User:Amgine/Latest leak review

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Detainees pictured at Guantánamo Bay in 2002. The documents detail how it was difficult for detainees to protest their innocence because interrogators were told to assume any Muslim who had traveled to Afghanistan after September 11, 2001, were likely insurgents planning attacks on the U.S.
Image: U.S. military.

{{Gitmo}}A new leak of classified United States military files today discloses how many detainees at Guantánamo Bay are held on loose grounds, often with confessions gathered through torture and abuse. The documents reveal how the prison is often riddled with maltreatment and suicides, and has contained teenage and elderly inmates suffering from mental illnesses.

The documents, published by a number of media organizations around the world, present a landscape of a prison which is now focused on holding intelligence sources rather than dangerous terrorists. The files describe how a 14-year-old child, an innocent victim of a kidnapping, was held at the prison, along with an 89-year-old Afghanistan national who was suffering from senile dementia.

The U.S. has relied on intelligence from detainees who allege they were tortured, and yet officials continue to insist the information is reliable, the documents disclose. Authorities have decided Maad al-Qahtani, one prisoner who was captured in an Afghanistan cave in 2001 after allegedly serving as a bodyguard to Osama bin Laden, will never be released because he "is likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies." However, the documents indicate he confessed only under "harsh interrogation techniques in the early stages of detention."

Numerous prisoners were also held even though U.S. officials knew they were not linked with either al-Qaeda or the Taliban. One British national was held because he had previously been detained by the Taliban, and alleges he was tortured by U.S. forces to disclose what interogation techniques the Afghan militants used.

The files were obtained by the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, who planned to hand them to numerous media organizations. However, a source at Wikileaks passed them to The New York Times, who then handed them to NPR and the Guardian. The three news agencies today published the 759 files, which describe in detail almost every detainee held at the base in Cuba since it opened in 2002 in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

US President Barack Obama pledged to shut down the controversial prison camp two years ago, but 172 detainees are still held there. His failure to close the detention camp has since been seized on by some observers as one of the most embarrassing failures of his administration. The new documents will likely be another blow to U.S. authorities who manage the secretive camp, where many former inmates allege they were tortured and maltreated.

The documents detail how it was difficult for detainees to protest their innocence because interrogators were taught to presume anyone who had travelled to Afghanistan after September 11, 2001, or was wearing a specific brand of Casio watch, were likely insurgents who were planning attacks on U.S. civilians.

The files disclose how U.S. interrogators were told any Muslim who visited Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks which killed approximately 3,000 people was there "to support Osama bin Laden through direct hostilities against the U.S. forces" and claims that they had been there for any other reason, including for charity work and education, were "total fabrications". Staff were further told inmates who challenged interrogators or answered questions slowly had likely been trained by insurgents.

A photograph showing inmates arriving at the camp on buses. Almost 100 prisoners were deemed to have suffered from mental illnesses during their time at the prison camp. Many detainees were so psychologically disturbed they were decided to be unfit for questioning.
Image: U.S. Army.

Although the briefing document says many Muslims innocently travel the world, "travel to Afghanistan for charity reasons or to teach or study Islam is a known al-Qaeda/extremist cover story without credence." It continues: "Many of the detainees have developed their cover stories around mainstream Islam and the charity and goodwill of those Muslims to lend a benign appearance to their travel to Afghanistan."

Cquote1.svg He had also been deprived of adequate sleep for weeks on end, stripped naked, subjected to loud music and made to wear a leash and perform dog tricks. Cquote2.svg

U.S. Senate report on Guantánamo inmate Maad al-Qahtani

Alleged torture without trial[edit]

In the documents, the U.S. military authors claim torture of inmates has revealed accurate information, but the files also disclose how two "enemy combatants" could not be prosecuted because they had been too badly treated and abused; they both remain at the prison camp without trial. Multiple sources have confirmed the pair were tortured.

A U.S. Senate report confirms one of the men, Qahtani, was attacked by military dogs. "He had also been deprived of adequate sleep for weeks on end, stripped naked, subjected to loud music and made to wear a leash and perform dog tricks," the report stated. He was reportedly forced to sit in stress positions, and guards screamed at him, poured water on his head, and exposed him to cold temperatures. At one point he had to be rushed to hospital.

