Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp has been a subject of controversy ever since it was established in 2002 by the Bush Administration as a detainment and interrogation facility for prisoners of war. On June 10th, 2006, three Guantanamo prisoners were found dead in their cells, hanging from what had appeared to be a makeshift noose. With the Department of Defense (DoD) declaring the deaths suicides, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) started their own the investigation that may suggest that the prisoners died from a lethal interrogation session of dryboarding.
The NCIS investigation in 2006 has been gaining recent publicity because of a November 3rd, story reported by Truthout’s investigative reporter Almerindo Ojeda, whose extensive research into the NCIS reports have raised more and more questions about the original story that was released to the press. Many of the NCIS reports included the following questions:
- Why were the prisoners found hanging with their hands tied?
- Why did the prisoners gag themselves with cloth?
- Why did all three prisoners have masks on?
- Why was there a bloody T-shirt around the neck of one of the prisoners?
- Why is there a page missing from a log book begun on the day the deaths were discovered?
- Why were the neck organs of one of the prisoners removed completely?
Ojeda’s news analysis also brings into account several testimonies from guards that worked at Guantanamo who reported seeing the transportation of three prisoners to secret facilities at the naval detention center. These prisoners were later brought into the medical clinic as deceased, with rags reportedly stuffed down their throats and heavy bodily bruising; United States citizen Ali Al-Marri was subjected to dryboarding when he was deemed an “enemy combatant” by George W. Bush in 2003, narrowly escaping his own death from government interrogators.
Connecting the dots between Ali Al-Marri’s interrogation and dry boarding with the NCIS reports of the three Guantanamo prisoners has lead Ojeda to conclude that death by dry boarding is the best explanation available thus far, and certainly a better explanation than the official account of suicide by hanging. There needs to be further investigation of the deaths at Guantanamo. Ojeda’s report concludes: “In light of the unanswered questions, one thing remains clear: there is a need for a thorough, independent and transparent investigation into the June 10, 2006, deaths at Guantánamo and, more broadly, for a thorough, independent and transparent inquiry into all the practices and policies of detention enacted since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.”
In March 2012, Christof Heyns, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions acknowledged that he was looking into autopsy evidence that raised questions about the official explanations for the deaths of Abdul Rahman Al Amri and Mohammad Salih Al Hanashi.
Title: “Death in Guantanamo: Suicide or Dry Boarding?”
Author: Almerindo Ojeda
Date of Publication: 3 November 2011
Title: Citing Truthout Report, UN Special Rapporteur “Looking Into” Guantanamo “Suicides”
Author: Jeffrey Kaye
Date of Publication: 27 March 2012
Faculty evaluator: Peter Phillips
Sonoma State University