Lawyers representing military detainees at Guantanamo Bay have expressed concern that the government has violated a federal court order by losing or erasing
several years' worth of digital video recordings that could shed light on the
legality of detainee treatment.
The concerns are based in part on a recent court filing by Guantanamo's commander, Rear Adm. Mark H. Buzby, who said video surveillance recordings in several areas of the facility have been automatically overwritten and no longer exist.
"In January 2008, it was brought to my attention that such . . . [recording] systems may have been automatically overwriting video data contained on recording devices, at predetermined intervals," Buzby wrote. "That is, only a specified number of days' worth of recorded data could be retained on the recording devices at a time."
Defense lawyers said the admission suggests that the military has not complied with a 2005 court order to preserve such evidence, even if the deletion of the
recordings was inadvertent. They claim that the tapes were of potential use at
forthcoming court hearings and trials, a view supported by a Seton Hall University report slated to be released today.
The report, "Captured on Tape," asserts that officials at the facility recorded more than 20,000 interrogations at Guantanamo Bay. It cited FBI statements and military investigative reports as a basis for concluding that video cameras were in interrogation booths and tapes existed.
"All interrogations are videotaped," said an April 13, 2005, report by the Office of the Army Surgeon General on operations at Guantanamo Bay, cited in the Seton Hall study. Pentagon officials declined to discuss the report or comment on the videotaping.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
US May Have Erased Evidence that Could Help Gitmo Detainees
As Josh White reported: