You are here: Home / Projects / The Guantánamo Testimonials Project / Testimonies / Testimonies of Standard Operating Procedures / Testimony of Standard Operating Procedures, 2003

Testimony of Standard Operating Procedures, 2003

Camp Delta Picture, 1
Photo Credit: Associated Press

Camp Delta Standard Operation Procedures - 28 March 2003
(henceforth CDSOP/03) is a 238-page document issued at Headquarters, Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO), Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by Major General Geoffrey Miller, Commander, JTF-GTMO. CDSOP/03 describes itself as "a revised update to JTF-GTMO standard operating procedures for Camp Delta" (p. ii), and provides "policy, procedures, and responsibilities for the security, administration, and treatment of detainees in custody at Camp Delta" (1-1.a). CDSOP/03 is marked UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY on every page, and is "limited to those requiring operational and procedural knowledge in the direct performance of their duties as well as those directly associated with JTF-GTMO" (p. ii). Unsuccessfully requested through Freedom of Information Act litigation by the ACLU since October 2003, CDSOP/03 was submitted to Wikileaks, which released it on November 7, 2007. According to the Miami Herald, military spokesmen have confirmed the authenticity of this document.

CSHRA has extracted the testimony of prisoner abuse found in this document and posted it below. These extracts are followed by an analysis of this abuse in terms of international humanitarian law.

(CD0301) Blocks are categorized as maximum security (individual cells) or medium security (twelve person rooms). Several maximum security blocks are designated as Maximum Security Units (MSU), that are designed for segregation and isolation of detainees for disciplinary or intelligence gathering purposes (CDSOP/03, section 2-2c).

(CD0302) [Upon arrival at Guantanamo] [e]scorts remove earmuffs and black boxes from the detainees. Black boxes are staged outside of holding area pending return to Air Force (CDSOP 3-5.h) […] Escorts remove uniform off of detainee […] Goggles will be lowered and placed around the detainee's neck. [Surgical] [m]ask remains on (CDSOP 3-5.i.1) […] Once all processing is complete, MPs will insure that all handcuffs, goggles, earmuffs, leg irons, black boxes, and belly chains are accounted for and assembled for return to the Air Force (CDSOP 3-5.m) […] Once in the holding area, seat the detainees; legs folded and head down with their backs to the processing trailer door. Remove the earmuffs and leather mitts and put surgical masks in place after seating and securing all detainees (CDSOP 4-6.d) […] Detainee remains shackled while clothing is cut off and disposed of (CDSOP/03, section 4-8).

(CD0303) Instruct the detainee that if he removes the ID bracelet, he will not be fed until another is made for him (CDSOP/03, section 4-15.e).

(CD0304) Behavior Management Plan a. Phase One Behavior Management Plan (First thirty days or as directed by JIG). The purpose of the Behavior Management Plan is to enhance and exploit the disorientation and disorganization felt by a newly arrived detainee in the interrogation process. It concentrates on isolating the detainee and fostering dependence of the detainee on his interrogator. During the first two weeks at Camp Delta, classify the detainees as Level 5 and house in a Maximum Security Unit (MSU) Block.1 During this time, the following conditions will apply:

        (1) Restricted contact: No ICRC [or International Committee of the Red Cross] or Chaplain contact.2
        (2) No books or mail privileges.
        (3) MREs [or Meals Ready to Eat] for all meals.
        (4) Basic comfort items only: (a) ISO Mat (b) One blanket (c) One towel (d) Toothpaste/finger toothbrush (e) One
             Styrofoam cup (f) Bar of soap (g) No Koran, prayer beads, prayer cap.
        (5) Mail writing and delivery will be at the direction of the J-2.

b. Phase Two Behavior Management Plan. The two-week period following Phase 1 will continue the process of isolating the detainee and fostering dependence on the interrogator. Until the JIG Commander changes his classification, the detainee will remain a Level 5 with the following:

        (1) Continued MSU
        (2) Koran, prayer beads and prayer cap distributed by interrogator
        (3) Contacts decided by interrogator
        (4) Interrogator decides when to move the detainee to general population (CDSOP/03, section 4-20).

(CD0305) Do not use OC [=Oleoresin Capsicum or Pepper Spray] to respond to spitters or urinators (CDSOP/03, section 5-10.a).5

(CD0306) Administer OC by aiming at the eyes, nose, [m]outh when possible. Use a 1/2 to 1 second burst from a distance of 36 to 72 inches away (CDSOP/03, section 5-10.b).

(CD0307) Searching will be done technically correct [sic] and professionally at all times. The intent is to search for safety, not harass or invade dignity (CDSOP/03, section 6-3.a).

