Guantanamo Bay watch thread

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Guantanamo Bay watch thread

Joined: 07 May 2006, 23:31

06 Sep 2006, 23:03 #1

Guard at Camp Delta 4, at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, in June.

Bush Transfers 14 Key Terror Suspects To Guantanamo
2006-09-06 14:48:05
Posted By: Intellpuke
(Read 260 times || 0 comments)

President Bush today announced the transfer to the Guantanamo Bay naval base of 14 al-Qaeda terrorist suspects previously held by the CIA in a secret detention program, and he called on Congress to pass legislation on special military tribunals so that they can be tried for crimes including the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In a speech at the White House, Bush said the 14 include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 plot.

President Bush today announced the transfer to the Guantanamo Bay naval base of 14 al-Qaeda terrorist suspects previously held by the CIA in a secret detention program, and he called on Congress to pass legislation on special military tribunals so that they can be tried for crimes including the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In a speech at the White House, Bush said the 14 include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11 plot.

He said their transfer "means there are now no terrorists in the CIA program." But he stressed that as more suspects are captured, the continued existence of the CIA secret detention program "will be crucial" in extracting valuable information through interrogations and in preventing new attacks on U.S. soil.

Bush prefaced the announcement of the transfer by describing in unprecedented detail the results of CIA interrogations of Mohammed and other al-Qaeda operatives. He strongly defended the interrogations, which he described as "tough" but fully legal, saying they had helped to head off new plots and thus had saved lives in the United States and other countries.

In defending the CIA detention program, Bush explicitly confirmed its existence publicly for the first time since the covert prison system was revealed by the Washington Post in November 2005. He said those held in the CIA system have included "the key architects" not only of the Sept. 11 plot but of the suicide bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000, the truck bombing of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and other attacks.

"These are dangerous men with unparalleled knowledge about terrorist networks and their plans for new attacks," said Bush.

He described how the capture soon after the Sept. 11 attacks of an al-Qaeda operative known as Abu Zubaida led to the arrest of other key figures. He said Abu Zubaida, whom he called a "trusted associate of Osama bin Laden," initially disclosed some information to interrogators, then "stopped talking." But the CIA subsequently used "alternative procedures" to get more information out of Abu Zubaida that proved vital for capturing other al-Qaeda leaders and disrupting new plots, said Bush.

He said he could not describe these methods because doing so might help terrorists resist future questioning. But "I can say the procedures were tough, safe, lawful and necessary," said Bush.

The interrogation of Abu Zubaida helped lead authorities to Ramzi Binalshibh, another key Sept. 11 planner, and in turn to Mohammed, said Bush. He said information provided by Mohammed, who was captured in Pakistan in 2003, "helped us stop another planned attack on the United States."

Specifically, the interrogations led to a cell of 17 Southeast Asian operatives of a terrorist group led by an Indonesian militant known as Hambali, Bush said. After Hambali was captured in Thailand in August 2003, he admitted that the operatives "were being groomed for attacks inside the United States, probably using airplanes," said Bush.

He said other interrogations led to the arrest of key figures in an al-Qaeda "biological weapons program" involving the use of anthrax.

Bush said information gleaned from interrogations under the CIA program had played a role in the capture of every senior al-Qaeda member or associate now held by U.S. authorities.

"This program has helped us take potential mass murderers off the streets before they were able to kill," he said. In addition, he said, interrogators used the questioning to increase their understanding of al-Qaeda's structure, financing, logistics and communications, to make sense of documents and computer records and to identify voices in recordings of intercepted calls.

"This intelligence has helped us connect the dots and stop attacks before they occur," Bush said. If not for the CIA program, "al-Qaeda would have succeeded in launching another attack on the American homeland," he said. "This program has saved innocent lives."

Bush emphatically denied that the program involved the use of torture, and he said it had been vetted by the Justice Department and the CIA inspector general.

"The United States does not torture," Bush declared. "I have not authorized it, and I will not authorize it."

In order to take the next step in bringing enemies of the United States to justice, Bush said, "today I am sending Congress legislation to specifically authorize the creation of military commissions to try terrorists for war crimes." He said Mohammed, Abu Zubaida, Binalshibh "and 11 other terrorists in CIA custody have been transferred to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay," and will "face justice" for the Sept. 11 deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans as soon as Congress authorizes the military commissions.

