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More on the first three deaths in custody

Two recent publications have provided more evidence contradicting the official account of first three detainee deaths at Guantanamo. They are Uncovering the Coverups: Death in Camp Delta, by the Center for Policy Research, Seton Hall University Law School, and Murder in Camp Delta, by Joseph Hickman. The new evidence is as follows.

  • The senior medical officer with the authority to declare one of the detainees dead stated that the probable cause of the death of said detainee (Mr. Ali Abdullah Ahmed, ISN 693) was "suicide by likely asphyxiation from obstructing his airway".
  • The medical escort accompanying Mr. Yassar Talal al-Zahrani (ISN 93) to the main hospital stated under oath that this prisoner was alive when he reached the detainee clinic. There his hands were bound in the manner described by the autopsies (this statement was removed from the NCIS report before it was made public, and was replaced by duplicate pages of said report).
  • The block guard assigned to the cell block holding the first three detainees to die in custody states under oath that, as of 5pm on the night these detainees died, nothing was found that they could have hanged themselves with in any of the cells of the block (he personally checked one of these cells).
  • Joseph Hickman, Sergeant of the Guard for Camp 1 on the night of the deaths, has published a detailed chronology of the events that followed:
        • 6:00pm: Hickman takes over as Sergeant of the Guard for Camp 1.
        • about 6:30pm: A white van comes to Camp 1 and picks up a detainee from the Alpha Block of Camp 1, handcuffs him, and drives away from Camp Delta.
        • about 6:50pm: The white van returns and picks up a second detainee from Camp 1 Alpha Block and takes him, in handcuffs, the same route as before.
        • about 7:15pm: The white van returns and picks up a third detainee and drives away. This time, Hickman is able to observe the van makes a left as it leaves Camp Delta at ACP Roosevelt. Camp No is the first building found on the way.
        • 11:30pm: The van returns to Camp 1 and stops at the detainee clinic.
        • 12:15am: A Navy Chief orders a specialist to tell a second Navy Chief that a "Code Red" was in course. The specialist conveys his message and the second Navy Chief rushes to the detainee clinic.
        • 12:30am: The whole camp is lit like a football field. Hickman is told by a medic on duty at the clinic that three detainees were brought there at 11:30. It was immediately discovered that they had rags stuffed deep in their throats. The medic was told that they had committed suicide. One of them was badly bruised. At that moment, an ambulance from the hospital outside Camp America was arriving to the clinic. Hickman checks with his guards: no detainee returned to his cell or went from his cell to the clinic after being picked up by the white van.
        • 2am: According to the analysis by Seton Hall researchers (pp. 17-18), more than 50 discrete events are entered without special designation into the log of Alpha Block and/or are redacted for public release. These events last until 5am (these log entries were not part of the publicly released NCIS report; they appear in the same report that includes the statement of the Senior Medical Officer mentioned above).
        • 3am: The floodlights are turned off. The white van leaves.
        • 6am: Hickman's 12-hour shift ends.
        • 7am: Colonel Bumgarner briefs all the guards on night shift about the recent events . In his briefing he says that (a) the detainees killed themselves by stuffing torn bedsheets down their throats, (b) that the media were going to present the manner of their death in a different way, and (c) that they were under strict orders not to contradict the media's presentation.

Report first published on April 27, 2015