U.S. SOLDIER BEATEN BY OTHER SOLDIERS DURING
TRAINING EXERCISE IN GUANTANAMO BAY TELLS HIS STORY
-- "60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY" ON CBS
Today, Specialist Sean Baker takes nine medications each day, can't get a job and has gained 50 pounds. But Baker's also lucky to be alive. Last year, he was working as a military policeman in the Guantanamo Bay prison when other MP's injured him during a training drill, a drill during which Baker was simply obeying orders. Correspondent Bob Simon talks to Baker, his doctor and members of the 438th Military Police Company in Murray, Ky., for an exclusive report, to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY Nov. 3 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
In November 2002, Baker's unit was sent to Guantanamo Bay, home to what the Pentagon has called the most vicious terrorists in the world. Once there, Baker's job was to escort prisoners and walk the causeways of the prison block. Baker tells Simon that new guards on the block often received special treatment from the detainees. "They want to try the new guy -- see how much they can push you, you know? How much water they can throw on you, how much urine they can throw on you, how much feces they can dump on you."
Despite the sometimes hostile response from prisoners, Baker says he loved being a soldier and was always the first to volunteer for assignments. In fact, last year he volunteered to participate in a training exercise on the block where the most dangerous of the detainees were kept in isolated cells. Second Lieutenant Shaw Locke, who was in charge of an Immediate Reaction Force (IRF) at the prison, briefed Baker about the training drill he was planning that morning. Baker says he was instructed to put on an orange jumpsuit, like the one worn by the detainees, get under a bunk and wait for the IRF team to extract him from a cell. In sworn statements, four members of the team said they thought they were going after a real detainee. "�I said, 'Sir, you're going to tell that IRF team that I'm a U.S. soldier,'" recalls Baker. "He said, 'Yes, you'll be fine, Specialist Baker, trust me.'" Locke later acknowledged in a sworn statement that he did not indicate "whether the scenario was a drill or not a drill to the IRF team." But Locke did tell the team the detainee had not responded to pepper spray.
Locke gave Baker a code word -- red -- to shout out in case of trouble. From under the bunk, Baker heard the extraction team coming down the causeway and entering his cell. "My face was down and, of course, they're pushing it down against the steel floor, you know, my right temple, pushing it down against the floor and someone's holding me by the throat�using a pressure point on me and holding my throat and I used the word, 'red,'" says Baker. "At that point I�became afraid." Apparently, no one heard the code word because Baker says he continued to be manhandled, especially by an MP named Scott Sinclair who was holding onto his head. "�When I said the word 'red,' he forced my head down against the steel floor and was sort of just grinding it into the floor," Baker tells Simon. "The individual then, when I picked up my head and said, 'red,' slammed my head down against the floor. I was so afraid I groaned out, 'I'm a U.S. soldier,' and when I said that, he slammed my head again, one more time against the floor and I groaned out one more time. I said, 'I'm a U.S. soldier' and I heard them say, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa�'"
Josh Howard is the executive producer of 60 MINUTES WEDNESDAY and Draggan Mihailovich is the producer of this report.