Saturday, July 02, 2005

lgf: AP Reveals Horrifying New Gitmo Abuse

lgf: AP Reveals Horrifying New Gitmo Abuse

AP Reveals Horrifying New Gitmo Abuse

The Associated Press obtained Guantanamo Bay documents under the Freedom of Information Act, searching for more damning anti-US incidents, and they found plenty of violence and abuse.

But because this violence and abuse is against the US guards, the AP calls it “defiance:” AP: Documents Show Gitmo Inmates Defy US. (Hat tip: zombie.)

Some prisoners at the U.S. base in eastern Cuba have gone on the attack, as in April 2003 when a detainee got out of his cell during a search for contraband food and knocked out a guard’s tooth with a punch to the mouth and bit him before he was subdued by MPs. One soldier delivered two blows to the inmate’s head with a handheld radio, the documents show.

“Several guards were trying to hold down the detainee who was putting up heavy resistance,” recounted a translator who saw the incident. “The detainee was covered in blood as were some of the guards.”

The soldier who struck the inmate, and was dropped in rank to private first class as a result, described it as a close call. “The detainee was fighting as if he really wanted to hurt us. ... We all saved each other’s lives in my opinion,” he wrote. ...

The detainees’ defiance discussed in the documents ranged from mild - prisoners getting matching haircuts in a show of solidarity or refusing orders to stop practicing martial arts in the exercise yard - to hostile acts like spitting or throwing unknown liquids at the MPs. One soldier used pepper spray on prisoners because, he said in a report to superiors, he feared that the unknown liquids hurled could pose a health danger.

One soldier told military investigators he punched a detainee’s face because the man spit at him and hit him as he tried to put him in restraints at the prison hospital in October 2004.

“My instincts took over after the hitting and spitting,” said the soldier. Documents show authorities recommended that the punishment include reduction in rank to E-4, loss of a month’s pay and extra duty for 45 days, though the outcome is unclear.

In the prison camp’s early days, inmates showed their anger over the heat and the practice of leaving lights on in their cells at night by banging on the bars throughout one guard shift in September 2002, the documents say. One detainee who was believed to be leading the protest threw what an MP said smelled like water from the toilet on him. The MP tried to spray water from a hose in response, but the detainee blocked it with a mat.

The guard who tried to spray the detainee was charged with assault, given a reduction in rank to private first class, which was suspended, and reassigned to other duties at Guantanamo.

In another case, an inmate threw a partially full urine bottle at an MP in May 2002, apparently because he believed the soldier had intentionally kicked his hospital bed. When the soldier threw the urinal back, the detainee grabbed a steel chair and swung it at guards before they subdued him.

A military witness defended the MP, writing: “I believe (name deleted) to be a good and honest soldier ... and just influenced by negative elements among us.” The documents don’t make clear what punishment, if any, the MP got.

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