Guantanamo: "Dangerous terrorist"? or "no reason recorded for transfer"?

bathsheba666

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13184845

Wikileaks: Many at Guantanamo 'not dangerous'

Files obtained by the whistleblowing website Wikileaks have revealed that the US believed many of those held at Guantanamo Bay were innocent or only low-level operatives.

The files, published in US and European newspapers, are assessments of all 780 people ever held at the facility.

They show that about 220 were classed as dangerous terrorists, but 150 were innocent Afghans and Pakistanis.

The Pentagon said the files' release could damage anti-terrorism efforts.

The latest documents have been published on Wikileaks,the Guardian, the New York Times and in other newspapers, although it was not clear whether the papers had co-operated with Wikileaks in their release. The Times said they received the files through "another source".

The Detainee Assessment Briefs (DABs) also give details of alleged plots, revealed under interrogation, against US and European targets.

They included unverified claims that al-Qaeda had hidden a nuclear weapon in Europe for detonation should Osama Bin laden be captured.

Other alleged plots include plans to put cyanide into the air conditioning systems of US public buildings and attempts by al-Qaeda to recruit workers at London's Heathrow Airport.

But the files give little information on the allegations of harsh treatment and interrogation techniques at the camp.

The BBC's Jonny Dymond in Washington says many of the details have been heard before in various forms, but never from an official US source.


There are now just under 180 detainees at the US naval base in Cuba. Most are deemed to pose a high risk threat to the US if released without adequate supervision.

But the files show that US military analysts considered only 220 of those ever detained at Guantanamo to be dangerous extremists.

They include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks on the US, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi accused of planning the 2000 bombing of the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen.

Another 380 detainees were deemed to be low-ranking guerrillas.

At least 150 people were revealed to be innocent Afghans or Pakistanis - including drivers, farmers and chefs - rounded up during intelligence gathering operations in the aftermath of 9/11.

The detainees were then held for years owing to mistaken identity or because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, the memos say. In many cases, US commanders concluded there was "no reason recorded for transfer".

Sami al-Hajj, a Sudanese cameraman for al-Jazeera, was held for six years, partly so he could be questioned about the Arabic news network
Abdul Badr Mannan, an author, was considered high risk, but his files states US officials may have been "misled" by the Pakistani security services
Mukhibullo Abdukarimovich Umarov, a Tajik man, was arrested in Karachi in 2002 and spent almost two years at Guantanamo before being released - his assessment says the reasons for detaining him were "undetermined"
Haji Faiz Mohammed was arrested in Afghanistan aged 70 and is described as having senile dementia - his file states there is "no reason on record" for being transferred
Naqib Ullah, aged about 14 when he was arrested, spent a year in Guantanamo but his file states he had been kidnapped by the Taliban and presented no threat to the US.

The Pentagon "strongly" condemned the leak, calling it "unfortunate".

It described the assessments as snapshots that may now be outdated and said reviews of all inmates in 2009 had in many cases reached different conclusions to those in the DABs.


"Both the previous and the current Administrations have made every effort to act with the utmost care and diligence in transferring detainees from Guantanamo," said the statement.

"Both Administrations have made the protection of American citizens the top priority and we are concerned that the disclosure of these documents could be damaging to those efforts."

The 779 documents were part of a cache of tens of thousands of secret US military files leaked to Wikileaks last year.

Bradley Manning - the US soldier accused of being behind the leaks - was arrested in May last year and is currently detained at a military prison in Kansas pending a court martial.

The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, is battling extradition from the UK to Sweden, where he is wanted over allegations of sexual assault.

His supporters say the case is politically motivated.

The Guantanamo Bay detention facility was set up in 2001 under the Bush administration - President Obama pledged in January 2009 to close it within a year.

However, in March this year he announced he was lifting a two-year freeze on new military trials for detainees there.

The White House says Mr Obama remains committed to the eventual closure of Guantanamo Bay.

Well we can see why the US is victimising Bradley Manning. In their own words, they have no idea why many of the people were sent there.

