In pursuit of the answers, David Rose has visited the camp and interviewed guards, officials and medical staff, as well as the prison commander. In a detailed investigation of the claims of the British detainees released early in 2004, he describes a suffocating atmosphere of isolation, harassment, Kafkaesque accusation and physical brutality. Through this series of compelling and disturbing insights into the operations at Guantanamo - and set in the context of centuries of civilized thought about the treatment of prisoners - we come to understand that the first thing to go in the War on Terror will be human rights.
The 600 detainees in Cuba have been held in a legal black hole. Are they 'the hardest of the hard-core' Al Qaeda terrorists, ruthless men 'involved in a plot to kill thousands of ordinary Americans', as the Bush administration has maintained? And has their continued imprisonment really been a necessary weapon in the war against terror, preventing further murders and providing an invaluable trove of intelligence?