American USSR

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Death to the American Empire

American USSR: War Crimes: Guantanamo Bay


America Torture Chambers at Guantanamo Bay Violates Geneva Convention, But No One in Authority Seems to Bother With That

Prisoners held at Camp Delta and Camp Echo have been labeled "illegal enemy combatants", but a number of observers such as Human Rights Watch maintain that the United States has not held the Article 5 tribunals specified by the Geneva Conventions. The International Committee of the Red Cross has stated that, "Every person in enemy hands must have some status under international law: he is either a prisoner of war and, as such, covered by the Third Convention, a civilian covered by the Fourth Convention, [or] a member of the medical personnel of the armed forces who is covered by the First Convention. There is no intermediate status; nobody in enemy hands can fall outside the law." Thus, if the detainees are not classified as prisoners of war, this would still grant them the rights of the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV), as opposed to the more common Third Geneva Convention (GCIII), which deals exclusively with prisoners of war.

A further concern is that most detainees were captured and transferred to the camp from non-U.S. soil. International laws regarding warfare would allow the United States to do so, but only if the persons can be classified as prisoners of war. Unless they are classified as prisoners of war, they fall under the protection of the GCIV and thus would qualify for protection against individual or mass forcible transfer under Article 49 of the GCIV. Because the detainees are not classified as prisoners of war, the legality of U.S. actions remains questionable. more...





(CBS)  The story that Sgt. Erik Saar, a soldier who spent three months in the interrogation rooms at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, tells Correspondent Scott Pelley paints a picture of bizarre, even sadistic, treatment of detainees in the American prison camp.

Experts in intelligence tell 60 Minutes that if what Saar says is true, some soldiers at Guantanamo have undermined the war on terror, bungling the interrogation of important prisoners.

60 Minutes also reveals previously secret emails from FBI agents at Guantanamo that warn FBI headquarters that prisoners are being tortured.

"I think the harm we are doing there far outweighs the good, and I believe it's inconsistent with American values," says Saar. "In fact, I think it's fair to say that it’s the moral antithesis of what we want to stand for as a country."

Saar volunteered for Guantanamo Bay in 2002. He was a U.S. Army linguist, an expert in Arabic, with a top-secret security clearance. He was assigned to translate during interrogations. The prisoners, about 600 in all, were mostly from the battlefields of Afghanistan. And Saar couldn’t wait to get at them after what the administration said: the men were "among the most dangerous, best-trained, vicious killers on the face of the earth."

With that in mind, Saar went to work, but he was surprised by what he found.

How many prisoners did he think were the worst of the worst – real terrorists?

"At best, I would say there were a few dozen," says Saar. "A few dozen [out of 600]."

Who were the rest of the guys? "Some of them were conscripts who actually were forced to fight for the Taliban, so actually had taken up arms against us, but had little or no choice in the matter," says Saar. "Some of them were individuals who were picked up by the Northern Alliance, and we have no idea why they were there, and we didn't know exactly what their connections were to terrorism."

Guantanamo Bay detention camp

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Guantánamo Bay is a detainment facility of the United States located in Cuba. The facility was established in 2002 by the Bush Administration to hold detainees from the war in Afghanistan and later Iraq. It is operated by the Joint Task Force Guantánamo of the United States government in Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, which is on the shore of Guantánamo Bay.[1] The detainment areas consist of three camps: Camp Delta (which includes Camp Echo), Camp Iguana, and Camp X-Ray, the last of which has been closed. The facility is often referred to as Guantánamo, or Gitmo, and has the military abbreviation GTMO.[2][3]

After the Justice Department advised that the Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp could be considered outside U.S. legal jurisdiction, the first twenty captives arrived at Guantánamo on January 11, 2002. After the Bush administration asserted that detainees were not entitled to any of the protections of the Geneva Conventions, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld on June 29, 2006, that they were entitled to the minimal protections listed under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions.[4] Following this, on July 7, 2006, the Department of Defense issued an internal memo stating that prisoners would in the future be entitled to protection under Common Article 3.[5][6][7] The detainees held as of June 2008 have been classified by the United States as "enemy combatants".

On January 22, 2009, the White House announced that President Barack Obama had signed an order to suspend the proceedings of the Guantanamo military commission for 120 days and that the detention facility would be shut down within the year.[8][9] On January 29, 2009, a military judge at Guantánamo rejected the White House request in the case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, creating an unexpected challenge for the administration as it reviews how America puts Guantánamo detainees on trial.[10]

On May 20, 2009, the United States Senate passed an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009 (H.R. 2346) by a 90-6 vote to block funds needed for the transfer or release of prisoners held at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp.[11] As of February 2011, 172 detainees remain at Guantanamo.[12]

President Obama issued a Presidential memorandum dated December 15, 2009, ordering the preparation of the Thomson Correctional Center, Thomson, Illinois so as to enable the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners there.[13]

The Final Report of the Guantanamo Review Task Force dated January 22, 2010 published the results for the 240 detainees subject to the Review: 36 were the subject of active cases or investigations; 30 detainees from Yemen were designated for 'conditional detention' due to the security environment in Yemen; 126 detainees were approved for transfer; 48 detainees were determined 'too dangerous to transfer but not feasible for prosecution'.[14] The Federation of American Scientists published a report entitled 'Enemy Combatant Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court'.[15]

On Jan 7, 2011, President Obama signed the 2011 Defense Authorization Bill which contains provisions preventing the transfer of Guantanomo prisoners to the mainland or to other foreign countries, and thus effectively stops the closure of the detention facility. However he strongly objected to the clauses and stated that he would work with Congress to oppose the measures.[16]

After the United Nations called unsuccessfully for the Guantanamo Bay detention camp to be closed, one judge observed 'America's idea of what is torture ... does not appear to coincide with that of most civilised nations'.[17]


Camp Delta is a 612-unit detention center finished in April 2002. It includes detention camps 1 through 6 as well as Camp Echo, where pre-commissions are held.[18]

Camp Iguana is a much smaller, low-security compound, located about a kilometer from the main compound. In 2002 and 2003, it housed three detainees who were under 16 and was closed when they

were flown home in January 2004. It was reopened in mid-2005 to house some of the 38 detainees who were determined by the Combatant Status Review Tribunals as no longer being "enemy combatants".

Camp X-Ray was a temporary detention facility that was closed in April 2002. Its prisoners were transferred to Camp Delta.

