With the deluge of news, fake news, government propaganda, speculation, and opinion about Guantanamo, I had completely missed this incident: the death in custody of three detainees, and the subsequent cover-up in the summer of 2006. I vaguely remember the nonsense about detainee suicides being a case of “asymmetrical warfare” and thinking what a crock of shit that was. But the specifics, as eventually revealed by the researchers at Seton Hall, and by Hickman via Scott Horton: this completely escaped my attention. In part, I suppose, because the mass media completely ignored the story, even after it was published in Harpers: they were far too busy, after all, transcribing official government pronouncements.
The cover-up began with the NCIS report of the incident - a report riddled with inconsistencies and absurdities, and released in such a fashion that it was extremely difficult to make any sense of it all. Its 3000 pages were released out of order, in pdf format, with many pages lacking page numbers, and heavily redacted. The cover-up continued after Hickman told his story to the army inspector general, representatives from the FBI, and a prosecutor from the Justice department. These representatives of justice simply dismissed his story as not credible, without interviewing the additional witnesses Hickman provided, and without reinterviewing the witnesses whose sworn statements in the NCIS report were nonsensical or impossible. This final stage of the cover-up occurred under the Obama administration.
The details of how and why the detainees died will forever remain a mystery, probably. But what is certain is that they did not commit suicide in their cells, as an act of asymmetrical warfare or for any other reason.