Guantanamo Bay detention camp

Guantanamo Bay detention camp

The Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp is a controversial [ [ Guantanamo controversy rumbles on] ] United States detention center operated by Joint Task Force Guantanamo since 2002 in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which is on the shore of Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. [ Afghan Prisoners Going to Gray Area: Military Unsure What Follows Transfer to U.S. Base in Cuba] , "Washington Post", January 9 2002] The detainment areas consist of three camps in the base: Camp Delta (which includes Camp Echo), Camp Iguana, and Camp X-Ray (which has been closed). The facility is often referred to as Guantanamo, or Gitmo (derived from the abbreviation "GTMO"). [ Guantanamo Bay prisoners plant seeds of hope in secret garden] , "The Independent", April 29 2006 -- [ mirror] ] [cite news
title=Statement for the record: Office of General Counsel involvement in interrogation issues
date=July 7 2004
publisher=United States Navy
author=Alberto J. Mora
accessdate = 2007-05-27
] The detainees currently held as of June 2008 have been classified by the United States as "enemy combatants". After claims were made that these detainees were not entitled to any of the protections of the Geneva Conventions, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on 29 June, 2006 that they were entitled to the minimal protections listed under its Common Article 3. [cite web| url=| title=Hamdan v. Rumsfeld| month=29 June| year=2006| accessdate = 2007-02-10|format=PDF] Following this, on July 7, 2006, the Department of Defense issued an internal memo stating that prisoners will in the future be entitled to protection under Common Article 3. [cite news|url=|publisher=BBC|title=US detainees to get Geneva rights|date=2006-07-11] [cite news|url=|title=White House: Detainees entitled to Geneva Convention protections|date=2006-07-11|publisher=CNN] [cite news|url=|title=White House Changes Gitmo Policy|publisher=CBS News|date=2006-07-11]

Since October 7, 2001, when the current war in Afghanistan began, 775 detainees have been brought to Guantanamo. Of these, approximately 420 have been released without charge, with only one prisoner, David Hicks, being convicted of a crime. [ [ U.S. mulls what to do with any Guantanamo convict] ] As of May 2008, approximately 270 detainees remain. [ [ BBC NEWS | World | Americas | Why US is 'stuck' with Guantanamo Bay ] ] More than a fifth are cleared for release but may have to wait months or years because U.S. officials are finding it increasingly difficult to persuade countries to accept them, according to officials and defense lawyers. Of those still incarcerated, U.S. officials said they intend to eventually put 60 to 80 on trial and free the rest. On February 9, 2008, it was reported that 6 of the detainees at the Guantanamo Bay facility would be tried for conspiracy in the September 11, 2001 attacks. [ [ 6 at Guantánamo Said to Face Trial in 9/11 Case - New York Times ] ] In May 2008, the Pentagon claimed that 36 former Guantanamo inmates were "confirmed or suspected of having returned to terrorism" [ [ BBC NEWS | World | Americas | US 'stuck' with Guantanamo prison ] ]

Facilities and detainees

From the 1970s onwards, the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base was used to house Cuban and Haitian refugees intercepted on the high seas. In the early 1990s, it held refugees who fled Haiti in Camp Bulkeley until United States District Court Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. declared the camp unconstitutional on June 8, 1993, and the last Haitian migrants departed in late 1995. In June 2005, the United States Department of Defense announced that a unit of defense contractor Halliburton will build a new $30 million detention facility and security perimeter around the base.
Camp Delta is a 612-unit detention center built between February 27 and April 2002 which includes detention camps 1 through 6 and Camp Echo. Most of the security force there is U.S. Army military police, and U.S. Navy Master-at-Arms. Camp Echo, part of the Camp Delta compound, is a detention center where pre-commissions are held. However, the conversations are classified and notes have to be submitted to The Pentagon, which decides whether to declassify the information. [Cite book| last=Stafford Smith | first=Clive | year=2008 | title=Bad Men | publisher=Phoenix | location=United Kingdom | isbn=978-0-7538-2352-1]

Camp Iguana is a smaller, low-security compound, located about a kilometer from the main prison compound. In 2002 and 2003, it housed three detainees who were under 16 and was closed when they were flown home in January 2004. The compound was reopened in mid-2005 to house some of the 38 detainees who were determined by the Combatant Status Review Tribunals not to be "enemy combatants". Camp X-Ray was a temporary detention facility which was closed in April 2002, and its prisoners were transferred to Camp Delta.

A recent report by the Associated Press indicates that a 7th camp, entitled Camp 7, is also a separate facility on the naval base. It is considered the highest security among all jails on the base, and its location is classified. [ [ AP confirms secret camp inside Gitmo - Yahoo! News ] Dead link|date=July 2008]

On 22 September 2004, ten prisoners were brought from Afghanistan. In July 2005, 242 detainees were moved out of Guantánamo, including 173 that were released without charge, and 69 transferred to the governments of other countries, according to the United States Department of Defense. [cite web| url=| month=20 July| year=2005| title=Eight More Guantanamo Detainees Released or Transferred| publisher=International Information Programs| accessdate = 2006-03-15] By November 2005, 358 of the 505 detainees held at Guantánamo Bay had had Administrative Review Board hearings [ November 12, 2005, report by the Wall Street Journal] . Of these, 3% were granted and were awaiting release, 20% were to be transferred, 37% were to be further detained at Guantánamo, and no decision had been made in 40% of the cases. Of the 505 detainees, 100 or more are from Saudi Arabia, about 80 from Yemen, about 65 from Pakistan, about 50 from Afghanistan and two from Syria.