It would be interesting to see what intelligence was obtained by waterboarding individuals with no links to terrorism? Also what kind of carefully structured questions were put to individuals when the interrogator had no idea why they were there.
 

bathsheba666

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/25/guantanamo-files-lift-lid-prison


Guantánamo leaks lift lid on world's most controversial prison

• Innocent people interrogated for years on slimmest pretexts
• Children, elderly and mentally ill among those wrongfully held
• 172 prisoners remain, some with no prospect of trial or release
• Read the original documents

David Leigh, James Ball, Ian Cobain and Jason Burke
The Guardian, Monday 25 April 2011
Article history


More than 700 leaked secret files on the Guantánamo detainees lay bare the inner workings of America's controversial prison camp in Cuba.

The US military dossiers, obtained by the New York Times and the Guardian, reveal how, alongside the so-called "worst of the worst", many prisoners were flown to the Guantánamo cages and held captive for years on the flimsiest grounds, or on the basis of lurid confessions extracted by maltreatment.

The 759 Guantánamo files, classified "secret", cover almost every inmate since the camp was opened in 2002. More than two years after President Obama ordered the closure of the prison, 172 are still held there.

The files depict a system often focused less on containing dangerous terrorists or enemy fighters, than on extracting intelligence. Among inmates who proved harmless were an 89-year-old Afghan villager, suffering from senile dementia, and a 14-year-old boy who had been an innocent kidnap victim.

The old man was transported to Cuba to interrogate him about "suspicious phone numbers" found in his compound. The 14-year-old was shipped out merely because of "his possible knowledge of Taliban...local leaders"

The documents also reveal:

• US authorities listed the main Pakistani intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), as a terrorist organisation alongside groups such as al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah and Iranian intelligence.

Interrogators were told to regard links to any of these as an indication of terrorist or insurgent activity.

• Almost 100 of the inmates who passed through Guantánamo are listed by their captors as having had depressive or psychotic illnesses. Many went on hunger strike or attempted suicide.

• A number of British nationals and residents were held for years even though US authorities knew they were not Taliban or al-Qaida members. One Briton, Jamal al-Harith, was rendered to Guantánamo simply because he had been held in a Taliban prison and was thought to have knowledge of their interrogation techniques. The US military tried to hang on to another Briton, Binyam Mohamed, even after charges had been dropped and evidence emerged he had been tortured.

• US authorities relied heavily on information obtained from a small number of detainees under torture. They continued to maintain this testimony was reliable even after admitting that the prisoners who provided it had been mistreated.

The files also show that a large number of the detainees who have left Guantanamo were designated "high risk" by the camp authorities before their release or transfer to other countries.

The leaked files include guidance for US interrogators on how to decide whether to hold or release detainees, and how to spot al-Qaida cover stories. One warns interrogators: "Travel to Afghanistan for any reason after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 is likely a total fabrication with the true intentions being to support Usama Bin Laden through direct hostilities against the US forces."

Another 17-page file, titled "GTMO matrix of threat indicators for enemy combatants", advises interrogators to look out for signs of terrorist activity ranging from links to a number of mosques around the world, including two in London, to ownership of a particular model of Casio watch.

"The Casio was known to be given to the students at al-Qaida bombmaking training courses in Afghanistan," it states.

The inclusion of association with the ISI as a "threat indicator" in this document is likely to pour fuel on the flames of Washington's already strained relationship with its key regional ally.A number of the detainee files also contain references, apparently based on intelligence reporting, to the ISI supporting, co-ordinating and protecting insurgents fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan, or even assisting al-Qaida.

Obama's inability to shut Guantánamo has been one of the White House's most internationally embarrassing policy failures. The files offer an insight into why the administration has been unable to transfer many of the 172 existing prisoners from the island prison where they remain outside the protection of the US courts or the prisoner-of-war provisions of the Geneva conventions.

The range of those still held captive includes detainees who have been admittedly tortured so badly they can never be successfully tried, informers who must be protected from reprisals, and a group of Chinese Muslims from the Uighur minority who have nowhere to go.

One of those officially admitted to have been so maltreated that it amounted to torture is prisoner No 63, Maad al-Qahtani. He was captured more than nine years ago, fleeing from the site of Osama bin Laden's last stand in the mountain caves of Tora Bora in 2001. The report says Qahtani, allegedly one of the "Dirty 30" who were Bin Laden's bodyguards, must not be released: "HIGH risk, as he is likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests and allies." The report's military authors admit his admissions were obtained by what they call "harsh interrogation techniques in the early stages of detention". But otherwise the files make little mention of the widely-condemned techniques that were employed to obtain "intelligence" and "confessions" from detainees such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation and prolonged exposure to cold and loud music.