The Bush proposal for new legislation on military tribunals came a little more than two months after the Supreme Court struck down military commissions previously established by the administration to try detainees at Guantanamo. The court ruled 5-3 on June 29 that the special military tribunals, outlined by Bush in a Nov. 13, 2001, military order, were not authorized by Congress and violated the standards of U.S. military justice and the Geneva Conventions.

The military commissions originally envisaged by Bush would have deprived defendants of protections that are accorded by U.S. military courts martial, including the right to see and hear the evidence against them, the court found.

The ruling prompted lawmakers to seek an alternative way to try detainees at Guantanamo, many of whom have been held without charge for more than four years after being picked up as suspected terrorists. About 455 detainees are currently held at the U.S. naval base on the eastern end of Cuba, and more than 500 others are reportedly in U.S. custody in Afghanistan.

Three key Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee have drafted legislation governing special military trials of suspected terrorists and granting rights that the administration has sought to limit. The proposal - sponsored by Sen. John Warner (R-Virginia), the committee chairman, Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) and Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-South Carolina) - specifies that defendants have the right to know the evidence against them.

The senators' plan follows existing military procedures, rejecting an administration proposal to create a new military appellate court to review trial decisions. Instead, the plan calls for such reviews to be carried out by the existing military court of appeals.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, released today a revised policy directive on detainees and a new Army Field Manual that bans some prisoner interrogation techniques that have come under criticism in the wake of the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal. The manual, which applies to all branches of the U.S. armed forces, prohibits such methods as intimidating prisoners with military dogs, placing hoods over their heads, staging mock executions, forcing prisoners to remain naked or perform sexual acts, inflicting any form of physical pain including electric shocks and simulating drowning through a "waterboarding," a technique that human rights advocates have denounced as a form of torture.

In addition to 16 approved interrogation techniques that were covered in the previous field manual issued in 1992, three new ones were added on the basis of lessons learned in the war on terrorism, said Pentagon officials.

Lt. Gen. John Kimmons, the Army's deputy chief of staff for intelligence, said in a news briefing that the three additional interrogation techniques include one - called "separation" - that was requested by senior military commanders and is reserved "only for unlawful enemy combatants." He said the technique essentially means keeping suspected terrorists apart from each other during the interrogation process to prevent collusion.

Bush said in his speech that any further questioning of the detainees sent to Guantanamo will be in keeping with the new Army Field Manual. "They will continue to be treated with the humanity that they denied others," he said.

Under the new Defense Department policy directive, "all detainees shall be treated humanely and in accordance with U.S. law, the law of war and applicable U.S. policy." Regardless of their legal status, it said, detainees will be treated as required by Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, which forbids "violence to life and person," murder, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture, as well as the taking of hostages and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment."

In addition, the treatment of detainees will be further regulated by an annex of the U.S. policy document, which stipulates that all detainees in U.S. military custody will receive adequate food, water, shelter, clothing and medical treatment. The annex also grants them "free exercise of religion" consistent with detention requirements, and protects them "against threats or acts of violence including rape, forced prostitution, assault and theft, public curiosity, bodily injury and reprisals."

According to the directive, detainees "will not be subjected to medical or scientific experiments" and "will not be subjected to sensory deprivation."

"The inhumane treatment of detainees is prohibited and is not justified by the stress of combat or deep provocation," the document said.

Intellpuke: You can read this article by Washington Post staff writer William Branigin in context here: ... 00417.html

What's Behind Bush's Guantanamo Move ... 97,00.html

Analysis: The dramatic shift of top-drawer Qaeda detainees to Guantanamo is designed to give a fresh rationale for the controversial prison camp. And, oh yes, there's an election coming

Bush confirms existence of CIA prisons
September 07, 2006 07:01am,23599,20 ... 02,00.html

European watchdog calls for clampdown on CIA,,1867438,00.html

Bush Vows to Use All Anti-Terror Tools

EU lawmakers demand to know location of CIA jails

Joined: 07 May 2006, 23:31

07 Sep 2006, 14:06 #2

US says 9/11 suspect planned Heathrow attack
James Sturcke and agencies
Thursday September 7, 2006
Guardian Unlimited ... 09,00.html

The terror suspect accused of masterminding the September 11 attacks also planned to crash hijacked airliners into Heathrow airport, according to documents released by the US government.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed conceived a plot to hit Heathrow after the attacks on America five years ago, the documents from the US office of the director of national intelligence said.

