Volume 9, Issue 44 December 26, 2008
Were not done yetArmy Sgt. Major Matt AragonJTF HHC NCOIC___________________________________The tour for the 111th Combat Support Brigade M/E (Forward) Guardsmen from New Mexico is just about complete, and what a momentous year it has been. Working in a joint environment has proven to be a very rewarding, sometimes challenging but exciting chapter in our military careers. Our experiences with the JTF have unquestionably shaped us into better leaders and future leaders. No matter what position you might have held for this mission, you have made an immense impact on its success. Your contributions have promoted safety and security for our great nation and its people. We must remember to remain focused on our important mission with the JTF to the end and go out with a bang. That bang is preparing our replacements so they without skipping a beat. In my opinion, this is one of the most important parts of our mission. It is our obligation to ensure that we train and pass on the knowledge and tools needed to ensure our replacements from Puerto Rico will be able to perform to the high standards that our predecessors and the 111th have set. Now that we are just a few weeks from going home and joining our awaiting families, I suspect you all are trying to get in a few more dives, snorkeling, your soon-to-be missed friends. This is all well and good, but be sure and take a few moments to think through your actions and calculate all the risks involved and do the right thing. Always think safety and watch out for each other. Its only natural to try to do all the things that you might not be able to do back home, but please be careful and think One last thought I have for you. In my experience, it is best to make sure to give yourself and your family time to get refamiliarized with each other when you get home. Take it slow, and dont forget to thank our nation. In closing, I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to say how proud I am to have served with all the active duty, reserve, guardsmen and civilians here at Guantanamo. Thank you, happy holidays and God bless. PAGE 2 | THE WIRETROO P ER-T O-TROO P ER | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008JTF-GTMO Commander: Navy Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby Joint Task Force CMC: Navy Command Master Chief Brad LeVault Office of Public Affairs: Director: Navy Cmdr. Rick Haupt: 9928 Deputy: Army Lt. Col. Edward Bush: 9927 Supervisor: Army 1st Sgt. Patrick Sellen: 3649The WireEditor: Army Staff Sgt. Paul Meeker: 3651 Assistant Editor: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Jeff Johnstone: 3594 Layout and Design: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Gary Keen: 3594 Army Sgt. Scott Griffin: 3594 Army Sgt. Jody Metzger: 3592 Web Design: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Richard Wolff: 8154 Staff Writers: Army Sgt. Jody Metzger: 3592 Army Spc. Shanita Simmons: 3589 Army Spc. Daniel Welch: 3589Contact us:Base Information: 2000 Public Affairs Office: 3651 or 3596 From the continental United States: Commercial: 011-53-99-3651 DSN: 660-3651Cover Photo By:Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert ClowneyOnline:www.jtfgtmo.southcom.milJointTaskForce-Guantanamo, produces The Wire, which is printed under the provisions of Department of Defense Instruction 5120.4 The Public Affairs Office JTF GUANTANAMO Commander: Navy Rear Adm. David M. Thomas, Jr. Joint Task Force CMC: Navy Command Master Chief Brad LeVault Office of Public Affairs: Director: Navy Cmdr. Pauline Storum: 9928 Deputy Director: Army Capt. Kim Kleiman: 9927 Supervisor: Army 1st Sgt. James Venske: 3649The WireExecutive Editor: Army 1st Lt. Adam Bradley: 3596 Editor:Army Sgt. 1st Class Vaughn R. Larson: 3651Assistant Editors: Army Staff Sgt. Emily Russell: 3592 Army Staff Sgt. Gretel Sharpee: 3594 Staff Writers: Army Spc. Megan Burnham: 2171 Army Pfc. Eric Liesse: 3499 Graphics: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Dollar: 3589Contact usEditors Desk: 3651 or 3596 From the continental United States: Commercial: 011-53-99-3651 DSN: 660-3651 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Online: www.jtfgtmo.southcom.milThe WIRE is the official news magazine of Joint Task Force Guantanamo. It is produced by the JTF Public Affairs Office to inform and educate the Troopers of JTF Guantanamo through news, features, command guidance, sports and entertainment. The WIRE seeks to provide maximum disclosure with minimum delay with regards to security, accuracy, propriety and policy. This DoD news magazine is an authorized publication for the members of the Department of Defense. Contents of The WIRE are not necessarily the official views of, or endorsed by, the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense, or Joint Task Force Guantanamo. It is printed by the Document Automation & Production Service with a circulation of 1000. COVER: The mosaic cover created to commemorate this special Year In Review issue is composed of hundreds of images from the past year. The Year in Review begins on page 4.