Patterico’s Exclusive Interview with a Man Who Has Spoken to the Terrorists at Guantánamo (Part Four: The Treatment of the Detainees)
[This is Part Four of my exclusive interview with “Stashiu,” an Army nurse who worked at Guantánamo, and who spoke on a regular basis with detainees with psychological and/or behavioral problems. Part One can be accessed here. Part Two is available here. Part Three is here.
As before, these posts represent Stashiu’s opinions and experiences, and are not meant to represent anything or anyone else, including the opinions of the U.S. Army. Stashiu wants me to make it clear that nearly everything discussed here has been officially released. As to those parts that are based on his personal experience, he has been careful to respect operational security and confidentiality.
In today’s entry, Stashiu talks about the United States’ treatment of the detainees at Guantánamo — and the detainees’ treatment of U.S. personnel. If you read to the end, you might also learn who has been abusing Korans at Gitmo.]
I asked Stashiu how he felt detainees at Gitmo were treated. He said:
As humanely as possible. Many times with more respect than was deserved based on their behavior. Taking things personally or retaliating against something a detainee did was not only against the rules, it was frowned upon.
Stashiu added that in that setting, there was strong peer pressure not to be the guy who made everyone else look like monsters, so most people took special care to behave in a professional manner.
I asked if he was aware of any abuses.
There were occasions when a guard lost his cool and overstepped… every one I heard about resulted in a courts-martial or other punishment, but there weren’t that many overall (maybe 4 or 5).
Detainee Attacks on Guards
Indeed, it sounded like a great deal of the violence and brutality came from the detainees, not the guards:
Consider that flinging “cocktails” of urine, feces, saliva, sperm, vomitus, and combinations thereof was threatened daily by detainees and performed several times each week. Also, verbal abuse from detainees was very common. . . . This was in addition to physical assaults on guards with everything from shanks, kicks, elbows, and a variety of rather clever makeshift weapons.
(All emphasis in this post is mine.)
Despite these attacks, Stashiu said, guards behaved professionally:
I was always impressed with the professionalism and restraint shown by a very (chronologically) young guard force.
The attacks on military personnel could be brutal, he explained:
We were told about one female medic who had to have major reconstructive surgery on her face following a detainee assault. She was too close to the beanhole (door opening) and the detainee was able to reach out, grab her head, and pull her face-first into the steel frame of the door, shattering most of the facial bone structure.
As medical personnel we would occasionally forget that these were detainees and treat them as we would regular patients. The guard force was usually very alert and prevented us from inadvertently risking ourselves, but this happened too quickly for anyone to prevent. Of course, we were all very careful about proximity for a long time after that.
To answer what I feel is the intent of your question, the primary goal of every leader, subordinate, and camp policy was to treat detainees as humanely as possible, while protecting everyone’s safety. Intel and all that was secondary.
My standard answer to family and friends is, “I did my job in a way that would make you proud and protected our country and way of life.” I don’t burden them with any details beyond that.
I pressed for more detail on incidents of excessive force against, or mistreatment of, the detainees. How many such incidents occurred while Stashiu was there? Were the detainees injured badly? Were the offenders court-martialed? What happened to them?
There were maybe 4 or 5 incidents that I heard of. At least one resulted in a courts-martial. The rest were punished because no matter how provoked you were, that was the job. I am not aware of anyone who messed with a detainee without being struck first, but being struck was not a license to retaliate. We were only allowed enough of a response to defend ourselves and disengage or contain the detainee. Any gratuitous response was worth at least a field-grade level non-judicial punishment (fairly harsh and pretty damaging to a career, but not necessarily a career-killer).
Did Stashiu do physical exams in any way as part of his examinations? Did he ever see signs of physical abuse?
We did physical assessments at admission (short of what most would consider a physical exam, but relatively thorough and included vital signs, visual inspection, and questions about history and what brought them in to us.) I saw one injured detainee from a forced cell extraction who had vigorously resisted because he was paranoid and delusional (definitely not faking). He later explained to me how the minor injury happened and told me he didn’t blame the guards. He did remember the incident, but was not in complete control of his behavior at the time. Nothing broken or sutured and quickly treated. No indications of abuse ever came to my attention or I would have reported it.
I asked if any detainees had just disappeared while Stashiu was stationed at Guantánamo? To his knowledge, did any die under suspicious circumstances?
None disappeared or were otherwise unaccounted for to the best of my knowledge. Nobody died under any circumstances, suspicious or otherwise, while I was there.
A Terrorist’s Complaints
One of the men who has notoriously attempted suicide many times — and who has registered numerous complaints about mistreatment — is Juma Al Dossary, who reportedly has 13 suicide attempts and is still being held at Guantánamo.
I looked up Juma Al Dossary’s Wikipedia entry, linked immediately above, and learned that Al Dossary had written a letter protesting his innocence and claiming that he had suffered the following indignities:
- cigarettes being extinguished on his body
- being made to walk on barbed wire
- being urinated on by GI’s
I knew that I couldn’t ask Stashiu about his specific conversations with specific inmates, but I did ask him whether he had ever heard any inmates claiming to have suffered any of the above-listed indignities while Stashiu was stationed at Guantánamo. He replied that he had not heard of any happening while he was there, from detainees or anyone else.
Inmates did sometimes complain of past indignities that occurred when the Army ran Guantánamo:
They really talk bad about the Army guys who opened the camp. Most say it got better after they left and the Navy took over most things. Others claim they continue to be tortured and treated as less than human because they weren’t given a second cup of coffee with breakfast.
Whenever any inmate complained of any mistreatment to Stashiu, even when it was in the past, Stashiu always checked to see whether it had been reported before. In every case but one, it had been. The one time he encountered a new complaint of mistreatment, it was reported and later ruled to be unfounded.
Medical Treatment Better Than Our Own Soldiers Receive
I asked Stashiu to tell me about the medical treatment the U.S. provides to the detainees. He said:
The medical care available and given exceeds what the active-duty get. Dental care is same-day or next-day (deployed personnel can’t get dental except for emergencies). The smallest complaint is assessed immediately, frequently with a transport to the detainee clinic or hospital (they have both immediately available) for a thorough evaluation and comprehensive treatment if needed.