From 2002 to 2006 there have been several hunger strikes at Guantánamo Bay, with up to 200 participants according to some reports. [>cite web | url= | title=Guantanamo Bay - Detainees,] Numerous participants were being force-fed through a feeding tube when their safety was judged to have been compromised. On 30 May 2006, "The Australian" reported that there were 75 detainees on hunger strike. [>cite web | url=,20867,19303172-1702,00.html | title=Guantanamo hunger strikers at 75, The Australian, May 30 2006] The Center for Constitutional Rights has prepared a biography of some of the prisoners currently being held in Guantanamo Prison. [PDFlink|1= [] Dead link|date=June 2008|2=409 KB]

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 Guantanamo 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 ACLU, which has been trying to obtain it from the Department of Defense. [Wikileaks - Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedure] [Actual Document]

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," and "exposure." 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. [cite news
title=China inspired interrogations at Guantánamo
date=July 2 2008
publisher=International Herald Tribune
author=Scott Shane
accessdate = 2008-07-07


Supporters of controversial techniques have declared that the Third Geneva Convention does not apply to al-Qaeda or Taliban fighters; they claim the Geneva convention only applies to uniformed soldiers of a recognized government. 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." [cite web|title=Washington Debates Application Of Geneva Conventions|url=] 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." [cite journal| title=One rule for them| first=George| last=Monbiot| month=March 25| year=2003| journal=The Guardian| url=,3604,921192,00.html] A U.S. district court partially agreed with the Bush administration, finding that the Geneva Conventions apply to Taliban fighters but not to al-Qaeda terrorists."In re Guantanamo Detainee Cases", 355 F.Supp.2d 443 (D.D.C. 2005).] Amnesty International has called the situation "a human rights scandal" in a series of reports. [cite web| url=| publisher=Amnesty International| title=Guantánamo Bay - a human rights scandal| accessdate = 2006-03-15]

One of the allegations of abuse at the camp is the abuse of the religion of the detainees.cite news
title=Inmates Alleged Koran Abuse: FBI Papers Cite Complaints as Early as 2002
author=Dan Eggen, Josh White
publisher=Washington Post
date= May 26, 2005
accessdate = 2007-04-16
] cite news
title=FBI Reports Duct-Taping, 'Baptizing' at Guantanamo
author=Dan Eggen
publisher=Washington Post
date= January 3, 2007
accessdate = 2007-04-16
] cite news
title=Allegations of abuse
date=June 3, 2005
publisher=PBS Newshour
author=Betty Ann Bowser
accessdate = 2007-04-16
] cite news
title='Religious abuse' at Guantanamo
date= February 10 2005
accessdate = 2007-04-16
] cite news
title=US Guantanamo guard kicked Koran
date= June 4 2005
accessdate = 2007-04-16
] cite news
publisher=The Jurist
title=RECENT NEWS: "guantanamo bay detainees abuse"
accessdate = 2007-04-16
] The US 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 Pakistan 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: [ Factors for and against the continued detention (.pdf)] , of Mesut Sen "Administrative Review Board", January 25 2005 - page 1]

: "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 [In court filings made public in January 2007, FBI agents reported that they observed a few detainees at Guantanamo 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 lights. 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 Guantanamo bay prisoner Murat Kurnaz reports about systematic torture there in his book "Five years of my life." (available in German language).] FBI, PDFlink| [ FOIA document] |5.25 MB] , including sleep deprivation, beatings and locking in confined and cold cells. Human rights groups argue that indefinite detention constitutes torture.

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 [cite journal| title=Folter in Guantánamo?| month=October 17| year=2004| journal=Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung| url=| format=Dead link|date=May 2008] 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.

uicide attempts

By 2008 there had been at least 4 suicides and hundreds of suicide attempts in Guantanamo that are in public knowledge. [cite news|url= |title='Fingernail slash' at Guantanamo |publisher=BBC News |date=2007-12-05 |accessdate=2008-03-06] No information is available on the number of suicides of prisoners that are classified secret, or their suicide attempts. On 10 June 2006, three detainees were found dead, who, according to the Pentagon, "killed themselves in an apparent suicide pact". [ Triple suicide at Guantanamo camp] , "BBC", June 11 2006] 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". [,,2087-2220935,00.html Three die in Guantanamo suicide pact] , "The Times", June 11 2006] [The three detainees hanged themselves with nooses made of sheets and clothes. According to military officials, the suicides were co-ordinated acts of protests, but human rights activists and defense attorneys said the deaths signaled the desperation of many of the detainees. Barbara Olshansky of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents about 300 Guantanamo prisoners said that detainees "have this incredible level of despair that they will never get justice".] cite news
title=Guantanamo commander says 3 detainees hang themselves with makeshift nooses
publisher=USA Today
date=June 10 2006
accessdate = 2007-08-17

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.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.

Guantanamo 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 19 May 2002, a U.N. panel said that holding detainees indefinitely at Guantanamo 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 Guantanamo, said he believes others are candidates for suicide. [ Denbeaux said one of his clients, Mohammed Abdul Rahman, appeared to be depressed and hardly spoke during a June 1 visit. Rahman was on a hunger strike at the time and was force-fed soon after, Denbeaux said. "He told us he would rather die than stay in Guantanamo," the attorney said. "He doesn't believe he will ever get out of Guantanamo alive."]

