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July 1, 2005
Gitmo Papers Show Inmates Initiating Violence

AP reports that it has reports showing that inmates at Gitmo initiate violence against the guards at Camp X-Ray, and incidents of retaliation result in disciplinary action. Rather than the unfortunate victims of American oppression that Amnesty International has painted, the detainees actively attempt to provoke guards into confrontations, showing the dangerous nature of Gitmo's inmates:

Military authorities have previously disclosed some incidents of guard retaliation at Guantanamo Bay, which resulted in mostly minor disciplinary proceedings. What emerges from 278 pages of documents obtained by The Associated Press is the degree of defiance by the terrorism suspects at Guantanamo.

The prisoners banged on their cells to protest the heat. They doused guards with whatever liquid was handy from spit to urine. Sometimes they struck their jailers, one swinging a steel chair at a military police officer.

And the American MPs at times retaliated with force punches, pepper spray and a splash of cleaning fluid in the face, according to the newly released documents that detail military investigations and eyewitness accounts of alleged abuse.

This report confirms that abuse occurs at Gitmo, all right. It's just that the abuse comes from the Islamist terrorists detained there who have nothing much to lose from lashing out. American servicemen make good targets for these detainees, since they have to act within military regulations regardless of how their prisoners behave. For instance, this incident resulted in a non-commissioned officer losing his stripes for coming to the aid of his fellow soldiers:

Some prisoners at the U.S. base in eastern Cuba have gone on the attack, as in April 2003 when a detainee got out of his cell during a search for contraband food and knocked out a guard's tooth with a punch to the mouth and bit him before he was subdued by MPs. One soldier delivered two blows to the inmate's head with a handheld radio, the documents show.

"Several guards were trying to hold down the detainee who was putting up heavy resistance," recounted a translator who saw the incident. "The detainee was covered in blood as were some of the guards."

The soldier who struck the inmate, and was dropped in rank to private first class as a result, described it as a close call. "The detainee was fighting as if he really wanted to hurt us. ... We all saved each other's lives in my opinion," he wrote.

Of course, these servicemen know the rules that govern their actions and should be held accountable when they break the rules. If that report represents the incident fairly, however, it doesn't sound very reasonable to expect the Americans to play by the Marquess de Queensbury rules, especially when a prisoner gets loose and tries to attack others. I find it hard to blame the guard who tried to knock out a terrorist bent on biting and punching his way out of the cellblock.

More seriously, a guard threw Pine-Sol into a detainee's eyes after the Islamist threw spit at him. That certainly has no excuse, and the investigation recommended disciplinary action against him. The report does not give the final resolution of that case. In case after case, the AP found similar reaction. Whenever complaints of abuse have come to investigators, disciplinary action gets initiated when those allegations are found credible, such as the Pine-Sol incident that another MP reported to authorities.

Once again, while we see that American soldiers are indeed human and occasionally allow circumstances to get the best of them, Gitmo has maintained a remarkable sense of discipline and professionalism. When violations occur, the camp's leadership takes action to punish those who commit them and keep others from repeating them. It sounds as if Camp X-Ray has a remarkable record in detention, one that many state and federal civil detention institutions in the US might envy. It completely belies the notion of Gitmo as an "American gulag," and exposes those who make those allegations as ill-informed tools of Islamist propaganda.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 1, 2005 9:40 PM

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» ABuse at Gitmo II from The Other Corner
As was posted earlier, abuse does indeed occur at Gitmo. Captain Ed links to an exclusive AP article that reports that 278 pages of military documents record the defiant behavior of the terrorist inmates. [Read More]

Tracked on July 2, 2005 9:06 AM

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