The flag flew at half mast over the prison camps Sunday but, commanders say, guards and captives kept their comments to themselves on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attack that spawned this controversial detention center.
There were no antics or disruptions even among the accused 9/11 plotters, held in special segregation for former CIA captives, US military commanders say. Led by alleged architect Khalid Sheik Mohammed, they are kept in a clandestine compound controlled by a secret Pentagon unit called Task Force Platinum.
“It was very, very calm — very quiet,” said Army Col. Donnie Thomas, the commander of the guard force overseeing all the lockups.
While stateside President Barack Obama led the nation in a day of national remembrance, some low-value captives engaged in their favorite pastime — soccer — in a barbed wire enclosed field at Camp 6, a penitentiary-style building housing more than 100 foreign men the U.S. military consider compliant.
Camp 6 captives were allowed to choose among nearly two dozen news and sports satellite TV channels like any other day, Al Jazeera English among them, several guards said. None showed any emotion — none of the paper airplane throwing or taunts reported on earlier visits.
“The taunting of the guard force has been reduced with the years,” said Zak, a Department of Defense civilian who serves as the Muslim cultural advisor to the commanders. He called it “another normal day” — making it clear he has no oversight of the so-called high-value detainees who were subjected to special CIA interrogation techniques.
Zak also for the first time revealed a bit about the mood in the camps in May when the captives got the news that an elite Navy SEAL unit took down Osama bin Laden in Abbotobad, Pakistan: “They were glued to the TV. Did they show emotion? Maybe inside. They did not show it.”
At the detainee library Tuesday, Rosario, the librarian who won’t give her surname, said a couple of Captain America comic books came back from the cellblocks Monday. Other books just returned from Sept. 11 circulation included an Algerian History of Arabic Literature, Fictions, as well as History of the High Ottoman State and How to Train Your Dragon.