Witness to Guantanamo

Interviews with former detainees and other witnesses to the impact of the Guantanamo Bay detention center in the post-911 years.More »

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About the Digital Collection

Witness to Guantanamo includes one hundred fifty-three video files of interviews with 149 former detainees and others – detainee family members, attorneys, chaplains, guards, interrogators, interpreters, government officials, human rights advocates, medical personnel, and journalists -- who witnessed the impact of the Guantanamo Bay detention center in the post-911 years. Witness to Guantanamo is the world’s most comprehensive collection of Guantanamo stories.

A wide range of topics includes physical and psychological torture, lawlessness, religious faith, medical care, interrogations, interminable detentions without charges, sham hearings, women at Guantanamo, and acts of courage. An additional 346 files, short clips extracted from the interviews featured on the Witness to Guantanamo site, are also included.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the American naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba became the site of the detention center for suspected al Qaeda and Taliban operatives. Peter Jan Honigsberg, professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, began Witness to Guantanamo (WtG) in fall 2008, after realizing that no one was filming, collecting, and preserving for history the voices and stories of Guantanamo. He modelled Witness to Guantanamo after grassroots truth commissions and the Shoah Foundation's collection of Holocaust survivor testimonies. No one else has done this work. The full set of interviews are now archived at Duke’s Rubenstein Library.

Professor Honigsberg’s book, A Place Outside the Law; Forgotten Voices from Guantanamo, narrates many of the extraordinary, powerful, and rare stories he filmed over a decade and across 20 countries. His book is a tribute to the humanity we all share.

Note that interviews in this collection may include first hand accounts of and/or descriptions of violence

Source Collection

This digital collection comprises selected materials from the following archival collection at David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library:

Witness to Guantanamo Video Collection 2009-2017

Collection #RL.11691 | 10 Terabytes; High (ProRes) and low (MP4) resolution Apple MOV files.

ABSTRACT
One hundred fifty-three video files of interviews with 149 former detainees and others -- attornies, chaplains, guards, government officials, human rights advocates, journalists -- who witnessed the impact of the Guantanamo Bay detention center in the post-911 years. An additional 346 files, short clips extracted from the interviews featured on the Witness to Guantanamo site, are also included.

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The preservation of the Duke University Libraries Digital Collections and the Duke Digital Repository programs are supported in part by the Lowell and Eileen Aptman Digital Preservation Fund