The peculiar legal status of Guantanamo Bay was a factor in the choice of Guantanamo as a detention center. Because sovereignty of Guantanamo Bay ultimately resides with Cuba, the U.S. government argued unsuccessfully that people detained at Guantanamo were legally outside of the U.S. and did not have the Constitutional rights that they would have if they were held on U.S. territory (see Cuban American Bar Ass'n, Inc. v. Christopher, 43 F.3d 1412 (11th Cir. 1995)). In 2004, the Supreme Court rejected this argument in the case Rasul v. Bush with the majority decision and ruled that prisoners in Guantanamo have access to American courts, citing the fact that the U.S. has exclusive control over Guantanamo Bay.
The U.S. classifies the prisoners held at Camp Delta and Camp Echo as illegal enemy combatants, but has not held the Article 5 tribunals that would be required by international law for it to do so. This would grant them the rights of the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV), as opposed to the more common Third Geneva Convention (GCIII) which deals exclusively with prisoners of war. On November 9, 2004 US District Court Judge James Robertson ruled that the Bush Administration had overstepped its authority to try such prisoners as enemy combatants in a military tribunal and denying them access to the evidence used against them.
Three British prisoners released in 2004 without charge have alleged that there is ongoing torture, sexual degradation, forced drugging and religious persecution being committed by U.S. forces at Guantanamo Bay and have released a 115-page dossier detailing these accusations (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/au...uan-a06.shtml)
. They also accuse British authorities of knowing about the torture and failing to respond. Their accounts have been confirmed by two former French prisoners, a former Swedish prisoner, and a former Australian prisoner. In response to accusations, US Navy Secretary Gordon England has claimed that a Navy inspector general has performed a review of the practices at Guantanamo and concluded that it was "being operated at very high standards."
Former Guantanamo detainee Moazzam Begg, freed last month after nearly three years in captivity, has accused his American captors of torturing him and other detainees arrested in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mr Begg, in his first broadcast interview since his release, claimed that he "witnessed two people get beaten so badly that I believe it caused their deaths".
On November 30, 2004, The New York Times published excerpts from an internal memo leaked from the US administration,  (http://nytimes.com/2004/11/30/politi...q8yXt1yEg4X28g
) referring to a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The report points out several activities which, it said, were "tantamount to torture": exposure to loud noise or music, prolonged extreme temperatures, or beatings. It also reported the existence of a behavior science team (BSCT), also called 'Biscuit', and the fact physicians of the base communicate confidential medical information to the interrogation teams (weaknesses, phobias, etc.), resulting in the prisoners losing confidence in the medical team of the base. Access of the ICRC to the base was conditional, as is normal for ICRC humanitarian operations, to the confidentiality of their report; sources have reported heated debates had taken place at the ICRC headquarters, as some of those involved wanted to make the report public, or confront the US administration. The newspaper said the administration and the Pentagon had seen the ICRC report in July, 2004 but rejected its findings. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlates...645430,00.html
)  (http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.j...oryID=6951969)
. The story was originally reported in several newspapers, including The Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/internatio...13640,00.html)
, and the ICRC reacted to the article when the report was leaked in May.