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Proletarian issue 42 (June 2011)
Leaks reveal more uncomfortable Guantánamo truths
The US’s complete disregard for human rights is highlighted once again.
The WikiLeaks revelations regarding Guantánamo, as with most everything else, continue to confirm what we already knew but could not so easily prove.

Most of the Guantanamo inmates were/are guilty of nothing other than attracting the unwanted attention of foreign occupation troops in their country, or of being on holiday/business in a country that was being invaded and occupied by the armies of US and British imperialism in their quest to corner the world’s oil and gas supplies by fair means or foul.

Of those prisoners who were known ‘combatants’, the only ‘crime’ committed by most was opposing the said parasitical invasions and occupations, something most fair-minded people would consider a patriotic duty rather than a crime. And even those very few whom the lackeys of imperialist brigandage continue to brand as ‘terrorists’ and a ‘threat to the US and others’ were motivated by earlier crimes of these imperialist beasts against the various peoples of the world.

The recent leaks were examined by the New York Times, amongst others, which wrote in April that “more than 700 classified military documents provide new and detailed accounts of the men who have done time at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba, and offer new insight into the evidence against the 172 men still locked up there”.

The documents do not appear to say much about the use of torture interrogation tactics at Guantánamo such as sleep deprivation, shackling in stress positions, continuous playing of loud music in confined cells, prolonged exposure to cold temperatures or any of the other now accepted methods of ‘protecting’ the ‘free’ world, but they do reveal the assessments of detainees written by military intelligence officials between February 2002 and January 2009, providing “glimpses of the tensions between captors and captives. What began as a jury-rigged experiment after the 2001 terrorist attacks now seems like an enduring American institution, and the leaked files show why, by laying bare the patchwork and contradictory evidence that in many cases would never have stood up in criminal court or a military tribunal. ” (‘Classified files offer new insights into detainees’ by Charlie Savage, William Glaberson and Andrew Lehren, 24 April 2011)

Obama’s administration officials (it may be remembered that, during his election campaign, Obama claimed that he would close Guantánamo) condemned the publication of the classified documents. “The officials pointed out that an administration task force set up in January 2009 reviewed the information in the prisoner assessments, and in some cases came to different conclusions. Thus, they said, the documents published by The Times may not represent the government’s current view of detainees at Guantánamo.”

What is obvious to anyone, however, is that whatever methods were used to grade the people held captive and tortured over many years, confinement at Guantánamo was not about the security of the US and its fellow criminals. It was, and remains, a major part of the repression of the peoples of the occupied countries and a chilling warning to any who consider standing up to them. Guantánamo plays the same role as Abu Ghraib and the various other torture sites around the world that detainees of imperialism are shipped around between.


In May 2003, for example, Afghan forces captured Prisoner 1051, an Afghan named Sharbat, near the scene of a roadside bomb explosion, the documents show. He denied any involvement, saying he was a shepherd. Guantánamo debriefers and analysts agreed, citing his consistent story, his knowledge of herding animals and his ignorance of ‘simple military and political concepts’, according to his assessment. Yet a military tribunal declared him an ‘enemy combatant’ anyway, and he was not sent home until 2006. ” (Ibid)

Another such example of obvious repression mentioned in the article is that of Sudanese cameraman for Al-Jazeera, Sami al-Hajj, who “was held at Guantánamo for six years for questioning about the television network’s ‘training programme, telecommunications equipment, and newsgathering operations in Chechnya, Kosovo, and Afghanistan’, including contacts with terrorist groups. While Mr Hajj insisted he was just a journalist, his file says he helped islamic extremist groups courier money and obtain Stinger missiles and cites the United Arab Emirates’ claim that he was a Qaeda member. He was released in 2008 and returned to work for Al-Jazeera.

The article admits that “the leaked archive is not complete; it contains no assessments for about 15 of the detainees”, but concludes that “for all the limitations of the files, they still offer an extraordinary look inside a prison that has long been known for its secrecy and for a struggle between the military that runs it – using constant surveillance, forced removal from cells and other tools to exert control – and detainees who often fought back with the limited tools available to them: hunger strikes, threats of retribution and hoarded contraband ranging from a metal screw to leftover food.

Scores of detainees were given disciplinary citations for ‘inappropriate use of bodily fluids’, as some files delicately say; other files make clear that detainees on a fairly regular basis were accused by guards of throwing urine and faeces.

This is perhaps the greatest lesson that imperialism should, but never will, take account of. No matter how much repression is heaped on their heads, people will find ways to stand up to it. Of the hundreds who have passed through the Guantánamo torture house and since been released, many have taken up the struggle against imperialism – some with words and accounts of their ordeal, others by taking up arms, having seen what the beast is capable of.

Yet these few ex-Guantánamo inmates are miniscule in number when compared to the thousands upon thousands who have seen and experienced countless other imperialist outrages. As usual, when imperialists seek to silence opposition to their piratical and homicidal exploits by greater repression, they only create new cadres for the forces of resistance.

In short, the more aggressive, repressive and cruel they are in their exploitation the more they will be challenged, resisted, and ultimately defeated!

> WikiLeaks strikes blow for truth on Iraq - December 2010

> WikiLeaks: the double standards and hypocrisy of US imperialism - Lalkar January 2011
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