When hot and humid, Cuba hovered somewhere in between absolute misery and ” the bath is ready, does anyone have any razor blades? ” But when it was cold and raining, Cuba was downright unbearable. Tonight was one of those nights.
When the guards arrived at X-ray block they were in a bad mood—worse than usual. And it wasn’t because of the weather. Something was wrong. It was written all over their faces as they pulled five of the camp’s most dangerous prisoners from their isolation cells and ordered them at gunpoint to strip.
Philipe Roussard hadn’t been at Guantánamo the longest, but he had definitely been interrogated the hardest. A European of Arab descent, he was a sniper of extraordinary ability whose exploits were legendary.Videos of his kills played on continuous loops on jihadist Web sites across the Internet.To his Muslim brothers he was nothing short of a superhero in the radical Islamist pantheon. To the United States, he was a horrific killing machine responsible for the deaths of over one hundred U.S. soldiers.
As Roussard looked into the eyes of his jailers, he saw more than the pure hatred they normally viewed him and his fellow captives with.Tonight it was coupled with absolute disgust.Whatever middle-of-the-night interrogation tactic the Task Force Guantánamo soldiers had in store for them, something told him it wasn’t going to be like anything they had seen before.The guards appeared on the verge of losing control.
Had an attack been successfully executed against the United States? What else could have put the soldiers in such a state?
If so, Roussard felt certain that the Americans would make the prisoners pay.That was how life was at Guantánamo. The guards were petty and never missed an opportunity to lord their power over them. Undoubtedly, they had devised yet another humiliating exercise designed to insult their Muslim sensibilities. Privately, Roussard hoped it involved the attractive blond soldier who would disrobe down to her underwear and rub herself against him. Unlike the other prisoners, Philipe was not exactly a devout Muslim. His sensibilities were more along the lines of his captors and his fantasies of what he wanted to do to that woman more than kept him occupied through many of the long, lonely hours of isolation he withstood on a daily basis.
He was still speculating as to their fate when he heard the door at the far end of the cell block shut. Roussard looked up, hoping it was the blonde, but it wasn’t. Another soldier had entered carrying five paper shopping bags. As he passed, he threw each of the prisoners a bag.
“Get dressed!” he ordered in halting Arabic.
Confused, all of the prisoners, including Philipe, removed the civilian clothing from their bags and began to get dressed. Not accustomed to seeing anyone other than their guards, the prisoners looked at each other as they tried to figure out what was happening. Roussard was reminded of stories he’d been told of Jewish Concentration Camp prisoners who were told they were being taken for showers before being set free as they were led to the gas chambers.
He doubted the Americans were dressing them in new clothes only to take them off someplace to kill them, but nevertheless the uncertainty of what they were about to face filled him with more than a little trepidation.
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