Thursday, June 30, 2005

House Members Tour Guantanamo

Camp Delta 1 Guard Tower Guantanamo Bay Cuba Posted by Hello

Guantanamo Bay Standard Cell Posted by Hello

Excite News: "During a tour of the U.S. prison for suspected terrorists on Saturday, House Republicans and Democrats, including one who has advocated closing the facility, said the United States has made progress in improving conditions and protecting detainees' rights.

The U.S. lawmakers witnessed interrogations, toured cellblocks and ate the same lunch given to detainees on the first congressional visit to the prison for suspected terrorists since criticism of it intensified in the spring. A Senate delegation also was visiting this weekend. 'The Guantanamo we saw today is not the Guantanamo we heard about a few years ago,' said Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Calif.

After getting a classified briefing from base commanders, the House delegation ate lunch with troops - the same meal of chicken with orange sauce, rice and okra that detainees were served. They then toured several of the barbed-wire camps where detainees are housed, viewing small cells, dusty recreation yards and common areas.

From behind one-way mirrors, lawmakers watched interrogators grilling three individual terror suspects. None of the interrogators touched detainees.

In one session, they questioned a man who defense officials said was a Saudi national and admitted al-Qaida member who was picked up in Afghanistan and knew nine of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers. In another, a female interrogator took an unusual approach to wear down a detainee, reading a Harry Potter book aloud for hours. He turned his back and put his hands over his ears.

At a communal camp for those given privileges because of good behavior, bearded detainees in white frocks, flip-flops and skull caps quietly lingered near lawmakers, although from behind fences. Later, the detainees played soccer."

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