Forbes magazine, printing an AP report, says that:
A U.S. military officer warned Pentagon officials that an American detainee was being driven nearly insane by months of punishing isolation and sensory deprivation in a U.S. military brig, according to documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union and provided to The Associated Press.While the treatment of prisoners at detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Afghanistan and Iraq have long been the subject of human rights complaints and court scrutiny, the documents shed new light on how two American citizens and a legal U.S. resident were treated in military jails inside the United States.
The Bush administration ordered the men to be held in military jails as “enemy combatants” for years of interrogations without criminal charges, which would not have been allowed in civilian jails.
The men were interrogated by the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency, repeatedly denied access to attorneys and mail from home and contact with anyone other than guards and their interrogators. They were deprived of natural light for months and for years were forbidden even minor distractions such as a soccer ball or a dictionary.
The ACLU received the documents through a Freedom of Information Act request. The civil liberties group said the papers are evidence that the Bush administration violated the 5th amendment’s protections against cruel treatment. The U.S. military was ordered to treat the American prisoners the same way prisoners at Guantanamo were treated, according to the documents.
However, the Guantanamo jail was created by the Bush administration specifically to avoid allowing detainees any constitutional rights. Administration lawyers contended the Constitution did not apply outside the country.
“These documents are the first clear confirmation of what we’ve suspected all along, that the brig was run as a prison beyond the law. There was an effort to create a Gitmo inside the United States,” Jonathan Hafetz of the ACLU’s National Security Project in New York said, using the slang word for the U.S. naval facility in Cuba.
The 91 pages of e-mails and documents produced by U.S. Fleet Forces Command, which runs the military brigs in Norfolk, Va., and Charleston, S.C., detail daily decisions made about the treatment of Hamdi and Jose Padilla, then both American citizens, and Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a legal resident. All were designated as by the White House as “illegal enemy combatants.”
The paperwork show uniformed officials at the military brigs growing increasingly uncomfortable and then alarmed that they were being directed to handle their prisoners under the rules that governed Guantanamo.