WikiLeaks Blows Lid Off Gitmo

Secret interrogation memos reveal inmate details, prison life
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2011 1:20 AM CDT
Updated Apr 25, 2011 7:51 AM CDT
WikiLeaks Blows Lid Off Gitmo
US military guards walk within the Camp Delta military-run prison, at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

A trove of some 700 new WikiLeaks documents on Guantanamo reveals detailed military assessments of hundreds of men who have been locked up there as well as information about interrogations, prison conditions, and inmate behavior. The assessments by military intelligence were carried out from 2002 to 2009 and offer a unique insight into a kind of "limbo" justice system that operates nowhere else in America. Among the revelations:

  • Saudi Mohammad Qahtani, who has been linked to the 9/11 attacks, was leashed, sexually humiliated, and forced to urinate on himself during interrogations.
  • A man arrested near a roadside bombing site was locked up for three years until officials decided he was what he claimed to be: a shepherd.
  • Intelligence officers from several nations—including Russia, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia—were allowed to question suspects at Guantanamo.

  • While most inmates were described as compliant, one said he would like to tell his friends in Iraq to "find the interrogator, slice him up, and make a shwarma out of him."
Suspects still incarcerated include likely terrorists, while evidence against others "in many cases would never have stood up in court," reports the New York Times, one of several newspapers that obtained the documents. The leaked information reveals that evidence against inmates is often based on "seat-of-the pants" war-time information, while the same "frightening, if flawed" intelligence is convincing the Obama administration to keep the facility operating, concludes the Times. NPR notes that the files contain details on 158 men on whom no info has ever been released. Administration officials called the massive leak "unfortunate." Click for many, many more details—down to what was in the men's pockets when they were captured. (More WikiLeaks stories.)

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