June 28, 2006

World Cup has truly captive audience at Guantanamo

GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, June 28 - A few dozen
Guantanamo prisoners who refused to take part in a riot were
rewarded with a chance to watch three World Cup soccer matches,
their American captors said on Wednesday.

"We videotaped the games and took out the commercials, all
the games Saudi Arabia played in," said Lt. Col. Mike
Nicolucci, who functions as deputy warden in the U.S. detention
camp for foreign terrorism suspects on the Guantanamo naval
base in Cuba.

Viewing privileges were reserved for about 40 captives from
Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan who live in group barracks in the
medium-security section of the camp.

That section held about 175 captives until mid-May, when a
riot broke out and detainees ambushed guards and attacked them
with fan blades and light fixtures, guards said.

Those who took part were moved to spartan individual cells
in maximum-security cellblocks, but the 40 remaining in the
group housing had returned quietly to their barracks and shut
the doors when the melee broke out, guards said.

Their reward was short-lived when Saudi Arabia lost to
Spain on June 21, sealing a first-round exit after previous
losses to Tunisia and Ukraine. Soccer is also hugely popular in
Afghanistan, although it has never sent a team to the World Cup