Halliburton given $30m to expand Guantanamo Bay

A subsidiary of Halliburton, the oil services group once led by the US Vice-President, Dick Cheney, has won a $30m (£16m) contract to help build a new permanent prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Pentagon announcement, giving further details of the planned two-storey jail, complete with air conditioning and exercise and medical facilities, is a further sign that the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, is determined to keep the jail in operation.

There are some 520 inmates from 40 countries at Guantanamo, some of them held there for more than three years. The new jail will be capable of holding 220 people. Under the contract with the US Naval Engineering Command, the work is to be finished by the end of July 2006. The final deal could be worth as much as $500m.

The work will be carried out by Halliburton's contracting subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR). It will include site work, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, plumbing and electrical work.

Announcement of the deal comes when the whole future of Guantanamo, recently described by Amnesty International as "the gulag of our times," is under fierce debate in the US. There have been repeated allegations of mistreatment of inmates, bordering on torture.

A recent Pentagon report acknowledged incidents in which the Koran had been desecrated (though not flushed down a toilet, as claimed in a report by Newsweek magazine last month, which detonated deadly riots in Pakistan).

Not only Democrats but also several prominent Republicans - among them Mel Martinez, Florida Senator and former Bush cabinet member - have publicly argued that the damage to America's image caused by the prison now outweighs any practical benefits it might have. Joe Biden, the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has described the prison's image as a "recruiting agent" for al-Qa'ida.

The administration itself seems divided on the issue. The White House has hinted at a possible closure, with a spokesman declaring that "all options" were under review. But Mr Cheney and Mr Rumsfeld have indicated that the prison will continue to operate. Both insist that there is no practical alternative, and that detainees are decently treated and still providing valuable information in the "war on terror".

The most recent suggestion came this week from a Democratic think-tank, the Centre for American Progress, which urges that long-term inmates be transferred to the military prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and tried before military courts-martial. Low value and low security risk detainees should be transferred back to their home countries.

Like Guantanamo Bay, Halliburton has become something of an image problem for the US, a focus for criticism that Iraq reconstruction contracts have been handed out on a no-bid basis to a small group of US companies, and then subsequently suffered massive cost over-runs.

Mr Cheney headed Halliburton for five years, before resigning to become President Bush's running mate in the 2000 election.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
A poster by Durham Constabulary
news
Arts and Entertainment
books New York Times slammed over summer reading list
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine