By: E&P Staff
McClatchy Newspapers on Sunday launched the first result of its eight-month study of detainees in the “war in terror.” A major report on detainee abuse arrived on Monday. More in the series will be forthcoming this week.
An editors’ note opened: “Early in 2007, as the Bush administration indicated that it intended to release most of the detainees at the prison at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, McClatchy set out to track down as many of the freed prisoners as possible to help determine who they were, what had happened to them in the prisons the Bush administration set up in Afghanistan and Cuba and what had become of them.
“For eight months, reporters Tom Lasseter and Matthew Schofield traveled to 11 countries ? from England to Pakistan ? and interviewed 66 former detainees. They also interviewed political and military officials in those countries to try to establish the detainees’ backgrounds and check their stories.
“Lasseter and Schofield also combed through unclassified transcripts of the men’s tribunal hearings at Guantanamo, when available, and Lasseter interviewed former White House and Department of Defense officials, former guards and lawyers for prisoners who had them.”
On Monday, Lasseter weighed in with a gripping piece that opened:
“American soldiers herded the detainees into holding pens of razor-sharp concertina wire, the kind that’s used to corral livestock.
“The guards kicked, kneed and punched many of the men until they collapsed in pain. U.S. troops shackled and dragged other detainees to small isolation rooms, then hung them by their wrists from chains dangling from the wire mesh ceiling.
“Former guards and detainees whom McClatchy interviewed said Bagram was a center of systematic brutality for at least 20 months, starting in late 2001. Yet the soldiers responsible have escaped serious punishment.
“The public outcry in the United States and abroad has focused on detainee abuse at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, but sadistic violence first appeared at Bagram, north of Kabul, and at a similar U.S. internment camp at Kandahar Airfield in southern Afghanistan.”
The full and ongoing series can be found here.