Guantánamo: Torture on trial


The Guantanamo Files“Torture on trial” is the title of an article I wrote for the Guardian’s “Comment is free” section today. It follows on from my article Six in Guantánamo Charged with 9/11 Murders: Why Now? And What About the Torture? by focusing on the revelation that “clean teams” of FBI agents re-interrogated the six detainees who were charged on Monday in connection with the 9/11 attacks, in an apparently successful attempt to secure evidence that was not based on torture.

In the article, I suggest that it may not be a coincidence that the administration made its announcement about the charges in an attempt to divert attention from last week’s revelation — by CIA director Michael Hayden — that three “high-value” detainees had been waterboarded in CIA custody, and point out that the extraordinary admission about the “clean teams” does not reflect well on the administration, because it demonstrates an attempt to rewrite history, and is also, I suspect, intended to stave off calls for the prosecution for “war crimes” of those who authorized the use of torture by US forces.

I also salute the law-abiding heroes of various US agencies, including the FBI and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), who opposed the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and explain how the difficulties that will be faced in prosecuting these six men could have been avoided if the administration had worked within the existing parameters of domestic and international law.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed, and see here for my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, published in March 2009.

One Response

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    For an interesting take on the timing of the announcement, see the following article in Slate by former military lawyer Charles Swift, who represented Yemeni detainee Salim Hamdan in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the case that saw the Supreme Court throw out the first incarnation of the Military Commissions in June 2006. Passed over for promotion as a result of his fearless advocacy for Hamdan, Swift was then obliged to leave the US military, and now teaches law, while continuing to work on Hamdan’s case as a civilian lawyer:

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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