An Associated Press report indicates that a seventh camp, named Camp 7, is also a separate facility on the naval base. It is considered the highest-security jail on the base, and its location is classified.[19]

Operating procedures

A manual called "Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedure" (SOP), dated February 28, 2003, and designated "Unclassified//For Official Use Only", was published on Wikileaks. This is the main document for the operation of Guantánamo Bay, including the securing and treatment of detainees. The 238-page document includes procedures for identity cards and Muslim burial. It is signed by Major General Geoffrey D. Miller. The document is the subject of an ongoing legal action by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has been trying to obtain it from the Department of Defense.[20][21]

On July 2, 2008, the International Herald Tribune revealed in an article that the U.S. military trainers who came to Guantánamo Bay in December 2002 had based an entire interrogation class on a chart copied directly from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist torture techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false. The chart showed the effects of "coercive management techniques" for possible use on prisoners, including "sleep deprivation," "prolonged constraint" (also known as "stress positions"), and "exposure", all of which are imposed on U.S. as well almost all military personnel as part of standard initial training (but in isolation, except for the minority who go to advanced courses). The 1957 article from which the chart was copied, written by Alfred D. Biderman, a sociologist then working for the Air Force, was entitled "Communist Attempts to Elicit False Confessions From Air Force Prisoners of War". Other techniques used by the Chinese Communists that were listed on the chart include "Semi-Starvation," "Exploitation of Wounds," and "Filthy, Infested Surroundings," along with their effects: "Makes Victim Dependent on Interrogator," "Weakens Mental and Physical Ability to Resist," and "Reduces Prisoner to 'Animal Level' Concerns." The only change made to the chart used at Guantánamo was an altered title.[22]


Supporters of controversial techniques have declared that certain protections of the Third Geneva Convention do not apply to al-Qaeda or Taliban fighters, claiming that Article III of the Geneva convention[23] only applies to uniformed soldiers and guerrillas who wear distinctive insignia, bear arms openly, and abide by the rules of war. Jim Phillips of The Heritage Foundation has said that "some of these terrorists who are not recognized as soldiers don't deserve to be treated as soldiers."[24] Critics of U.S. policy say the government has violated the Conventions in attempting to create a distinction between "prisoners of war" and "illegal combatants."[25][26] Amnesty International has called the situation "a human rights scandal" in a series of reports.[27]

One of the allegations of abuse at the camp is the abuse of the religion of the detainees.[28][29][30][31][32][33] The U.S. government has claimed that they respect all religious and cultural sensitivities. However, prisoners released from the camp have alleged that abuse of religion including flushing the Qur'an down the toilet, defacing the Qur'an, writing comments and remarks on the Qur'an, tearing pages out of the Qur'an and denying detainees a copy of the Qur'an. These allegations were highlighted by Pakistani politician Imran Khan. Some of these abuses have been seen as emblematic of the whole military leadership's approach toward treatment of the prisoners while others argue that many abuses are performed and directed on an individual level with severe disciplinary repercussions if discovered. One of the justifications offered for the continued detention of Mesut Sen, during his Administrative Review Board hearing, was:[34]

"Emerging as a leader, the detainee has been leading the detainees around him in prayer. The detainees listen to him speak and follow his actions during prayer."

Red Cross inspectors and released detainees have alleged acts of torture,[35][36] including sleep deprivation, beatings and locking in confined and cold cells. Human rights groups argue that indefinite detention constitutes torture.[who?]

The use of Guantánamo Bay as a military prison has drawn criticism from human rights organizations and others, who cite reports that detainees have been tortured[37] or otherwise poorly treated. Supporters of the detention argue that trial review of detentions has never been afforded to prisoners of war, and that it is reasonable for enemy combatants to be detained until the cessation of hostilities.

The dental care of Guantanamo Bay detainees is good, according to the United States Department of Defense.

Prisoner complaints

Three British Muslim prisoners, now known in the media as the "Tipton Three", were released in 2004 without charge. The three have alleged ongoing torture, sexual degradation, forced drugging and religious persecution being committed by U.S. forces at Guantánamo Bay.[38] Former Guantánamo detainee Mehdi Ghezali was freed without charge on July 9, 2004, after two and a half years internment. Ghezali has claimed that he was the victim of repeated torture. Omar Deghayes alleges he was blinded by pepper spray during his detention.[39] Juma Al Dossary claims he was interrogated hundreds of times, beaten, tortured with broken glass, barbed wire, burning cigarettes, and sexual assaults.[40] David Hicks also made allegations of torture and mistreatment in Guantánamo Bay, but as part of his plea bargain Hicks withdrew the allegations.

An Associated Press report claims that some detainees were turned over to the U.S. by Afghan tribesmen in return for cash bounties[41] The first Denbeaux study reproduces copies of several of leaflets, flyers and posters the U.S. Government distributed to advertise the bounty program; some of which offered bounties of "millions of dollars".[42]

Forced feeding accusations by hunger-striking detainees began in the fall of 2005: "Detainees said large feeding tubes were forcibly shoved up their noses and down into their stomachs, with guards using the same tubes from one patient to another. The detainees say no sedatives were provided during these procedures, which they allege took place in front of U.S. physicians, including the head of the prison hospital."[43][44] "A hunger striking detainee at Guantánamo Bay wants a judge to order the removal of his feeding tube so he can be allowed to die, one of his lawyers has said."[45] Within a few weeks, the Department of Defense "extended an invitation to United Nations Special Rapporteurs to visit detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay Naval Station".[46][47] This was rejected by the U.N. considering the restrictions "that [the] three human rights officials invited to Guantánamo Bay wouldn't be allowed to conduct private interviews" with prisoners.[48] Simultaneously, media reports ensued surrounding the question of prisoner treatment.[49][50][51] "District Court Judge Gladys Kessler also ordered the U.S. government to give medical records going back a week before such feedings take place."[52] In early November 2005, the U.S. suddenly accelerated, for unknown reasons, the rate of prisoner release, but this was unsustained.[53][54][55][56]

In 2005, it was reported that sexual methods were allegedly used by female interrogators to break Muslim prisoners.[57]

In a leaked 2007 cable, a State Department official requested an interview of a released Libyan national complaining of an arm disability and tooth loss that happened during his detainment and interrogations.[58]

Suicides and suicide attempts

By 2008 there had been at least four suicides and hundreds of suicide attempts in Guantánamo that are in public knowledge.[59] There is no information available on the number suicide attempts that may be classified secret, if any.

