Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Detainees Accuse Female Interrogators - Washington Post, USA

Expand Messages
  • Zafar Khan
    Detainees Accuse Female Interrogators Pentagon Inquiry Is Said to Confirm Muslims Accounts of Sexual Tactics at Guantanamo By Carol D. Leonnig and Dana Priest
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 12, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      Detainees Accuse Female Interrogators
      Pentagon Inquiry Is Said to Confirm Muslims' Accounts
      of Sexual Tactics at Guantanamo

      By Carol D. Leonnig and Dana Priest
      Washington Post Staff Writers
      Thursday, February 10, 2005; Page A01


      Female interrogators repeatedly used sexually
      suggestive tactics to try to humiliate and pry
      information from devout Muslim men held at the U.S.
      military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to
      a military investigation not yet public and newly
      declassified accounts from detainees.

      The prisoners have told their lawyers, who compiled
      the accounts, that female interrogators regularly
      violated Muslim taboos about sex and contact with
      women. The women rubbed their bodies against the men,
      wore skimpy clothes in front of them, made sexually
      explicit remarks and touched them provocatively, at
      least eight detainees said in documents or through
      their attorneys.

      A wide-ranging Pentagon investigation, which has not
      yet been released, generally confirms the detainees'
      allegations, according to a senior Defense Department
      official familiar with the report. While isolated
      accounts of such tactics have emerged in recent weeks,
      the new allegations and the findings of the Pentagon
      investigation indicate that sexually oriented tactics
      may have been part of the fabric of Guantanamo
      interrogations, especially in 2003.

      The inquiry uncovered numerous instances in which
      female interrogators, using dye, pretended to spread
      menstrual blood on Muslim men, the official said.
      Separately, in court papers and public statements,
      three detainees say that women smeared them with

      The military investigation of U.S. detention and
      interrogation practices worldwide, led by Vice Adm.
      Albert T. Church III, confirmed one case in which an
      Army interrogator took off her uniform top and paraded
      around in a tight T-shirt to make a Guantanamo
      detainee uncomfortable, and other cases in which
      interrogators touched the detainees suggestively, the
      senior Pentagon official said.

      The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity
      because the report has not yet been made public, said
      the fake blood was used on Muslim men before they
      intended to pray, because some Muslims believe that
      "if a woman touches him prior to prayer, then he's
      dirty and can't pray." Muslim men also believe that
      contact with women other than their wives diminishes
      religious purity.

      Defense Department officials said they have
      reprimanded two female interrogators for such tactics.
      It is unclear whether military personnel, employees of
      other agencies or private contractors were involved.

      The attorney interviews of detainees are the result of
      a Supreme Court decision last summer that gave the
      captives access to lawyers and the opportunity to
      challenge their incarceration in U.S. courts.

      In previous documents, detainees have complained of
      physical abuse, including routine beatings, painful
      shackling, and exposure to extremes of hot and cold.
      Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld insisted then
      that detainees were treated "humanely," and Pentagon
      officials said terrorists were trained to fabricate
      torture allegations.

      Some of the accounts resemble the sexual aspects of
      the humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at the U.S. prison
      at Abu Ghraib. Photographs that became public last
      year showed a servicewoman there holding naked
      prisoners on a leash and posing next to a pile of
      naked prisoners.

      Pentagon officials said yesterday that wearing skimpy
      clothing or engaging in provocative touching and
      banter would be inappropriate interrogation

      "I don't see that as being authorized by secretary of
      defense's approved interrogation techniques for
      Guantanamo," said Col. David McWilliams, a spokesman
      for the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, which oversees
      operations at Guantanamo Bay.

      McWilliams said it is premature to comment on whether
      the detainee allegations are credible until a second
      military investigation that focuses on Guantanamo Bay
      abuse allegations is complete. The inquiry, which
      began in early January after the release of documents
      in which FBI agents said they witnessed abuse, is
      scheduled to be completed this month.

