Moazzam Begg

Detainee #558

Moazzam Begg, a British citizen, was seized in January 2002 by Pakistani officers who burst into the Islamabad apartment were he and his family were living. As recounted in his 2006 book, "Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram and Kandahar," after first being sent to the U.S. prison at Kandahar, he was transferred to the military detention facility at Bagram Air Base. Here he witnessed prisoners being subjected to strappado, and was himself hog-tied, sleep deprived, and led to believe his wife was being tortured in a nearby cell. In Guantanamo, Begg was held for almost two years in solitary confinement. After more than one thousand days in U.S. custody, he was released in January 2005 without charge.

Moazzam Begg on...

Interview: October 23, 2007
Edited Transcript

The Pakistanis didn't really do anything to harm me at all other than handing me over to the US military custody, and that's when the brutalization began. Not in the presence of the Pakistanis, which is, again, another paradox, but in pure sort of military US custody from being placed onto the airplane, my hands tied behind my back, being pushed to the ground, feeling a knee in my back, a knee in the head, I think which was part of standard operating procedures in order to subdue the already subdued detainee. And then to be frog marched off with a soldier pushing down on either side of this shoulder with the hand behind the back onto the airplane.
And I remember the -- the flashes that could be made out even despite wearing a black hood over my head, which were evidently camera flashes of trophy pictures being taken.

And, of course, the journey was excruciating -- excruciatingly painful and uncomfortable being seated on the floor of, I think, what was a military transport airplane, straps placed across the ankles and the thighs. And over the noise and the din of the engines, the screaming of the soldiers, you could hear still profanity, swearing, and a sheer sense of disorientation and terror. That was just the introduction; it was the primer to being brought into US custody in Kandahar. One thing I remember often is that they really made an effort of physically -- although this could be interpreted in another way -- but physically keeping us down.

Pushed down all the time either in a bowing position or in a prostrate position. And it sort of resonates with something an American soldier said many years later, two or three years later, is that to keep a man down, you have to stay with him. And often during that -- especially the initial period of being incarcerated, whenever I was on the ground, there was a soldier on top of me.

It was clear when you look back at it that any rules of war at that moment didn't appear to exist?

Not a war that I can recognize. Certainly when I was taken into US custody into Kandahar, being dragged through the mud, and it was freezing cold at the time, stifling right underneath the blacked -- the hood. I remember one soldier, a marine lifted it up slightly off my head after I was sort of coughing and I said, "Thank you," and he said, "Don't thank me, mother fucker. Don't take my kindness as weakness."

Then being moved into an area where it's almost like a conveyer belt where you can hear the sounds of other prisoners screaming, being screamed at, dogs barking. And then I remember being laid on the floor, my trousers and clothes being cut off, you can feel the cold blade of the steel against your skin. And, you know, the feelings are that you're going to be violated, physically violated. You've got two soldiers on top of you and that's the thought that's in your mind. Then being photographed. The hood is removed, you can see all of these people standing around you in a circle.

So you're naked at this point.

Yes, yes, of course.

And have you been shaved?

That's what followed. And of course, being photographed with and without beard, with and without hair, with and without clothing, all of that taking place. Dogs barking so close you can literally feel the saliva dripping onto you. And then being taken into this manner into interrogation and the kicks and punches, which were sporadic, they weren't sort of systematic, but they were sporadic. I remember when I was being photographed, one of the soldiers stamped his boots onto my feet for no reason. I mean I couldn't understand the reason why. And when he shaved my beard off he said, "This is the part I like best." And I remember that's, you know, perhaps to people in the West, that's not really a big issue, the shaving of the beard, but to somebody in Afghanistan particularly people who've never shaved their beards off in their life, it's a symbol of manhood, it's a symbol of religiousness. I saw people -- grown people crying as soon as that happened.

I think clearly, and to my knowledge the ideas of attacking the sensibilities and sensitivities of people from the Middle East, the Muslim males from that region, something's been very well researched and discussed and implemented into the tactics of breaking people down. Because, after all, this is a process of softening up the victim in the way that is I suppose, they say bombing a country's -- the precursor to entering ground troops. And this is what was taking place, that to terrify the detainee to a level where he becomes so compliant where he'll pretty much answer any question and more that's put over to him. That certainly was the atmosphere that was created. It was an atmosphere of terror, of great fear. And part of that terror and fear was humiliation, degradation, knowing that this could happen with impunity. And the fact that the Americans are doing it means that there can be nobody more accountable. There is no accountability, in other words. If the Americans are doing it, and they're not accountable, then who's going to come to your rescue?

