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Investigation into the Cerveny Allegations (The Bassett Report)


The Windjammer Club, a recreational facility
at the Guantánamo Naval Base that contains
the bar in which sailors allegedly bragged to
Sgt. Cerveny of abusing detainees. See www

On October 13, 2006, General Brantz Craddock, Commander of the United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), appointed Colonel Richard C. Bassett to conduct an AR 15-6 investigation to examine the allegations of abuse of Guantánamo prisoners made in a sworn affidavit by Sergeant Heather Cerveny. After RDML Harry B. Harris, Commander, JTF-GTMO, and the Joint Interrogation Group (Guantanamo) presented further allegations of abuse, Admiral James Stavridis (the new Commander of USSOUTHCOM), instructed Colonel Bassett to expand the scope of his investigation to examine these allegations on October 23, 2006.

Colonel Bassett concluded his investigation on January 22, 2007, and forwarded his report (henceforth The Bassett Report) to Admiral Stavridis, who approved the findings and all but one of the recommendations of Bassett's report on February 5, 2007.

The Bassett Report mentions nine allegations of abuse:

1) One member of the Naval Expeditionary Guard Battalion (NEGB) bragged to Sgt. Cerveny about beating detainees.

2) Another member of the NEGB boasted to Sgt. Cerveny about harassing detainees.

3) A Camp America postal clerk bragged to Sgt. Cerveny that he tampered with detainee mail.

4) The member of the NEGB mentioned in (1) above had previously gone to Combat Stress and told them that he had abused detainees.

5) The member of the NEGB mentioned in (2) above had kicked a detainee role player during training prior to his arrival in GTMO.

6)  According to a supervisor, one of the members of the NEGB made noise in the cell blocks to annoy detainees by rattling chains.

7) An interrogator accused block guards of purposefully antagonizing and harassing the detainees by shortening the time in the shower, verbally and physically abusing the detainees by using derogatory remarks and rough handling, interrupting prayer, searching cells, waking the detainees, and "general disruption aimed at antagonizing the detainees."

8) A detainee accused a guard of threatening to beat him (this was contained in a 16-page summary of allegations of prisoner abuse made to interrogators, between June and October 2006, by detainees in Camp 2/3, Blocks M through S).

9) A detainee accused a guard of slamming his head against the cell block (also included in the 16-page summary mentioned in (8)).

The Bassett Report found that, except for (5), (6), and (8), there was insufficient evidence to substantiate any of these allegations.

Sgt. Cerveny's interview for the investigation lasted about five minutes. At her interview Sgt. Cerveny was confronted about her allegations, accused of making false statements, and read her rights. No prisoners were interviewed for the investigation.

A year after the Bassett investigation was concluded, the Department of Defense released a heavily redacted version of the Bassett Investigation as a consequence of a Freedom of Information Act Request initiated by the Associated Press (click here). CSHRA has obtained a copy of that report, and is linking to it below.

The Bassett Report