Monday, April 25, 2011

Wikileaks Releases Documents About Prisoners Held At GITMO Most are Innocent

UPDATE: 7:43 PM & 6:50 PM , April 25, 2011.

Once again Wikileaks has released a large volume of documents revealing some or part of the truth about the treatment of so-called "detainees" aka POWs  at the American prison facility  Guantanamo/Gitmo. The majority of detainees as such were or are innocent or are of little value for intelligence purposes.

Meanwhile the various media outlets depending on their political views will use this information to back whatever agenda they have.

There are those in the Media in the UK and the USA who will use the newly released information to prove that the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld regime was right to abuse and torture inmates at Gitmo or elsewhere.

There are those who will use this information to defend President Obama as having had good intentions in trying to shut Gitmo down.

Obama and his true believers will defend Obama no matter what he does
For the most part Obama is still using many of the harsh and abusive interrogation techniques which were used under the Bush Regime.
Part of the problem as has been said before is this obsessing over Guantanamo and seeing it as some sort of exception to the rule that is these harsh and abusive techniques were just used in Gitmo and only on those who were considered important members of Al Qaeda or the Taliban.
 But the fact is that thousands of people in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere were arrested and then denied their basic rights and  were then treated in an inhumane fashion such as being hooded and shackled for days or weeks on end from the time of their capture.

We should also not forget that these interrogations were often a ruse to create intel which fit with the Bush Regime's agenda ie  creating intel ( before or after the fact)pointing to how dangerous Saddam was and that the USA would be justified in its invasion of Iraq.
So the Americans managed to get someone to confess that they knew for certain that Saddam had WMDs, or was connected to Al Qaeda and therefore to the 9/11 attacks on New York City.

Intelligence provided by a small group of serial informers who make up stories to appease their guards
The evidence in a majority of cases is rather slim and questionable
Torture and abuse rarely achieves the outcome one wants which is reliable intel
Shere bureaucratic incompetence in the cases of those arrested and interned by USA at GITMO.
A number of prisoners who were known from the get go as being innocent caught up in a sweep or accused by someone inorder to receive a financial reward

Guantánamo Bay files: 'The vast majority were not extremists' - videoClive Stafford Smith, legal director of Reprieve, discusses the 'extraordinarily thin' evidence used to hold prisoners and the 'nonsense' cooked up by a group of serial informers to get privileges The, April 25, 2011

The question of the day is why should anyone trust what they are told by the Obama administration or the US military brass or the Pentagon or CIA or special forces and so on.

Why aren't more progressive putting more pressure on the US government and military to abide by "all of the Geneva Conventions" and not merely cherrypick which parts to follow and which parts they will ignore.
And why is it that the United Nations and the International Criminal Court and other international bodies appear to be either powerless to take the American government and its military and CIA to task or even to court concerning these issues.
While the US Mainstream Media is rather dismissive of these new revelations outside the US the media is taking all of this more seriously.

But the problem is that the US government and its military see themselves as the real victims who are being singled out for their crimes because thos making the allegations by definition even according to President Obama such vocal critics are in fact anti-American and by extension pro-terrorists.

The US media is in a bit of a bind since they acted over and over again as enablers forthe criminal Regime of George W. Bush they are not now going to reverse their judgements and opinions.
So they are going to defend the use of torture or at least what has been referred to as "Torture Lite" and the use of harsh techniques on so called "detainees'.
Unfortunately America and its European allies are distracted by economic condions and the War with Libya and with the upcoming Royal Wedding.
Which goes to show that the West overall is morally bankrupt.
The USA and the West in general sees itself as superiour to these other nations and peoples who live outside the West.
They therefore see little wrong in blowing up civilians that is to destroy whole villages, towns and cities in order to free them.

Al Jazeera: 'Most Guantanamo prisoners were no threat'
April 25, 2011.

We also get a glimpse at the way in which false or misleading intel was generated in many cases after detainees were abused or tortured or promised better treatment and so in many cases they just made stuff up or exaggerated the importance of the intel they were giving or exaggerated their own involvement with Al Qaeda, the Taliban or other terrorist groups or they would name other prisoners as being important members of Al Qaeda or Taliban when in fact this was not the case.

