The Deaths At Gitmo

Conor Friedersdorf disagrees with Joe Carter's dismissal of the Gitmo "suicides" and acceptance of the official investigations. Carter has a spirited back and forth in the American Scene comment section. Carter:

Let’s be clear: [The guards Scott Horton talked to] can’t prove: (a) the existence of any CIA black site, (b) that any prisoners were moved at all that night, (c ) that the prisoners who died that night were the prisoners they claimed to have seen, (d) that the prisoners were not carried to the medical facility.

The fact is that they have no firsthand knowledge of any of the events that deal directly with the prisoners. They also did not feel it worth coming forward for three years to claim that the official narrative was wrong.

In contrast, 52 guards and medical personnel gave sworn statements within days of the deaths. These statements are quite detailed about what occurred that night (the Seton Hall reports agrees that there is no question the dead prisoners were transported from the cells to the medical facility).

What motive would these 52 men and women have for lying? And assuming they were, how were they able to get their stories so similar to pull off such a massive cover-up?

From commenter "Chet," who refutes Carter repeatedly:

[L]et’s take a look at the report in the light of your claim that “52 guards and medical staff were eyewitnesses to the suicide.” (One wonders how so many people could have personally eyewitnessed the discovery of these hanging corpses. Did they sell tickets?)

Let’s start with the first interviewee: “b3b6 advised that he was not present at Camp Delta when these suicides took place. b3b6 stated that he had no information to provide…b3b6 stated that he learned of the hangings by talking to people.” Oops! Not an eyewitness, then. (51 “eyewitnesses” left!) The next interviewee? The nurse who found the suicide note explains that on the night in question, he was “wrapping up the body of ISN 0093 for shipment” in the Detainee Acute Care Unit and “felt something he assumed was paper in the inside shirt pocket.” This was the suicide note, but notice that it was found on the body, not at the scene of the hanging. So scratch another eyewitness; the bodies had already been “cut down” when this individual discovered the note. (50).

Next (I’m just going down the pages until I find the next interviewee report), the Master Chief at Arms, who testifies that after hearing the alarm raised over radio, ran to Alpha block and saw “two guards holding 0093’s hands and feet. 0093 was lying on the deck in his cell and his eyes were rolled back.” Later, when the second body (588) was discovered, he arrived at that cell, only to find the body already lying on the deck as well. As well, when he arrived at the cell of 693, that body was also lying on the deck, not hanging from the noose.

So, another one of Joe’s “eyewitnesses” proves to never have actually seen any of the victims hanging from a noose. He did, however, see the first one with the rag stuffed down his throat. (49!)

The next interviewee? Informed that one of the detainees had “tried” to hang himself, didn’t actually observe the bodies until they were being carried out of the cell. (48!) The next is finally the first individual who personally testifies to the discovery of 0093 actually hanging by his neck, and the very next page after the record of his testimony is his notification of his legal rights and that he is “suspected of False Official Statements, UCMJ Article 107.) That’s pages 188-189, if you’re trying to follow my work. On the next page, apparently in response to suspicion of perjury, he amends his testimony to note that he at first did not see the detainee in the cell, but when another guard shouted “he’s hanging”, came into the cell to find that guard and the hanging body, with a surgical mask over the mouth and a rag in the throat. (How would a detainee get a surgical mask? How would a hands-bound man stuff a rag down his own throat and don a surgical mask, and why would a suicide need to do so?)

The next testimony is of another guard who only saw the bodies after they had been “cut down.” (47.) The next, the same. (46.) The next observed the bodies being carried out. (45.) The next concerns a guard not on duty at the time of the deaths who searched Alpha block and found nothing in the cells a detainee could hang himself with. (44.)

I’d go on all the way down the list but I think I’ve made my point. Joe’s disingenuous “52 eyewitnesses” claim is nothing but a mirage that evaporates on any kind of inspection. At the end of the day you have a great many guards and medical staff who were told that the detainees had hung themselves, and only 2 or 3 who actually testify to that fact, all of whom were notified of being under suspicion of giving false statements to investigators.