Now It Can Be Told (Part 3) — Murder by Suicide at Guantanamo

By Mark Adams

Read Part 1

Read Part 2

Many Americans would be shocked to know that our government has a history of covering up horrible prison murders; many times by spewing outrageous lies. One of the most notorious incidents happened at a secret CIA facility located just outside the perimeter of Guantanamo.

On the evening of June 9, 2006, Army Staff Sergeant Joseph Hickman was on duty at Guantanamo Bay. From his unique vantage point high above on the sally port, he observed, three times, at approximately 20-minute intervals, a paddy wagon drive to Alpha Block and then drive away with a manacled prisoner.

Curiously the paddy wagon did not seem headed for any familiar part of the compound but, instead, ambled off in the direction of an area external to the prison perimeter to a place known colloquially as Camp No, purportedly a secret CIA base.

Sometime around 11:30 pm, Hickman observed the paddy wagon return, only this time, it pulled up next to the medical clinic. Within 30 minutes, the whole camp lit up with stadium-style floodlights amidst a pandemonium of chaos. Hickman headed to the medical clinic, which seemed to be the focus of frenzied activity. A distraught corpsman informed him that three dead prisoners had been delivered to the clinic.

How did this happen?

Hickman learned of the deaths of three Gitmo prisoners at midnight on June 10. The next day, the New York Times published a front-page article featuring the headline:

3 Prisoners Commit Suicide at Guantánamo

That was news to Hickman. In fact, that rogue explanation touched off a tsunami of events that eventually culminated in a decade-long investigation by students and faculty at Seton Hall Law School.

The New York Times article quotes Rear Admiral Harry Harris Commander of the Guantánamo Naval Forces declaring that the hanging suicides were an act of “asymmetrical warfare!”

The Pentagon explanation, prepared by Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), is that the three prisoners simultaneously hanged themselves inside their cells. However, as the Seton Hall investigators slowly learned crucial facts regarding the dreadful events on that fateful night, the hanging “explanation” made no sense.

To begin with, according to the government, the prisoners had to:

  • tear up bed sheets and fashion a noose;
  • tie their legs and hands together;
  • climb up on the sink to hang the makeshift nooses from the metal mesh of the ceiling;
  • and then release their weight and remain hanging for the next two hours before any of the six guards continually patrolling Alpha Block discovered them.

If this isn’t enough to tip the Richter scale of lunacy into the certifiably deranged zone, consider the gruesome fact that two of the three victims had a tightly coiled rag jammed deep down their throats!

UNCOVERING THE COVER-UPS: Death In Camp Delta Full text available. [Page 5]

Incredulously a high-level State Department official, Colleen Graffy, described the triple deaths as “a good public relations move” for the detainees.

Although an investigation into the deaths was promptly set in motion, its conclusions, which sustained Admiral Harris’ suicide assertion, were held in secret.

“Beginning on June 10, 2006, the Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) conducted an investigation into the detainees’ cause and manner of death. … “Within eleven days following the deaths, the NCIS secretly ratified Admiral Harris’s original statement in concluding ‘that the three deaths were suicides as a result of hanging undertaken solely by the victims themselves.’”

UNCOVERING THE COVER-UPS: Death In Camp Delta Full text available. [Page 4]

The government went to great lengths to hide information about what really happened. Buried in a mountain of random, highly redacted documents that the government released is part of a report from the Staff Judge Advocate’s Office (SJA), which conducted an independent inquiry into the calamitous events of June 9, 2006. Included in the SJA report—but not the NCIS report—is a statement from a medical escort identified as MA3 Denny.

MA3 Denny declared in a sworn statement that, while inside the clinic, he observed a medical corpsman tying shreds of a bed sheet around the wrists of an unconscious person identified as ISN 093. The inference is that this was deliberately done to promote the self-bondage hanging scenario.

“I observed a Corpsman wrapping an altered detainee sheet, that looked like the same material ISN 093 had used to hang himself, around the detainee’s right wrist. The other side of the material was bound to the detainee’s left wrist with approximately a foot of cloth in between. The cloth was not on the detainees [sic] wrists when the Camp 1 guards removed the handcuffs a few minutes earlier.” Full text available. [Page 12]

After Denny’s statements were discovered within the SJA Report, the Seton Hall investigators uncovered yet another startling discovery: Denny’s sworn statement was included and then removed from NCIS’s final report!!