(CD0308) [L]ibrary books that have an id that start with an "I" are intelligence directed reading material (CDSOP/03, section 6-13.f).

(CD0309) Do not use any of the following phrases in [information] pass-on books or block logs:

        (a) Suicide attempt
        (b) Suicide gesture
        (c) Suicide ideation

Use the phrase "self-injurious behavior" in all documentation (CDSOP/03, section 6-15.c.2.j).

(CD0310) The CJDOG [or Commander, Joint Detention Operations Group], DCJDOG, or JDOG S-3 must approve any discipline that includes movement to MSU [or Maximum Security Unit] by signing as the Authenticating Officer on the DD Form 508. This does not apply to moves to MSU by the JIG [or Joint Intelligence Group] (for intelligence purposes). JIG moves will be coordinated through the Detention Operations Branch and do no need any further approval (CDSOP/03, section 8-3.d).

(CD0311) Classification Level 3. All detainees start at this level, following an initial period of segregation upon arrival at Camp Delta [see (CD0303)]; the length of time of this initial segregation will be determined by the JIG [or Joint Intelligence Group] (CDSOP/03, section 8-7.a.3).

(CD0312) Detainees can be housed in MSU [or Maximum Security Unit] up to 90 days (CDSOP/03, section 8-7.a.4).1

(CD0313) Classification Level 5 (Intel Level). JIG [or Joint Intelligence Group] directed segregation, for intelligence gathering purposes. Detainees will be segregated at the direction of the JIG [see (CD0313)] through the Detentions Operation Branch.

        (a) Housed in a group on an Intel block.
        (b) Housed in MSU [or Maximum Security Unit] for Intel purposes.
        (c) Receive Reward Level (1-4) privileges as recommended by JIG.

        (CDSOP/03, section 8-7.a.5).

(CD0314) Detainees on Level 5 Blocks will be segregated based on the individual's reward level as determined by the JIG [or Joint Intelligence Group] […] JIG personnel will issue and confiscate all non-expendable items […] The Positive Behavior Reward Program will supplement the work of the JIG. As the detainee works with the JIG, his conduct will earn him more or less privileges (CDSOP/03, section 8-9.a-b).

(CD0315) Additional Toilet Paper. The detainee normally receives a set amount of toilet paper per shift at specific times. This privilege allows the detainee to get toilet paper as required. The detainee is responsible for asking for the additional toilet paper. Guards need to ensure that the detainee doesn't receive [sic] (CDSOP/03, section 8-10.m.1).

(CD0316) Intel Directed Reading Material. This material, which may be magazines, books, etc.; will be labeled with an id that starts with the letter "I". All intelligence reading material will not be counted against the number of items that the detainee has from the Detainee Library. All intelligence reading material will be turned into the JIG [or Joint Intelligence Group] when the detainee is disciplined and not the Detainee Library (CDSOP/03, section 8-10.m.3).

(CD0317) New detainees will be placed in MSU for processing for up to thirty days (CDSOP/03, section 9-1.a.1).1

(CD0318) Placement [in MSU or Maximum Security Units] for Interrogation Purposes. a. Request by interrogation to place detainees [in MSU] will be coordinated with the Interrogation Sections Chief and the Interrogation Control Element (ICE) OIC [or Officer in Charge] or JIG to ensure there is a valid reason for detainee placement in MSU. b. After concurrence by the ICE OIC, requestor or section chief will indicate on the MSU transfer Request Form the specific reasons for placement in the MSU and the proposal level of detainee's access allowed to ICRC representatives. The request form is then forwarded to the JIG Commander or his designated representative for approval. The initial period of time, which a detainee may be placed in the Maximum Security unit without ICRC,2 access or restricted access shall be 30 days. Unless the JIG approves of a detainee placement in segregation, such placement is not permitted […] d. When it is determined that military necessity justifies continued detention beyond this initial 30 days period the J-3 will prepare a notification memorandum for Commander JTF-GTMO signature to commander US SOUTHCOM. This notification memorandum […] will include justification for the extended MSU Detention (CDSOP/03, section 9-2).

(CD0319) Detainees will receive two 20-minute recreation periods a week. The recreation period will take place inside the NAVSTA [or Naval Station] Brig day room or recreation yard. If the exercise yard is used, one detainee at a time will be allowed to exercise in the yard adjacent to the Brig […] Shackles will not be removed […] The detainee will be allowed to walk the entire yard however the interrogator must be with him at all times […] Only one detainee will be out of his cell at a time (CDSOP/03, section 10-6).

