Today's Must Read (click on title to go to site)
By Spencer Ackerman - December 4, 2007, 8:55AM
Score another one for Wikileaks. This morning -- thanks to a source known only as "Peryton" -- the open-source website for whistleblower documents published the 2004 manual for U.S. military detention operations at Guantanamo Bay. You can read it, with commentary, here.
Last month, Wikileaks published the 2003 edition of the manual. Among other controversial provisions, the manual instructed officials to hide certain detainees from the International Committee of the Red Cross, a practice that the military repeatedly denied was in existence at Guantanamo. Spokespeople for the U.S. military's Southern Command, which oversees Guantanamo Bay, said the manual was outdated and assured that some instructions that violated the Geneva Conventions were no longer in effect.
It's unclear so far what portions of the 2004 manual remain in place. (Maybe Peryton will enlighten us in the future.) The Washington Post's Josh White quotes Guantanamo Bay spokesman as saying that "things have changed dramatically" at the camp since 2004. But Wikileaks finds that, in key areas, the 2004 manual didn't change so much from 2003:
Systematic denial of Red Cross access to prisoners remains. The use of dogs remains. Segregation and isolation are still used routinely and systematically – including an initial period of at least 4 weeks "to enhance and exploit the disorientation and disorganization felt by a newly arrived detainee", only terminated at the behest of interrogators. Both manuals assert that detainees will be treated in accordance with the "spirit" of the Geneva conventions "to the degree consistent with military needs", but never assert that the conventions are actually being followed at Guantanamo. Put into practice, neither manual complies with the Geneva conventions.
So is the past prologue? We'll find out. For now, though, dig into the 2004 manual and let us know in comments what you think is most significant.