THE TORTURE PAPERS: THE ROAD TO ABU GHRAIB
Department of Defense Response to the Associated Press
The Department of Defense’s response to the allegations of abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib which were noted both in the Schlesinger report and in Vice Admiral Church’s press briefing
[Editor's note: The Associated Press asked the Department of Defense for its response to the allegations of abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib which were noted both in the Schlesinger report and in Vice Admiral Church's press briefing. Their response is below.]
Following is our response to the Schlesinger report GTMO allegations of abuse incidents (finally).
Earlier this year, both the Schlesinger Report and the press briefing provided by Vice Admiral A.T. Church III, cited eight "substantiated cases" regarding appropriate treatment of detainees at Guantanamo.
The Department takes all allegations of abuse seriously. Credible allegations of abuse made by detainees or reported by JTF GTMO officials are investigated. Those who are found to have committed unlawful acts are immediately removed from further contact with detainees and are disciplined as the circumstances warrant.
The following are the details of those infractions and how they were resolved.
1) A guard was charged with assault against a detainee for actions during an incident in September 2002. During that incident, detainees in a detention block were protesting and one detainee threw food out of his cell window (the portal in the door through which food and books are passed). The window was closed by a guard, and during a later check on the detainee, the detainee threw what was believed to be water from the toilet on the guard. The guard then attempted to spray the detainee with a hose. The guard received non-judicial punishment pursuant to an Article 15, Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). He was reduced in rank to E-3 (suspended) and given 7 days restriction. He was reassigned to other duties at Guantanamo.
2) A guard was charged with dereliction of duty and assault on a detainee following an incident in April of 2003 that involved a disturbance in one of the detention blocks. One detainee who was already out of his cell assaulted another guard, and while the detainee was being subdued, the detainee bit the guard. After the detainee was subdued, the guard struck the detainee with his fist in which he held a handheld radio. He received non-judicial punishment pursuant to an Article 15 in May 2003. The guard was reduced in rank to E-3, given 45 days of extra duty and was reassigned.
3) In April 2003, during the approach phase of an interrogation, a female interrogator took off her uniform top (her brown T-shirt was still worn), ran her fingers through the detainee's hair and sat on his lap. A supervisor monitoring the interrogation immediately terminated the session. The interrogator was given a written reprimand for her conduct and received additional training before being allowed to continue duties as an interrogator.
4) In early 2003 a female interrogator (different interrogator than incident 3) wiped dye from red magic marker on detainees' shirt after detainee spit on her. She told the detainee the stain was blood. The interrogator received a verbal reprimand for inappropriate contact/interrogation technique.
5) An interrogator in April 2003 used a "fear-up/harsh" technique by directing MPs to repeatedly bring the detainee from a standing to prone position and back. A review of medical records indicated superficial bruising to the detainee's knees. The interrogator was issued a written reprimand. Maj. Gen. Miller, JTF Commander at the time of this incident, prohibited further use of the "fear-up/harsh" technique and specifically prohibited MPs from involvement during interrogation.
6) In February 2004, an MP was joking with a detainee and dared the detainee to throw water on him. The detainee did so and the MP squirted the detainee with water from a water bottle. The MP also engaged in inappropriate casual conversation with detainee. The MP's behavior described above was in violation of JTF Guantanamo Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). The MP was reassigned to other duties at Guantanamo.
7) In March 2003, an MP sprayed pepper spray on a detainee who was preparing to throw unidentified liquid on another MP during an Initial Response Force response. The MP was alleged to have used the spray in violation of the JTF Guantanamo SOP. The MP turned down an Article 15 (non-judicial punishment) and instead requested a court-martial proceeding. He was acquitted by members at a Special Court Martial in June 2003.
8) In February 2004, a Camp barber intentionally gave two unusual haircuts, in an effort to frustrate detainee requests for similar haircuts, as a sign of detainee unity. The barber and his company commander were counseled by their battalion commander, and the barber was required to re-cut the detainees' hair appropriately.