The Guantánamo Effect: Exposing the Consequences of U.S. Detention and Interrogation Practices

The Guantánamo Effect: Exposing the Consequences of U.S. Detention and Interrogation Practices

Laurel E. Fletcher

Language: English

Pages: 232

ISBN: 0520261771

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This book, based on a two-year study of former prisoners of the U.S. government’s detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, reveals in graphic detail the cumulative effect of the Bush administration’s “war on terror.” Scrupulously researched and devoid of rhetoric, the book deepens the story of post-9/11 America and the nation’s descent into the netherworld of prisoner abuse. Researchers interviewed more than sixty former Guantánamo detainees in nine countries, as well as key government officials, military experts, former guards, interrogators, lawyers for detainees, and other camp personnel. We hear directly from former detainees as they describe the events surrounding their capture, their years of incarceration, and the myriad difficulties preventing many from resuming a normal life upon returning home. Prepared jointly by researchers with the Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley, and the International Human Rights Law Clinic, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, in partnership with the Center for Constitutional Rights, The Guantánamo Effect contributes significantly to the debate surrounding the U.S.’s commitment to international law during war time.

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rooms was a chalkboard where guards wrote the number of hours detainees were to be suspended by handcuffs from the ceiling and allowed to rest on the floor.31 Detainees were reportedly unshackled and the “sleep deprivation” charts erased during ICRC visits.32 A former detainee related how he and others in his cell were repeatedly shackled to a wire hung from the ceiling over a period of eight to nine days at Bagram: When they brought me food, they would untie my hands from the ceiling and hand me

this book, requires a willingness to examine not only specific acts of torture and cruelty but a wide range of policies and practices aimed at breaking the bodies and minds of real and imagined enemies. In April 2009, President Obama released legal memos describing the interrogation techniques approved by the Bush administration with a statement that this disclosure was required by law but was not a precursor to prosecutions.7 However, a full and open inquiry into the Bush Administration’s

was aware of at least 12 suicide attempts during his 10-month tour at the camp. The DOD does not isolate and report suicide attempts, which are included under a broader category called “manipulative self-injurious behavior.” As of August 2006, however, there had been more than 460 such incidents. As many as 120 hanging “gestures” (a subset of such behavior) occurred in 2003 alone.24 In August of that same year, 23 detainees attempted to hang themselves over an eight-day period, leaving one

modest handouts. Others said they received nothing.21 Many respondents said the government was The Legacy of Guantánamo / 103 unresponsive to their efforts to recover their illegally seized property or reclaim lost government jobs. In two cases, former detainees said that corrupt government officials seized their property after they were accused of being members of the Taliban. Both said they had to pay bribes to regain their lands. Many Afghan former detainees in particular said they were

sustained, and radical challenge to the rule of law in American history,”14 President Bush formally endorsed Gonzales’ recommendation in a memorandum issued a few days later. 15 The president announced that those taken into U.S. custody would not be considered POWs but would be treated “humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles” of the Third Geneva Convention.16 The Administration designated those taken into custody

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