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WikiLeaks releases classified files on Guantánamo Bay

Secret docs on 779 prisoners

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WikiLeaks has released over 100 military dossiers detailing prisoners at the US prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, promising to release more than 600 additional classified documents over the next month.

More than 750 files have already been shared with The New York Times, The Guardian, National Public Radio (NPR), and The Washington Post. According to The Guardian, the files – classified as secret – describe the experiences of almost every prisoner held at the camp since it opened in 2002, and they show that many prisoners were held on the "flimsiest grounds" or based on confessions pulled from prisoners with "maltreatment" through torture.

At least 779 people have been held at the camp, according to The Guardian, and 172 are still there. Many, the paper says, were flown to the camp in cages, and the prisoners include children, elderly people, and mentally ill people.

This is the fourth major collection of US classified documents released by WikiLeaks. Previously, the whistleblowing site leaked a trove of US State Department cables and documents related to the Afghan and Iraq wars. All of these documents, including the Guantánamo files, were allegedly given to WikiLeaks by US Army private Bradley Manning, who has been imprisoned at the US Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia, but the Pentagon has said he will be moved to the main US Army prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

"It is unfortunate that The New York Times and other news organizations have made the decision to publish numerous documents obtained illegally by WikiLeaks concerning the Guantanamo detention facility. These documents contain classified information about current and former GTMO detainees, and we strongly condemn the leaking of this sensitive information," reads a statement from Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, and Ambassador Dan Fried, special envoy for closure of the Guantanamo Detention Facility.

President Barack Obama ordered the prison closed more than two years ago.

“Both the previous and the current Administrations have made every effort to act with the utmost care and diligence in transferring detainees from Guantanamo," the Pentagon statement continued. "The previous Administration transferred 537 detainees; to date, the current Administration has transferred 67. Both Administrations have made the protection of American citizens the top priority and we are concerned that the disclosure of these documents could be damaging to those efforts.

"That said, we will continue to work with allies and partners around the world to mitigate threats to the US and other countries and to work toward the ultimate closure of the Guantanamo detention facility, consistent with good security practices and our values as a nation.”

According to The Guardian, the documents show that in detaining prisoners at Guantanamo, the US has been more concerned will obtaining intelligence rather than imprisoning terrorists. The prisoners include an 89-year-old Afghan villager suffering from senile dementia who held "suspicious phones numbers", the paper says, and a 14-year-old kidnap victim who may have had knowledge of local Taliban leaders.

Nearly 100 inmates were described as having depressive or psychotic illnesses, the paper says, and "many" went on hunger strike or attempted suicide. ®

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