The “nasty story of Guantánamo”, exposed today in The Guardian and The New York Times based on 759 leaked documents containing the words of the people who ran the place. The leaked files provoke horror not just at the physical things done to inmates but the cold, incompetent stupidity of the system, “in which to say you were not a terrorist might be taken as evidence of your cunning.”
What’s the Big Idea?
The leaks strip away even the cynical but persuasive defence: “it was harsh but it worked and it kept the world safe.” The documents reveal that in reality Guantánamo didn’t work, much of the time. What stands out is not some new horror from the secretive steel-barred compound, but the chaos and confusion. It is no surprise that the files record that one in seven of those detained developed psychiatric illness.