Were weapons present?

All the time, absolutely. All the time. In some interrogations rounds were chambered. And more -- several occasions it was made clear, if you try anything, if you do anything, even despite the fact that my hands were shackled behind my back, my legs are shackled, guards around, you'll be shot. They made no bones about that at all. That if you attempt to move in any direction, any fast or movement that's -- that is not sort of sanctioned, could lead you to get shot. And that was a fear always.

You've said that Kandahar was the dehumanizing process.

They'd say the word haji and haji is simply, in Islamic terminology, a person who's performed the hajj, which is a term of piety I suppose. But they would use it in a derogatory sense of saying -- calling us hajis. And another one that they would use would be BOB. And BOB would be an acronym for bad odor boys and reason why that was the case is because if you hold people in tiny little cells for weeks on end without giving them access to water to wash, then unsurprisingly they will smell bad. And then that became this sort of operation wash BOB, is what they would call it, was to take the detainee out and wash him or hose him down or whatever.

"Operation sun BOB" for the people who were held in the barn, like I was, which we had no access to natural light at all, it was totally, other than the bullet holes from which we could look out, there was nothing you could see that -- see of natural light. So they would chain us all up into almost -- in the way that they would a chain gang, attaching a rope to each of our arms of a group of seven or eight people, march us out all shackled into a caged -- a larger caged area, leave us there for about two minutes, and then do the -- go through the whole process and march us back in. And that was operation sun BOB.

All of these sort of things were part of a process which I could have never imagined, although I should have read my history a little bit better as far as the United States' attitude towards foreigner people, or particularly foreign occupation is concerned. It was a process that necessitated every soldier and interrogator to look at us below human -- as subhuman, otherwise they wouldn't have been able to do their job properly, they would have empathized too much.

At some point you are transferred to Bagram.

That was in the middle of April, I believe. I don't know what the date was, but, again, even the process of being transported to Bagram earned me a few punches and kicks on the airplane with a hood and with a bag over my head. But because I'd already gone through the processing, I was already in the system, I didn't need to be processed as such in the same way again so it was less brutal. Until, of course, the interrogation part began because the difference between Kandahar and Bagram was that in Kandahar, it seemed to be an initiation ceremony almost and a precursor to something a lot more intensive.

It was a precursor almost to what was to follow in Bagram, which was an interrogation -- intense interrogation process, which I think was a lot more controlled by people like the CIA, the intelligence services, as opposed to the military. Although the military -- it certainly was a military base. It was run by the military, but I think that the interrogation process was totally coordinated with the military and the CIA having the sort of upper hand in the last shot as it were, last call as it were.

Sleep deprivation, certainly, was something that was employed right from the beginning. They were unashamedly using it and had no problem with making sure the detainees remain awake and not only remain awake, but also there was a sort of being kept in a stressed position during the period that your sleep is also being deprived. That was also a process and that was employed in many different ways, for example, having your hands tied above your head to the top of the door in that way, couldn't get very much sleep and at the same time it's extremely stressful.

And that happened to you.

That happened to me several times, yes. The hands would be placed right above the head, overhead and tied or shackled to the top of the door, which was the entrance to the cage.

How long would you be left in that position?

It varied from time and place and persons that were in charge, but anything from an hour to 24 hours to 48.

You weren't sleeping during that time?

No. And it didn't happen to me in the sense that I fell asleep or became unconscious at that point, but I saw people who did, who literally were no longer able to physically sustain that position and literally just hung off limp with their body, the entire weight of their bodies being held by their wrists. Yes, that did happen several times.

Were you kept in a cell by yourself?

At various points in Bagram during what's being termed as the "month of torture," yes. I was kept, not in a cell, but in a room that was darkened and the windows were covered by some sort of boarding, which was used specifically for interrogation purposes.

Tell me more about that.

The CIA, the military intelligence, and the FBI had decided in May 2002 to begin my interrogation in earnest, which included during that period me being tied, "hogtied" as I call it, also as they call it in America, with my hands tied behind my back to my ankles and being left like that for hours on end at various points.

You're on the floor at that point.

On the floor, yes, and with a hood placed over the head and being left like that for hours on end. And also where they brought photographs of my family, which they'd taken off my laptop computer, which they'd seized in Pakistan, which include pictures of my children that they waved in front of me and asked me, "Where do you think they are? Do you think they're safe? What do you think happened to them? Do you think you're going to see them again?" And during this period hearing the sounds of a woman screaming. The implication of which was it was my wife being tortured next door; they didn't say as much, but they didn't have to.

