Former Guantanamo Bay chief of staff to speak on campus tonight

Capt. Patrick Rabun, the former U.S. Navy Chief of Staff for Joint Task Force (JTF) in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will give a personal account of his experiences at the controversial military base tonight.

Rabun volunteered as chief of staff for JTF Guantanamo Bay for nine months and is now commanding officer and professor of naval science for Naval ROTC at the University of San Diego.

Assistant professor of criminal justice Michael Bachmann said he invited Rabun to be a guest speaker after he learned Rabun’s daughter is a TCU student and she shared information about her father’s work.

According to the JTF Guantanamo Bay website, the mission of JTF is to conduct safe, humane, legal and transparent care and custody of detained enemy combatants, as well as collect intelligence and support for military commissions.

Rabun will mainly be discussing issues surrounding the conditions of Guantanamo Bay and the treatment of detainees.

According to an article by the Congressional Quarterly Researcher, the controversy over the treatment of Guantanamo detainees stems from disputes over the application of the Geneva Convention for detainees. The Geneva Convention is the set of treaties that determine military conduct during a time of war, including the treatment of prisoners and civilians. Interrogation methods at Guantanamo Bay have included “waterboarding,” sleep deprivation, and threatening prisoners with dogs.

In this regard, many view Guantanamo Bay as a hot-button topic.

Patrick Kinkade, associate professor of criminal justice, said he views Rabun’s lecture as “a unique opportunity to gain insight into the back stage operations of a policy that gained a lot of notoriety, not only in this country but the world at large.”

Rabun will also address the challenges to the guard force and explain what the JTF mission entails.

Bachmann said he hopes through Rabun’s lecture students are able to engage in a more general discussion about implications concerning constitutional rights and the legality of different types of confinement. 

“The importance of having such a discussion with our criminal justice students cannot be overemphasized, because the stakes for the U.S. criminal justice system and for the future of our long-standing tradition of constitutional due process protections are enormous,” he said.

Rabun’s lecture is being presented by the AddRan College of Liberal Arts and the department of criminal justice.

Rabun will speak at 6 p.m. on Thursday in the Sid Richardson Lecture Hall No. 1.

There will be a question-and-answer period following the lecture.