During August 2003, there were 23 suicide attempts. The U.S. officials would not say why they had not previously reported the incident.[60] After this event the Pentagon reclassified suicides as "manipulative self-injurious behaviors" because it is alleged by camp physicians that detainees do not genuinely wish to end their lives.[61][62]

Guantánamo officials have reported 41 unsuccessful suicide attempts by 25 detainees since the U.S. began taking prisoners to the base in January 2002. Defense lawyers contend the number of suicide attempts is higher. On May 19, 2002, a UN panel said that holding detainees indefinitely at Guantánamo violated the world's ban on torture and that the United States should close the detention center. Mark Denbeaux, a law professor at Seton Hall University in New Jersey who represents two Tunisians at Guantánamo, said he believes others are candidates for suicide.[63][64]

In 2008 a video was released of an interrogation between Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer and Omar Khadr, a youth held in Guantánamo Bay, in which Khadr repeatedly cries, saying what sounds to be either "help me", "kill me" or calling for his mother, in Arabic.[65][66][67]

Reported suicides of June 2006

On June 10, 2006, three detainees were found dead, who, according to the Pentagon, "killed themselves in an apparent suicide pact".[68] Prison commander Rear Admiral Harry Harris claimed this was not an act of desperation, despite prisoners' pleas to the contrary, but rather "an act of asymmetric warfare committed against us".[63][69][70] According to a study published by Seton Hall Law's Center for Policy and Research [2] on December 7, 2009, titled "Death in Camp Delta [3]," the government's investigation does not support that these men committed suicide by hanging themselves inside of their cells.[4]

Homicide accusations

Four members of the Military Intelligence unit assigned to guard Camp Delta, including a decorated non-commissioned Army officer who was on duty as sergeant of the guard the night of June 9–10, 2006, have presented an account that contradicts the report published by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS)[71][72][73][74][75] According to its spokeswoman Laura Sweeney, the Department of Justice has disputed certain facts contained in the article about the soldiers' account, which was published by the magazine Harper's.[76]

Statements by human rights organizations

At the time, human rights groups called for an independent public inquiry into the deaths.[76] Amnesty International said the apparent suicides "are the tragic results of years of arbitrary and indefinite detention" and called the prison "an indictment" of the George W. Bush administration's human rights record.[63] Saudi Arabia's state-sponsored Saudi Human Rights group blamed the U.S. for the deaths. "There are no independent monitors at the detention camp so it is easy to pin the crime on the prisoners... it's possible they were tortured," said Mufleh al-Qahtani, the group's deputy director, in a statement to the local Al-Riyadh newspaper.[63]

Legal issues

Combatant Status Review Tribunal

On November 8, 2004, a federal court halted the proceeding of Salim Ahmed Hamdan of Yemen. Hamdan was to be the first Guantánamo detainee tried before a military commission. Judge James Robertson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the U.S. military had failed to convene a competent tribunal to determine that Hamdan was not a prisoner of war under the Geneva Conventions—specifically Article 5 of the third Geneva Convention[77]

However, a three judge panel overturned judge Robertson's ruling on Friday, July 15, 2005.[78] The panel's ruling stated that the trial by military commission could serve alone as the necessary "competent tribunal." On June 29, 2006, the Supreme Court of the United States reversed the ruling of the Court of Appeals and found that President Bush did not have authority to set up the war crimes tribunals and that the commissions were illegal under both military justice law and the Geneva Convention.[79][80] The Supreme Court reserved the question that Judge Robertson found decisive, namely it did not rule on whether detainees were entitled to an Article 5 determination.

There is a dispute over whether (and how) detaines may be incarcerated and tried. David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey claimed that the Supreme Court's Hamdan ruling affirms that the United States is engaged in a legally cognizable armed conflict to which the laws of war apply. It may hold captured al Qaeda and Taliban operatives throughout that conflict, without granting them a criminal trial, and is also entitled to try them in the military justice system—including by military commission.[81]

The Supreme Court in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld has not required that neither members of al Qaeda nor their allies, including members of the Taliban, must be granted POW status. [5] However, the Supreme Court stated that the Geneva Conventions, most notably the Third Geneva Convention and Article 3 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (requiring humane treatment) applies to all detainees in the War on Terror. In July 2004, following Hamdi v. Rumsfeld—ruling the Bush administration began using Combatant Status Review Tribunals to determine whether the detainees could be held as "enemy combatants".[82]

The ruling also disagreed with the administration's view that the laws and customs of war did not apply to the U.S. armed conflict with Al Qaeda fighters during the 2001 U.S. invasion of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, stating that Article 3 common to all the Geneva Conventions applied in such a situation, which—among other things—requires fair trials for prisoners. Common Article 3 applies in "wars not of an international character" (i.e., civil wars) in a signatory to the Geneva Conventions—in this case the civil war in signatory Afghanistan. It is likely that the Bush administration may now be forced to try detainees held as part of the "war on terror" either by court martial (as U.S. troops and prisoners of war are) or by civilian federal court. However, Bush has indicated that he may seek an Act of Congress authorizing military commissions.

On January 31, 2005, Washington federal judge Joyce Hens Green ruled that the Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT) held to confirm the status of the prisoners in Guantánamo as "enemy combatants" was "unconstitutional", and that they were entitled to the rights granted by the Constitution of the United States of America. The Combatant Status Reviews were completed in March 2005. Thirty-eight of the detainees were found not to be combatants. On March 29, 2005, the dossier of Murat Kurnaz was accidentally declassified. Kurnaz was one of the 500-plus detainees the reviews had determined was an "enemy combatant". Critics found that his dossier contained over a hundred pages of reports of investigations that had found no ties to terrorists or terrorism whatsoever. It contained one memo that said Kurnaz had a tie to a suicide bomber. Judge Green said this memo "fails to provide significant details to support its conclusory allegations, does not reveal the sources for its information and is contradicted by other evidence in the record."

Eugene R. Fidell, who The Washington Post called a Washington-based expert in military law, said that "It suggests the procedure is a sham; if a case like that can get through, then the merest scintilla of evidence against someone would carry the day for the government, even if there's a mountain of evidence on the other side."[83] Another detainee, Fawaz Mahdi, was determined by a CSRT to be an enemy combatant despite the fact that the CSRT (and Fawaz' lawyer) observed that he suffers a form of mental illness and that the only evidence for determining his status was his own statement.[84]

Besides convening Combatant Status Review Tribunals the Department of Defense initiated a similar, annual review. Like the CSRT the Board did not have a mandate to review whether detainees qualified for POW status under the Geneva Conventions. The Board's mandate was to consider the factors for and against the continued detention of captives, and make a recommendation either for their retention, or their release or their transfer to the custody of their country of origin. The first set of annual reviews considered the dossiers of 463 captives. The first board met between December 14, 2004, and December 23, 2005. The Board recommended the release of 14 detainees, and repatriation of 120 detainees to the custody of their country of origin.