You thought it was or you feared it was?

I definitely feared it was because one of the things they'd said to me whilst those screams were taking place, "What do you think happened to your family that night? Where do you think they are?" So they don't have to say that she's next door, it's the implication is obvious.

And it was that type of behavior happening when somebody from the CIA told me, lifting his hand up in almost the style of the caesars, "Moazzam Begg," and then putting it down like this. He told me that Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the most senior ranking member of al Qaeda caught to date, up until that point -- and I remember having seen on CNN that they'd captured this man and trumpeted his capture. They said that he'd been seated in the very same seat I was and that he'd been sent to Egypt, which is where I would be going if I didn't cooperate, and that when in Egypt he told his story -- spilled his story within hours of the interrogation. One of the things they said is, "We don't take part in what the Egyptians do, but we simply observe."

What did the threat of Egypt say to you?

The reputation of the Egyptian presence, I think, is pretty notorious in the Muslim world and the Middle Eastern world and in the world in general. And because what's known of the fight that continues between the Islamist groups and the government, but not just the Islamist groups, even the left wing sort of groups that are being banned there, that there is oppression that takes place there is probably the most notorious in the whole of the Arab world.

And so for me it meant, in practical terms, falaka, which is the Arabic term for striking the soles of the feet to leave no marks. It would include electrocution, it would include rape, it would include beating, it would include strappado with the hands tied behind the back so that you're suspended in the air, it would include all of those sorts of things, which either I've come across people who've suffered that directly or have read about. So it meant all of those things.

I say this not in jest but it does sound funny. When an American interrogator threatens you with an Egyptian interrogator or Egyptian torture, you really need to worry. And that's pretty much the state of affairs that I was in when an American interrogator, military interrogator, came and said to me, "Moazzam, that stuff really happens. Recently somebody was sent to Syria and that's where he still is." I thought he was making it up, up until I was released and heard about the case of Maher Arar and how he'd been sent to Syria because I'd thought, "Well the Americans and the Syrians don't have good relations, why would they do this?" But of course, when it comes to getting information, everything is justified.

The woman screaming in the cell next door. As I understand it, it was something that was a very terrifying moment for you.

One thing that the Americans had always known about my situation was that I was constantly worried and anxious and in a terrible state in relation to what had happened to my family. I wanted somebody to give me a reassurance that they're okay, that they've -- all the way from asking for their welfare from the initial point that I was taken into custody up until the notorious May, the month of torture. I'd written letters via the Red Cross making my fears clear about my family to my father, asking if my wife and children were safe. And of course every letter that was written by any detainee had to, and still has to be processed through the censorship, so they knew exactly my state of mind completely. And I used to ask them, "You may wish to do to me whatever you want to, but at least give me the reassurance that family's okay." And they used this against me in the sense that they knew that this was my weak point, that this is where we can really get to him.

And it was in this manner that they produced pictures of my wife, my children, that they'd obviously printed off my laptop computer, which they seized in Pakistan, and waved these pictures in front of me, asking me if I knew what had happened to my wife and kids that night, if I thought they were safe, if I thought I'd ever see them again. If I really cared about them so much, and if I did I would tell them everything. And at the same time, being shackled, being subjected to noises and sounds, which were the screams of a woman. And these screams -- it was evident to me -- could well have been my wife. And the reason I felt that was because they did this all simultaneously, showing the pictures and asking the questions.

And I've never felt so much dejection and anger at the same time. If there's any point in my life that I wanted to kill somebody it was this point. And if I, I think, could have got those shackles around their necks I would have done so and got out to the next room just to stop what's happening, because the screams were very real. And they were so real, in fact, that people downstairs in the main holding areas heard them. And they told me, when I eventually met with some of these guys, because it was well known amongst the detainees who were there that I was really terrified as to what happened to my family and worried about it, that they said, "We were all praying for you Moazzam because we felt that it probably was your wife." So it wasn't just me who felt that.

So for this month you were essentially more or less kept without sleep, you were kept in solitary, you were kept isolated.

I was in solitary confinement totally for this month and a little bit more. I would be interrogated at any given time of the day or night, unannounced. Interrogators would walk in and tell me to get up, the guards would make sure that I was seated or standing, depending on how long I'd been in either position. And it wasn't that I was kept awake for a month nonstop or anything like that, but it was during this whole period that intermittently, I was kept awake and had the most sleep deprivation of the whole period of incarceration.