As of August 2003, at least 29 inmates of Camp Delta had attempted suicide in protest. The U.S. officials would not say why they had not previously reported the incident. [cite web| url=| month=25 January| year=2005| publisher=BBC News| accessdate = 2006-03-15| title=Mass Guantanamo suicide protest] 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. [The prisoners supposedly feel that they may be able to get better treatment or release with suicide attempts. Daryl Matthews, a professor of forensic psychiatry at the University of Hawaii who examined the prisoners, stated that given the cultural differences between interrogators and prisoners, such a classification was difficult if not impossible. Clinical depression is common in Guantánamo, with 1/5 of all prisoners taking antidepressants such as prozac.] [cite journal| url=| title=Operation Take Away My Freedom: Inside Guantanamo Bay On Trial| first=David| last=Rose| month=January| year=2004| journal=Vanity Fair| pages=88]

In 2008 a hidden-camera-video was released of a interrogation between Canadian security officials, and a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer and Omar Khadr a youth held in Guantanamo Bay in which the prisoner repeatedly seems to utter "kill me, kill me, kill me".cite news
title=What exactly did Omar Khadr say? 'Help me,' 'kill me'? (UPDATED 7 p.m. ET)
publisher=National Post
quote= [The audio appears to be Mr. Khadr saying 'Kill me' repeatedly as well as saying 'Help me' occasionally. However, a native Arabic speaker told Reuters that he believed he was saying 'Ya ummi' meaning, 'My mother.'
[ mirror] ] cite news
title=Omar Khadr: The interrogation
publisher=The Globe and Mail
author=Colin Freeze, Katherine O'Neill
quote=The most widely circulated footage showed Mr. Khadr breaking down in a room by himself, repeatedly saying something that sounded like "kill me, or ya ummi [Oh Mom] ," after ripping off his orange jumpsuit.
] cite news
title=Interrogation video shows sobbing Omar Khadr
publisher=Kitchener-Waterloo Record
author=Colin Perkel
quote=Later in the tape, a distraught Khadr is seen rocking, his face in his hands. 'Help me,' he sobs repeatedly. He also appears to say 'Kill me.'


European Union members and the Organization of American States, as well as non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International, 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". [cite web| url=| id=AI Index: POL 10/014/2005 (Public)| month=25 May| year=2005| title=Amnesty International Report 2005 Speech by Irene Khan at Foreign Press Association| first=Irene| last=Kahn| accessdate = 2006-03-15] [This comparison of Guantánamo Bay to the Gulag system was met by criticism of Amnesty International.cite journal| url=| title=American Gulag| month=May 26| year=2005| journal=Washington Post]
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." [a prominent judge in the United Kingdom, was quoted in the British newspaper "The Independent" on 26 November 2003, regarding the planned trial of some prisoners by military tribunal]

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." [cite journal| url=,,1988677,00.html| title=This is a US Torture Camp| month=January 12| year=2007| journal=The Guardian] 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 [cite journal| url=,3604,1098523,00.html| title=US fires Guantanamo defense team| first=James| last=Meek| month=December 3| year=2003| journal=The Guardian] 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 5 May 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. [cite journal| url=| title=Many lawyers rebuffed at Guantanamo Bay| month=May 5| year=2007| journal=The Boston Globe]

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." [cite journal| url=| title=Just Shut It Down| first=Thomas L.| last=Friedman| month=May 27| year=2005| journal=New York Times] 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" which are "part of a tightly linked global detention system with no accountability in law." [cite journal| url=| title=Un-American by Any Name| month=June 5| year=2005| journal=New York Times]

In November 2005, a group of experts from the Commission on Human Rights at the United Nations 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. [cite web| url=| month=18 November| year=2005| title=UN experts cancel Guantanamo visit, citing U.S. block| accessdate = 2006-03-15] [cite web| url=| title= Annan: Shut Guantanamo prison camp|month=17 February| year=2006|| accessdate = 2006-03-15]

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. [cite web| title=Situation of detainees at Guantánamo Bay| first=Leila| last=Zerrougui| coauthors=Leandro Despouy, Manfred Nowak, Asma Jahangir, Paul Hunt| url=| publisher=United Nations Economic and Social Council| month=15 February| year=2006| id=E/CN.4/2006/120| format=PDF| accessdate = 2006-03-15]

European leaders have also voiced their opposition to the internment center. On 13 January 2006, German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized the U.S. detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and the "interrogation technique" known as "waterboarding", calling it a form of torture: "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". [cite web| url=| title=404 error|| accessdate = 2006-03-15] [cite web| publisher=Spiegel Online| year=2006| month=January 9| url=,1518,394180,00.html| title=Merkel: Guantanamo Mustn't Exist in Long Term| accessdate = 2006-03-15] 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." [cite web| month=17 February| year=2006| title=Close Guantanamo camp, Hain says| url=| publisher=BBC News| accessdate = 2006-03-15] On 10 March 2006, a letter in "The Lancet" is 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". [cite web| url=| publisher=BBC News| month=10 March| year=2006| title=Doctors attack U.S. over Guantanamo| accessdate = 2006-03-15] [cite web| url=,,1728222,00.html| title=Doctors demand end to Guantánamo force-feeding| month=March 10| year=2006| journal=The Guardian| accessdate = 2006-03-15] Conversely, the UN War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague ruled that force-feeding was not "torture, inhuman or degrading treatment" when they ordered it be implemented in another case. [cite news| url=,,1966016,00.html | title=War crimes tribunal orders force-feeding of Serbian warlord | date=December 7, 2006 | publisher=The Guardian| accessdate = 2007-09-16]

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. [ UK told U.S. won't shut Guantanamo] , "BBC", May 11 2006] Also in May 2006, the UN Committee against Torture condemned prisoners' treatment at Guantanamo 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. [ US 'must end secret detentions'] , "BBC", May 19 2006] UN Committee against Torture, PDFlink| [ CAT/C/USA/CO/2] |130 KB, 18 May 2006] In June 2006, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in support of a motion urging the United States to close the camp. [cite news|url=|title=Euro MPs urge Guantanamo closure|date=June 13, 2006|publisher=BBC]

