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Wikileaks Releases Sensitive Guantanamo Manual 643

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sorry-about-this-world dept.
James Hardine writes "Wired is reporting that a never-before-seen military manual detailing the day-to-day operations of the U.S. military's Guantánamo Bay detention facility has been leaked to the web, via the whistle-blowing site Wikileaks.org, affording a rare inside glimpse into the institution where the United States has imprisoned hundreds of suspected terrorists since 2002. The 238-page document, "Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures," is dated March 28, 2003. The disclosure highlights the internet's usefulness to whistle-blowers in anonymously propagating documents the government and others would rather conceal. The Pentagon has been resisting — since October 2003 — a Freedom of Information Act request from the American Civil Liberties Union seeking the very same document. Anonymous open-government activists created Wikileaks in January, hoping to turn it into a clearinghouse for such disclosures. The site uses a Wikipedia-like system to enlist the public in authenticating and analyzing the documents it publishes. The Camp Delta document includes schematics of the camp, detailed checklists of what "comfort items" such as extra toilet paper can be given to detainees as rewards, six pages of instructions on how to process new detainees, instructions on how to psychologically manipulate prisoners, and rules for dealing with hunger strikes."
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Wikileaks Releases Sensitive Guantanamo Manual

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  • by bogaboga (793279) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:24PM (#21350197)
    The folks at wikileaks.org http://wikileaks.org/ [wikileaks.org] should be prosecuted for being party to endangering National Security.
    • Re:Prosecute them. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by coplate (1187701) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:28PM (#21350243)
      The folks at wikileaks should be heralded as heroes, and given millions of dollars.
      We've spent about half a trillion dollars on this 'war', and we have nothing to show for it except negative opinions from our allies, and a show of weakening ourselves in a vicious cycle to our enemies.
      • Re:Prosecute them. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by A beautiful mind (821714) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:40PM (#21350415)
        Negative opinion of your allies? What allies?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:52PM (#21350639)
        and we have nothing to show for it

        But there have been no more terrorist attacks on the US during that time. I know it's hard to prove that it's because we went to war, but it's just as hard to prove that it is not. The economy is better, the military is stronger and the world respects our word (all of this in contrast to the Clinton administration).

        I know all this truth offends your liberal bias, but it's still truth even if you don't like it.

        • Re:Prosecute them. (Score:5, Informative)

          by Homr Zodyssey (905161) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:23PM (#21351197) Journal

          But there have been no more terrorist attacks on the US during that time.
          • July 24, 2004 -- Tashkent -- Islamic Jihad Group of Uzbekistan suicide bomber attacks Embassy
          • December 6, 2004 -- Jeddah -- al-Qaeda gunmen attack U.S. consulate
          • March 2, 2006 -- Karachi -- Car bomb explodes outside Embassy
          • March 3, 2006 -- Chapel Hill, NC -- Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar drives an SUV onto a crowded part of UNC campus.
          • September 12, 2006 -- Damascus -- Gunmen raid US Embassy
          • August 30, 2006 -- San Fancisco Bay Area -- An Afghani Muslim hit 19 pedestrians, killing one, with his SUV.
          US Embassies are considered US territory.
        • But there have been no more terrorist attacks on the US during that time.

          There were eight years between the first World Trade Center bombing and 9/11. How many years has it been since 9/11/2001? Oh, right, just over six. We might actually have some evidence that the current policies are working if we were to go, say, 1.5 times as long between al-Qaeda terrorist incidents on U.S. soil, to allow for statistical variation.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hondo77 (324058)

          But there have been no more terrorist attacks on the US during that time.

          There haven't been any fatal ocelot attacks in the US since we invaded Iraq, too.

        • Re:Prosecute them. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Random BedHead Ed (602081) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @02:27PM (#21352323) Homepage Journal

          We can apply your depth of reasoning to anything that's happened between 9/11 and today, and it's all equally valid. Let's have fun with it:

          • In 2002 the president signed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Since that time there have been no further terrorist attacks in the United States, so SOX has prevented terrorism.
          • In 2002 the president signed the Help America Vote Act. Since that time there have been no further terrorist attacks in the United States, so HAVA has prevented terrorism.
          • In 2002 Spain switched from the Peseta to the Euro, joining the European Monetary Union (EMU). Since that time there have been no further terrorist attacks in the United States, so Spain's use of the common currency has prevented terrorism.
          • In 2003 the United States invaded Iraq. Since that time there have been no further terrorist attacks in the United States, so the Iraq war has prevented terrorism. (Oh wait, that was your point. Sorry for the dupe, but hey, this is Slashdot.)
          • In 2004 the Republic of Ireland banned smoking in work places, including in pubs. Since that time there have been no further terrorist attacks in the United States, so the smoking ban has prevented terrorism.
          • In 2006 I visited Belgium. Since that time there have been no further terrorist attacks in the United States, so my travels prevented terrorism. You're welcome, America.

