Some of the hard-core prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility can be "pretty abusive" to the guards and occasionally have to be restrained, the commander of U.S. Southern Command said Thursday.
The abusive behavior can include "splashing," Marine Gen. John Kelly told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Kelly did not go into detail before the panel on what he meant by "splashing," but said at a later Pentagon briefing that the prisoners will use "feces, urine, sperm, vomit – they'll turn it into a little cocktail" to throw at the guards.
Army Col. David Heath, the Guantanamo camp commander, said last year that "splashing" by the prisoners was a near daily occurrence.
"In my experience, in the last four months it happens probably once a day," Heath told Agence France-Presse. "They don't discriminate in splashing. If you are at the right place at the wrong time, they'll splash whoever they can splash."
Guards have also been assaulted by prisoners and kneed in the groin, Kelly said. "If they can assault the guards physically, they'll do it," he said.
"I will not back off" from protecting the guards, Kelly said. Abusive prisoners were restrained and sometimes moved to single cells, he said.
Kelly said he also was concerned by recent rulings from two military judges restricting female guards from dealing with several prisoners who complained that it was against Islam.
"Call me crazy -- that sounds like gender discrimination," Kelly said. "I'm also ashamed that I'm doing it," he said of limiting the duties of female guards. The complaining prisoners included Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other "high value" prisoners charged with plotting the 9/11 terror attacks, Kelly said.
At the Senate hearing, Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, told the general that "when the 9/11 attackers don't want women guarding them, it's absurd."
Currently, there are 122 prisoners at the Guantanamo detention facility. Of those, 55 have been cleared for repatriation or release to another country that will accept them, a Pentagon spokesman said.
Kelly said that the recidivism rate for those released from Guantanamo ranged as high as 30 percent, though the White House and State Department have maintained that the rate was closer to six percent.
A report last week by the office of the Director of National Intelligence said that since Jan. 22, 2009, when President Barack Obama signed an executive order aimed at eventually closing Guantanamo, six of the 115 detainees released (5.2 percent) have re-engaged in terror activities, as opposed to nearly 21 percent of those released before Obama took office.
-- Richard Sisk can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org