Guantanamo documents reveal US brutality and lawlessness

Patrick Martin

A detainee peers through a plastic window in Camp Iguana detention
facility on the U.S. Naval Base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, Wednesday,
Nov. 19, 2008. (AP/Brennan Linsley)

A new trove of documents released Sunday night by WikiLeaks profiles more than 700 prisoners who passed through the Guantanamo Bay detention camp between 2002 and 2009. The documents demonstrate that, even in the eyes of the US military/intelligence apparatus, there was no evidence connecting the vast majority of the prisoners to any form of terrorism, let alone terrorist threats against the United States and US citizens.

The documents consist largely of Detainee Assessment Briefs (DABs), short summaries of the alleged evidence against individual detainees, as well as accounts of their physical and mental health, how they came into US custody, their value as intelligence sources and their eventual disposition, if any. Along with the DABs on 704 prisoners—out of 779 men believed to have been imprisoned at Guantanamo for any length of time—there are documents providing guidelines for interrogators and other procedures at the US-run prison camp in Cuba.

The documents require careful review, but certain preliminary conclusions can be drawn immediately from the digests which have appeared in a dozen newspapers and magazines, some of which are collaborating with WikiLeaks and others which are openly hostile to the whistle-blower web site. There is also a useful summary posted on WikiLeaks itself (

Few of the DABs contain any detail on the interrogation techniques practiced by US torturers at CIA “black prisons,” before the victims arrived at Guantanamo, or at Guantanamo itself. But there are several references to torture, without using that word, perpetrated by US allies on a contract basis. Thus, Australian prisoner Mamdouh Habib is described as having undergone “severe duress” at an Egyptian prison before he was sent to Guantanamo. During those interrogations, he made the absurd claim to having personally trained in martial arts six of the 19 terrorists who perpetrated the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Gulf allies: A record of repression and torture

Ed Hightower

US State Department human rights reports

The US State Department recently released its “2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.” This year’s annual report provides details on human rights conditions in over 190 countries. Included are reports on the member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which represents the US-backed monarchies of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

This Saudi-dominated alliance backed the imposition of a no-fly zone in Libya, and has provided key support for the attack on Libya by the United States and European powers. The GCC has also provided military and police personnel to put down insurrections against the repressive regimes in Bahrain and Yemen.

While the US seeks to cloak its imperialist assault on Libya in “humanitarian” terms, its allies in the GCC are guilty of widespread violations of human rights and practice repression and torture in their own countries. This WSWS series examines these human rights abuses as documented in the State Department reports. This installment covers Bahrain. For our report on Saudi Arabia, click here; for Qatar click here.

CIA in Honduras: the Practice of Selective Terror

Nil Nikandrov

"It is an established pattern that political murders become widespread wherever the US “helps restore democracy”."

President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya was displaced slightly over a year ago in a coup staged by the local oligarchy and the US intelligence community. The coup came as a punishment for Zelaya’s alignment with H. Chavez and other populist Latin American leaders. Since the time, the news flow from Honduras abounds with stories of political assassinations, the victims being activists of trade unions, peasant and student organizations, and the National Popular Resistance Front opposing the pro-US regime of Porfirio Lobo. Ten journalists who expressed support for the ousted Honduran president have been killed this year alone.

The most recent case of the type was the murder of Israel Zelaya, 56, who was kidnapped by an armed group which easily crossed by car numerous police checkpoints set up as a part of the security-tightening campaign. The journalist was taken to a secluded location, tortured, and shot two times in the head and once – in the chest.

Dozens of similar incidents show that a program of ”political cleansing” is underway in Honduras. Killers selectively target potential leaders capable of galvanizing protesters. Peasant leader Maria Teresa Flores, 50, was the coordinator of the Council of Peasant Organizations of Honduras and a proponent of an agrarian reform including the abolition of latifundias and the establishment of rural cooperatives. She was kidnapped, and a week later her bullet-ridden body with numerous traces of machete strikes and one hand cut off was found by the roadside in the Comayagua department.

Only a fraction of the cases of political assassinations in Honduras become widely known. The operations are carried out in secrecy by specially trained and lavishly paid death squads staffed by police agents, bandits, and professional killers of Honduran origin or brought in from Columbia. These days, mass graves of opponents of the current regime are discovered in Honduras increasingly often. It is an established pattern that political murders become widespread wherever the US “helps restore democracy”. Berta Oliva, president of the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared of Honduras, told the media a few days ago about the discovery of another mass grave with the bodies of over 100 people reported missing in June-August, that is, after the coup that propelled P. Lobo to power.

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