True Story From Behind Guantanamo Bay's Bars

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 20, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Last week we profiled five of Gitmo's most dangerous terrorists. Before we take a closer look at what Guantanamo Bay is really like, we go to Kimberly Guilfoyle for a recap of some of those Gitmo residents — Kimberly.


We'll start with the man known in the terrorist world as Hambali, the operational mastermind behind the Islamic terror group Jemaah Islamiyah. He planned the Bali bombings that killed 200 people and injured thousands.

Then there is Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, Al Qaeda's operations chief in the Arabian Peninsula, responsible for countless terror plots. He coordinated the attack on the USS Cole in which 17 American servicemen were killed and 39 injured.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani was an Al Qaeda document forger until the events of August 7, 1998, made him one of America's most wanted. He delivered the bombs that exploded in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 223 people and injuring thousands.

When he was arrested, he had computer files containing detailed plans for new attacks against both the U.S. and Britain.

Ramzi Binalshibh was supposed to be the 20th hijacker but could not get a U.S. visa, so instead, he stayed in Afghanistan, actively planning the 9/11 attacks. He was captured in 2002 after a violent shoot-out in Pakistan. Finally, there is Abu Zubaydah. He operated a terrorist training camp along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, and smuggled terrorists, and chemicals back and forth between the two countries. Zubaydah assisted Aman Rafan (hh), who was stopped by an alert customs agent as he tried to enter the U.S. from Canada. Hidden in his car were timing devices and more than 100 pounds of explosives. His plan was to blow up Los Angeles International Airport.

HANNITY: So are these the kind of people that you want right here on American soil? Because that's where they're headed as soon as Gitmo gets shut down.

But is the military base really that bad, or is that just what the mainstream media wants you to believe? My next guest has been to Guantanamo Bay five times and has seen with his own eyes what really goes on behind this barbed wired.

His new book is called "Inside Gitmo: The True Story Behind the Myths of Guantanamo Bay." Former special forces, Lieutenant Colonel Gordon Cucullu.

Colonel, thanks for being with us. Appreciate it.

Video: Watch Sean's interview

LT. COL. GORDON CUCULLU: Thank you, Sean, for having me on. It's a pleasure.

HANNITY: First of all, you've been there. You've been there five times. You know what really goes on there. Is it as bad as has been portrayed in the mainstream media?

CUCULLU: Not at all. In fact, the abuse that goes on in Guantanamo Bay, Sean, is not of the detainees, but from the detainees onto the guards and even the medics that service them.

We know that there are more than 400 attacks annually by the detainees on the guards. These include everything from throwing bodily fluids like semen, feces, urine, spit and vomit into these young people's faces to — smashing their arms and breaking them against the cell.

One young female medic and her — about 19 years old went over and leaned over, because the detainee asked her to assist him. He reached in, smashed her face against the cell so many times that it broke bones in her face, and this young woman has had 16 reconstructive plastic surgeries as a result.

So it doesn't sound like it's the detainees who are being abused to me: it's the guards and the medics.

HANNITY: Colonel, I'm listening to this, and the reports have been just the opposite. Now, from the people that I know that have actually been there like yourself and have been able to witness this with their own eyes, I understand people have provided religious observance opportunities. They are provided Korans. They are provided good meals. They are provided exercise opportunities. Versus what you're describing. You know, orchestrated attacks against — against the guards. But you don't ever hear about that. Why is that?

CUCULLU: We never hear about that, Sean, and I think that's because it's not popular with the media or with the anti-Guantanamo activists to publicize this sort of thing. Instead what we hear are a lot of mythologies.

As you said, these guys are fed Halal meals that are flown in from the United States or overseas, 4,200 calories daily, they see physicians four times a month on average. They have better medical equipment, digital radiology and all of this sort of stuff, much better than our soldiers and sailors do that are down there.

The prayer time is observed. In fact, what you see on the blocks is that whenever the call for prayer is sounded, they take one of these orange traffic cones, put it all in the hallway so that the guards will maintain quiet and not disturb the detainees at prayer. It's all set up for safe and humane care and treatment of the detainees, Sean.

HANNITY: Never in the history of warfare in this country have we ever bestowed constitutional rights to enemy combatants.

There have been reports now that as many as 61 former Gitmo residents are back on the battlefield. Our new president, Barack Obama, not only wants to get rid of enhanced interrogations. They said that he doesn't want to use the war on terror, his spokesmen won't use it, but now he's proposing as you know to close it.

What will that mean in terms of the safety and security of this country? Is that a pre-9/11 move?

CUCULLU: I think it definitely is. The — right off the bat, Sean, the first thing that does is that announcement sends a message to our enemies that, in fact, "Hey, we won. This is a victory."

Just as Hamas climbed out of the rubble in Gaza, now suddenly across the Islamic fundamentalist world, what you're seeing is mosques and madrassas saying we won. If they're brought to the United States like fort Leavenworth, Charleston, South Carolina, or others, we can be assured that this is going to be a terror magnet to bring jihadists from all over the world. And we risk innocent lives, innocent American children and women, and schools and hospitals. simply for the sake of a public relations image building. I don't see it.

HANNITY: Between that and — even if they captured Usama bin Laden they said they wouldn't use enhanced interrogation techniques. I mean, this is — It seems that Barack Obama, our new president, and I'm offering unsolicited advice, go back and read the 9/11 Commission report, how they were at war with us, how we ignored them, and we were not at war with them.

Clearly, we seem to be headed back in a very dangerous direction in my view, and — but I appreciate your insight, your advice, and it's a great book. Thanks for being with us.

CUCULLU: Appreciate it, Sean. Thanks for having me on.

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