- The Washington Times - Monday, May 30, 2005

LONDON (AP) - One Guantanamo prisoner told a military panel that American troops beat him so badly he now wets his pants. Another detainee said U.S. troops stripped prisoners in Afghanistan and intimidated them with dogs so they would admit to militant activity.

Tales of purported abuse and forced confessions are among some 1,000 pages of tribunal transcripts the U.S. government released to the Associated Press under a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit - the second batch of documents the AP has received in 10 days.

The testimonies offer a glimpse into the secretive world of U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where about 520 men from 40 countries remain held, accused of having links to Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban regime or Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network. Many have been held for three years.

Whether the stories are true may never be known, and it wasn’t immediately clear how many abuse accusations had been logged from the tribunals or how many of them had been investigated. Dozens of complaints have surfaced from detention missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo, but the government couldn’t offer a breakdown yesterday.

One detainee, whose name and nationality were blacked out like most others in the transcripts, said his medical problems from purported abuse have not been taken seriously.

“Americans hit me and beat me up so badly I believe I’m sexually dysfunctional. I don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep with my wife or not,” he said. “I can’t control my urination, and sometimes I put toilet paper down there so I won’t wet my pants.”

“I point to where the pain is. … I think they take it as a joke, and they laugh.”

The tribunal president promised to take up the man’s medical complaint, but in five pages of questioning, never brought up the purported abuse.

The panel members were charged with determining whether the men were enemy combatants ? not with investigating abuse accusations ? said a military spokeswoman, Navy Capt. Beci Brenton. She said tribunal members are supposed to forward abuse accusations to the Joint Task Force running the detention mission, which then forwards them to the U.S. Southern Command in Miami.

In a statement Sunday, the Pentagon said many of the men have been trained to lie. U.S. troops treat detainees humanely and “U.S. policy condemns and prohibits torture,” the statement said, adding that authorities take claims of abuse seriously.

The tribunals were hastily established after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that Guantanamo prisoners could challenge their detentions before U.S. courts, dealing a blow to the government’s argument that as foreigners on foreign soil they had no legal recourse. With only four men charged to date and military trials stalled because of appeals in U.S. courts, it may be even longer before the fate of the prisoners is sorted out.

Stories of false accusations abound in the tribunal transcripts. One prisoner said he was in Afghanistan to buy heroin so he could sell it to open a nightclub in Europe. Another said he was a goat herder, while others said they offered false confessions to their captors to make the abuse stop.

A 24-year-old detainee said he confessed to giving a militant group the names and serial numbers of security personnel assigned to Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai but, “I said this under torture.” He described how an American interrogator “threatened me with a gun to my mouth.”

One man said that while he was held in Kandahar, Afghanistan, a U.S interrogator “hit my arm and told me I received training in mortars.”

“As he was hitting me, I kept telling him, ‘No, I didn’t receive training,’” the man testified. “I was crying, and finally I told him I did receive the training. My hands were tied behind my back and my knees were on the ground and my head was bleeding. I was in a lot of pain. … At that point, with all my suffering, if he had asked me if I was Osama bin Laden, I would have said ‘yes.’

“What is my crime? Because of the United States, my hand is handicapped. I can’t work.”

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