26 Jan

Guantanamo Murders

Rev. Killmer: ‘Recent Allegations of Death by Torture Must Be Investigated’

A nationwide group of religious organizations is demanding that the Obama administration thoroughly investigate allegations that three detainee “suicides” at Guantanamo Bay in 2006 may have been a cover-up for something more sinister.

In an article published on Jan. 18 by Harper’s magazine, Scott Horton presents evidence that suggests the current administration has “failed to investigate seriously–and may even have continued–a cover-up of the possible homicides of three prisoners at Guantánamo in 2006.”

Rev. Richard Killmer, the Executive Director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT), issued a statement today urging Obama to support a commission of inquiry to conduct a full investigation of the incident.

“A former Guantanamo guard has recently stepped forward with information suggesting that the three detainees died at the hands of U.S. personnel,” Killmer said. “This evidence of murder by torture demands a full and thorough investigation by the President and Congress and the appointment of a Special Prosecutor by the Department of Justice. Congress and the American people must learn what happened to those three detainees for the sake of justice, confidence in our institutions, and the soul of our nation.”

Despite the findings of a 53-page law-school study that details evidence of a murder/cover-up at Guantanamo, the incident has been widely dismissed and ignored by the government and media. The Department of Defense released a statement calling Horton’s article “nonsense” and saying that the DoD “categorically and unequivocally rejects these claims,” while a spokesperson for the Department of Justice called the article “speculation at its most dangerous.”

After leading a rally in front of the White House on June 11, 2009, 33 members of NRCAT were invited into the White House to petition for a thorough investigation of torture under the Bush administration, says Killmer. Since then, White House officials have met with the organization on six different occasions, but each time they make it clear that Obama is not interested in investigating the transgressions that occurred under Bush.

“The President opposes a commission of inquiry because he doesn’t want to look backwards– he wants to look forward,” Killmer said. “But caring for my grandchildren is about looking forward. This is about the future, and we need to make changes so this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.”




On the night of June 9, 2006, three detainees died in a maximum security section of the
Guantánamo Bay Detention facility. The military‘s initial press releases reported not only that
the detainees were found hanging in their cells but also that their actions were a conspiracy as
part of ?asymmetrical warfare” against the United States. At the same time, the military ordered
all media off the island and prevented all lawyers from visiting their clients.
Questions immediately arose about how three detainees, under constant supervision, were
able to conspire effectively to commit coordinated suicides. The military soon announced that it
was conducting an investigation, but the results were not published until more than two years
later. In August 2008 a heavily redacted report of the investigation concluded that the detainees
had hanged themselves in their cells and that one detainee, while walking the corridors that
night, had announced, ?tonight‘s the night.?
The investigation, however, leaves many unanswered questions. Three years later it is
still unclear how such coordinated conduct could have occurred, much less how heavily
supervised detainees could have been dead for more than two hours before they were discovered.
Both the time and exact manner of the deaths remain uncertain, and the presence of rags stuffed
in the detainees‘ throats is unexplained. Negligence of the guards seems to have been ruled out
by the absence of any disciplinary action by any military personnel. Although some of the guards
were formally warned that their original statements were suspected to be false or that they were
suspected of failing to follow direct orders, no guard was ultimately charged with either making
a false statement or being derelict in his duty.
The following report examines the investigation, not to determine what happened that
night, but rather to assess why an investigation into three deaths could have failed to address
significant issues. Further, the report raises serious questions that must be addressed to dispose of rumors that have circulated—rumors that the cause of the deaths was more sinister than
?asymmetrical warfare.?

Complete Seton Hall Study: Death in Camp Delta

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