Sunday, September 17, 2017

Detainee Reported Gitmo Guards Having Oral Sex, 2 Weeks Later He Was Dead

Having received hundreds of new pages of information regarding the deaths of Saudi detainee Abdul Rahman al Amri (ISN199) and Yemeni detainee Mohammed Salih Al Hanashi (ISN78) at Guantanamo, I've now finished revising my book, Cover-up at Guantanamo, published at Amazon*.

The new version is now online and ready to be purchased and downloaded. It's full of new revelations that will interest all who have followed or are still following the deaths of these two detainees, and others who have died at Guantanamo.

As a sneak preview, I thought I'd reveal one of the more disturbing, if not bizarre, details surrounding Al Amri's case. It just might also represent a motive for his murder by Guantanamo authorities.

Al Amri was found in his cell, almost dead (he still apparently still had a pulse), on May 30, 2017. According to guard accounts, he was hanging from a rope made from his bed sheet, attached to a second piece of sheet-derived rope whose end was ripped or torn into ten different strands and then looped through very small holes in an air conditioning vent some nine feet up off the floor.

As people can read when they buy the new 2nd, revised edition of my book, the method by which Al Amri supposedly died is very suspicious, not just that it seems nearly physically impossible for this particular detainee to have killed himself in the way described, but because the time it would have taken the 5'6" Al Amri to get up on some apparatus to tie the rope to the air vent almost nine feet up off the floor was far longer than very tight surveillance at Guantanamo made possible.

There's much more to the story, of course, but I wanted to mention one aspect that leads to the question of motive.

Perhaps Al Amri was not in fact a suicide, but was murdered. While it sounds outlandish, the fact is it's possible that guards at Guantanamo, having been reported to be having oral sex while on duty, decided to kill the detainee who blew the whistle on them.

According to a sworn statement by a Guantanamo linguist, dated June 5, 2007 - six days after Al Amri died - and released to me via FOIA request, approximately two weeks before he died, Al Amri asked for an interpreter. The linguist responded.

Interestingly, besides being an interpreter for detainees, this linguist also started each day listening to tapes made of detainee talk or chatter the night or day before, making transcripts of them for officials for "exploitation as well as interpretation." This linguist may have had more to do with certain details surrounding Al Amri's death, but you'll have to get my book to read about it.

The linguist told the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), which was looking into Al Amri's death:
"When I arrived, ISN 199 informed me that the guards were performing oral sex on each other. I asked him how he knew. He responded that while he was not able to see the act, he could hear what was going on. At no time did ISN 199 allege that he had been sexually assaulted or violated by any of the guards."
Now there can really only be three possibilities here: either 1) the guards were really having oral sex; or 2) guards or interrogators were trying to make Al Amri think guards were having oral sex, as a way of messing with his mind. The use of sexualized situations or abuse as a means of torture of the religious Islamic detainees has been well documented, and anyone who saw the pictures from Abu Ghraib knows about that.

Finally, 3) perhaps there was no indication of oral sex taking place at all and the entire thing was a figment of Al Amri's imagination. If so, it would indicate a possibility of mental illness, or maybe a past instance of sexualized abuse or behavior, predisposing Al Amri to believe in such a situation as his guards having oral sex with each other. (There are other more distant possibilities, such as the linguist making the whole story up, or that guards were not having oral sex with each other, but with other detainees. But these all seem very unlikely.)

What makes the story noteworthy is that Al Amri was found dead in his cell about two weeks after making this allegation. Furthermore, the circumstances of his case are highly suspicious. He was found hanging in his cell with his hands tied "snugly" behind his back in a figure-eight fashion, attached via a rope made from bed sheets (prison sheets that weren't supposed to tear) to an air vent far above his reach.

NCIS tried to hide the fact of Al Amri's hands being tied behind him, not reporting on it in Executive Summaries of their investigation to NCIS and Guantanamo higher-ups. They did, however, tell the autopsy doctors, but misrepresented the circumstances, telling them the bindings were bound "loosely," the better to lead to an inference Al Amri did it to himself.

According to the FOIA documents released, the guard who actually cut the hand bindings off Al Amri described them as "snugly" bound. (All the relevant documents are now posted at

As readers of the new edition of Cover-up at Guantanamo* will know, investigators ruled out his standing on either the cell toilet or sink to reach the vent from which he was hanged. There was no evidence that the other possibility -- standing on a folded bed mattress -- happened either. Even if he managed to reach the vent, it would have taken a lot longer to construct this death apparatus than the every three minutes or less constant visual surveillance upon him would have allowed.

The mainstream press let the death of this detainee for the most part go unexamined. I hope with the revelations here and in my book, about which I intend to write other stories, will lead authorities to look very seriously at what really happened inside Guantanamo, and that a process of accountability for the crimes there will commence.

[*Reader note: As of September 18, 2017, the updated revised version of Cover-up at Guantanamo is available in both paperback and its ebook version. Buy the paperback and get the ebook for only $1.99 more.]

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