My name is Andrew Turner and I'm a former member of Task Force Platinum with JTF Guantanamo.


Now 15 years on the Joint Task Force and Joint Detention Group are still open for business and the new President Elect is talking about it staying open. 15 years now and counting. While President Obama has been able to arrange more be sent on, there are still many that need to see some form of due process.
We as a country are better than this. Close Gitmo. Close it for Due Process and our sense of Freedom. Close it due to the Human Rights abuses it has caused.
Close it due to the damage it does to military personnel. Find a reason to understand why it needs to be closed and support it being closed even if you don't agree with every reason. 15 years and its still open. We can do better US.

I also advocate for Veterans Rights, the Rights of Mental Healthcare Patients as well as the rights of people to choose natural options like Kratom, CBD and Medical Marijuana.

I was recently on an episode of Vice Tonight on HBO talking about mental health issues in the Guantanamo Staff. You can see that here.

I am one half of the new podcast Nerds Take on the World.

Find me on twitter at @HeyFunko or @NerdsTakeWorld

On Youtube at

Since this was requested by /u/bluejellybeans0711 the questions they asked will get answered first. Did you go to Guantanamo Bay voluntarily? Yes Were you conflicted about the prisoners conditions? Yes Do you think that the facility/prisoners should be moved to the U.S? Yes How often are the prisoner fed? 3 or more times a day Do you think that the inmates should appear in a court? Yes.

EDIT Thank you everyone, great questions and I'm always available if you have questions I can help with. As we are about to record episode 2 of the podcast I have to now cut this short. I'll try to answer any other questions that may come up later but I'm signing off now. Thanks again and Thank you to the r/IAmA mods that put these together.

Comments: 1502 • Responses: 132  • Date: 

monstercab692 karma

1- What is the biggest myth about the place?

2- What is something about the place that people won't believe to be true?

HelloMrRosenberg1083 karma

  1. That it may ever close.

  2. The banana rats love to come to the outdoor theatre and eat all your popcorn

vox_veritas569 karma

What the fuck is a banana rat

HelloMrRosenberg657 karma

Pretty cool little animal. They eat them in most parts of cuba so outside of the base its fairly endangered but inside the base they are everywhere.

vox_veritas253 karma

Hmm, TIL. Looks like a mutant squirrel/muskrat hybrid. Did you ever eat it while you were there? If so, how was it? How is it prepared?

HelloMrRosenberg297 karma

There was always a group that had a hunter in the mix, after they checked to see that it was legal to trap and eat someone always did. I tried some, it was gamey but reminded me a lot of wild pig meat. The folks that shared some with me had cleaned/skinned and then grilled it with very small bits of S&P and some garlic with oil.

vox_veritas108 karma

They trapped it? Didn't shoot with a .22 or something small like you would a squirrel? I imagine it might be good in a stew if it's anything like squirrel.

HelloMrRosenberg210 karma

Only guns there were for military duties. So the options were trapping or just grabbing it with your hands.

monstercab54 karma

I've never even thought you guys had something like an outdoor theater! Never even heard of banana rats before!

It's not gonna close with Trump as president but it's true that nothing's forever.

HelloMrRosenberg77 karma

Yes there was 2 outdoor theaters still open when i was there, I was told there was a third on the other side of the base but it had been closed.

jpidwaffle576 karma

What question would you want to answer if you could answer it without facing consequences?

Example:"Who is the worst person at Gitmo?"

Then you could answer it

HelloMrRosenberg994 karma

The one question i would love to answer with zero consequence is "What do you think people need to really know about Gitmo?"

Astrrum426 karma

How close can you actually get to answering that question?

HelloMrRosenberg1615 karma

I can't get within a nautical mile of it.

excaliboor84 karma

What would happen if you did, tho?

HelloMrRosenberg352 karma

I won't know as I do not intend to ask/answer it.

il1k3c3r34l102 karma

I'm super late to this AMA but was curious about this response. I know the life of a whistleblower is absolute shit in the US - Is that the main deterrent from coming out with the info? Not being able to present the evidence? Fear for your family's and your own safety? Most likely all of the above, but I can't imagine what it must be like to wrestle with that burden every day. Thank you for your service to the American people.

HelloMrRosenberg147 karma

Id have to assume thats why most wouldn't.

il1k3c3r34l93 karma

8 hours later and still replying, thank you for taking the time :) this is a fascinating AMA

HelloMrRosenberg128 karma

Ha, I actually took a 90 minute break to record an upcoming episode of our podcast then decided id check back in.

HowdoIreddittellme460 karma

Exactly what effect does Gitmo have on the mental health of guards? How is it different than working at a guard at some kind of maximum security prison?

HelloMrRosenberg530 karma

Hard to explain without going far too in to operational work which I can't do because of Non Disclosure agreements I signed. Read Jason Leopolds article though and take a look at the DOD study(that the DOD wouldn't release until this reporter did) and maybe it will give you a better answer on the similarities and differences.

HowdoIreddittellme171 karma

Do you think the isolation of Gitmo, the fact that you are not in mainland america, do you think that that adds to the stress? Does it make the situation feel more stressful or hostile?

HelloMrRosenberg284 karma

I think that can add some stress for some, sure.

I think no matter where the Joint Detention mission was it would always feel stressful and hostile. The one advantage of Cuba or the US compared to active combat zones like Iraq/Afghanistan(where we also have operated detention centers) is there is no bombing/IEDs/Shooting/etc going on to add to the stress.

nathanael_1732421 karma

Did you like Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay?

