US military personnel at Guantanamo Bay called Fidel Castro a transsexual and defended the prison for terrorism suspects in anonymous web postings, an internet group that publishes government documents said on Dec. 13.
The group, Wikileaks, tracked web activity by service members with Guantanamo email addresses and also found they deleted prisoner identification numbers from three detainee profiles on Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia that allows anyone to change articles.
Julian Assange, who led the research effort, said the postings amount to propaganda and deception.
“This is the American government speaking to the American people and to the world through Wikipedia, not identifying itself and often speaking about itself in the third person,” Assange said in a telephone interview from Paris.
Army Lt Col Ed Bush, a Guantanamo spokesman, said there is no official attempt to alter information posted elsewhere but said the military seeks to correct what it believes is incorrect or outdated information about the prison.
Assange said that in January 2006, someone at Guantanamo wrote in a Wikipedia profile of the Cuban president: “Fidel Castro is an admitted transexual,” the unknown writer said, misspelling the word transsexual.
Comments on news stories were posted by people using apparently fictitious names to news sites — and were prepared by the Guantanamo public affairs office, according to Wikileaks.
A comment on a Wired magazine story about a leaked Guantanamo operations manual that was recently posted on the Wikileaks website urged readers to learn about Guantanamo by going to the public affairs website, adding that the base is “a very professional place full of true American patriots.”
Assange’s group could not specifically identify who from Guantanamo made about 60 edits to Wikipedia entries on topics that included not only the prison but also subjects such as football, cars and television programs.
The Age (Australia)