The whistleblower organization WikiLeaks has just released four documents that provide an intimate look into daily procedures and policies at the U.S.-run Guantanamo Bay Naval Center in Cuba.
The documents, called “Detainee Policies,” are dated 1994, 2001, and 2002, and cover a range of topics from prison contraband to procedures on addressing a major prisoner disturbance.
The Guantanamo leak is the first of many releases of official Department of Defense documents WikiLeaks is planning over the next month.
"The ’Detainee Policies’ show the anatomy of the beast that is post-9/11 detention, the carving out of a dark space where law and rights do not apply, where persons can be detained without a trace at the convenience of the U.S. Department of Defense,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in a statement. “It shows the excesses of the early days of war against an unknown ’enemy’ and how these policies matured and evolved, ultimately deriving into the permanent state of exception that the United States now finds itself in, a decade later."
The United States military has had a presence in Guantanamo Bay since the early 1900s. Since the Sept. 11, 2011, attacks, the base has detained about 779 prisoners and has become a lightning rod for controversy because of interrogation techniques, living conditions, and prisoner suicide attempts.
According to the latest leak, prisoners are allowed amenities like blankets, finger toothbrushes, and religious texts (like the Koran, for example) and can have visitors from 1pm to 4pm on the weekend. The documents also detail the shackling procedure used on each prisoner. And near the end of the document titled “disorder emergency plan” from 2001, step by step instructions are provided on how to deal with an unruly group of prisoners.
“Inform the participating inmates that authority will prevail; that order will be restored and that means are available to restore order by sufficient application of force,” reads the document. “Commander USACF-E may authorize use of high-pressure water and physical force, other than weapon fire. … Commander 21st TSC may authorize use of deadly force. All firing will be aimed to disable, rather than to kill.”
Since taking office, President Barack Obama has tried to close the base at Guantanamo Bay, put some detainees on trial, and relocate the rest. While some prisoners have been tried or sent to countries like Saudi Arabia, about 169 prisoners still remain at the base, the New York Times reported.
“We call upon lawyers, NGOs, human rights activists and the public to mine the ’Detainee Policies’ and investigate important issues such as the denial of access to the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) to detainee facilities,” WikiLeaks said in its news release.
Assange is currently hiding out at the Ecuadorian embassy in England to avoid facing criminal charges of rape and assault in Sweden. According to his lawyers, if Assange was extradited to Sweden, he could be sent to Guantanamo or receive the death penalty, the Guardian reported.
Photo via WikiLeaks