Lest we forget why quick action on Guantanamo is the right thing for our new president, see this book-length new report from U-Cal Berkeley's Human Rights Center (in cooperation with the International Human Rights Law Clinic and the Center for Constitutional Rights), Guantanamo and Its Aftermath: U.S. Detention and Interrogation Practices and Their Impact on Former Detainees.
Excerpts from their findings, as summarized in a press release:
based on a two-year study, [it] reveals in graphic detail the cumulative effect of Bush Administration policies on the lives of 62 released detainees. Many of the prisoners were sold into captivity and subjected to brutal treatment in U.S. prison camps in Afghanistan. Once in Guantanamo, prisoners were denied access to civilian courts to challenge the legality of their detention. Almost two-thirds of the former detainees interviewed reported having psychological problems since leaving Guantanamo.
Researchers conducted interviews with released detainees in nine countries. The comprehensive study also includes in-depth interviews with key government officials, military experts, former guards, interrogators and other camp personnel.
The authors call for an independent, nonpartisan commission to lift the shroud of secrecy from Guantanamo and other detention sites. They further argue that the commission should have subpoena power and, if applicable, recommend further investigations of those allegedly responsible for any crimes committed at all levels of the civilian and military chain of command.
The authors warn that such a commission should not be undercut by the issuance of pardons, amnesties, or other measures that would protect those culpable from accountability. President-Elect Barack Obama has called for the closure of Guantanamo. The UC Berkeley report asks for even broader remedies.
Over half of the study respondents who discussed their interrogation sessions at Guantanamo (31 of 55) characterized them as "abusive." Detainees reported being subjected to short shackling, stress positions, prolonged solitary confinement, and exposure to extreme temperatures, loud music, and
strobe lights for extended periods-often simultaneously. The authors conclude that the cumulative impact of these methods, especially over time, constitutes cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment and, in some cases, rises to the level of torture.
Of the more than 770 detainees who have endured Guantanamo since it opened in 2002, more than 500 have been released without formal criminal charges or trial. So far, of the 250 or more who remain in detention, only 23 have been charged with a crime. Two have been convicted and one has pled guilty.
Links for a plethora of reason Gitmo coverage options.