Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sex Scandal At Guantanamo

(CBS) As if the situation at Guantanamo isn't messy enough, there is now a sex scandal involving senior military officers who were running the prison, reports CBS National Security Correspondent David Martin.

The colonel in charge of prison operations, a Lt. colonel who commanded the military police guarding the prisoners, and another lieutenant colonel who commanded the soldiers responsible for base security have all been relieved of duty. They are accused of committing adultery with a female Navy Lt. and a number of female civilian contractors.

An Army general who was the deputy commander of the task force which runs Guantanamo is also under investigation for adultery, which is a violation of military law, Martin reports. That case has been turned over to the Army's inspector general at the Pentagon since it involves such a high ranking officer.

The investigation began after a soldier -- who himself had been disciplined for adultery -- blew the whistle on the officers. Once the investigation began, it turned up e-mails in which the officers were exchanging information about the women they were having sex with.

Although the conduct involves private behavior off duty, Martin notes, it involves four of the most senior officers at the camp. And it raises questions about the quality and discipline of the officers running the prison there.

Some 550 prisoners are being held at Guantanamo Bay, many for more than three years without charge or access to attorneys. The detentions have prompted concerns about the legality of holding terror suspects there without bringing charges. There have also been allegations of abuse at the camp.

In February, U.S. military appointed a three-star general to lead an investigation into abuse allegations at Guantanamo Bay.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt took over command of the camp, according to the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, which oversees the camp in eastern Cuba.

Schmidt will question Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, a two-star general who commanded the camp during many of the incidents detailed in recently released FBI memos that complain of "aggressive" interrogation techniques. Miller was in Guantanamo from October 2002 to March 2004 and was sent there to get more information from terror suspects.

The military maintains that most incidents detailed in the FBI memos occurred in 2002 when the prison was just opening, and that some of the interrogation techniques labeled as "aggressive" are no longer in use.

Documents published in December show FBI agents warned the government about abuse and mistreatment shortly after the first prisoners arrived in early 2002, more than a year before a scandal at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. One letter, written by a senior Justice Department official suggested the Pentagon failed to act on the FBI complaints.

The American Civil Liberties Union released similar e-mails obtained under the Freedom of Information Act in which FBI agents accused interrogators of inserting lit cigarettes in prisoners' ears and shackling them for hours, forcing them to soil themselves.

1 comment:

Anastasia said...

In the last 4 years, post 911, Guatanamo and Abu Ghraib would have to be the biggest scandals, or two of the most repulsive military scandals where the world has seen how easy it is for everyday people to transform into animals.