Harper’s has already posted the cover story for its March issue on its website free of charge, and you should read it: Scott Horton, a lawyer who has written well and often about civil liberties and the war on terror, reports on the supposed suicides of three detainees—none of whom had been charged with a crime, two of whom had already been cleared for release—on June 9, 2006.
Primarily through direct examination of an ideal lead witness—a high-ranking guard at Guantanamo who joined the Marines for Reagan and reenlisted in the Army National Guard after 9/11—and other eyewitnesses, Horton lays out a pretty incontrovertible case that the three detainees were transported by Navy guards to an unacknowledged area off-site (“Camp No”), where they were beaten (by CIA interrogators? by military intelligence?), choked with rags (waterboarding?), and ultimately killed, and that a cover-up was quickly put in place: soldiers were told the morning after that though the prisoners had choked to death, “the media would report… that the three prisoners had committed suicide by hanging themselves in their cells.” When the victims’ families received the remains, parts of the neck organs were missing.
Much information remains, of course, redacted. The guards Horton interviewed spoke to officials in Obama’s Justice Department last year, but Justice’s investigation was abruptly terminated without explanation. Horton speculates, convincingly, that the current Justice department is not interested in following the investigation to its logical conclusion, which would involve an honest assessment of the Department’s apparently extensive role in the 2006 cover-up, as well as its initial justification of torture and continuation of Bush-era interrogation and detention policies.
In possibly related news, the Obama administration this week announced plans to indefinitely detain nearly 50 Guantanamo prisoners , lest we ever hear about how they were tortured.