Guantanamo Documents Show Detention Policies Were a Failure
McClatchy's Carol Rosenberg and Tom Lasseter have an analysis of the new Guantanamo documents released by Wikileaks to various news organizations. Shorter version: Bush and Rumsfeld's detention and interrogation policies were a flub.
a collection of secret intelligence documents from George W. Bush's administration, not meant to surface for 20 years, shows that the military's efforts at Guantánamo often were much less effective than the government has acknowledged. 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 Guantánamo "quite simply a mess."
The information from detainee-informants was unreliable. [More...]
Intelligence analysts are at odds with each other over which informants to trust, at times drawing inferences from prisoners exercise habits. They ordered DNA tests, tethered Taliban suspects to polygraphs, strung together tidbits at times in ways that seemed to defy common sense.
The detainees' defense lawyers, who accused the Bush administration of allowing Chinese and Russian interrogators to interrogate their clients at Gitmo, turned out to be right. It happened.
[T]here'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.
If you are wondering how the major news outlets managed to read and dissect the documents so quickly, McClatchy informs us that they got the documents last month on an embargoed basis. Wikileaks lifted the embargo last night because the documents got transferred to other news organizations who were going to publish articles about them. Michael Calderone at HuffPo has more on the news organizations competing for the Wikileaks documents.
The documents cover 2002 to 2008.
The ACLU weighs in here.
“These documents are remarkable because they show just how questionable the government’s basis has been for detaining hundreds of people, in some cases indefinitely, at Guantánamo. The one-sided assessments are rife with uncorroborated evidence, information obtained through torture, speculation, errors and allegations that have been proven false.
“The documents are the fruit of the original sin by which the rule of law was scrapped when Guantanámo detainees were first rounded up. If the government had followed the law, it would have established a meaningful and prompt process to separate the innocent from those who are legally detainable.”
The U.S. will never live down the stain caused by Guantanamo under G.W. Bush and his cronies, and by our current Congress which has blocked its closure and the trial of the remaining detainees in federal criminal court.
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