Several media outlets have been citing FBI documents claiming mistreatment
of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. However, these documents are the basis of what
is really a big non-story. Why? Because the allegations of torture based on
these documents have already been investigated by the Department of Defense
(DOD) in 2005 and found to have no basis in fact.
documents in question? They are the same FBI memos that formed the basis of
Senator Richard Durbin's comparison of Guantanamo Bay to the actions of the
Nazis and Khmer Rouge, and have been released in the course of a lawsuit by the
American Civil Liberties Union.
for what the media and ACLU won't tell you. The DOD investigations in 2004 and
2005 turned up very few incidents of mistreatment, and those incidents that did
occur were often dealt with on the spot. Three of the incidents - and the
response to them - are worth noting. The first was an incident uncovered,
during the investigation, of the allegations from FBI agents. A naval officer
threatened the mother of one detainee, a violation of Article 134 the Uniform
Code of Military Justice. That matter has been referred to the Naval
Investigative Service for investigation. In a second incident, an inmate who
was chanting, had duct tape placed over his mouth by MPs, at the direction of
an interrogator concerned about a potential riot. The person responsible was
verbally reprimanded by a JAG for this one-time incident. In the third
incident, an interrogator who was spat on proceeded to smear some red ink on
the detainee. She was verbally reprimanded on the spot as well. In the second
two cases, the investigations recommended different punishment for the
infractions, but it does not detract from the fact that the DOD acted on the
was the case when the original controversy broke in 2005, the media also failed
to note two important facts. One is that at least a dozen of the detainees
released from Guantanamo Bay are known to have re-joined al-Qaeda on the
battlefield. One of these detainees, Rasul Kudayev, planned attacks in the
Kabardino-Balkariya, in the Northern Caucasus that killed 45 people.
detainees, like Mohamed Qahtami (also spelled al Kahtami), suspected of being
the 20th hijacker, were serious terrorists who had valuable information.
Qahtami had held out against normal interrogation techniques over a period of
eight months, and so permission was granted to use more aggressive techniques
to get the information to engender a sense that resistance would be futile.
They succeeded, and within two months, Qahtami was soon providing valuable
intelligence on al Qaeda's plans for future operations, how it was organized,
and how the organization supported operations.
only thing these latest round of reports has done is to give the mainstream
media a chance to rehash old allegations and make the Department of Defense
look like it is stonewalling and refusing to investigate allegations of
torture. The ACLU gets plenty of press, which it can later use for a
fundraising drive and to get attention in general. The DOD will get no credit
for defending the country, nor will they get any credit for dealing with the
real abuses. Given that several detainees, most notably Kudayev, have returned
to the fight, the results of the ACLU's lawsuit could have a negative impact on
the civil liberties of innocent people. - Harold C. Hutchison