(CD0320) Detainees are not authorized to receive anything other than flat letters weighing less than one ounce. All postal units have been told any other items will be immediately returned to the sender (CDSOP/03, section 13-2.b).4

(CD0321) Redacted Mail. This is mail that is not appropriate to be mailed out or given to detainee. This would include […] [m]ail containing complaints or criticism of any governmental agency or official (CDSOP 13-8.d) | Any detainee mail that is not addressed to family (incoming and outgoing) (to include mail addressed to fellow detainees) needs to be held/filed [i.e. neither sent out or given to the detainee] IAW [or in accordance with] SECDEF [or Secretary of Defense] guidance (CDSOP/03, section 13-8.g).

(CD0322) Religious items [Koran, Prayer Cap, Prayer Beads, Islamic Oils, Religious Books] are distributed in accordance with detainee Rewards Program (CDSOP/03, section 16-13.b).

(CD0323) Detainees will be secured to the eyebolt in the floor of the interrogation room. Detainees may be unshackled at the request of the Interrogators (CDSOP/03, section 14-12.d).

(CD0324) There will be four ICRC [or International Committee of the Red Cross] teams consisting of two MPs […] There will be one ICRC monitor located in Juliet Block […] ICRC escort teams or the ICRC monitor will escort all ICRC personnel at all times while in Camp Delta2 […] The physical security of U.S. Forces and detainees in U.S. is paramount. Safety and security of U.S. Forces and detainees will not be compromised in an effort to conform to the wishes and requests of the ICRC that are not covered in this SOP […] All ICRC personnel and detainees will be escorted by MPs and detainees will be in three-piece suites [sic] while they are out of their cell. At no time will the detainee be unaccompanied by MPs […] While in the interview block, only one hand may be unshackled to allow the detainee to write (CDSOP/03, sections 17-1 and 17-2).

(CD0325) Levels of Visitation. All detainees will have a level of ICRC [or International Committee of the Red Cross] contact designated for them. These different levels are as follows:

        a. No Access: No contact of any kind with the ICRC. This includes the delivery of ICRC mail.
        b. Restricted: ICRC is allowed to ask the detainee about health and welfare only. No prolonged questions.
        c. Unrestricted: ICRC is allowed full access to talk to the detainee.
        d. Visual: Access is restricted to visual inspection of the detainee's physical condition. No form of communication is
            permitted. No delivery of ICRC mail.

        (CDSOP/03, section 17-4).2

(CD0326) Restraint types:

        (1) Three-piece Suit: Hand-irons, Leg-irons, connecting chain, and belly chains.
        (2) Four/Five Point Position: Arms, head, and legs are secured.

        (CDSOP/03, section 19-1.c).

(CD0327) After a detainee has refused to consume nine consecutive meals, ensure the Health Clinic begins the Hunger Strike Protocol […] Consider supplemental feeding when the detainee's body weight reaches 85-90% of ideal body weight, when incapacitated, or ordered by a Medical Officer. The detainee will be admitted to Naval Station Hospital if supplemental feeding is necessary (CDSOP/03, section 19-8).6

(CD0328) IRF [or Immediate Reaction Force] teams consist of five MPs […] The Number One Man is also the shield man […] Upon entry [into a detainee's cell], the number one man is responsible to pin the detainee with the shield with the minimum amount of force necessary. The number one man is also responsible for securing the head […] The Number Two Man is responsible for securing the detainee's right arm with the minimal amount of force necessary. He will also have the handcuffs and keys for the cuffs. He is responsible for proper shackling of the detainee's wrist […] The Number Three Man is responsible for securing the detainee's left arm with the minimal amount of force necessary. He will assist the Number Two man in shackling of the detainee's wrist […] The Number Four Man is responsible for securing the detainee's right leg. He is responsible for proper shackling of the detainee's ankles […] The Number Five Man […] is responsible for securing the detainee's left leg. He will assist the Number Four Man in shackling the detainee's ankles. He is responsible for ensuring all shackles are double locked and that medical personnel checks the detainee (CDSOP/03, section 24-1).

(CD0329) The five-man IRF [or Immediate Reaction Force] team will use the following equipment: (1) Riot Helmet or Kevlar Helmet with ballistic visor (2) Shin protectors (3) Ballistic vest or Flak Vest (4) Latex or Similar gloves (5) Additional leather gloves are optional (6) Lexan Shield (7) Handcuffs (8) Leg Irons (CDSOP/03, section 24-2).

(CD0330) Training for the IRF [or Immediate Reaction Force] Team members should occur during every shift and in each camp […] During the IRF team brief, the team will be told that it is a drill […] A brevity code word will be used to stop the drill in the event of a safety concern or accidental injury […] at no time will the soldier portraying a detainee be in any uniform other than BDUs [or Battle Dress Uniform; but see Testimony of a Military Policeman] (CDSOP/03, section 24-4).

