1.     Introduction

            Guantanamo Bay has often been the subject of scrutiny in
the United States’ war on terror. The war on terror began in 2001, following
the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York
City. As the world was becoming more of a global landscape, the idea of
international terrorism was also becoming more apparent. The September 11th
attack represented the ways and speed at which terrorism could traverse
international borders and bring fear to the doorsteps of innocent people. In
response to the September 11th attacks, former President George W.
Bush showed a strong arm to the concept of terrorism and vowed to bring
violators of peace to justice. Following the September 11th attacks,
President Bush publicly addressed citizens of the United States via a televised
Address to the Nation, collaborated with the United Nations and close allies to
the United States to create a unified stance to combat terrorism, and signed a
military order that ultimately led to torture at the United States’ Guantanamo
Bay detention camp. The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is the primary focus of
this paper. This paper explores the effectiveness of the interrogations tactics
used on the detainees in Guantanamo Bay. Further, this paper provides a
detailed background on the events and laws that either led to or served to
prevent the torture that occurred at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.
Ultimately, this paper finds that the torture techniques used on detainees by
interrogators at Guantanamo Bay were largely ineffective and only resulted in
damaging the United States’ reputation as one of the world’s leaders in moral
governance. In addition, this paper will explore the financial costs of the
prison, and whether or not the tax payers’ money was wasted on an illusion of
safety rather than on effective methods to combat terrorism.

            On the morning of September 11, 2001, two Boeing 767
aircrafts departed from the Logan International Airport in Boston,
Massachusetts at 7:59 A.M. and 8:04 A.M., both with the intended destination of
Los Angeles, California (9/11 Interactive 1). The early morning, cross-country
flights, however, did not reach their intended destination. Along with the
numerous law-abiding citizens and families occupying the majority of the
plane’s seats, their tickets paid in full, both aircrafts were infiltrated with
members of the terrorist group Al-Qaeda. As it is well known today, this small
group of terrorists hijacked both planes in the middle of their flights,
usurping airplane crew and the pilots, and redirected the aircrafts towards the
two towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The intention of this
group attack was terror. The World Trade Center was a New York City icon, a
representation of the United States of America’s world influence and prowess.
Within one long hour, both planes impacted the two towers of the World Trade
Center, leaving a city in panic, a country in shock, and world with a new
direction. That new direction, dictated by President George W. Bush, was a war
on terror. There had been other terrorist attacks on the United States prior to
the 9/11 attack, terrorist attacks that occurred on the World Trade Center
even, however none were of the magnitude of the September 11, 2001 attack. The
attack, which ended the lives of thousands of Americans and wounded thousands
more, served as a rallying cry for those in opposition to terror. This rallying
cry was propelled by the United States government at the time and supported by
its allies and the United Nations.

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On the
evening of September 11, 2001 President George W. Bush urgently addressed the
nation in a defiant televised speech: “America and our friends and allies join
with all those who want peace and security in the world. And we stand together
to win the war against terrorism” (Bush). The speech gave hope to Americans in
a time of despair, but it also laid the foundation to a war on terror that
still exists today. The next day, the United Nations Security Council adopted
resolution 1368 in a unanimous decision. The resolution served as an
international beacon for efforts to combat terrorist activity. The resolution
requested that all countries cooperate in apprehending terrorists, terrorist
organizations, and those who fund and sponsor terrorism and bringing them to
justice. In the following months, President Bush and his administration moved
quickly to organize a strong front in the face of terrorism. On September 14,
2001, President Bush declared a national emergency in his executive order and
instructed the United States Armed Forced to be on alert and ready for combat,
if necessary. At the same time, President Bush expanded the authorities of the
Secretary of Defence and the Secretary of Transportation.

On November
13, 2001, the president issued a Military Order named “Detention, Treatment,
and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War Against Terrorism.” The order was
a decision that backed President Bush’s September 11th speech and
maintained the hard-nosed and unforgiving anti-terror position of the United
States Government. The order, referencing findings that “international
terrorists, including members of al Qaeda, have carried out attacks on United
States diplomatic and military personnel and facilities abroad and on citizens
and property within the United States on a scale that has created a state of
armed conflict,” defined which persons could be subject to punishment and
detention by the United States Government (Office of the Press Secretary). The
most important aspect of the Detention, Treatment, and Trial of Certain
Non-Citizens in the War Against Terrorism order was that it gave the Secretary
of Defense the authority to hold these defined individuals and members of the
al-Qaeda terrorist organization in Guantanamo Bay. Section 3 of the order
reads: “Detention Authority of the Secretary of Defense. Any individual subject
to this order shall be — (a) detained at an appropriate location designated by
the Secretary of Defense outside or within the United States” (Office of the
Press Secretary). It was this order that lead to the use of torture in the
Guantanamo Bay prison. However, what is interesting is that the Detention,
Treatment, and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War Against Terrorism order
specifically defined that those subjects detained in those “appropriate
locations” were to be “treated humanely,” “afforded adequate food, drinking
water, shelter, clothing, and medical treatment,” and “allowed the free
exercise of religion” (Office of the Press Secretary). It is clear that even at
the beginning of the war on terror that the topic of human rights was in the
overall discussion.

