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Tuesday, January 2, 2007

FBI Releases Guantanamo Abuse Report

By J.M. Berger

In response to a Freedom of Information Act reequest by the ACLU, he FBI has released a report detailing abuses observed by FBI agents working at Guantanamo Bay. The report has two sections. The first, an executive summary, is reprinted in its entirety below.

The second, a 244-page detailed report consisting of multiple FBI records, has been posted here in its entirety. The file is a PDF slightly larger than 5 megs.

Guantanamo Bay Inquiry

A survey of 493 FBI personnel who were asked whether they observed aggressive mistreatment, interrogations or interview techniques of GTMO yielded 26 positive responses and several additional responses that were "not purely negative." These responses culminated in a 9/2/04 request through FBI's OGC to conduct a "GTMO, Counterterrorism Division, Special Inquiry" re 9 of the incidents identified. The conclusion was that there was no FBI involvement in the target interview techniques -- only outside entities. Following is a list of the positive and "not purely negative" responses that prompted the inquiry. Note that these documents have been vetted by both DoD and FBI, and that FBI believes this or substantially similar information has already been released in this litigation.

Positive Responses:

  • on several occasions, witness ("W") saw detainees ("ds") in interrogation rooms chained hand and foot in fetal position to floor w/no chair/ food/water; most urinated or defecated on selves, and were left there 18, 24 hrs or more. Once, the air conditioning was so low that the barefoot d was shaking with cold. Another time, it was off so the unventilated room was over 100 degrees, d was almost unconscious on floor with a pile of hair next to him (he had apparently been pulling it out throughout the night). Another time, it was sweltering hot and loud rap music played - d's hand and foot was chanined and he was in a fetal position on the floor. Upon inquiry, W was told that interrogators [military contractors] ordered this treatment. Took place in Delta Camp
  • d was kept in darkened cell in Naval Brig at GTMO, then transferred to Camp Delta where he gave no info. Then taken to Camp X-Ray and put in plywood hut. Interrogators yelled and screamed at him. One interrogator squatted over the Koran. Another day a German Shepherd was commended to growl, bark and show his teeth to the prisoner. Subsequently someone laughingly told the W "you have to see this" and took him to an interrogation room where W saw a d with a full beard whose head was wrapped in duct tape
  • civilian contractor asked W (an FBI SA) to come see something. There was an unknown bearded longhaired d gagged w/duct tape that covered much of his head. SA asked if he had spit at interrogators, and the contractor laughingly replied that d had been chanting the Koran nonstop. No answer to how they planned to remove the duct tape.
  • W saw canine used aggressively to intimidate a d
  • d in darkened cell in Naval Brig where they planned to interrogate him for 24 hours straight, W was told the Secretary [Rumsfeld] approved this technique. Saw interrogator straddle the Koran while d was handcuffed to chair, d held in chain link cage w/cover over top
  • W observed sleep deprivation interviews w/strobe lights and loud music. Interrogator said it would take 4 days to break someone doing an interrogation 16 hrs w/lights and music on and 4 hrs off. Handwritten note next to typed synopsis says "ok under DoD policy"
  • Rumors that interrogator bragged about doing lap dance on d, another about making d listen to satanic black metal music for hours then dressing as a Priest and baptizing d to save him - handwritten note says "yes"
  • W heard rumor that male d was dressed in female clothing, made up and given a lap dance by female prison guard. Was told this was a tactic to break the d and get cooperation
  • W observed d in a stress position - w/in regs of military techniques but outside MIOG
  • W walked into Camp Delta observation room and saw d rubbing his leg due to possibly being in stress position. D was wearing leg irons and handcuffed w/cuffs chained to waist. W was advised the chains were adjusted to force D to stand in "baseball catcher" position. D was being questioned by 2 military officers. D was previously held in brig and questioned for 2 months w/no results. Permission had been granted to use "special interrogation techniques"
  • Nurse informed that a d was admitted to hospital for hypothermia, had low blood pressure and low body core temp; Lt Col subsequently said at daily staff mtg that d did not have hypothermia
  • After hearing what sounded like "thunder," W saw 2 individuals dressed in BDUs standing and an inmate kneeling on a bloody floor with his forehead on the ground, holding his nose and crying. They said d become upset and threw himself on floor. W heard previously that a female military personnel would wet her hands and touch the ds face as part of their psych-ops to make them feel unclean and upset them. W heard that in an effort to disrupt ds who were praying during interrogation, female intelligence personnel would do this
  • A detainee brought into interview shack at Camp x-ray appeared to have broken fingers and facial injuries. W was told that d exhibited noncompliance w/prison guard and rapid reaction team was brought in to bring d into compliance. He was in a plywood shack adjacent to "dog cages". D had black eye, facial cuts around nose, and taped fingers. He motioned to guards and said "they"
    handwritten note "yes - Do interview so we will have a formal record. I think I know what all he saw."
  • W saw d in interview room sitting on floor w/Israeli flag draped around him, loud music and strobe lights. W suspects this practice is used by DOD DHS based on who he saw in the hallway
  • d pointed to marks on wrists from shackles, upset at wearing hood, alleged guards beat him. Claims he is innocent of any crime and was arrested while dining w/guests at his house. Two weapons found at his house; he said he got them 8-10 yrs ago. Insisted he was a simple farmer and allegations were false. Yet his hands were smooth.
  • D says he was beaten unconscious at Camp x-ray. Guards entered cell unprovoked and spat and cursed at him, called him SOB, bastard and crazy. D rolled on stomach to protect self due to recent stomach surgery. Soldier jumped on his back, beat him in the face, then choked him till he passed out. Said he was beating him because he was a Muslim. Female guard also beat him and grabbed his head and beat it into the cell floor. D taken to hospital after.