Another alleged al-Qaida member Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, described as a "key facilitator" in 9/11, was said to have been a "lead operative" in the UK plan, which the US said was disrupted in 2003.

The details emerged in profiles (pdf) of 14 terror suspects, including Mohammed and Bin al-Shibh, who, the US announced yesterday, have been transferred from secret CIA prisons around the world to Guantánamo Bay in Cuba :

Profiles of the 14 terror suspects ... aphies.pdf

Joined: 26 Nov 2005, 01:46

07 Sep 2006, 19:40 #3

Bush presses Congress to pass antiterrorism laws

By Matt Spetalnick
Thursday, September 7, 2006; 1:46 PM

ATLANTA (Reuters) - President Bush pressed Congress on Thursday to approve new military tribunals to try terrorism suspects, a day after he admitted the CIA ran secret prisons overseas where accused militants were detained.

In his latest speech marking the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States, Bush sought to rally public support for his anti-terrorism strategy in the face of formidable court challenges and international condemnation.

Bush hopes lawmakers will give him a security-policy victory before November's congressional elections, in which Republicans are fighting to keep control.

Beset by low approval ratings, he has tried fend off criticism over the unpopular Iraq war and cast the campaign as a choice of whether his Republican party or their Democratic rivals are best able to fight terrorism.

Speaking at a public policy forum in Atlanta, Bush also urged Congress to endorse his administration's domestic eavesdropping program.

"I will continue to use every element of national power to pursue our enemies and to prevent attacks on the United States of America," Bush said.

Bush said on Wednesday that 14 high-profile suspects held by the Central Intelligence Agency, including accused September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, had been transferred to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo.

It was Bush's first public acknowledgment of the CIA overseas detention program. The program had provoked European anger and accusations of violations of international law when it was disclosed earlier in news reports.

European lawmakers on Thursday demanded that their governments reveal the locations of secret CIA prisons.


The administration launched several counterterrorism programs after September 11, in a go-it-alone approach that has started to backfire.

The Supreme Court in June struck down as unconstitutional the military tribunals the administration set up to try terrorism suspects, and Bush now wants Congress to let him create courts very similar to those he originally planned.

Bush said the sooner Congress authorized the new tribunals the sooner al Qaeda suspect Mohammed will "receive the justice he deserves." His proposed bill rivals an effort by several key Republicans that would afford detainees greater rights.

Last month, a federal judge in Michigan ordered the Bush administration to stop the wiretap program, saying it violated civil rights. The administration has appealed.

"The surest way to keep the program is to get explicit approval from the United States Congress," Bush said on Thursday.
�To those who are afraid of the truth, I wish to offer a few scary truths; and to those who are not afraid of the truth, I wish to offer proof that the terrorism of truth is the only one that can be of benefit to the proletariat.� -- On Terrorism and the State, Gianfranco Sanguinetti

Joined: 07 May 2006, 23:31

08 Sep 2006, 18:53 #4

Bush Aims to Kill War Crimes Act
Jeremy Brecher & Brendan Smith

Joined: 07 May 2006, 23:31

03 Jan 2007, 12:48 #5

Guantanamo Bay Inquiry

Report (PDF) ... ainees.pdf
A survey of 493 FBI personnel who were asked whether they observed aggressive mistreatment, interrogations or interview techniques of GTMO yielded 26 positive responses and several additional responses that were "not purely negative." These responses culminated in a 9/2/04 request through FBI's OGC to conduct a "GTMO, Counterterrorism Division, Special Inquiry" re 9 of the incidents identified. The conclusion was that there was no FBI involvement in the target interview techniques -- only outside entities. Following is a list of the positive and "not purely negative" responses that prompted the inquiry. Note that these documents have been vetted by both DoD and FBI, and that FBI believes this or substantially similar information has already been released in this litigation.

Joined: 26 Nov 2005, 01:46

08 Jan 2007, 10:54 #6

Five years of Camp X-Ray: Why are two British residents still in Guantanamo Bay?
Because the UK will not let them home to join their families despite accepting they have spent four years in jail for no reason...
An extraordinary legal wrangle has left two men with British families languishing for four years in Camp X-Ray, where they are at breaking point
By Marie Woolf, Political Editor
Published: 07 January 2007

Two British residents left languishing for years in Guantanamo Bay despite being charged with no offence are suffering such serious health problems their lawyers warn they may never recover.

