For America's Captives Home is A Camp in Cuba
edited: Tuesday, August 27, 2002
By Craig S Tulepan
Posted: Tuesday, August 27, 2002
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New York Times Aricle about Camp X-Ray
On Sunday, January 20, 2002, the following article appeared in the New York Times:
Below are highlighted excerpts from that article.
January 20, 2002
For America's Captives, Home Is a Camp in Cuba, With Goggles and a Koran
By KATHARINE Q. SEELYE
GUANTÁNAMO BAY NAVAL STATION, Cuba, Jan. 19 - Five times a day, the call for daily prayers goes out across the camp. Many of the prisoners, told which way is east, kneel on their towels and bow toward Mecca. They may be only dimly aware of their location in the larger scheme of things, but prayer time gives them direction.
Being able to practice their religion is one of the rights of prisoners under the Geneva Conventions, and it appears to be one of the easiest for their American captors here to accommodate. There is only one Koran here, but more are on order.
Deciding what to do with the prisoners is more difficult as their legal limbo lengthens in what is fast becoming an American penal colony. They are not being interrogated and have not had access to lawyers. Nor have they been charged with a crime as Washington ponders their fate.
They live in 8-by-8-foot chain-link cages with roofs made of wood rafters and corrugated metal tops. The cells are surrounded by a series of chain-link fences crowned with brambles of razor wire. The military calls it Camp X-Ray. The name is appropriate - you can see right through it.
The treatment of these prisoners is drawing increased scrutiny from human rights groups and allied governments. The International Committee of the Red Cross is here assessing their conditions. Critics say the prisoners should be accorded the rights of prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions.
Cpl. Randy Tulepan, 21, of East Norwich, N.Y., is among the marines in riot gear here. On Sept. 11, his father was at the World Trade Center, holding a seminar for Morgan Stanley on the 63rd floor of the second tower to be attacked. He managed to escape, and now his son is here to protect the lives of suspects who may be linked to the attacks. Corporal Tulepan said the image of his father groping down the stairwell of the trade center was seared into his mind. But he said that rather than wanting to harm the suspects, he wanted to be sure they were safe in case they had useful information. "It's worth more to the country having them alive," he said.
The prisoners sleep on inch-thick foam mats. They are given three meals a day and extensive medical examinations. A few found to be underweight are given Ensure, an enriched drink. Some of those on duty find inspiration in remembering why they are here. "I keep thinking about Sept. 11," said Bob Crary, 41, a Naval Reservist and electrician from Pottsdam, N.Y. "I have a lot of friends who have friends who were lost in that incident. When you get tired and you get worn down, you just think about Sept. 11, and it gives you the extra adrenaline to keep going."
Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company
On the morning of September 11 I was on the 63rd floor of tower two of The World Trade Center. I'll never forget the incredible view from my window overlooking New York Harbor and The Statue of Liberty. I had my nose pressed up against the window and was totally enraptured by the sheer majesty and breathtaking magnificence of the panorama all around me. I remember thinking what a phenomenal day it was outside and how crystalline and pure everything appeared to be. How the world was so beautifully calm, peaceful and so serene from my vantage point. If only that were so. The time was 8:46 AM. In the next 90 minutes my world and everything in it would change forever.
I am a survivor. The series of events that unfolded that day and how they affected my life is a tale in and of itself. What makes my story all the more incredible is that almost 4 months to the day of that horrific occurrence my son, Corporal Randy Tulepan, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, Charlie Company, Third Platoon would be one of the very first Marines deployed to what is now known as Camp X-Ray at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and be called upon to guard the very men that took an oath to kill his father and as many other Americans as they possibly could.