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008 | MISSION THE WIRE | PAGE 3 Army Sgt. 1st Class Vaughn R. LarsonJTF Guantanamo Public Affairs______________________Navy Rear Adm. Carol M. Pottenger, at the helm of the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command for only three months, visited some of the Sailors under her command Saturday, Dec. 20. I really did not know what you guys do down here, she confessed at an all-hands call at the Windjammer Ballroom Saturday afternoon. I dont know if I can begin to express my awe, my gratitude, my appreciation after walking around and seeing the conditions under which you operate. The Navy Expeditionary Combat Command was established in January of 2006 to train and for joint service missions in every theater of operation. Expeditionary tasks include explosive ordnance disposal, maritime security, riverine duty, diving and salvage, naval construction, logistics, maritime civil affairs, training, intelligence, combat readiness, Combat Camera, medical and the Navy Expeditionary Guard Battalion. Pottenger acknowledged that Sailors also perform guard duties at Camp Bucca, a large detainee operation in southern Iraq. However, she emphasized that the mission at Joint Task Force Guantanamo is really unique, really different, and really special. She praised the Sailors for their professionalism. Not only do you show forbearance, but time after time you smile and say you have a job to do, and you do it the best you can, she said. You understand, and I didnt until today, that every time you walk into the camp, your every tactical act can impact America. You get that. Navy Command Master Chief Ferris Foresman added to the praise. What you have to do day in and day out, the focus you maintain, is phenomenal, he said. Keep doing what youre doing. Admiral praises Sailors during visitBe proud of what you are and where you come from. Foresman reminded the packed ballroom that the purpose of the meeting was to get feedback to improve training and support for the Navys individual augmentees. Some questions focused on the length of an IA tour, and ironing out pay differences among Sailors of the same pay rate assigned to augmentee missions. A concern was raised about Sailors assigned to advancement schools who get orders for an augmentee mission and end up losing incentive pay. Another question was about a prior promise to provide free Internet and cable at Tierra Kay housing. Pottenger replied that the cost and scope of that project is currently under review. Thats not a yes or a no its an issue that deserves my attention, she said. Thats something you guys should have. Others asked about replacing boots that wear out quickly from walking the pods, and lighter or more breathable security vests. Both Pottenger and Foresman said tested. Foresman cautioned that taking too many augmentee assignments is close to committing rate suicide in that it can keep Sailors from progressing in their military job, and can affect promotion. He suggested that 12 months as a guard, whether at Guantanamo or Bucca, should be the maximum assignment. The whole IA mission has been very painful for Navy commanders, Pottenger explained. From what I understand, the Navy is going to be in the IA business for some time to come. She said that it could continues to grow its brigade combat teams. The admiral shared that the Navy as a whole is earning praise for its role in joint environments, particularly the ability of chief without direct management. I am so proud to be your commander, she said. Navy Rear Adm. (Upper Half) Carol Pottenger addresses questions raised by Sailors during an all-hands call Saturday, Dec. 20 at the Windjammer Ballroom. Pottenger heads the Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, which includes the Navy Expeditionary Guard Battalion.
YEAR IN REV I EW | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008 PAGE 4 | THE WIRE Helping Haiti Event keeps memories in step at home, abroad2008 has been a historic year. In this issue, The Wire takes a look back at the events and changes that were a part of the past 12 months at Joint Task Force Guantanamo.GTMO out the voteAmerican service members, upon signing their enlistment, swear an unyielding devotion to defend the U.S. Constitution and the democracy it created. However, when service members are stationed or deployed overseas, taking part in that democracy is not handled the same as back home; its done through the mail. Over the 22 months leading up to Joint Task Force Guantanamos Voting 650 JTF personnel for state absentee voting ballots. This let JTFs service members and civilians exercise their right to help choose their governments leaders. One of the biggest issues I have encountered this year is that Troopers at JTF did not request their absentee ballot by their state deadline or update their absentee st Class James Richardson with the voting of station], active duty personnel should submit an absentee ballot request to their However, when a states absentee ballet application deadline passes before a Trooper registers, they are not left without a voice. The federal back-up write-in absentee ballot can then be used to vote in all federal elections, and some state and local elections. The federal ballots were used in a voting drive at the Troopers Chapel Oct. 21, to have their voices heard. There, about 250 JTF personnel cast their write-in ballots After the ballots were counted Nov. of Illinois was elected president over Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Obama earned 52.92 percent of the total popular vote, while McCain earned two senators 365 electoral votes and 173 electoral votes, respectively. Army Sgt. Gretel Sharpee Joint Task Force and Naval Station Guantanamo Bay residents pulled together to support Haiti after Hurricane Ike ravaged the country, leaving many people desperate for help. Troopers and civilians donated used clothes and new items