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New York Times Sources

The New York Times interviewed a number of military guards, intelligence agents and other miscellaneous personnel for an article on the treatment of Guantanamo prisoners. The article, Broad Use of Harsh Tactics is Described at Cuba Base, by Neil A. Lewis, was published on October 17, 2004. We have analyzed this article below.

Physical Abuse

(M1) Many detainees at Guantánamo Bay were regularly subjected to harsh and coercive treatment […] One regular procedure that was described by people who worked at Camp Delta, the main prison facility at the naval base in Cuba, was making uncooperative prisoners strip to their underwear, having them sit in a chair while shackled hand and foot to a bolt in the floor, and forcing them to endure strobe lights and screamingly loud rock and rap music played through two close loudspeakers, while the air-conditioning was turned up to maximum levels, said one military official who witnessed the procedure. The official said that was intended to make the detainees uncomfortable, as they were accustomed to high temperatures both in their native countries and their cells. Such sessions could last up to 14 hours with breaks […] “It fried them,” the official said, who said that anger over the treatment the prisoners endured was the reason for speaking with a reporter. Another person familiar with the procedure who was contacted by The Times said: “They were very wobbly. They came back to their cells and were just completely out of it.” One intelligence official said most of the intense interrogation was focused on a group of detainees known as the “Dirty 30” and believed to be the best potential sources of information.

(M3) The people who worked at the prison also described as common another procedure in which an inmate was awakened, subjected to an interrogation in a facility known as the Gold Building, then returned to a different cell. As soon as the guards determined the inmate had fallen into a deep sleep, he was awakened again for interrogation after which he would be returned to yet a different cell. This could happen five or six times during a night, they said.

Sexual Abuse

(M2) The sources portrayed a system of punishment and reward, with prisoners who were favored for their cooperation with interrogators given the privilege of spending time in a large room nicknamed “the love shack” by the guards. In that room, they were free to relax and had access to magazines, books, a television and a video player and some R-rated movies […]

Medical Abuse


Legal Abuse

(M5) In guided tours of Guantánamo provided to the news media and members of Congress, the military authorities contended that the system of rewards and punishments affected only issues like whether the inmates could be deprived of books, blankets and toilet articles. The interrogation sessions themselves, the officials consistently said, did not employ any harsh treatment but were devised only to build a trusting relationship between the interrogator and the detainee.

Psychological Abuse

(M4) The guards, for their part, had their own tricks, including replacing the prayer oil in little bottles given to the inmates with a caustic pine-smelling floor cleaner.

See also M1.

Age Abuse


Religious Abuse

See M4.



Verbal Abuse


Unspecified Abuse


Abuse en route to Guantanamo