According to one detainee lawyer, there are still some 500 hours of unreleased video footage of prisoners in Guantanmo Bay, some of it containing evidence of abuse by the U.S. military. But what’s truly sick and perplexing, as the Daily Telegraph reports, is how lawyers first learned about the existence of this footage:
[T]he U.S. military videotaped the actions of the Immediate Reaction Force (IRF) who were responsible for prisoner control at Guantanamo Bay… Evidence of the violence used by the IRF came to light when a member of the U.S. military… identified as Specialist Baker, applied for medical discharge after being involved in a training session.
Here is where things gets weird. This “training session” involved Baker, a U.S. soldier, being dressed in orange jumpsuit prisoner garb and handed over to the IRF squad, which was told that he was in fact a detainee who had abused a guard. The IRF apparently did such a good job working Baker over that he needed to apply for medical discharge from the military due to the brain damage he received from the beating.
The ACLU is pushing for the video footage to be released, though U.S. officials are refusing due to “privacy concerns.” Meanwhile, numerous former detainees from Afghanistan and Guantanamo have come forward with allegations of abuse—oftentimes claiming that videotapes and photographs were used as a part of the humiliation process. It seems like it’s just a matter of time before even more visual material emerges. The internet and inexpensive digital technology have enabled soldiers to bring home the war in an unprecedented way. We have already seen an explosion of soldiers’ personal footage online, and it’s likely that new incriminating footage will come from members of the U.S. military who have documented unconscionable acts—especially if they entail soldiers abusing soldiers.