In 2007, Wikileaks published the protocol manual for the US army at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp, Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta. The manual included a designated list of prisoners to be off-limits to the International Committee of the Red Cross – while the US government and military had claimed all along that all prisoners held in Gitmo could be visited by Red Cross representatives: and in April 2011, Wikileaks published the US military’s secret files on 779 detainees. President Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay, and never has.
In 2010, Wikileaks made available to selected media outlets a huge log of every Iraqi death recorded by the coalition forces (Multi-National Forces Iraq) in Iraq between January 2004 and December 2009. As Jacob Shapiro, Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University, pointed out: the deaths over five years is still an undercount.
- The database records 109,032 deaths in total for the period
- The database records the following death counts: 66,081 civilians, 23,984 insurgents and 15,196 Iraqi security forces
Nearly a year ago the last convoy of US soldiers pulled out of Iraq, and now President Obama uses drones to kill people with even less oversight than in Iraq.
On 11th January 2011, the first 20 prisoners arrived at Guantánamo Bay. Hundreds of prisoners have been airlifted there since. 171 prisoners are still there. 88 of those men have been cleared for release, but a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that bans all future transfers from Guantanamo Bay and gives the US the lawful power to hold these men – or indeed anyone at all – indefinitely without due process. There is no indication that at a national level either the Democratic or Republican Party in the US wishes to close down Guantanamo Bay or the other offshore prisons where people can be held indefinitely: these are perceived as a useful, even a necessary resource.
Here’s how that first airlift is described in ABCNEWS at the time:
U.S. forces took their first group of al Qaeda and Taliban prisoners out of Afghanistan today, marching a group of 20 shackled, hooded prisoners onto an U.S. Air Force C-17 and taking off from Kandahar airport.
The prisoners are expected to be flown to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, where they will be loaded onto a C-141 equipped for prisoner transport to Guantanamo Bay, due to arrive on Friday.
The prisoners were all chained together and outnumbered 2-to-1 by guards armed with stun guns.
Pentagon officials told ABCNEWS the prisoners might be sedated if necessary, and reports from a number of media outlets, including USA Today, said they would be chained to their seats, forced to use portable urinals and fed by their guards.