Sex As Weapon By Gitmo Guards? - CBS News, USA
- Sex As Weapon By Gitmo Guards?
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, Jan. 27, 2005
(AP) Female interrogators tried to break Muslim
detainees at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay by
sexual touching, wearing a miniskirt and thong
underwear and in one case smearing a Saudi man's face
with fake menstrual blood, according to an insider's
A draft manuscript obtained by The Associated Press is
classified as secret pending a Pentagon review for a
planned book that details ways the U.S. military used
women as part of tougher physical and psychological
interrogation tactics to get terror suspects to talk.
It's the most revealing account so far of
interrogations at the secretive detention camp, where
officials say they have halted some controversial
"I have really struggled with this because the
detainees, their families and much of the world will
think this is a religious war based on some of the
techniques used, even though it is not the case," the
author, former Army Sgt. Erik R. Saar, 29, told AP.
Saar didn't provide the manuscript or approach AP, but
confirmed the authenticity of nine draft pages AP
obtained. He requested his hometown remain private so
he wouldn't be harassed.
Saar, who is neither Muslim nor of Arab descent,
worked as an Arabic translator at the U.S. camp in
eastern Cuba from December 2002 to June 2003. At the
time, it was under the command of Maj. Gen. Geoffrey
Miller, who had a mandate to get better intelligence
from prisoners, including alleged al Qaeda members
caught in Afghanistan.
Saar said he witnessed about 20 interrogations and
about three months after his arrival at the remote
U.S. base he started noticing "disturbing" practices.
One female civilian contractor used a special outfit
that included a miniskirt, thong underwear and a bra
during late-night interrogations with prisoners,
mostly Muslim men who consider it taboo to have close
contact with women who aren't their wives.
Beginning in April 2003, "there hung a short skirt and
thong underwear on the hook on the back of the door"
of one interrogation team's office, he writes. "Later
I learned that this outfit was used for interrogations
by one of the female civilian contractors ... on a
team which conducted interrogations in the middle of
the night on Saudi men who were refusing to talk."
Some Guantanamo prisoners who have been released say
they were tormented by "prostitutes."
In another case, Saar describes a female military
interrogator questioning an uncooperative 21-year-old
Saudi detainee who allegedly had taken flying lessons
in Arizona before the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Suspected Sept. 11 hijacker Hani Hanjour received
pilot instruction for three months in 1996 and in
December 1997 at a flight school in Scottsdale, Ariz.
"His female interrogator decided that she needed to
turn up the heat," Saar writes, saying she repeatedly
asked the detainee who had sent him to Arizona,
telling him he could "cooperate" or "have no hope
whatsoever of ever leaving this place or talking to a
The man closed his eyes and began to pray, Saar
The female interrogator wanted to "break him," Saar
adds, describing how she removed her uniform top to
expose a tight-fitting T-shirt and began taunting the
detainee, touching her breasts, rubbing them against
the prisoner's back and commenting on his apparent
The detainee looked up and spat in her face, the
The interrogator left the room to ask a Muslim
linguist how she could break the prisoner's reliance
on God. The linguist told her to tell the detainee
that she was menstruating, touch him, then make sure
to turn off the water in his cell so he couldn't wash.
Strict interpretation of Islamic law forbids physical
contact with women other than a man's wife or family,
and with any menstruating women, who are considered
"The concept was to make the detainee feel that after
talking to her he was unclean and was unable to go
before his God in prayer and gain strength," says the
draft, stamped "Secret."
The interrogator used ink from a red pen to fool the
detainee, Saar writes.
"She then started to place her hands in her pants as
she walked behind the detainee," he says. "As she
circled around him he could see that she was taking
her hand out of her pants. When it became visible the
detainee saw what appeared to be red blood on her
hand. She said, 'Who sent you to Arizona?' He then
glared at her with a piercing look of hatred.
"She then wiped the red ink on his face. He shouted at
the top of his lungs, spat at her and lunged forward"
so fiercely that he broke loose from one ankle
"He began to cry like a baby," the draft says, noting
the interrogator left saying, "Have a fun night in
your cell without any water to clean yourself."
Events Saar describes resemble two previous reports of
abusive female interrogation tactics, although it
wasn't possible to independently verify his account.
In November, in response to an AP request, the
military described an April 2003 incident in which a
female interrogator took off her uniform top, exposed
her brown T-shirt, ran her fingers through a
detainee's hair and sat on his lap. That session was
immediately ended by a supervisor and that
interrogator received a written reprimand and
additional training, the military said.
In another incident, the military reported that in
early 2003 a different female interrogator "wiped dye
from red magic marker on detainees' shirt after
detainee spit (cq) on her," telling the detainee it
was blood. She was verbally reprimanded, the military
Sexual tactics used by female interrogators have been
criticized by the FBI, which complained in a letter
obtained by AP last month that U.S. defense officials
hadn't acted on complaints by FBI observers of "highly
aggressive" interrogation techniques, including one in
which a female interrogator grabbed a detainee's
About 20 percent of the guards at Guantanamo are
women, said Lt. Col. James Marshall, a spokesman for
U.S. Southern Command. He wouldn't say how many of the
interrogators were female.