like diapers, baby wipes, and formula purchased from the Navy Exchange, and dropped them at designated collection sites where they were picked up by chaplains and volunteers. with humanitarian aid was put into motion almost immediately, said Harriot Johnston, a Guantanamo Bay resident and member of the Catholic Chapel Council. The idea was conceived on a Tuesday night, and the community responded quickly. pillows and childrens clothing, was from a JTF Trooper eager to help. It was amazing how quickly Troopers reacted, said Father Sal Aguilera, JTF and Naval Station Chaplain. Troopers were over at the Navy Exchange buying pillows, clothes ... they dont have much here but it didnt mean they werent willing to go to the NEX and buy stuff. It was incredible. The outpouring of support resulted in items were packed up, the pallets were loaded onto the Navy amphibious ship USS Kearsarge, which stopped in Guantanamo for fuel and supplies before returning to Haiti. The timing of Kearsarges arrival played an integral part in the effort by providing This year, U.S. Naval Station Guantanamo Bay Freedom Run and 9.11 kilometer (5.6 mile) Run/Walk, Sept. 6. More than 200 residents attended the event, getting up and traveling to Windmill beach before the sun was close to rising. The freedom run was modeled after the Freedom Run founded by Dirk Beveridge, a member of the We Do Care organization, whose mission is to provide opportunities to the public to support and thank activeduty military personnel, their families and veterans. The run was scheduled to proceed simultaneously with the Barrington, Ill., Freedom Run which gave participants the chance to run with family and loved ones, despite being 1,650 miles apart. I wish I could be there with them but this is the next best thing, said Army 1st Lt. Sarah Cleveland. Im actually running transportation and distribution of the goods Guantanamo residents donated. The widespread community support and quick action of many individuals made the mission a success. I was surprised by the phenomenal support of both volunteers and those who donated, said JTF Chaplain, Navy Lt. Cmdr. Clinton Pickett. There was a very short timeline, and yet they far exceeded my expectations. Army Staff Sgt. Emily J. Russell not home, which is a rare opportunity. beach, and as each participant crossed Zanetti presented them with a coin that commemorated the event. It was a great run and an outstanding hope they do this again next year. Army Spc. Megan Burnham
THE WIRE | PAGE 5 FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008 | YEAR IN REVIE W The faces may have changed as new blood was injected into the Joint Task Force Guantanamo in 2008, but the mission did not. Navy Rear Adm. David M. Thomas Jr. relieved Navy Rear Adm. Mark Buzby as Joint Task Force Guantanamo commander at a May 27 change of command ceremony. unit that I have ever been associated with, Buzby told Thomas during the ceremony. Theres no denying that you are being handed a tough mission and are in for the professional challenge of your life, but I am many and long-lasting. You have forged a legacy of outstanding service under the most intense scrutiny and arduous conditions imaginable, Thomas said, addressing JTF Troopers. commander. Buzby, who served one year as JTF to rear admiral (upper half) and assigned as deputy chief of staff for Global Forces Management and Joint Force Operations, N3/N5, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. The 111th Combat Support Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the New Mexico Army National Guard replaced the 92nd Separate Infantry Brigade HHC of the Puerto Rico National Guard operations. The New Mexico National Guard last deployed to Cuba as members of Teddy Roosevelts Rough Riders in 1898. The Puerto Rico National Guards Housing expands, improves for JTF Troopers Changing of the guard at JTF GuantanamoWith more than 2,000 Troopers serving in Joint Task Force Guantanamo, housing is a continuous concern. LeVault, JTFs command master chief, said in April that he understood when Troopers housing conditions suffer, their motivation does as well, which ultimately impedes mission success. My written goal that I wrote probably a year and a half ago is to have one Trooper per room, LeVault said. His vision was put in full force in 2008. Throughout most of the year, all of Tierra Kay Housing saw renovations 150 total homes in all. With a $3.1 million budget, Naval Station Guantanamo Bays combined TK. The renovations included laying wood bathrooms, new furniture and a fresh conditioning units were installed. They went all out, said Edward Karabinus, CBQs manager. The Navy went with a whole room concept. They purchased really nice, name-brand stuff, mostly Thomasville furniture. charge, this has been getting under control, Karabinus said. Aragon, JTFs Headquarters and Headquarters Company commandant, is the top enlisted personnel in charge of all housing. Two major new housing projects concluded during 2008. adding 192 new residents, as well as 36 more washers and dryers. The units were from Camp Justice and Camp Bulkeley. Senior enlisted received new homes with the opening of the Bay Hill Senior Enlisted Housing complex at the end of built, accommodating one Trooper. Each contains a bathroom, a bedroom, a kitchen and living room area, as well as a washer and dryer. The biggest achievements for the past year, without a doubt, have been the completion of Cuzco III and Bay Hill, followed closely by completing the renovations at TK, said Navy Lt. Joseph Singer added that at TK, a new Liberty and Subway restaurant, are in the works, and are expected to be complete within the coming months. Cuzco Barracks is also set to have three permanent pavilions added, with a few remaining road paving projects also scheduled. Information for this report was provided nd Class Cheryl Dilgard and Army Spc. Megan Burnham. See CHANGE/6
