August 1, 2013
The United States is determined to go ahead with a major military exercise in Egypt despite the deadly violence in the wake of a military coup that brought down the government of Mohammed Morsi.
The report by the Defense Department’s Office of the Comptroller puts the cost of operating the Guantanamo prison camp at $454.1 million for the current year.
The Pentagon spends $2.7 million per Guantanamo detainee which is by far the largest cost per prisoner ever calculated, according to the report which was first provided to Congress by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on June 27 and made public last week.
“Do the math: 166 prisoners, $454 million. We are spending $2.7 million per year for each a detainee held at Guantanamo Bay,” Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill) said last week.
“What does it cost to put a prisoner and keep them in the safest and most secure prison in America in Florence, Colorado? $78,000 a year against $2.7 million that we’re spending in Guantanamo.”
The total costs are likely even higher as the figure does not appear to include the prison’s $13.5 million headquarters and a secret lockup for former CIA prisoners, according to the Miami Herald.
Since it opened in 2002, the naval camp in southeast Cuba has been staffed by American troops
Shuttering Guantanamo was a central theme of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008 as he acknowledged that the prison was a symbol of the US government’s violation of human rights.
Obama also reiterated his 2008 presidential campaign pledge for closing Guantanamo during a White House news conference on April 30. Despite his repeated pledges to close Guantanamo, 166 detainees remain in the infamous prison, most of them without any charge for over a decade.
A majority of the prisoners at Guantanamo have been on hunger strike for almost six months protesting their indefinite detention and torturous conditions.