By Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments this week on the rights of enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the public is getting another peek at how detainees have been treated there.
A leaked copy of a March 2004 manual of Gitmo's "Standard Operating Procedures" for Camp Delta was published yesterday by the Web site Wikileaks.org. It deals with everything a guard at Guantanamo would need to know, from how to remove detainees' clothing when they first arrive (cut it off) to what guards should do if they find a detainee's plastic foam cup with writing on it (confiscate it). Rolls of toilet paper are considered "comfort items" that can be given to detainees as rewards.
The manual also confirms previous reports about dogs being used at the facility and detainees spending time in "segregation cells," either as punishment or for intelligence gathering. The nearly 250-page document provides details about the daily operations at the facility in the days before the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal surfaced publicly. What happened at the prison in Iraq focused attention on the Guantanamo facility and its commander, Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller.
Much of the manual deals with how to treat detainees, with one section discussing how to handle their personal items. If items are damaged, for example, guards are directed to punish the detainee. With regard to "linen items" such as blankets, clothing, sheets or towels, the manual says, "If a detainee tears, rips, or otherwise damages this item or makes it into a weapon or self-harm device, it will be confiscated and the detainee disciplined for damaging or destroying government property."
The manual discusses the facility's "behavior management plan" for the first two weeks after a detainee's arrival, when he has no access to the International Committee of the Red Cross or a chaplain: "The purpose of the Behavior Management Plan is to enhance and exploit the disorientation and disorganization felt by a newly arrived detainee in the interrogation process," the manual says. "It concentrates on isolating the detainee and fostering dependence of the detainee on his interrogator."
Navy Cmdr. Rick Haupt, a Guantanamo spokesman, said officials received a copy of the manual yesterday and are trying to authenticate it. Wikileaks also published a copy of the 2003 Guantanamo manual last month. Haupt said the manuals are constantly updated and that "things have changed dramatically" in the years since.
Marked "for official use only," the manual is not meant for public release but contains little if any sensitive information.
While it is of some concern that the manual has been released, Haupt said, "it's not typically considered a threat to national security. This type of unclassified information could give the enemy an edge up on how we do business so they in turn can develop their own tactics, techniques and procedures to train against us."
Developed under Miller's command, the manual is similar to the 2003 version of the same document, an electronic copy of which was left with officials at Abu Ghraib when Miller traveled there on an advisory visit in September 2003. Miller later commanded all detention facilities in Iraq as the abuse scandal was investigated in 2004.
In the 2004 manual, guards are warned not to teach the detainees songs or English phrases and not to take an active role in interrogations or to even listen to what is said during interrogations. Guards are also told not to talk about current events.
"Do not: (1) Discuss current world events or history with detainees, or within earshot of detainees, that could upset or influence detainee actions or attitudes, such as the situation in the Middle East, the destruction of the Space Shuttle, or information concerning terrorist groups or personnel."
The manual is posted at http://www.wikileaks.org/wiki/Gitmo-sop-2004.