HelloMrRosenberg541 karma

Yes, thought it was pretty funny for a movie.

cookieaddicted380 karma

Was there any moment that still haunts you to this day?

HelloMrRosenberg736 karma

Yes, I lost the use of my right hand while trying to keep a detainee from injuring themself. It still plays over in my head daily.

ProfessorBeef171 karma

would you mind elaborating?

ImAGlowWorm215 karma

Video is definitely worth watching.

HelloMrRosenberg193 karma


Skkorm35 karma

Jesus man, I'm sorry you went through that. Being a musician, hearing that you lost most of the function in your hand breaks my heart. People might think that's stupid, but being a 12 year bassist, that detail is what resonates with me the most.

HelloMrRosenberg67 karma

I played bass, Violin and a bit of the Uke. I was never very good but now I'm downright terrible at it. ;)

cookieaddicted348 karma

Hey, thank you for doing that this. I would like to ask you if there was a specific moment that made you change your mind about Guantanamo?

HelloMrRosenberg806 karma

Ive always had an issue with Gitmo. I volunteered after POTUS had presented a plan to close it and thought I would be there in 2009/2010 to be part of the closure.

TheyMightBeKeyon115 karma

Would you say that you were the exception among guards, or did most of your co-workers have similar opinions?

HelloMrRosenberg200 karma

I try not to speak to others opinions.

Dankey_Kang8299 karma

Was there in 2011. Can I shoot you a PM with questions regarding the VA and PTSD? Thanks brother.

HelloMrRosenberg262 karma

Yes, feel free

BunPuncherExtreme94 karma

Thanks for doing this. I did detainee ops post-Abu Ghraib in Iraq and it was a mess there and know plenty of folks that also did it in Afghanistan. Nearly all of them have PTSD to some degree but some of them don't seem to think they're worthy of claiming it because there wasn't a bullet flying at them or a bomb going off.

HelloMrRosenberg132 karma

Im guessing you may have been at Cropper but there was several other facilities in Iraq so I won't ask where you were. There is a stigma about having PTSD, part of that is in our on forces that want to rank themselves on who deserves/are allowed to be damaged and who isn't. Maybe someday that will change. Welcome Home. We are good people stuck in a screwed up situation .

BunPuncherExtreme63 karma

I was at Bucca, but I made my way to Cropper a few times. I know what you mean about the stigma and I'll admit that I was a stubborn jackass when it came to getting treatment as well. Were it not for my wife I may not have.

HelloMrRosenberg93 karma

I was the same, if my wife hadn't noticed my change in 2010/2011 I may not have. Could have become a statistic fairly easily. Luckily i trusted her enough to listen and seek out help and was still in uniform then.

tekjester119 karma

I was with the team that closed down Cropper. One of the best experiences of my life - don't think I could have asked for a better deployment.

HelloMrRosenberg18 karma

I can imagine that had its own difficulties but glad it worked out.

_what_the_heck_276 karma

Did you ever feel empathy towards the prisoners there?

HelloMrRosenberg611 karma

I think anyone that was human would feel some some empathy for another human, even some that could be the worst among us, so yes I did feel empathetic much of the time.

_what_the_heck_138 karma

I guess you're right, I read about it once and felt horribly sad.

HelloMrRosenberg249 karma

I will alway have some sadness about the place myself.

asianwaste199 karma

I was a guard too there. The thing I eventually started to accept for myself was that they are not "terrorists" they are soldiers just like the rest of us there. They didn't have a nation that sponsors them as a force but they definitely had a cause be it for money or ideal. Just like us. It was easier and simpler on the mind for me to think of them as POWs.

If they are innocent or guilty it was not for me to judge or find out. What I did feel was that it was definitely someone's job to find out and it simply was not happening or happening fast enough. That is where I absolutely objected to the place.

HelloMrRosenberg85 karma

Thats a fair assessment for sure.

RainingLogic204 karma

A- Do you think the US should torture people? Ends justify means?

B- Do you buy into the legal end run of classifying a person caught in their country, in combat as an enemy combatant vs POW, etc as a way of denying prisoners due process, etc?

HelloMrRosenberg329 karma

A- No, absolutely not.

B- The problem is our legal system creates those classifications via specific definitions. As far as it denying them due process, I think there is some questions that still aren't being answered because of the one single court being used to handle every single case there. I feel everyone should be granted due process no matter their status in our system because thats what i feel habeas corpus is.

RainingLogic72 karma

Are you worried, opening the door legal end runs such as this, could lead for instance to American citizens being 'reclassified' or whatever, and thus, they don't have rights, due process, etc? In other words, when you see a Gitmo detainee that was renditioned from his homeland, maybe just defending his country, etc, for what ever reason cooked up to justify it, you wonder, 'Gee, this could be me..kidnapped, thrown in jail, tortured..what protections does anyone have from this type of situation?'

HelloMrRosenberg135 karma

Yes, I have been bothered by that. Because of the NDAA that has continually been modified I'm not only concerned that other countries may continue to do what we did but more concerned that our own country will continue to do it.

RainingLogic81 karma

Have you ever wondered that if the US kidnapps people, sends them to secret prisons to be tortured and detained forever, how can we by any measure chastise Sadamm, China, N. Korea, etc for their human rights abuses?