The Seton Hall investigators provided this chilling account:

“The most lucid and compelling sworn statement taken by the NCIS in its investigation – which contradicts essential aspects of the NCIS Report narrative and its findings – was physically removed from the NCIS Report…before it was released to the public.”

“Only a thorough examination of the materials produced outside the NCIS Report led to the discovery of the covered up sworn statement, which was included as an attachment to the Staff Judge Advocate report …”

UNCOVERING THE COVER-UPS: Death In Camp Delta Full text available. [Page 11]

Through diligent efforts, the Seton Hall investigators also discovered a narrative from the Senior Medical Officer who was summoned to the clinic and discovered a rag stuffed down the throat of two of the three victims. 

“The Senior Medical Officer, [name redacted], arrived and assessed [ISN 693]…. Once the mouth was open we saw that there was a big piece of cloth lodged in the back of [ISN 693’s] mouth. [Name redacted] extracted it with forceps and it appeared to take a good amount of force to get it out. Once it was out I saw that it was folded repeatedly on itself and nearly as big as a wash cloth that was folded once in half…. [W]e thought there may have been something else obstructing the airway.”

“The doctor was able to open ISN-693’s mouth slightly by prying the jaws apart with a specialized tool.” UNCOVERING THE COVER-UPS: Death In Camp Delta Full text available. [Page 16] (Emphasis added.)  

Incredibly, the NCIS report of the deaths excluded the Narrative Summary that the Senior Medical Officer prepared. Again, from the Seton Hall investigation report:

“In short, it is beyond strange for NCIS agents investigating the cause and manner of death of three detainees in one of the most notorious prisons on Earth not to interview the doctor who pronounced two of the three deaths.”

UNCOVERING THE COVER-UPS: Death In Camp Delta Full text available. [Page 15]

By all accounts, the detainees did not die inside their cells. Instead, the events leading to their deaths occurred inside the secret CIA facility, Camp No, where someone viciously assaulted these prisoners, resulting in their deaths.

Covering up the cover-up

Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, was fed up with the Pentagon and wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder to request that the Justice Department conduct its own investigation. Four months later, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich flatly refused even to consider Eshoo’s request.

In response to the Justice Department’s non-response, Seton Hall investigators tartly penned:

Following the request of a Congresswoman, the Justice Department covered-up the Defense Department’s cover-up.” (Emphasis added.)

What about autopsy findings?

Military pathologists from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology arranged autopsies for the three dead prisoners. Each of the heavily redacted autopsy reports states that “the manner of death is suicide.”

[Section 8. “The Removal of the Neck Organs”]

The report about one of the victims, Al-Zahrani, curiously states that the hyoid was broken “during the removal of the neck organs.”

[Section 8. “The Removal of the Neck Organs”]

Given that these are the very body parts—the larynx, the hyoid bone, and the thyroid cartilage—that would have been essential to determining whether death occurred from hanging or strangulation, it is difficult to understand why they should be removed, not just from one of the victims but apparently from all three, or why the break should occur during the autopsy and not before.

At the time of his death Al-Zahrani was twenty-two years old. His father, Talal Al-Zahrani, a former brigadier general in the Saudi police, describes how the CIA arrested his son:

“They snatched my seventeen-year-old son for a bounty payment (of $5,000). They took him to Guantánamo and held him prisoner for five years. They tortured him. Then they killed him and returned him to me in a box, cut up.”

[ Section 7.“Yasser Couldn’t Even Make a Sandwich!”]

When the three families requested independent autopsies, each pathologist independently noted the removal of the structure that would have been the natural focus of the postmortem: the throat. When they contacted the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology for an explanation, the Institute did not respond.

[Section 8. “The Removal of the Neck Organs”]

The incidents at Guantanamo starkly reveal how easy it is for the DEEP STATE to conceal crimes of murder. Instead of being forthright, they spew out nonsense with impunity. It’s almost as if they know that no one in the media or the U.S. Congress will make a serious effort to expose their audacious crimes and their daunting lies.

When taught correctly there is a timeless lesson we can learn from history: A nation of sheep will be ruled by wolves.

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