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". [ [ Suicides spur Guantanamo criticism, CNN] ] 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. [ cite news|url=|title=Toplevel plea for detainees|date=September 14, 2006|publisher=Argus Newspapers] 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 Guantanamo 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,". [cite web| url=| title=Colin Powell says Guantanamo should be closed| month=June 10| year=2007| journal=Reuters| accessdate = 2007-06-10] In March 2007, a group of British Parliamentarians formed an All-Party Parliamentary Group to campaign against Guantanamo Bay. [] 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 organisations and governments with an interest in seeing the camp closed. On 26 April 2007, there was a debate in the United States Senate over the detainees at Guantanamo Bay which ended in a draw, with Democrats urging action on the prisoners' behalf but running into stiff opposition from Republicans. [ cite news|url=|title=Senators Skirmish Over Gitmo Detentions|date=April 26, 2007|publisher=San Francisco Chronicle]

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. cite web
title=Publics in Europe and India See U.S. as Violating International Law at Guantánamo
publisher=World Public Opinion
date=July 17 2006
accessdate = 2007-08-17
] 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. cite web
date=March 6 2007
title=Global polling date on opinion of American policies, values and people
publisher=United States Congress
accessdate = 2007-08-17
] American actions in Guantanamo, coupled with the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal, are considered major factors in the decline of the U.S.’s image abroad. cite news
date= February 28 2006
title=US faces sceptical world over Iraq
author=Jonathan Marcus
accessdate = 2007-08-17

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. [cite web| url=| title=Britons release devastating account of torture and abuse by U.S. forces at Guantanamo| first=Julie| last=Hyland| month=6 August| year=2004| publisher=World Socialist Web Site| accessdate = 2006-03-18] Former Guantánamo detainee Mehdi Ghezali was freed without charge on 9 July 2004, after two and one-half years internment. Ghezali has claimed that he was the victim of repeated torture. Former Guantánamo detainee Moazzam Begg, freed without charge in January 2005, after nearly three years in captivity, has accused his American captors of torturing him and other detainees arrested in Afghanistan and Pakistan. [cite web| url=| title='Two people were beaten to death' - Moazzam Begg interview | month=24 February| year=2005| publisher=Channel 4 news| accessdate = 2007-05-21]
Omar Deghayes alleges he was blinded by pepper spray during his detention. [ [ UK: Medics condemn government over Guantánamo in new letter] ] Juma Al Dossary claims he was interrogated hundreds of times, beaten, tortured with broken glass, barbed wire, burning cigarettes, and sexual assaults. [cite web| url= | title='Days of adverse hardship in U.S. detention camps - Testimony of Guantánamo detainee Jumah al-Dossari' | month=6 December| year=2005| publisher=Amnesty International| accessdate = 2006-06-05]
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 [The allegations were in transcripts the U.S. government released in compliance with a Freedom of Information lawsuit filed by AP.cite web| url=,1280,-5043187,00.html| title=404 error| accessdate = 2006-03-18] 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".Mark Denbeaux et. all., PDFlink| [ Report on Guantanamo detainees: A Profile of 517 Detainees] |467 KB, "Seton Hall University", February 8 2006] Some of the posters were in comic form to reach the majority of the Afghan population, many of whom are illiterate.

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." [cite web| title=Headlines for October 20 2005| publisher=Democracy Now!| accessdate = 2006-03-18| url=] [cite web| url=| title=Guantanamo hunger strikers say U.S. misuses feeding tubes|| year=2005| month=October 21| accessdate = 2006-03-18] "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." [cite web|| url=| title=Guantanamo detainee pleads to die| month=26 October| year=2005| accessdate = 2006-03-18] 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". [cite web| publisher=US Department of State| url=| month= October 28| year=2005| title=Invitation to UN Special Rapporteurs to Visit Guantanamo Bay Detention Facilities| accessdate = 2006-03-18] [cite web| publisher=St. Petersburg Times| url=| title=U.S. invites U.N. experts to Guantanamo camp| author=wire services| month=October 29| year=2005| accessdate = 2006-03-18] 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. [cite web| url=| title=Guantanamo Visit Rules Set by U.S. Called Unacceptable by UN|accessdate = 2006-03-19] Simultaneously, media reports ensued surrounding the question of prisoner treatment. [cite web| url=| title=Former army chaplain breaks silence over Guantanamo| month=30 October| year=2005| first=Jill| last=Colgan| accessdate = 2006-03-19] [cite web| url=| title=Prisoner Says Abuse of His Islamic Books Preceded Beating in '01| first=Julia| last=Preston| accessdate = 2006-03-19] [cite web| url=| title=Doctors urge UK to intervene against Guantanamo force-feeding| accessdate = 2006-03-19] "District Court Judge Gladys Kessler also ordered the U.S. government to give medical records going back a week before such feedings take place." [cite web| url=| title=Judge rules on Guantanamo strike| publisher=BBC News| accessdate = 2006-03-19] In early November 2005, the U.S. suddenly accelerated, for unknown reasons, the rate of prisoner release, but this was unsustained. [cite web| url=| title=40 Saudis Likely to Be Freed From Guantanamo Soon| first=Maha| last=Akeel| publisher=Arab News| accessdate = 2006-03-19] [cite web| publisher=People's Daily Online| url=| title=Five Kuwaitis return from Guantanamo Bay| accessdate = 2006-03-19] [cite web| url=| title=Three Bahrainees released from Guantanamo prison| format=HTML| accessdate = 2006-03-19| publisher=Arabic News] [cite web| url=| title=Four More Detainees Released from Guantanamo Detention Center| publisher =US International Information Programs| accessdate = 2006-03-19] Prisoners were force fed with nasal tubes. [cite web|url = |title = BBC NEWS | Americas | Guantanamo 'suicide' inmate named |accessdate = 2008-06-13]