HelloMrRosenberg178 karma

I do not think we as a country should be chastising anyone because our history has shown we are very very far from perfect. All we can do is continue to raise these concerns to a larger audience and maybe in time we will learn from our mistakes. Good Question.

swiMatt202 karma

What do you think are some the biggest misconceptions threatening Kratom today, and what can us every day redditors do to help?

HelloMrRosenberg202 karma

Both sides of the argument need to be more realistic about what it is and what it isn't. Every day redditors can get involved with the advocacy groups, go over to r/Kratom to learn more about the average consumer and just stay involved in people having free choice.

Phyrexian_Archlegion131 karma

How many Corona's did you drink in one seating at that bar by the beach open to service members? I think my record was 9.

HelloMrRosenberg132 karma

I am not much for corona and the bar in Camp America was rarely open when i was there for some reason.

Phyrexian_Archlegion50 karma

Really? Why was it rarely closed? Looked like the only hoping spot for services members on the whole island.

HelloMrRosenberg58 karma

Have no clue, I wasn't there working for MWR and don't know why but I only caught it open a couple times in the time i was there

TogShark111 karma

Were there any funny situations you experienced whilst working at Guantanamo?

HelloMrRosenberg298 karma

Every day there was funny situations. Sadly most of them I can't share. I do remember one morning waking up to a night shift worker outside my room using a BBQ Grill and singing show tunes while grilling steaks(at about 6 am). There was always something.


Could you get in trouble for doing this AMA?

HelloMrRosenberg232 karma

As long as i don't answer things that could be classified or talk about operational issues I should be good.

KropotkinWasRight56 karma

Especially if somebody is already out of the military

HelloMrRosenberg198 karma

Just being out doesn't give an immediate pass to say anything. But it helps quite a bit in the leeway to do this.

KamehameBoom92 karma

Are you allowed to tell people you worked at gitmo while you were there?

HelloMrRosenberg152 karma

I was. Thats about all i could say while I was there to anyone not there working with me but yes my friends and family knew i was deployed there.

KamehameBoom50 karma

Was it a desirable post, or something you guys hoped to avoid going to?

HelloMrRosenberg126 karma

For me I wanted to be part of those going to close the place. So for me it was desirable and id been deployed pretty steadily so being part of something is always good for promotions also. It can be a very tough duty mentally though. Many don't like having urine and feces thrown at them sometimes daily(I guess some people like that but the majority probably isn't keen on it).

I will say the beaches were beautiful and before getting my hand shattered the surfing there was pretty great. The diving is very amazing also.

KamehameBoom28 karma

Shattered in an altercation? please explain

HelloMrRosenberg50 karma

Best explanation I can give is the one i gave during the Vice News interview. There is only so much I can say as it deals with operations and I can't go in to that.

monstercab85 karma

What is the percentage of inmates who truly, without a single doubt, deserve to be there?

HelloMrRosenberg151 karma

Hard to say, I didn't have contact with every detainee there nor know all their stories. Any other answer would be an opinion that I just am not sure I'm qualified to give.

aaeme61 karma

Were there any that you knew were not dangerous fanatics, just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

HelloMrRosenberg138 karma

I can't answer that. Sorry.

aaeme46 karma

No need to apologise. It's a pity, a little disconcerting, but not very surprising that the NDA covers non-specific things like that.

HelloMrRosenberg90 karma

The hard facts of the detainees that are public knowledge can be gleaned from many places. Anything other than that would get in to operational info(which I can't discuss) or my opinion which is also difficult to go in to without crossing a line of information I just can't give out. As I didn't capture any of them nor can confirm their stories 100% id just be speculating on my beliefs.

aaeme17 karma

Fair enough. I suppose I meant in your opinion. Really trying really to tell whether you, at any time, felt that you were guarding one or more innocent people (with the follow up question of how you cope with that).
I expect the no comment remains and don't want to push it.

HelloMrRosenberg198 karma

I felt I was guarding all innocent people, thats how our system works, innocent until they are proven guilty in a court and most of them have not seen that day in court. It wasn't for me to judge guilt and so I treated them all fairly with impartiality. Maybe some had a harder time doing that but I worked hard to keep my personal judgement of them out of the work.

Thats also why they are termed detainees vs prisoners because most had not been tried.

aaeme48 karma

That explains it very clearly. Thank you.

HelloMrRosenberg66 karma

You're welcome.


Hey Andrew, I was wondering about the general demeanor of the guards. Are they just average folks "doing their job," or do they enjoy taking part in one of the fucked up processes of our democracy?

I hope that makes sense, morning coffee has yet to kick in.

HelloMrRosenberg161 karma

The vast majority are just regular people that are just doing the job assigned them. As in any group of people there will always be some that find pleasure in doing things the general public would see as "fucked up"

fugly1682 karma

Hi Andrew. What was the most disgusting thing you ever witnessed at this place?

HelloMrRosenberg212 karma

What some peoples living spaces look like after months being deployed. Truly disgusting at times. Seeing someones Happy the Love Sock left out is frightening.

fugly1645 karma

was there a lot of privacy or pretty close shared quarters?

HelloMrRosenberg101 karma

Very little real privacy in most living quarters there. I shared a space with 2 roommates but when we first got there we were like 12 to a space before permanent assignment.

Zan_H62 karma

Where are your thoughts on oatmeal cookies?

