Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Concur: Uh, WTF?

the talking dog raises an interesting point over at his blog about the new court filing of 5 Guantanamo detainees, including KSM. These men are all (to my knowledge) in Camp 7, the super secret, most secure camp at Guantanamo. Even in the Obama administration, we still don't know much about it. To quote from a write-up on the recent Pentagon review of GITMO (blech):

"Little is known about Camp 7, which is at a secret location at Guantanamo Bay
and off limits even to military attorneys representing the men there. It houses
those detainees who were formerly held at secret CIA prisons."

Verrry mysterious. One of the five filers, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, was the occasion (in Oct 2008) for the very first (and very unconventional) visit of defense attorneys to the Camp. The reason the defense lawyers were visiting was because bin al-Shibh was "being administered a psychotropic drug normally used to treat schizophrenia" and possibly unable to stand trial himself.

So reports suggest that Camp 7 detainees "are experiencing mental and physical health problems" and are, against their will, taking heavy meds - Zubaydah, also at Camp 7, was reportedly taking an anti-psychotic drug. Not only that but they may very well be hunger-striking. And the people in charge of Camp 7 let five of these people sit together and draft a legal document for a court over a period of time in a situation where their lawyers could not even be present. That was accepted by the judge, despite Obama's order to halt the military commissions. NYT:

"It appears that the men wrote the document at meetings they are permitted to
conduct periodically at the detention camp without lawyers."

Yeah, that is definitely, definitely weird. A good catch by the talking dog whose post lays out the true absurdity of it all ("and while we won't let ordinary run of the mill schmucks, many of whom the military itself asserts are innocent, have human contact, the 9-11 perps are allowed to consult with each other?"). And it raises once again the question - WTF is going on at Guantanamo? Has anything changed? And if not, why not? Somehow Guantanamo seems able to avoid the spirit of all of Obama's executive orders. BTW, the 81 page Pentagon Review is here.

Update: From the review (p.47):

"Camp 7 consists of single cells that do not allow for communication between
cells. However, detainees there are allowed to recreate in adjacent, but
separated open-air recreation spaces for at least four hours daily with a
recreation partner. These detainees are also offered special socialization
management opportunities once per week for two hours."

So they yelled out the document across their open-air cells? Or perhaps it was part of their "special socialization management" which is described elsewhere (p.45) as "a program that seeks to maintain detainees’ mental well-being through intellectual stimulation." Writing a confession does sound like it would be an intellectually stimulating experience - useful too!

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