'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Dorsey & Whitney Detainee Statements 

Human Rights First has published a document containing the stories of four Guantanamo Bay inmates as told to the lawyers representing them. The document has only recently been declassified. Here's HRF's introduction:

Detainees held at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay told their U.S. lawyers about the use of tactics intended to degrade their religious beliefs in a series of interviews that were recently declassified by the U.S. Department of Defense and were published at Human Rights First today. The charges are consistent with other allegations by detainees at U.S.- run facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan, and with Defense Department reports that have already been made public.

Among other things, one of the detainees alleges that an interrogator told him "a holy war was occurring, between the Cross and the Star of David on the one hand, and the Crescent on the other." Guards allegedly interfered with detainees’ prayers. In another incident, a guard allegedly placed a detainee’s shoes on his Koran. One detainee charges that "copies of the Koran were sometimes thrown on the floor". These statements were made in interviews, beginning on October 2004, by attorneys at Dorsey & Whitney LLP of their clients, six Bahraini citizens. Before these attorneys’ interview notes were released, they were reviewed and declassified by military personnel in accordance with a court order and military regulations.

Here is the document as a PDF. It is not that long, and if you are at all interested in these matters I encourage you to read the whole thing -- especially if you're an American, if for no other reason than to know what is being done in your name.

Oh yeah, and here are several other incidents that resonate with Newsweek's recent allegations:

Interrogators employed religious themes at times. For example, while Mr. Al Murbati was shackled to the floor, songs were played that had Arabic-language lyrics praising Jesus Christ. An interrogator told Mr. Al Murbati that if he "admitted his mistakes" he would be "delivered like Jonah from the whale." Another interrogator pressed Mr. Al Murbati about why Christians were not allowed to touch the Koran; Mr. Al Murbati answered that under certain circumstances not even muslims were supposed to touch the Koran.


In Camp Delta, MP's frequently treated the Koran in a manner that Mr. Haji felt was disrespectful. Mr. Haji decided that to avoid having his Koran so treated he would not keep it in his cell. Therefore, he attempted to hand his Koran to an MP, but the MP handed it back. A simlar exchange or two ensued. The MP then called an IRF. The IRF entered Mr. Al Haji's cell and beat him, including punching him in the face, twisting his kneee and knocking him to the ground.

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