The files also detail how many innocents or marginal figures swept up by the Guantánamo dragnet because US forces thought they might be of some intelligence value.

One man was transferred to the facility "because he was a mullah, who led prayers at Manu mosque in Kandahar province, Afghanistan … which placed him in a position to have special knowledge of the Taliban". US authorities eventually released him after more than a year's captivity, deciding he had no intelligence value.

Another prisoner was shipped to the base "because of his general knowledge of activities in the areas of Khowst and Kabul based as a result of his frequent travels through the region as a taxi driver".

The files also reveal that an al-Jazeera journalist was held at Guantánamo for six years, partly in order to be interrogated about the Arabic news network.

His dossier states that one of the reasons was "to provide information on … the al-Jazeera news network's training programme, telecommunications equipment, and newsgathering operations in Chechnya, Kosovo and Afghanistan, including the network's acquisition of a video of UBL [Osama bin Laden] and a subsequent interview with UBL".

The Guantánamo files are among hundreds of thousands of documents US soldier Bradley Manning is accused of having turned over to the WikiLeaks website more than a year ago.

The documents were obtained by the New York Times and shared with the Guardian and National Public Radio, which is publishing extracts, having redacted information which might identify informants.

A Pentagon spokesperson said: "Naturally we would prefer that no legitimately classified information be released into the public domain, as by definition it can be expected to cause damage to US national security. The situation with the Guantánamo detention facility is exceptionally complex and releasing any records will further complicate ongoing actions."

The Guardian links includes links to the files, and a US document prepared for interrogators to enable them to assess and break down their subjects' cover stories. Naturally, the subject of establishing innocence, even by chance, is not mentioned. They must have been very confident, probably still are....
 

Formaldehyde

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The files also reveal that an al-Jazeera journalist was held at Guantánamo for six years, partly in order to be interrogated about the Arabic news network.

His dossier states that one of the reasons was "to provide information on … the al-Jazeera news network's training programme, telecommunications equipment, and newsgathering operations in Chechnya, Kosovo and Afghanistan, including the network's acquisition of a video of UBL [Osama bin Laden] and a subsequent interview with UBL".
This is just sick, even though most everybody already really knew why this travesty had occurred.

A Pentagon spokesperson said: "Naturally we would prefer that no legitimately classified information be released into the public domain, as by definition it can be expected to cause damage to US national security. The situation with the Guantánamo detention facility is exceptionally complex and releasing any records will further complicate ongoing actions."
What possible reason is there to "legitimately classify" any of this information, with the possible exception of the digital watch that has likely stopped working long ago, and a US official absurdly claiming the ISI was a terrorist organization?

And once again, how was this "classified information" supposedly divulged by a private? Doesn't anybody in the military understand basic security measures, such as compartmentalization and enciphering of supposedly classified information?
 

Incodcito

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I'm beginning to think that Guantanamo is only a step above the Japanese internment camps.

The existence of such a place is more of a security risk due to its rallying effect for extremists then the actual people housed at the prison, and I hope that an American president can discover his balls and do the right thing.
 

Cheetah

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I'm beginning to think that Guantanamo is only a step above the Japanese internment camps.

The existence of such a place is more of a security risk due to its rallying effect for extremists then the actual people housed at the prison, and I hope that an American president can discover his balls and do the right thing.
People were tortured in the Japanese internment camps?
 

Newbunkle

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Hmm. Yes, it's very "unfortunate" when you get caught violating human rights and falsely imprisoning innocent people.
 

Patroklos

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I have explained the difference between classification levels before, and will note that nothing released by wilileaks on this topic are above secret.

In other words, you are summarizing a 1000 page book based on one line out of one page.
 

RedRalph

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I have explained the difference between classification levels before, and will note that nothing released by wilileaks on this topic are above secret.

In other words, you are summarizing a 1000 page book based on one line out of one page.

What difference does any of that make? This is ridiculous stuff... the sort of thing you would have expected from the regimes currently being overthrown in the ME for doing this sort of thing
 
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Obama's inability to shut Guantánamo has been one of the White House's most internationally embarrassing policy failures. The files offer an insight into why the administration has been unable to transfer many of the 172 existing prisoners from the island prison where they remain outside the protection of the US courts or the prisoner-of-war provisions of the Geneva conventions

I wonder why Obama insists on covering for Bush's crimes, he can shut guantanamo down and it won't embarass his administration, it will just further expose Bush's administration.
 

