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The Guantánamo Effect

The Guantánamo Effect: Exposing the Consequences of U.S. Detention and Interrogation Practices

Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    The Guantánamo Effect
    Book Description:

    This book, based on a two-year study of former prisoners of the U.S. government's detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, reveals in graphic detail the cumulative effect of the Bush administration's "war on terror." Scrupulously researched and devoid of rhetoric, the book deepens the story of post-9/11 America and the nation's descent into the netherworld of prisoner abuse. Researchers interviewed more than sixty former Guantánamo detainees in nine countries, as well as key government officials, military experts, former guards, interrogators, lawyers for detainees, and other camp personnel. We hear directly from former detainees as they describe the events surrounding their capture, their years of incarceration, and the myriad difficulties preventing many from resuming a normal life upon returning home. Prepared jointly by researchers with the Human Rights Center, University of California, Berkeley, and the International Human Rights Law Clinic, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, in partnership with the Center for Constitutional Rights,The Guantánamo Effectcontributes significantly to the debate surrounding the U.S.'s commitment to international law during war time.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94522-7
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Acronyms and Abbreviations
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Patricia M. Wald

    This sobering report by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, adds a new chapter to the chronicle of America’s dismal descent into the netherworld of prisoner abuse since the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Carefully researched and devoid of rhetoric, it traces the missteps that disfigured an internationally admired nation and tainted its self-proclaimed ideals of humane treatment and justice for all. Through the voices of detainees formerly held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the report provides new insights into the lingering consequences of unjust detention and the corrupted processes developed in the...

    (pp. xv-xviii)
    Laurel E. Fletcher and Eric Stover
  6. Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION: “The New Paradigm”
    (pp. 1-18)

    On September 20, 2001, nine days after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President George W. Bush announced that the United States was engaged in a “war on terror” unlike any conflict it had ever faced.¹

    The cornerstone to winning this war would be obtaining information from known and suspected terrorists. Four days earlier, Vice President Dick Cheney had explained in an interview on NBC’sMeet the Pressthat to defeat America’s new enemy,

    We’ll have to work sort of the dark side. . . . We’ve got to spend time in the shadows in the...

  7. Chapter 2 AFGHANISTAN: The Long Journey Begins
    (pp. 19-40)

    On October 7, 2001, nearly four weeks after the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, the United States launched its war in Afghanistan. As cruise missiles blanketed Taliban positions around Kabul, Jalalabad, and Kandahar and FA-18 Hornets made daily sorties seeking out Al Qaeda strongholds in the Tora Bora Mountains, thousands of civilians, as well as foreign and Afghani fighters, crossed the border region into Pakistan. Many became trapped in the borderlands, as the United States dropped leaflets promising generous rewards for “al-Qaeda and Taliban murderers.”¹ Some sought shelter with local Pakistani tribesmen, while others made their way...

  8. Chapter 3 GUANTÁNAMO: Pushed to the Breaking Point
    (pp. 41-68)

    On January 11, 2002, a cargo plane holding 20 detainees from Afghanistan landed at the U.S. naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, the first of many detainee transfers that eventually swelled the camp population at its height to over 600. Hooded and wearing earmuffs, detainees felt a blast of hot, humid air as they were escorted off the plane by U.S. soldiers, hustled onto a bus, and transported across the water by a ferry to a large building, part of the detention center located on the southeast corner of the 45-square-mile base. Once inside, detainees encountered a beehive of activity...

  9. Chapter 4 GUANTÁNAMO: No Exit
    (pp. 69-92)

    The U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay is an institution of total confinement designed largely to serve the needs of interrogators and their superiors. Rules and regulations governing detention have given guards and interrogators total control over nearly every aspect of the lives of detainees. Most former detainees interviewed for this study experienced their detention in Guantánamo as arbitrary and humiliating, punctuated at times by excruciating mental or physical pain. Many responded to perceived injustices by camp personnel through collective and individual acts of resistance, ranging from refusal to respond to orders to hunger strikes and attempted suicide. Years of...

  10. Chapter 5 RETURN: The Legacy of Guantánamo
    (pp. 93-116)

    As of October 2008, the United States had transferred approximately 520 detainees from the detention facility in Guantánamo Bay to the custody of governments in 30 countries.¹ Many respondents in our study said they were elated when they learned about their impending departure from Guantánamo. In their minds, “release” from U.S. custody meant vindication of their claims of innocence and an opportunity to resume their lives. None of these detainees had been charged with a crime by the United States. What few understood at the time was that U.S. policy was not to “release” detainees but rather to “transfer” their...

    (pp. 117-126)

    Our research reveals serious flaws in the system created by the Bush Administration for the apprehension, detention, interrogation, and release of suspected members of the Taliban and Al Qaeda taken into U.S. custody since the attacks of September 11, 2001. One of the most egregious aspects of this system was a series of high-level directives issued between September 2001 and April 2003 authorizing the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques.”¹ Many of these interrogation methods—whether used individually or simultaneously over prolonged periods of time—appear to have violated international and domestic prohibitions on torture or other cruel, inhuman, or degrading...

  12. APPENDIX A: Counter Resistance Strategy Meeting Minutes
    (pp. 129-133)
  13. APPENDIX B: Physical Pressures Used in Resistance Training and Against American Prisoners and Detainees
    (pp. 134-138)
  14. APPENDIX C: Assessment of JTF-170 Counter-Resistance Strategies and the Potential Impact on CITF Mission and Personnel
    (pp. 139-142)
  15. APPENDIX D: Executive Orders of January 22, 2009
    (pp. 143-156)
  16. NOTES
    (pp. 157-192)
    (pp. 193-198)
    (pp. 199-200)
    (pp. 201-202)
  20. INDEX
    (pp. 203-210)