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The "Camp No" deaths: Defense Department's own statements contradict Guantanamo suicide claims

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Serious doubts have been raised about the three supposed suicides of prisoners at Guantanamo in June 2006. A report from Seton Law Law School had shown that the official Naval Criminal Investigation Service [NCIS] report supporting the suicide claim was not credible. Harpers writer Scott Horton reported the testimony of four tower guards on duty that night outside the camp that contradicted the official account. Those guards' testimony suggested, rather, that the prisoners died at another previously unreported site, dubbed "Camp No" by the guards. [Does the site exist? "No, it doesn't."] The guards testimony raised the prospect that the alleged suicides were something else and were made to appear as suicides.

Today the Seton Hall team has released a new report dissecting the official Department of Defense responses to these previous reports. The new report -- DOD Contradicts DOD: An Analysis of the Response to Death in Camp Delta -- demonstrates that the DOD responses are about as credible as the original NCIS report, that is, not at all. Rather, the responses suggest a frantic attempt to salvage a cover-up that can't be salvaged once it receives scrutiny.

The authors demonstrate that the responses contradict key findings of the original NCIS report.

DOD now asserts only one detainee had a rag in his throat at the time of death, but the NCIS investigation shows all three had rags in their throats.

DOD asserts that more than 100 interviews were conducted during the first three days of the investigation; however, only 24 personnel were interviewed on June 10 and none on June 11, 12, and 13. No more than 45 individuals were interviewed during the entire investigation.

DOD now asserts that NCIS reviewed all available video footage, and found nothing of evidentiary value. The record shows NCIS had a videotape of the events. Since either activity in the camp or lack of activity would be relevant to the conflicting claims, it is implausible that there is nothing of evidentiary value on the tape.

DOD now asserts that the detainees hanged themselves while lights were dimmed. The Admiral concluded the detainees hanged themselves with the lights on. The DOD does not explain this discrepancy.

Most importantly, however, the Seton Hall authors point out that all of the military personnel statements from that nigh are missing. As lead author Seton Hall professor Mark stated in a press release:

Everyone on duty that night, in addition the Alpha Block guards, was ordered to write sworn statements as soon as the detainees were declared dead. And every one of those statements is missing.

Writing these statements is specified by the Standard Operating Procedures. Yet these guards were then ordered to stop writing and were later threatened with perjury charges. After the threats they apparently made statements supporting the Official Story.

Report coauthor Sean Camoni further pointed out the absurdity of this disappearance of their original statements:

You tell me, why do you order all your witnesses to write out sworn statements and then not use them?

The most obvious reason, of course, is that those statements might contradict the Official Story.

Read the entire report to see how fanciful the Official Story is. As the Seton Hall authors state:

If, three and a half years after the three men died, and seven weeks after Seton Hall revealed the failings of the investigation, this is the strongest response the DOD could muster, there is reason to suspect that no good response exists. The initial investigation into the deaths of three detainees on June 9, 2006, was flawed, the DOD's response is flawed, and a new investigation is necessary to find out what really happened that night.

It is important to remember what is at stake here. If these men did not kill themselves, they were killed by others. There is evidence suggesting that their deaths may have occurred during brutal interrogations at Camp No. However, given three simultaneous deaths on the same night, to my mind, intentional homicide cannot be ruled out. If they were deliberately killed, we need to know why? And why was the fact covered up, rather than thoroughly investigated and exposed? Was it to cover up some secret so potentially damaging that it was worth risking murder and cover-up?

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Stephen Soldz is psychoanalyst, psychologist, public health researcher, and faculty member at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. He is co-founder of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology and is President of Psychologists for Social Responsibility. He was a psychological consultant on two of (more...)
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