Monday, April 25, 2011

Quite Simply A Mess

"Viewed as a whole, the secret intelligence summaries help explain why in May 2009 President Barack Obama, after ordering his own review of wartime intelligence, called America's experiment at Guantanamo 'quite simply a mess.'"   Rosenberg & Lasseter, McClatchy Newspapers, 4/24/11
Various media outlets have just published classified military documents on Guantanamo detainees originally obtained by WikiLeaks.  Here is the story from McClatchy's Carol Rosenberg and Tom Lasseter.  They report that:
[T]he U.S. military set up a human intelligence laboratory at Guantanamo that used interrogation and detention practices that they largely made up as they went along . . . The documents, more than 750 individual assessments of former and current Guantanamo detainees, show an intelligence operation that was tremendously dependant on informants — both prison camp snitches repeating what they'd heard from fellow captives and self-described, at times self-aggrandizing, alleged al Qaida insiders turned government witnesses who Pentagon records show have since been released.
The New Yorker's Amy Davidson details how some of the evidence was gathered and goes on to say that "the greatest insight the files may give is into what our government thought it was doing, and why, when it decided to imprison certain people indefinitely and out of the reach of the rule of law—the logic, or illogic, of Guantánamo."

As Rosenberg and Lasseter conclude after reviewing the records of the interrogations, "there’s not a whiff in the documents that any of the work is leading the U.S. closer to capturing bin Laden. In fact, they suggest a sort of mission creep beyond the post-9/11 goal of using interrogations to hunt down the al Qaeda inner circle and sleeper cells."  Which leads Davidson to remark:  "And so we sacrificed our values and our moral standing for goals that were increasingly—vanishingly—distant from the ones we had been told were so urgent; or for no real reason at all."

In the wake of President Obama's executive order to continue to hold some of the detainees at Guantanamo indefinitely without any charges, Glenn Greenwald stresses that "these documents conclusively underscore the evils of the Obama administration’s indefinite detention regime." 
The idea of trusting the government to imprison people for life based on secret, untested evidence never reviewed by a court should repel any decent or minimally rational person, but these newly released files demonstrate how warped is this indefinite detention policy specifically.


Post a Comment