          You can't really prove these things. But then again, you can't really disprove them, so it's about time the liberals finally accepted that they're all true.

        • Re:Prosecute them. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by KutuluWare (791333) <kutulu@@@kutulu...org> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @04:41PM (#21354323) Homepage

          The economy is better, the military is stronger and the world respects our word.


          Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you were talking about the USA. Clearly not.

          Our economy is in the tank right now; the US dollar is dropping like a rock relative to other foreign currency. Hell, the USD is worth less than 1 CAD for the first time I can remember. We're so deep in debt to other countries that my grandkid's grandkids will probably still be paying it off, all to fund this retarded "war". At the end of the Clinton administration, we had not only a balanced budget, but a yearly surpluss that could (in theory, though I guess I'm not naieve enough to believe it would ever happen) be used to pay down our debt. That's long gone. And you may not have heard, but millions of people just lost their houses because they couldn't afford their mortgage payments.

          Our military is stretched so thin we couldn't fend off an invasion from Bermuda, let alone an actual serious military threat. And our government knows it, so much so that they're coddling North Korea and Iran, two countries that are infinitely more dangerous a threat to us than Iraq could ever have been if Saddam had even wanted to.

          And the rest of the world hates us. Not that this is new, but our "word" doesn't mean dick to anyone but us after that whole WMD/uranium/etc. fiasco.

          --Mike
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Darinbob (1142669)

          But there have been no more terrorist attacks on the US during that time.

          OK, I'm going to step out on a limb here and be political. In the last 5 years there have been around 200,000 deaths due to automobile accidents. We do not see the national guard patrolling the nation's streets and detaining speeders and unsafe drivers. We do not send drunk drivers to Guantanamo. These deaths are not a national security issue apparently.

          The American Cancer Society estimates that about 1,500 Americans will die of ca

    • Re:Prosecute them. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rueger (210566) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:35PM (#21350335) Homepage
      Hmmph, surely if the folks at Gitmo are doing nothing wrong then they should have nothing to hide? Only wrongdoers demand secrecy.
      • Re:Prosecute them. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Tridus (79566) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:45PM (#21350497) Homepage
        No no no, see its only the general public who shouldn't have anything to hide.

        Remember, if the Government wants to hide stuff, its "national security." If the Government also wants to illegally wiretap everybody, its "national security." If the Government wants to send you to Syria to be tortured or lock you up for years with no evidence, its "national security."

        But if you question the Government, you're a threat to "national security."
    • Re:Prosecute them. (Score:5, Informative)

      by dlapine (131282) <dlapine@NOSpAm.ncsa.uiuc.edu> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:09PM (#21350935) Homepage
      What part of "It is unclassified, but designated "For Official Use Only." do you not understand?

      By being unclassified, the release of this material is officially not "material that would cause "damage" or be "prejudicial" to national security if publicly available." See the wiki page on US classification levels- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classified_information#Classification_levels [wikipedia.org]

      If it's not classified, it's not a threat to national security. Given the amount of useless info the Bush administration has classified (White house emails, papers documents and political strategies), one could easily make the case that even classification no longer implies the threat of danger to national security for some items.

      Having held a clearance, one requiring special background investigation, in the military for 8 years, I will say that it's really important to protect some information. It's just as important to determine what information must have protection, and what information doesn't require it. What's interesting in this matter is that the document in question is marked Unclassified/For Official Use Only(U/FOUO). Check out this link http://www.ioss.gov/WhatDoesFOUOMean.html [ioss.gov] for an explanation. To summarize, U/FOUO simply means that the material is not releasable under the Freedom of Information Act.

      So, this is material not intended to be available to the public, but not a threat to national security. That's simple enough to understand. Now that it has been released to the public, we can access whether the U/FOUO rating was justified. In general, operating instructions for military installations are not for public consumption, simply due to operational security concerns. On the other hand, this document relates to allegations concerning illegal behavior by members of the US Armed services, and their commanders, much in the same manner as those prosecuted for their actions at Abu Garib.

      So here's the question- does the normal concern for operations security override the need to expose and investigate potential illegal activities? One could argue either way- but having seen the document in question, this looks more like a case of "let's not let the light of day into our questionable activities", rather than a genuine need to protect sensitive information.