So we get prisoner "A" making up stuff about another prisoner "B" being held at Gitmo and once "B" was identified he would especially under torture or in order to ingratiate themselves with their guards they would provide phony or exaggerated intel on other prisoners and even on prisoner "A".

So once these prisoners were taken before a judge or tribunal etc. the whole case would begin to quickly unravel if the defense had access to all of the pertinent information gathered about their client and where the intel came from ie was it tainted intel because of the use of torture, intimidation or offered up in payment as it were for more privileges in the prison.

The issue is that almost every bit of intel gathered at Gitmo, or Abu Ghraib, or Bagram or other US facilities or those of other nations  are for the most part unreliable because of the abuse and torture of inmates .

In some cases this becomes obvious because things just don't add up when the facts of the case are investigate.

Wikileaks: Gitmo Files/The Guantanamo Files
On Sunday April 24, 2011

WikiLeaks began publishing 779 secret files from the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison camp. The details for every detainee will be released daily over the coming month.

WikiLeaks Reveals Secret Files on All Guantánamo Prisoners

In thousands of pages of documents dating from 2002 to 2008 and never seen before by members of the public or the media, the cases of the majority of the prisoners held at Guantánamo -- 758 out of 779 in total -- are described in detail in memoranda from JTF-GTMO, the Joint Task Force at Guantánamo Bay, to US Southern Command in Miami, Florida.

These memoranda, which contain JTF-GTMO's recommendations about whether the prisoners in question should continue to be held, or should be released (transferred to their home governments, or to other governments) contain a wealth of important and previously undisclosed information, including health assessments, for example, and, in the cases of the majority of the 171 prisoners who are still held, photos (mostly for the first time ever).

They also include information on the first 201 prisoners released from the prison, between 2002 and 2004, which, unlike information on the rest of the prisoners (summaries of evidence and tribunal transcripts, released as the result of a lawsuit filed by media groups in 2006), has never been made public before. Most of these documents reveal accounts of incompetence familiar to those who have studied Guantánamo closely, with innocent men detained by mistake (or because the US was offering substantial bounties to its allies for al-Qaeda or Taliban suspects), and numerous insignificant Taliban conscripts from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Beyond these previously unknown cases, the documents also reveal stories of the 397 other prisoners released from September 2004 to the present day, and of the seven men who have died at the prison.

The memos are signed by the commander of Guantánamo at the time, and describe whether the prisoners in question are regarded as low, medium or high risk. Although they were obviously not conclusive in and of themselves, as final decisions about the disposition of prisoners were taken at a higher level, they represent not only the opinions of JTF-GTMO, but also the Criminal Investigation Task Force, created by the Department of Defense to conduct interrogations in the "War on Terror," and the BSCTs, the behavioral science teams consisting of psychologists who had a major say in the "exploitation" of prisoners in interrogation.

Crucially, the files also contain detailed explanations of the supposed intelligence used to justify the prisoners' detention. For many readers, these will be the most fascinating sections of the documents, as they seem to offer an extraordinary insight into the workings of US intelligence, but although many of the documents appear to promise proof of prisoners' association with al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations, extreme caution is required.

The documents draw on the testimony of witnesses -- in most cases, the prisoners' fellow prisoners -- whose words are unreliable, either because they were subjected to torture or other forms of coercion (sometimes not in Guantánamo, but in secret prisons run by the CIA), or because they provided false statements to secure better treatment in Guantánamo.

Regular appearances throughout these documents by witnesses whose words should be regarded as untrustworthy include the following "high-value detainees" or "ghost prisoners". Please note that "ISN" and the numbers in brackets following the prisoners' names refer to the short "Internment Serial Numbers" by which the prisoners are or were identified in US custody:

Abu Zubaydah (ISN 10016), the supposed "high-value detainee" seized in Pakistan in March 2002, who spent four and a half years in secret CIA prisons, including facilities in Thailand and Poland. Subjected to waterboarding, a form of controlled drowning, on 83 occasions in CIA custody August 2002, Abu Zubaydah was moved to Guantánamo with 13 other "high-value detainees" in September 2006.

Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi (ISN 212), the emir of a military training camp for which Abu Zubaydah was the gatekeeper, who, despite having his camp closed by the Taliban in 2000, because he refused to allow it to be taken over by al-Qaeda, is described in these documents as Osama bin Laden's military commander in Tora Bora. Soon after his capture in December 2001, al-Libi was rendered by the CIA to Egypt, where, under torture, he falsely confessed that al-Qaeda operatives had been meeting with Saddam Hussein to discuss obtaining chemical and biological weapons. Al-Libi recanted this particular lie, but it was nevertheless used by the Bush administration to justify the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. Al-Libi was never sent to Guantánamo, although at some point, probably in 2006, the CIA sent him back to Libya, where he was imprisoned, and where he died, allegedly by committing suicide, in May 2009.

Sharqawi Abdu Ali al-Hajj (ISN 1457), a Yemeni, also known as Riyadh the Facilitator, who was seized in a house raid in Pakistan in February 2002, and is described as "an al-Qaeda facilitator." After his capture, he was transferred to a torture prison in Jordan run on behalf of the CIA, where he was held for nearly two years, and was then held for six months in US facilities in Afghanistan. He was flown to Guantánamo in September 2004.

It would appear that the Obama administration and the media make the mistake of treating the Guantanamo prison facility as if it were the only American detention facility which had contravened US law and international Law in its treatment of POWs /detainees.

Besides Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and Bagram there were or are dozens of other American run secret prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan where prisoners are denied their basic rights and are treated in harsh and abusive manner and that such treatment is tantamount to torture .

Such techniques as sleep deprivation , intimidation, threats, beatings, sensory overload or sensory deprivation, prolonged stress positons shacklings & the use of hoods are as we have seen over the last decade have become common practices at American detention facilities whether they are prisons publicly acknowledged or prisons which are supposedly still secret or to prisons in other nations (interrogation and torture by proxy).

Meanwhile President Obama argues that the POWs incarcerated outside the USA are not eligible to the same protection as prisoners held within the US territory.
Obama like the Bush gang seem to believe that the issues of human rights only applies to American citizens or those held in prisons within mainland USA.

These distinctions according to international Law have no weight under internationa law.
Once someone is detained as a POW or enemy combatant or whatever term decides to use such as "detainees" the principle is that the USA and delegated personnel are required wherever they are to abide by International Law.

The argument put forth by both Obama and Bush that somehow these enemy combatants as detainees characterized as Terrorists are not protected by the Geneva Conventions and International Law.

The point is that an american soldier or a member of the CIA, FBI, Homeland Security or the United States government or even the president himself is not above the rule of law as agreed upon by the international community.

If the president or others are alleged to have contravened these laws their actions should be investigated by the International Criminal Court or other internaionally accepted legal body.

Meanwhile all the posturing currently of the USA and the EU and NATO in regards to Qaddafi in Libya for example that they condemn violations of international laws as in cases of human rights abuses such as indefinite detention, the use of torture or other abusive techniques.
And yet the Obama administration defends or ignores human rights abuses and other crimes committed by states which are seen as allies or as strategically important to America's interest.

Another bit of chicanery is the notion that a prisoner handed over from one nation ie USA to another nation ie Yuzbekistan, Yemen, Syria, Egypt, Pakistan the nation which handed over the prisoner is not responsible for what happens to that particular prisoner in that country.
The US also committed crimes by sending prisoners to countries which are known for their abuse and torture of prisoners.
This is just a matter of torture by proxy which contravenes US law and international law.

The shutting down of Guantanamo would only be a start in America's rehabilitation and improving and restoring its reputation as a defender of human rights.

The USA has become as is wel known a pro-torture state and a flagran violator of International Lawa and agreements including the Geneva Conventions, the Nuremberg rulings and the Special agreement regarding the treatment of all prisoners/POWs/detainees or what have you by any nation .

All those in or for the past administration of George W. Bush and those connected with the current Obama administration if there are allegations about their having committed crimes that is War Crimes or Crimes Against humanity then they need to be investigated for any possible crimes they may have committed and for which they should be tried at the International Criminal court.

President Bush and President Obama take the position that it is up to them whether or not such criminal allegations are to be taken seriously or even investigated by a neutral party representing the ICC or the United Nations.

It is the typical stance of Americans to believe that such international laws are meant for other nations and not the United States or its allies ie UK, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Egypt , Israel etc.

The media focuses on Guantanamo and ignores the illegal and immoral actions in regard to POWs being held without being charged and being incarcerated abuses carried out indefinite detentions, harsh and abusive and inhumane living conditions and the use of torture on detainees.