  • D put in isolation after a dispute over arguing with a guard over his food.
  • D's story re his arrest/innocence. D claims he was arrested by the Saudis under suspicion stemming from Khobar Towers bombing, sent to prison in Dammam where beaten for 2 weeks prior to interrogation. Detained 3 mos then released. Later detained again and released. Traveled to Bahrain and got 5 yr tourism visa from US embassy. After 2 months went back to Saudi Arabia to visit sick father. 8 mos later returned to US. Back and forth until 9/11. His travels were funded by Saudis, including his father.
  • W situated in observation booth in between two interview rooms, booth crowded. D seated in chair and secured w/shackles at feet. Lights off except for strobe, loud rock music. Continued for 30-60 minutes. W was told such tactics were common there.
    Handwritten notes "No - This would be consistent w/DoD guidelines"
  • W saw d w/bloodshot eyes and blood congealed to eyelashes, attaches photos
    hw notes - "No. No other bruising to suggest he as hit. Looks like conjunctivitis or other eye infection rather than result of bruise."
  • interviewers sat D down on floor in center of room while rap music played loudly and interviewers laughed, smoked cigars and blew smoke at d's face
    hw notes - "No. Seems consistent w/DoD policy"
  • W heard of technique (not allowed by FBI agents) where a difficult d who would not cooperate would be left in shackles for extended time (12 hrs or more) and the AC turned way low or off.
    hw notes "environment down - doesn't seem excessive given DoD policy"
  • d on floor w/Israeli flag draped around him, loud music playing, strobe light flashing
    hw notes "No - consistent w/DoD policy. Israeli flag is over the top - but not abusive."
    email from Valerie Caproni: "No further interview necessary. Loud music and strobe light would be within the notion of ‘environment down' that is an approved technique for DoD. The Israeli flag, though obnoxious, doesn't seem to change the basic technique into one that would be unlawfully abusive."
  • observed short shackling to the floor, cold temperatures, loud music, strobe lights and left in interrogation room for long periods - consistent with Dod policy - not FBI policy
  • lights were off in interview room except for a strobe light and loud music played while a clothed d sat on the floor alone
    handwritten note: "No. Psych-ops appron [?] w/in DoD guidelines"
  • W saw interrogation thru one-way glass - d seated in middle of floor while loud rap or heavy metal music played. Two interrogators stood above d laughing and blowing cigar smoke in d's face. W thinks they were with Defense Humint Services or contracted by Army
    handwritten note "No - consistent w/DoD policy"
  • occasionally ds complained of inappropriate behavior i.e., incident in which d alleged female guard removed her blouse and, while pressing her body against a shackled and restrained d rom behind, handled his genatalia and wiped menstrual blood on his head and face as punishment for lack of cooperation
  • W observed d shackled to the bolt on the floor in a kneeling position in dark room w/flashing strobe light and loud music
    handwriting "no - consistent with DoD policy"
  • practice in which d wd be placed in interview room approx 6-8 hrs prior to interview w/AC turned down as low as 55 degrees. D would be restrained from adjusting AC
    hw note - "no - consistent w/DoD policy"
  • when d said he only wanted to speak to someone introduced by his regular interrogators he was yelled at for 25 minutes. D was short shackled, room temp lowered, strobe lights used and maybe loud music 2 males interrogators yelled at him and said he was never leaving here They left d along in this condition for 12 hours. D could not eat, pray or use the bathroom.
  • D being debriefed by NAE for 15 hours periodically threw up in trash can. W was told D had ulcer and stress was irritating it. Later told he had stomach virus.
    hw note - "no - consistent w/DoD policy – not nice but not abusive – consistent w/ [?]oD policy"
  • W observed women crying near the river, their homes had been destroyed by planes. Trucks full of people trying to surrender were blown up by planes. On 2d day after capture, d was put in a ditch by Northern Alliance people. Next day, he was allowed to jump into a truck and taken to Mazar-e-Sharif where he was forced into a metal "shipping"-type container w/about 100 men. The container was then closed and d blacked out due to lack of air. When he awoke, there were new holes in the container., The man next to him was dead. He thinks he was in the container 24 hours - only 20 men survived. When it opened he was at Sabergaan jail. The dead were put into a hole and buried, he heard that those too weak to get out of the container were as well. US soldiers arrived about a month later
  • loud music and strobe lights

Responses which are not purely negative

  • fluctuations in room temperature
  • W is Uighur translator Uighurs are moderate muslims who occupied E Turkestan - which ultimately became the Kinjiang province of China. They were offered land in Afghanistan and considered themselves US allies. D was a broadcaster for Radio Free Asia. When their camp was bombed they fled to Pakistan, were captured and half turned over to US. [the other half were immediately executed by the Chinese]. Those at GTMO fear immediate execution if sent to China.
  • W heard that every time the FBI established rapport with a d, the military would step in and d would stop being cooperative. Rumor that military would present themselves as FBI agents.
  • loud music, ds said they were shown pornographic photos to upset them
  • the only complaints this W saw were about lack/delay of mail, lack of dental appts, not allowed to grow beards long enough
  • hooded d was led into room by hooded MPs


Views expressed on INTELWIRE are those of the author alone.



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INTELWIRE is a web site edited by J.M. Berger. a researcher, analyst and consultant covering extremism, with a special focus on extremist activities in the U.S. and extremist use of social media. He is a non-resident fellow with the Brookings Institution, Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, and author of the critically acclaimed Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam, the only definitive history of the U.S. jihadist movement, and co-author of ISIS: The State of Terror with Jessica Stern.


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