Anyone needing care beyond the camp’s ability (which was extensive) would immediately be transported by ambulance to the Naval Hospital. I did not witness a single ambulance run for anyone besides a detainee.
Religious and Cultural Desires Respected
I asked Stashiu about the United States’ accommodation of the detainees’ religious and cultural desires:
Their religious and cultural desires are met if at all possible. (We did refuse to loan a detainee a helicopter because he wanted to complete Hadj, his spiritual walk to Mecca, even though he promised to return… but short of that, I believe most accom[m]odations were made). Korans in the language of their choice, reading materials, three meals each day (about 4200 available calories when you include snacks) that took into account cultural norms, food preferences, and medical requirements, all of which has been repeatedly reported in the media. GTMO was the first time I ever heard someone claim that they could only eat hamburger buns and not regular bread.
I asked Stashiu to respond to a recent L.A. Times article about Guantánamo, available here, which claims that some recent disturbances are attributable to guards’ insensitivity to the detainees’ religious beliefs. The article also suggested that the lack of Muslim chaplains is a problem. He said:
[P]eople go above and beyond to try and avoid even the perception of disrespecting the Muslim faith. Unfortunately, no matter what you do, some accusations are going to be made. My personal opinion is that it is usually an attempt to manipulate the guards or follow the Manchester Document, not out of any real belief that anyone did anything wrong. How many accusations are sincere? Very few (again, IMO).
As far as having Muslim chaplains goes, I don’t believe it would help much in the long run, or even the short. I believe it’s just another attempt to use up resources and manpower that wouldn’t dissuade any of the detainees from disrupting everything they possibly could. But that is just my opinion. You remember we spoke in very general terms about when Camp X-ray was started and how disruptive things were? I’m almost certain there was a Muslim chaplain there at that time.
Yes, Virginia . . . Detainees Really Do Abuse the Holy Koran
I asked Stashiu if he had ever flushed a Koran. I meant it in jest, but he answered seriously — and provided one of the more interesting tidbits of all our conversations:
The only Korans I saw, or even heard about, being placed in toilets, torn, or thrown onto the tier were done by detainees. The guards and medical staff never even touched the Koran if at all possible. We always called for an interpreter (a Muslim one, not all were) or the camp librarian to handle any Koran. The only times I witnessed a guard touch a Koran was during a search for contraband where there was probable cause that some would be found. Those were witnessed by an interpreter or the Cultural Advisor. Even when a detainee threw their Koran onto the tier, it stayed until we could get an appropriate person to collect it. We were always cautioned to be exceptionally careful about Korans because of the previous (and subsequently disproved) accusations.
Whoa. The part I have bolded above caught me by surprise. Stashiu saw detainees mistreating the Koran? I followed up with a question about that, and he replied:
Saw Korans thrown on the tier or torn, but these were by individuals without complete control of their behavior, such as a psychotic episode. Heard about two Korans in toilets by the same type of detainee prior to being admitted for psychiatric restabilization. We were very careful about Korans because of the previous media reports, even though they had been discredited.
I trust Stashiu and see him as a very honorable and trustworthy guy. When he says he saw an inmate mistreating a Koran — regardless of whether that inmate was mentally ill — that gives me confidence that similar stories I had read in the media are true. It’s not propaganda being pushed by the government, folks. Detainees at Guantánamo do indeed abuse the Koran at times.
I asked Stashiu what the biggest inaccuracies are in the press coverage (and public discussion in the U.S.) of what goes on at Gitmo. He said:
I believe the biggest one is obviously the alleged torture and abuse. If anything, we were hypersensitive to even giving the appearance of abuse and this was taken advantage of time and time again.
I asked Stashiu if there were any changes that he would make regarding prisoner treatment. He said:
Echelons above reality to my pay grade, but I would actually like to see things become stricter across the board. Set a fair policy and don’t make exceptions for anyone. I think the population would test limits at first, but once things became routine, there would be far fewer problems in the future.
What Surprised Stashiu About GTMO?
I think it’s appropriate to end with this. I asked Stashiu: what was the most surprising thing about your life at GTMO? He replied that, while you might think it would be something about the detainees, to him the most surprising thing was actually the behavior of the Navy Master-at-Arms — the guard force for Guantánamo. Stashiu said that these guards are generally 18 to 20 years old, and are consistently showered with human waste products thrown at them by detainees — yet as a general rule, they stay remarkably professional and do not allow themselves to be antagonized. Stashiu found their behavior the most impressive part of his stay at Guantánamo.
Tomorrow: Stashiu responds to press descriptions of GTMO, and answers your questions. Also: he describes interrogation techniques so coercive and cruel, detainees request them by name!
Erg, I almost puked when I got to the crap/sperm/etc cocktail part. How could you concoct that with your own hands?
The inmate desecration of the Koran does not surprise me.. my Mom is a psych nurse and has told me plenty of stories concerning the mentally ill and the destruction of inanimate objects, beloved or not.
Thanks for taking all this crap for us, Stashiu. (That was a joke)Andrew (c37ea2) — 10/5/2006 @ 6:28 am
Thank you for your candid and detailed response. My invitation remains open in case you have a change of heart later on. A wide audience would be reached. Details on your identity would be kept confidential for security reasons. I am particularly interested in exploring the psychological counseling of detainees.
Best,Ace (527b47) — 10/5/2006 @ 6:39 am
Physical Abuse, Mistreatment, and Koran Desecration at Gitmo…
You know, by the detainees.
Read Part 4 of Patterico’s interview with an Army nurse who was stationed at Gitmo:
The attacks on military personnel could be brutal, he explained:
We were told about one female medic who had to have major……Mary Katharine Ham (b5f39f) — 10/5/2006 @ 6:43 am
Patterico indicated that you agreed to do this interview with him as opposed to the MSM due to mistrust of those sources. I hope you reconsider – you’ve offered a plausible, realistic account of how our government actually deals with POWs. And the gulf that separates this narrative from what we’ve been told since the opening of Camp X-Ray speaks volumes of the MSM’s willingness to deceive Americans.
