Free Book on Detainee Deaths to Mark 16th Anniversary of Guantanamo Gulag

[Please note: The ebook giveaway described in this article has expired.]

This Thursday, January 11, marks the 16th anniversary of the opening of Camp X-Ray at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo, Cuba. The base has held detainees in times past, particularly thousands of Haitians who fled political persecution in the 1990s, many of whom the U.S. ultimately sent back to uncertain fates in their homeland.

Guantanamo cell block, Camp Delta (US government photo)

But the detention of “war on terror” prisoners that began in January 2002 was something different, as the U.S. was determined to imprison many of them for an indeterminate time. Even worse, the U.S. military experimented with implementation of a torture regime, in coordination (and sometimes rivalry) with the CIA’s own “enhanced interrogation” torture experiment.

While the torture of detainees became widely known with the publication of pictures from Abu Ghraib, and later from investigations by different Senate committees, less publicized were the deaths that occurred inside the razor-topped fences surrounding Guantanamo’s Camp Delta. All together, the U.S. government admits to nine detainee deaths at Guantanamo since January 11, 2002, seven by supposed suicide.

Even so, at least one government document exists that indicates there were more deaths at Guantanamo than have been otherwise reported. Minutes from a February 2002 meeting of the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board explain that some prisoners who were flown to Guantanamo directly from Afghanistan battlefields in very early 2002 “died of the wounds they arrived with.”

“Islamic Cemetery” at Guantanamo Navy Base (photo by Jason Leopold, by permission)

But these other deaths, and the facts surrounding the deaths of seven detainees via purported suicide, remain largely unreported. The exceptions to this blackout on coverage include the work of former Guantanamo guard, Joseph Hickman, and the continuing attention to all things Guantanamo by British journalist Andy Worthington.

Hickman famously reported on the strange doings he saw going on one June night in 2006, when he saw detainees being transported to what appeared to be a CIA black site at Guantanamo. They were later found dead in their cells. No one knew at the time — not even Hickman — that the head counts for the cellblocks where the three detainees had been held were falsified the night of their death.

This last revelation was among many I found in my FOIA-based research concerning the deaths of two detainees at Guantanamo. This research was necessitated because most of the mainstream media had failed in their task to investigate the real goings on at Guantanamo, even after it was clear that the U.S. was engaging in gruesome behaviors, including torture, at their military and CIA detainee facilities.

Mohammed Al Hanashi, detainee #78, died June 1, 2009 (US Government photo)

My research culminated with the 2016 publication of my book, Cover-up at Guantanamo: The NCIS Investigation into the “Suicides” of Mohammed Al Hanashi and Abdul Rahman Al Amri. An updated, expanded second edition was released last year, and I have also published some of the book’s findings at Medium.com (see here and here). All FOIA documents related to the book were also placed on line for public use.

While the book concentrated on records from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation into the very suspicious deaths of Al Amri and Al Hanashi, it also included a chapter on the death of Adnan Al Latif, new information into the deaths of three detainees in 2006, and the aforementioned early unreported deaths at Guantanamo.

To commemorate this awful sixteenth anniversary of the detention of “war on terror” prisoners at Guantanamo, I am offering my ebook for free for one day: January 11, 2018. (After that, the book will return to its very reasonable regular price. The book is also available in paperback as well.)

I hope this release will aid in educating the public about the full, true nature of the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo, and arouse debate and protest over the failure of the U.S. to close this facility, and end its practice of abusive interrogations and torture, whether conducted by its own personnel, or by foreign state proxies.

For a capsule overview about U.S. policy on these matters, see the ACLU’s webpage, “Guantanamo by the Numbers.”

President Trump is threatening to open up Guantanamo to further prisoners and bring back the harsher forms of torture the U.S. was embarrassed into giving up some ten years ago. (The U.S. still uses interrogation techniques that amount to torture, however.) The first steps in opposing Trump and his military allies on this involve arming oneself with facts.

On January 11, download my ebook Cover-up at Guantanamo. It won’t cost you anything, and you will be downloading truth for use in the battle against barbarism, because barbarism is what Guantanamo represents.