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Diffing Guantanamo Bay SOP Manuals 563

Posted by Zonk
from the maybe-they-forgot-we-had-computers dept.
James Hardine writes "The Washington Post is reporting that Wikileaks has released another manual for Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay together with the US military's rendition operations manual. This release follows from the Wikileaks release of the 2003 SOP Manual as discussed on Slashdot last month. Wikileaks compares the two manuals (2003, 2004) and reveals damning changes in official US detainee policy in exquisite detail. Who knew that diff could be such a powerful political weapon?"
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Diffing Guantanamo Bay SOP Manuals

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  • Hmph (Score:5, Funny)

    by moogied (1175879) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:05AM (#21571669)
    Section D.

    1. Policies in regard to treatment of prisoner's shoes.

    A. Shit in them.

  • The first rule of Guantanamo is, there are no rules.

    The second rule of Guantanamo is, there are no rules.

    The third rule of Guantanamo is, always obey the rules.
    • Nononono.

      1. These are the rules of Gitmo.
      2. Nobody can or will find out whether they're upheld.
      3. Draw conclusions.
  • Diff is powerful (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bytesex (112972) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:13AM (#21571751) Homepage
    In my last job, I'd pull word docs through antiword and then diff them; usually contracts for salespeople who got these fuckers from other parties and wanted to make sure none of the language had changed. Very quick and powerful indeed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I'm not sure if someone is already doing this with laws, but I think it would be a good thing to hilight the changes.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by AKAImBatman (238306)
        Many laws are passed as patches to existing laws. So if you check the text of the resolution, it will say stuff like, "Section(1)Paragraph(7) change word 'shall' to 'must'". In my (admittedly limited) experience, you only see the full law in the resolution if it's completely new.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by djasbestos (1035410)
          I've seen some laws notated with strikethrough on amended or stricken provisions, but not in the bills that modify them. It'd be nice if there were a uniform way of doing this...part of the reason the newer, sneakier laws (Patriot Act?) are so damn huge is because they spend half a page telling you what comma they are changing and what obfuscated subclause is being added, so that as a whole, one would have little idea what the legislation is doing exactly (like you said).

          Although I don't see Congress utili
        • by sqrt(2) (786011) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:54AM (#21572261) Journal
          That's exactly right. It even happens with our constitution. Amendment 18 enacted prohibition, and over a decade later the 21st amendment nullified the 18th; but they're both still there.
  • Damning changes? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:14AM (#21571757) Homepage
    Except for the fact that soldiers no longer have to carry a human rights card, what are these damning changes? I see little to protest in the diff.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by grassy_knoll (412409)
      One thing that caught my eye is that "MP" was replaced with "Guards".

      Could be nothing; they could be using other military personnel who aren't MPs as a form of staff augmentation ( i.e. Navy MAAs, USAF security police, et. al. ). Could be contractors, FBI agents ( kinda doubt it, but hey, why not? ).. just people without the MP MOS.

      Not sure if it qualifies as "damning", but did seem interesting.
      • by lexarius (560925)
        Blackwater?
        • by Cerberus7 (66071)
          That was my first thought, too. It's convenient all around. They can use people who aren't MPs to fulfill the role of guard, which opens up a whole can of ethical worms, but it's "legal" now.
      • Re:Damning changes? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:59AM (#21572345)
        If they're guarded by Military Police, then the likely logical argument that follows is that they're prisoners of war. If they're guarded by guards, then who can really say what they are?

        We can't tolerate any suggestion that they might be prisoners. They're detainees. We barely acknowledge that they're human beings.

        That's SOP in the Bush administrations' "War on Terra".
        • Um, NO. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ToasterMonkey (467067) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @02:43PM (#21574973) Homepage
          Military Police work on every single US military installation in the country, probably the world. They control traffic at gates, catch speeders, and write parking tickets just like their civilian counterparts. They also work in brigs watching over our own troops. Your assertion that Military Police only guard POWs is completely, and utterly wrong. 'Guard' in this case may mean US military personnel OTHER than strictly MPs.

          You all want to know one of the main reasons things like SOPs for military installations are marked FOUO? Or why anything is marked FOUO for that matter? It's because there are too many idiots who misinterpret things because they don't understand BASIC military terminology for one, or they can't even begin to understand what our military actually does.

          One after another, "Maybe it's Blackwater", "Maybe the prisoners are guards", "Maybe it's aliens". It makes present and former military personnel sick. That is WHY many things are FOUO.
          This SOP was written for a very specific audience, BTW. The whole "Camp Rules" section at the top of the diff smells very fake, and at the very least is out of place/context. It would be a separate document, and obviously in different languages. If it were to be included with the SOP, I doubt the translations would be absent. Who the hell keeps getting these as PDFs anyway? I didn't think they were ever distributed electronically outside of formal messaging systems. They're usually just kept in a binder somewhere.

