Briton Says Torture Continues at Guantánamo

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Guantánamo torture and humiliation still going on, says shackled Briton:

Fresh allegations about a regime of torture and humiliation inflicted on detainees by their American captors at Guantánamo Bay have been made by a Briton still held there, according to Foreign Office documents seen by the Guardian.

The claims by Martin Mubanga, from London, are the latest to surface from the prison where the US holds 550 Muslim men it claims are terrorists in conditions that have sparked worldwide condemnation.

Mr Mubanga, 31, alleges that only months ago he was kept shackled for so long that he wet himself, and then was forced to clean up his own urine. He claims to have been threatened, that an interrogator stood on his hair, and that he was subjected to extremes of temperature rising to 36C (97F). He was kept chained to the floor by his feet for an hour during a welfare visit from a British government official.

Where the hell is the outrage? The Senate hearings? The — excuse the term — Democrats?

Not that the British government is exactly covering itself with glory here either:

Mr Mubanga was arrested in Zambia and has been held as a terrorist for more than two years without access to a lawyer. During a visit by a Foreign Office official on October 3, a record of which the Guardian has seen, Mr Mubanga was kept trussed up for the entire 60 minutes. The official noted: “Martin's feet were shackled to the ring in the floor.” Mr Mubanga also said his weight had plunged in captivity from 84kg to 75kg (13st 3lb to 11st 11lb), and that he got tired and dizzy and did not get enough food.

He is allowed 30 minutes of exercise every second day.

According to the Foreign Office letter, the US claims Mr Mubanga attacked his interrogator, despite the fact he almost certainly would have been shackled: “The US authorities said that their records show that Martin grabbed the interrogator's hand and applied a pressure point hold. The interrogator stated that he would call the military police and Martin let go without further incident.”

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We have raised with the US authorities the allegations of maltreatment raised with us by Mr Mubanga during a welfare visit. The US authorities have investigated them and their response is that they are without merit.

“At this stage we would not propose to pursue this further.”

The Foreign Office had originally refused to give Mr Mubanga's family details of his claims of ill-treatment, blaming the data protection act.

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6 Responses to Briton Says Torture Continues at Guantánamo

  1. Brett Bellmore says:

    Oh, dear! 97 degrees! Why, the last time it got that hot here, I… went about my business like I normally do, except I sweated a bit.

    You know, I suppose it’s possible that there’s torture going on there, but some of this stuff is so lame it’s just pathetic.

  2. Where’s the outrage? Good question indeed… somewhere under all the lame excuses and idiotic ho-hums no doubt. Like 97 degrees being no big deal for example — try THREE YEARS in solitary caged like an animal in a zoo.

    But I am somewhat stunned — even after three years of my very unlikely project — to report that wednesday (12/8/2004) Judge Joyce Hens Green granted my motions to appear as an amicus and for ECF password in In re Guantanamo Detainee Cases, and the following day, my brief (originally filed 10/14/2004) was docketed as a CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGEMENT IN SUPPORT OF PETITIONERS — this coming one week after oral arguments on the government motion to dismiss which is the object of my brief.

    The brief itself is available at:

    So weirdly enough, my answer to the question “where’s the outrage?” is this…

    Pending in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.


    Charles Gittings

  3. Sam37 says:

    Under Senate rules, only the majority party can call official committee hearings. In the last several years, Senate Democrats have gotten around that restriction to some extent by holding `hearings’ under the auspices of the Democratic Policy Committee (DPC), but it does not carry the same amount of weight in the media.

  4. Michael says:

    I don’t hear a lot of Democrats making a lot of noise about the torture issue, do you?

  5. Charles, I wouldn’t want to spend 3 years in a cage at 72 degrees, but this would be more impressive if they left the kitchen sink out of the complaints.

  6. Charles Gittings says:

    Michael: no I don’t hear a lot of democrats making noise about the torture issue, to their discredit. But I do hope they will be making some at the Gonzales hearings.

    Brett: I’m not sure what you mean by the “kitchen sink” here. All I know is that the Bush administration has been committing war crimes by policy under a false color of authority for over three years now.

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