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back to article US ponders fibre link to Guantanamo

The US is pricing up a $40m fibre-optic cable connecting Guantanamo Bay to the US mainland, providing broadband connectivity to the place where 169 inmates still languish. To be fair to the US Navy, the connectivity isn't just for the prisoners, it will also connect up the military personnel and contractors on the base. The base …

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Taking bets ....

... on how long it'll take the cubans to 'accidentally' drag an anchor over it.

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Black Helicopters

Re: Taking bets ....

I'll take that bet.

Seems you don't follow a lot of what is happening in the geo political wars these days.

While Castro lies on his death bed ranting anti-american slogans, what do you think that the people want?

Russia can't continue to prop up the status quo and while American's cant' travel, Europeans and Canadians can. Along with money from the OAS south of the border.

When Castro goes. Watch for the land grab and revolt... to a point.

This fiber is just the start. ...

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Re: Taking bets ....

That depends on whether or not the controlling faction in the Cuban Government wants to normalize relations with the US.

IMHO, it is only a matter of time before things crack wide open in Cuba, and the embargo, and all of that "other shit" will go away. What is stopping this is simply who blinks first.

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Re: Taking bets ....

Castro's brother is showing sighs of wanting the west's money.

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Thumb Up

Re: Taking bets ....

Yup Lil Bro wants what's best for the people.

If they make Cuba the new hot tourist spot... money rolls in.

Use the military to keep the mob and drug mobs out, and you have a money maker where everyone wins.

Except the US since anyone who is not an American Citizen can already go to Cuba and carve their position out ahead of the thaw.

Now if they rejigger their tax laws... it could become the next tax haven and make even more money.

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WTF?

Cuba: The USA's little pain n the a*se

Cuba has always been linked to the US mainland, Miami, for telecommunications - even though no one in the US was able to call the island.

Canada could, using US communications links, and for a while Canucks made a fortune connecting displaced Cubans to their families in Cuba using call forwarding. This was before Cuba was connected via satellite.

The US-Cuban link had to be maintained under international agreement.

I wonder in the US has the right to run cable through Cuban territorial waters, or is it one of those grey areas? Not that the US would give a hoot, anyway.

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Tumble-dryers...

Believe it. I was staying with some Americans a few years back and had washed a few things. It was a baking sunny day and I reckoned it'd be dry in about 30 minutes if hung outside. My hosts wouldn't allow it. In to the tumble dryer it went.

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Boffin

Re: Tumble-dryers...

".....My hosts wouldn't allow it....." It's quite common for suburbs in some areas of the States to have very restrictive residency rules about what you can do on your property. For instance, my bro-in-law's family must keep their grass shorter than 2.5 inches (a local comes round and measures it!), cannot place chairs of any form on the front lawn, and cannot hang washing. Every house had dryers in their basement despite the weather being good enough to hang washing out most days of the year. It was quite wierd because the same week I was first over there to visit they had an event at the local school going on about protecting the environment and using less energy....

Personally, I'm with the fruitloops on this one - the whole high-speed cable thing is obviosuly a new form of CIA torture where they force the inmates to watch continuous reruns of "The Golden Girls"!

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Rob
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Re: Tumble-dryers...

"...the whole high-speed cable thing is obviosuly a new form of CIA torture where they force the inmates to watch continuous reruns of "The Golden Girls"!"

You have a very sick mind, I will endorse any CV you send to the CIA for a job in the persuasion sector of their industry.

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Headmaster

Re: Tumble-dryers...

"Personally, I'm with the fruitloops on this one - the whole high-speed cable thing is obviosuly a new form of CIA torture where they force the inmates to watch continuous reruns of "The Golden Girls"!"

Worse still, the re-runs would be on an American channel and so have the next episode starting while the previous episodes credits are running in the corner of the screen and a content to advert ratio that would make you weep. Possibly soundtracked to Ludwig van Beethoven with your eyes pinned open.

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Coat

Re: Tumble-dryers...

