The New York Times put together this infographic on Guantanamo to go along with its coverage of the new Guantanamo WikiLeaks. I think it's a shocking reminder just how many people are left in GITMO's hellish limbo:


On the day in 2009 that Obama promised to close Guantanamo within a year, I was traveling around England with several former Guantanamo detainees and an ex-GITMO guard (which you can read all about here). Many American friends who knew about my experience were surprised that there were Guantanamo detainees who had never been found guilty of any crime, were released, and are now back to living semi-free lives. Yes, the people in Guantanamo are real people and you can learn a lot about them, their lives, and their plight in the War on Terror from the newly leaked files or through former detainees' own nonprofit, Cageprisoners, which has lots of great interviews up on its website.

The over 700 classified documents reveal more clearly who is in Guantanamo and how the military has dealt with them. Of the 779 detainees, the military has determined 150 are completely innocent of the charges against them. For example:

The dossiers also show the seat-of-the-pants intelligence gathering in war zones that led to the incarcerations of innocent men for years in cases of mistaken identity or simple misfortune. In May 2003, for example, Afghan forces captured Prisoner 1051, an Afghan named Sharbat, near the scene of a roadside bomb explosion, the documents show. He denied any involvement, saying he was a shepherd. Guantánamo debriefers and analysts agreed, citing his consistent story, his knowledge of herding animals and his ignorance of “simple military and political concepts,” according to his assessment. Yet a military tribunal declared him an “enemy combatant” anyway, and he was not sent home until 2006.

But, sadly, much of the national discussion about Guantanamo is framed by the idea that closing Guantanamo is just too difficult. For example, the Washington Post's article detailing how many of the detainees are innocent and cases of mistaken identity, they tack on this poll: "YOUR TAKE: Is it too late to close Guantanamo? Did Obama do enough to close Guantanamo? Or do national security concerns outweigh his campaign promise?" Now that we're proven to be imprisoning innocent men by questionably-legal means, is YOUR TAKE that they should be given some form of justice? Or has Obama done enough?