          Semper Fi
      • Maybe they're outsourcing security to the inmates who've been there before in exchange for privileges.

        Hey, who said they didn't learn from history [wikipedia.org]?

        (apologies to Godwin)

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by CarpetShark (865376)

      Except for the fact that soldiers no longer have to carry a human rights card, what are these damning changes? I see little to protest in the diff.


      Umm... I think that's pretty damning, in and of itself.
  • by techpawn (969834) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:16AM (#21571795) Journal
    Here we say that these people are the worst of the worst then try to send them to their home countries who either don't take them back (they've already been labeled a pariah but the U.S.) or they grant them a full pardon if tired in civilian courts.

    I don't agree with this sort of treatment, but what should we do with them now? It's a bit late to say don't let it happen in the first place. We have a large group of people pissed off at the United States and with good reason. If we let them go and their home countries won't take them back, where should we put them?
    • by FredDC (1048502)

      where should we put them?
      Gitmo? *ducks*
    • by bperkins (12056) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:27AM (#21571945) Homepage Journal
      What do you do when you've managed to grab a a wolf by there ears?

      One approach would be to claim that it's not really a wolf, it's a bloodthirsty monster, and we don't really have it by the ears, and it's being well treated anyway. Plus no one else will grab it by the ears for us.

      Or you can just take your licks for doing something that's so obviously stupid.

      My claim is that you need to introduce them to the US judicial system and let it sort things out. Some bad guys might be able to slip through the cracks, but in my opinion we deserve any blowback that we get.
      • by techpawn (969834)

        My claim is that you need to introduce them to the US judicial system

        The problem with that is we already have a system for dealing with captured solders. If the Gitmo detainees are "enemy combatants" they should have access to THAT system in all of its honest workings. When you open it up to the civilian judicial system you have things like Habius Corpus that wouldn't really work in a military trial. Also, do you open it up to JUST them or EVERY captured solder EVER?

        As much as I hate it Military and civi

        • by ray-auch (454705) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:56AM (#21572317)
          If soldiers, they would be POWs and under Geneva conventions.

          If not, they are allegedly civilian criminals and should be prosecuted in the civilian judicial system.

          Problem with Gitmo is the US has decided these people are neither soldiers nor civilians but fall in some black hole category in between, where they have no access to civilian justice and no POW rights either.
        • by mosb1000 (710161)
          Did you know that that system involves holding enemy combatants indefinitely until a they are released by the terms of a truce or surrender, or at the end of hostilities? Is that what you had in mind? Because we shouldn't be releasing them in that event. . .
          • by lymond01 (314120) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @12:06PM (#21572467)
            From Enemy Combatants [cfr.org] on a site called the "Council on Foreign Relations" that has the tagline "A Nonpartisan Resource for Information and Analysis" (and not knowing anything about the CFR, that sounds a bit like a "fair and balanced" view of things, if you get my meaning).

            I quote:

            An "enemy combatant" is an individual who, under the laws and customs of war, may be detained for the duration of an armed conflict. In the current conflict with al Qaida and the Taliban, the term includes a member, agent, or associate of al Qaida or the Taliban. In applying this definition, the United States government has acted consistently with the observation of the Supreme Court of the United States in Ex parte Quirin, 317 U.S. 1, 37-38 (1942): "Citizens who associate themselves with the military arm of the enemy government, and with its aid, guidance and direction enter this country bent on hostile acts are enemy belligerents within the meaning of the Hague Convention and the law of war."

            "Enemy combatant" is a general category that subsumes two sub-categories: lawful and unlawful combatants. See Quirin, 317 U.S. at 37-38. Lawful combatants receive prisoner of war (POW) status and the protections of the Third Geneva Convention. Unlawful combatants do not receive POW status and do not receive the full protections of the Third Geneva Convention. (The treatment accorded to unlawful combatants is discussed below).

            The President has determined that al Qaida members are unlawful combatants because (among other reasons) they are members of a non-state actor terrorist group that does not receive the protections of the Third Geneva Convention. He additionally determined that the Taliban detainees are unlawful combatants because they do not satisfy the criteria for POW status set out in Article 4 of the Third Geneva Convention. Although the President's determination on this issue is final, courts have concurred with his determination.
            • "Enemy Combatants" (Score:3, Informative)

              by DrVomact (726065)

              In this context, it might be relevant to note that our use of such legal reasoning to avoid giving captured enemy combatants the protection of either the Geneva conventions—or any other sort of law—is not without precedent. In 1941, General Eisenhower declared all captured German soldiers to be "Disarmed Enemy Forces", and not prisoners of war. This meant that the United States was free to ignore international laws that required such niceties as feeding prisoners (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wik [wikipedia.org]

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by bockelboy (824282)
              Except that Quirin was overturned when the US signed the Third Geneva convention (due to the Supremecy Clause in the Constitution). You can't selectively pick partly from previous case law (which was overturned by an international treaty) and said treaty. Or, at least, that was the Supreme Court's decision.

