Murder Or Suicide?

Jack Shafer pokes holes in Scott Horton's article on the deaths at Gitmo:

Based on what I've read about Guantánamo, I'm prepared to believe that derelict or lax guards made the suicides possible and stalled their immediate detection. Joining me in that assessment is former Guantánamo prisoner Tarek Dergoul of Great Britain, who was freed in March 2004 and returned to his country.

In 2006, days after the deaths, Dergoul told reporter David Rose, "I just can't believe [Al-Utaybi] would take his own life. He would have had to be really desperate."

Yet Dergoul did not consider suicide a mission impossible at Guantánamo. Instead of patrolling the cell blocks as they were supposed to, Dergoul said, the guards

used to sit in their room at the end. It's a long walk from end to end of the block and some nights they didn't feel like it: they'd sit in their room, smoking and playing cards. You'd need toilet paper or something and you'd yell "MP, MP!" But they wouldn't comeit could be as long as an hour.

So how do you explain the failure to discipline a single guard? How do you explain the eye-witness accounts

Luke Mitchell, who edited Horton's piece, replies to Shafer here. And too claims by the Office of the Secretary of Defense here. Scott Horton helps establish the existence of Camp No here. Ackerman's reply to Shafer:

[Shafer] premises his piece on the idea that Horton “proved” his case, which is not how I read Horton’s article. Like with much investigative work, Horton cobbled together a case for further investigation, pulling together information that demands additional inquiry. By his standards undue deference to knowledgeable officials-turned-whistleblowers, clashes with the “official record,” “ignoring facts and statements collected by the government” – Dana Priest didn’t “prove” the CIA’s black sites exist, either.

...If you call it a “cover-up,” then sure, people will take it to be unserious and conspiratorial. But think of all of the unanswered questions around torture that Eric Holder’s torture inquiry won’t get at. What was the relationship between contract psychiatrists Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell and the CIA ahead of their 2001 contract for torture? How did the CIA know to tap those two for the basis for its torture programs? How many black sites did the CIA maintain, and for how long? How long, and for what purpose, did the CIA maintain a seperate facility at Guantanamo (as Shafer concedes)? And on and on. Shafer’s piece would make a lot more sense if we didn’t go through five years of revelations about torture but maybe then he wouldn’t have written this in the first place.