My brother, an airman who has served this country for nearly 20 years, is being deployed to “Southwest Asia” next week. Like you, he’s a professional, as are the volunteers under his command. The only way the incessant demonization of our soldiers, sailors and airmen will stop is if people like you are willing to speak on their behalf. You and Patterico have rendered a great service to the public, but this story demands much greater airing than it can receive here (no offense, Patterico).
Thanks for giving us your perspective, and thanks for your service.Sirius Familiaris (93f35d) — 10/5/2006 @ 6:47 am
[…] Patterico has part four of his series on Guantanamo Bay: The Treatment of the Detainees. In today’s entry, Stashiu talks about the United States’ treatment of the detainees at Guantánamo — and the detainees’ treatment of U.S. personnel. If you read to the end, you might also learn who has been abusing Korans at Gitmo.] […]FullosseousFlap’s Dental Blog » Guantanamo Bay Watch: The Inside Story Part 4 (baa0b4) — 10/5/2006 @ 6:58 am
[…] Korans in the toilet, women’s faces shattered, and feces/semen cocktails hurled on a regular basis: it’s “heart-ache” a-gogo as Patterico’s interview with Stashiu concludes. […]Hot Air » Blog Archive » Inside Guantanamo: Gitmo shrink tells Patterico of horrifying abuse (d4224a) — 10/5/2006 @ 6:58 am
The only way the incessant demonization of our soldiers, sailors and airmen will stop is if people like you are willing to speak on their behalf.
I salute Stashiu for his courage in having done what he’s done.
You and Patterico have rendered a great service to the public, but this story demands much greater airing than it can receive here (no offense, Patterico).
None taken. I agree that the story should be more widely known, but my traffic is what it is.
Stashiu has told me he’s adamant about not speaking to the press, so I think the best thing readers can do to get the story out is to send the link to their friends or any bloggers they think might be interested.
Power Line covered the first couple of installments, and Michelle Malkin covered the third; we’ve gotten some great links from others including the milblogs. I think this is the most interesting installment yet; hopefully it will get a few links and the word will get out that way. It’s the best we can do.Patterico (de0616) — 10/5/2006 @ 7:10 am
You should try to get Stashiu on O’Reilly…he would love to get this story out.MJ (fff459) — 10/5/2006 @ 7:53 am
More From Gitmo…
Patterico has another installment of his interviews with a contact from Guantanamo who has worked with detainees. And RightWinged has more on the idiots who want to disrupt the funeral of the Amish girls. I believe some are being buried…Riehl World View (72c8fd) — 10/5/2006 @ 8:16 am
O’Reilly is an arrogant ass. Why would anyone want to subject themselves to his pomposity? The fact that this story is being told in the blogs is telling. As more people learn about it, the irony of being unable to find this information in the antique media will only be heightened.
Screw O’Reilly and all the rest of the media jerks. Patterico is doing fine, and the word is getting out. You’ll be able to google these interviews long after the media has erased all evidence of their malfeasance.antimedia (1cee5d) — 10/5/2006 @ 8:21 am
In your career you’ve probably dealt with combat vets’ various psychological problems and manifestations of those. I have some questions about dealing with my brother, a VietNam combat vet.
Those questions are obviously not appropriate to this forum, and I’m not sure where to find resources such as yourself that could give me some insight. Patterico has my e-mail address (I think you do also). If you’d care to contact me out-of-band, I’d appreciate it.Dubya (c16726) — 10/5/2006 @ 8:35 am
Patterico’s Interview With A Former Army Nurse At Gitmo…
Part four…….The Political Pit Bull (64479c) — 10/5/2006 @ 8:40 am
I have worked with VietNam vets before and PTSD in particular. But, I’m a nurse… not a doctor. As such, my scope of practice is probably different than you may expect. I can’t, for example, make diagnoses of diseases or disorders. For better help than I can provide at this point, please check into the following:
If he was discharged with service-connected disability go to:
This site is also for any Active, National Guard, or Reservist and their family members. They are currently funded as a readiness program by DOD and are excellent. If not eligible, they will give assistance in finding help.
Your brother can also go to the local VA for treatment or they can provide information on local sources of care. Anyone who has ever been in the service should check with the VA, especially if they have no other resources. If they don’t enroll you, they will at least give you some good starting points.
I hope this helps.Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 9:04 am
Thanks to Patterico and Stashiu both for the series. I agree with avoiding the msm-they will turn it for sure. I’ve already mentioned the series in a couple of comments on other sites. This is how we must disseminate it.bald01 (77191e) — 10/5/2006 @ 9:16 am
And Stashiu, THANK YOU FOR SERVING OUR COUNTRY!!
I think you said it best in one comment you left in part III as to why you don’t want to talk to the MSM:
“Being a public figure is one of the worst things I can imagine happening. Like many, I’m a pretty private person who stays at home when I’m not at work. I like being with my family and it’s been a good life. I believe there is actually little danger to my family as long as I remain a private figure. To become a public figure would be like rubbing it in the face of those who hate Americans and made the threats against me and mine.”
‘Nuff said.Lornkanaga (f2e82f) — 10/5/2006 @ 9:32 am
Thanks. I’ll check it out.Dubya (c16726) — 10/5/2006 @ 9:32 am
Thank you. That was a response to Ace’s first request. If anyone wants to see the whole comment, go here.
You’re quite welcome and if that doesn’t meet your needs, please let me know. That may not have been the answer for what you meant and I’d like to help if I can.Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 9:49 am
Stashiu:Michael (f0d6ab) — 10/5/2006 @ 10:07 am
I have a question: what was the worst thing that you saw a detainee (who wasn’t mentally ill) do to a koran? Did any ever abuse their koran then claim that a guard did?
I saw many detainees who were not mentally ill but, of those, never saw one do anything inappropriate to a Koran. They were very respectful of their holy book and took great care to treat it properly.Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 10:13 am
What prompted my request was thinking about Charlie’s comment (#53 on part 3). Most read it as a rant or trolling… I saw it as self-alienating behavior and a cry for help. I’m probably wrong, but was looking for your take on it.Dubya (c16726) — 10/5/2006 @ 10:23 am
BTW, I dont’ think Charlie’s my brother, but they sound alike.Dubya (c16726) — 10/5/2006 @ 10:35 am
#20 & #21 Dubya
I doubt that Charlie is your brother also, but I’m really going to pass on commenting about posters here. You might want to google “psychology+projection” and see if it applies. Not a criticism… if it does, it means you love your brother. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t mean anything. Just sayin’Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 11:27 am
This is an interesting experiment. I’m grateful to you and Patterico for making this forum possible. Like you, I find the Americans at GTMO as interesting as the detainees. In that regard, what is the impact of visitors – politicians and journalists – on the Americans serving there? I would imagine it makes your jobs much harder because it seems high-profile visitors might contribute to a circus-like atmosphere.