2.     Human Rights

In the wake
of World War II, a war defined by concentration camps, the torture of captured
soldiers, and the fight against the directed annihilation and persecution of an
almost singular group of people based upon their race and religion, the
International human rights law was adopted in 1948. The law addresses
injustices, seeks to resolve conflicts, and vies to achieve and maintain the “universal
enjoyment of human rights” (United Nations). Universal is a key word in the
definition of what human rights are. Human rights are fundamental freedoms
afforded to every human being (United Nations). They are “inalienable and
equally applicable to everyone … every one of us is born free and equal in
dignity and rights” (United Nations). There are also international standards
for the human rights of prisoners that prohibit the use of torture or cruel
punishments and treatment. The International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights has issued documents detailing these rights and the United Nations
itself has standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners (this is known
in short as the Standard Minimum Rules). These rules, which were first
acknowledged in 1955, appear in the same form as the International human rights
law in that they prohibit discrimination of prisoners based on classic
separations such as race, national origin, or sex. However, due to the nature
of prisons and the detainment process, the Standard Minimum Rules also defines
the minimum standards regarding accommodations such as food, punishment tactics,
hygiene and cleanliness, and religion. Thus, the parallels between the details
of the Detention, Treatment, and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War
Against Terrorism order and the international human rights standards are
apparent. The November 13th order from the United States clearly
shows an effort to uphold these international values. However, as the war on
terror unfolded, those international values regarding human rights faded and
reports of torture began to appear.

            The ugly backside of the United States’ war on terror
following the September 11th attack is the Guantanamo Bay detention
facility. Under the George W. Bush presidency and in alignment with the
Detention, Treatment, and Trial of Certain Non-Citizens in the War Against
Terrorism order, the United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
established Guantanamo Bay as an offshore setting to detain those “individual
subjects” referenced in the order. More specifically, Rumsfeld used the
Guantanamo Bay as a place to hold and interrogate the world’s most dangerous
suspected criminals. In a war on terror, information is of utmost value. The
United States, through military raids and operations, used their might to
apprehend suspected and known terrorists. These people were detained in
Guantanamo Bay for the sole purpose of extracting information from them. One of
the first indications of this directive is found in Secretary Rumsfeld’s
December 2, 2002 approved list of interrogation techniques, a list which was
specifically indicated to be used on detainees held in the Guantanamo Bay
facility (Pearlstein). “These December techniques included the use of
“stress positions,” twenty-hour interrogations, the removal of
clothing, playing upon a detainee’s phobias to induce stress (such as through
the use of dogs), isolation for up to thirty days, and sensory deprivation”
(Pearlstein). As indicated in the referenced journals, some of these methods
were withdrawn due to a legal response to the list. However, Secretary
Rumsfeld’s list demonstrates that the United States intended to use unethical
and anti-human rights tactics on detainees in Guantanamo Bay. Further than
that, the list represents that the United States was not going to be deterred
by international law or a individual code of ethics in its quest to end the war
of terror. This unethical direction became transparent upon the release of what
is referred to as the Guantanamo Files. According to the New York Times, “A
trove of more than 700 classified military documents provides new and detailed
accounts of the men who have done time at the Guantánamo Bay prison in Cuba,
and offers new insight into the evidence against the 172 men still locked up
there” (Savage). The leaked documents provide detailed of thorough insight into
the lives of the prisoners held in Guantanamo Bay. Some documents list the personal
items each prisoner had on their person upon entering the camp while other
documents describe each inmate’s violations during their detainment.

3.     The Reports

The
Guantanamo Files have come under much scrutiny from organizations such as the
Red Cross, which has cited detainee abuse, and news outlets both foreign and
domestic. The Red Cross reported that prisoners in Guantanamo Bay were forced
to endure “humiliating acts, solitary confinement, temperature extremes, and
the use of forced positions” (Lewis). The Red Cross found that these tactics
were employed with the sole purpose of eroding the will of the Guantanamo Bay
detainees in order to get them to corporate with the camp’s interrogators. For
example, in a given interrogation, an interrogator might expose the detainee to
long-lasting and excessively noisy music. By exposing a detainee to these
tactics, the interrogators are hoping that disrupting the detainee’s natural
state of comfort will lead to the wilful release of useful information that can
be applied to the war on terror. It was the hope, in the eyes of Secretary
Rumsfeld, the interrogators, and the Unites States government, that torture and
practices that defied international human rights laws could be used for the
greater good. The Guantanamo Files detail specific detainees, such as Naqib
Ullah, who endured the hardships of Guantanamo Bay at only 14-years old, and Khalid
Sheikh Mohammad, who has been labelled as the organizer and architect of the
September 11th attacks.

