Guantánamo Public Memory Project

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Yvonne Bradley

At GTMO: 2004-2009

Military Officer Yvonne Bradley recalls the first time she experienced the ways that detainees at GTMO are denied legal rights.

I remember the first time going in to see Mr. Muhammad I I… at that particular time… I am kind of embarrassed to say this now. I was really scared to go in to meet him and I had no reason to be scared, given my background, given my criminal background, given that I have sat face to face with people who were convicted of crimes. But I remember walking in there thinking, “wow. I am scared for what I could even say to this individual.” And I think it was at that point that I started putting together, after meeting Mr. Muhammad, and seeing his demeanor and looking into his eyes and seeing his body language that he was probably more scared of me than I was of him. And I am coming in telling him, he had no choice. I am telling him, “I’m your attorney.” And he is trying to figure out, “are you really my attorney? Is this a..?” Because one of the things I heard they were doing at Guantanamo was after attorneys would meet with certain clients or the individuals would go in – I do not know who they were – saying they were attorneys trying to get detainees to confess, or open up, or make admissions so part of that I think probably that was going through his processes. “What kind of trick is this? Is this real?” Because in Guantanamo it is Alice in Wonderland. You do not know what is real. You do not know what is… it is absolute madness.

So I walk into the cell, thinking, “Oh my God, this guy is a terrorist. I’m not going to give him any information. He’s probably going to get something out to do something against me or my family. I walk in there with that type of attitude. I walk out saying, “This is total nonsense.” Almost angry because I realized for the first time that whatever I knew about Guantanamo, what I read about Guantanamo, whatever information they had about Biyam was likely not true and that was the first time it just hit me like, wow. How fear and propaganda can make such a difference on how people understand things. And I was probably more mad coming out of that cell with Biyam than I was scared when I first went in.

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