New information on Guantanamo detainees

2011-04-25 10:33

Washington - Secret documents about detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison reveal new information about some of the men that the United States believes to be terrorists, according to reports about the files released Sunday by several American and European newspapers.

The US government criticised the publication as "unfortunate".

The military detainee assessments were made public on Sunday night by US and European newspapers after the WikiLeaks website obtained the files. The records contain details of the more than 700 detainee interrogations and evidence the US had collected against these suspected terrorists, according to the media outlets.

It's not clear if the media outlets published the documents with the consent of WikiLeaks.

The files - known as Detainee Assessment Briefs or DABs - describe the intelligence value of the detainees and whether they would be a threat to the US if released. To date, 604 detainees have been transferred out of Guantanomo while 172 remain locked up.

The disclosures are likely to provide human right activists with additional ammunition that some cases against inmates appear to be based on flawed evidence.

Notorious detainees

However, the DABs show certain inmates were more dangerous than previously known to the public and could complicate efforts by the US to transfer detainees out of the controversial prison that President Barack Obama has failed to close.

The dossiers provide new insights into some of the prison's most notorious detainees such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. According to The New York Times, Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, commanded a Maryland resident to kill Pakistan's former present Pervez Musharraf.

Another high-value detainee, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, bragged that he outranked Mohammed who was then considered the terrorist group's No 3. Al-Nashiri faces charges before a military commission for his suspected role in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole.

According to The Times, Al-Nashiri was also consumed with jihad and believed women were a distraction.

He was so "dedicated to jihad that he reportedly received injections to promote impotence and recommended the injections to others so more time could be spent on the jihad", according to al-Nashiri's file.

US officials said the documents "may or may not represent the current view of a given detainee" and criticised the decision by media organisations to publish the "sensitive information".

Pictures of inmates

"It is unfortunate that several news organisations have made the decision to publish numerous documents obtained illegally by WikiLeaks concerning the Guantanamo detention facility," said Ambassador Daniel Fried, the Obama administration's special envoy on detainee issues, and Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell.

The classified files contain rare pictures of many of the inmates. One shows Abu Zubaydah, who has been described as al-Qaeda's "travel agent", sporting a beard and an eye patch.

Zubaydah was captured in Pakistan in 2002 and taken to several CIA black sites overseas until he was transferred to Guantanamo in 2006 for the second and last time.

The files do not mention what happened to Zubaydah and others while they were in CIA custody. Zubaydah and Mohammed were both waterboarded dozens of times by CIA interrogators.

The Washington Post reported that the DABs offered new details about the movement of Osama bin Laden and top deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri after the 9/11 attacks and the internal disputes that erupted within the terrorist organisation.

Many of the 704 assessments are riddled with ambiguous language. A Times analysis shows the word "possibly" is used 387 times.

  • Kevin - 2011-04-25 11:10

    Call it waterboarding but torture is torture and the perpetrators and thoae who authorise are guilty of criminal offences under international law. Torture is also useless as it will provide what ever result the torturer wants as the victim will say whatever it takes to stop the torture. Dick Cheney and George Bush should be careful not to travel.

      Benzo - 2011-04-25 11:56

      One more question: Why is the international community so silent on the issue?

      Gatvol - 2011-04-25 12:21

      In the article it mentions that the suspects were interrogated. It mentioned nothing about tortue

  • Benzo - 2011-04-25 11:54

    Obama promised to close this "institute". Questions: Why have the Cubans not done so themselves? Have all detainees been brought for a court of law to be properly charged and defended and convicted? The US has not signed the international law agreements. Why not? The "US vs al-Qaeda" events are very similar to the "US vs Communism" histrionics shortly after WW2 under General McCarthy, who was eventually censored for not being able to substantiate his claims of "a commie behind every tree".(

      Gatvol - 2011-04-25 12:27

      It's a war situation. Al Queda is at WAR with the USA and other western countries. Different rules applies in a war situation. The reason why Obama can not close Guantanamo bay is that doing so would severely compromise the war on terror. I would like to see the Cubans shut it down, as it will mean the invasion of a US military base.

      Benzo - 2011-04-25 14:55

      @gatvol: "this is war". This should elevate the position of these people to "prisoners of war". The Geneva conference(s) have specific rules on how to treat POW's. ( I have not been given the impression that the US adheres to these guidelines.

      croix - 2011-04-26 08:09

      Google and go to "Al Gore warns Americans....."

  • SuperCal - 2011-04-25 14:30

    How do you think we could get Malema a spot there?

      Tikkel - 2011-04-25 19:40

      LOL, that is a brilliant idea. Maby Ma Winnie can accompany him!

  • Hannah - 2011-04-25 15:00

    What a joke! Osama bin Laden been killed years ago! It's a well known fact but the sheeple listening to the corrupt western media still think he's out there in a cave LOL

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