Marshall wouldn't address whether the U.S. military
had a specific strategy to use women.
"U.S. forces treat all detainees and conduct all
interrogations, wherever they may occur, humanely and
consistent with U.S. legal obligations, and in
particular with legal obligations prohibiting
torture," Marshall said Thursday.
But some officials at the U.S. Southern Command have
questioned the formation of an all-female team as one
of Guantanamo's "Immediate Reaction Force" units that
subdue troublesome male prisoners in their cells,
according to a document classified as secret and
obtained by AP.
In one incident, dated June 19, 2004, "The detainee
appears to be genuinely traumatized by a female escort
securing the detainee's leg irons," according to the
document, a U.S. Southern Command summary of
videotapes shot when the teams were used.
The summary warned that anyone outside Department of
Defense channels should be prepared to address
allegations that women were used intentionally with
At Guantanamo, Saar said, "Interrogators were given a
lot of latitude under Miller," the commander who went
from the prison in Cuba to overseeing prisons in Iraq,
where the Abu Ghraib scandal shocked the world with
pictures revealing sexual humiliation of naked
Several female troops have been charged in the Abu
Saar said he volunteered to go to Guantanamo because
"I really believed in the mission," but then he became
disillusioned during his six months at the prison.
After leaving the Army with more than four years
service, Saar worked as a contractor briefly for the
The Department of Defense has censored parts of his
draft, mainly blacking out people's names, Saar said.
He needed permission to publish because he signed a
disclosure statement before going to Guantanamo.
The book, which Saar titled "Inside the Wire," is due
out this year with Penguin Press.
Guantanamo has about 545 prisoners from some 40
countries, many held more than three years without
charge or access to lawyers and many suspected of
links to al Qaeda or Afghanistan's ousted Taliban
regime, which harbored the terrorist network.
By PAISLEY DODDS
©MMV, The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This
material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten,
Prostitute used in Habib torture: lawyer
January 27, 2005
Mamdouh Habib was the victim of atrocities fit for a
concentration camp, including being tied to the ground
while a prostitute menstruated on him, his lawyer said
Interrogators at the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay
had also told the Sydney man they had killed his
family and superimposed animal heads on photos of his
wife and children, Steven Hopper said.
At an Australia Day forum in Sydney, Mr Hopper gave
more details of atrocities allegedly endured by his
client while held at the US base in Cuba.
The Federal Government said it was aware of similar
allegations of torture made by former British
detainees at Guantanamo Bay but it was the first time
the Government had heard the claims involving Mr
Mr Habib is due back in Sydney within a fortnight
after the US said it would release him without charge
despite holding him for more than three years on
suspicion he knew about the September 11 attacks and
had trained with al-Qaeda.
Mr Hopper said yesterday: "The Americans used
prostitutes as tools in their interrogations. They'd
say to detainees 'If you co-operate with us, we'll let
you at this woman for the night'. And if they wouldn't
agree they'd use them in other ways."
He said detainees held at the base with Mr Habib
reported that a prostitute was told to stand over him
and menstruate on him.
"[We believe] one of the prostitutes stood over him
naked while he was strapped to the floor and
menstruated on him," he said.
Mr Hopper said officials at the base also defaced
photos of Mr Habib's wife, Maha, and their four
"The Americans in their wisdom have taken the heads
off the pictures, enlarged them and superimposed them
with the heads of animals and then strung them up all
over the walls of the interrogation room," he said.
"As they sat there talking to Mamdouh asking him about
his terrorist activities, they held up a picture of
Maha and said, 'It's a shame we had to kill your
family, it's a shame you will never see these people
He said Mr Habib was also subjected to the same
interrogation techniques used on prisoners at the
infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
"Make no doubt about it, Guantanamo Bay wasn't a
prisoner-of-war camp," Mr Hopper said. "It was a
facility designed to interrogate people. It was
nothing more than a vulgar concentration camp and it
has marked a new high in the rise of American
Mr Habib was detained in Pakistan in late 2001 and
sent to Egypt before being flown to Guantanamo Bay in
Mr Hopper also detailed abuses against Mr Habib while
in Egypt, saying he was suspended from the ceiling
with only an electrified barrel to stand on.
"He would stand and get a shock or hang painfully by
his arms until he'd collapse," he said.
He was blindfolded and locked in rooms that were
flooded with water and charged with electricity, Mr
"On other occasions they used German shepherd guard
dogs and [interrogators] told him they train dogs to
sexually assault people," the lawyer said.
"Mamdouh has said he wasn't sexually assaulted by
these dogs but really we don't know.
"Who would admit to it, particularly an Arab Muslim
The forum Mr Hopper spoke at focused on Australia's
political relationship with the US.
A spokesman for the Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock,
said last night that it was the first time the
Government had heard the claims involving Mr Habib.
"We haven't heard those sorts of allegations from Mr
Habib but we're aware that allegations of that nature
were made by other detainees released last year," Mr
Ruddock's spokesman said.
"But if he's got any evidence to support those sorts
of claims we'd pass them on."
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