Guantanamo homicides; government cover-up

February 15, 2010 | By | 4 Replies More

I am feeling as though I’m in shock after reading “The Guantánamo ‘Suicides,'” an article by Scott Horton that appears in the March 2010 edition of Harper’s Magazine (available online only to subscribers). The official story offered by the United States government is that these three prisoners, who occupied non-adjacent cells, simultaneously committed suicide on June 9, 2006.

According to the NCI as documents, each prisoner had fashioned a noose from torn sheets and T-shirts and tied it to the top of his cell’s 8-foot high steel mesh wall. Each prisoner was able somehow to bind his own hands, and, in at least one case, his own feet, then stuff more rags deep down into his own throat area we are then asked to believe that each prisoner, even as he was choking on those rags, climbed up on his wash basin, slipped his head through the news, tightened it, and left from the wash basin to hang until he asphyxiated.

Horton’s incredible article names names and provides details with regard to all of the following:

  • The United States appears to have murdered at least three of the prisoners at Guantánamo. None of these three men had been charged with any crime. Two of these men were set to be released. There is no credible evidence that any of them were terrorists. Evidence strongly suggests that they were beaten and then further tortured through waterboarding on the night they were killed.
  • The United States has worked furiously to cover up these murders, spewing countless lies in the process.
  • The United States maintained a special torture building (“a black site”) far from the main prison camp at Guantánamo, and those who worked at Guantánamo were told to not ask any questions about it. It was called “Camp No,” and those who have come forward at considerable risk have reported hearing screaming from that building.
  • After the three prisoners were apparently murdered, those in charge of Guantánamo viciously attacked the dead men, arguing to the press that “They have no regard for human life, neither ours nor their own.”
  • In the process of “investigating the suicides,” the U.S. government seized all written communications possessed by the other Guantánamo prisoners, including communications clearly constituting attorney-client privilege.
  • When presented with the facts presented in Horton’s article, the Bush administration and the Obama administration’s both refused to conduct any meaningful investigation. Both administrations actively suppressed the truth.
  • The Obama administration would simply rather not have to deal with the criminal actions of the Bush administration.

I’m sure that many Americans are disgusted, as I am, that the United States has engaged in this sort of behavior.  I’m also sure that millions of Americans would be outraged that Horton would dare to accuse the United States of anything improper; these sorts of people (I’ve met some of them and I’ve heard many on television) don’t care whether the Guantanamo prisoners were really terrorists and don’t care whether they were tortured.  It’s disturbing on many levels.   It all makes you wonder what has become of us.

The following is from a related article from yesterday’s NYT, where it is reported that the Obama Administration is upset that a British Court released U.S. information indicating that U.S. treatment of prisoners “violated legal prohibitions against torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners.”  You’d think that Mr. Obama would abide by his campaign promise to be an open book, but he’s doing the opposite:

A spokesman for President Obama expressed “deep disappointment” in the court’s decision, which might have been shocking except that Mr. Obama has refused to support any real investigation of Mr. Bush’s lawless detention policies. His lawyers have tried to shut down court cases filed by victims of those policies, with the same extravagant claims of state secrets and executive power that Mr. Bush made.

In another a related matter, Dick Cheney reminded the world yesterday that he has long been a big fan of A) waterboarding and B) telling his lawyers what to tell him.


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Category: Corruption, Current Events, Military, Politics, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (4)

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  1. Brynn Jacobs says:


    Thanks for covering this in more detail.

    There are two points I would like to add to the issue of the case before the British court. First, the ruling from the British court is very courageous given that the US has repeatedly threatened to cut off intelligence sharing with Britain if they release the information contained in these 7 paragraphs. Mr. Mohamed's attorney had this to say of the threats:

    "What they are doing is twisting the arm of the British to keep evidence of torture committed by American officials secret," said Mr. Smith, a U.S. citizen. "I had high hopes for the Obama administration. I voted for the guy, and one hopes the new administration would not continue to cover up evidence of criminal activity."

    "The U.S. is committing a criminal offense in Britain by seeking to conceal this information. What the Obama administration did is not just ill-advised, it is illegal," he said.

    Secondly, as pointed out in the New York Times editorial to which you link, the 7 paragraphs do not contain any sensitive intelligence information, which was the stated rationale for suppressing the information. What those 7 paragraphs DO contain, is details of the torture to which Mr. Mohamed was subjected:

    The paragraphs contained no real secrets. Mainly, the document — a summary of information that American intelligence provided to Britain’s security service, MI5 — echoes previous disclosures by the C.I.A. and Mr. Mohamed’s harrowing account of his ordeal.

    But what it does contain is the assessment by British intelligence that his treatment violated legal prohibitions against torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of prisoners.

    Also, what Dick Cheney did on Sunday amounts to an admission that he was responsible for war crimes. I hope to see his repugnant statements used in his trial someday.

    • Erich Vieth says:

      Brynn: Good summary. All of this is repugnant. Good word choice: repugnant. None of this could stand the light of day, it would seem. If only most media outlets would have the guts to put it on the top of the front page a few days in a row. Good for the NYT and for Harpers for being notable exceptions. Most of the local newspapers too busy covering the Olympics and Tiger to take the time to report that there are significant numbers of U.S. government employees who are behaving like Nazis and that the U.S. government is working extremely hard to cover it up by A) withholding information and B) actively lying.

      Shame on Barack Obama. We need to identify all the culprits and kick them out of government service. Apparently, though, those involved are too many and hold a rank too high for justice to be done. It reminds me of the problem with Wall Street. Actually, it reminds me of a lot of things these days . . .

  2. Erich Vieth says:

    Harry Shearer reports that in three separate court cases, the U.S. Department of Justice did not contest allegations that three detainees had been brutally tortured while in U.S. custody. Therefore, the court held that their "confessions" were unreliable.

    But the essential point here is that the US Justice Department does not dispute that prisoners in American custody have been tortured. Case closed. Literally.

    Therefore, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, there are torturers in our midst. It's time to prosecute them, no matter how high up the chain of command the path leads.

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