Guantanamo Complies with Geneva Convention

The Department of Defense has reviewed itself and found that it’s doing nothing wrong.

Pam Hess for AP:

The report found the camp to be in compliance with the Geneva Conventions Common Article 3, the international rules that require the humane treatment of prisoners taken in unconventional armed conflicts, like the war on terrorism. The camp’s controversial force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strikes was also found to be compliant with the Geneva guidelines, a second government official confirmed.

William Glaberson for NYT:

The review, requested by Mr. Obama on his second day in office, is to be delivered to the White House next week. The president’s request, made as part of a plan to close the prison within a year, was widely seen as an effort to defuse accusations that there were widespread abuses at Guantánamo, and that many detainees were suffering severe psychological effects after years of isolation.

Peter Finn and Del Quentin Wilber for WaPo:

Defense attorneys for the detainees have complained bitterly about the isolation of some prisoners. They allege that over several years, it has led to mental problems for some detainees. The lawyers also have criticized the force-feeding of prisoners on hunger strike. About 40 prisoners are now on hunger strike, according to Pentagon officials.

[Adm. Patrick M. Walsh, the vice chief of naval operations] concluded that force-feeding, which involves strapping detainees to special chairs and inserting a tube through one nostril and into their stomachs, is in compliance with the Geneva Conventions’ mandate that the lives of prisoners be preserved, according to the government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the report publicly.  Walsh also found that prisoners should be allowed more communal recreation and prayer time. Prisoners in Camp 6 and the highly secret Camp 7 — which holds such high-value detainees as Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed organizer of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — can be held in windowless cells for up to 22 hours a day. Walsh said the most isolated prisoners, including those in Camp 7, should be allowed to pray and have recess together in rotating groups of at least three for more extended periods of time.

Shockingly, everyone’s not buying it:

Civil liberties groups, including the Center for Constitutional Rights, which is about to issue a report on conditions at the prison, challenged Walsh’s findings.

“We do think conditions are in violation of U.S. obligations to treat prisoners humanely, and prisoners are at a physical and mental breaking point,” said Pardiss Kebriaei, a staff lawyer at the center. “These are not the conclusions we had hoped for under Obama. It’s very disappointing.”

Attorneys representing detainees singled out force-feeding as particularly abusive.

So, people whose job it is to have grievances are aggrieved whereas those investigating themselves are satisfied?  No wonder this didn’t make the front page.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. markm says:

    many detainees were suffering severe psychological effects after years of isolation.

    Isolation within GITMO or from living in mountain caves in some dirtbag outpost?. F-em’.

  2. An Interested Party says:

    Isolation within GITMO or from living in mountain caves in some dirtbag outpost?. F-em’.

    So…each and every detainee being held at Guantanamo is a guaranteed terrorist, and deserves whatever the hell they get, eh? It must be so easy to get through life when everything is so cut and dried…

  3. markm says:

    So…each and every detainee being held at Guantanamo is a guaranteed terrorist

    Where’d ya get that?. Just re-scanned and I didn’t say that…but is GITMO terrorist exclusive???. I mean, a bomb maker that doesn’t pull the trigger may or may not be a “guaranteed terrorist” by definition but he’s not working with us..so you could say he’s hampering our efforts. I can’t think of a better place for him if we have to keep him alive.

  4. tom p says:

    I mean, a bomb maker that doesn’t pull the trigger may or may not be a “guaranteed terrorist” by definition but he’s not working with us..so you could say he’s hampering our efforts.

    Ahhh yes, they are there, so they must be guilty of something, right? Considering the conversations we have been having of late with Steve Verdon about “innocent” people being locked up by a system that supposedly “respects” their rights…. How many innocent men might be locked up by a system which respects NO RIGHTS at all???? Like habeas corpus in even the slightest form?

    markm, arguments like yours are so weak and totally devoid of logic or reason or even the faintest scintilla of reality that you would do us all a great service by just hitting the “delete” button.

  5. markm says:

    Ahhh yes, they are there, so they must be guilty of something, right?

    Again, just did a re-scan and I didn’t say that either…but I wasn’t aware you had to be guilty of anything to get a stay at GITMO. I thought it was a military detention facility for alleged enemy combatants. Sure, there are documented cases where we’ve picked guys up to later release them as they were later deemed not a threat. There are those released that were deemed not a threat and went back to the battlefield…and there are current residents that officials clearly think are a threat. They may or may not be guilty of anything but they are a threat.

    you would do us all a great service by just hitting the “delete” button.