You mentioned earlier that the detainees seemed to be following the Manchester Document protocol. This makes sense but do you think they are also aware how “famous” they have become and that could influence their behavior?drj (ccb97e) — 10/5/2006 @ 11:52 am
After reading Iran’s Khameini instructions on behavior limits during Ramadan, I am sure the guards will be overjoyed that there is one less ingredient in the slops throw at them.Nancy (ee9fe2) — 10/5/2006 @ 12:04 pm
Thank you, Stashui3, for your years of service and caring and especially for your account of the care given these detainees. I am certain no other country tries to be as decent to them or spends as much for their care as does the USA.
My time is limited this afternoon so I’ll ask these questions now and hopefully you may be able to address them at a future time:
What are the detainees’ attitudes toward the female personnel at GTMO? Does it vary from their attitudes toward men?
What is the comfort level at GTMO, e.g., how comfortable are the beds, the cells, and any common areas? Do they have or need AC and heat?
Why do they feed the detainees 4200 calories a day? I can think of reasons to do this but overall it seems unhealthy and, frankly, strange.
Do the detainees try to escape or do they know enough about where they are to realize escape is futile?
Is it easy or difficult to determine who the al Qaeda and other detainee leaders are at GTMO? Do they organize into spiritual, militant, and political branches or is the leadership more fluid?drj (ccb97e) — 10/5/2006 @ 12:15 pm
Your question on visitors may be one of those that needs to wait until tomorrow to see what Patterico’s got for you. Your second question is actually very insightful as some of them have a hugely inflated opinion of how famous they are. More than one would tell me to look them up on the internet and see how the whole world knows about them. Some believe they are daily front-page news. I don’t know for certain how these ideas sprouted and wouldn’t try to guess. In my opinion, it certainly had an effect on their behavior.
Ummm… if they can rationalize suicide-bombing, even during Ramadan, if done as part of jihad…….. not sure the cocktail mixing is going to slow down much. Could be though. 😉
Just a note: I won’t be online for a while, but will review the thread and answer every question I can later. Thank you all for your very good questions, consideration, and well-wishes.Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 12:19 pm
Stashiu,paul from fl (001f65) — 10/5/2006 @ 12:48 pm
When it is all said and done (your posting that is.) I think we’d all appreciate your insight in dealing with these people. I was (up until your posting) convinced that the vast majority of Jihadists are/were paranoid in some form.
(Being an OR type, my Psych is a little rusty/dated). While in the Navy we had a lot of ‘Situational Adjustment’ problems with young sailors is that what some of this behavior is on their part?
And finally, thanks for the kudo to those MAA’s. You often hear about the work of Military Police Btn but it was nice to see that the Navy holds up a proud tradition in that area as well.
Yeah, I knew all that. Thanks anyway.Dubya (c16726) — 10/5/2006 @ 1:33 pm
I can’t say I have learned anything from this series that I didn’t already know. US citizens are blessed that so many volunteersrab (fb89bf) — 10/5/2006 @ 2:31 pm
risk their own lives in the war against Islamic fascism. As evidenced by the detainees at GITMO they are totally incapsulated in one word.. SAVAGES. They deserve to become extinct and not pampered.
Two questions for when Stashiu has a chance:
1. Are there consequences for the detainees when they act out, especially for the person who assaulted the female soldier? As they are already in detention, incarceration is not a helpful deterrent. I applaud the self-control of the soldiers in the heat of the moment, but I must say I would like to see the one fellow offered a bout with the base heavyweight champ, or an opportunity to compare hand to hand combat skills with a SEAL. To the degree that they mistake self-restraint and mercy for weakness it might be educational for them to see just how weak we are.
2. [Background first.] I heard an interview with a “Kamikaze pilot” from WWII. (I wondered myself how a Kamikaze pilot survived to give an interview.) His plane developed engine trouble far short of his destination and he bailed out and ditched the plane. Being the loyal soldier that he was, he made his way eventually back to his base, explained the events, and requested another plane to be part of the next mission. Instead of being applauded for his commitment, he was berated by the CO. He realized then that his life was of no more worth to his superiors than a piece of machinery, and lost his zeal to fight for the Emperor.
Is there any attempt by the intel officers or others to offer information to counteract the indoctrination they have gone through in terrorist training?MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 10/5/2006 @ 3:08 pm
Guantanamo Bay Live IV…
Patterico continues here:The only Korans I saw, or even heard about, being placed in toilets, torn, or thrown onto the tier were done by detainees.Dawnsblood (95d97e) — 10/5/2006 @ 3:12 pm
The guards and medical staff never even touched the Koran if at all
possible. We always called for……
[…] Here’s the latest at Patterico’s on detainee treatment. In today’s entry, Stashiu talks about the United States’ treatment of the detainees at Guantánamo — and the detainees’ treatment of U.S. personnel. If you read to the end, you might also learn who has been abusing Korans at Gitmo.] […]Pursuing Holiness » Blog Archive » Detainee Treatment (bc33d8) — 10/5/2006 @ 3:55 pm
Again, look at tomorrow’s post and see what Patterico has. Although you may be looking for a little bit different information, there is some of that covered.
You know we didn’t sleep in the same area, right? 😉 Seriously, I would just be guessing on how comfortable it is, but our facility did have heat and AC. There are a couple of articles out there on the facility, although they weren’t given a lot of play. More comfortable than a lot of field training exercises I’ve had, less comfortable than Holiday Inn.
That’s about how much was available daily and I believe there were recent articles on this too. They certainly weren’t being starved as some media reports suggested (while at the same time the media was criticizing because detainees weren’t being allowed to hunger-strike to death.)
