C. Sleep Deprivation or Sleep Disruption
Over 70 FBI agents deployed to GTMO told the OIG that they had information regarding the use of sleep deprivation or sleep disruption on detainees. This was the single most frequently reported interrogation technique.133
According to the Church Report, "sleep adjustment" was utilized frequently throughout the period of interrogation operations at GTMO. Church Report at 155, 170. The Memorandum approved by Secretary Rumsfeld on April 16, 2003, explicitly approved the use of "sleep adjustment," which it defined as "[a]djusting the sleeping times of the detainee (e.g. reversing sleep cycles from night to day." It further stated that this technique is not "sleep deprivation." According to the Church Report, the distinction between permissible "sleep adjustment" and prohibited "sleep deprivation" was imprecise and "blurry." Id. at 171, 174.
Many FBI agents described a program of sleep disruption employed by the military at GTMO designed to disorient detainees and thereby obtain their cooperation, which was known as the "frequent flyer program." According to military documents, this program consisted of frequent cell movements for a detainee in order to disrupt his sleep patterns and lower his ability to resist interrogation. The length and frequency of the cell moves varied with each detainee.
An FBI agent who was deployed to GTMO from December 2003 through September 2004 told the OIG that she was briefed by the U.S. military about this program, which consisted of moving detainees every few hours in order to disrupt their sleep pattern and to undermine any supportive relationships on their cell block. She stated that under the program detainees were moved every 4 hours, but that that the program could only be continued for about a week or two. The agent was not told by anyone in the FBI that this program was not available for her to use, and she believed that this technique would not be prohibited by any FBI policy. She told the OIG she never utilized this program, because she felt there were much more effective ways to accomplish the same goals.
Another FBI agent stated in his survey response that several Uighur detainees were subjected to sleep deprivation or disruption while being interrogated at Camp X-Ray by Chinese officials prior to April 2002.134 The agent said that one Uighur detainee, Bahtiyar Mahnut (#277), claimed that the night before his interrogation by Chinese officials he was awakened at 15 minute intervals the entire night and into the next day. Mahnut also claimed he was exposed to low room temperatures for long periods of time and was deprived of at least one meal.
The FBI agent who served as OSC at GTMO from June to August 2003 also told the OIG about a program at GTMO called "Operation Sandman," which involved sleep interruption and frequent cell relocations. He said he was briefed on this operation at a command staff meeting at which General Miller and all the department heads at GTMO were present. The OSC stated that at this time the military was concerned that the Saudi detainees were exerting too much influence over the other detainees and encouraging them not to cooperate with U.S. officials. As the OSC understood it, Operation Sandman was designed to keep some of the Saudi detainees mentally off balance, to isolate them either linguistically or culturally, and to induce them to cooperate.
133 In addition to the incidents described in this Section, several FBI agents told us that sleep deprivation or sleep disruption was a technique that the military employed with detainee #63, Al-Qahtani, in 2003. This information is described in Chapter Five. Also, as discussed in Part IV of Chapter Eleven, FBI agents participated in subjecting detainee Zuhail Abdo Al-Sharabi (#569) to extended isolation in 2003 at GTMO.
134 Uighurs are an ethnic minority in China who are predominantly Muslim. While the Uighurs were detained at Camp X-Ray, some Chinese officials visited GTMO and were granted access to these detainees for interrogation purposes. The agent stated that he understood that the treatment of the Uighur detainees was either carried out by the Chinese interrogators or was carried out by U.S. military personnel at the behest of the Chinese interrogators. He said he also heard from the Uighur translator that other Uighur detainees experienced this same treatment.
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