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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power