Filling in the Gaping Holes in WikiLeaks’ Guantanamo Detainee Files

Published on Global, by Jason Leopold, May 7, 2011.

Imagine that the more than 700 Guantanamo files released two weeks ago by WikiLeaks contained information explaining how interrogators obtained “intelligence” from “war on terror” detainees captured or sold to US forces after 9/11, such as this firsthand account:

On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they had urinated or defecated on themselves and had been left there for 18, 24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold. When I asked the (military police) what was going on I was told that interrogators from the day prior had ordered this treatment and the detainee was not to be moved. On another occasion, the (air conditioner) had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room probably well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his own hair out throughout the night.”  

That description was taken directly from an email written by an FBI agent on August 2, 2004, and sent to officials at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, DC, describing the torture of one detainee as witnessed by the agent while he or she was stationed at Guantanamo … //

… At Worst, a Travesty of Justice:

In the end, what the Guantanamo files released by WikiLeaks show is that the claims the government made about the threat the detainees posed to the US and its allies and interests was simply untrue – a lie – and although the Bush administration knew the prisoners were innocent, they refused to set them free because of the political repercussions that would have ensued.

That’s what Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, the former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell during George W. Bush’s first term in office, said [9]  in a sworn declaration in the case of one detainee, 52-year-old Adel Hassan Hamad, a year before the Guantanamo files were released. Wilkerson, as the detainee files now show, was right.

Hamad, who spent five years at Guantanamo and was released in 2007, is suing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, former Joint Chief of Staff Richard Myers, and a slew of other Bush administration officials for wrongfully imprisoning and torturing him.

His DAB [10] justifying his imprisonment says he was “likely” a member of al-Qaeda and “likely” using his employment in non-governmental organizations to “facilitate funds and/or personnel” for al-Qaeda.

Another reason Hamad was detained and eventually deemed an “enemy combatant,” according to his assessment brief, is that he allegedly was “not telling the full details of his involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood” and was “always employed by organizations that espoused radical Islamic views or assisted individuals” associated with Osama bin Laden, assertions that the government could not back up. Although the assessment brief says Hamad “claimed to have avoided any participation in jihad or terrorist related activities” he was deemed a “medium” risk because “he may pose a threat to the US, its interests and allies.”

What the assessment brief does not say is that Hamad, who was arrested at his apartment by Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) because he was suspected of living in an al-Qaeda safe house along with an Algerian who was also imprisoned at Guantanamo, was brutally tortured, interrogated daily and had “dogs set upon [him] while watching United States military personnel laughed and mocked him,” according to his lawsuit filed in US District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle.

The issue of torture, which Wilkerson acknowledged took place at Guantanamo and elsewhere, factored into his decision to take the extraordinary step of stating in his declaration that he would go to court, swear on a Bible and testify in Hamad’s case if it ever moves forward about what the Bush administration knew and when they knew it.

“[I] made a personal choice to come forward and discuss the abuses that occurred because knowledge that I served in an Administration that tortured and abused those it detained at the facilities at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere and indefinitely detained the innocent for political reasons has marked a low point in my professional career and I wish to make the record clear on what occurred,” Wilkerson wrote in his declaration.

In an email sent to Truthout two weeks ago, a day after the Guantanamo files were released, Wilkerson said the findings in many of the DAB confirms his own independent investigation he conducted nearly nine years ago.

The files, he said, “seem to indicate at best a poor attempt at meaningful and proper detention and at worst a travesty of justice.” (full long text).

(Articles by Jason Leopold).

Comments are closed.