      "That's exactly why we're doing an investigation,"
      McWilliams said. "We're going to establish the facts
      and the truth."

      Church's report found that interrogators used sexually
      oriented tactics and harassment to shock or offend
      Muslim prisoners, the senior Pentagon official said.
      The official said that the military would not condone
      "sexual activity" during interrogation, but that good
      interrogators "take initiative and are a little

      "They are trying to find the key that will get someone
      to talk to them. Using things that are culturally
      repulsive is okay as long as it doesn't extend to
      something prohibited by the Geneva Conventions."

      Attorneys for detainees scoffed at the Pentagon's
      insistence that the military can fairly investigate
      its own personnel. They noted that the Defense
      Department last fall initially dismissed torture
      allegations, insisting that detainees were trained at
      terrorist camps to lodge false claims.

      Even detainee lawyers doubted that interrogators would
      spread menstrual blood on prisoners when a recently
      released British detainee first made the allegation in
      early 2004. A month ago, a Pentagon spokesman
      confirmed it had verbally reprimanded one female
      interrogator who, in early 2003, had smeared red dye
      from a marker on a detainee's shirt and told him it
      was blood.

      In a yet-to-be-published book, former Army translator
      Erik Saar said he saw a female interrogator smear red
      dye on a Saudi man's face, telling him it was blood.
      Saar's account was first reported by the Associated
      Press last month. And Mamdouh Habib, an Australian man
      released from Guantanamo Bay last month, said he was
      strapped down while a woman told him she was
      "menstruating" on his face.

      One lawyer, Marc Falkoff, said in an interview that
      when a Yemeni client told him a few weeks ago about an
      incident involving menstrual blood, "I almost didn't
      even write it down." He said: "It seemed crazy, like
      something out of a horror movie or a John Waters film.
      Now it doesn't seem ludicrous at all."

      Some of the newly declassified accounts of detainees
      evoke scenes from a rock music video. German detainee
      Murat Kurnaz told his lawyer that three women in lacy
      bras and panties strutted into the interrogation room
      where he was sitting in chains. They cooed about how
      attractive he was and suggested "they could have some
      fun," he said.

      When Kurnaz averted his eyes, he said, one woman sat
      on his lap, another rubbed her breasts against his
      back and massaged his chest and a third squatted near
      his crotch. He head-butted the woman behind him, he
      said, knocking her off him. All three ran out and a
      team of soldiers stormed in and beat him, he said.

      Detainee lawyers likened the tactics to Nazis shaving
      the beards of orthodox Jews or artists dunking a
      crucifix in urine to shock Christians. "They're
      exploiting religious beliefs to break them down, to
      destroy them," said Michael Ratner of the Center for
      Constitutional Rights, which represents several dozen
      detainees. "What they're doing, it reminds me of a
      pornographic Web site -- it's like the fantasy of all
      these S&M clubs."

      Falkoff said some of his clients have also been
      threatened with rape by male interrogators.

      One soldier told another detainee, Muktar Warafi, that
      he had to start telling the truth or he would be
      raped, according to Falkoff's notes of the interview.
      When he left the room, another person immediately came
      into the room and told Warafi: "That interrogator is
      new and doesn't know the rules. We apologize on his
      behalf. Now let's talk."

      Yasein Esmail, a Yemeni detainee, said he had been
      interrogated more than 100 times since being
      "kidnapped" in a marketplace in Kabul, Afghanistan,
      and brought to Guantanamo Bay. He recounted to his
      lawyer that when he refused to talk in one interview,
      a female soldier entered wearing a tight T-shirt.

      "Why aren't you married?" she reportedly asked Esmail.
      "You are a young man and have needs. What do you

      Esmail said "she bent down with her breasts on the
      table and her legs almost touching" him. "Are you
      going to talk," she asked, "or are we going to do this
      for six hours?"

      Researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

      See Also:
      Moroccans claim Guantanamo abuse

      ALL-NEW Yahoo! Messenger - all new features - even more fun! http://uk.messenger.yahoo.com
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.