Razor wire. Orange jumpsuits. A tiny white cell. These are some of the few images the outside world associates with Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, arguably the world’s most famous prison. Well over 700 detainees from around the world have been held here and we rarely get a glimpse inside. Yet hundreds of Americans know the place intimately. Sarah Mirk spoke with two female veterans who called the base home while the military imprisoned detainees at Guantanamo’s Camp X-Ray. Their experiences shed light on how the detention system affects those who serve. While many of us can put places like Guantanamo at the back of our minds, veterans do not have that luxury.

Interviews conducted and compiled by Sarah Mirk. Illustrations by Lucy Bellwood.

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Sarah Mirk is a Portland-based journalist and online editor of national feminist magazine Bitch. In 2009, she toured England for a month with a former Guantanamo guard and several former detainees, a strange experience she chronicled on her blog Guantanamovoices.org.

Lucy Bellwood is a cartoonist and illustrator based in Portland, Oregon. She spends most of her time drawing Baggywrinkles, an autobiographical series about life on replica tall ships, but can also be found teaching dance in Portland’s blues scene or knitting intricate shawls. 

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