So when you -- one is deprived of sleep to that extreme, what does your mind do?

It seems unreal. Everything seems unreal, that this is not really happening, it's unbelievable, but at the same time you want it to end; you want to fall asleep. You want to do anything in order that you can just lie down in the corner no matter how hard the floor is, how cold it is, no matter how uncomfortable sleep would be with shackles on your arms and legs and a hood over your head, you just want to sleep. When they keep waking you up like through shouting or throwing things or banging things or just dragging you up, you can't get to sleep. I remember during interrogations I'd fall asleep or begin to fall -- start falling asleep but I'd be woken up and they'd take the chair away sometimes, so you can't sit, you have to stand.

But at that point there aren't questions that you can answer; you can't answer anything that's meaningful. You can't give meaningful replies. As I said, this didn't happen to me very much, but the time that it did happen all of those things, disorientated, terrified, it goes beyond being scared now. It just, you know, you just want to sleep.

You don't remember everything that happened at one point while you were still at Bagram because of this?

I remember just the fact that during the period of time that I was deprived of sleep that the only thing on my mind, as I said, was to get some sleep. It's very difficult to remember everything that they were asking me at that time, but I think during this point at some point they -- there was a -- they put the idea that I was involved in a plot to assassinate the pope or that I was an instructor in one of the training camps run by Osama bin Laden and things like that. These were just things that they threw at me and wanted me to confess to, which I didn't. But that was the sort of period in which they asked these types of questions. It's interesting that they didn't put these allegations at any other point, they did it at this time perhaps hoping or wishing that I might just say, "Okay, fine. I'll admit to it. And let's just end this." And the other, of course, threat at this time was being sent to Egypt. That was also a great threat.

Were there ever threats made directly to your family?

Well, the CIA once - somebody from the CIA said to me that he wanted me to work for them and that he wanted me to become an operative, a CIA operative, in Iran or God knows where else, but that if I decide to double-cross them, they knew where my family was. There is no corner of the earth that I, or my family, could escape to where they wouldn't know about. So I remember that very clearly, but that's the -- that's the threat that -- that I received. And also when they asked me questions about my family in Britain, the implication again, although they didn't directly say it, is that we will be there, we will go down and see them. My parents and my brother.

At the time you found out you were going to Guantanamo, was there a sense of relief?

Yes. I remember the first time that I was told I could be sent to Guantanamo, or was going to be sent to Guantanamo. And several times it did happen that they prepared me for the flight that said, "You are going somewhere," the -- and the suggestion was that I am going on a flight to Guantanamo. And that did happen once, where I was completely shackled up and almost prepared, in a sense, that I will now be on a flight, but then that didn't happen. So I don't know whether that was incompetence, whether it was -- I suppose I doubt it was incompetence, I think seriously that this was again a method of frightening me. And it did the job. But by the time 2003, February came along, I was looking forward to going to Guantanamo.

You're shackled, you can't move?

All the way from being shackled to the seat in which I was put, my hands, I could be wrong, but this was the introduction at least of the shackles being tied to a waist chain. I don't know if this was the complete "three-piece suit" as they call it, in which the chain goes down to the ankles, but yes, my hands were shackled to my waist. And my senses were completely blocked: earmuffs, face mask, goggles. It was excruciatingly painful, extremely uncomfortable. I knew that the journey would last at least 36 hours, so I pleaded with one of the medics, one of the corpsmen to give me a sedative, which they did. So I woke up in Guantanamo in a daze.

How do you explain what the purpose is of blocking senses?

Disorientation, dehumanization, and keeping a person terrified. When you can't see something, I mean, the old adage is that ignorance breeds hatred and clearly if you can't see anything you're going to be terrified. It's the dark that humans are afraid of, not the light. And so being in the dark will keep you afraid -- will make you afraid all the time. The notion is, I think, that when somebody has a black bag put over their head, that's what happens when somebody gets executed. Or if you're tied with your hands behind your back and you're in a kneeling position and somebody puts a black bag over your head, then you hear the sound of a gun, "ch ch" you think, "My head is going to be blown off." And that did happen, I heard that sort of "ch ch" sound several times. So it's all about fear. It's all about terror and I don't think that people who employed these tactics were thinking that what they were doing was not part of their standard operating procedure. I think they felt completely justified in their interpretation of the operation procedures, manifested itself in this type of treatment.

Were you afraid you would be killed?