In September 2006, President Bush announced that fourteen suspected terrorists are to be transferred to the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp and admitted that these suspects have been held in CIA black sites.[85][86] None of the 14 top figures transferred to Guantanamo from CIA custody had been charged until September 11, 2006.[87]

June 12, 2008, Supreme Court ruling

On June 12, 2008, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Boumediene v. Bush that the Guantanamo captives were entitled to the protection of the United States Constitution.[88][89][90][91] Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, described the SCR Tribunals as "an inadequate substitute for habeas corpus" although "both the DTA and the SCRT process remain intact."[92]

On October 21, 2008, United States district court Judge Richard J. Leon ordered the release of the five Algerians held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the continued detention of a sixth, Belkacem Bensayah. The Court ruled: "To allow enemy combatancy to rest on so thin a reed would be inconsistent with this court's obligation; the court must and will grant their petitions and order their release. This is a unique case. Few if any others will be factually like it. Nobody should be lulled into a false sense that all of the... cases will look like this one."[93][94][95][96]

Other court rulings

On January 10, 2004, 175 members of both houses of Parliament in the UK had filed an amici curiae brief to support the detainees' access to U.S. jurisdiction.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the case of Al Odah v. United States on December 5, 2007. Plaintiffs in the case argue that Guantanamo detainees deserve the right to habeas corpus and that the U.S. court system, not the military CSRT system, should have jurisdiction in such cases. On June 12, 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that detainees do have the right to challenge their detention in civilian courts, overturning a 2006 law that abridged such rights.[97]

On February 23, 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the Southern District of New York ordered the Defense Department to release uncensored transcripts of detainee hearings that contained identifying information for detainees in custody as well as the names of those who have been held and later released. The U.S. military has never officially released even the names of any detainees except the ten who have been charged. The U.S. Defense Department immediately said it would obey the judge's order.[98] The names of only 317 of the about 500 alleged enemy combatants being held in Guantánamo Bay were released by the Department of Defense on March 3, 2006. Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman justified withholding the names out of a concern for the detainees' privacy, although Judge Rakoff had already dismissed this argument.[99][100][101]

French judge Jean-Claude Kross September 27, 2006, postponed a verdict in the trial of six former Guantanamo Bay detainees accused of attending combat training at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan, saying the court needs more information on French intelligence missions to Guantanamo. Defense lawyers for the six men, all French nationals, accuse the French government of colluding with U.S. authorities over the detentions and seeking to use inadmissible evidence obtained through Secret Service interviews with the detainees without their lawyers present. Kross scheduled new hearings for May 2, 2007, calling the former head of counterterrorism at the French Direction de la surveillance du territoire intelligence agency [official backgrounder] to testify.[102]

Starting November 16, 2009, in compliance with a court ruling from 2008, dozens of suspects are pleading for their freedom from the Guantanamo Bay prison, sometimes even testifying on their own behalf by video from the U.S. naval base in Cuba. Fifteen Federal judges have found the government's evidence against 30 detainees wanting and ordered their release. That number could rise significantly because the judges are on track to hear challenges from dozens more prisoners.[103]

International law

In April 2004, Cuban diplomats tabled a United Nations resolution calling for a UN investigation of Guantanamo Bay.[104]

In May 2007, Martin Scheinin, a United Nations rapporteur on rights in countering terrorism, released a preliminary report for the United Nations Human Rights Council. The report stated the United States violated international law, particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, that the Bush Administration could not try such prisoners as enemy combatants in a military tribunal and could not deny them access to the evidence used against them.[105] Echo have been labeled "illegal" or "unlawful enemy combatants," but several observers such as the Center for Constitutional Rights and Human Rights Watch maintain that the United States has not held the Article 5 tribunals required by the Geneva Conventions.[106] The International Committee of the Red Cross has stated that, "Every person in enemy hands must have some status under international law: he is either a prisoner of war and, as such, covered by the Third Convention, a civilian covered by the Fourth Convention, [or] a member of the medical personnel of the armed forces who is covered by the First Convention. There is no intermediate status; nobody in enemy hands can fall outside the law." Thus, if the detainees are not classified as prisoners of war, this would still grant them the rights of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as opposed to the more common Third Geneva Convention, which deals exclusively with prisoners of war. A U.S. court has rejected this argument, as it applies to detainees from al Qaeda.[26] Henry King, Jr., a prosecutor for the Nuremberg Trials, has argued that the type of tribunals at Guantanamo Bay "violates the Nuremberg principles" and that they are against "the spirit of the Geneva Conventions of 1949."[107]

Many supporters have argued for the summary execution of all unlawful combatants, using Ex parte Quirin as the precedent, a case during World War II that upheld the use of military tribunals for eight German soldiers caught on U.S. soil. The Germans were deemed to be saboteurs and unlawful combatants, and thus not entitled to POW protections, and six were eventually executed for war crimes on request of the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt. The validity of this case, as basis for denying prisoners in the War on Terrorism protection by the Geneva Conventions, has been disputed.[108][109][110]

A report by the American Bar Association commenting on this case, states that the Quirin case "... does not stand for the proposition that detainees may be held incommunicado and denied access to counsel." The report notes that the Quirin defendants could seek review and were represented by counsel.[111]

Guantanamo military commission

The American Bar Association announced that: "In response to the unprecedented attacks of September 11, on November 13, 2001, the President announced that certain non-citizens (of the USA) would be subject to detention and trial by military authorities. The order provides that non-citizens whom the government deems to be, or to have been, members of the al Qaida organization or to have engaged in, aided or abetted, or conspired to commit acts of international terrorism that have caused, threaten to cause, or have as their aim to cause, injury to or adverse effects on the United States or its citizens, or to have knowingly harbored such individuals, are subject to detention by military authorities and trial before a military commission."[112]

On September 28 and September 29, 2006, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, respectively, passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, a controversial bill that allows the President to designate certain people with the status of "unlawful enemy combatants" thus making them subject to military commissions, where they have fewer civil rights than in regular trials.