      No reasonable person would claim that this is a case of national security, as not even the government considers this material relevant to national security, but simply asks that the material be treated as such. Actually, that's fairly useful view into the government mind- "We have this information here, and it's vital to national security, so we will classify it and ask that all who handle it treat it that way. OK, so now we have this other information, which isn't vital to national security, but we're going to ask all who handle it to treat it that way too." It takes a certain mindset to think that way, and I don't have it.

  • by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:28PM (#21350229)
    [wikileaks.org]

    Related article on the leak: "US violates chemical weapons convention" [wikileaks.org]
  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:28PM (#21350231) Journal
    I'm almost willing to bet that the reality (assuming this is actually the real document) is going to let down a lot of people - Some folks of a certain ideological bent prolly read the summary and went "a-ha! now we can uncover all those BUSH crimes!" (Of course, to be fair, a lot of folks on the other side of that ideological fence will point to it and try and say the opposite... go figure).

    No matter what the ideological slant you may take, I strongly suspect that the truth is going to be a lot more mundane - again, assuming this thing is not a fabrication in either one direction or the other.

    (speakin' of which, how do you tell for certain that it's not just a fabrication, either for or against? It's something I've always wondered when it comes to public wikis - unless you can verify who submitted it --or it can be independently verified-- you'll never be quite sure of its veracity.)

    /P

    • by EaglemanBSA (950534) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:33PM (#21350301)
      This is the problem inherent in the wiki-mindset...then again, who's to say anything released by any corporate news agency is any better (maybe even worse)? Fact-checking and verification is a pretty complex problem that, in the end, will always break down to faith in one party or another.
      • by Senjutsu (614542)

        This is the problem inherent in the wiki-mindset...then again, who's to say anything released by any corporate news agency is any better (maybe even worse)? Fact-checking and verification is a pretty complex problem that, in the end, will always break down to faith in one party or another.

        Precisely. That's why the wiki model is inherently superior.

        Because, as you say, fact checking in any complex article on anything will almost certainly have broken down at some point. In a newspaper, a TV piece, or a normal encyclopedia, I have no way of seeing the evolution of the piece, and the discussions behind it; I have to blindly trust its accuracy in cases where I don't actively know I'm wrong.

        Wikis at least give you extra information to base that judgement on. You still have to make that judgement

    • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:47PM (#21350529) Homepage

      Does it look real? Does it seem real enough and not fake?

      If it does, then you start asking around. Maybe you could get someone who used to work there to confirm it (possibly anonymously). You can find ways to get it confirmed. And once you have a very good basis to believe it (insert Dan Rather joke here)... then you ask for a statement on it from the Pentagon.

      If they confirm it, it's real. If they deny it you ask for some kind of proof. They can either provide it proving it's false, or they can't. If they can't prove it's false but you can good sources that agree it was real... then you have something you can write about.

      That's how I see it at least. There are enough people you could find something like this out. Everything from asking former generals and analysts on if the formatting and style and such are correct, to asking people to confirm the document it's self.

    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:55PM (#21350691) Homepage
      No matter what the ideological slant you may take, I strongly suspect that the truth is going to be a lot more mundane - again, assuming this thing is not a fabrication in either one direction or the other.

      Oh, I'm sure of that. It is a manual after all. It may reveal something about the nature of how detainees are treated, and it may even include things that walk that (apparently) narrow line between "aggressive interrogation" and "torture".

      The problem is the things that aren't in the manual, but that they do anyway on "high value targets" because of pressure to get results. I don't think there's a manual that says wrap a guy up in a carpet and sit on him until he almost -- or in some cases fatally -- asphyxiates, but that's basically what happened under CIA interrogators in Afghanistan.

      That's much more difficult to discover. We only have hints -- there are "secret" CIA prisons around the world, but damned if we know what goes on there. In most cases, it probably is boring and mundane.

      (speakin' of which, how do you tell for certain that it's not just a fabrication, either for or against? It's something I've always wondered when it comes to public wikis - unless you can verify who submitted it --or it can be independently verified-- you'll never be quite sure of its veracity.)

      How can you ever tell that a leaked document is the actual document? I fully agree the problem of trust is ten times worse with a wiki. The best way to verify a leak in any case though is to hope that someone who didn't want the document to leak will somehow verify it. For example, how do we know that the documents at xenu.net are really the Scientology secret teachings? Well, because the Church O' Elron sued the owner for copyright infringment. What about leaked copies of Iraq progress reports? Well, the Admin started putting spin control on the contents, not it's authenticity.

