16 Jan 2015

Guantanamo guard: ‘CIA killed prisoners and made it look like suicide’

A FORMER Guantanamo Bay guard has spoken for the first time about what he claims was a CIA murder of detainees, covered up as a triple suicide.
Army Staff Sergeant Joseph Hickman was on guard at the Cuban prison camp on the night they died, and calls the official version of events “impossible”.
“They would have had to all three tie their hands and feet together, shove rags down their throats, put a mask over their face, made a noose, hung it from the ceiling on the side of the cellblock, jumped into the noose and hung themselves simultaneously,” the ex-Marine told Vice News in an explosive video interview.
“In a cellblock where guards are ordered to check on detainees every four minutes.”
There had also been an inspection of the cellblock only a few hours earlier, Hickman said, and guards had found nothing detainees might use to make the nooses and rags.
Hickman tried for years to put the nightmare of his time at Guantanamo behind him, but eventually he was forced to confront his past.
He has now written a book, Murder at Camp Delta, which he hopes will be a step towards finding out the truth.
“I was trying to put Guantanamo behind me. I didn’t want to remember it. It was like a bad dream I was trying to put in the past,” he said.
“Then I saw in news that another detainee had hung themself. I had to face it and see what really happened.”
On the night of June 9, 2006, Hickman was on guard at Camp Delta when he says he saw a paddywagon return to high-security Alpha Block three separate times, each time picking up a prisoner and taking them out of the camp.
He claims he watched the paddywagon take a left outside the checkpoint ACP Roosevelt, which he said would only lead to one of two places — the beach or Camp No, which we now know was a secret CIA holding facility.
“Between 11pm and 11.30pm I witnessed the paddywagon come back to Camp Delta,” he said.
“Instead of Camp 1, it went to the medical detainee clinic. About 10 minutes later, all the lights come on, like a stadium, and sirens are going off — it’s chaos.”
The prisoners were dead.
The three men were Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, 37, from Yemen, Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, 30, from Saudi Arabia, and Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani, 22, also from Saudi Arabia.
Al-Zahrani had been imprisoned at Guantanamo since he was captured at 17. None of the men had been charged with a crime.

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