Release of prisoners

In late January 2004, U.S. officials released three children aged 13 to 15 and returned them to Afghanistan. In March 2004, twenty-three adult prisoners were released to Afghanistan, five were released to the United Kingdom (the final four British detainees were released in January 2005), and three were sent to Pakistan.

On July 27, 2004, four French detainees were repatriated and remanded in custody by the French intelligence agency Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire.[113] The remaining three French detainees were released in March 2005.[114]

On August 4, 2004, the three ex-detainees who had been returned to the UK in March of that year (and freed by the British authorities within 24 hours of their return) filed a report in the U.S. claiming persistent severe abuse at the camp, of themselves and others.[115] They claimed that false confessions were extracted from them under duress, in conditions that amounted to torture. They alleged that conditions deteriorated when Major General Geoffrey D. Miller took charge of the camp, including increased periods of solitary confinement for the detainees. They claimed that the abuse took place with the knowledge of the intelligence forces. Their claims are currently being investigated by the British government. There are five British residents remaining: Bisher Amin Khalil Al-Rawi, Jamil al Banna, Shaker Abdur-Raheem Aamer, Jamal Abdullah and Omar Deghayes.[116]

Of two dozen Uyghur detainees at Guantanamo Bay, The Washington Post reported on August 25, 2005, fifteen were found not to be "enemy combatants."[117] These Uyghurs remained in detention, however, because the United States refused to return them to China, fearing that China would "imprison, persecute or torture them"; U.S. officials note that their overtures to approximately 20 countries to grant the individuals asylum have thus far been rebuked, leaving the prisoners no place to be released to.[117] On 5 May 2005, five Uyghurs were transported to refugee camps in Albania, and the Department of Justice filed an "Emergency Motion to Dismiss as Moot" on the same day.[118][119] One of the Uyghurs' lawyers characterized the sudden transfer as an attempt "to avoid having to answer in court for keeping innocent men in jail".[120][121]

In August 2006, Murat Kurnaz was released from Guantánamo.[122]

Airat Vakhitov and Rustam Akhmyarov, two Russian nationals captured in Afghanistan in December 2001 (in a Taliban prison, in Vakhitov's case) and released from Guantánamo in 2004, were arrested by Russian authorities in Moscow on August 27, 2005, for allegedly preparing a series of attacks in Russia. According to authorities, Vakhitov was using a local human rights group as cover for his activities.[123] They were released on September 2, 2005, and no charges were pressed.[124]

U.S. officials have claimed that some of the released prisoners returned to the battlefield. According to Dick Cheney, these captives tricked their interrogators about their real identity and made them think they were harmless villagers, and thus they were able to "return to the battlefield".[125] One released detainee, Abdallah Salih al-Ajmi, a Kuwaiti, committed a successful suicide attack in Mosul, on March 25, 2008. Al-Ajmi had been repatriated from Guantanamo in 2005, and transferred to Kuwaiti custody. A Kuwaiti court later acquitted him of terrorism charges.[126][127][128] On January 13, 2009, the Pentagon said that it had evidence that 18 former detainees have had direct involvement in terrorist activities.[129] The Pentagon said that another 43 former detainees have "a plausible link with terrorist activities" according to its intelligence sources.[129] National security expert and CNN analyst Peter Bergen, states that some of those "suspected" to have returned to terrorism are so categorized because they publicly made anti-American statements, "something that's not surprising if you've been locked up in a U.S. prison camp for several years." If all 18 people on the "confirmed" list have "returned" to the battlefield, that would amount to 4 percent of the detainees who have been released.[130]

As of June 15, 2009, Guantanamo held more than 220 detainees.[131]

The United States is negotiating with Palau to accept a group of innocent Chinese Uyghur Muslims held at the Guantanamo Bay. [132]

The Department of Justice announced on June 12, 2009, that Saudi Arabia had accepted three.[131] The same week, one detainee was released to Iraq, and one to Chad.[131]

Also that week, four Uyghur detainees were released in Bermuda.[131] On June 11, 2009, the U.S. Government negotiated a deal in secret with the Bermudian Premier, Doctor Ewart Brown to release 4 Uyghur detainees to Bermuda, an overseas territory of the UK. The detainees were flown into Bermuda under the cover of darkness. The U.S. purposely kept the information of this transfer secret from the UK, which handles all foreign affairs and security issues for Bermuda, as it was feared that the deal would collapse with their involvement. The story was leaked by the U.S. media, at which time Premier Brown was forced to hold a national address to inform the people of Bermuda. The move was met with immediate distaste from Bermudians as well as irate the UK Government, prompting an informal review by the UK Government and a tabled vote of no confidence by the Bermudian opposition part, the UBP, in Premier Brown. It is currently being decided if the decision to have the Uyghur detainees remain in Bermuda is to be overruled by the UK Government.[133]

Italy agreed on June 15, 2009, to accept three prisoners.[131] Ireland agreed on July 29, 2009, to accept two prisoners. The same day, the European Union said that its member states would accept some detainees.[131] In January 2011 WikiLeaks revealed that Switzerland accepted several Guantanamo detainees as a quid pro quo with the US to limit a multi-billion tax probe against Swiss banking group UBS.[134]

In December 2009 it was listed that since 2002 more than 550 detainees had departed Guantanamo Bay for other destinations, including Albania, Algeria, Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bahrain, Belgium, Bermuda, Chad, Denmark, Egypt, France, Hungary, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Mauritania, Morocco, Pakistan, Palau, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Uganda, United Kingdom and Yemen.

The Guantanamo Review Task Force issued a Final Report January 22, 2010,[135] but did not publicly release it until May 28, 2010.[136] The report recommended releasing 126 current detainees to their homes or to a third country, 36 be prosecuted in either federal court or a military commission, and 48 be held indefinitely under the laws of war.[137] In addition, 30 Yemenis were approved for release if security conditions in their home country improve.[136]

NGO reports

On November 30, 2009, The New York Times published excerpts from an internal memo leaked from the U.S. administration,[138] referring to a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The ICRC reports of several activities that, it said, were "tantamount to torture": exposure to loud noise or music, prolonged extreme temperatures, or beatings. It also reported that a Behavioral Science Consultation Team (BSCT), also called 'Biscuit,' and military physicians communicated confidential medical information to the interrogation teams (weaknesses, phobias, etc.), resulting in the prisoners losing confidence in their medical care.