HelloMrRosenberg126 karma

Not a fan if they have raisins but Oatmeal Chocolate Chip are pretty awesome. There is a great place in DC that makes those and adds some sea salt on the top, probably the best cookie made.

spookyjess6 karma

I think you're talking about Sticky Fingers. I dream about that cookie, even if the parking is atrocious and a cop yelled at me as I was walking out of he shop.

HelloMrRosenberg7 karma

Actually its a shop at Union Market called Teaism. But now I must know about Sticky Fingers.

Sniperwilly46 karma

Kratom has been incredibly helpful for improving my back pain and allowed me to easily stop taking the highly addictive pain killers that I had to use for the past twelve years. I know that pharmaceutical companies are trying to make medications from its alkaloids because it does not have the same risks of addiction and respiratory depression as typical opiate pain killers, but they are still trying to ban the natural form of the plant. What can we do to help keep this extremely useful plant from being taken away from us?

HelloMrRosenberg41 karma

There has been the theory about Big Pharma but if that was true then they would also be calling for it to not be schedule 1 as that would stop them from getting meds in the trial phase and they have been silent. HHS/FDA have said there are no drugs in trial nor investigative trials in the US(there is/was some in Japan) so i don't exactly agree this is about Big Pharma connoting the market exactly. I think what people can do is seek out the American Kratom Association, Botanical Education Alliance and Drug Policy Alliance and Donate both their time and whatever they can afford(even if thats 5 dollars) to help them continue to advocate for Kratom staying legal and accessible by the widest group of people. We should also accept that some oversight of the market can be a very good thing as it can make the overall market safer for the consumers.

rickmuscles42 karma

How do you manage your anger and frustration?

HelloMrRosenberg69 karma

Ive never really been an angry person but meditation helps a lot if i feel frustrated in any situation. At one point i did have some anger issues and through therapy that the DOD and later VA provided it helped me work through the issues i was going through. I wish there was a perfect solution but there just isn't that I know of.

LivingBroke41 karma

What are your thoughts on Lynndie England?

HelloMrRosenberg47 karma

Being involved in what she was made for a real mess. The work can be fair, firm and impartial without going to that far far larger step. My opinion is she stupidly allowed herself to get caught up in to some bad things but I don't know her so can't speak to the why she went along with what went on at Abu Ghraib.

icecreamhoagie34 karma

If you can answer this question, do you believe Joseph Hickman's, a former Gitmo guard, story on how the CIA killed 3 Gitmo inmates?

Here is his interview with VICE:

Edit: If you are not familiar. The reasoning was that the 3 inmates were on a hunger strike. The CIA could not interrogate (meaning torture/waterboard) them if they haven't ate. The initial hunger strike resulted in many other inmates going on a hunger strike. The CIA allegedly killed them during the night. Joseph Hickman says it was almost impossible that they were able to kill themselves due to how they were found dead.

HelloMrRosenberg41 karma

Ive spoken to Joe but not about those stories. I think he is a pretty great guy that shared his beliefs, I wasn't there at that time so I don't know if his story is credible so can't say for sure what I believe about it.

Amarsir33 karma

How did you come to find Kratom and what's your personal approach to it now?

HelloMrRosenberg54 karma

Around 2 years ago I was dealing with a condition called Meige Syndrome(its a rare movement disorder) that the doctors really didn't know what had caused it. My PTSD issues and chronic pain of dealing with Degenerative Disc Disease and pain from a fairly damaged hand made the Meige Syndrome far worse. I was hitting a point of hopelessness because nothing they tried was working and I was deteriorating, I didn't want to become one of the 20+ veterans a day committing suicide but id truly lost hope in my situation. My doctors luckily recognized that and suggested I look in to some natural options(they couldn't prescribe them but they can monitor my choices). Took a while to find but kept seeing some interesting stories about Kratom(MJ didn't do much for me except make my anxiety worse so that was out and wasn't legal where I live anyway).

Now 2 years later I've regained a massive part of the quality of life i lost due to service connected issues and Meige Syndrome. My personal approach is all things in moderation, I try to encourage anyone thinking about it as an option spend a lot of time reading everything you can to decide if the benefits outweigh any risks.

boognish8315 karma

What other natural remedies did you try? Did any come close to the positive effects of kratom?

HelloMrRosenberg32 karma

Acupuncture, hyperbaric chamber treatment, massage, yoga, some other plants. They all helped a bit but nothing worked as well as Kratom has for my situation.

noonenone4 karma

Has your tolerance gone up since starting kratom or are you getting the same results from the same dose as you started with?

There is massive anecdotal evidence that kratom is addictive. That doesn't mean it's not useful for chronic pain but are you aware that there is a physical dependency involved and that if you chose to quit you will experience painful withdrawal?

Just because something is addictive doesn't mean it should be regulated. I believe every human being has the absolute right to do whatever they want to do to themselves as long as it doesn't harm others. I wouldn't make any substance illegal if I were in charge. It degrades human dignity and never works to stop drug addiction anyway.

HelloMrRosenberg14 karma

Ive consumed the same amount(less than 6 grams) daily for almost 2 years. I track that and keep a journal to share with my doctors so we know whats going on, what worked, what didn't. I also had no real issue with tolerance nor dependancy with pain meds/antidepressents/ssri/etc i was prescribed before.

I question that there is massive anecdotal evidence of addictive issues. I think there is evidence that it can cause physical dependancy but with any substance some will run a risk of addiction also. Coffee, Chocolate, Kratom, Illicit substances. I don't believe Kratom in any way leads to addiction that likely isn't already present in a consumer. I quit monthly for 4 days and have yet to experience withdrawal issues in any way. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen to some, it does for sure. There needs to be far more research in to the Dependancy vs Addiction with Kratom to say for sure. There have been many Pharamacologits recently that are questioning the addiction potential being greater than anything else.

