As in “what really happened”.
In June 2006, the Bush military announced that three Guantánamo detainees had committed suicide by hanging themselves in their cells.
In November 2009, a team of students and faculty at the Seton Hall University law school analyzed a heavily redacted NCIS report of the alleged suicides, and found the official government account of how these three men died to be riddled with inconsistencies and, literally, unbelievable:
Two years later, the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which has primary investigative jurisdiction within the naval base, issued a report supporting the account originally advanced by Harris, now a vice-admiral in command of the Sixth Fleet. The Pentagon declined to make the NCIS report public, and only when pressed with Freedom of Information Act demands did it disclose parts of the report, some 1,700 pages of documents so heavily redacted as to be nearly incomprehensible. The NCIS report was carefully cross-referenced and deciphered by students and faculty at the law school of Seton Hall University in New Jersey, and their findings, released in November 2009, made clear why the Pentagon had been unwilling to make its conclusions public. The official story of the prisoners’ deaths was full of unacknowledged contradictions, and the centerpiece of the report—a reconstruction of the events—was simply unbelievable.
Yesterday, Harper’s magazine published online a copy of an article by Scott Horton that will appear in their March issue. Horton provides an eyewitness account by Army Staff Sergeant Joseph Hickman (who was on duty as sergeant of the guard at Guantánamo’s Camp Delta on the night of the deaths in question). Hickman’s account of what did and did not happen that night strongly suggests that the three Guantánamo detainees who were declared to have committed suicide actually died as a result of some aggressive (and, possibly, illegal) enhanced interrogation. Hickman’s account suggests that the Bush military engaged in a massive cover-up operation. And Horton’s article accuses the Obama administration of active complicity in the cover-up:
…new evidence now emerging may entangle Obama’s young administration with crimes that occurred during the Bush presidency, evidence that suggests the current administration failed to investigate seriously—and may even have continued—a cover-up of the possible homicides of three prisoners at Guantánamo in 2006.
It’s a long article, but well worth reading. It brings the duplicity and mendacity and sheer disregard of the law with which the Bush regime conducted The War Against Terror into sharp focus. And it suggests that the Obama administration seamlessly continued that duplicity and mendacity. Apparently because covering up war crimes is infinitely better than distracting ourselves from the future by looking backwards.