I don’t know the answer to this one and would just be guessing. No attempts that I am aware of, but not a topic of any therapeutic benefit.
That’s really more of the intel side and I don’t believe it’s in the public domain. Good question, but I don’t know enough about it to give an informed answer without possibly saying too much. That is somewhat addressed in the articles that Patterico linked to before.
#27 paul from fl
Occasionally, but no more than a typical correctional environment would have. If you’re talking about the behaviors that people have seemed most interested in, it’s more consistent with directives in the Manchester Document.
#30 MD in philly
Yes, but as prescribed by policy… no “creative” solutions as you suggest.
We didn’t have contact with Intel or S-5 so I don’t know if they worked on that. We worked on ‘here and now’ stuff, staying away from ‘there and then’. I’ll add my personal opinion that if we had tried to counter their “indoctrination”, I’m sure it would have been called “brain-washing” in the MSM.Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 5:12 pm
You refer to therapeutic benefit. I think you’ve mentioned or alluded it a few times before, too.
You also said you’d just assume any inmate was targetting you if you ever ran into him on the street, so clearly rehabiliatation was not seen as a feasible goal.
But then, may I ask, what specifically was the therapeutic benefit that you were trying to achieve with them? Just to keep them manageable? Or something more?
What was the goal?ras (a646fc) — 10/5/2006 @ 5:32 pm
To teach them as many coping skills as possible to help make wiser choices at GTMO and in the future. Our guards learned very well how to help us with this. That way, everyone was working towards the same goals as much as possible. Most of the guards learned enough that I would take them as a psych tech any day. Sadly, I think I only learned enough about the guards’ speciality to maybe go to prison one day. That is truly a hard job and they were great.Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 6:23 pm
Thank you for the reply.MD in Philly (3d3f72) — 10/5/2006 @ 6:46 pm
I suppose you are right, that some would claim we have no business telling detainees that we are not the great satan and we have fought to free more Muslims in the last 50 years than anybody else. But then, I could also note that a person protesting such information wasn’t doing too well on reality testing themselves…
We give them enough food to get fat if they want and better access to medical and dental care than our own troops; they give our prisoners torture and gruesome executions. How is it again that the world, including many of our own elected officials and the MSM, complain about our treatment of prisoners? Perhaps someone would like to firsthand report from a one week experience in GITMO and compare it to a one week (perhaps) experience with Al-Queda in Iraq.
Excellent series, Patterico. Thanks for speaking out, Stashiu, and thanks for your service under very difficult conditions. With the media and detainees against you, it must have been difficult.
OT, I hear the LAT publisher got fired!Patricia (2cc180) — 10/5/2006 @ 7:03 pm
Perhaps someone would like to firsthand report from a one week experience in GITMO and compare it to a one week (perhaps) experience with Al-Queda in Iraq.
Except that they wouldn’t return from the one week experience with Al-Queda. They’d probably loose their heads over it! 😎
Stashiu — Thanks for your service. From your descriptions of the young kids guarding this scum, I see our future is well-defended.Bill M (d9e4b2) — 10/5/2006 @ 7:10 pm
Is it an article of faith that GTMO alums share your disdain for the MSM?
And to what do you attribute their eagerness to ordain Guantanamo as a symbol of everything wrong with America’s image?steve (db6ba8) — 10/5/2006 @ 8:08 pm
I’Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 8:10 pm
And to what do you attribute their eagerness to ordain Guantanamo as a symbol of everything wrong with America’s image?
Being true to their leftist template perhaps?
Failing to understand the threat and who we’re really dealing with?
Hatred of anything Bush initiates?
Failing to understand that we are in the midst of WWIII?
Failing to understand … (alot of stuff – you fill in the blank)
They all think they’re the next Woodward and Bernstein?Harry Arthur (b318a5) — 10/5/2006 @ 8:18 pm
I’m speaking only for myself. That would be an interesting survey though.
I don’t care to attribute anything to the motives of the MSM, nor would I confirm or deny the assumptions underlying both of your questions.
Good questions, but loaded. Any questions about GTMO?Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 8:24 pm
If Bush Admin were savvy about fighting the information war against the Islamofascists, they would have Bush address the nation (and the world) live about this series of reports. Stashiu many people have already said it, but I must personally say thank you for your service.Buck Smith (295fb9) — 10/5/2006 @ 8:28 pm
Thanks for responding in such detail. I’m having problems trying to avoid topics that are not in your area. It’s hard to compartmentalize these issues. Let me try a couple more questions:
Did any detainees try to proselytize you or others at GTMO? In other words, did the detainees see it as their mission to convert people to Islam?
In connection with that, were the philosophical dividing lines pretty clearcut – you are either with us (so we won’t hurt you) or you are against us (so we want to kill you)?DRJ (ccb97e) — 10/5/2006 @ 8:38 pm
Just to clarify, my second question should have said:DRJ (ccb97e) — 10/5/2006 @ 8:40 pm
Talk about loaded questions!Dubya (c16726) — 10/5/2006 @ 8:51 pm
And it’s still loaded!Dubya (c16726) — 10/5/2006 @ 8:53 pm
They don’t give a damn if you’re with them or not — they worship Death and “Allah will know his own!”Dubya (c16726) — 10/5/2006 @ 8:55 pm
No problems, I’m doing my best to answer every question I can, the best I can. I’ve tried not to give the impression of avoiding questions or, at the other end of the spectrum, have more information than I actually do.
Not me or anyone I am aware of, although most were very willing to answer any questions about Islam.
The clearest dividing line was that we left after work was over. Any other line really didn’t seem to matter much to most of them.Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 8:56 pm
ROFL! I had to go back and read what you were talking about. I had already made the assumption that’s what you meant and didn’t realize that could have been taken another way. Strong work and thanks. You can probably assume we’re reading things the same way… you have a fine integrity which is refreshing.
StashStashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 9:00 pm
You care to comment on #48 or is that another google search?Dubya (c16726) — 10/5/2006 @ 9:02 pm
I don’t see a question there. I apologize if I gave offense earlier, that was not my intent. Your identification of Charlie with your brother showed how much concern you have for your brother. That’s all I meant. I didn’t want to comment on other posters, but my only response for Charlie now, and in the future is, “Ignoring trollish behavior”. He was being a troll and I refuse to feed him. If your brother has similar behavior at times, it doesn’t mean that it comes from the same pathology. I didn’t want you to think that I considered your brother a troll, if that makes sense. Once again, I’m sorry if my answer upset you.Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 9:11 pm
You didn’t give offense, but you didn’t give a useful answer either. Oh well.
