LONDON // The WikiLeaks website began publishing yesterday what it said were more than 100 files detailing US military detention policies in camps in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay in the years after the September 11 attacks.
WikiLeaks criticised regulations it said had led to abuse and impunity and urged human rights activists to use the documents to research what it called "policies of unaccountability".
"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 US Department of Defence," WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said. "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."
In January, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said the United States was still flouting international law at Guantanamo Bay by arbitrarily and indefinitely detaining individuals.
WikiLeaks said a number of documents it was releasing related to interrogation of detainees, and these showed direct physical violence was prohibited.
But it added the documents showed "a formal policy of terrorising detainees during interrogations, combined with a policy of destroying interrogation recordings, has led to abuse and impunity".
A number of what can only be described as "policies of unaccountability" would also be released, it said.
An example was the 2005 document "Policy on Assigning Detainee Internment Serial Numbers", it said.
"This document is concerned with discreetly 'disappearing' detainees into the custody of other US government agencies while keeping their names out of US military central records - by systematically holding off from assigning a prisoner record number."