CNN: Ex-Guantanamo guard tells of violence against detainees

By Jenifer Fenton for CNN, October 28, 2011
Brandon Neely: Guantanamo is
Brandon Neely: Guantanamo is “a significant black eye on the Unites States.”

  • Former U.S. military police officer Brandon Neely was deployed to Guantanamo Bay’s Camp X-Ray detention facitily
  • Neely says he feels ashamed of his treatment of detainees and unease about the facility’s purpose
  • He describes prisoners being subjected to violence by fellow guards

Editor’s note: Nearly three years after President Obama declared the Guantanamo prison for terrorist suspects would be closed, the camp in Cuba remains open. Of the more than 750 inmates that were once held there, fewer than 200 remain now. CNN contributor Jenifer Fenton interviewed some of the former inmates, and one of the guards.

(CNN) — “We were told that they were all guilty … that these were the worst of the worst,” Brandon Neely said about the detainees who were arriving at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“We were told that these guys, all of them, had either helped plan 9/11 or were caught red handed on the battlefield, weapon in hand, fighting American soldiers … These are the people that would kill you in a heartbeat if you turn your back on them.”

In June 2000, Specialist Neely, now 31, enlisted for five years as a military police officer. He left later that summer for Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri for training and was assigned to Fort Hood, Texas upon graduating. In early January 2002, Neely boarded a plane to Guantanamo Bay, where he would be stationed for the next six months. He had volunteered for the deployment not knowing what it was or where it would take him.

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