Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 1:31am
In an e-mail sent to members of the Defense Department's Transportation Command (including Gen. Norton Schwartz, who is now the Air Force Chief of Staff) on February 17, 2006, an anonymous official -- the name was redacted -- wrote:
We may need to definitely think about checking with Southcom to see if we can hold off on return flights for 45 days or so until things die down. Otherwise we are likely to have hero's welcomes awaiting the detainees when they arrive ... It would probably be preferable if we could deliver these detainees in something smaller and more discreet ...
The e-mail chain included a forwarded correspondence that read "US Getting Creamed on Human Rights" and which cited international coverage of the UN Rapporteurs' then-recent report on conditions at Guantanamo. That, "plus lingering interest in Abu Ghraib photos,"read the e-mail, "adds up to the US taking a big hit on the issues of human rughts and respect for the rule of law."
The line fits neatly with the rest of what we know about the Bush administration's philosophy:that perceptions of abuse were worth worrying about; the abuse itself? Not so much.
Sunday, March 1, 2009, 11:21pm
Britain faces fresh accusations that it colluded in the rendering and alleged torture of a second UK resident now being held at Guantanamo Bay. The new claims bring further pressure on ministers to come clean about the scale of the Government's complicity in the rendition and torture of dozens of terror suspects captured by the Americans after 9/11.
His case comes after that of Binyam Mohamed, 30, released from the US naval base in Cuba last week, and whose claims of UK involvement in his torture are being investigated by the Attorney General. Now allegations made by Shaker Aamer, the final British resident held at Guantanamo Bay, raise concerns that both MI5 and MI6 were widely involved in the US rendition and torture programme operated in Afghanistan and Pakistan after 9/11.
Mr Aamer, 42, says he was rendered from the Pakistan border to Afghanistan where he claims he was tortured. He was passed by Pakistani groups to the Northern Alliance who sold him to the Americans. The CIA arranged for his detention in Afghanistan and final transfer to Guantanamo Bay.
He adds that two MI6 or MI5 officers, a man and a woman, interrogated him after he had been subjected to beatings and sleep deprivation by the Americans while being held at a prison in Kandahar in January 2002. He has told his UK lawyers that the British woman officer called herself "Sally".
Sunday, January 11, 2009, 9:11am
As the Guantanamo Bay detention center reached its seventh birthday this week, a U.S. veteran said he witnessed cell beatings, forced head shavings and interrogation tactics--including sleep deprivation, floor shackles and loud music--while guarding detainees there.
"It's torture," Chris Arendt, who worked at Guantanamo when he was 19, told the BBC in this video. "It's a means of extracting information that I didn't even believe these people probably had. It's a means of making their lives more miserable."
Wednesday, December 17, 2008, 7:22am
The outgoing US vice-president, Dick Cheney, last night gave an unapologetic assessment of his eight years in office, defending the invasion of Iraq, the US prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, secret wiretapping and the extreme interrogation method known as waterboarding.
In his first television interview since the presidential election in November, Cheney displayed no regrets and gave no ground to his many critics within America and around the world. He summed up his record by saying: "I think, given the circumstances we've had to deal with, we've done pretty well."
He told ABC News he stood by the most controversial policies of the Bush administration, and urged president-elect Barack Obama to think hard before undoing them. Asked about the use of torture on terror suspects, he replied: "We don't do torture. We never have. It's not something this administration subscribes to."
Later in the same interview, Cheney was asked whether the use of waterboarding in the interrogation of the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks, Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, had been appropriate. He replied: "I do."
¶ Broken Laws, Broken Lives, A New Report Detailing The Torture And Sexual Abuse 11 Detainees Who Were Never Charged Suffered
Saturday, December 13, 2008, 3:27pm
The PHR report has since received widespread attention in the media, in Congress, and among policy--makers in U.S. Department of Defense and has humanized the national debate on detainee interrogation and treatment policies, and for that Hashemian, the report's lead author, is pleased. The experience of compiling the report, meanwhile, has left the 30--year--old alumna struggling to understand the darker side of human nature and has reinforced her commitment to prevent it from happening again.
