Inside Gitmo: The True Story Behind the Myths of Guantanamo Bay

Inside Gitmo: The True Story Behind the Myths of Guantanamo Bay

Gordon Cucullu

Language: English

Pages: 304

ISBN: 006176230X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The U.S. military detention center at Guantánamo Bay—known to the public as Gitmo—has been called the American Gulag, a scene of medieval horrors where innocent farmers and goat herders swept up in Afghanistan and Iraq have been sequestered, tortured, and abused for years on end without access to legal counsel or basic medical services.

Gordon Cucullu, a retired army colonel, was so appalled by these reports that he decided to see for himself. In a series of visits he inspected every corner of the camp and interviewed dozens of personnel, from guards and interrogators to cooks and nurses. The result—coming just as the Obama administration wants to close the facility—is a riveting description of daily life for both prisoners and guards. Cucullu describes the six camps reserved for different levels of compliance, details the treatment of prisoners, and examines their experiences in detail, including the techniques used to interrogate them, the food they eat, their medical care, how they communicate with one another, and the many ingenious ways they contrive to assault and injure their guards.

While some prisoners were indeed treated harshly in the early days, when the hastily built camp was flooded with battlefield captures and fears ran high of another 9/11-style attack, Cucullu finds that these excesses were quickly corrected. Current treatment and oversight routines exceed the standards of any maximum-security prison in the world.

Despite what the public has heard, these are not innocent goatherds but dedicated jihadists whose overriding goal—as they themselves candidly say—is to kill Americans. Should they now be released to return to the fight, perhaps on American soil? Read this book and decide for yourself.

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there around the same time,21 but that is still unverified. Later that year, starting on June 1, the American al Qaeda John Walker Lindh also trained at the camp and later described courses in weapons, orienteering, navigation, explosives, and battlefield combat.22 Training included introduction to small arms, typically the ubiquitous AK-47 assault rifle. The AK-47 is a sufficiently simple weapon that the fundamentals of sighting, firing, cleaning, and immediate action can be taught to

techniques to extract information from him. FBI agents stationed at Guantánamo were deeply disturbed by the plan and refused to sign off on it. Two of Qahtani’s FBI interviewers also claimed there was a “circus-like atmosphere” and “utter lack of sophistication” displayed by military personnel during an interrogation-planning strategy session.24 Adding to the chaos and confusion, on December 2, 2002, Rumsfeld approved the request for use of special interrogation techniques—only to rescind

by al Qaeda to cross international borders undetected.34 He related techniques Osama bin Laden used to evade capture by U.S. forces, and provided important information on bin Laden’s health (at the time, rumors flew that the terror mastermind was in kidney failure and required dialysis, or had other serious health issues). Qahtani clarified many of those rumors. He also provided detailed information about 30 of Osama bin Laden’s personal bodyguards, also held at Guantánamo, many of whom had

whose mission took precedence. Partially because the detention mission is the more public and visible, the scales tended to lean that way. It has been so since 2002 and for the most part continues as such today. Because detention is by nature and intent transparent and interrogation the opposite—we don’t want the enemy to know which of his secrets we have learned—the command almost reflexively leans toward giving higher priority to detention. Miller was forced to clean up the detention side

interrogated. These men were considered to be the worst of the worst; they included some who were believed to have plotted the death and destruction of innocents. They had to be held somewhere that was isolated and secure, a locale from which they could not easily escape or be rescued. The decision was determined through a process of evaluation, comparison, and elimination conducted by the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the Pentagon and coordinated thoroughly among a number of other

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