YEAR IN REVIE W | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008 PAGE 6 | THE WIRE191st Regional Support Group will replace the New Mexico National Guard in January 2009. Army Lt. Col. Alex Conyers assumed command of the 525th Military Police Battalion from Army Lt. Col. William Wozniak during an Aug. 5 ceremony. The 525th, originally constituted in World War detention operations as part of the Joint Detention Group for JTF Guantanamo. The 525th and the Navy Expeditionary Guard Battalion each ensure the safe and humane care and custody of detained enemy combatants. One month later, Navy Cmdr. Michael Fulgham took command of the Navy Expeditionary Guard Battalion from Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Hayhurst. Fulgham previously of U.S. Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego from July 2005 until March 2008. Hayhurst became deputy commander of the Joint Detention Group. The 2008 presidential campaign brought promises from both leading candidates to close detainee operations at Guantanamo Bay. In a series of assemblies, Thomas spoke to each member of the Joint Task Force about the mission here.Of course were going to close detainee operations, he said. The challenge is how.The JTF commander noted that he expects to complete his two-year tour, and that incoming units should expect to complete their deployments as well. He praised the guard force for what he duties. nd nd Class Cheryl Sgt. 1st to this report. Changing of the guard at JTF Guantanamo Hard work yields state-of-the-art legal complexCHANGE from 5 The unique nature of the military commissions process required a unique legal complex. Air National Guard engineering units th Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron from Texas helped develop and construct the Expeditionary Legal Complex. The ELC includes a sensitive compartmented information facility, or SCIF, capable of handling top complex also features housing trailers and tents for prosecution and defense attorneys, their staffs, media and other observers. We took the baton from our predecessors, said Air Force Lt. Col. th commander. Our primary mission going in was the sustainment, operations support and maintenance of the facilities. Once we got here, we realized due to the increased security requirements, we had a bit of construction left to do. The complex was operational in May, prior to the June arraignment of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other alleged Sept. 11 conspirators. nd
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008 | YEAR IN REVIE W THE WIRE | PAGE 7 At the beginning of November, the Joint Medical Group conducted a staff turnover as they completed their six-month tour and welcomed the new group that came to replace them. The outgoing group performed in an exceptional manner, improving both the here, said Navy Capt. Bruce Meneley. They overcame every obstacle that they were presented and fully succeeded in every aspect of their mission. The mission of the JMG is to provide safe, humane and ethical medical care to detained enemy combatants while also providing a comprehensive standard of care to all JTF personnel. This consisted of including general surgical, dental care, preventative medicine, routine care, mental health services, specialty care and mass casualty support. The staff also provided general and mental healthcare services to all JTF and active duty members.The JMG is staffed primarily by U.S. Navy individual augmentees with members of the Army and Air Force also offering support. Meneley said the current rotation has settled in and has been doing a great job.They have reviewed all processes and are accurately following all standard operations procedures to ensure open Joint Medical Group maintains, surpasses mission at Joint Task Force Kittery Caf sates appetite with more convenient dining for guardsSince its opening, the Kittery Caf Galley has been a tasteful and convenient stop for all Joint Task Force Guantanamo personnel who work at Camp Echo and Camps 5 and 6. Group Troopers], said Navy Capt. Greg Rismiller, JTF engineer. They dont have to go to Camp Delta anymore; there is a The production process of the dining facility began back in January 2007 when it awarded to begin construction until August 7, 2008. Even though Kittery Caf is slightly smaller then Caf Caribe, it is big enough to meet the needs of our Troopers, said Army Maj. David Giesler, JTF engineer. Even though Troopers still eat with plastic foam plates and cups at Kittery Caf, the addition of a scullery machine is planned for next year. The opening of Kittery Caf has been successful, as Troopers constantly comment on the convenience and cleanliness of the chow hall. communication lines, he said. They are facing a challenging mission and I applaud their dedication. Army Spc. Megan Burnham It is a perfect complement between Sailors and Soldiers who put in long hours behind the wire, said Navy Chief Petty excellent, the location is essential and the In addition to Kittery Caf, many new buildings are in the works to accommodate the Joint Detention Group transition to Camp Echo.
