WikiLeaks will begin releasing a new set of secret US government documents on Thursday regarding detainee policies over the past decade.
The whistleblowing website will release more than 100 classified or otherwise restricted files from the Department of Defense covering the rules and procedures for detainees in US military custody, an issue of particular importance in the post-9/11 era.
The internal documents will cover detainee policies in Iraq – from Abu Ghraib to Camp Bucca – and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as interrogation manuals and detainee treatment.
The documents will be released by WikiLeaks over the course of the next month. Among the first to be published is the founding document for the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay (Camp Delta). The previously unpublished 2002 manual went on to shape detention policies in subsequent years of the George W. Bush administration.
“This document is of significant historical importance. Guantanamo Bay has become the symbol for systematized human rights abuse in the West with good reason,” said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. “But how is it that WikiLeaks has now published three years of Guantanamo Bay operating procedures, but the rest of the world’s press combined has published none?”
One document from 2005 is entitled ‘Policy on Assigning Detainee Internment Serial Numbers.’ This document is reportedly concerned with “disappearing” detainees into the custody of other US government agencies while keeping their names out of US military records by not assigning a prisoner record number (ISN). Detainees may be disposed of in this manner without leaving a significant paper trail.
Another document is a 2008 Fragmentary Order that reveals a formal policy of eliminating “the requirement to record interrogation sessions at Theatre Internment Facilities.” While it requires interrogations of detainees to be recorded under certain circumstances, it requires that the recordings be “purged within 30 days,” which may remind the public of the CIA’s deliberate destruction of hours of torture tapes.
“The ‘Detainee Policies’ show the anatomy of the beast that is post-9/11 detention,” Assange is quoted as saying, “the carving out of a dark space where law and rights do not apply, where persons can be detained without a trace at the convenience of the US Department of Defense. It shows the excesses of the early days of war against an unknown ‘enemy’ and how these policies matured and evolved, ultimately deriving into the permanent state of exception that the United States now finds itself in, a decade later.”