              According to the Third Geneva Convention, you must have status determined by a military tribunal; until then, the prisoners are POWs. In the case that they are unlawful enemy combatants, then they must
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by general_re (8883)

                Except that Quirin was overturned when the US signed the Third Geneva convention (due to the Supremecy Clause in the Constitution).

                You cannot "overturn" a decision by the Supreme Court via treaty, and the supremacy clause says no such thing. Or perhaps you imagine that, say, Brown v Board can be undone merely because Congress ratifies a treaty that says separate-but-equal is just A-OK.

                In a word, no.

      • by MoonBuggy (611105)
        A question I've been wondering about: what's the official logic behind Guantanamo, and the UK's recently extended provisions for holding terror suspects without charge?. I find myself thinking "holy crap this is a bad thing, surely if they think there is enough evidence that these people deserve to be imprisoned then they must have enough evidence to charge them with a crime and take it to trial", but obviously some very powerful people believe otherwise, and I've never really seen anything examining their
      • What do you do when you've managed to grab a wolf by the ears?


        Slit its throat.
    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Judge them in a fair trial. Give innocent people compensation for their unfair imprisonment. Give every people compensation for their mistreatment if there were any.

      You know, treat them as you think human beings should be treated ? Yes, almost exactly like an American. Time for a quote :

      "Article 1
      All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."
      --- Universal Declaration of Human R
    • by Archtech (159117)
      "I don't agree with this sort of treatment, but what should we do with them now?"

      The same thing we in decent free nations, under the rule of law, do for anyone who has been wronged. Free them, and punish those who wrongfully imprisoned them. Right up to the very top of the tree - the place where the buck stops (although the present incumbent doesn't think so).

      Today I heard something truly hilarious on a BBC news broadcast. The reader described the US intelligence report that says Iran stopped trying to deve
  • Anyone who's read 1984 or Animal Farm knows just how powerful diff is politically.
  • by Peter Cooper (660482) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:21AM (#21571853) Homepage Journal
    Reading this article made me realize just how we've all fallen victim to the "boiling frog syndrome [wikipedia.org]". Ten years ago it would have seemed nuts to be reading, and hearing about, the operation of concentration camps in the West, other than when reading about WWII. Now we read stuff about concentration camps, internment, loss of habeas corpus, the US kidnapping people from around the world, etc, and it's all just regular, "same old" news. A few people still feel a little shock, and even fewer actually bother to do anything about it, while the rest of us twiddle our thumbs and either hope it'll all go away or think that "well, we've done nothing wrong, so we'll be fine."

    I wonder what sort of stories we'll be reading in another ten years that would shock us now but will seem like regular occurrences in 2017? Thoughtcrime executions, archived recording of all telephone calls (the European Union is already working on this!), incarcerating people because they have the "genes" of a potential psychopath (again, the EU is looking into this)? It's gunna happen and we'll just keep boiling like the frogs we are.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      "I wonder what sort of stories we'll be reading..."

      The keyword here is "stories". I am really wondering how much of these Wikileaks documents are just stories (fiction) and how many are really leaked documents. These could be so easily fabricated. I question all sorces (/. included) on the internet as anything can be faked here: http://www.snopes.com/photos/space/blackout.asp [snopes.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by GreyPoopon (411036)

      Reading this article made me realize just how we've all fallen victim to the "boiling frog syndrome [wikipedia.org]".

      Aside from the fact that Gitmo is similar to a concentration camp, what did you read in the article that leads you to that point of view? As others have mentioned, glancing at the diff doesn't seem to produce any truly "damning" evidence. The real tragedy is not the way the SOP dictates that the prisoners (I won't stoop to calling them the PC detainees) be treated, but that they have spent

      • Aside from the fact that Gitmo is similar to a concentration camp, what did you read in the article that leads you to that point of view?

        It was the implicit notion I had that went.. "hey, reading this actually seems semi-normal nowadays.. and that shouldn't be the case." We shouldn't have to read about this crap because it shouldn't be going on in the first place but now it's part of the same-old.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BobandMax (95054)
      In wartime, US presidents have often violated the Constitution, citing threat to the republic. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, Wilson signed the odious Sedition Act of 1918 and Franklin Roosevelt interred citizens unsuspected of crimes. All of these actions were against US citizens who had not acted against the republic.