Yes. Particularly in Kandahar I would say. And the reason I would say so is because being taken out of the cell was a process in itself in which -- meant that the guard on over watch would chamber his round in his M-16 and point it towards the detainee. At the same time the soldiers or the military policemen who were coming in to take the detainee consisted of three people. Two of them would rush into the cell but the third would stand outside the cell with his handgun pointed towards the detainee, again, round chambered. So it's only that much of a movement. It's that much of a movement for somebody to be killed and it's not much of a movement really that requires -- that's the difference between you and death, between your life and your death. So yes, the fear of being killed was an ever-present reality, all the time.

How did you not break and start signing false confessions and admitting to some of these charges and that sort of thing?

Well, I suppose in a sense I did break. In a sense I did. I did say to them that, "Look, I'll do whatever you want me to do," particularly during the period of that month that I talk about often. In an attempt for them to lessen -- to take away the pressure, "Okay, whatever you want." And they said, "We'll -- okay, we'll be back." And of course they were back -- when I say they, these interrogators -- they were back several months later, almost a year later in Guantanamo, the very same people.

But on the other hand, as time went on and of course these interrogators were no longer there during that period between the time they left in May to the time that I was sent to Guantanamo, many other things happened. Some of which helped me to harden my resolve towards them and change my attitude. That included hopelessness, it included despair, but it also included witnessing other people being killed. It included seeing things that I hold sacred, like the Koran, being violated and misused and abused for no apparent reason other than to needle at me and to needle others. It included the deprivation of natural light, it included no cooked meals, it included none of the things that anybody would expect even for the worst convicted criminals on earth who would be afforded these rights. It included no ability to communicate with the family.

All of these things started making me sort of less afraid and more -- more resolved to start to challenge. I asked for a pen and asked for a paper from one of the interrogators in which I said I wanted to write something of great importance. So I suppose he must have jumped at the chance and thought, "All right, this guy's going to make confession." And in it I wrote, I want a polygraph test and in this polygraph test I want these questions asked of me: Am I a member of al Qaeda, am I a member of any terrorist organization, have I taken part in any hostility, acts of hostility, against the United States or any other government, have I been funding any acts of terrorism, and specific questions. And I also said that I have witnessed the deaths of two detainees and I will make it known at every possible level that I've seen these deaths that were perpetrated by what I believe were American soldiers and there has to be accountability for it. And that letter was taken from me and I don't know what became of it, but people knew what I was about, what I wanted to do and I think that that's partly, not completely, but partly the reason I was in solitary confinement for so long.

You were kept in solitary confinement. Did that begin to affect you?

Yes. Two occasions, and again this was an exception to the rule in my personal behavior. I think three times in total throughout my whole incarceration, I lost control, lost control of my sense in which I punched, kicked, screamed, cried, spat, swore, did all those things that are not part of my character. It happened first I think when I was taken into Pakistani custody and when I didn't know why I was being held, and then in Guantanamo in isolation it happened twice. And it would have happened a lot more had I not also made a personal resolve to accept my fate as it was.

One of those times, I gather, is the time they then sent this female psychiatrist to visit you.

I think it was the second time - they sent a female psychiatrist. And it was quite bizarre for me because I've never needed in my entire life to see a psychiatrist and now I was being sent psychiatrists every time I lost control. One of the things she suggested to me after sitting there and apparently being somebody who wants to listen and understand was to make a suggestion that had I thought of suicide? Have I ever thought about harming myself? And I said, "No." And she said, "Have you ever thought of taking your trousers and wrapping them around your neck, making a noose, and then threading those trousers with the sheet that you have in the cell and tying it to the corner of the top and jumping off from it so that you can commit suicide?" I said, "No, not until you put the thought into my mind," which is really bizarre because up until that point I don't know anybody who had committed suicide. I know there were at suicide in Guantanamo and this was, I think from what I've been -- from what I understand, the preferred method. And last year people did apparently commit suicide by this method.

Once that image had been placed in your mind by this psychiatrist, did it come back to haunt you?

I've never forgotten it; I can never forget it because simply the thought of it -- I think to myself, "Well yes, actually it would fit very nicely, wouldn't it? A pair of trousers around the neck, you know, the crotch part would fit right around the neck quite comfortably," but no I never thought about using that as a method to hurt myself. I wasn't going to hurt myself at all. That's just not me.