@Matt Bryant : Not to mention going to prison for growing vegetables in your garden.

DailyFail Version

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Re: Tumble-dryers...

I can concur, home owner associations are hell. They tend to have a mix of decent sensible folks and outright power crazed loonies with no life outside of pestering others. I had to hosepipe one of the little winnets off our property, they were upset I was checking the air pressure of my motorbikes tyres. Apparently any kind of car maintenance is verboten, no mention of motorcycle maintenance in the rules, but that wasn't good enough. They also tried to fine us for hving the wrong colour plant pots. Sufficed to say, moving is high on our list of priorities.

It is insane that we cannot dry our washing outside given its 80-100 degrees all year round. Apparently they cannot make drying clothes outside against the rules (at least in this state) but they find a loophole, then they bitch about fuel prices. If we stopped wasting it it wouldn't cost so much. Putting in sidewalks so people could walk might help.

Even being smart and recycling waste heat from central a/c units to the tumble dryer and from the oven to the hot water heater would be cheap and effective. Although not approved of by HOA building panels.

It all boils down to wanting everyone else to conform to what a few people want them to be like. They have such narrow views on what is right and whine that anything else affects property values.

Oh we also have to keep our parking area clean but are forbidden from washing it.

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FAIL

Re: Tumble-dryers...

How's that whole "Land of the Free" thing working out for you, Usanians?

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Facepalm

Re: Re: Tumble-dryers...

Well, what's your comparison based against? North Korea? Zimbabwe? Liverpool?

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Re: must keep their grass shorter than 2.5 inches

You mean that you BIL has to suffer with Condo Nazis??

Restrictive covenants, and fucked up HOAs are one reason why I will never live in a Condo or in a deed restricted community.

They can keep that shit.

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Re: Tumble-dryers...

you know the rules before you move and oh yeah most of the country does not have HOA. It's Americans.

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Stop

Re: Tumble-dryers...

My comparisons for freedom would be against Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Netherlands, Finland - lots of countries. Hell, take the first 18 from this list.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index

The USA may have been the freest country once upon a time (if you were white, that is). But as Terry Pratchett says: "The price of being the best is having to be the best." That's why a lot of people are lately mocking with "The Land of the Free". Americans can shoot their guns. But any country where people can't hang out their washing or grow their own vegetables in their own front lawn is not truly free.

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WTF?

@Kain Preacher...Re: Tumble-dryers...

Sorry you lost me.

"you know the rules before you move and oh yeah most of the country does not have HOA. It's Americans."

Not sure what you meant by this.

Not everywhere are there HOAs. You can disolve HOAs if you want, but that usually takes 75% of the vote and you will have a hard time showing me anywhere in the world that you can get 75% of the vote on anything unless there's a gun pointed to your head.

That aside, not all home owners associations are bad. Although if you get a neo-nazi be-itch running it... yeah you will want to go postal.

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Meh

Re: Re: must keep their grass shorter than 2.5 inches

"....I will never live in a Condo or in a deed restricted community....." Yeah, but it is a very nice house in a very nice neighbourhood, where the streets are clean and the kids can play safely. I suppose you have to give up some things/freedoms for the rest.

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Re: @Kain Preacher...Tumble-dryers...

HOA is a small percentage of most homes in the US. When you move into an area with an HOA they give you a rule book. Finally no one is forcing you to live in an area with an HOA .

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WTF?

Saving electricity bills

If they *really* wanted to save on the electricity bills, couldn't they just release the prisoners and close the base?

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FAIL

Re: Saving electricity bills

Congratulations for not reading beyond the first paragraph.

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Anonymous Coward

I hope the Cuban government contests this, or at least charges the telecommunications company a fortune for running a cable through their territorial waters.

The US occupation of Guananamo Bay is not legal in any vague sense. It only happens because the USA is big enough to bully itself around. Cuba does not cash the rent cheques - it is not benefiting in any way. It's a disgusting situation, especially when you consider what the USA does there.