      Bush acted against enemy combatants unidentified with a governmental entity and who are killing US troops. Whether you disagree with this policy or not, the internees are not eligible for c
      • not sure if it meets your deffinition of "federal statue" but there's this little document called... oh what was it again... "The Constitution"

        Amendment V

        No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb;
      • In wartime, US presidents have often violated the Constitution, citing threat to the republic. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus,
        It was wartime and the US constitution allows for the suspension of habeas corpus under specific conditions. Lincoln didn't violate the constitution.
      • by mdarksbane (587589) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @12:51PM (#21573167)
        But many of them weren't taken in combat.

        Google around a bit - some of the guys who have already been released once they finally started having military hearings about their cases have nothing to do with terrorism.

        For a while there we were offering a cash reward for anyone who would sell us a terrorist. So countries used that to point out anyone they didn't like and have them sold to us and sent to Gitmo. Two guys were just cartoonists who made fun of their local government! But it took over a year at least for them to be released.

        Even ignoring full civilian trial rights, we at least need some sort of legitimate defense so that we have to prove that people were actually enemy combatants before we lock them up. I'm sure even with a court-appointed lawyer we wouldn't have any trouble locking a guy away for the moment because there was eye witness testimony he was shooting at American soldiers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:24AM (#21571909)
    How's about comparing it to al Qaeda's manual?

    http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/jihadmanual.html [thesmokinggun.com]
  • by Selfbain (624722) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:29AM (#21571967)
    diff oldboss.txt newboss.txt | wc -l
    0
  • by Anonymous Coward
    as the 'Camp Delta delta'?
  • by phoenix.bam! (642635) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:44AM (#21572133)
    This seems to be the scariest change for me. MPs can handle that type of guard duty. Changing all references of MP to Guard means the military can start using either regular enlisted who are not properly trained to run a prison, or hire private contractors to run the prison. We already have private prisons stateside.
  • come on. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by apodyopsis (1048476) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @11:53AM (#21572253)
    If they are guilty then charge them and let them have their day in court.

    If there is no evidence then release them.

    But holding them indefinitely on hearsay and suspicion in a legal limbo is madness. The problem will not get easier to deal with the longer you leave it, at some point they will have to be dealt with - so better to get it out of the way now. Confront the problem whatever the cost, return or charge them, and get that embarrassment and shut down.
  • Let's review (Score:5, Interesting)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @12:29PM (#21572809) Journal
    ..the "damning" changes.

    Policy will now be reviewed every 30 days instead of 120 days.

    New rules:
    1. Comply with all rules and regulations. You are subject to disciplinary action if you disobey any rule or commit any act, disorder, or neglect that is prejudicial to good order and discipline.
    2. You must immediately obey all orders of U.S. personnel. Deliberate disobedience, resistance, or conduct of a mutinous or riotous nature will be dealt with by force. Be respectful of others. Derogatory comments toward camp personnel will not be tolerated.
    3. You may not have any articles that can be used as a weapon in your possession at any time. If a weapon is found in your possession, you will be severely punished. Gambling is strictly forbidden.
    4. Being truthful and compliance will be rewarded. Failure to comply will result in loss of privileges.
    5. All trash will be returned immediately to U.S. personnel when you are finished eating. All eating utensils must be returned after meals.
    6. No detainee may conduct or participate in any form of military drill, organized physical fitness, hand-to-hand combat, or martial arts style training.
    7. The camp commander will ensure adequate protection for all personnel. Any detainee who mistreats another detainee will be punished. Any detainee that fears his life is in danger, or fears physical injury at the hands of another person can report this to U.S. personnel at any time.
    8. Medical emergencies should be brought to the guards' attention immediately. Your decision whether or not to be truthful and comply will directly affect your quality of life while in this camp.

    (nothing in there seems particularly onerous. Aside from #2, it wouldn't make a bad set of rules for any school in the US.)

    (stopped reading because I have better things to do)
    I'd rate this -1, Overrated. It's a bunch of clarifications, seems to me as much for the detainees' benefit as anyone.
    • Re:Let's review (Score:4, Insightful)

      by perrin (891) on Tuesday December 04, 2007 @03:22PM (#21575685)
      Live without any rights, without any privacy, without anything you can call your own, no hope for release, no way to fight back, with no due process, totally powerless, and absolutely at the mercy of your guards, and you will go mad eventually. There is plenty of reports already that the people held at Gitmo are either gradually losing their sanity, or have already lost it, and who should be surprised? The confinement procedures at Gitmo follow well known brain-washing techniques that we were told the Soviets were using during the Cold War, to demonize them. That the US is now the mirror image of their own anti-Soviet propaganda would be hillarious, if it were not so sad and so outrageous.

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