BERLIN — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says about 30 detainees have been cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay.
Holder met with reporters in Germany ahead of a speech appealing for Europe’s help to close the U.S. military detention facility.
The attorney general says the U.S. has not decided which detainees they want to send to specific countries, adding that those decisions are weeks away.
There are 241 prisoners at Guantanamo, and Holder has been visiting European leaders this week asking for help relocating detainees and shuttering the detention site over the next nine months.
Previewing his later speech, Holder said closing the detention facility is a shared responsibility for the U.S. and Europe.
AP’s earlier story is below. Continue reading
Army Private Brandon Neely served as a prison guard at Guantánamo in the first years the facility was in operation. With the Bush Administration, and thus the threat of retaliation against him, now gone, Neely decided to step forward and tell his story. “The stuff I did and the stuff I saw was just wrong,” he told the Associated Press. Neely describes the arrival of detainees in full sensory-deprivation garb, he details their sexual abuse by medical personnel, torture by other medical personnel, brutal beatings out of frustration, fear, and retribution, the first hunger strike and its causes, torturous shackling, positional torture, interference with religious practices and beliefs, verbal abuse, restriction of recreation, the behavior of mentally ill detainees, an isolation regime that was put in place for child-detainees, and his conversations with prisoners David Hicks and Rhuhel Ahmed. It makes for fascinating reading.
Neely’s comprehensive account runs to roughly 15,000 words. It was compiled by law students at the University of California at Davis and can be accessed here. Three things struck me in reading through the account.
First, Neely and other guards had been trained to the U.S. military’s traditional application of the Geneva Convention rules. They were put under great pressure to get rough with the prisoners and to violate the standards they learned. This placed the prison guards under unjustifiable mental stress and anxiety, and, as any person familiar with the vast psychological literature in the area (think of the Stanford Prison Experiment, for instance) would have anticipated produced abuses. Neely discusses at some length the notion of IRF (initial reaction force), a technique devised to brutalize or physically beat a detainee under the pretense that he required being physically subdued. The IRF approach was devised to use a perceived legal loophole in the prohibition on torture. Neely’s testimony makes clear that IRF was understood by everyone, including the prison guards who applied it, as a subterfuge for beating and mistreating prisoners—and that it had nothing to do with the need to preserve discipline and order in the prison. Continue reading
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) – The proclaimed architect of the Sept. 11 attacks once declared that he wanted to be executed and become a martyr. But Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is mounting a vigorous defense, even asking the military judge to remove himself Wednesday.
Acting as his own attorney, Mohammed’s readiness to raise pretrial challenges on behalf of himself and his four co-defendants ensures the case will not be over quickly. It now has little chance of going to trial before the end of the Bush administration.
Charles “Cully” Stimson, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, said Mohammed aims to use the military tribunal to rally al-Qaida supporters.
“KSM will mess with the system to the extent he can, and he will use the trial as a platform to speak to those who look up to him as a hero,” Stimson told The Associated Press in an e-mail. Continue reading