Access of the ICRC to the base was conditional, as is normal for ICRC humanitarian operations, on the confidentiality of their report; sources have reported heated debates had taken place at the ICRC headquarters, as some of those involved wanted to make the report public, or confront the U.S. administration. The newspaper said the administration and the Pentagon had seen the ICRC report in July 2004 but rejected its findings.[139][140] The story was originally reported in several newspapers, including The Guardian,[141] and the ICRC reacted to the article when the report was leaked in May.[142]

In a foreword[143] to Amnesty International's International Report 2005,[144] the Secretary General, Irene Khan, made a passing reference to the Guantánamo Bay prison as "the gulag of our times," breaking an internal AI policy on not comparing different human rights abuses. The report reflected ongoing claims of prisoner abuse at Guantánamo and other military prisons.[145][146][147]

A number of children are interned at Guantanamo Bay, in apparent contravention of international law.[148]

Criticism and condemnation

Amnesty International protests the detentions using a mock cell and prison outfits

European Union members and the Organization of American States, as well as non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have protested the legal status and physical condition of detainees at Guantánamo. The human rights organization Human Rights Watch has criticized the Bush administration over this designation in its 2003 world report, stating: "Washington has ignored human rights standards in its own treatment of terrorism suspects. It has refused to apply the Geneva Conventions to prisoners of war from Afghanistan, and has misused the designation of 'illegal combatant' to apply to criminal suspects on U.S. soil." On May 25, 2005, Amnesty International released its annual report calling the facility the "gulag of our times".[149] [150] Lord Steyn called it "a monstrous failure of justice," because "... The military will act as interrogators, prosecutors and defense counsel, judges, and when death sentences are imposed, as executioners. The trials will be held in private. None of the guarantees of a fair trial need be observed."[151]

Another senior British Judge, Justice Collins, said of the detention centre: "America's idea of what is torture is not the same as the United Kingdom's."[152] At the beginning of December 2003, there were media reports that military lawyers appointed to defend alleged terrorists being held by the United States at Guantánamo Bay had expressed concern about the legal process for military commissions. The Guardian newspaper from the United Kingdom[153] reported that a team of lawyers was dismissed after complaining that the rules for the forthcoming military commissions prohibited them from properly representing their clients. New York's Vanity Fair reported that some of the lawyers felt their ethical obligations were being violated by the process. The Pentagon strongly denied the claims in these media reports. It was reported on May 5, 2007, that many lawyers were sent back and some detainees refuse to see their lawyers, while others decline mail from their lawyers or refuse to provide them information on their cases.[154]

The New York Times and other newspapers are critical of the camp; columnist Thomas Friedman urged George W. Bush to "just shut it down", calling Camp Delta "... worse than an embarrassment."[155] Another New York Times editorial supported Friedman's proposal, arguing that Guantánamo is part of "... a chain of shadowy detention camps that includes Abu Ghraib in Iraq, the military prison at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and other secret locations run by the intelligence agencies" that are "part of a tightly linked global detention system with no accountability in law."[156]

In November 2005, a group of experts from the United Nations Commission on Human Rights called off their visit to Camp Delta, originally scheduled for December 6, saying that the United States was not allowing them to conduct private interviews with the prisoners. "Since the Americans have not accepted the minimum requirements for such a visit, we must cancel [it]," Manfred Nowak, the UN envoy in charge of investigating torture allegations around the world, told AFP. The group, nevertheless, stated its intention to write a report on conditions at the prison based on eyewitness accounts from released detainees, meetings with lawyers and information from human rights groups.[157][158]

In February 2006, the UN group released its report, which called on the U.S. either to try or release all suspected terrorists. The report, issued by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, has the subtitle Situation of detainees at Guantánamo Bay. This includes, as an appendix, the U.S. ambassador's reply to the draft versions of the report in which he restates the U.S. government's position on the detainees.[159]

European leaders have also voiced their opposition to the internment center. On January 13, 2006, German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized the U.S. detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay: "An institution like Guantánamo, in its present form, cannot and must not exist in the long term. We must find different ways of dealing with prisoners. As far as I'm concerned, there's no question about that," she declared in a January 9 interview to Der Spiegel.[160][dead link][161] Meanwhile in the UK, Peter Hain, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, stated during a live broadcast of Question Time (February 16, 2006) that: "I would prefer that it wasn't there and I would prefer it was closed." His cabinet colleague and Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, declared the following day that the centre was "an anomaly and sooner or later it's got to be dealt with."[162]

On March 10, 2006, a letter in The Lancet was published, signed by more than 250 medical experts urging the United States to stop force-feeding of detainees and close down the prison. Force-feeding is specifically prohibited by the World Medical Association force-feeding declarations of Tokyo and Malta, to which the American Medical Association is a signatory. Dr David Nicholl who had initiated the letter stated that the definition of torture as only actions that cause "death or major organ failure" was "not a definition anyone on the planet is using".[163][164]

There has also been significant criticism from Arab leaders: on May 6, 2005, prominent Kuwaiti parliamentarian Waleed Al Tabtabaie demanded that U.S. President Bush "uncover what is going on inside Guantánamo," allow family visits to the hundreds of Muslim detainees there, and allow an independent investigation of detention conditions.[165]

In May 2006, the Attorney General for England and Wales Lord Goldsmith said the camp's existence was "unacceptable" and tarnished the U.S. traditions of liberty and justice. "The historic tradition of the United States as a beacon of freedom, liberty and of justice deserves the removal of this symbol," he said.[166] Also in May 2006, the UN Committee against Torture condemned prisoners' treatment at Guantánamo Bay, noted that indefinite detention constitutes per se a violation of the UN Convention Against Torture, and called on the U.S. to shut down the Guantanamo facility.[167][168] In June 2006, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in support of a motion urging the United States to close the camp.[169]

In June 2006, U.S. Senator Arlen Specter stated that the arrests of most of the roughly 500 prisoners held there were based on "the flimsiest sort of hearsay".[170] In September 2006, the UK's Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, who heads the UK's legal system, went further than previous British government statements, condemning the existence of the camp as a "shocking affront to democracy". Lord Falconer, who said he was expressing Government policy, made the comments in a lecture at the Supreme Court of New South Wales.[171] According to former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell: "Essentially, we have shaken the belief the world had in America's justice system by keeping a place like Guantánamo open and creating things like the military commission. We don't need it and it is causing us far more damage than any good we get for it." [172]

A pair of Canadian demonstrators in 2008.