El_Machinae

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I have said it a thousand times. The "security" forces are way more dangerous than any terrorist.

This is horribly untrue. The security forces are certainly causing a problem on peaceful civilians, and certainly cause an amount of unfair harm. But, truly, they're nowhere near the horror caused by the terrorists.

We're talking about suicide bombers that collect in groups of civilians, with secondary bombers attacking rescuers.

It's night and day. Sure, with the security forces, the 'day' looks pretty overcast at times. But it's still night and day. Completely different levels of evil.
 

ParadigmShifter

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Why are you debating with a white supremacist neo-nazi?
 

Patroklos

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What difference does any of that make? This is ridiculous stuff... the sort of thing you would have expected from the regimes currently being overthrown in the ME for doing this sort of thing

So are you denying that what wikileaks has made available is a miniscule portion of the whole, from a level of classification below what most of Guantanamo uses and thus from a POV of those not read into the full picture anyways?

Thanks for pointing that out RRW. Its not like summarizing a 1000 page book from one line out of one page. Its more like summarizing a 1000 page book out of one line of one page from a review of the book before publishing.
 

RedRalph

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So are you denying that what wikileaks has made available is a miniscule portion of the whole, from a level of classification below what most of Guantanamo uses and thus from a POV of those not read into the full picture anyways?

Thanks for pointing that out RRW. Its not like summarizing a 1000 page book from one line out of one page. Its more like summarizing a 1000 page book out of one line of one page from a review of the book before publishing.

So what? Do you have to read every detail of every single episode in history to make a judgement on it? Did you read up on every single detail of McCain's positions before deciding to support it? Did you read the entire Patriot Act before you decided it was a good idea? Have you read any more than a 'miniscule proportion' of the available info on the Iranian, Venezuelan, Chinese and North Korean governments before deciding to oppose them? Are you still undecided on Bashar al-Assad because you must have read something like a hundred thousandth of the available info on him?

Do you honestly think there is going to be anything in this report there that justifies this?
 

Theige

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I don't think so, but the numbers allow it to take the "title" and be worse.

It would never have happened if 3 Japanese people, the only 3 people of Japanese descent on an island with 136 residents, including 2 American citizens born in Hawaii, hadn't collaborated to assist a downed Japanese pilot in the days after Pearl Harbor.
 
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Supposed "liberal" New York Times is now covering for Obama on this issue also, I guess they are playing the role of Fox now.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/25/w...s-in-an-american-limbo.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1


This is a pretty good article on the story.
Normalizing Evil: The NY Times' Curious Take on the Gitmo Files
Almost as sickening as the atrocities themselves, however, is the way the release has been played in the New York Times, whose coverage of the document dump will set the tone for the American media and political establishments. The Times' take is almost wholly devoted to showing how evil and dangerous a handful of the hundreds of Gitmo detainees were, and to justifying Barack Obama's betrayal of his promises to close the concentration camp.
http://www.chris-floyd.com/componen...ny-times-curious-take-on-the-gitmo-files.html
 

Patroklos

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So what? Do you have to read every detail of every single episode in history to make a judgement on it? Did you read up on every single detail of McCain's positions before deciding to support it? Did you read the entire Patriot Act before you decided it was a good idea? Have you read any more than a 'miniscule proportion' of the available info on the Iranian, Venezuelan, Chinese and North Korean governments before deciding to oppose them? Are you still undecided on Bashar al-Assad because you must have read something like a hundred thousandth of the available info on him?

Do you honestly think there is going to be anything in this report there that justifies this?

You are not understanding, pay attention.

The level of these documents are SECRET, the security level of most of Guantanamo is TOP SECRET. That means that if people in one office with SECRET access say or file something entirely wrong based on their lack of access, the person in the office next door who sees that false report won't be able to correct it because that would be divulging TOP SECRET information to someone cleared for SECRET.

This is simple RRW, you simply want to believe what you want to believe.

Why are you wanting to believe reports from a classification level below what encompasses to locations/people/events you are interested it? Thats like using a guide book on Egypt to travel Japan.
 

JollyRoger

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Just imagine how damning the Top Secret documents are if the merely Secret documents are this damaging to the reputation of the U.S.
 
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