Anon because US immigration.

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The cable CAN be run without entering Cuba's international waters...

FWIW, there is an easy route to Gitmo that doesn't traverse Cuba's international waters. It could be that Gitmo becomes a networking hub for nearby Islands as well as a soon-to-be Castro-less Cuba!

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So the treaty that was signed means nothing to you ? The fact that Castro does not cash the checks does not mean it's illegal. He could tell the US to leave .

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Anonymous Coward

RTFT

You have read the treaty? No? Then you are unaware that the lease has EXPIRED, terminated, ended, is null and void, is no more. The USA has been asked to remove itself and refuses, but is too big to be evicted.

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Re: RTFT

The Cuban–American Treaty was signed on February 17, 1903, by the first president of Cuba, Tomás Estrada Palma, and on February 23, 1903, by the president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt. The treaty stipulates that Republic of Cuba will perpetually lease to the United States the Guantánamo Bay area (surrounding areas of land and water) for the purpose of coaling and naval stations. The United States will have absolute jurisdiction and control over the area and in return will recognize the Republic of Cuba's ultimate sovereignty over the area. Cuban vessels involved in trade or war will have free passage through the waters

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So these 169 inmates...

What are they in for again? Have they actually been convicted or anything? Are they still being tortured?

Just asking...

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Facepalm

Re: So these 169 inmates...

"What are they in for again?....." Try a little reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Islamic_terrorist_attacks

You may also want to consider that keeping your enemy's "combatants" locked up is not new:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prisoner_of_war

Oops, did I just ask you to read, comprehend and the apply what you had read to a real-life situation? Sorry, that's probably asking a bit much.

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Re: So these 169 inmates...

Actually the Op probably read, maybe he doesn't believe the bullshit put out by the US government, you know the ones that say water boarding is not torture.

"You can judge a society by the way it treats its prisoners"

Well in that's case the US is no better than most countries it wants bring "democracy" to. Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and on and on. Until the US stops torturing inmates that have no right to tell others about human rights abuses.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: So these 169 inmates...

@Matt Bryant - try reading yourself, namely the question of whether they've been convicted or even charged with anything?

You might also like to read what a prisoner of war is dependent on - namely war being declared. Unless you fell for the "war on terror" concept, which isn't a war. You could argue anyone with a drugs conviction in the US is a PoW with that logic.

You might also like to learn that they're not "combatants" or "prisoners" - they're "detainees", a number of whom are children, or were at the time of their "detainment".

A little bit of a fly in the ointment for the "land of the free"

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Re: So these 169 inmates...

Thanks Matt, that's really cleared that up. Except that the articles you cited don't have any reference to the trials for the people there convicted of terrorist offences. And aren't POWs usually released after the war is over?

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Pirate

Re: So these 169 inmates...

"....Except that the articles you cited don't have any reference to the trials for the people there convicted of terrorist offences...." There's nothing in criminal OR military law that says you can't keep someone suspected of a crime from being locked up until you want to try them. Even civil law only says you need to charge them, and being classed as an "non-uniformed enemy combatant / unlawful combatant" by international law means that is moot. Besides, a lot of smarter handwringers have gone over this long before you (I'm sure they spoonfed you the "arguments" you're going to regurgitate in reply), and it still hasn't got Gitmo closed even with a compliant Prez like the Obumbler in control, so isn't it about time you lot just admitted defeat and went off to save some whales or something?

"....And aren't POWs usually released after the war is over?" Who says the "war" is over?

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Re: So these 169 inmates...

" There's nothing in criminal OR military law that says you can't keep someone suspected of a crime from being locked up until you want to try them."

Of course there is! You can lock up a suspect, but eventually you have to either a) charge them with something, or b) let them go. And once you have charged a suspect with a crime, they then have (in civilised countries) the right to a fair trial. One of the things that makes a trial fair is the right to be heard within a reasonable amount of time. What exactly are they waiting for? Court rooms have been built in less time than it's taken for the USA to organise a trial.

