Guantanamo: Murder, lies and a cover-up:

Issue 

On June 10, 2006, the commander of US-run Guantanamo Bay military camp, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, said three detainees, Salah Al-Aslami, Yasser Talal al-Zahrani and Mani Shaman al-Utaybi, had committed suicide the night before in an act of "asymmetrical warfare".

After more than three years of heartache for the men's families, a former sergeant came forward in a January 18 interview with Harper's Magazine to reveal that the men did not suicide as the official story dictates, but were murdered.

Camp "No", as in "no, the camp does not exist", is on the outskirts of Guantanamo and run by "non-uniformed government personnel". On the night of the deaths, the three men were taken there.

A few hours later a van arrived at the clinic, and within half an hour, the sergeant reported the clinic "lit up".

When the sergeant went down to the clinic to see what was going on, a distraught medic told him that "three dead prisoners had been delivered". The medic said they had died because they had rags shoved down their throats and one of them was severely bruised.

Harper's said independent interviews revealed Guantanamo warden Colonel Mike Bumgarner told soldiers the media would report that the men died by hanging themselves in their cell, rather than due to the rags shoved down their throats.

The soldiers were reminded their communications outside the camp were monitored.

Human rights organisations and lawyers' associations have previously raised suspicions over the deaths. The dead men's families have long been calling for an independent investigation.

When Salah Al-Aslami's body was returned to his family, they ordered an independent autopsy. This found that organs necessary for a complete investigation had been removed, such as the larynx, pharynx and throat.

They also found that the toenails and fingernails had been cut extremely short after death, which prevented them from obtaining DNA evidence.

There was evidence of injections, bruising on the back of the hand, a punctured vein, and that one of Aslami's teeth had been broken while he was still alive. The other two men had their brains, heart, liver and kidneys removed, which made the investigation impossible.

Considering the systematic torture authorised by the Bush administration in the "torture memos", it is not surprising this happened.

Disturbingly, there have been two more deaths since these murders, raising more questions about the official story.

On the eve of US President Barack Obama's deadline for closing Guantanamo, these revelations are a critical reminder that Guantanamo must be closed — and the torture must end.

[Read the full report here.]

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