The question in #51 is: is the conclusion I stated in #48 close to what you observed/deduced?Dubya (c16726) — 10/5/2006 @ 9:17 pm
Maybe you didn’t see my earlier response (#28).Dubya (c16726) — 10/5/2006 @ 9:23 pm
Stashiu…..once again outstanding recount of the behavior of the kids guarding the zoo…tracking right on with my tour in IZ. Except for a very small number of the idiots (12-20) at Abu (which IMHO was strictly a command related problem)the behavior of the young troops was outstanding, considering the enviroment in which they had to deal with. Nobody is talking about(or has until now)the young soldiers lying on top of wounded Al-Q types, protecting them with their bodies/IBA armor during active mortar shelling by their “friends” or heavy gun fire. No one in the MSM wants to talk about the the extraordinary restraint of young 18-20 aged soldier/kids from taking retaliatory retribution on captured “insurgents”…who 24-36 hours earlier reduced their battle buddy to bits and pieces, which they had to collect and bag and now are guarding these fine fellows in cellblock 1A. No…. what we hear and read is how these poor fellows are “abused” by wearing underpants on their heads and not getting the proper medical form filled out in timely manner, or the right brand named insulin given to them.The problem here is contextual…..and the desire to seek the truth.drdave6655 (2a3a85) — 10/5/2006 @ 9:30 pm
I’m honored by your comment, and I hope you realize there are millions of people just like me who support you and your brothers (and sisters).drj (ccb97e) — 10/5/2006 @ 9:36 pm
The stories you relate would have been front-page news in earlier wars. I think VietNam really screwed up a lot of people — the peace-lovin flower children ended up as today’s journalists and academics, while the self-sacrificing heros either got blown to bits or became embittered by having shit/spit thrown on them on their return.Dubya (c16726) — 10/5/2006 @ 9:40 pm
[…] Part Four: Treatment of the detainees […]Patterico’s Pontifications » Patterico’s Exclusive Interview with a Man Who Has Spoken to the Terrorists at Guantánamo (Part One: Introduction) (421107) — 10/5/2006 @ 9:55 pm
[…] Part Four: Treatment of the detainees The attacks on military personnel could be brutal, he explained: […]Never Yet Melted » Interviews with a Guantánamo Staff Nurse (e5f157) — 10/5/2006 @ 9:56 pm
No, they never acted that way around me. Many were sincere in their faith and believed that what they were doing was right. But they were still in the fight.
I saw your #28 and assumed you understood what I meant. Apparently you did not, so I’ll answer in a clearer manner. Charlie was not crying for help, he was trolling. I’ll lay out the pattern for you if you like… tries to hijack thread by trying to get me to support or condemn other posters and throws in some BDS… then he tries to entrap me again with a question that has a false assumption, again unrelated to the topic, and throws in a swipe at my credibility… promises to stop “for Rick” and continues on… calls me Mother Theresa in a sarcastic manner… promises Rick again he will stop “because you asked me to” and continues on… goes into another BDS rant… then flat-out accuses me of being a fraud. When you put it together, does it sound like a cry for help?
Now, just because Charlie is a troll, does not mean your brother is a troll when he behaves in a manner that reminds you of Charlie. Two separate things. I hope your brother gets the help he needs and I hope you use the resources I pointed out. But I don’t do internet therapy, I’m not here to talk about anyone’s family members issues, and I will not email, text message, IM, or otherwise contact anyone except Patterico until this is over. I gave the best answer I could when I really didn’t need to answer at all. When it didn’t turn out to be the answer you wanted, you gave out, “Yeah, I knew all that. Thanks anyway.” without further comment. Then you make a statement, not a question, and get snarky when I don’t respond (“You care to comment on #48 or is that another google search?”). If you look back at all the comments in all the threads, I have not responded to anything but questions. That’s because this is not an online chat… people besides me can talk and discuss or make points without me putting in my 2 cents every time.
So, I hope that I have now answered all your questions and thank you for your interest. If you have any further questions about GTMO, I will do my best to answer them.Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 10:01 pm
Patterico and Stashiu,
I’m not sure if you planned for Stashiu to answer questions from earlier posts at a later time or if prefer that we restate them. In case it’s the latter, I’m reprinting my questions from yesterday’s post that were deemed more relevant to today’s topic. Stashiu, please feel free to pass without explanation on any question and/or hold it for another day. (By the way, I doubt you know the answers to many of these questions to a certainty. I’m more interested in your impressions.)
1. What level of education or literacy do most GTMO detainees have?
2. Are there significant translation problems due to differing dialects or other issues? Do language differences make it easier for the detainees to develop codes so they can communicate?
3. Do you know anything about how well-traveled the detainees are? If so, have they traveled throughout the world, only in the Middle East, or very little?
4. What kind of extracurricular activities and exercises do detainees have access to, under what circumstances, and what activities seem popular? Do they always get access to exercise or is that a privilege based on behavior?
5. Are detainees allowed to communicate with anyone other than their lawyers and, if so, who do they typically want to communicate with? Male family members, female family members, friends, others?
6. Do the detainees seem to look forward to the Red Cross/Crescent visits? Are there other humanitarian organizations that visit? What about groups like the ACLU?
7. What methods of communication do detainees have access to (e.g., mail, email, phone, in person)? Do they have any outside visitors other than lawyers and humanitarian agencies? (I assume the political and journalist visitors don’t get to personally meet the detainees.)
Some of these questions seem pretty stupid but this is a war like no other. I would rather ask a stupid question than wrongly assume I know the answer.DRJ (ccb97e) — 10/5/2006 @ 10:07 pm
Does JTF GTMO accept the provenance of the Manchester Document seized in 2000 as a purely al Qaeda creation?
I’ve read elsewhere that it appears to be a compilation of material drawn from various military, intelligence and law enforcement manuals for internal security, guerilla and covert operations around the globe, e.g., the School of the Americas’.steve (db6ba8) — 10/5/2006 @ 10:31 pm
All kinds from nearly illiterate to highly educated.