"Who says the "war" is over?". George W Bush, that's who. Mission Accomplished.

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FAIL

Re: So these 169 inmates...

".....You can lock up a suspect..." These are not suspects, they're illegal enemy combatants, different ballgame entirely.

".....Mission Accomplished." For their to be and end to a war, first there has to be a declared war, then both parties have to sign a peace treaty (like the unconditional surrender the Germans had to sign in 1945). There was no war declared since AQ does not have a state of their own, and in Afghanistan it was a policing action, we did not declare war on the country itself. So you're just as wrong as before.

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Re: So these 169 inmates...

You raise some interesting points. As to whether it is \ was war, war is a state of armed conflict between two nations, states or other parties. Technically it should be declared (Japan I believe did try in WW2 but it took too long to decode and they hit Pearl first), and it should be between lawful combatants.

The rules of war are setup to try and protect innocent citizens (and soldiers with the Geneva and Hague conventions), armies should be in uniform, targets should be military in nature etc. Most of the rules are broken to some degree or another, but largely an attempt is made to follow them.

I think we probably all agree 9/11 was an act of aggression. At what point does it become a war. Both parties do not have to be nation states, so they hit us, we hit them (or the other way around), exactly what you call it only makes a political difference.

The rules of war are setup to protect, but they do not protect those who work outside them, at least not entirely. I believe the detainees were classed as unlawful combatants, a consequence of fighting dressed as and / or amongst civilians. I would be the first to admit this may be a cynical ploy, however, given the US has been left babysitting some potentially rather unsavoury folks who cannot be repatriated (either because they are a danger or because their country doesn't want them back) and we aren't about to let them loose on US soil. I do have synpathy for the thinking that if you fight outside the rules, you cannot claim their protection.

Should they have faced trial by now, yes they should. Is there probably a myriad of complications, not least the issue that not all would be convicted, in part due to the nature of the evidence and how it was obtained. Yes they should face a fair trial, but even if they were found innocent I wouldn't exactly be happy if they moved in next door.

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Re: So these 169 inmates...

War can exist between entities other than nation states. Otherwise there would be no civil wars for a start. War is a state of armed conflict between two parties.

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Boffin

Re: Re: So these 169 inmates...

"....Otherwise there would be no civil wars...." Actually, a civil war gets covered by the hosting country's internal civil laws up until some international law is broken (like when NATO stepped in over the Serbians massacaring Muslims in Bosnia). As long as both parties stick to international law a civil war is an internal matter and not classed legally as a war. It's all legal definitions, the problem being the rules of warfare are largely based on the idea of nation states fighting each other. Nation state versus loosely affiliated gangs of fundamentalist nutters who like hiding in similarly minded countries is a different matter.

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Re: So these 169 inmates...

So the difference is the legal definition vs a 'dictionary' definition? Fair enough. Civil war is war, but not covered by the international treaties covering wars?

I agree re the international laws, they are grossly out of date. The lack of clear laws allowed Bush freedom to do what he did. I cannot say I would have done all that much different (and I am not a fan of Bush), I am very glad I didn't have to make those decisions.

In the UK and the USA we have courts and a legal system which are setup to prosecute more typical criminals. I think it likely that a good number of those in gitmo are guilty of offences that should see them behind bars but the manner in which the evidence was obtained (not just torture, but evidence from confidential sources) will probably make convictions in a civilian court difficult. So we try them, some will be set free, where do we send them? I am not trying to advocate any specific course of action, just expressing that it is one hell of an awkward situation with no easy outcomes.

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Re: So these 169 inmates...

@Matt 15:09 - You can't have it both ways. Either they are criminals, which means they should be tried in a court of law, or they are prisoners of war and should have been released when the war was over.

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Boffin

Re: So these 169 inmates...

Somehow I don't think that they could be found innocent.

And no, you wouldn't want them next door.

The sad truth is that we should have just killed them outright. The only downside to that is public opinion and they would become martyrs.