Omar Khadr Below: Defense Attorney Charlie Swift, with Joe McMillan in the background, speaks about Salim Ahmed Hamdans military tribunal during an Aug. 6 press conference following the military commissions guilty verdict. Army Col. Lawrence Morris, right, chief prosecutor for the Office of Military Commissions, following the arraignment of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other alleged Sept. 11 co-conspirators in McCalla Hangar here June 5. Al Bahlul At right: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid Muhammed Salih Mubarek bin Attash, Ramzi bin al Shibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi. January Februuary March April May June July August September October November December The military commissions here the same during 2008. For Omar Khadr a Canadian, captured terrorism the year began and ended with crimes he was charged with were baseless and that his designation as an enemy combatant was incorrect. his alleged actions were technically war not have committed the crimes. They also challenged whether Khadr was properly charged or could be held liable under the Military Commissions Act.Government prosecutors countered that Congress intended the Military Commissions Act to be applied retroactively, and argued that conspiracy and providing The prosecution also cited past international crimes, and dismissed attempts to use the international protocol prohibiting persons prosecution as an adult. the military judge overseeing his case. Army Col. Peter Brownback was replaced May 29 by Army Col. Patrick Parrish. All charges against Khadr had been Commission Review. Oct. 24, 2008 the case was delayed until Jan. 26, 2009 to a security clearance and evaluate Khadr. The case against Salim Ahmed Hamdan Osama bin Laden proceeded to a jury the special tribunals created by the Military crimes conviction, albeit in a split verdict handed down Aug. 6. weapons to al-Qaeda as well as aiding bin sentenced Hamdan to 66 months, and The second conviction by military commission was much less complicated. Ali Hamza al Bahlul was sentenced to terrorism. al Qaeda and allegedly was tasked with that he did not care about the sentencing, and support al Qaedas goals and objectives in with war crimes in 2008. Ahmed al-Darbi was charged in January with conspiracy and providing material terrorism and conspiracy. He last appeared was charged in March with planning the Salaam, Tanzania. Mohammed Kamin was charged in April with providing material support, placing explosives and launching rockets. Mohammed Hashim was charged in May with providing material support and spying. Abdul Ghani was charged in July with conspiracy, material support and attempted murder. Obaidullah was charged in September with conspiracy and providing material support. Fouad Al Rabia and Faiz Mohammed Ahmed al Kandari were charged in October with conspiracy and providing material support. Five detainees alleged to have planned Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarek bin Attash, Ramzi bin al Shibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and civilian objects, intentionally causing serious bodily harm, destroying property in their legal counsel at one time. During the arraignment it appeared that Mohammed in the courtroom, creating a pact to reject The detailed military judge, Marine Col. detailed counsel. Due to concerns over bin al Shibhs mental competency, his detailed military lawyers remained on as his counsel. The military and civilian lawyers as advisers. The proceedings were notable as well court sketch. Artist Janet Hamlin revised Mohammed, bin Attash, Ali and Hawsawis military lawyer, Army Maj. Jon Jackson, contended that Hawsawi elected Mohammed. Hawsawi told Kohlmann warned them against abusing the dignity not later claim they lacked a competent voir dire, a procedure a judges order that bin al Shibh appear in court the next day. Kohlmann dismissed all bias claims against him including his status as a experience in capital cases, the allegation extremists and disrespected their religion, impending retirement as baseless. replaced by Army Col. Stephen Henley. During a motion hearing in December withdraw all prior motions and to enter guilty pleas. Bin al Shibh and al Hawsawi were not allowed to withdraw motions due to a pending competency hearing. Questions about whether Henley could accept pleas without the military jury present, and what sentence he could render, led to the other pleas that day. Army Spc. Shanita Simmons, Navy Petty nd Class Nat Moger and Army Sgt. 1st Class Vaughn R. Larson contributed to this report. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed objected to how his nose looked in an earlier version this courtroom sketch. Al Qosi FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008 THE WIRE | PAGE 9 PAGE 8 | THE WIREThe year in commissions
YEAR IN REVIE W | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008 PAGE 10 | THE WIREJan. 11, 2009 will mark enemy combatants detained by coalition forces during Operation Enduring Freedom arrived in Guantanamo Bay. Upon arrival, detainees were held at Camp X-Ray for four months while the construction of Camp Delta took place. In April 2002, detainees were moved into the new facilities improving their quality of life. Throughout the last seven years, the U.S. government has continually worked to improve the process of determining a detainees threat level and intelligence value. This in-depth process has resulted Charges, changes, challenges, convictions at military commissions Dives help raise spirits for wounded warriors facilities here have their personal effects returned to them. In addition, two new sets of clothes, shoes and a new Koran in the detainees native language are given to the detainee upon departure. Since 2002, detainees have been released to countries including Albania, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Egypt, France, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom and Yemen.In January of this year, former Joint Task Force Deputy Commander Brig. Gen Cameron Crawford said, Some countries are happy to have their constituents back; however, sometimes we have credible evidence that they may be tortured or killed when they return there. We will not knowingly release a detainee if we have information that he will be tortured or killed. That causes us to look to third party nations to attempt to take some detainees. Army Sgt. Sarah Stannard and st Class Michael Billings contributed to this report. in the release of approximately 530 detainees.When a determination is made to