      It's not reliable, but option B is to pretty much go investigate yourself and get a copy of the document yourself, in which case, why should anyone believe you if you post it on wikileaks?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by argStyopa (232550)
      It's the same problem with ANY 'leak' - the source and its motivation must be considered, and if unknown, then that inherently devalues the information. It's a tactic that both Lee Atwater and Karl Rove perfected to an art form - the leak which counterintuitively debases the opponent's position, generally because they are incautious about how they use the information. The intellectual equivalent of a 'screen pass' in football, where the quarterback uses the overaggressiveness of a defensive line against t
  • RE: (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @12:33PM (#21350303)
    If my wikileaks I'll be seeing a doctor, thank you very much.
  • After all... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    we certainly know we can trust everything we read on the internet as fact.
  • Seems to me... (Score:2, Informative)

    by nofrak (889021)
    that this is pretty much the standard for post Geneva Convention POWs.
  • by jimicus (737525) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:10PM (#21350957)
    ... will be the Next Big Thing.

    Given:

    1. Effective DRM is impossible.
    2. By definition, there is no such thing as DRM against printed documents.

    I reckon the next big thing will be some sort of software which puts the fear of God into those who may wish to leak documents - by making the leaker identifiable. Specifically, watermarking them. Where two spellings of a word are equally acceptable, use one in the version sent to person A and another in the version sent to person B. Change the spacing slightly. Tweak letter shapes here and there.

    Of course, then you get anti-anti-leak. Rather than publish the original document, you publish an OCR'd version.... but DeCSS hasn't stopped DVDs being shipped with CSS encryption, and it hasn't dissuaded the likes of Macrovision.
  • Schematics?!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tweek (18111) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:13PM (#21351023) Homepage Journal
    While I'm not a fan of this current administration or many of the things it has done and continues to do daily, who in their right mind would consider it SMART to release schematics to a fucking military installation?

    Yeah this just happens to be a prison but how are you going to feel when someone releases the schematics to the air conditioning system at jrandom fort in your town and proceeds to gas and entire base of people?

    I'm as big an opponent of fearmongering as there is. I hate the war on "terrorism" but for god's sake people, have some common sense.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:14PM (#21351029) Homepage Journal
    oh no, are they holding Beavis at Gitmo?!
  • From the Report: (Score:4, Informative)

    by phobos13013 (813040) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:29PM (#21351289)
    Chapter 1 Section 1-7 Paragraph (2):
    Detainees must be treated humanely

    Chapter 1 Section 1-8 Statement (a):
    Detainees are to be treated in spirit of Geneva Convention

    Chapter 16 essentially outlines how to respect the religious tenets of the Islam

    NO WHERE in the report is the word torture mentioned...

    INTERESTINGLY, the CINC is only mentioned once; that the implentation of the SOP should follow the CINCs AND Geneva Conventions intentions

    Basically, this document says follow international law and respect the detainees. This is not going to be a watershed or bring about the impeachment of the President. Not much to speak of really. That being said, it is an illegal prison and needs to be shut down and a new way of dealing with these people devised.
  • by localman (111171) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:45PM (#21351601) Homepage
    I find this topic and the arguments around it fascinating. My grandfather was imprisoned in Poland [amazon.com] under false pretenses for five years. He had to negotiate for toilet paper. He performed many hunger strikes to win things like reading material, one time starving himself for 28 days. Seeing this manual is fairly chilling for me.

    Many times over the years when I'd talk with people about his experiences, they would reassure me that such a thing wouldn't happen in a healthy constitutional democracy like the US. The cruelty and Kafkaesque behavior of his captors was relegated to the sickness of communism to be sure.

    At some point long ago I realized that wasn't the case, and that we were very much capable of similar evils. Some people wouldn't agree with me, but here we have the plain as day proof.

    I'm sure a percentage of the people reading this post think "who cares if they're mistreating suspected terrorists?". To each of you that feel that way, I would say this: if we had this conversation about my grandfather and communism before 9/11, or perhaps if you read his book, you'd have condemned his captors to hell for being so awful.

    I love this country dearly but I'm ashamed of much of what we're doing right now.

    Also: if the manual reads to you as being "not so bad" remember that it is very different when you're on the other side of it. And remember that it's just a manual: the real day to day life there is bound to be far more questionable.
    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @05:16PM (#21354831) Homepage
      Many times over the years when I'd talk with people about his experiences, they would reassure me that such a thing wouldn't happen in a healthy constitutional democracy like the US. The cruelty and Kafkaesque behavior of his captors was relegated to the sickness of communism to be sure.

      Yeah, that's what they told me in grade school, too... that we were better than the Communists because we didn't do that kind of thing.

      Now they're saying that we're better than the Communists (or the terrorists or whatever) which is why it's okay that we do that kind of thing.