(CD0331) The IRF [or Immediate Reaction Force] Team is intended to be used primarily as a forced cell extraction team, specializing in the extraction of a detainee who is combative, resistive, or if the possibility of a weapon is in the cell at the time of the extraction […] use of the IRF Team and levels of force are not to be used as a method of punishment5 […] Prior to the use of the IRF Team, an interpreter will be used to tell the detainee of the discipline measures to be taken against him and ask whether he intends to resist […] If the detainee does not compy, the PL or SOG will tell the detainee to face the back of the cell, get on his knees and place his hands on top of his head. The PL or SOG will restate their orders […] show the detainee his can of OC [= Oleoresin Capsicum or Pepper Spray], as a show of force and restate his orders and tell the detainee that if he does not comply he will be strayed and removed from the cell by the IRF Team […] The PL or SOG will administer a one to three second burst of OC into the face of the detainee if the detainee fails to comply […] If he fails to compy, the PL or SOG may administer another burst of OC into the face of the detainee […] If he fails to comply, the Block NCO will open the cell door to allow the IRF Team entry into the cell (CDSOP/03, section 24-6 and 24-7).

(CD0332) The [MWD or Military Working Dog] teams […] will be employed as follows […] Psychological deterrence. MWD will walk "Main Street" in Camp Delta during shift to demonstrate physical presence to detainees. MWD will not be walked through the blocks unless directed by the JDOG [or Joint Detention Operations Group] (CDSOP/03, section 26-2.a.1).

Get original here.


1. According to the Geneva Conventions, confinement for thirty days is a maximum disciplinary punishment, not a preliminary to interrogation to be applied to every prisoner of war or internee upon arrival (see Articles 89 and 90 of the Third Geneva Convention and Article 119 of the Fourth Geneva Convention). There is testimony from a CIA asset that thirty-day solitary confinement under abusive conditions was standard practice at the time CDSOP was issued:

And then we landed in Cuba. Again we sat on the ground for four, five hours. Then they took us into the clinic. We were checked up and everything and then we were put in isolation for a month. Everybody, anybody who comes to Cuba or into Bagram, in Bagram it is forty-eight hours, in Cuba it is thirty days. For whatever reason, it might be nothing, you will have to spend a month in isolation […] So you are in this room alone. You can't talk to anybody. Again, they use this room to torture us. So they put the heat up or they put it too low so we are freezing or we are suffocating because there is no air. They put the music on so you cannot sleep. They throw rocks in the block so you can't sleep. They keep on throwing big rocks. There is a hallway in the block and it is a metal block so you hear these loud noises. This is pretty much the treatment in isolation. After a month in isolation, I was moved to the general population (See Court Testimony of Abdulrahman Khadr).



2. According to the Geneva Conventions, the ICRC shall be able to go to all places where prisoners of war or other protected persons may be detained and interview them without witnesses (see Article 126 of the Third Geneva Convention and Article 143 of the Fourth Geneva Convention).

3. According to the Geneva Conventions, prisoners of war and internees awarded disciplinary punishment shall be allowed to exercise and to stay in the open air at least two hours daily (see Article 98 of the Third Geneva Convention and Article 125 of the Fourth Geneva Convention).

4. According to the Geneva Conventions, prisoners of war and other internees shall be allowed to receive by post or by any other means individual parcels or collective shipments containing, in particular, foodstuffs, clothing, medical supplies and articles of a religious, educational or recreational character which may meet their needs, including books, devotional articles, scientific equipment, examination papers, musical instruments, sports outfits and materials allowing prisoners of war to pursue their studies or their cultural activities (see Article 72 of the Third Geneva Convention and Article 108 of the Fourth Geneva Convention).

5. There is testimony from Erik Saar, a military translator at Guantánamo, that IRFs (and hence pepper sprayings) were used punitively against detainees, and that one offense calling for IRFs was hurling urine at the guards:


The treatment of the detainees by the MPs had been degenerating. The IRF process had evolved over time with the help of the Connecticut 902nd. It was widely known that IRFs now were being used punitively, not just as a way to get detainees to comply with commands, which was their original purpose. Now, if an MP walked down the cellblock and someone threw a cup of water or urine on him, he’d report it to the NCOIC, who would request an IRF team. And the IRF team would cast its net wide, going into the cells of three or four men nearest to where the incident had occurred (see Testimony of a Translator, ES6).



6. Worldwide medical consensus unequivocally forbids force-feeding prisoners (see Testimony of Military Physicians).