28 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2006
Date Written: February 2006
The media and public fascination with who is detained at Guantanamo and why has been fueled in large measure by the refusal of the Government, on the grounds of national security, to provide much information about the individuals and the charges against them. The information available to date has been anecdotal and erratic, drawn largely from interviews with the few detainees who have been released or from statements or court filings by their attorneys in the pending habeas corpus proceedings that the Government has not declared "classified."
This Report is the first effort to provide a more detailed picture of who the Guantanamo detainees are, how they ended up there, and the purported bases for their enemy combatant designation. The data in this Report is based almost entirely upon the United States Government's own documents. This Report provides a window into the Government's success detaining only those that the President has called "the worst of the worst."
Among the findings of the Report:
1. Fifty-five percent (55%) of the detainees are not determined to have committed any hostile acts against the United States or its coalition allies.
2. Only 8% of the detainees were characterized as al Qaeda fighters. Of the remaining detainees, 40% have no definitive connection with al Qaeda at all and 18% are have no definitive affiliation with either al Qaeda or the Taliban.
3. The Government has detained numerous persons based on mere affiliations with a large number of groups that, in fact, are not on the Department of Homeland Security terrorist watchlist. Moreover, the nexus between such a detainee and such organizations varies considerably. Eight percent are detained because they are deemed "fighters for;" 30% considered "members of;" a large majority - 60% - are detained merely because they are "associated with" a group or groups the Government asserts are terrorist organizations. For 2% of the prisoners, a nexus to any terrorist group is not identified by the Government.
4. Only 5% of the detainees were captured by United States forces. 86% of the detainees were arrested by either Pakistan or the Northern Alliance and turned over to United States custody. This 86% of the detainees captured by Pakistan or the Northern Alliance were handed over to the United States at a time in which the United States offered large bounties for capture of suspected enemies.
5. Finally, the population of persons deemed not to be enemy combatants - mostly Uighers - are in fact accused of more serious allegations than a great many persons still deemed to be enemy combatants.
Keywords: Guantanamo, detainee, Al Qaeda, Taliban, terrorist, terrorism, war on terror, Osama bin Laden, enemy combatant, habeas corpus, hostile acts, Uighers, Pakistan, Northern Alliance, Coalition
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Denbeaux, Mark and Denbeaux, Joshua W. and Gregorek, John, Report on Guantanamo Detainees: A Profile of 517 Detainees through Analysis of Department of Defense Data (February 2006). Seton Hall Public Law Research Paper No. 46. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=885659 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.885659