I'd resolved myself to whatever my fate was going to be, I was going to use this whole period to try and strengthen myself, however crazy or ludicrous that sounds. For example, I'm in solitude. Solitude necessitates that I've got time -- nothing but time to think and to formulate my thoughts and my mind and at the same time, I don't know, do a physical workout and things like that. But at the same time, being shattered from isolation from other human beings, the most important of whom were my own family, one of whom I'd never even seen in my entire life, which was my youngest son. That thought plagued me for the whole period of time in incarceration. If there's anything that brought me to despair it was that, so I had to lock that out of my mind continually. And that was part of the process that changed my makeup as a human being. I'm a father of three children, at that point four, but you don't see any children in Guantanamo, you don't hear any voices of children laughing or crying or playing. You don't see any of that. So now that's all gone as a detainee at that point, that was all gone.

So my makeup as a person was totally changed, totally shattered, re-formed. I even told myself if they were to put me in the middle of a shopping mall straight after solitary confinement I'd convinced myself that I'd be able to deal with it, although I wouldn't be able to, but I convinced myself that I would. I didn't know how I would deal with being reintroduced to my children.

Without asking too personal a question, how did that go?

My oldest daughter was six the last time I had seen her before I was released. She was now close to ten when I was returned. I used to be able to pick her up in the air and throw her and catch her. I couldn't do that anymore, so that was gone. And in the way that every child grows, even if people who were free, they see relatives' children or friends' children and think, "My, hasn't he grown?" So imagine what I would have thought after three years. They're almost unrecognizable in a sense. They still have those faces, those features, but they're so much bigger now. Some of them didn't recognize me, some didn't know who I was. See the tears of the eyes of my oldest daughter was very difficult to deal with. But by the time I'd returned, I wasn't this bag of emotional nerves and, "How am I going to deal with them when I get back home," because part of my tools that I employed to survive was cutting them out of my mind as much as possible. So returning home I tried to keep them as distant as possible and that has been -- that had been part of the technique I employed even when I returned.

And for them, if I just give the example of my son, my eldest son, who once sent me a letter -- one of the ones that I did get in Guantanamo, which he drew a face behind bars. And it just simply said, "My dad is in jail." When I saw that, I thought, "Is this just an innocent picture drawn by a small child just airing what he feels about what's happened to his dad, or is it that he's telling the world that my dad -- my father is in prison, but I don't know what that means." Because to the child, if he was to go to tell other children and say, "My dad is in jail," automatically they would think, "You're dad's got to be a bad man." How do you explain to the child that a place like Guantanamo exists? How do you explain to a child that there are concepts of innocence until proven guilty that have been totally removed from people? You can't explain that to a child.

One of the other things that I did say to myself in all of that time that I had was that I will do X, Y, and Z with my children when I return. I will take them to Sherwood Forest, I will take them to Warren Castle, I will take them to a camping trip and those sorts of formulations that I was able to do in my mind were things that I've been able to realize since my return. And that has been part of the process of readjusting and re-familiarizing myself with my family. But I think probably the hardest has been -- for obvious reasons -- reconnection with my youngest child because for three years I wasn't around. And I think that those three formative years are extremely important for a child to be able to recognize and to communicate with a parent, which we've lost totally.

I want to ask you a question about the people who are left behind, still at Guantanamo.

I think whatever they've gone through is twice what I have in terms of time, in terms of every possible adversity they've had to face. They're in Camp Five and Camp Six, which I wasn't held in, but just from my knowledge of these places that there are super maximum-security isolated cells built in concrete.

The prisoners that remain in Guantanamo Bay have suffered and continue to endure twice what I did, not just because of the length of time, but because of what happens during that period. It's desolate. It's bleak. There is no foreseeable future for them and even whatever that foreseeable future entails, it's extremely unclear, it's extremely unsure. I suppose the added benefit of being a British citizen and returning to this country and getting the benefits of all that entails, but for a lot of these people who are held in Guantanamo Bay, whether they're British residents or whether they're citizens of other countries who don't have those rights, it's not the end of the ordeal by any means, and in some cases it's just the beginning.

And I think that would be enough to destroy the strongest of minds. I consider myself to be fairly strong but I think if I had been in that situation I would have been destroyed. My mind would have gone; thoughts of -- I still don't think I would resort to try to kill myself, but as far as wanting to talk to people, as far as wanting to argue my case towards other people, and thinking that there's an end in sight, I think I would have probably just given up. And I'm unsurprised that there are several people held in Guantanamo now who refuse to see lawyers because they think that it's a complete and utter waste of time and there is no legal solution to this.