In 2005, it was reported that sexual methods were allegedly used by female interrogators to break Muslim prisoners. [cite web|url = |title = Sex allegedly used to break Muslim prisoners - Security - |date=1 June 2007 |accessdate = 2008-06-13]

Media coverage

According to a June 21, 2005, "New York Times" opinion article, [cite web| url=| title=Guantánamo's Long Shadow| first=Anthony| last=Lewis| month=June 21| year=2005| accessdate = 2006-03-19| publisher=New York Times] 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. [cite web| url=| title=this story is not currently available| accessdate = 2006-03-19] 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 wascaptured in northern Afghanistan in November 2001, handed over to Americansoldiers 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. [ [ Threats And Responses: Captives; Tales Of Despair From Guantánamo - New York Times ] ]

The U.S. government has denied all of the above charges, but on 9 May 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. [cite web| url=| title=Pentagon Approved Tougher Interrogations| accessdate = 2006-12-28 (Refers to "Pentagon Approved Tougher Interrogations" by Dana Priest and Joe Stephens, Washington Post staff writers.)] [cite web| url=| title="" copy of "Pentagon Approved Tougher Interrogations"| accessdate = 2006-12-28 (Refers to "Pentagon Approved Tougher Interrogations" by Dana Priest and Joe Stephens, Washington Post staff writers.)]

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. [ Army Now Says G.I. Was Beaten in Role] , "New York Times", 9 June 2004] 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 Mohamed al-Kahtani from Saudi Arabia, who is believed to have planned to participate in the September 11, 2001 attacks. [cite web| url=| title=U.S. Said to Overstate Value of Guantánamo Detainees| accessdate = 2006-03-15| publisher=New York Times]

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.cite web| url=| title=Guantanamo Tactics 'Tantamount to Torture' -NY Times| accessdate = 2007-07-05] cite web| url=| title=Red Cross Finds Detainee Abuse In Guantánamo| publisher=New York Times| accessdate = 2006-03-15] cite web| url=| month=30 November| year=2004| title= Press Release 04/70: The ICRC's work at Guantanamo Bay| accessdate = 2006-03-15| publisher=International Committee of the Red Cross]

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 which are said by Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, to be cruel and inhumane treatment illegal under the U.S. Constitution. [cite journal| url=| title=Pentagon Approved Tougher Interrogations| month=May 9| year=2004| journal=Washington Post| first=Dana| last=Priest| coauthors=Joe Stephens| format=Dead link|date=May 2008 - 404 error as of last access] 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.cite news|url=|title=The Truth About Gitmo that Islamist Sympathizers Don't Want You to Hear|publisher=Human Events Online|last=Malkin|first=Michelle|date=June 3, 2005] Other instances of beatings by the IRF (initial reaction force) 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. [cite web| url=| title=Fwd: Impersonating FBI at GTMO| format=PDF| accessdate = 2006-03-19]

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." [cite web| url=| title=Cheney:'Iraq will be enormous success story' | accessdate = 2007-06-03] . In a subsequent interview in October 2006, Vice President Cheney admitted in a radio interview that U.S. interrogators subjected prisoners to waterboarding. [ [ "Cheney confirms that detainees were subjected to water-boarding"] by Jonathan S. Landay, McClatchy Newspapers, October 25 2006]

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.

Released 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 27 July 2004, four French detainees were repatriated and remanded in custody by the French intelligence agency Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire. [ [ Guantanamo inmates back in France] , BBC news] The remaining three French detainees were released in March 2005. [ [ Last Guantanamo Frenchmen go home] , BBC news]

On 4 August 2004, the three ex-detainees who were returned to the UK (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. [cite journal| title=Afghanistan to Guantánamo Bay - the story of three British detainees| author=Tania Branigan and Vikram Dodd| month=August 4| year=2004| journal=The Guardian| url=,,1275478,00.html] They claimed that false confessions were extracted from them under duress, in conditions which amounted to torture. They alleged that conditions deteriorated when Major General Geoffrey 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. [cite web| title= Moazzam Begg Speaks about his experience at Guantanamo| publisher=Indymedia UK | month= April 4| year=2005| url=| accessdate = 2006-03-15]

Among the approximately two dozen Uyghur detainees in Guantanamo, the "Washington Post" reported on August 25, 2005, that fifteen had been determined not to have been "enemy combatants." [ Chinese Detainees Are Men Without a Country: 15 Muslims, Cleared of Terrorism Charges, Remain at Guantanamo With Nowhere to Go] , "Washington Post", August 24 2005] Some of the Uyghurs had lawyers who volunteered to help them pursue a writ of "habeas corpus", which would have been the single step in getting them freed from American detention. Five of the Uyghurs were scheduled to have arguments for their writ of "habeas corpus" argued in U.S. District Court on 8 May 2006. However, on May 5, the five Uyghurs were transported to refugee camps in Albania, thousands of miles from their homes, and the Department of Justice filed an "Emergency Motion to Dismiss as Moot" on the same day.PDFlink| [ Emergency Motion to Dismiss as Moot] |161 KB, "Department of Justice", May 5 2006] [ Making Justice Moot] , "Alternet", May 6 2006] 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". [ Albania takes Guantanamo Uyghurs] , "BBC", May 6 2006] [ Guantanamo Uyghurs Try to Settle in Albania] , "Radio Free Asia", May 10 2006]

In August 2006, a German-born Turkish national was released from Guantánamo.cite news
date= August 25 2006
title=German Turk freed from Guantanamo
accessdate = 2007-08-17
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 27 August 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. [cite web| url=| title=Released Russian Guantanamo Prisoners Seized in Moscow| month=30 August| year=2005| publisher=MosNews| accessdate = 2006-03-15] They were released on September 2, and no charges were pressed. [cite web|url=| title=Russian Federation: Further information on: Fear for safety/fear of torture or ill-treatment/"disappearance"| month=2 September| year=2005| publisher=AI| accessdate = 2006-07-20] .

