Primary Sources: Gitmo Interrogations (Video and Memos)

We knew Gitmo had juvie, but this video really hammers home just what ‘juvenile interrogation’ means. From the Guardian, above is the alleged first live action peek into a Guantanamo interrogation. The subject? Sobbing Canadian 16-year-old (at the time) Omar Khadr.

Knowing how we got to this point doesn’t make it any more palatable. But it does make this treasure trove of internal memos and primary source documents I stumbled across recently while fact-checking even more revealing.

For example, check out the ‘milder’ options listed in this Joint Task Force Guantanamo 2002 internal memo (PDF) which starts with “SUBJECT: Request for Approval of Counter-Resistance Strategies”:

“Switching the detainee from hot rations to MREs…forced grooming (shaving of facial hair, etc.)…Using detainees [SIC] individual phobias (such as fear of dogs) to induce stress.”

Even more poignant is this passage from the infamous 2002 Bybee memo (37 page PDF):

It is our understanding that your Department is considering two basic plans regarding the treatment of members of al Qaeda and the Taliban militia detained during the Afghanistan conflict. First, the Defense Department intends to make available a facility at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (“GTMO”), for the long-term detention of these individuals.

There’s something about looking at the actual memos that preceded everything we know now that makes these primary source documents particularly painful—and important—to examine.

—Nichole Wong