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Camp 4 Described as Show Camp for the Press and Public Officials
Jen Nessel, firstname.lastname@example.org
December 4, 2007, New York – The manual detailing Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Guantánamo’s Camp Delta in 2004 was leaked and posted on Wikileaks. The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and affiliated Guantánamo habeas attorneys helped provide a detailed analysis of the approximately 250-page document and compared it to the 2003 SOP manual leaked two weeks ago. The document, which is not classified but was not intended to be public, gives a detailed picture of conditions at the camp.
CCR attorneys called for the current SOP manual to be made public immediately, saying that vague assurances are not enough. Noting the continued violations of the Geneva Conventions and the severe mental illness at the prison in 2004, CCR attorneys also called for full compliance with the Geneva Conventions, unrestricted ICRC access to all prisoners in U.S. custody, and the cessation of solitary confinement as the norm for Guantánamo prisoners.
“After the release of the 2003 manual, the Pentagon claimed that the manual was replaced and the concerns raised were no longer valid,” said CCR Attorney Emi MacLean. “What we see in the 2004 manual is more of the same. We see a prison that was deteriorating rapidly and trying to protect itself by wide-reaching public relations without any meaningful policy changes.”
One of the most troubling aspects of the 2003 document, the denial and restriction of access by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to variously designated groups of detainees at the camp, appears to have been softened, but ICRC access remains restricted in the 2004 manual. For instance, during the first two weeks of detention, detainees are prohibited from meeting with the ICRC or the chaplain. The results of Red Cross visits are not made public, but access is mandated by the Geneva Conventions in order to ensure the humane treatment of all prisoners. Both manuals only call for adherence to “the spirit of” the Geneva Conventions, not the letter, and not when it conflicts with military interests.
Of particular interest are sections that indicate Camp 4 was set up as a show camp for visitors, where personnel should possess “excellent public relations (PR) skills” and the Camp should be kept clean at all times as a “high visibility area” that “receives numerous visitors and tours” and “draws a lot of attention.” While a requirement that guards carry “U.S. Southcom Human Rights Standing Orders” card at all times was deleted from elsewhere in the SOPs, all Camp 4 personnel are required to have such cards.
The mental health provisions discuss the operations of the mental unit in detail and make clear that mental illness was already a serious problem at the camps in 2004. An expanded section on suicide indicates it was becoming an increasing concern at the camp. Coupled with the growing concern about suicides and severe psychological illness was a desire to mask the severity of the issue. The section on “suicide” is now entitled “Attempted / Actual Self-Harm.” An attempted hanging that requires someone to be cut down is a “self-harm incident.”
Some of the more significant elements in the 2004 SOP include:
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.