U.S. officials claimed that some of the released prisoners returned to the battlefield. The story, as told by Dick Cheney, is that these captives tricked their interrogators about their real identity and made them think they were harmless villagers, and thus were able to "return to the battlefield." [ Cheney defends Guantanamo as essential to war: VP says that if freed, prisoners would return to battlefield] , "San Francisco Chronicle", 14 June 2005] 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.cite news
title=Ex-Guantanamo inmate in Iraq suicide bombing: TV
date= May 1, 2008
] cite news
title=Report: Former Guantanamo detainee carried out Iraq suicide attack
publisher=International Herald Tribune
date=May 2 2008
] cite news
title=Ex-Gitmo prisoner carries out suicide attack
date=May 7 2008

Condoleezza Rice appeal for closure

On December 25, 2007, United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged various countries who have nationals detained in Guantanamo Bay detention camp to help the U.S. close the detention camp [ BBC NEWS | Americas | Rice in Guantanamo closure appeal ] ] . Rice reiterated the ostensible desire of the Bush administration to close the camp as soon as possible. She indicated that United States would seek guarantees from such nations that once released, their nationals would not be a danger.

Administrative proceedings

Military Commission hearings (Camp Delta)

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 states that : "Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4, such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal."]

However, a three judge panel overturned judge Robertson's ruling on Friday July 15 2005. [cite web| url=| title=Error: Invalid story key (SJ,20050716,ZNYT02,507160358,AR)| accessdate = 2006-03-16] The panel's ruling stated that the trial by military commission could, in and of itself, serve 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. [cite news|url=|title=US court rejects Guantanamo trial|publisher=BBC News] [cite web | title= "Hamdan v. Rumsfeld" | url= | publisher=Supreme Court of the United States | format=PDF] 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) detainees 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. [ The Gitmo decision] , "Washington Times", July 11 2006]

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. [] However, the Supreme Court stated that the Geneva Conventions, most notably the Third Geneva Convention and also 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".cite journal| url=|title= Defense Department Background Briefing on the Combatant Status Review Tribunal]

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" were "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 which 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."cite journal| url=| journal=Washington Post| title=Panel Ignored Evidence on Detainee| first=Carol D. | last=Leonnig| authorlink =Carol D. Leonnig|month=March 27| year=2005| pages=A01] 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. [cite web| url=| title=USA: Legal concern/Fear of torture/Health concern: Fawaz Naman Hamoud Abdullah Mahdi| id=PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 51/193/2005| month=25 November| year=2005| publisher=Amnesty International| accessdate = 2006-03-16]

In addition to the 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. [These people include Khalid Sheik Mohammed, believed to be the No. 3 al-Qaeda leader before he was captured in Pakistan in 2003; Ramzi Binalshibh, an alleged would-be September 11 2001, hijacker; and Abu Zubaydah, who was believed to be a link between Osama bin Laden and many al-Qaeda cells before he was also captured in Pakistan, in March 2002.] [

cite news
title=Bush admits to CIA secret prisons
date= September 7 2006
accessdate = 2007-08-17
] None of the 14 top figures transferred to Guantanamo from CIA custody had been charged until September 11 2006. [ Sen. Frist: Trials for Gitmo Terror Suspects] , "NewsMax Media", September 11 2006]

Other court rulings

On 10 January 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. [ [ Major Guantanamo Setback For Bush] ]

On February 23, 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Jed S. Rakoff in New York ordered the Defense Department to release uncensored transcripts of detainee hearings which 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. [] 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 justice Jed Rakoff had already dismissed this argument. [cite web| url=| title=Reprocessed Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) and Administrative Review Board (ARB) Documents| month=March 3| year=2006| publisher=United States Department of Defence| accessdate = 2006-03-16] [cite web| url=| publisher=ABC News| title=Pentagon Releases Names of Gitmo Inmates| first=Miranda| last=Leitsinger| coauthors= Ben Fox| month=3 March| year=2006| accessdate = 2006-03-16] [ List of Individuals Detained by the Department of Defense at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from January 2002 through May 15 2006] , "US Department of Defense", May 15 2006]

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. [cite web|url=| publisher=Jurist| title=France judge postpones terrorism verdict for former Guantanamo detainees | month=28 September| year=2006| accessdate = 2006-09-28]

Legal status

In April 2004, Cuban diplomats tabled a United Nations resolution calling for a UN investigation of Guantanamo Bay [ [ Castro blasts Guantanamo 'concentration camp'] ] .

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. [cite journal| url=| title=Judge Says Detainees' Trials Are Unlawful| first=Carol D.| last=Leonnig |authorlink=Carol D. Leonnig| coauthors=John Mintz| month=November 9| year=2004| pages=Page A01| journal=Washington Post]

Prisoners held at Camp Delta and Camp 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. [cite web| url=| title=U.S. Officials Misstate Geneva Convention Requirements| month=January 28| year=2002| publisher=Human Rights News| accessdate = 2006-03-17] 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. 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." [ [ Nuremberg prosecutor says Guantanamo trials unfair | U.S. | Reuters ] ]

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 which 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. [cite journal| journal=The American Prospect| url=| title=War and the Constitution| first=George P.| last=Fletcher| month=January 1| year=2002| volume=13| issue=1| format=Dead link|date=May 2008] [cite web| url=| title=Revised ACLU Interested Person's Memo Urging Congress to Reject Power to Detain Suspected Terrorists Indefinitely Without Charge, Trial or a Right to Counsel| month=June 23| year=2004| first=Timothy H.| last=Edgar| publisher=ACLU| accessdate = 2006-03-17] [cite journal| journal= International Association of Prosecutors, 8th Annual Conference| month=10 August-14 August| year=2003| title=TERRORISM AND THE RULE OF LAW| first=Nicholas| last=Cowdery| url=| format=Dead link|date=May 2008]

