The facts surrounding Guantanamo Bay detentions are quickly slipping down the memory hole. “A protective order that governs Guantánamo records leaves room for the government to destroy documents, including lawyers’ notes,” according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, “or put them off-limits in the name of national security.”
A few dedicated archivists are fighting to make sure the Guantanamo Bay records aren’t lost forever, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports. The team is collecting as much source material as possible for a collection that will be held at Seaton Hall, New York University, and using the Web At Risk digital archiving project. Archivists have begun by focusing on first-person accounts from defense lawyers, which will soon be published in a book called The Guantanamo Lawyers: Inside a Prison Outside the Law (New York University Press).
“We know, at the time it’s happening, that Guantánamo has potential for iconic and historical significance, and the truth of Guantánamo is going to be a matter of great importance,” says law professor Mark Denbeaux, who heads the program. “It’s been my experience that the battle to redefine these sorts of events can be lost if one side is more organized and eager to present its point of view.” He adds, “It’s not a political exercise, it’s an educational exercise, and a historical one.”