There are some challenges despite some very good interpreters. Because how you ask the question can be very important, sometimes the intent of our questions ended up having a different meaning once translated. We would usually pick up on these times pretty quickly as we look much closer at how people behave rather than what they say. When those don’t match, we can quickly figure out whether it is because of a psychosis or a mistranslation through reality testing.
Again, some are very well-traveled, others are not.
Definitely covered in tomorrow’s post from Patterico.
ICRC (Internation Committee of the Red Cross) frequently visits and has pretty much unlimited access (if there are limits I’m not aware of them, but I can’t state it as fact). They also receive mail from outside once it has been screened. I believe they can also send letters, but I’m unsure about that.
I never saw the ACLU there (or they weren’t identified as such to me), but there are frequent visits, also covered in more detail tomorrow.
More details on that tomorrow’s post, but please ask again if anything is not covered.
None of those were stupid questions and I hope the answers I gave were responsive (I know, the “wait til tomorrow” answers weren’t… but if I spill it here, it messes up tomorrow’s post, lol) Thanks again for the great questions.Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 10:33 pm
Way outside my area of expertise. We know al Qaeda uses it, but I’ve only read it, never researched it’s origins. You’d have to ask one of the Intel guys, they would know and might even be allowed to tell you, I’m not sure.Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 10:38 pm
Your answers are on point and you promise more information tomorrow. How could I complain about that?DRJ (ccb97e) — 10/5/2006 @ 10:43 pm
Let me preface this by saying I was stationed in GTMO from 92-94 and again in 2002 to help stand up Camp X-ray and camp delta. So it’s been a few years but……his story sounds a little fishy.
Delta does not fly into GTMO. You fly into GTMO on government contracted MAC flights.
He talks about Skyline drive leading out to camp delta. Skyline drive goes through housing which is no where near the detainee facilities. Camp Delta is on a different road.
Most of his quotes from detainees were made by a guy named David Hicks (Australian that is held in GTMO) when I was there. (I am part of Al Qaeda. I want to kill an American before I leave Cuba. I will do whatever it takes., I will make this easy for you, I fought against American troops are some of the Hicks quotes.). Much has been written about this guy in the news.
I’m sure there is more, but this guy is suspect. At best he is overplaying his role and at worst he is full of sh*t.
And these are just a couple of errors that I’ve noticed. There are several more. So take what this guy says with a grain of salt.
FYI, an active duty soldier’s opinion given to me when I posted this here: http://www.jiujitsugear.com/forum/index.php/topic,66380.0.htmlWill Myers (e68579) — 10/5/2006 @ 10:59 pm
He talks about Skyline drive leading out to camp delta. Skyline drive goes through housing which is no where near the detainee facilities. Camp Delta is on a different road.
I’m not sure you quoted it accurately. Here is the phrase:
Now, that was based on a couple of telephone conversations that I didn’t record, but I tried to make sure it was accurate, so I asked Stashiu about that. He had mentioned “Skyline Drive” in our first conversation, and I had it in my notes and asked about it again in the second. As I recall, he said Skyline Drive didn’t lead straight up from the ferry, but was one of the roads you end up on along the way. If I’m misstating any of this, I’m sure Stashiu will correct me. Anyway, it could be that it’s not worded perfectly, but maybe you’re being hypertechnical.
As for Delta flying in, well, that’s an odd detail to make up if not true. How do you know? He was there in 2005 and 2006. Were you?
I have no problem with people raising these issues, but keep in mind the limitations of your knowledge, and don’t misquote. I’ll let Stashiu respond.Patterico (de0616) — 10/5/2006 @ 11:11 pm
I’d be interested in hearing the other supposed errors as well, as would Stashiu, I imagine. Don’t just say darkly that that are many errors — specify them, be specific, and be fair.Patterico (de0616) — 10/5/2006 @ 11:13 pm
One more thing — any links to substantiate the allegation that all of the quotes come from David Hicks??Patterico (de0616) — 10/5/2006 @ 11:17 pm
Out of Jacksonville Naval Air Station. Contract is with Delta right now.
As a Field Grade, I lived in Windward Loop over by the Naval Hospital. Had to go through a housing area, take Skyline Drive (which I had mentioned only because it has a view of the entire bay at a view-stop at the top), down to the road that leads to Camp Delta (if you make the right, you go to the housing area you were talking about which is TK and stands for Tierra Kay).
So David Hicks is the only one who could make these statements? Well, one of articles that Patterico linked to specifically attributes one of those quotes to someone else, who said it in front of me (but not to me, I was standing there doing something else)… So your statement that everything came from Hicks is wrong, as well as the rest. I only quoted what I saw and heard, and if any of it sounds dramatic, it’s not because I overhyped myself to Patterico. It caught his attention and he chose to emphasize it.
Now, tell the truth, do you know Charlie? 😉Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 11:34 pm
What else ya got Will? Stand’em on up there.Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/5/2006 @ 11:39 pm
The Philadelphia Inquirer published this article by Claudia Rosett about her recent visit to GTMO. It is consistent with what Stashiu3 describes, including Rosett’s description of the detainees’ lifestyle and her sounds-like-Delta-Airlines plane ride to Cuba.DRJ (ccb97e) — 10/6/2006 @ 12:07 am
Still waiting for those “several more”… probably should have had those ready. Also, it sounds like you were Navy and enlisted. Are you still in? If so, would you give Patterico your contact information and I will let your Senior Chief check out who I am and he can relay that he accepts my credentials. I’m sure he will do that in the most appropriate manner. If by chance you’re Army (please let it be so), give Patterico your contact information and I will personally verify my ID to you and your commander. I am taking leave starting on Tuesday, so I’ll have time to visit you and your commander no matter what post you’re at. I’ve got friends just about everywhere, it would be nice to see some of them after I get through helping your commander convince you of your mistake. You’ll probably be pretty busy after that though.