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. [cite web| url=|| title=American Bar Association Task Force On Treatment Of Enemy Combatants Criminal Justice Section, Section Of Individual Rights And Responsibilities - Report To The House Of Delegates| format=PDF| accessdate = 2006-03-17]

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.cite news
title=High Court: Gitmo detainees have rights in court
publisher=Associated Press
author=Mark Sherman
date=June 12 2008
quote=The court said not only that the detainees have rights under the Constitution, but that the system the administration has put in place to classify them as enemy combatants and review those decisions is inadequate.
[ mirror] ] cite news
title=Terror suspects can challenge detention: U.S. Supreme Court
publisher=Globe and Mail
author=Mark Sherman
date=June 12 2008
] cite news
title=High Court sides with Guantanamo detainees again
publisher=Montorey Herald
author=Mark Sherman
date=June 12 2008
] cite news
title=Court backs Gitmo detainees
publisher=Baltimore Sun
author=James Oliphant
date=June 12 2008
[ mirror] ] Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, described the CSR Tribunals as "an inadequate substitute for habeas corpus" although "both the DTA and the CSRT process remain intact." [ [ Full text of the Supreme Court's decision in Boumediene v. Bush] ]

NGO reports

On November 30, 2004, "The New York Times" published excerpts from an internal memo leaked from the U.S. administration, referring to a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The ICRC reports of several activities which, 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. [cite web| url=,1280,-4645430,00.html| title=404 error| accessdate = 2006-03-16] The story was originally reported in several newspapers, including The Guardian, [cite web| url=,,1213640,00.html| title=Red Cross report details alleged Iraq abuses| month=May 10| year=2004| publisher=The Guardian| accessdate = 2006-03-16] and the ICRC reacted to the article when the report was leaked in May.

In a foreword [cite web| url=| title=Amnesty International Report 2005 Foreword| publisher=Amnesty International| first=Irene| last=Khan| accessdate = 2006-03-16] to Amnesty International's International Report 2005, [cite web| url=| title=Amnesty International Report 2005| accessdate = 2006-01-06] 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. [cite web| url=| title=404 error| accessdate = 2006-03-16| publisher=Miami Herald] [cite web| url=| title=404 error| publisher= Philadelphia Daily News| accessdate = 2006-03-16] [cite web| url=| month=June 14| year=2005| title=Amnesty Irrational| first=Ned| last=Rice| accessdate = 2006-03-16]

A number of children are interned at Guantanamo Bay, in apparent contravention of international law. [ [ "The war on teen terror: The Bush administration's treatment of juvenile prisoners shipped to Guantánamo Bay defies logic as well as international law.", by Jo Becker, Human Rights Watch,, Jun 24, 2008] ]

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. [cite web| url=| title=Gitmo interrogations spark battle over tactics| month=23 October| year=2006| accessdate = 2006-11-05]

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. [cite web| url=| title=Memorandum for Inspector General, Department of the Navy. Statement for the record: Office of General Councel involvement in interrogation issues| format=PDF| month=July 7| year=2005| accessdate = 2006-03-19] 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. [cite journal| url=| title=Tribunals Didn't Rely on Torture| journal=Washington Post| month=December 13| year=2004| pages=A20]

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." [cite web| url= | title='Inquiry Finds Abuses at Guantánamo Bay' By NEIL A. LEWIS and ERIC SCHMITT | month=5 May| year=2005| publisher=The New York Times| accessdate = 2006-06-05] [cite web| url= | title='Inquiry Finds Abuses at Guantánamo Bay' By NEIL A. LEWIS and ERIC SCHMITT (reprinted at Truthout)| month=5 May| year=2005| publisher=The New York Times| accessdate = 2006-06-05]

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. [cite web| url=| title=At hearing, Guantanamo wins praise and criticism| last=Reuters| publisher=Boston Globe| month=June 30| year=2005| accessdate = 2006-03-19]

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. [cite web| month=July 13| year=2005| url=| title=Investigators recommended disciplining Gitmo commander|| accessdate = 2006-03-19]

Media representations

*" [ The Road to Guantanamo] ", 2006 film about the Tipton Three
*" [ Guantanamo - American Officer Tortures Prisoners and Murders Investigator in an Iranian TV Drama] ", 2006 Iranian drama shown on Al-Kawthar TV and noted by the Middle East Media Research Institute
*" [ Camp Delta, Guantanamo 2006] ", France - April 30 2006 -- a radio feature by Frank Smith.
*"Five Years of My Life: An Innocent Man in Guantanamo", a memoir by Murat Kurnaz.
*" [ Frontline: The Torture Question] " (2005), a PBS documentary that traces the history of how decisions made in Washington in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11 led to a robust interrogation policy that laid the groundwork for prisoner abuse in Afghanistan; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; and Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison [ [ Introduction to PBS Frontline: The Torture Question] .]
*Gitmo, a Swedish documentary, attempted to clarify some of the issues concerning the nature of the interrogation processes, through interviews with previous Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib personnel. '
*" [ Habeas Schmabeas] ", an episode of the radio program This American Life produced by Chicago Public Radio, discussed the conditions at the facility, the legal justifications and arguments surrounding the detention of prisoners there, and the history of the principle of Habeas Corpus. It also features interviews with two former detainees. The episode won a 2006 Peabody Award [ [ Complete list of 2006 Peabody Award Winners] .]
*"Prisoner 345" (2006) details the case of Al Jazeera cameraman Sami Al Hajj, detained at the camp since 2002.
*"Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay" (2008), a racial and political satire.
*" [ Prisonnier à Guantanamo] " (2008) Mollah Abdul Salam Zaeef and Jean-Michel Caradec'h. Paris. France. EDGV/Documents. [ ISBN 9782842679453] . Memoirs of the ex-ambassador of Taliban government in Pakistan.

