14 May 2004
Defense Department Report, May 14: No Detainee Abuse in Guantanamo
Navy inspector general examined nearly two-year period of detention
Navy Vice Admiral Albert Church, who recently returned from a visit to the U.S. detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, says he found no current abuse of detainees being held there.
Church told reporters traveling with him to Iraq May 12 that detainees are being humanely treated "as best we could determine." His finding was based on 100 interviews with 43 people -- interrogators, guards, military civilians, and contractors -- who worked there during a period of time of about 18 months to two years. He asked the same questions of all who were interviewed:
-- Have you seen any abuse?
-- Have you heard of any abuse?
-- Do you know anybody who has seen abused?
-- Would you feel free to come forward if you see anything that doesn't look right?
He also examined medical records looking for any sign of detainee abuse. Detainees were not interviewed, however.
Church's mission to the facility lasted only two days: May 6-7. He said the visit by his team of 15 was not considered an inspection because there had been no allegations of abuse.
Church said he found eight minor infractions dating back to 2002: four involving guards, three involving interrogators, and one a barber who gave an unauthorized haircut to a detainee. All the cases were reported swiftly up through the military chain of command and those who committed the infractions received disciplinary action ranging from admonishment (reprimand), to reduction in military rank, to court martial.
Overall, Church reported that there is "a very professional organization in place, with very detailed and understood roles and responsibilities." Further, he said he found "a very positive command climate" there reflected through strong leadership and a strong chain of command.
The vice admiral said there were several issues that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld may choose to explore, including an examination of a new report by the International Committee of the Red Cross, and, perhaps, going back to interview personnel who served on assignment at the detention facility during much earlier periods of time -- well beyond the scope of his mission.
(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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