In March 2007, a group of British Parliamentarians formed an All-party parliamentary group to campaign against Guantánamo Bay.[6] The group is made up of Members of Parliament and peers from each of the main British political parties, and is chaired by Sarah Teather with Des Turner and Richard Shepherd acting as Vice Chairs. The Group was launched with an Ambassadors' Reception in the House of Commons, bringing together a large group of lawyers, non-governmental organizations and governments with an interest in seeing the camp closed. On April 26, 2007, there was a debate in the United States Senate over the detainees at Guantánamo Bay that ended in a draw, with Democrats urging action on the prisoners' behalf but running into stiff opposition from Republicans.[173]

Some visitors to Guantánamo have expressed more positive views on the camp. Alain Grignard, who visited Gitmo in 2006, objected to the detainees' legal status but declared that "it is a model prison, where people are better treated than in Belgian prisons."[174] Grignard, then deputy head of Brussels' federal police anti-terrorism unit, served as expert on a trip by a group of lawmakers from the assembly of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). "I know no Belgian prison where each inmate receives its Muslim kit," Mr Grignard said.

According to polls conducted by the Program on International Policy (PIP) attitudes, "Large majorities in Germany and Great Britain, and pluralities in Poland and India, believe the United States has committed violations of international law at its prison on Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, including the use of torture in interrogations." PIP found a marked decrease in the perception of the U.S. as a leader of human rights as a result of the international community's opposition to the Guantánamo prison.[175] A 2006 poll conducted by the BBC World Service together with GlobeScan in 26 countries found that 69% of respondents disapprove of the Guantánamo prison and the U.S. treatment of detainees.[176] American actions in Guantánamo, coupled with the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal, are considered major factors in the decline of the U.S.'s image abroad.[177]

Michael Lehnert, who as a U.S. Marine Brigadier General helped establish the center and was its first commander for 90 days, has stated that was dismayed at what happened after he was replaced by a U.S. Army commander. Lehnert stated that he had ensured that the detainees would be treated humanely and was disappointed that his successors allowed harsh interrogations to take place. Said Lehnert, "I think we lost the moral high ground. For those who do not think much of the moral high ground, that is not that significant. But for those who think our standing in the international community is important, we need to stand for American values. You have to walk the walk, talk the talk."[178]

In 2010, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, a former aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell, stated in an affidavit that top U.S. officials, including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld, had known that the majority of the detainees initially sent to Guantánamo were innocent, but that the detainees had been kept there for reasons of political expedience.[179][180] Wilkerson's statement was submitted in connection with a lawsuit filed in federal district court by former detainee Adel Hassan Hamad against the United States government and several individual officials.

Media coverage

According to a June 21, 2005, New York Times opinion article,[181] on July 29, 2004, an FBI agent was quoted as saying, "On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves and had been left there for 18, 24 hours or more." Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt, who headed the probe into FBI accounts of abuse of Guantánamo prisoners by Defense Department personnel, concluded the man (a Saudi, described as the "20th hijacker") was subjected to "abusive and degrading treatment" by "the cumulative effect of creative, persistent and lengthy interrogations." The techniques used were authorized by the Pentagon, he said.[182] Many of the released prisoners have complained of enduring beatings, sleep deprivation, prolonged constraint in uncomfortable positions, prolonged hooding, sexual and cultural humiliation, forced injections, and other physical and psychological mistreatment during their detention in Camp Delta.

Some ex-prisoners in interviews at their homes, weeks after being released, talked of what they said was the overwhelming feeling of injustice among the approximately 680 men detained indefinitely at Guantánamo Bay.

Quotes from ex-prisoners:

"I was trying to kill myself", said Shah Muhammad, 20, a Pakistani who was captured in northern Afghanistan in November 2001, handed over to American soldiers and flown to Guantánamo in January 2002. "I tried four times, because I was disgusted with my life."
"We needed more blankets, but they would not listen", he said.[183] The U.S. government has denied all of the above charges, but on May 9, 2004, The Washington Post publicized classified documents that showed Pentagon approval of using sleep deprivation, exposure to hot and cold, bright lights, and loud music during interrogations at Guantánamo.[184][185]

Spc. Sean Baker, a soldier posing as a prisoner during training exercises at the camp, was beaten so severely that he suffered a brain injury and seizures.[186] In June 2004, The New York Times reported that of the nearly 600 detainees not more than two dozen were closely linked to al-Qaeda and that only very limited information could have been received from questionings. The only top terrorist is reportedly Mohammed al Qahtani from Saudi Arabia, who is believed to have planned to participate in the September 11 attacks in 2001.[187]

The International Committee of the Red Cross inspected the camp in June 2004. In a confidential report issued in July 2004 and leaked to The New York Times in November 2004, Red Cross inspectors accused the U.S. military of using "humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes, use of forced positions" against prisoners. The inspectors concluded that "the construction of such a system, whose stated purpose is the production of intelligence, cannot be considered other than an intentional system of cruel, unusual and degrading treatment and a form of torture." The United States Government has reportedly rejected the Red Cross findings.[138][140][142]

The Washington Post in a May 8, 2004, article describes a set of interrogation techniques approved for use in interrogating alleged terrorists at Guantánamo Bay that are said by Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, to be cruel and inhumane treatment illegal under the U.S. Constitution.[188] On June 15, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski at the centre of the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse in Iraq said she was told from the top to treat detainees like dogs "as it is done in Guantánamo [Camp Delta]." The former commander of Camp X-Ray, Geoffrey Miller, was the person brought in to deal with the inquiry into the alleged abuses at Abu Ghraib in Iraq during the Allied occupation. Ex-detainees of the Camp have made serious allegations, including alleging Geoffrey Miller's complicity in abuse at Camp X-Ray.

The book, Inside the Wire by Erik Saar and Viveca Novak also claims to reveal the abuse of prisoners. Saar, a former U.S. soldier, repeats allegations that a female interrogator taunted prisoners sexually and in one instance wiped what seemed to be menstrual blood on the detainee.[189] Other instances of beatings by the immediate reaction force (IRF) have been reported in the book.

An FBI email from December 2003, six months after Saar had left, said that the Defense Department interrogators at Guantánamo had impersonated FBI agents while using "torture techniques" on a detainee.[190]

In an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer in June 2005, Dick Cheney defended the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo: "There isn't any other nation in the world that would treat people who were determined to kill Americans the way we're treating these people. They're living in the tropics. They're well fed. They've got everything they could possibly want.".[191]

The United States government, through the State Department, makes periodic reports to the United Nations Committee Against Torture. In October 2005, the report focused on pretrial detention of suspects in the "War on Terrorism", including those held in Guantánamo Bay. This particular Periodic Report is significant as the first official response of the U.S. government to allegations that prisoners are mistreated in Guantánamo Bay. The report denies the allegations but does describe in detail several instances of misconduct that did not arise to the level of substantial abuse, as well as the training and punishments given to the perpetrators.

