Well, we wouldn't want this clogging our courts

A Marine sergeant says Guant

Published October 6, 2006 7:22PM (EDT)

In a sworn statement sent to the Marine Corps' inspector general, a Marine sergeant says she heard guards from Guantánamo bragging last month about beating detainees, the Associated Press reports.

The sergeant, who works as a paralegal in the Marine Corps, said in the statement that she met the guards in a bar at the naval base on Sept. 23. One guard, identified as "Bo," told the sergeant that he had taken a detainee by the head and then slammed his head into a cell door. According to the sergeant, "Bo" said others at Gitmo knew of his actions but didn't do anything about them.

Other guards in the group also "told their own stories of abuse towards the detainees," the sergeant said. They spoke of hitting detainees, denying them water and "removing privileges for no reason." All told, the sergeant said, "about five others in the group admitted hitting detainees."

"From the whole conversation, I understood that striking detainees was a common practice," the sergeant said. "Everyone in the group laughed at the others' stories of beating detainees."

The AP obtained the sergeant's statement from Lt. Col. Colby Vokey, who is the Marine Corps' defense coordinator for the Western United States. Vokey is calling for an investigation, but it can go only so far: Even if the sergeant's allegations prove to be correct, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 would prohibit federal courts from doing anything about them.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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