Have you read Jack Hennignfield's(former Chief Pharmacologist for NIH Drug Abuse division and current professor at Johns Hopkins) 8 point analysis?

schnitzel-shyster31 karma

Are you worried that the new president elect will make Gitmo's conditions even worse than what they already are? If so, how? How do you think he will treat the issue of military mental health as well?

HelloMrRosenberg84 karma

I will always be worried about that until it closes. The President Elects comments recently are cause for some concern. As for how he could make it worse thats very difficult to say as it could vary wildly.

His nominee of a pretty solid VA secretary leads me to believe he may actually be concerned about veteran mental and physical health. Im going to just wait and see how that comes about.

schnitzel-shyster11 karma

Thank you!

HelloMrRosenberg17 karma

You are welcome.

baitshopboy30 karma

What are you up to now?

HelloMrRosenberg72 karma

Trying to find meaning for my life. I just started a podcast with a close friend to keep me somewhat busy. I was working for ICE as a FOIA Analyst but my disabilities made it impossible to keep that job and was let go due to the amount of time i had to be away(that happened about the time i was diagnosed with Meige Syndrome). I spent 2014-2015 running a privately funded nonprofit to help other disabled veterans find employment/educational opportunities and once we finished the 2 year plan and helped as many as we could we shuttered it so the others involved could go back to careers.

I also spend a lot of time advocating for freedom of choice in options like Kratom, Cannabis/CBD, etc. This is a video from this past fall at a rally outside the White House.
That advocacy led me to be interviewed for an upcoming Chris Bell(Bigger Stonger Faster, Prescription Thugs, Trophy Kids and the executive producer for a film on Jake the Snake that can all be found on Netflix and Amazon) documentary that will be out in a couple months.

fugly1626 karma

Have you ever eaten a banana rat or kept one as a pet?

HelloMrRosenberg59 karma

Yes tasted one, no didn't keep as pet but they are pretty interesting and if they could be kept as a pet i would for sure do that.

mosluggo25 karma

Not sure if it was asked yet, but what were the things that you seized from inmates?? Any drugs??shanks??? Do they drink hooch there?? Has anyone that you met in there got out and done something newsworthy?? Who was the most interesting person you came across in there??

HelloMrRosenberg32 karma

Sorry can't answer that.

thankyouforcallingin25 karma

I noticed you mentioned your hand injury a few times in other responses. If you're allowed, would you care to elaborate on your injury?

HelloMrRosenberg25 karma

Best answer I can give is the one i gave during this interview with Vice News.

thankyouforcallingin27 karma

Thank you for the answer, which is at 4:50 for those interested. I watched the whole video. Sounds like an awful experience. Thank you for your service, and I hope you and all veterans get the care they need and deserve.

HelloMrRosenberg45 karma

I appreciate that. I hope we as a country stop using the military as a cudgel when we could generally find better options. But if the military is going to be used then there should be many making sure care is in place.

SteezeWhiz25 karma

If you had to use one word to describe all components of your experience which you are not allowed to tell us due to your NDA, what would it be?

HelloMrRosenberg58 karma


spacejr24 karma

I'm probably over-simplifying this but if Guantanamo was built as a military prison, why does the President need Congressional approval to transfers, to Leavenworth for example or some other place like that?

Where does the line get drawn between on his authority as Commander in Chief for something like where military prisoners are held?

HelloMrRosenberg41 karma

Yeah that is a very simplified question that doesn't have a simple answer.

While the President can do many things he doesn't control the budgets, Congress does. This is where i break with many in saying that was the mistake President Obama made by trying to force this as early as he did without gaining proper support for his plan. Im not sure if he knew that would happen, if he did then it was a political plan but I hate to think it was used as a bargaining chip in some way.

As they are detainees and not prisoners(until they are tried/convicted) they have to be kept separate from military prisoners and so would require separate areas to be detained by law even in the US. There was a great option of a High Security prison that hadn't been opened on the western side of Illinois that could have been a perfect option for the BOP to do this with but that plan came far to late.

Political figures played the fear of citizens to keep Presidents Obamas plan from ever coming to fruition and many/most in the US supported that because they really don't seem to know all the issues of keeping Gitmo open.

Cherant22 karma

Okay I'm not going to mince words on this: People keep accusing Guantanamo of being this prison of torture. How true is this?

HelloMrRosenberg26 karma

It isn't. Much of that is due to people not understanding what happened with the enhanced interrogations was done away from Guantanamo not at Guantanamo. There will always be things many don't agree with about Gitmo and the line then gets a bit blurry.

Amarsir19 karma

So I watched the Vice video. And while I can certainly see how it was traumatic for you, it also gave me the impression that these are dangerous people who should be nowhere near the US border. That's the opposite of what I expected and the opposite of your "close the camp" stance.

How do you reconcile stories of enemy combatants so violent they will smash their head into the floor just to hurt you with your position that they shouldn't be kept separate at Gitmo?

HelloMrRosenberg58 karma

I'll explain this better and maybe you will agree, maybe not.

  1. We currently spend roughly 2 million dollars per year per detainee(and that cost is going up). If we moved the remaining ones to a place like the Supermax the cost would drop to 100,000 or so per year per detainee.

