Deleted:Camp Five Echo

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File:Camp Five Echo cell -- image released by the DoD.jpg
A wide-angle view of a cell in Camp Five Echo taken by a navy photographer released by the detention center that said the photograph was taken Dec. 8, 2011.

Camp Five Echo is a once secret "disciplinary block" built as part of the Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba.[1][2][3][4] The press first reported on the existence of the camp in December 2011 when attorneys for Shaker Aamer, who had been held at the camp for extended periods of time, complained that conditions there were inhumane.[5]

According to Carol Rosenberg, writing in the Miami Herald the camp is used to punish captives.[1] Like Camp Platinum, Camp Strawberry Fields and Camp No, Camp Five Echo had never been mentioned when journalists and other visitors are given tours of the internment facility.[6]

Construction history

Rosenberg reported the camp was constructed in November 2007, on the grounds of Camp Five.[1] However, unlike Camp Five and Camp Six, which are copies of prisons designed for the United States Bureau of Prisons, Camp Five Echo is built out of recycled shipping containers.

According to Rosenberg a February 2009 report prepared by Admiral Patrick Walsh, on overall compliance with the Geneva Conventions, described the camp as “an open air facility with 24 individual adjoining steel mesh cells arranged in two parallel and equal rows.”[1] Walsh wrote that captives were first held in Camp Five Echo in April 2008. Rosenberg wrote that she did not know when the mesh walls were replaced with steel plates. A military spokesman said the cells in “Five Echo” are only half the size of the ones in Camp Five, but he asserted this was still within the acceptable range of sizes.[7]

Like the original Camp Xray the cells were equipped with a squat toilet. Water for washing was via a tap in the wall -- captives had no wash basin.[1]

Captives, like Shaker Aamer, have told their attorneys that the solid steel walls made it practically impossible for them to talk with one another.[7]

Rosenberg reported she had recently learned the cost and other details of the camp in an email from camp spokesperson Commander Tamsen Reese.[1] The camp cost $690,000. Walsh's report said that captives had been first held in the camp in April 2008.


Admiral Walsh's report said the camp was first used on April 28, 2008.[1] Attorney David Remes who said that, in addition to Shaker Aamer, two more of his clients were sent there, said the condition in the camp violate the Geneva Conventions and called it "a throwback to the bad old days at Guantánamo."[7] Aamer had been held in solitary confinement in the camp for over 100 days when camp authorities revealed its existence.

Colonel Donnie Thomas, commander of the camp's guards, said the Camp Five Echo was ", humane and meets all the regulations."[2][4][8] While he declined to say what kinds of infractions caused captives to be sent to Camp Five Echo, he did say where they were held was based on their compliance with camp rules, "Quite frankly, detainees make the determination where they live." Shortly after Aamer's four and half month stay in the camp triggered the publication of the photo, Thomas said that the camp was currently empty, but declined to say at that time when it had last been used.[2][4] Camp rules only permit captives to be kept in solitary confinement for a maximum of thirty days.[9]

Another of Aumer's lawyers Ramzi Kaseem, said Aamer described the condition as "abysmal", "the squat toilet is difficult to use, there are foul odors, bright lights shine on detainees, and air conditioners keep it extremely cold.", "It is decrepit, filthy, and disgusting". Aamer also told Kaseem the cells were not large enough to pray.[7]

In an article marking the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Guantanamo internment facility Rosenberg reported tensions were high.[10] Captives were planning a hunger strike. Captives reported camp authorities had "instituted a new 25-day punitive segregation regime for rule breakers in a cramped cell at the once-secret Camp 5 Echo."

