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Guide to the Dorsey and Whitney, LLP Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp Records TAM 509

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Jan Hilley

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 12, 2018

Scope and Content Note

This collection describes the detention of six Bahraini nationals at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp and their representation by a group of attorneys from the firm Dorsey & Whitney, LLP. The sequence of events is recounted in three series, each using a different medium to tell the detainee stories.

Series I: Correspondence and Related Materials, 2004-2007. A great deal of the correspondence in this series involves the attorneys (primarily Joshua Colangelo-Bryan) and the detainees. It relates the progression of the various cases as well as descriptions of detainee treatment at the camp. Colangelo-Bryan outlines difficulties encountered in arranging meetings with detainees, shares with the men information from their families, and attempts to improve their morale and provide emotional support. There are also letters to and from the Department of Justice concerning ongoing legal issues. A dialog between the Dorsey team and government officials of Bahrain is included as are letters written to U.S. politicians voicing opposition to legislation affecting the rights of Guantanamo detainees.

Many of the letters involve Ju'mah Al Dossari who writes in great detail about his treatment at the camp. Mr. Dossari attempted suicide on numerous occasions before he was finally released, once during a visit by Colangelo-Bryan. Notes describing that event are included in the series. There is also a folder containing photocopies of photographs taken during the attorneys' visit to Bahrain. The photos were shared with the detainees.

Series II: Court Documents, 2004-2008. This series provides a chronology of the detainees' Guantanamo experience and legal challenges. It begins with material from Combatant Status Review Tribunals and Administrative Review Boards for each detainee. The reports outline the Government's representation of the capture of each man and the justification for his incarceration. Lengthy statements by several of the detainees describe conditions at the camp, interrogations, experiences while in custody at other locations, hunger strikes and medical treatment.

The remainder of the series documents the various cases that continued from the initial petition for writ of habeas corpus through the release of each detainee and the resolution of Al Odah v. U.S.A and  Boumediene v. Bush, Supreme Court cases with which the Bahraini appeals were consolidated and which resulted in a June 12, 2008, decision holding that the prisoners had a right to the habeas corpus under the U.S. Constitution and that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 was an unconstitutional suspension of that right. By the time of this opinion, all of the Bahrain detainees had been released.

(Note: The consolidated case Al Odah v. U.S.A. appears in two forms - one referencing case numbers 05-5064 and 05-5095 - 05-5116 and the other numbers 05-5117 - 05-5027. Because the first case grouping is much more frequent, it has been considered the default. This numeric annotation is reflected in the folder title only if the documents are associated with the second case reference.)

Series III: Press, 2004-2008. The final series contains many news articles and essays collected by Dorsey & Whitney that relate to Guantanamo detention and activities involving the six Bahraini detainees. In two of the folders are items from the Arabic language press; all of the remaining material is in English. Many of the news articles come from online sources, particularly Bahrain's  Gulf Daily News.

In addition, there are online articles and photocopies of print articles from English language international sources such as the BBC News,,  Prensa Latina,  Guardian,  International Herald Tribune and a number of middle eastern online newspapers. Much U.S. press coverage (online and print) is included, from such diverse sources as  Mother Jones,  Crain's,,  The Wall Street Journal,  The New York Times, military sources (e.g. American Forces Information Services,  The Wire and press releases from the Department of Defense),  New York Newsday,  The Washington Post,  The Christian Science Monitor,  USA Today,  LA Times,  Boston Globe and many others. There are printouts from websites such as  Huffington Post,  Democracy Now!,  Common Dreams Newswire and  The Raw Story.

Several lengthy essays from publications in the U.S. and the U.K. (e.g. The New Yorker,  American Lawyer,  The New York Review of Books,  Harper's Magazine and  The Telegraph) provide more detail and opinion. Press coverage from such a variety of perspectives helps give a more comprehensive overview of the experiences of the six Bahraini detainees in particular and the Guantanamo Detention Camp issues in general.


Folders are arranged alphabetically with the exception of court documents, which are arranged in chronological order. The collection is composed of the following 3 series:

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Correspondence and Related Material, 2004-2007;
  2. Series II: Court Documents, 2004-2008;
  3. Series III: Press, 2004-2008.