If you’re not still in, perhaps we can find something in this world that you would accept as proof? Please notice that I haven’t challenged your assertion that you were there. I believe you. But you not only don’t believe me, you accuse me of being a phony. Bad news son, I’m not. So take your load with you when you go, or better yet, stick around and learn how things have changed since you were there.Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/6/2006 @ 12:10 am
Thanks for the link, I’m sure if it came from me it would sound “a little fishy” 😉
I think it may just have been a drive-by troll, although I was really prepared for a whole lot more of those. Maybe he just needed the traffic for his blog? I don’t know, because I didn’t go to his link. If anyone else did, please post whatever he was talking about so he doesn’t get fed.Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/6/2006 @ 12:28 am
I’m sorry for the sarcasm in #51.
I did understand your reference in #22 (#60 confirms that for me), but that wasn’t the question implied in the second sentence of my #11, so I left it at that. I hope you understand that I wasn’t trying to start an online discussion about either Charlie or my brother.
I didn’t want to end up diverting the discussion like this, either, so I apologize to all the other readers as well.
Thanks for your consideration.Dubya (c16726) — 10/6/2006 @ 6:04 am
Apology accepted. I’ve enjoyed your postings and insights here for a while now. I don’t always agree with them, but I’m sure you wouldn’t always agree with me. I do think your postings are sincere and I wish I could have been more helpful. Good luck with helping your brother, issues that have been problems for years are the hardest to treat. If anyone cares enough about him to successfully help him, I think you do. Be well sir.Stashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/6/2006 @ 7:18 am
It disgusts me how we cater to these thugs. Every assault on a guard should be met with a bullet in the brain, no exception. Korans should be confiscated from all prisoners and destroyed where they can see it. My personal copy of the koran (from freekoran.com or.org, something like that) is riddled with no less than 36 holes of various caliber, .30-06 (M-1 garand), .303 British (Enfield MkIV), and 7.7mm (Arisaka Type 99) They make quite a challenging target, trying to hit that pagan symbol on the cover.Realist Citizen (4d185f) — 10/6/2006 @ 9:20 am
Not all Muslims are terrorists, Realist Citizen.
How do you think the world would react if we shifted the “War on Terror” to a “War on Islam”?
Your use of the label “thugs” reeks of hypocrisy.Leviticus (43095b) — 10/6/2006 @ 9:40 am
Everyone who follows the true teachings of mohammed is a terrorist, or is complicit in terrorism. Islam forbids its practitioners to ‘play well with others’ as it were. As for how the world would react? What parts of the world are you referring to?Realist Citizen (4d185f) — 10/6/2006 @ 10:50 am
And you disagree with me that a terrorist scumbag who smashes a female medics face into a steel bar is a thug? What are you, one of those liberal dhimmi who believe that if we try to understand them, they’ll stop? The more people like you coddle islamics, the worse they get. They only understand force, and ultimate force is what is required.
Will Myers (#66) link goes to the website for a company named NHB Gear that sells jiu jitso gear. It also hosts a webblog. Here’s how the company describes itself and its webblog:
Apparently Will (using the name “Wannabe”) posted excerpts from and links to Patterico’s series with you on the Jiu Jitsu Gear Forum. He made no snarky comments and his goal seemed to be a desire to share the information with others at that blog – basically a trackback. He received one response from “Dave Jacob’s bouncy penguin” that stated what was contained in Will’s post #66 above. Wannabe acknowledged the response and asked if he could share it at Patterico’s blog, to which Dave Jacob’s bouncy penguin replied “Sure.” It appears Will then posted Dave’s comment verbatim here and said it was “an active duty soldier’s opinion” – meaning it was Dave’s opinion, not his, although that wasn’t entirely clear from reading #66.
I couldn’t access information about either Wannabe or Dave without registering at the NHB Gear website and I didn’t want to do that. However, the website seems to be a business site and not a troll forum. Perhaps Will/Wannabe will follow up on this with Dave at the NHB Gear website but he hasn’t done so yet.DRJ (ccb97e) — 10/6/2006 @ 10:51 am
Thank you very much DRJ, if they have already returned to see my response, they don’t appear to have any further questions. I appreciate you checking that out for me. I really find it amusing that it is even further removed that just timeframe, yet he considers himself enough of a sleuth to “sniff out the fraud”, so to speak.Stashiu3 (168d43) — 10/6/2006 @ 11:04 am
Gitmo aka Guantanamo Bay…
Gitmo cells were fitted with “Asian-style toilets,” because “that’s what the detainees prefer.” Given that much of the matter that should be going down there ends up being flung over the guards, it seems that this sensitivity over choice of bathro…Wake up America (a91ef5) — 10/7/2006 @ 12:06 pm
Stashiu3:Ben USN (Ret) (c2168a) — 10/8/2006 @ 1:47 am
Thank you for contributing your time to explain and answer questions about Gitmo, the outstanding staff you worked with and the detainee’s.
You have done a great job answering, without giving away sensitive information.
You, and many milbloggers, have outshined the MSM so-called reporters.
You are honest, objective, and fair, and that is greatly appreciated.
could learn alot from you.
God bless you and your family.
Thank you Ben, for both this message and the other. In my thoughts and prayers, but I think you’re right, it will be handled fine.
StashStashiu3 (404f9e) — 10/8/2006 @ 7:00 am
[…] Patterico’s Exclusive Interview with a Man Who Has Spoken to the Terrorists at Guantánamo […]Sunday Night Linkspasm « PurpleSlog (71c0e9) — 10/8/2006 @ 5:54 pm
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HondoHondo (89c5f9) — 2/3/2007 @ 11:14 pm
I was not at all surprised that the detainees were glad to be rid of the Army guards. As an Army NCO, tasked to operate in an Internment Facility after the Abu Ghraib disaster, we walked on eggshells and were vigilant in conducting ourselves with the utmost professionalism, but we still didn’t take any B.S. from the detainees. We were strict but fair. I can guarantee that no bodily fluids were ever thrown by either party, it simply would not have been tolerated.Taylor (8e6f66) — 5/8/2008 @ 6:42 am
I’m thankful that nobody but the Red Cross, the U.S., and the detainees knew about our facility. It sounds like the extreme scrutiny by the press forced the higher-ups to impose impossible rules, thus making it extremely difficult to run the facility from a soldiers perspective.
Great interview, and good work Major… its nice to get the story told from our side.