GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba -- Military guards at a detention camp at Guantanamo Bay say they have noticed a command structure emerging among the terrorist suspects being held there, camp leaders said Saturday. The leaders seem to surface during prayer sessions.
Of the evolving leadership structure, Brig. Gen. Mike Lehnert said ''We have indications that many have received training, and that they are observing actions such as security procedures.
Lehnert, a Marine, heads the task force in charge of the detention missions at Camp X-Ray. Some 158 terrorist suspects from the war in Afghanistan are being held at the camp, in southeastern Cuba.
He said there have been ''some attempts to secret away materials or to coordinate activities. Given their background and training, this is something that we have anticipated.''
Army Lt. Col. Bernie Liswell, battalion commander of the military police, said the would-be leaders seem to emerge during the five-times daily prayer periods.
''Their main effort collectively appears to be at prayer time,'' he said, ''Such as those who want to lead a prayer.''
Liswell also told reporters that military guards have found rocks and stones in the cells of some of the suspects, but it was unclear whether the detainees were planning an attack or just playing a game like tic-tac-toe.
''They can either use that as a sharpening device or to write with,'' he said.
He said some prisoners have been seen trying to write messages in the ground with the rocks. And suggested they might even be trying to play a game, like tic-tac-toe. But, he said, ''we take rocks, tell them not to do that.''
Meanwhile, military officials are working on making life more comfortable for the detainees held in open-air cells with walls of chain-link fence set on a concrete slab and topped by a corrugated iron roof.
Army Col. Terry Carrico, the commander of Camp X-Ray, says the prisoners are going to be allowed to grow back their beards, along with the long hair that many devout Muslim men wear and that was shaved off when they were captured.
They're also getting pita bread with their meals now, and officials are working with the International Committee of the Red Cross on detainees' requests to have tea and novels to read, Carrico said.
Officials have adopted a system of punishment for bad behavior and rewards for good.
''We've issued prayer (skull) caps today,'' Carrico said. ''We can always reward good behavior.'' Earlier this week, the prisoners appeared pleased when a Muslim Navy cleric arrived to lead morning prayers, and they were given Qurans, the sacred text of Islam.
In isolated instances when prisoners ''act out,'' a comfort item is withdrawn.
''We've taken, for instance, their water bottle. They decided to throw water at us. We took their canteens of water, we kept it for a few hours, and we gave it back to them.
''It seems to do the trick,'' he said.
Some 20 legislators from the United States toured the camp this weekend amid an international outcry over the treatment and status of the detainees. The suspected al-Qaida and Taliban fighters held there were being interrogated by American authorities seeking intelligence to help the U.S.-led war on terrorism.
The prisoners are from 25 countries and some may be sent to their homelands to face military tribunals once interrogators have completed questioning them, Republican Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma said Friday.
Officials have refused to identify the detainees nationalities, but Britain, Sweden, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Australia have said they have citizens among detainees in Guantanamo.
The delegation said it was more interested in finding whether interrogations that began Wednesday were yielding useful information to fight the war on terrorism.
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson said interrogators ''are starting to obtain valuable information.''
Several of the visitors also said they found the treatment humane and backed the U.S. refusal to bow to demands that the detainees be declared prisoners-of-war under the Geneva Conventions, which would prevent them being tried by secret military commissions empowered with the death sentence.
''We're dealing with terrorists here ... They don't represent a country. They don't wear uniforms,'' Inhofe said.
Bush administration lawyers are divided over whether the convention applies to the suspects. President Bush feels it does not, saying these detainees are terrorists, not uniformed members of a national military.
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