transfer custody of a detainee, the U.S. detainee who is subject to release. At this point, appropriate coordination for the transfer is made. The U.S. is generally responsible for transporting detainees to and from Guantanamo Bay. All detainees released from custody of the detention The Wounded Warriors program made two visits to the U.S. Naval Station in 2008. In early February, six amputees two Marines and four Soldiers completed their efforts of Soldiers Undertaking Disabled Scuba (SUDS), Reef Raiders Dive Club and Joint Task Force Guantanamo. Disabled Sports USA, along with SUDS and Wounded Warriors, helped generate donations to offset airfare and lodging costs. The six became involved in SUDS at Walter Reed Medical Center. John Thompson, SUDS founder, said the organization is designed to help improve the lives of injured Soldiers. By training the Soldiers in a challenging and rewarding activity, it can help facilitate the rehabilitation process and promote mobility. was completed at Walter Reed. The openconducted at Guantanamo Bay. Its been awesome seeing all of the sea life and beautiful beaches, said Josh Bell, a Marine who lost both legs following an water dive] hit every nerve in my body when I entered the water. It was a feeling Ive never had before. Thompson called SUDS the most rewarding project I have ever been involved in. The return visit in early December included six Soldiers and one Marine. One Soldier was part of the February visit. Another used to live on the Navy base and his parents still work here. st contributed to this report.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008 | YEAR IN REVIE W THE WIRE | PAGE 11 Sometimes, in order to get out the message about what is really happening at Joint Task Force Guantanamo, you have to bring people to the message. That happened in a big way April 19 when approximately 70 people business leaders, academics and a handful of military personnel visited Guantanamo Bay as part of the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference. The JCOC is a Pentagon outreach program, sponsored by the Secretary of Defense, designed to expand knowledge about the military and national defense. Participants pay their own expenses in a program that has been conducted more conference focused on the U.S. Southern Command area of focus. Visitors toured the new Expeditionary Legal Complex as well as detainee camps accommodations for compliant and noncompliant detainees. Army Col. Bruce Vargo, Joint Detention Group commander, noted that detainees seek to convince an international audience that they are being abused. The problem is, its not happening here, he said, explaining the ratio of visited the Joint Task Force Guantanamo in January. Gordon England, deputy secretary of defense, toured the nearly completed Expeditionary Legal Complex Jan. 12. England had previously visited 10 months earlier, when the ELC was still in the conceptual stage. What has been accomplished here in the past year has been extraordinarily important as we go forward with these commission trials, and the world sees that we do have a legal process, England said. He stressed that the legal process would not be rushed. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, held a town hall meeting at Guantanamo Bay Jan. 13, one day after touring the ELC as well as the detention facilities. He praised the JTF during the meeting. The world is focused on Guantanamo Bay, Mullen said. Weve got to get it right every single hour. The consequences of getting it wrong could be global. Mullen admitted that he supported closing detainee operations here. Even so, he acknowledged the important role JTF Guantanamo played in the War on Terror. The joint detention operation is a part of mitigating risk, he said. We need to keep the detention facilities operating as best as they can be to protect Americans against individuals who have pretty bad backgrounds in terms of the War on Terror. England echoed those sentiments. People have criticized Guantanamo, he said, but the fact of the matter is, we have been holding detainees under the Law of War, and we will prosecute them according to the Law of War. rd Class William Weinert and Army Spc. Shanita Simmons contributed to this report. Pentagon officials weigh in on JTF Visitors see Joint Task Force up close, personal Joint Task Force deputy commander candid, confident on mission hereguards to detainees, work shift schedules media, lawyers, International Committee of the Red Cross and others. You cant do that the detainees claim we are doing. Visitors also learned about the health care provided to detainees, and came away with strong impressions of their visit. This is more than a detention center said Madelyn Hammond, who works for Variety Magazine in Los Angeles. the media portrays is not reality, added Meredith Iler, of Strategic Alliance in Texas. What shocked me is the original camp that was only used for a few months years. One guard said he hoped the public would learn that detainees are treated humanely at JTF. Were doing what we set out to do provide humane care, the guard said. We walk the block every day. Ive never seen a guard lose composure, and I dont think Ill ever see it. Army Sgt. 1st Class Vaughn In April, Joint Task Force Deputy Commander Army Brig. Gen. Gregory Zanetti addressed more than 1,000 members of the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary gathered in Washington Conference and Legislative Rally. Zanetti said, I understand why people the truth here. We are going to make sure we conduct our operations in a safe and transparent way and it is going to be transparent to the world. The general spoke in detail and candor the many ways Gitmo detainees are given fair and humane treatment, from culturally appropriate meals to numerous spiritual and recreational opportunities. The detainees, however, believe the Zanetti explained, adding that they have attempted to form new terror cells inside Guards must keep their eyes on detainees for a number of reasons. Its not just for their own security, or even for intelligence gathering. Its also because the detainees pose a risk to themselves, Zanetti said. The detainees often want to commit self harm, Zanetti said. And we dont want them to commit self harm. Zanetti recollected for Legionnaires an incident in which a detainee told a female guard that he was going to harm her and, her family. The Soldier shook it off and went back to work for another 12-hour day. The general was impressed by her response. Thats when I fully realized we are going to win this war, Zanetti said.