      It went from "we're better because we act better", to "we're better... because we just are. So it doesn't matter how we act."

      It makes me very sad too. :(
  • by kunwon1 (795332) * <dave.j.moore@gmail.com> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @01:46PM (#21351625) Homepage
    From the 135th page of the PDF, page number 27.3, their 'lights out' procedure...

    (2) When JOC calls with the first notification:
    (a) Camp Delta CO will have one of the Administrative NCOs, working in Camp-1, using whatever means available (i.e. golf cart, HMMWV) move to the power substation adjacent to the water tanks by Camp Bulkeley. Admin NCO will carry a SABRE radio.
    (b) Upon arrival will enter the gate by entering the number (1998) in the combination lock.
    (c) Proceed to the junction box with the number (7012-83) Breaker Box and open the box. The number for the lock on the breaker box is (224).
    And it goes on. :D

    I love it.
  • hmm sensitive? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by joe 155 (937621) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @02:16PM (#21352123) Journal
    It doesn't seem that sensitive. I've not looked right through it but it seems to show the camp in quite a good light, see for example this;

    f. Do not use the left hand to give a detainee food.
    Muslims use their left hand to clean themselves and it
    is culturally inappropriate to offer food with the left
    hand.
    g. Do not relate terrorism to Islam. It is
    inappropriate to equate any religion to such heinous
    activity.
    h. Do not point a finger at detainees as it is
    considered very disrespectful and derogatory.
    i. Avoid using foul language as it displays a lack of
    composure.

    These all seem to be fairly positive things, from the point of view of respecting the ways of the people who are detained. This is far less a smoking gun from what I've read and more a guide on how to make people feel as secure and happy as possible when in the camp (which I know won't be a bed of roses for them...). I really wouldn't be amazed if this was "leaked" by a supporter of the guantanamo bay compound. But maybe that's just my cynical nature, it is possible that a lot of the people in the military really do just want to make the situation as good as possible for the people who they happen to have there
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @02:39PM (#21352545) Homepage

    That reads like a SOP for a well-funded maximum security prison. It's rather labor-intensive; a US prison wouldn't be that heavily staffed. It's amusing that "punishment food" is MREs, which is what our soldiers eat. But that's not a big deal.

    The terms are incredibly permissive in one area - religion. Considerable efforts are made to accommodate Islamic worship. The guards are required to handle a Koran in very specific ways. Prayer mats are provided. Even honey and dates are supplied for Ramadan.

    When softening up prisoners for interrogation, the US military might do better to provide inmates with lots of American movies and music, but less religious support. Islamic fundamentalism is instilled by emphasis on Islam to the exclusion of all else, and the Camp Delta procedures reinforce that. If prisoners want a Koran, they should get a paperback copy, maybe a Xerox. Let them watch Baywatch reruns, and schedule the good parts to conflict with their prayer schedules. Have different prisoners doing different things at different times, to discourage synchronized prayer. The official attitude should be "if you want to pray, we're not going to stop you. Whatever".

    • by Chicken_Kickers (1062164) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @04:25PM (#21354069)
      Normally I don't use expletives on the Internets but Fuck you! I am a muslim and I find your suggestions barbaric to the extreme. Did you know that most of the detainees in Gitmo were randomly or falsely accused. Did you know that they have no chance of finding out what the accusation were and even if they did, they couldn't do anything about it? Would you agree to muslims forcing non-muslims to follow our own practices, since this is similar to what you are proposing? Praying and reading the Koran is the most BASIC requirement to a muslim, not as you say a reinforcement to fundamentalism. I had hoped that Slashdot is populated by brother geeks who are above making such hate comments. If you are an American, than good luck to you when your government decides that you are a threat to national safety. Sure you say, they won't go after you. But maybe you download porn and as we know, porn is immoral. Maybe you pirate music and as we know, piracy is hurting the economy. Maybe you smoke weed and as we know, the war on drugs is still on. Maybe you buy products not made by American companies and thus you are not patriotic. We no longer view your country as a beacon of democracy and equal opportunity. Your country is no longer the good guys and no longer have the moral authority to chastise third world dictatorships if people like you condone torture and imprisonment without trial.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by muellerr1 (868578)
        Hold your horses. 'Barbaric in the extreme'? It sounds like you're mad at the false imprisonment more than the actual OP's odd suggestions. I'm not saying that I agree with the OP, but which part is extreme barbarism? What I consider extreme barbarism is cutting people's heads off to make a point. Ratchet down your hyperbole because it doesn't help your case. The OP never said that Gitmo prisoners (why do we call them detainees like Bush wants--they're in prison, legally or not) shouldn't be allowed t

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