Great New York Times Exposé of How Torture, Abuse and Command Indifference Compromised Psychiatric Care at Guantánamo

A prisoner, in the early days of Guantanamo, being moved on a gurney, as prisoners were in the prison's early years.Please support my work! I’m currently trying to raise $2500 (£2000) to support my writing and campaigning on Guantánamo until the end of the year.


A recent detailed New York Times article, “Where Even Nightmares Are Classified: Psychiatric Care at Guantánamo,” provides a powerful review of the horrors of Guantánamo from the perspective of “more than two dozen military medical personnel who served or consulted” at the prison.

The Times article, written by Sheri Fink, explains how some prisoners were disturbed when they arrived at the prison, others “struggled with despair” as their imprisonment without charge or trial dragged on, and some “had developed symptoms including hallucinations, nightmares, anxiety or depression after undergoing brutal interrogations” by US personnel — sometime in CIA “black sites,” sometimes at Guantánamo — who had themselves been advised by other health personnel. Those who were tortured — although the Times refused to mention the word “torture,” as has been the paper’s wont over the years, coyly referring to dozens of men who “underwent agonizing treatment” — “were left with psychological problems that persisted for years, despite government lawyers’ assurances that the practices did not constitute torture and would cause no lasting harm.”

The result, Fink concluded, was that “a willful blindness to the consequences emerged. Those equipped to diagnose, document and treat the effects — psychiatrists, psychologists and mental health teams — were often unaware of what had happened.” Doctors told the Times that, “[s]ometimes by instruction and sometimes by choice, they typically did not ask what the prisoners had experienced in interrogations,” a situation that seriously compromised their care. Read the rest of this entry »

Center for Constitutional Rights: New Videos Plus Support for the “Close Guantánamo” Petition to President Obama

In the long struggle to close Guantánamo, protests took place in Washington D.C. and across America on the 10th anniversary of the opening of the prison on January 11, and the newly established “Close Guantánamo” campaign (of which I am a member of the steering committee) launched a petition on the White House’s “We the People” website, calling on President Obama to fulfill his promise to close the prison, which he made when he took office three years ago, and pointing out how fundamentally unjust it is that 89 of the remaining 171 prisoners have been cleared for release, and yet are still held.

That petition needs to secure 25,000 signatures by February 6, to oblige the President to respond, and at the time of writing, over 4,300 people had signed it. Many groups have been asking their supporters to sign it, and yesterday the Center for Constitutional Rights publicly added their voice to the campaign, sending out an email alert to all their supporters, asking them to sign the petition, and also asking visitors to the “Close Guantánamo” page on their website to sign it.

The embedded clock above [Note: removed after the petition reached its time limit] was also created by CCR, and, in further publicity, three videos featuring speeches made outside the Supreme Court on January 11 — by Andy Worthington, by conscientious objector Daniel Lakemacher, who worked as a guard at Guantánamo, and by CCR’s executive director Vince Warren — have also been made available on CCR’s “Close Guantánamo” page, and are posted below. Read the rest of this entry »

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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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