MOVIE RECON | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008 PAGE 12 | THE WIREFlashing back to 2008Army Pfc. Eric LiesseJTF Guantanamo Public Affairs____________________________2008, as with every year, showcased some amazing cinema. We saw everything a super villain earned some Oscar buzz; a trash compactor made an entire country smile; while a pair of pot-heads took down their own suppliers. Of course, we were also given some real lame ducks, such as the lifeless Hitman and the simply horrible Space Chimps. (I still dont know who thought that was a good idea.) So, in alphabetical order, Ive devised my list of the best movies reviewed by this paper in 2008. American Gangster on over 50 critics top-10 lists for 2007, and for good reason. It boasts stars Denzel Washington as a Harlem drug lord and Russell Crowe playing the detective leading the case against him. Add that duo of pure talent to the razor-sharp direction of Ridley Scott, and youve got undeniable drama. Big-budget monster movies are rarely original enough to matter. Thankfully, J.J. Abrams can make anything amazing. Starring no one you know (still true 11 months later) and focused on a takes center stage. Viewers that didnt get a migraine saw the superb use of the camera of a days events, making the short movie engaging. The Dark Knight There isnt much Heath Ledger as the Joker will probably forever be the greatest super villain portrayal Batmans ever-tireless seething against evil. Plus, director Christopher Nolan returns to helm the entire A-list cast. Iron Man John Favreau directs Marvel the always-amazing Robert Downey Jr. as billionaire-inventor Tony Stark, the man in the humanoid tank of Iron Man. Downey is both eccentric and commands every scene hes in especially out of the suit. With the underrated Gwyneth Paltrow and a bald Jeff Bridges, Favreau does the tin-man justice. The Kite Runner Although cultural controversy surrounds it, two teenage friends in preRussian /Taliban/ American-filled Afghanistan leaves a poignant mark. The look the pair grown and living in America reuniting to deal with their personal and national past makes it a lesser-known treasure. No Country for Old Men The early was even released. Thankfully, it lived up to this story to brutally intense places. Javier Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones and others Pineapple Express/Tropic Thunder Yes, I know these have nothing to do with each other. However, both were equally outlandish yet perfectly executed comedies with amazing talent across the entire productions. They may have been raunchy and ridiculous, but they were darn funny. Quantum of Solace Bond. James Bond. That name alone should earn a viewing. Daniel Craig returns for the direct sequel to the Bond movie reboot, Casino Royale, and gives Bond more violence and adrenalin than ever. The story of Bond pursuing the Quantum organization that killed his love goes full-bore and is worth every second. There Will Be Blood Written, directed and produced by Paul Thomas Anderson, top honors in most critics minds. Star Daniel Day-Lewis as a new oilman willing to hold nothing back is the unapologetic antithesis Lewis, its going to be excellent. WALL-E The main character an anthropomorphic trash compacting robot speaks no audible language. Yet, he showed more emotion than most any other on this list, using his inquisitive eyes, delicate graspers and unrelenting love of EVE, an hands-down best computer-animated family standard for quality cuteness. In honoring such excellence in the art of that brought the year down. Worst Film of the Year: Star Wars: The Clone Wars George Lucas has hit a new low. The animation is far below any standard especially for a special effects guru such as Lucas. The voice acting is almost as rigid and cold. Then add the atrocious teenage alien of Ahsoka Tano, who whines, jokes and fails repeatedly and she wields a lightsaber. The Clone Wars continues the thought that legendary stories should remain untouched: the more theyre tampered with, the more theyll let you down.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008 | VOICE O F T HE FORCE PAGE 13 THE WIRE | PAGE 13 Boots on the GroundWhat was your biggest personal accomplishment of 2008?by Army Pfc. Eric Liesse st Class Yvette Jackson Air Force Capt. Daniel Koeppl Army Maj. Carlos Hopkins rd Class Jared Johnson Ive made it down here almost 17 months. Learning to invest in the stock market. I coordinated a poker run fund raiser for the Dayton Autism Society. I survived another year in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba!