  2. The court(only one) can barely cover the 15 or so that have been tried, for us to keep the status of being a great nation we have to focus on due process. 15 years and almost no completed trials is a staggering mistake even if these are the worst people in the world.

  3. Rotating very very undertrained/underequipped military in and out to keep the place functioning would be done far better by well trained/equipped folks from the BOP once the detainees are tried and convicted.

I don't make these comments lightly I promise. But Guantnamo staying open is a drastic mistake and there is no telling what it will be used for if it stays open. The job can/is done far better by the BOP and the US courts system.

tydalt8 karma

Question for you. You say "undertrained/underequipped military". When I was in (long before Gitmo/911) there were 95C correctional MPs (have no idea what the MOS is nowadays) that were very well trained in corrections. Is that not the case now? Or is the fact that it is (I'm assuming) different guarding detainees as opposed to "regular" prisoners?

HelloMrRosenberg13 karma

In the beginning most at Camp Xray/Gitmo I'm told were CC specialists. Because of two wars and some mistakes made those folks were replaced with a massive group of Army/Navy from active/resevres and National Guard(and included some from all services in certain roles). Most were not 95C nor the Navy equivalent, received very little training and it became a total trial by fire. I think in the last couple years(I was there 2009/2010) that has changed again and with few detainees left they are able to have the army and fairly trained folks taking back over the brunt of work from what I've been told publicly. There for sure is differences in guarding detainees than Prisoners and thats partly due to their classifications/the laws and SOPs in place.

jasonhuang71718 karma

Have you ever helped out a prisoner in a small way like giving them more slightly more food?

HelloMrRosenberg75 karma

Ive never dealt with any prisoners, just detainees as prisoners would have been tried and convicted in a court. I would help any detainee that asked to the best of my ability.

carolkay17 karma

Did you have any detainees you would consider friends? Also, have you learned any life lessons from their experiences of they were able to share with you?

HelloMrRosenberg19 karma

Not a question I can answer.

cmbyrd11 karma

Reading through these responses, it seems like you've tried various natural remedies outside of what the VA can prescribe.

I'm assuming you get your healthcare through the VA, ever have any problems with them stemming from having assorted substances in your system ?

HelloMrRosenberg21 karma

My doctors were involved every step of the way, while i advocate for anyone making the choices for themselves I've made a conscious effort to keep my doctors very in the loop and a part of the process for me. While they can't prescribe some of the substances they can oversee and monitor my health while taking them and will as long as what I'm taking is legal and/or okayed by law. Its a tough line to walk for sure but I've had some very amazing doctors every step of the way and they were very much a part of all the options I've tried.

ademnus10 karma

Given Trump's vow to inflict "more and worse / unthinkable" torture and the GOP's 8-year opposition to closing Gtmo and giving fair trials, how likely is it your mission will succeed? Have you any strategies to deal with an all-GOP government bent on torture and war who'd like to add more people to gtmo than release?

HelloMrRosenberg8 karma

I have no clue, this isn't my mission, its the mission of many. Maybe it will succeed someday. We can always hope.

alexsdad878 karma

Trumps pick for CIA chief stated yesterday during his confirmation hearing that he has no intention to revamp torture and that if Trump asked him to he would ignore him.

HelloMrRosenberg9 karma

Lets hope it stays that way.

EthiopianKing16209 karma

What is your experience with Kratom? Do you use it regularly?

HelloMrRosenberg22 karma

Ive been taking Kratom daily(except for a 4 day break monthly) for almost 2 years now.

ZincSaucier55049 karma

What would you like to share with people with more conservative thoughts on the matter and would like to continue the work at Gitmo?

Over the past years there has been conclusions by the scientific community that evaluated the effects of torture. Do you believe we are on a good track and will have better methodologies soon? If so, have you seen better measures and better processes implemented during your time?

HelloMrRosenberg12 karma

The one thing id suggest to this more conservative in nature, go see how much is spent(and continues to be spent) keeping it open. The same job could be done inside a US Supermax for a tiny percentage. The other thing that the conservative minded tend to think more about is veterans health. Go read the study that the DOD didn't want released about the mental health problems of service members being deployed there. Should that just continue?

stanciat9 karma

I was a navy brat and in the late 70s my dad was stationed at gitmo (accompanied tour.) It was by far the best duty station we ever pulled. I was wondering how that has changed since it's a detention Center now. Are there still dependents on base? Free movies and pools? Unspoiled beaches with crystal clear water? Dolphins playing around the ferry?

HelloMrRosenberg6 karma

All still there, just part of the base is closed due to the JTF

Junduin7 karma

Hey thanks for doing this AMA,

Did your wife come with you to Gitmo? If she did, do y'all live separately or was she one of your roomates? If she didn't, how did you guys cope with being far away? I assume internet access/speed isn't that great over there.

Also, what is there to do for down-time? If the theatre closed, you must get tired of the monotony day-in-and-out. I can only play Texas-Hold'Em so many times before getting bored.

HelloMrRosenberg9 karma

No she didn't. It wasn't the first time we had been apart, we got married in 2007 but didn't live together full time until I got back from a middle east deployment in 2008. Then lived together for 8 months when i deployed to Gitmo. Takes a very strong relationship and we were both a bit older by that point.

The beaches are amazing. Diving/Snorkling/surfing/video games/just hanging out in down time/great gyms and fitness programs.

