Camp X-Ray clothes test:
One hour in hell
Jan 22 2002
By Stephen Moyes
THE darkness filled me with fear. The silence was deafening. And the tight manacles made my limbs ache.
But I couldn't shout for help - for under the blacked-out goggles and swathed in a suffocating orange boiler suit, I could not speak, smell, hear or touch.
My 60 minutes as a captive seemed to drag on for ever. But at least I knew I would soon shed the prison clothing and go free, unlike the al-Qaeda suspects locked behind razor wire at the US base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The Mirror yesterday re-created the barbaric conditions in which America is keeping its prisoners - and I wasn't prepared for the shock.
My blindfolded eyes refused to adjust to the dark void that engulfed me. I was instantly disorientated. It was terrifyingly claustrophobic. I couldn't even grope in the dark, for my gloved hands were clamped in metal handcuffs and my arms locked in position.
At first, my degrading uniform just felt uncomfortable, the handcuffs and straps around my head an irritating, numbing pain. But soon it became agonising. I could sense my eyes watering, sweat gathering on my brow. My limbs went dead.
I gasped for air as I tried to breathe through my nose. I told myself not to panic. All I could smell was the nauseating material of the surgical mask. And I knew my moans of discomfort went unheard.
Large ear-muffs ensured that I couldn't hear the faintest sound. Only crouching close to the ground seemed to ease the feeling of total isolation.
With just flip-flops on my feet, I flinched when someone trod on me. I felt utterly alone. I could have been there for 30 minutes - or three hours.
It was a blessed relief when my handcuffs were released at last and my attire removed. The harsh glare of light blinded me. For a few minutes, I didn't know where I was. Conversation deafened me. But at least I was free - unlike the 100-plus terror suspects now being held in basic conditions at Camp X-ray. Their life must be a living hell.
Designed to keep the surgical mask and goggles firmly in place. It also helps to prevent identification between the prisoners. Poor visibility makes escape or an attack on guards a virtual impossibility. Hot and stifling for wearer.
These rule out holding a conversation, so no news or ideas can be exchanged between the prisoners. Lack of hearing also causes disorientation and makes it impossible to respond to guards' commands.
With blacked-out goggles, there is no chance to see where other prisoners are or the layout of the jail. They destroy any chance of escape. No eye contact is possible between prisoners. Could harm sight in the long term.
No chance of men exchanging advice or raising morale. No religious teachings can be passed on. Makes recognition of prisoners difficult. Rules out risk of biting a guard. Causes claustrophobia and could lead to breathing problems.
Stiff all-in-one uniform greatly restricts ease of movement. There are no pockets or zips - which might have been useful to hide weapons. No belt, which could be used as a weapon. Prisoner could overheat, causing exhaustion.
Hands are tightly clamped together to rule out any chance of an attack on guards. Cuffs also prevent writing and hand signs. Objects cannot be picked up or used as missiles. Long periods of use cause bruising or cuts to wrists.
Nowhere to hide a weapon. Too flimsy to kick a guard. Unsuitable for running away in. Can cause bruising if not fitted properly.