Press Release: The Detainee Policies
05:00am New York Time (EDT), (10:00am London time (BST)) Thursday, 25th October 2012
Starting today, Thursday, 25th October 2012, WikiLeaks begins releasing the ’Detainee Policies’: more than 100
classified or otherwise restricted files from the United States Department of Defense covering the rules and procedures
for detainees in U.S. military custody. Over the next month, WikiLeaks will release in chronological order the United
States’ military detention policies followed for more than a decade. The documents include the Standard Operating
Procedures (SOPs) of detention camps in Iraq and Cuba, interrogation manuals and Fragmentary Orders (FRAGOs) of changes
to detainee policies and procedures. A number of the ’Detainee Policies’ relate to Camp Bucca in Iraq, but there are
also Department of Defense-wide policies and documents relating to Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and European U.S. Army
Among the first to be released is the foundation document for Guantanamo Bay ("Camp Delta") – the 2002 Camp Delta SOP
manual. The release of the ’Detainee Policies’ marks three years of Camp Delta (Guantanamo Bay) SOP manuals released by
WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks has now released the main Guantanamo Bay operating manuals for 2002, 2003 and 2004. The previously
unpublished 2002 manual went on to shape successive years in the Guantanamo Bay prison complex and other U.S. military
prisons around the world, such as Abu Ghraib. "This document is of significant historical importance. Guantanamo Bay has
become the symbol for systematised human rights abuse in the West with good reason," said WikiLeaks founder Julian
Assange. "But how is it that WikiLeaks has now published three years of Guantanamo Bay operating procedures, but the
rest of the world’s press combined has published none?"
In relation to Iraq, the release includes Operation Orders (OPORD) regarding policies for screening and interrogating
detainees. The documents also include routine instructions relating to staffing, scheduling of legal visitation,
procedures for administering medical treatment, how medical records and daily staff journals are to be kept, cigarette
rationing and what items are "authorised for detainee possession".
A number of what can only be described as ’policies of unaccountability’ will also be released. One such document is the
2005 document ’Policy on Assigning Detainee Internment Serial Numbers’. This document is concerned with discreetly
’disappearing’ detainees into the custody of other U.S. government agencies while keeping their names out of U.S.
military central records – by systematically holding off from assigning a prisoner record number (ISN). Even references
to this document are classified "SECRET//NOFORN". Detainees may be disposed of in this manner without leaving a
significant paper trail.
Another formal policy of unaccountability is a 2008 Fragmentary Order that minimises the record-keeping surrounding
interrogations. Following revelations of torture tapes and pictures from Abu Ghraib and the political scandal over the
destruction of Central Intelligence Agency interrogation tapes, the FRAGO eliminates "the requirement to record
interrogation sessions at Theatre Internment Facilities". Although the FRAGO goes on to state that interrogations that
take place at Division Internment Facilities and Brigade Internment Facilities must be recorded, it then states that
these should be "purged within 30 days". This policy was subsequently reversed by the new Obama administration.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said: "The ’Detainee Policies’ show the anatomy of the beast that is post-9/11
detention, the carving out of a dark space where law and rights do not apply, where persons can be detained without a
trace at the convenience of the U.S. Department of Defense. It shows the excesses of the early days of war against an
unknown ’enemy’ and how these policies matured and evolved, ultimately deriving into the permanent state of exception
that the United States now finds itself in, a decade later."
A number of documents relate to the policies surrounding the interrogation of detainees (2004, 2005, 2008). Direct
physical violence is prohibited, in writing, but a formal policy of terrorising detainees during interrogations,
combined with a policy of destroying interrogation recordings, has led to abuse and impunity. We learn of policies that
apply to international forces: a 13-page interrogation policy document from 2005 relates to all personnel in the
Multi-National Force–Iraq (MNF–I). It details "approved" "interrogation approaches". The documents detail the promotion
of exploitative techniques such as the "Emotional Love Approach: Playing on the love a detained person has for family,
homeland or comrades". In the "Fear Up (Harsh)" approach, by contrast, "the interrogator behaves in an overpowering
manner with a loud and threatening voice in order to convince the source he does indeed have something to fear; that he
has no option but to co-operate".
The ’Detainee Policies’ provide a more complete understanding of the instructions given to captors as well as the
’rights’ afforded to detainees. We call upon lawyers, NGOs, human rights activists and the public to mine the ’Detainee
Policies’ and investigate important issues such as the denial of access to the ICRC (International Committee of the Red
Cross) to detainee facilities, as well as to research and compare the different generations of SOPs and FRAGOs to help
us better understand the evolution in these policies and why they have occurred. Publicise your findings using the
Friends of WikiLeaks: https://wlfriends.org