Some Guantanamo detainees were denied Red Cross visits and mail, had criticism of the U.S. government or leaders censored from their letters and were at first isolated without Korans, according to a once-secret prison camps manual that suddenly appeared on the Internet.

Military spokesmen confirmed the March 2003 policy manual was authentic, but they sent mixed messages about how much of it to confirm and how much to disavow citing security needs at the remote Navy base in Cuba, where the Pentagon today holds about 300 captives for possible interrogation and trial by Military Commission.

“Detention operations … have evolved significantly since 2003,” said Army Lt. Col. Ed Bush, making clear that the Red Cross today can see all detainees and dogs are no longer used there.

At issue was the sudden appearance on the Internet — first on a Web site devoted to defense leaks, later on the Web magazine Wired — of the 238-page “Camp Delta SOP,” military jargon for Standard Operating Procedures at the prison camps broadly called Delta.

A how-to manual, it draws back a curtain on the secretive, isolated base in 2003, more than a year into the Bush administration prison and lays out — with typical military attention to detail — everything from when to use pepper spray, who should observe a cavity search to how to dig a proper Muslim grave.

It also offers the mundane details of what detainees were given at the open-air prison camp overlooking the Caribbean. (MORE)


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