Almost 100 prisoners were deemed to have suffered from mental illnesses during their time at the prison camp. Many detainees were so psychologically disturbed they were decided to be unfit for questioning. One prisoner drank shampoo, covered himself and the walls of his cell with faeces and spat at guards. The inmate had no confirmed link with any militant group, and was released shortly after psychologists decided he was likely suffering from schizophrenia.

However, other mentally disturbed inmates were kept for far longer, attracting heavy criticism from human rights groups. Abdul Raham Houari, an Algerian, was found in 2004 to be suffering from severe brain damage; he found it diffucult to talk and understand prison staff. But rather than being released, he was held at Guantánamo for another four years, during which he attempted to commit suicide four times.

In 2008, a report by Human Rights Watch found harsh interrogative techniques could even turn innocent prisoners against the U.S. The report stated: "It is unwise and shortsighted to warehouse them in conditions that may have a damaging psychological impact, and are very likely to breed hatred and resentment of the United States over the long term."

Innocent prisoners claim abuse[edit]

Guantánamo in numbers
Guantanamo detention camp Guard Tower Septembe 12 2007.jpg


  • 779 — Total number of detainees that have been held at Guantánamo Bay since it was opened in 2002.
  • 172 — Number of inmates which are still held at Guantánamo Bay, even though Obama pledged to close it two years ago.
  • 16 — Number of the detainees still held at the containment facility who are classified as high-value to the U.S.
  • 7 — Number of prisoners who have died in captivity in Guantánamo Bay.
Source

Many prisoners were held without trial to gain intelligence about al-Qaeda and Taliban operations, even though officials knew they were not linked with militant groups. One British national, Jamal al-Harith, who converted to Islam and travelled widely throughout the Muslim world, was captured by Taliban militants in Kandahar after being suspected as being a spy. When the Taliban fled after the U.S. began bombing the city following September 11, 2001, he was advised by Red Cross personnel to stay imprisoned where he was looked after.

In January of 2002, he was found by a journalist working for The Times; the reporter alerted British diplomats in the capital, Kabul. But, instead of being flown home by British officials, Harith was detained by U.S. special forces and transported to Guantánamo Bay, where he alleges he was kept in shackles, tortured, forced to remain in stress positions, deprived of water and sleep, and given food that was up to 12 years old. The leaked documents reveal he was held purely because "he was expected to have knowledge of Taliban treatment of prisoners and interrogation tactics".

Cquote1.svg Naturally we would prefer that no legitimately classified information be released into the public domain, as by definition it can be expected to cause damage to U.S. national security. Cquote2.svg

—Spokesperson, the Pentagon

Harith alleges he was interrogated by U.S. and British officials approximately 80 times before he was recommended for release in September of 2002. However, the recommendation was denied because he had allegedly been involved in an unspecified "terrorist attack against the U.S.". He was finally released in 2004.

In another case, a journalist working for the news organization Al-Jazeera was detained at the prison camp for six years to be interrogated about internal operations at the network. One of the files says he was sent to Guantánamo "to provide information on ... the al-Jazeera news network's training programme, telecommunications equipment, and newsgathering operations in Chechnya, Kosovo and Afghanistan, including the network's acquisition of a video of [Osama bin Laden] and a subsequent interview with [bin Laden]". The cameraman, who was arrested in Pakistan, alleges he was sexually assaulted and beaten during his detention. His lawyers allege U.S. officials wanted him to become an inside informant against the news service.

The new tranche of documents is the latest set of communications between U.S. officials obtained by Wikileaks. The files were allegedly passed to Wikileaks by U.S. Army Private First Class Bradley Manning, who remains in the custody of U.S. officials after being arrested last year for reportedly leaking the files to Julian Assange, who runs the whistle-blowing website.

A spokesperson for the U.S. government attacked the release of the files, describing it as "unfortunate". The Pentagon also condemned the publishing of the documents. "Naturally we would prefer that no legitimately classified information be released into the public domain, as by definition it can be expected to cause damage to U.S. national security," a spokesperson said. "The situation with the Guantánamo detention facility is exceptionally complex and releasing any records will further complicate ongoing actions."


Sources[edit]

[[Category:Guantanamo Bay]] [[Category:Wikileaks]] [[Category:United States]] [[Category:Cuba]] [[Category:Crime and law]] [[Category:Politics and conflicts]] [[Category:Human rights]] [[Category:Barack Obama]]