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I. Invitation to Cuba

II. The Psychology of Terrorists

III. Drexel University

IV. November 8, 2006

V. The Psychology of Captivity

VI. The Psychology of Prisons

VII. The Psychology of War

VIII. Preparations

IX. 1934

X. November 13, 2006

XI. Takeoff

XII. In The Air

XIII. Arrival at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

XIV. Briefing at Headquarters of the Joint Task Force

XV. Lunch

XVI. Guard Duty

XVII. Camp Delta

XVIII. Medical Treatment

XIX. Behavioral Services

XX. Camp 5

XXI. Departure from Guantanamo Bay

The Legitimacy of GTMO: An Eyewitness Report, Page 13

A Travel Journal by Dr. Eric A. Zillmer
Pacifico Professor of Psychology at Drexel University

Arrival at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

Because of the restricted airspace over GTMO our plane takes an aggressive approach into the landing strip, which is located on the west side of the bay (leeward). After our landing we take a 20-minute boat ride to the east side (windward) where the great majority of the base is located. The commanding officer of the naval base provides us with a briefing as we enjoy the boat ride in this Caribbean paradise. Some who are stationed here referred to GTMO as the least-worst deployment.

One interesting fact about serving in this location is that there is “no outside the gate” for the approximately 7,500 individuals who live on the base. All of the population’s needs must be met on the base, including recreation, shopping, housing and entertainment. Not only is space tight on GTMO, but also housing is limited because all materials for building have to be imported, as does the manpower. There are many buildings that are described as temporary, movable housing, which appear to have become permanent. The base relies on 2,300 foreign nationals, mostly from Jamaica and the Philippines. Pre-Castro many Cubans worked the base, but “commuters” were forbidden by the Cuban government. Today only three Cubans, who have been grandfathered by Castro, work on the base every day and walk home every night to Cuba passing through a pedestrian gate. As we transverse the bay, followed by a gun boat for good measure, it is clear to me that the location is a world class aquatic area, sporting boating, scuba diving, and other water sports activities. I ask a sailor if he ever gets tired of the beauty of the bay, he answers, “Never, sir.”