What if, rather than holding detainees, America's Guantanamo Bay Detention Center instead studied sea turtles, dolphins and the health of our oceans?
That's the vision of a group of scientists who have officially requested the Obama administration to turn Guantanamo Bay Detention into a marine research lab.
We need to study the impact of climate change on our oceans, the loss of marine species and more. Studies of ocean currents are critical to understanding the extent of climate change and how it is likely to impact various communities. The project, which would be co-owned by Cuba and the US also has the potential to improve relations between the countries.
Converting Guatanamo to a marine research park would also help end unlawful detentions and eliminate a major recruiting tool for terrorist organizations. According to Defense Department special envoy for Guantánamo closure, Paul Lewis:
"As with our military leaders, foreign leaders regularly cite the Guantánamo detention facility as an obstacle to counterterrorism efforts. In my written statement, I cite several statements. Cliff Sloan, Envoy Wolosky’s predecessor, noted an example: 'As a highly ranking security official from one of our staunchest allies on counterterrorism once told me, the greatest single action the United States can take to fight terrorism is to close Guantánamo.'"
Please join me in asking President Obama to turn the detention facility into a marine research lab.
Dear President Obama:
I was absolutely delighted to learn that you have been formally asked to turn Guantanamo detention facility into a marine research station. This would be a wonderful use of this facility. Such a conversion has the potential to finally redeem the terrible blot on America's reputation that Guantanamo represents. It would provide a much needed opportunity to study ocean currents, make predictions about climate change, and track species decline. Please hasten to turn the detention center into a marine research facility.