            Khalid Sheikh Mohammad is a prime example that represents
Guantanamo Bay and the use of torture at the facility in all respects. On one
hand, Mohammad can be viewed as the true definition and embodiment of
terrorism. In 2007, through Guantanamo Bay interrogation tactics, Mohammad
admitted that he was responsible for orchestrating numerous terrorist attacks,
including the 9/11 attacks. In order to obtain these confessions, interrogators
in the Guantanamo Bay facility reportedly waterboarded Mohammed 183 times in
one month (CIA Torture Report). Mohammed was also subject to “standing sleep
deprivation, slapping and ‘stress positions'” (CIA Torture Report). It is
important to note here that the use of stress positions mentioned in the
interrogation of Mohammed was also in the list of techniques given by Secretary
Rumsfeld.

4.     So, Was It Effective?

The
question surrounding the interrogation of Mohammed is one of effectiveness. From
the United States’ perspective, detaining a suspected terrorist and achieving
his confession of the exact attack that inspired the war on terror through the
use of torture could provide direct proof of the effectiveness of torture. If
Mohammed is truly responsible for blueprinting the September 11th
terrorist attacks and the use of torture techniques forced him to confess, then
it could also be argued that torture can ultimately bring the actors of
terrorism to justice, which is the main objective of the war on terror.
However, Mohammed’s confessions of past terrorist activity through the use of
torture can also be argued as ineffective. First, while Mohammed did confess to
orchestrating multiple terrorist attacks, the question arises: can one truly
trust the word of not only a terrorist, but of a terrorist who is being
tortured? That is to say that if a person is under severe duress or being
tortured, it can be argued that the tortured person might “confess” anything to
satisfy the will of torturer/interrogator (Bell). Further, it must be noted
that Mohammed only provided information concerning past terrorist activity and
did not reveal any terrorist plots or future terrorist activity. Thus, it is
only a moderate achievement to know the architect of a terrorist event (if that
can even be known) that has already
occurred and has already resulted in the deaths of innocent people. Simply
detaining a suspected terrorist cripples that person from participating and
orchestrating future events; torturing that person does not further prevent
future attacks.

            The ineffectiveness of the use of torture at the Guantanamo
Bay detention camp is also represented in Tom Malinowski’s journal “Restoring
Moral Authority: Ending Torture, Secret Detention, and the Prison at Guantanamo
Bay.” In the journal’s text, Malinowski details the ineffectiveness of treating
terrorists as combatants or militant foes of the United States. Using
Guantanamo Bay as an example, Malinowski writes: “Giving them military
proceedings, on the other hand, reinforces their narrative that they are
warriors, not outlaws, and thus entitled to kill their enemies. When 9/11
mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, for example, was brought before his military
tribunal at Guantanamo, he wore the title of ‘enemy combatant’ as a badge of
honor. He compared himself to George Washington and said that if Washington had
been captured by the British, he, too, would have been called an “enemy
combatant” (Malinowski). Malinowski is saying here that places like Guantanamo
Bay gives legitimacy to the efforts of terrorists in their own eyes. First,
from the perspective of members of terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda,
being labelled an “enemy combatant” by a country one despises enough to
orchestrate a terrorist attack against only creates a sense of heroism.
Secondly, it can only follow that torturing an “enemy combatant” who is seen as
a hero or warrior would only serve to rally other members of their enemy
organization and augment feelings of hate and loathing. Thus, using torture
techniques not also creates heroes from the terrorist perspective but also
increases support from within the terrorist group.

            Finally, the use of torture
techniques weakens the United States’ overall and long-term position as moral
authority in the world. Undermining established international guidelines
regarding human rights shows the United States in a position of recklessness
and disregard. As a world leader and a world power that is often in the
position as “world cop,” it is the United States’ responsibility to uphold the
virtues and ethical practices established by the United Nations and agreed upon
by member of the United Nations. When the United States disregards these rules
and guidelines it leaves other countries in a position to not only question the
guidelines themselves, which could result in a slippery slope of ethics, but
also the integrity of the United States itself. Certainly, in response to a
terrible and horrific event like 9/11 the United States should seek to bring
those responsible to justice, but the country 

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