Guantanamo: Blacked Out Bay

Guantanamo: Blacked Out Bay

2014, Politics  -   19 Comments
Ratings: 7.08/10 from 76 users.

Vice News reporter Gianna Toboni is granted a rare tour of the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center (GTMO) in Cuba, offering a look inside the most notorious prison in the world. Intended to home the greatest active terrorist threats, it is instead known for imprisoning foreigners at random and subjecting them to dehumanizing conditions.

Toboni and crew are escorted to the prison for an official media tour as the rules for filming are explained. Certain elements, such as names, faces, and certain rooms, must be obscured or avoided to prevent information about the prison from leaking. Toboni first meets with the prison's Cultural Advisor, who is surprisingly open about the frighteningly lax nature of admission to GTMO. "Anyone can wind up here," he states.

The tour begins at Camp X-Ray, which was home to the first twenty detainees to ever enter the prison. The outdoor cells exposed inmates to extreme heat and sun, and provided only funneled pipes as makeshift latrines. Ushered through various cell blocks, we are then shown the force-feeding area where those on hunger strike are given nutrients against their will. Although the regulations at Guantanamo have relaxed enough to allow a media tour, there is still strict oversight by prison officials. When interview questions diverge too far from the topic of the cell blocks themselves the tour is shut down and the film crew asked to leave.

Finding herself faced with more questions than answers, Toboni seeks out a former detainee as well as a former guard in order to obtain personal perspectives on life at GTMO. Mustafa Ait Idir agrees to share his story, detailing his experience when, despite being acquitted of the charges against him, he was transferred to Guantanamo anyway. Idir recounts his first days of detention, forced to lie naked on cement ground and endure other humiliations. Terry Holdbrooks tells of his transition from prison guard to anti-GTMO activist after bearing witness to the violent and demeaning tactics used against prisoners. Holdbrooks' mission since leaving his post is to see the center closed for good.

Guantanamo: Blacked Out Bay addresses a heavy topic with an air of humor while maintaining a tone of respect for those working in the interest of national security as well as those wrongly imprisoned who have become collateral damage in the war on terror. Although promises have been made to close the center, viewers are left wondering if there will ever be an end date in sight.

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19 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Mars

    The Host, shes so combative, and dismissive. "real facts" its a prison, most of them are really bad guys and wasting oxygen.
    She should bring that anti US attitude she carries, and embed herself with the Deach

  2. flybow

    terry bell. isis, isil whatever we call them now, are the creation of the pentagon and the cia.

  3. whitepowerfront

    The all bad not good same like the Chinese now we need to put Chinese to Guantanamo , the Chinese are our biggest enemy .

  4. Yosemite Sam

    Narrator Ms. Gianna Toboni once again has confirmed ... lock up is a bitch.

  5. tylerrumble

    Listen to this genius interview ! 7:08 She heard of horrible conditions with Guards coming into a cell and aggressively beating someone. Hahahahaha...Yes ready for CNN she is. Or better yet fox news. Or maybe just a non aggressive beating.

  6. F. Thorne

    This is in an important topic & it is disappointing that it was done by this apparently ditzy film maker, I thought it was horrible! the questions that she asked were 7th grade level, meaning they were just leading, looking for fault, it's good to probe (but that's not what she did) but be intelligent at least! it's a detention facility! of course some books are banned in the library - duh - you're reaching for anything 'dramatic'. That's one example, practically the whole thing was like this. Human rights concerns me, unfortunately I had to turn this off half way through. I wish a professional had handled this rather than this pathetically amateur dalliance.

    1. voiceoftruth

      well said.

    2. User_1

      Check, check, and check! All very good points and I'd like to take back my praise I gave on this. :-/

  7. User_1

    Thanks again for posting this doc VICE! Seems like I'm always thanking you guys for doing a great doc. Just wish it was longer! This one is really weird with timing. I just so happened to be wondering the other day if you guys are going to do a doc on Gitmo and BAM! I'm really wanting now to hear more from Terry Holdbrooks. I'm in LA and I'm hoping he hasn't done anything here yet.

