Marine: Gitmo guards bragged of beatings
By THOMAS WATKINS, Associated Press Writer 53 minutes
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - Guards at Guantanamo Bay
bragged about beating detainees and described it as
common practice, a Marine sergeant said in a sworn
statement obtained by The Associated Press.
The two-page statement was sent Wednesday to the
Inspector General at the Department of Defense by a
high-ranking Marine Corps defense lawyer.
The lawyer sent the statement on behalf of a paralegal
who said men she met on Sept. 23 at a bar on the base
identified themselves to her as guards. The woman,
whose name was blacked out, said she spent about an
hour talking with them. No one was in uniform, she
A 19-year-old sailor referred to only as Bo "told the
other guards and me about him beating different
detainees being held in the prison," the statement
"One such story Bo told involved him taking a detainee
by the head and hitting the detainee's head into the
cell door. Bo said that his actions were known by
others," but that he was never punished, the statement
said. The paralegal was identified in the affidavit as
a sergeant working on an unidentified
The statement was provided to the AP on Thursday night
by Lt. Col. Colby Vokey. He is the Marine Corps'
defense coordinator for the western United States and
based at Camp Pendleton.
A Guantanamo Bay spokesman said the base would
cooperate with any Pentagon investigation. A Pentagon
spokesman declined immediate comment. A call to the
inspector general's office was not immediately
Other guards "also told their own stories of abuse
towards the detainees" that included hitting them,
denying them water and "removing privileges for no
"About 5 others in the group admitted hitting
detainees" and that included "punching in the face,"
the affidavit said.
"From the whole conversation, I understood that
striking detainees was a common practice," the
sergeant wrote. "Everyone in the group laughed at the
others stories of beating detainees."
Vokey called for an investigation, saying the abuse
alleged in the affidavit "is offensive and violates
United States and international law."
Navy Cmdr. Robert Durand condemned abuse or harassment
of detainees and said he would cooperate fully with
the inspector general.
"The mission of the Joint Task Force is the safe and
humane care and custody of detained enemy combatants,"
Guantanamo was internationally condemned shortly after
it opened more than four years ago when pictures
captured prisoners kneeling, shackled and being herded
into wire cages. That was followed by reports of
prisoner abuse, heavy-handed interrogations, hunger
strikes and suicides.
Military investigators said in July 2005 they
confirmed abusive and degrading treatment of a
suspected terrorist at Guantanamo Bay that included
forcing him to wear a bra, dance with another man and
behave like a dog.
However, the chief investigator, Air Force Lt. Gen.
Randall M. Schmidt, said "no torture occurred" during
the interrogation of Mohamed al-Qahtani, a Saudi who
was captured in December 2001 along the
Last month, U.N. human rights investigators criticized
the United States for failing to take steps to close
Guantanamo Bay, home to 450 detainees, including 14
terrorist suspects who had been kept in secret
CIA prisons around the world.
Described as the most dangerous of America's "war on
terror" prisoners, fewer than a dozen inmates have
been charged with crimes.
AP Writer Robert Jablon in Los Angeles contributed to