ee also

*Abu Ghraib prison
*Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse
*Al Qaeda Handbook
*Bagram Theater Internment Facility
*Bagram torture and prisoner abuse
*Belmarsh Prison - One of the UK's maximum security prisons, which was used to hold prisoners without charge or trial in the UK (many are wanted or convicted of terrorism in other countries) as recently as 2006; leading it to be referred to as the "British version of Guantanamo Bay"
* Cellular Jail - A prison owned by the UK which was setup in 1906 for similar purposes as Guantánamo Bay; imprisoning Indian fighters in the Indian independence movement at that time
*Civilian Internee
*Disarmed Enemy Forces
*Encyclopedia of Afghan Jihad
*Guantanamo captives' habeas corpus petitions
*Habeas Corpus Restoration Act of 2007
*Minors detained in the global war on terror
*Nuremberg Principles
*Nuremberg Trials bibliography
*Nuremberg Trials
*Custody and the Stammheim trial (Red Army Faction)
*Torture and the United States
*Unlawful combatant


External links

* [ Chris Zambelis, Is There a Nexus between Torture and Radicalization?] []
*Jenner and Block: [ U.S. Supreme Court Guantánamo Bay Cases] : PDFlink| [ Brief amici curiae of 175 Members of Both Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland] |1.59 MB
* [ The Guantanamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America's Illegal Prison by Andy Worthington (Pluto Press, 2007)]
* [ Human Rights Watch report]
* [ BBC: Tipton three complain of beatings] (14 March 2004)
* [ Adel's Anniversary: A Guantanamo Tale] , JURIST
* [ The Prisoner, NOW on PBS]
* [,2933,259080,00.html FOX News: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba confesses to involvement in 31 attacks and plots.]
* [ Bloomberg: Captured Al-Qaeda Operative Confesses at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba to Planning Cole Bombing]
*Bill Dedman, [ Gitmo interrogations spark battle over tactics: The inside story of criminal investigators who tried to stop abuse] ,
*PDFlink| [ Ruling saying Hamdan needs competent tribunal to determine his POW status]
* [ Fate of Prisoners From Afghan War Remains Uncertain] , Neil Lewis, "New York Times", 24 April 2003
* [ American Civil Liberties Union: Federal Court Decision Granting Guantánamo Bay Detainees Judicial Review Caps Red-Letter Day for Checks and Balances]
* [ Canada puts U.S. on torture watch list: CTV] , "CTV News", January 17, 2008
* [ Pentagon charges 6 in 9-11 attacks]
* [ "A Contrario": Guantánamo Bay and Torture in the United States] --A modest collection of articles and reports on the Guantánamo detention system and the human rights issues surrounding it

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем сделать НИР

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Guantánamo Bay detention camp — ▪ United States detention facility, Cuba also called  Gitmo   U.S. detention facility on the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, located on the coast of Guantánamo Bay in southeastern Cuba. Constructed in stages starting in 2002, the Guantánamo Bay… …   Universalium

  • Juveniles held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp — According to the UC Davis Center for the Study of Human Rights in the Americas, fifteen juveniles spent time as prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp three more than the U.S. State Department had publicly acknowledged.[1][2] Three… …   Wikipedia

  • Guantánamo Bay — (Spanish: Bahía de Guantánamo ) is a bay located in Guantánamo Province at the south eastern end of Cuba (coord|19|54|N|75|9|W|). It is the largest harbor on the south side of the island and is surrounded by steep hills creating an enclave cut… …   Wikipedia

  • Guantanamo Bay Naval Base — Gitmo redirects here. For other uses, see Gitmo (disambiguation). For other titular locales, see Guantánamo (disambiguation). Coordinates: 19°54′N 75°9′W /  …   Wikipedia

  • Guantanamo Bay attorneys — The Center for Constitutional Rights has coordinated efforts by American lawyers to handle the habeas corpus, and other legal appeals, of several hundred of the Guantanamo detainees.Only American lawyers have been allowed to visit detainees at… …   Wikipedia

  • List of Guantanamo Bay detainees — This list of Guantánamo detainees is compiled from various sources and is incomplete. It lists the known identities of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp in Cuba. In official documents, the US Department of Defense (DoD) continues to …   Wikipedia

  • Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay — Infobox Film name = Harold Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay image size = caption = Theatrical poster director = Jon Hurwitz Hay Schlossberg producer = Greg Shapiro writer = Jon Hurwitz Hayden Schlossberg narrator = starring = John Cho Kal Penn… …   Wikipedia

  • Dirty thirty (Guantanamo Bay Naval Base) — A group of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, the Dirty Thirty were believed[by whom?] to be the best potential sources of information and consequently the chief focus of the harshest methods of interrogation.[1][2] …   Wikipedia

  • Pakistani detainees at Guantanamo Bay — According to the United States Department of Defense, there were five dozen Pakistan detainees in Guantanamo prior to May 15, 2006.[1] The Guantanamo Bay detention camp was opened on January 11, 2002. In the summer of 2004, following the United… …   Wikipedia

  • Uyghur detainees at Guantanamo Bay — The United States government detained twenty two Uyghurs in the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp since 2002. As of today the five Uyghurs Abdul Razakah, Yusef Abbas, Hajiakbar Abdulghupur, Saidullah Khalik and Ahmed Mohamed remain in Guantanamo and …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”