This is the flip side of the Russians. They came in, didn't care what anyone thought and killed indiscriminately.

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FAIL

Re: Re: So these 169 inmates...

"....You can't have it both ways..." Ah, but the fudge that is international law means exactly that! There is no higher authority with a stated law that can be applied to make the US either charge them or free them. There is nothing in the US laws either, which is why the Obumbler is having such a hard time closing the place even though he has promised to (what, an election promise turned out to be unrealistic? - what a surprise!). Until a solution is found, they will stay in legal limbo, and locked up.

".....Either they are criminals, which means they should be tried in a court of law...." Which court? An Aghansitani court? It gets funnier then as the Afghans have the death penalty, which means you handwringers would then be pleading to KEEP the Gitmo detainees locked up and out of Afghanistan! Same goes for Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, China and other countries many of these extremists came from. And then you have the possibility of them being tortured before facing any trial in their home countries, which means the US is duty-bound NOT to send them back home.

".....or they are prisoners of war and should have been released when the war was over." They are not soldiers, there was no legal war, and so they do not enjoy the protections afforded real soldiers. They are illegal combatants, which means they are likely to spend the rest of their lives locked up in legal limbo.

Next time, try thinking before mounting your moral hobbyhorse.

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Meh

Re: Re: So these 169 inmates...

"....The sad truth is that we should have just killed them outright...." Have to disagree, Gumby. After all, we did need the info we non-tortured out of them, it did kinda help catch a few more and stop them killing lots more civillians. Strangely enough, the handwringers seem to forget that, despite the 3000+ Americans killed by Isalmic terrorists, the majority of victims by a massive margin are Muslim civillians. But who cares about them, just as long as the handwringers get to feel morally superior.

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Re: So these 169 inmates...

>And aren't POWs usually released after the war is over?

Sure, they can be let out as soon as crazy fundamentalist groups stop blowing things up.

They might be waiting a bit.

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Apparently the plan is to link to Florida? I know it isn't US soil, but wouldn't it make more sense to link to one of the existing fibres that already passes the base? Or even link to Jamaica (last time I checked they were quite friendly). The US military already uses public leased circuits for communications, so it wouldn't be much worse.

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Anonymous Coward

Extradition to US

Surely all the extradition cases to US can be dismissed. The existence of the Guantonomo Bay proves beyond a reasonable doubt that there is no rule of law in the US right now, so nobody could be extradited there. They could be taken seriously as a lawful country again after the whole chain of command involved in setting up and running the thing have been tried and convicted in the court of law.

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Facepalm

Re: Extradition to US

"....The existence of the Guantonomo Bay proves beyond a reasonable doubt that there is no rule of law in the US right now...." Majorly yawntastic fail. If there was any precedent for closing Gitmo under either US or international law don't you think the professional handwringers like Jane Fonda or Michael Moore would have thrown their money at getting it into court by now?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Extradition to US

Well burden of proof lies with them. Guilty until proven innocent and all that:) It's illegal as hell anyway you look at it. I'd like to see anyone prove that it isn't.

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Re: Extradition to US

Not so much illegal as extralegal. There are no precedents for these circumstances in which combatants who were nationals of third party countries were captured during military action that was not part of a formally declared war. It seems unlikely that they've committed any crimes that would fall within the jurisdiction of a normal US court, and the small minority (~20%) who remain incarcerated are considered very likely to continue to pursue acts of terrorism against those they perceive as enemies of Islam if they were released.

The Geneva Conventions don't apply, though the US Supreme Court has now ordered that much of them should be followed anyway. Setting them free (assuming you can find a country willing to accept them), patting them on the head and requesting that they don't do any more naughty terrorism probably won't work. I'm interested in hearing any other suggestions you may have.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Extradition to US

"patting them on the head and requesting that they don't do any more naughty terrorism probably won't work"

But if they haven't committed a crime you can try them for, then you can't hold them indefinitely just because you won't like how they chose to act once free again can you?

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