"It was very intense work. You listen while a middle--aged man sobs uncontrollably describing the brutality that became normalized in Abu Ghraib. Others tell you that to this day they suffer from the pain and the shame of sexual humiliations. Their families have been broken and their lives have been shattered," said Hashemian. "You stare at this abyss of unimaginable human cruelty, you witness their agony, immerse yourself in their suffering, and their harrowing stories haunt you at night. We were asking people to go back to dark times. It is really, really hard to hear these stories, but it is grueling to have lived them."
The report, Broken Laws, Broken Lives: Medical Evidence of Torture by US Personnel and Its Impact, provides a detailed and graphic account of how 11 former detainees of the United States (seven of whom were held in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison; the other four were arrested in Afghanistan and eventually ended up at Guantánamo Bay) were treated before they were summarily released without being charged.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008, 11:47pm
During a military judicial hearing on Monday in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other detainees charged with coordinating the attacks of September 11th told Judge Col. Stephen Henley that they wished to stop filing legal motions and to confess in full. However, some of the detainees hedged their statement - suggesting they might change their minds if they could not be assured of execution. By January, some of the nearly 250 men at Guantánamo Bay Detention Facility will have been locked up for seven years. Collected here are photos of the multiple detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay - all photographs either reviewed by or released by the U.S. Military. (30 photos total)
Thursday, June 12, 2008, 9:39am
The Supreme Court has ruled that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the U.S. Constitution to challenge their detention in civilian courts.
The justices, in a 5-4 ruling Thursday, handed the Bush administration its third setback at the high court since 2004 over its treatment of prisoners who are being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.
"We hold these petitioners do have the habeas corpus privilege," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the court majority in the 70-page opinion.
Friday, May 23, 2008, 4:57pm
The most stunning revelation in a 370-page Justice US Department Inspector General's report released this week was that agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation had formally opened a "War Crimes" file, documenting torture they had witnessed at the GuantÃ¡namo Bay US prison camp, before being ordered by the administration to stop writing their reports.
The report makes it absolutely clear that torture was ordered and planned in detail at the highest levels of the government--including the White House, the National Security Council, the Pentagon and the Justice Department. Attempts to stop it on legal or pragmatic grounds by individuals within the government were systematically suppressed, and evidence of this criminal activity covered up.
There was no immediate reaction from the White House on these new revelations. Responses from other agencies directly implicated in the crimes at GuantÃ¡namo were indicative of the general atmosphere of impunity in which the torture detailed in the IG's report continues to this day.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008, 8:09pm
In a stunning turnaround, the former chief military prosecutor at Guantanamo Bay said Thursday he would be a defense witness for the driver of Osama bin Laden.
Air Force Col. Morris Davis, who resigned in October over alleged political interference in the U.S. military tribunals, told The Associated Press he will appear at a hearing for Salim Ahmed Hamdan.
"I expect to be called as a witness ... I'm more than happy to testify," Davis said in a telephone interview from Washington. He called it "an opportunity to tell the truth."
At the April pretrial hearing inside the U.S. military base in southeast Cuba, Hamdan's defense team plans to argue that alleged political interference cited by Davis violates the Military Commissions Act, Hamdan's military lawyer, Navy Lt. Brian Mizer, told the AP.
Friday, January 11, 2008, 2:45pm
Ruling in a case of four Britons who formerly were detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the D.C. Circuit Court decided Friday that the prisoners have no right to sue top Pentagon officials and military officers for allegedly torturing them and defiling their religious beliefs while they were held at the military prison. The Court applied several different legal theories in rejecting all of the claims of abuse and arbitrary imprisonment, but the end result was that there was nothing left of the detainees' legal challenge.
U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina threw out all of the claims except that under the religious freedom law, concluding that those allegations could go forward because the Act did apply to the detainees at Guantanamo because of the scope of U.S. control of the military base and prison there, and because the detainees there were "persons" under the Act.