Government and military inquiries

Senior law enforcement agents with the Criminal Investigation Task Force told in 2006 that they began to complain inside the Defense Department in 2002 that the interrogation tactics used by a separate team of intelligence investigators were unproductive, not likely to produce reliable information and probably illegal. Unable to get satisfaction from the Army commanders running the detainee camp, they took their concerns to David Brant, director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), who alerted Navy General Counsel Alberto J. Mora.[192]

General Counsel Mora and Navy Judge Advocate General Michael Lohr believed the detainee treatment to be unlawful and campaigned among other top lawyers and officials in the Defense Department to investigate, and to provide clear standards prohibiting coercive interrogation tactics.[193] In response, on January 15, 2003, Donald Rumsfeld suspended the approved interrogation tactics at Guantánamo until a new set of guidelines could be produced by a working group headed by General Counsel of the Air Force Mary Walker. The working group based its new guidelines on a legal memo from the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel written by John Yoo and signed by Jay S. Bybee, which would later become widely known as the "Torture Memo". General Counsel Mora led a faction of the Working Group in arguing against these standards, and argued the issues with Yoo in person. The working group's final report, was signed and delivered to Guantánamo without the knowledge of Mora and the others who had opposed its content. Nonetheless, Mora has maintained that detainee treatment has been consistent with the law since the January 15, 2003, suspension of previously approved interrogation tactics.[194]

On May 1, 2005, The New York Times reported on an ongoing high-level military investigation into accusations of detainee abuse at Guantánamo, conducted by Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt of the Air Force, and dealing with: "accounts by agents for the Federal Bureau of Investigation who complained after witnessing detainees subjected to several forms of harsh treatment. The F.B.I. agents wrote in memorandums that were never meant to be disclosed publicly that they had seen female interrogators forcibly squeeze male prisoners' genitals, and that they had witnessed other detainees stripped and shackled low to the floor for many hours."[195][196]

In June 2005, the United States House Committee on Armed Services visited the camp and described it as a "resort" and complimented the quality of the food. However Democratic members of the committee complained that Republicans had blocked the testimony of attorneys representing the prisoners.[197]

On July 12, 2005, members of a military panel told the committee that they proposed disciplining prison commander Army Major General Geoffrey Miller over the interrogation of Mohamed al-Kahtani who was forced to wear a bra, dance with another man and threatened with dogs. The recommendation was overruled by General Bantz J. Craddock, commander of U.S. Southern Command, who referred the matter to the Army's inspector general.

Rendition flights

A 2010 Amnesty International report presents evidence of how Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Sweden and the cooperated in rendition and detention activities.[198] Cables released by WikiLeaks show that Turkey cooperated as well.[199]

Obama's plan to close the camps

During his 2008 Presidential campaign, Barack Obama described Guantanamo as a "sad chapter in American history" and promised to close down the prison in 2009. After being elected, Obama reiterated his campaign promise on 60 Minutes and the ABC program "This Week."[200]

On January 22, 2009, President Obama stated that he ordered the government to suspend prosecutions of Guantanamo Bay detainees for 120 days to review all the detainees' cases to determine whether and how each detainee should be prosecuted. A day later, Obama signed an executive order stating that Guantanamo Detention Camp would be closed within the year.[201] His plan encountered a setback, however, when incoming officials of his administration discovered that there were no comprehensive files concerning many of the detainees, so that merely assembling the available evidence about them could take weeks or months.[202] In May, Obama announced that the prosecutions would be revived [7] In November 2009, President Obama admitted that the "specific deadline" he had set for closure of the Guantanamo Bay camp would be "missed." He said the camp would probably be closed later in 2010, but did not set a specific deadline.[203][204]

Carol Rosenberg, writing in The Miami Herald, reports that the camps will not be immediately dismantled, when the captives are released or transferred, due to ongoing cases alleging abuse of captives.[205]

In 2009 the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility in Standish, Michigan, were being considered as the United States site for more than 220 prisoners. Kansas public officials including both of its senators and governor have objected. [206] However many in Standish where the unemployment rate is 17% are reported to be welcoming the move.[207]

However, President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum dated December 15, 2009, formally closing the detention center and ordering the transfer of prisoners to the Thomson Correctional Center, Thomson, Illinois.[13] Attorney Marc Falkoff, who represents some of the Yemeni detainees, said that his clients might prefer to remain in Guantanamo rather than move into the more stark conditions at Thomson.[208]

Media representations

See also


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  2. ^ Guantanamo Bay prisoners plant seeds of hope in secret garden, The Independent, April 29, 2006 -- mirror
  3. ^ Alberto J. Mora (July 7, 2004). "Statement for the record: Office of General Counsel involvement in interrogation issues". United States Navy. Retrieved 2007-05-27. 
  4. ^ "Hamdan v. Rumsfeld" (PDF). June 29 2006. Retrieved 2007-02-10. 
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  7. ^ "White House Changes Gitmo Policy". CBS News. 2006-07-11. 
  8. ^ Mazzetti, Mark; Glaberson, William (2009-01-21). "Obama Issues Directive to Shut Down Guantánamo". NY Times. Retrieved May 4, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Closure Of Guantanamo Detention Facilities". 2009-01-22. Retrieved 2009-01-27. 
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  34. ^ Factors for and against the continued detention (.pdf), of Mesut Sen Administrative Review Board, January 25, 2005 - page 1
  35. ^ In court filings made public in January 2007, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents reported that they observed a few detainees at Guantánamo Bay who were: chained in a fetal position on the floor; subjected to extremes of temperature; one was gagged with duct tape; one was rubbing his legs a possible result of being held in a stress position while shackled; one was shackled in a baseball catcher's position; and subjected to loud music and flashing floodlights for more than twenty four hours in a bare six foot by eight foot cell. One Boston agent reported that she observed two incidents that she described as, "personally very upsetting to me," of two detainees chained in a fetal position between 18 to 24 hours that had urinated and defecated on themselves. Former Turkish-German Guantánamo bay prisoner Murat Kurnaz reports about systematic torture there in his book "Five years of my life." (available in German language).
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