WikiLeaks releasing documents on Guantanamo
Thousands of pages outline the U.S. prison operation at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with details on the self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind and others. The White House condemns the leak. by Richard A. Serrano,, April 25, 2011

Most of those remaining at the Guantanamo Bay military prison are considered "high-risk" detainees who if released would pose grave threats to the U.S. and its allies, as did a third of those set free earlier, according to thousands of pages of classified documents being made public by WikiLeaks.

Release of the more than 700 separate documents dealing with the prison, opened under the George W. Bush administration to house detainees in the war on terrorism, drew a sharp rebuke Sunday evening from the White House, which said the documents were obtained illegally.

"We strongly condemn the leaking of this sensitive information," the White House said.

The materials were obtained and released by WikiLeaks as part of its ongoing publication of classified documents dealing with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as secret State Department cables and other material.


Organizations with copies of the documents included the New York Times, National Public Radio, the Washington Post and the Daily Telegraph in London. But the New York Times took pains to say that it had received the documents from some other source. Some documents were posted on media websites, where the Los Angeles Times viewed them.

Although much has been reported in the last decade about the Guantanamo detainees and how they have been handled, the new information includes threats from detainees that Al Qaeda would unleash a "nuclear hellstorm" on the West if its leader Osama bin Laden were captured or killed.

The documents also show that dozens of detainees turned out to be innocent, but were held for lengthy periods. Hundreds more apparently underwent aggressive interrogation techniques before it could be ascertained that they were low-level fighters of little consequence.

...The White House statement condemning the documents' release said the Obama administration had transferred 67 detainees out of the prison, and the Bush White House transferred 537.

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

The statement added that the Obama administration would "work toward the ultimate closure of the Guantanamo detention facility, consistent with good security practices and our values as a nation."

WikiLeaks Releases Guantánamo Bay Prisoner Reports By Kevin Poulsen ,, April 25, 2011

WikiLeaks on Sunday began publishing from a collection of 779 classified reports on current and former prisoners of America’s military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The Washington Post reports that the leaked files contains new details on the location and organization of al-Qaida’s leadership before and after the September 11 attacks.

“According to the documents, [Osama] bin Laden and his deputy escaped from Tora Bora in mid-December 2001,” the Post notes. “At the time, the al-Qaeda leader was apparently so strapped for cash that he borrowed $7,000 from one of his protectors — a sum he paid back within a year.”

The New York Times reports that the “documents are largely silent about the use of the harsh interrogation tactics at Guantánamo — including sleep deprivation, shackling in stress positions and prolonged exposure to cold temperatures — that drew global condemnation.”

The Times, which has been out of favor with WikiLeaks since running a profile of founder Julian Assange last October, reportedly acquired the secret-spilling website’s newest release indirectly through another source, and then passed it to the U.K.’s Guardian and NPR.

In related news see the article in the Washington Post & concerning the Obama's administration's inability to shut down Guantanamo.

"The Obama/Gitmo timeline
A look at how Obama went from promising to close Guantanamo Bay to doing the very opposite" by Natasha Lennard,, April 25

" Guantanamo Bay: Why Obama hasn’t fulfilled his promise to close the facility " by Peter Finn and Anne E. Kornblut Washington Post, April 23, 2011


International Criminal court.
The International Criminal Court (ICC), governed by the Rome Statute, is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.
The ICC is an independent international organisation, and is not part of the United Nations system. Its seat is at The Hague in the Netherlands. Although the Court’s expenses are funded primarily by States Parties, it also receives voluntary contributions from governments, international organisations, individuals, corporations and other entities.
The international community has long aspired to the creation of a permanent international court, and, in the 20th century, it reached consensus on definitions of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Nuremberg and Tokyo trials addressed war crimes, crimes against peace, and crimes against humanity committed during the Second World War.

In the 1990s after the end of the Cold War, tribunals like the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda were the result of consensus that impunity is unacceptable. However, because they were established to try crimes committed only within a specific time-frame and during a specific conflict, there was general agreement that an independent, permanent criminal court was needed.

On 17 July 1998, the international community reached an historic milestone when 120 States adopted the Rome Statute, the legal basis for establishing the permanent International Criminal Court.
The Rome Statute entered into force on 1 July 2002 after ratification by 60 countries.

and so it goes,

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