    Get over yourself tom and pound sand.

  6. markm says:

    Oh, and tom:

    “The justice department ruled that some 600 so-called enemy combatants at Bagram have no constitutional rights.

    Most have been arrested in Afghanistan on suspicion of waging a terrorist war against the US.”

    Now I know Bagram and GITMO are spelled totally different…but it looks like you’ve now got GITMO and GITMO II to get your panties in a twist about. Let us know how that works out.

  7. anjin-san says:

    I see what you are saying markm. if a couple of innocents get F–ked over, not big deal. they are only arabs, right?

  8. markm says:

    I see what you are saying markm. if a couple of innocents get F–ked over, not big deal. they are only arabs, right?

    EXACTLY!!!…no.

    There is no perfect process for detainees as there is no perfect process within the US judicial system.

  9. anjin-san says:

    news flash mark, when we turn our backs on the concept of justice anywhere, we turn our backs on it everywhere. I would rather die standing up for what I believe in than live crawling away from it.

  10. tom p says:

    Again, just did a re-scan and I didn’t say that either.

    OK, let us parse the statement I quoted from you:

    I mean, a bomb maker that doesn’t pull the trigger may or may not be a “guaranteed terrorist” by definition

    For starters, that is by legal definition, a “terrorist”, but by saying the above, you assert that there are only 2 kinds of people there, the bomb makers and the trigger pullers. If you are not saying that, then why do you not include any other types?

    but he’s not working with us..so you could say he’s hampering our efforts.

    I am unsure of even how to deal with the utter idiocy of such a statement. Is it a weak attempt at introducing a third group but fails because it specifically refers to the “bomb makers”? Or is it an attempt to say “If you are not with us, you are against us?”

  11. tom p says:

    Now I know Bagram and GITMO are spelled totally different…

    Your conflating the 2 shows a staggering lack of ability to distinguish more than just the differences in their relative spelling.

    “The justice department ruled that some 600 so-called enemy combatants at Bagram have no constitutional rights.

    As near as I can figure out from the NYT article on the filing from the DOJ, enemy combatants picked up in Afghanistan, and imprisoned in Afghanistan, have no legal rights in a US Court of Law. IF that is so (the NYT article is very vague on this, apparently their reporters are a little bit challenged on some of the more basic principles of law) it is the correct way to apply the rules of war (as I understand them) I await a chance to read the filing before I decide.

    What is the difference between GITMO and Bagram? A small thing called “sovereignty” Why does it matter? Read Boumediene v. Bush

    Most have been arrested in Afghanistan on suspicion of waging a terrorist war against the US.”

    Ummmm, not. Technically, they have been arrested for waging war against the sovereign state of Afghanistan. What is more, they are incarcerated in the sovereign state of Afghanistan, and that is the differnce between the 2. As such they are subject to Afghan law, not US law. While I would hope that would include a right of habeas corpus, that is a matter of Afghan law.

    I am not a lawyer mark, and my reading on some of the finer points of this could well be wrong (if so, and there is a lawyer out there who can correct me, please do) but there is a BIG difference between Bagram and GITMO.

  12. markm says:

    For starters, that is by legal definition, a “terrorist”, but by saying the above, you assert that there are only 2 kinds of people there, the bomb makers and the trigger pullers. If you are not saying that, then why do you not include any other types?

    I assert no such thing. I was making an example. The battlefield is large and not all tasks within a given terrorist organization are cutting throats and blowing people up. So the messenger from AQ to Aljazeera may not be guilty of any one act of terrorism…if we caught him, he’d be worthy of a stay at GITMO or now Bagram for questioning on the whereabouts of some people wanting to do us harm.

  13. markm says:

    Most have been arrested in Afghanistan on suspicion of waging a terrorist war against the US.”

    Ummmm, not. Technically, they have been arrested for waging war against the sovereign state of Afghanistan.

    I didn’t write the first part, it was from the article I read. As for your point, that may or may not be true…I also am not a lawer..BUT, I do believe any US military base or installation follows US law, not the law of the host country (likewise, those bases and installations are considered US soil…so I’ve heard). If that is true, it would seem to me that a Saudi picked up in Afghanistan and shipped to Bagram or GITMO would be of little difference. But, like I said, I am also not a lawyer. To me the difference is nothing but symbolic.

  14. G.A.Phillips says:

    Guantanamo Complies with Geneva Convention

    WHY?