In May 2012 Kassem reported that the controversial sleep deprivation technique known as the frequent flyer program was being used as a punishment technique in Camp Five Echo.[11]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Carol Rosenberg (2011-12-24). "Secret Guantánamo cell block cost nearly $700,000". Miami Herald. Retrieved 2011-12-26. "A once-secret Guantánamo cellblock now used to punish captives was built in November 2007 for $690,000 from a crude, then 5-year-old temporary prison camp design."  mirror
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "U.S. defends Gitmo's 'Five Echo' cell block". Huffington Post. 2011-12-09. Archived from the original on 2012-08-30. Retrieved 2012-08-30. "Lawyers for detainees say the cells are too small, toilets inadequate, lights overly bright and its air foul, and they call it inhumane to keep detainees there for 22 hours per day, especially when they have not been convicted of a crime." 
  3. "Guantanamo detainees still endure harsh prison conditions". Dawn (newspaper). 2012-01-09. Retrieved 2012-08-30. "“The cells are half the size of the cells in other parts of Camp Five. One has to be a contortionist to pray or use the toilet. The place was designed by fiends,” he told AFP, calling it “a return to the early days of the camps, when brutality and sadism were the order of the day.”" 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Mark Russell (2012-12-10). "US Defends Conditions Inside Gitmo: Military releases rare photos of cell to prove conditions OK in 'Five Echo'". Newser. Archived from the original on 2012-08-30. Retrieved 2012-08-30. "But Gitmo officials disputed those characterizations, saying the cells were, by nature, worse than regular cells, but still acceptable. "It is safe, human, and meets all the regulations," says an Army representative. Army officials said the disciplinary section of the prison, Camp Five, is currently about half-full, with about 50 prisoners, but subsection Five Echo is completely empty." 
  5. Jennifer Rowland (2012-12-14). "The LWOT: Senate, House edit detainee provision in defense bill". Foreign Policy. Archived from the original on 2012-08-31. "U.S. military officials on December 9 released never-before-seen images of a disciplinary block at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility known as "Five Echo," in an effort to disprove allegations that detainees being held there are subjected to inhumane conditions that violate the Geneva Convention." 
  6. Carol Rosenberg (2011-12-22). "Web Extra -- A prison camps primer". Miami Herald. Archived from the original on 2012-08-31. "It is not shown to reporters invited to the remote Navy base for prison camps tours that boast a safe, humane and transparent approach to U.S. military detention." 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Andy Worthington (2011-12-17). "Conditions at Guantánamo Under Scrutiny". Future of Freedom Foundation. Archived from the original on 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2012-08-30. "Ramzi Kassem, a lawyer and a law professor at the City University of New York, who also represents Aamer, said he had described “abysmal conditions” in “Five Echo.” He explained that “the squat toilet is difficult to use, there are foul odors, bright lights shine on detainees, and air conditioners keep it extremely cold.” Kassem said, “It is decrepit, filthy, and disgusting. Those are the words he used to describe it.” He added that Aamer also told him the cells were not large enough to allow prisoners to pray and that the conditions were “akin to those of a Supermax prison in the United States.”" 
  8. "U.S. defends conditions in Guantanamo Bay block". Army Times. 2011-12-09. Archived from the original on 2012-08-31. "Officials say Five Echo is by its nature harsher than the communal section of Guantanamo for detainees who follow prison rules. But Army Col. Donnie Thomas says the camp meets regulations." 
  9. Andy Worthington (2012-02-14). "10 Years in Guantánamo: British Resident Shaker Aamer, Cleared for Release But Still Held". Close Guantanamo. Archived from the original on 2012-08-31. "As Shaker stated, “There is meant to be a 30-day maximum on isolation as a punishment. So it’s not called isolation any more, it’s called ‘separation.’”" 
  10. Carol Rosenberg (2012-01-13). "Eternal prison?". Gulf Times. p. 2. Archived from the original on 2012-08-31. "Tensions are high over a toughening of rules ahead of 10 years in US military detention. Captives complain that the camps instituted a new 25-day punitive segregation regime for rule breakers in a cramped cell at the once-secret Camp 5 Echo..." 
  11. Paddy McGuffin (2012-05-21). "Aamer's torment in the spotlight". Morning Star. Archived from the original on 2012-08-31. "In the lawyer's notes Mr Aamer states that he was held in solitary confinement from July to December 2011 in Camp 5 Echo block, a punishment block for "non-compliant" detainees. He was confined to his cell for 24 hours a day and subjected to sleep deprivation methods by guards."