SimpleinSeattle7 karma

Did you ever pick up chicks at the FRA? Is the hot tub near the desalination plant still around? Ever golf Yatera Seca?

I did a few month stint there taking care of Haitians with aids that were detained at sea. Total shit show. Jessee Jackson came down there and grand standed. Haitians were hunger striking and accusing the banana rats of attacking their children (total BS). Haitians were rioting and burning down their sea-bee buildings, attacking soldiers, etc.

I have a video of me trolling Jackson's slime ball reporters on YouTube. Essentially, when his plane landed he had reporters running up to junior enlisted and asking them questions about US foreign policy, etc. So I took the opportunity to record his reporters and ask him questions about Jackson's positions on crime being perpetuated by rap music, etc. Totally caught the guy off guard.

Coolest thing I saw was an old oil truck converted into a boat by Cubans so they could make it to US soil in Guantanamo. They had 20+ men, women and children on the thing that was no larger than a small tanker truck.

HelloMrRosenberg9 karma

I was married and didn't have a lot of free time while there anyway. Generally when I wasn't wearing a cast on my hand/arm(sorta limits golfing) I was in the water as much as I could find time to decompress.

ganchaliguru7 karma

Two questions:

  1. Feel free to answer this question with as few details as you like - what's the most fun conversation you had with a detainee?

  2. If you always were skeptical about Gitmo, what motivated you to join in the first place? Sure, you thought Gitmo would close but at a deeper level, why did you choose to serve?

HelloMrRosenberg16 karma

  1. Can't answer that. Sorry.

  2. I actually joined to be a dog handler, i wanted to work with bomb dogs to keep others safe in bad places. Sadly at the beginning of my time in I promoted to quickly and missed my opportunity to become a dog handler. I was living overseas when 9/11 happened and for me seeing my country attacked while gone bothered me for a long time and when i returned I decided at age 30 to join the military and go active duty.

dicot5 karma

I'm curious as to the people who work at and run Gitmo's reaction to left-wing protestors like Medea Benjamin (Code Pink/Global Exchange) or other civilians who have been trying to shut Gitmo for many years? Did they take their hunger strike seriously? Do they just mock anyone who is left of center and has concerns? That is my take here in L.A., that we're utterly disenfranchised on the Left from ever having a meaningful say on any aspect of the US military.

I'm also interested in your take on kratom legaliztion, as the Asian nursery my wife and I work for often gets requests for young Mitragyna speciosa trees, which we don't sell as the owners are unclear on how legal it is, plus other wholesalers don't have them. What would kratom/Mitragyna legalization look like for us horticultural professionals? More like cannabis legalization, where restrictions still exist, or will it be the same as a plum tree, where little oversight is needed or given.

HelloMrRosenberg12 karma

I honestly don't know the answer to the first part. I took it serious but I'm far more socially liberal than the average military member id guess. I think plenty in the military are socially liberal and the ones that aren't mostly don't mock others for their opinions. There are a few close minded loud folks in every group, the military while a very very small portion of the US these days still has their share of loud knuckle draggers.

Kratom is a very tough plant to grow, the few botanists I've talked to that actually do as well as some medical researchers typically grow it from cuttings(seeds just don't germinate as they are coming in from overseas). The tree itself can take decades to be commercially viable and provide enough leaves to provide for anyone. Outside of Hawaii, Guam, PR and parts of south Florida(maybe Texas also) as well as US Virgin Islands we just don't have the amount of land nor conditions around for growing it as a commercially viable crop. Far far different than growing cannabis for states that may make it legal. If its made illegal federally then its pretty much gone from the US.

Slick_Grimes5 karma

My wife uses Kratom for back pain so she was following the bullshit the FDA was trying to do with that ban. What's going on with it now as far as them banning it?

HelloMrRosenberg3 karma

Right now its all on hold.

faceoftheuniverse5 karma

Are there on-site counselors, psychologists, etc. available for the guards and military personnel (outside of any mental health clearance check-ups that might be required to continue working there)? Is the general attitude among the latter population one of "suck it up, this is part of the job" or is it more sympathetic?

From an aspiring mental health professional, thanks for your service and advocacy.

HelloMrRosenberg5 karma

Hard to explain what On Site would mean. Yes there are both mental health specialists and councilors available to some extent but it was never really encouraged it seemed. The study at the bottom of this article talks more about all your questions and better than I likely can.

dog_in_the_vent3 karma

Thanks for your service and thanks for the AMA!

Why do you think Gitmo should be closed? Did you have an experience there or do you think there's something better we could do with these prisoners?

That being said, what do you think we should do with the prisoners that are there if we closed Gitmo?

HelloMrRosenberg10 karma

There is far better things we can do with the prisoners. I think if you read through this IAmA you will see the answers to your questions. We should start though with trying the detainees(all of them) in federal courts and then those that are found guilty we can address in our Correctional Custody system. Those not found guilty should be sent home. Thats sort of how our system is supposed to work.

HodorTheMannis2 karma

Is the cockmeat sandwich real?

HelloMrRosenberg10 karma

Nope, but you can get this in the Commissary/Exchange there. ;)

StirFriedPride5 karma

lol quick thinking on that one ;)

HelloMrRosenberg4 karma

Ive had that question asked before. Everyone loves H & K it seems. ;)

CapnBlackLungYARR2 karma

Why didn't you just quit?

HelloMrRosenberg2 karma

Doesn't really work that way now does it.

TogShark2 karma

How much does Guantanamo differ from a conventional prison within the US?