LI F E & SP IRI T | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008 PAGE 14 | THE WIRE Have a blessed and happy New Year! Happy New YearLI F E & SP IRI T | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008 PAGE 14 | THE WIRE JTF CHAPEL SCHEDULED PROGRAMSCatholic Mass Sunday: 7 a.m. Confession 7:30 Mass Wednesday: 11 a.m. Mass Protestant Worship Sunday: 9 a.m. Spanish Protestant Worship Sunday: NoonNavy LCDR Clint PickettJTF Command Chaplain____________________________Very soon we will be making the leap into the New Year, with Christmas just a few days behind us. Although we still have the 12 days of Christmas, most of the Christmas parties are over, with the New Year parties to come. New Years has been celebrated for thousands of years, all over the world. celebrating the New Year in an interesting way, complete with resolutions for the upcoming year! Babylon lay in what is now the country of Iraq, and their New Year was in the spring. During the festival, the king was stripped of his clothes and sent away, and for a few days the people whooped it up. Then the king returned in robes. Then everyone had to return to work and behave properly. And so, each New Year, the people made a new start to their lives. New Years can be time for us to make a new start as well. Especially for Christians, a new start, a new beginning, has long been a part of our tradition. In in the Bible, in the book of Genesis. In the beginning, God created the world, and all that is in it. And God saw that it was good. God made a new thing. And God continues to make things new. Genesis; In the beginning was the Word . . In Jesus, God continues to renew his creation, making things new, changing and shaping us into a new creation as he intended us to be. Our longing for things new resides deep inside us. Change can be a little intimidating, but I think there is an excitement about starting a new job, moving to a new place, beginning with a clean slate. Too often, though, we bring enough of our old selves to soon do and be what we were before. God, however, is able to change us and renew us. God is able to make us truly a new creation. He is the one who can wash away sins, forgive wrongs, and remove the load of guilt all of us carry through life. He is the one who makes a new beginning, each and every day. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And God is not done with that creating. At the end of the Bible, towards the end of the book of Revelation, John writes about this re-creation. Verse 21:5 states: And the one who was seated on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. Also he said, Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true. The beginning of the New Year is a and how God is able to renew us. To make of us a new creation. And not just once a year, but every day of the year. And Christians are reassured of this, for as John writes, these words are trustworthy and true! Have a blessed and happy New Year!
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008 | 15 MINU T ES O F FAMETHE WIRE | PAGE 15 Army Pfc. Carlynn M. KnaakJTF Guantanamo Public Affairs______________________________Fighting for a country that is not yet yours, and in some cases dying for it, may be the most Eligibility for naturalization states that one must be a person of good moral character to become a United States citizen and many would agree that joining the U.S. military is just that. Spc. Antonio Rodriguez, a member of the 525th Military Police Battalion, took this path. Rodriguez was born in Spain, and also served in the Spanish Army. In 2000 he moved to Puerto Rico. When I decided to move I could only say a few words in English, so I moved to Puerto Rico where we could speak the same language but I could still be close to America, said Rodriguez. Ive always had a big interest in America. Rodriguez came from a military background, with his father serving as a captain in the Spanish Army. At the age of 17, Rodriguez joined the Spanish Army. I believed in everything the military represented, such as freedom, he said. Upon completing his two-year contract with the Spanish Army, Rodriguez furthered his education and, after visiting America a few times, decided to move. After moving to Puerto Rico I got married and in 2006 I joined the Puerto Rico Army National Guard, he said. I joined because I believe that America and Spain believe in the same things, like democracy and the pursuit of happiness.Army Spc. Antonio Rodriguez, a member of the 525th Military Police Battalion, after receiving his American citizenship certificate making him a dual citizen of America and Spain. Life, liberty and the pursuit of citizenship deployment with the PRANG and he has loved every minute of it so far.All my experiences have been It has so many wonderful things to offer and it made my American citizenship easier to get. Rodriguez has always been a citizen of Spain. However, in April for this country, so I was allowed to become a citizen of this country. Spc. Antonio Rodriguez and Rodriguez became a citizen of the United States of America, granting him dual citizenship.My family is so proud of me, and I think that my life is good being an American, he said. country and die for this country, so I was allowed to become a citizen of this country. Im really grateful for that.
AROUND T HE JTF | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2008 st Class Sheldon Harley, a machinery technician JTF Guantanamo photo by ArmySpc. Erica Isaacson Around the Army Brig. Gen. Gregory Zanetti (left) and Army Sgt. Brandin Schumann, both with the New Mexico Army National Guard, Park Saturday, Dec. 20. These Guardsmen and four others of their deployment here with Joint Task Force Guantanamo. JTF Guantanamo photo by Army Pfc. Eric Liesse Air Force Reserve Sgt. Shane Helms, a pavement and equipment sergeant deployed here with the 474 th Expeditionary Civil Engineering Squadron, secures a porch rail. JTF Guantanamo photo by Army Spc. Erica Isaacson
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