    After 9/11 I'm so ashamed at how our country has manifested itself. We did have the whole world behind us right after 9/11. We slowly lost EVERYONE'S support. Really! Who's left supporting us? The UK? I guess................

    1. Terry Bell

      User 1. Can you explain why most of the civilized world is now asking the US to get back in the lead, develop a new coalition, and protect them from your civilized friends in ISIL. ISIL is not a product of Guantanamo. It's the other way around.

    2. User_1

      My civilized friends in ISIL?????? :-/ And no ISIL isn't a product of Guantanamo. Problems with the US happen way before Guantanamo. Really the only reason we're there in the middle east is for their resources. If it wasn't for the oils, there'd be no reason for the US to be ANYWHERE there!

      You have a good day dear sir.

      (What's our oil doing under your feet?!?!?)

    3. Terry Bell

      User 1, it has been a good day and thank you for your good wishes. I would agree with you if we had gone in as a conquering nation and confiscated their oil. That's what conquering nations do. But instead we left and continue paying them the market price for their oil. I didn't agree with the war in Iraq. I would be most upset if we weren't paying for their oil, but just taking it. But we are paying for it. That's how civilized nations work ... they buy, sell, trade, and negotiate.
      And now I would like to return your kind words: User_1, I hope you have a good day ... and I'm sincere about that.

    4. User_1

      Thank you for your kind words too Mr. Bell (I'm thinking it's a Mr. I'm referring to and you have my sincere apology if I'm wrong. To tell you the truth, it would be be far better if it's so.

      Sounds like we're pretty much on the same page. I would kind of lend toward the US is looking at a better picture if they go in and "rearrange the furniture" with Iraq and abit of Afghanistan. Seriously they would have done alot better if they were on the sidelines and just worked it from that angle. Would have been alot cheaper too!

      I'm hoping we can both agree that the US should staying on the sidelines for the next 50 years. Tough to commit to that but that's what I'd like to see.

  8. Jake Harris

    The detainees in Guantanamo are no different than were the detainees in the Hanoi Hilton.

    1. megaB

      That is beyond idiotic - Utterly asinine - If this comment is the product of the American educational systems abilities to impart knowledge of how to deconstruct anything, beyond a football game, its failed - and miserably so. To tie such events together with anything more than the most tenuous of sociocultural and geopolitical similarities is a stretch that deserves serious 'time' in a decent university (might be called 'college' there?) to try and attain some historical contextual 'breathing space' and review - with some degree of reflection and hubris - the realities of the S.E Asian conflict: and much later, the almost unimaginable action / reaction of what your own beloved CIA terms, 'blowback'... including what's been done to your own absurdly overrated sense of liberty and justice... Just at least think about it kid...

    2. Terry Bell

      Jake, when you approach a subject like this, you need to do your homework and get the facts. It's so obvious you don't have the facts. Do you realize how foolish this makes you look.

    3. Imightberiding

      Isn't the internet & electronic social media a wonderful thing? Now instead of just embarrassing ourselves in front of a few friends over a pint, we can embarrass ourselves in front of millions in the blink of an eye.

      I am generally not overly judgemental nor the bullying type. We all do & say stupid things throughout our lives. This one was just too silly to pass up. Chock it up to a "teachable moment". Do a little more research & studying on your own. You appear too young to remember the Hanoi Hilton first hand.

      *Edit: Please don't let these criticisms & the comments scare you away from this excellent site. It is packed full of very good documentaries & has many intelligent viewers who share their knowledge with the rest of us. "The more you watch, the more you know" & all that.

      Perhaps if you expanded on your comment, we might understand more of what you were trying to convey. I'm afraid that I missed your point entirely & thus found your comment rather silly & ill-informed. Heck, they even let people like me; a man of very limited formal education, comment in these threads.

      It is always a good thing to see young people interested in documentaries. Good on you for spending your time on this site. There are certainly countless other things to take your attention & hold your time captive.