HelloMrRosenberg8 karma

Ive had very little experience with US prisons so I really don't know.

TheRze2 karma

Why does it sound so appealing to go waterboarding in Guantanamo Bay?

HelloMrRosenberg1 karma

That sounds appealing?

TheRze5 karma

It does if you have no idea what Guantanamo Bay or waterboarding are

HelloMrRosenberg3 karma

Does anyone outside of some tribes in the Amazon not know what Guantanamo Bay or Waterboarding is? Id have to assume that if you are on reddit you probably, in fact likely know what those are.

johhnytexas2 karma

I am sure the vast majority of adult Americans do. You have to remember a lot of Europeans and Asians browse reddit so they may not be familiar with the less talked about stuff in our country.

HelloMrRosenberg1 karma

Yeah I think Gitmo and Waterboarding has been covered ad nasuem worldwide as when I've traveled and mentioned serving there people may not know what work we do but totally had no problem asking if id water boarded anyone(except for the fact that it didn't go on at Gitmo nor went on by military members that anyone has proven)

johhnytexas4 karma

I think he is just making a joke(in bad taste) that waterboarding sounds like a watersport (wake boarding, paddle boring etc) and Guantanamo bay sounds like a resort or place you would vacation...or something the beach boys would sing about.

HelloMrRosenberg3 karma

Fair Enough.

null_void_absractee1 karma

Nah he tried to rip off one of the top posts in /r/showerthoughts about waterboarding in Guantanamo bay.

HelloMrRosenberg1 karma


Kjarva1 karma

How did the guards feel about the prisoners being held without trial? I know that probably lots of them were very bad people but did it affect you that a lot of them were not receiving due process and were effectively being indefinitely held?

HelloMrRosenberg2 karma

It bothered many of us. When I went it was a year after the President had said it would close and they would seek trials in federal courts for many. That was part of why I volunteered to help hopefully see it closed, that plan obviously changed.

SandPocket1 karma

Hello. How are you? Hope you're well.

What would a typical day consist of for a prisoner and/or a guard? What would the routine be like?

HelloMrRosenberg2 karma

99% boredom and 1% craziness.

KVG77501 karma

What is the craziest inmate, most dangerous or violent that's ever been in your presence while at the Bay? Thank you

HelloMrRosenberg3 karma

Not a question I can answer sorry.

aswingingdick1 karma

I read someone describe waterboarding as essentially drowning not giving someone the sensation of drowning you're actually being drowned and brought back. Would you describe that is accurate?

HelloMrRosenberg3 karma

No clue, I've never been water boarded, water boarded anyone nor seen it done.

Snugglers1 karma

First and foremost thank you for this Ama. My question is, did you ever sample the detainees food? If so what did you think of it?

HelloMrRosenberg1 karma

Yes, it was pretty good. I grew up for a few years in the middle east as a kid so I like Halal foods.

PokeCraft46151 karma

  1. Funniest story?
  2. What are they fed?

HelloMrRosenberg1 karma

Watching a coworker sing show tunes at 6 am while running a BBQ grill. (you had to be there)

They eat food. You can likely google that and see a lot of what they get, most prefer Halal meals.

Cherant1 karma

Do you think the life imprisonment is appropriate for these inmates, or death penalty or lobotomy or whatever would be better? Why? Just like a dark thoughts question. I really would like to know your personal feelings, like, you need people to guard these....violent people and you all get PTSD and no one's happy... Is there a better way to deal with these... people?

HelloMrRosenberg5 karma

Im not a judge nor jury so it isn't my place to address that. I hold no ill will that makes me want to see them punished in any way other than to see them tried and then allow the US courts system to dictate the punishment.


Kratom? FUCK Kratom- what about weed bro???

Did you forget you were on Reddit ? lol

HelloMrRosenberg9 karma

Im all for MJ becoming legal nationally, While i don't consume it as it doesn't help me in any way I'm all for free choice.


I wish you the best. While I am being facetious, I also believe that as Kratom is naturally derived it is medicine just the same. Not to mention the fact that you have the right to choose how you experience this life both in body and mind

(⌒-⌒; )

HelloMrRosenberg6 karma

Thank you. :)

chickenman03210 karma

Do you like avacado?

HelloMrRosenberg1 karma

Nope, the flavor may be ok but the consistency is a bit strange to me.

pulltriger-5 karma

How do you feel that you can eat free food on Veterans day because you tortured people? Hey it is AMA

HelloMrRosenberg8 karma

Feel free to bring me up on charges of torturing someone and ill gladly stop eating at Applebees on Veterans Day.

cmbyrd6 karma

If you're eating at Applebees, you're only torturing yourself mate.

HelloMrRosenberg5 karma

Ha, Touche

pulltriger-1 karma

Wow you acctualy did reply. But ok challenge accepted

HelloMrRosenberg4 karma

Wasn't really a challenge, you asked a question and it was answered. I suspect that no matter what my response is you have your mind made up about who I am and what Ive done for work so it wouldn't really matter how long the conversation goes on now would it?

HeWhoScares-13 karma

Why does being a veteran means you should have greater rights than anyone else?

HelloMrRosenberg6 karma

It doesn't mean that at all. Should any small marginalized group not have advocates?

HeWhoScares-8 karma

How are they marginalized?

HelloMrRosenberg8 karma

Any group that represents a small portion of society will be marginalized. Veterans aren't some special group no matter how often political figures enjoy parading us on stages.