The air of the interview and the room changes, becoming icy, as do the facial expressions and responses of Ruhal Ahmed, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee (who was released after several years of detainment with no charges), upon hearing Brandon Neely, a former Guantanamo Bay guard, confess to one of his crimes against a detainee. (Neely is sitting towards Ahmed’s left in the interview).
Neely confesses that he unjustly physically abused and injured an “older, older detainee” for jerking when he was forced down on his knees so that his handcuffs and goggles could be removed. Neely later found out that the detainee jerked because he thought he was about to be executed, as he had had family members executed in the same manner in his country.
Neely’s confession seems to have triggered emotions and memories of past experiences at the hands of guards during his detainment in Guantanamo Bay within Ahmed, who becomes withdrawn for the rest of the interview, providing short, undetailed answers despite the interviewer’s probing.
Torture and interrogation methods used on the detainees (whose ages have ranged from nine years old to ninety eight years old) in interrogation periods of over twenty consecutive hours include (but are NOT limited to) (categories do overlap):
Humiliation, mainly religious, cultural, and sexual –
being raped, made to watch other prisoners being humiliated and raped, urinated on by soldiers/guards, having menstrual blood wiped on detainees’ faces, bodies, and beards, used as a “human mop” to wipe up faeces, urine and other bodily excretions, forced nudity (during which the guards take photos to keep as trophies), being forced to watch guards and interrogators engage in sexual acts, forcibly straddled and felt up by scantily dressed female guards, forced to wear feminine clothes, forced to participate in indecent acts with other detainees and both male and female guards, having facial hair shaved, having to witness guards throw Qur’ans down to the ground and in toilets, being mocked by guards while praying, guards and interrogators employing prayer (which is a compulsory component of Islam and must be performed five times a day at specific times) as a privilege, being prevented from praying, not being allowed clean clothes, being force fed during Ramadhaan (the month in which Muslims are required to fast for a portion of the day), guards withholding blankets as they are employed as a privilege
Psychological abuse –
being taunted with the prospect of home, familial reunion, and good food, sleep deprivation, hours of interrogations, use of phobias as torture, sensory bombardment, sensory deprivation, isolation, music torture, mock executions, having to hear guards and interrogators’ threats directed at family members, especially towards female family members
Physical abuse -
being made to walk on barbed wire and shards of glass, having hot liquids poured over the head and body, being subject to electric shocks, burns (inflicted by cigarettes), long and short shackling for hours on end, stress positions, beatings, violent dogs, waterboarding, abdomen strikes
Environmental and blatant health manipulation -
extreme cold, cold cell (hypothermia), being force fed, forced injections
(Side note – respect to Neely for owning up to his crimes and apologising. Ahmed and Neely have become good friends since this interview).