George Orwell in his novel 1984 coined the word un-person. When the regime of Big Brother turns you into an un-person, you not only cease to exist, but all record and memory of your existence cease to exist. This was inspired by the old Soviet Union, where, when the regime turned against a prominent person, they not only disappeared, but all reference to them in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia was eliminated. Winston Smith, the central character of 1984, has a job of “rectifying” the records.
Now Wikileaks has uncovered records that indicates the authorities at the Guantanamo Bay detention center had a policy of turning inmates into un-people. Julian Assange said in an interview last week with CNN that a 2005 Guantanamo Bay manual, recently revealed by Wikileaks, show that military authorities had a policy of not identifying the inmates as individuals, not even by a number. That meant a person could be made to disappear, and there would be no record that the person was even present at Guantanamo.
Now perhaps there is a logical explanation for this policy other than the one Assange gives. Perhaps the present policy is different from what it was in 2005. But U.S. government spokesmen refuse to explain, confirm or deny. They say it is a matter of security. The only way that I can see it would be a matter of security is that the truth really is Orwellian.
Click on Embassy life like a ‘space station,’ Assange says for the interview and a summary on the CNN home page.
Click on The Detainee Policies for Wikileaks’ press release on the Guantanamo documents.