Bisher al-Rawi, who is locked in solitary confinement in a 6ft by 8ft cell, is gradually "losing his mind" and is in danger of irreparable damage to his mental state after five years of incarceration and torture.

On the fifth anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Bay this week, lawyers acting for two UK residents are to warn the Foreign Secretary that the psychological deterioration of Mr al-Rawi is so serious that he may be unrecognisable as the "same person" unless he is swiftly released. His friend Jamil el Banna, who was seized with him five years ago by the CIA, is diabetic and, because he does not receive an appropriate diet, is beginning to lose his sight.

The men, known in Guantanamo as prisoners number 905 and 906, have not been charged with an offence and are not deemed enough of a security risk to be incarcerated in the UK or even for a control order to be imposed. Indeed, Mr al-Rawi was trusted enough to be recruited by MI5. While British citizens in Guantanamo Bay have returned to the UK, these two have been left in limbo. Ministers argue they have no responsibility to bring them back to the UK because, although their families are British and they have lived here for years, they do not hold UK passports.

Yesterday senior politicians said it breached the men's human rights to keep them in Guantanamo Bay. Sir Menzies Campbell, whose request to see the prison's conditions has been refused, said: "Guantanamo Bay violates every accepted principle of law. It is not enough for the Prime Minister and government ministers belatedly to condemn Guantanamo; they must accept their moral responsibility towards those British residents who have been left to languish."

This week MPs will argue the two Britons should be returned to their families in the UK to face any charges against them. In a Commons debate tomorrow, Ed Davey MP will call on the US to give the UK residents a fair trial.

"If the British government doesn't act urgently to meet its moral obligations there is a danger there won't be much left of Bisher al-Rawi to bring home," said Mr Davey, MP for Kingston and Surbiton. "He is in a horrendous situation and all his rights have been chucked out of the window."

After five years of imprisonment, Mr al-Rawi's mental health has deteriorated to such an extent he now talks to himself constantly. Lawyers who have visited the 39-year-old Iraqi citizen say that his behaviour verges on hysteria and fear he may be losing his grip on reality. Jamil el Banna, who is in a lower-security wing, suffers from excruciating pains in his leg and his eyesight is beginning to fail because the US authorities refuse to give him extra salad in his diet.

For the MPs and lawyers campaigning to have the men returned to their families in Britain, it is hardly surprising that they are suffering extreme trauma. Both men were snatched five years ago by the CIA while on a business trip to Gambia. After a tip-off by MI5, they were arrested by Gambian authorities in 2002 and taken on a secret CIA flight to the Dark Prison in Kabul by masked Americans who claimed they were from "the embassy".

Once in Afghanistan they were beaten, starved and held in 24-hour darkness. The men were played heavy metal music at deafening volumes. Like many Guantanamo inmates, they can recite the lyrics of Eminem and Metallica.

While in Kabul they were manacled and chained to the wall and even had their clothes cut off. They were then flown to Guantanamo, where they have been kept in outdoor cages, shackled and blindfolded, and subjected to sustained isolation and sleep deprivation. Mr al-Rawi was beaten up so badly by the guards that his ribs were broken.

Since last March Mr al-Rawi has been held in solitary confinement in the notorious Camp V, which is cut off from the rest of the prison. In his tiny cell, the lights are kept on 24 hours a day and the men are kept in solitary confinement and under constant camera surveillance. They have no human contact except with guards who escort them to the shower. They are shackled, manacled, blindfolded and made to wear ear muffs if they are moved for interrogation ­ which is known, euphemistically in Guantanamo, as " reservation".

But despite the constant questioning, and evidence against them provided by the UK security services, neither man has been charged with plotting any crime. Mr el Banna is considered so low a security risk he was permitted last year to talk for an hour by phone to his wife in London. Mr al-Rawi, far from acting as a threat to Britain, even received a visit from an MI5 officer in Guantanamo who told him he had not come to interrogate him but to say hello.

The detainees came to the attention of the British authorities because they were friendly with the radical cleric Abu Qatada, who is in custody and is seen by some as a key operative in al-Qa'ida. Both men admitted to being close to the radical cleric, but they insist their relationship was social. Lawyers who have seen classified evidence against them say there are no valid grounds for their detention. They believe any evidence against them would be thrown out in court. The main evidence that they are "enemy combatants" is the existence of an electronic device in their luggage which turned out to be a battery recharger sold at Argos which had been modified so it was waterproof.

"Britain handed them over to the US to be tortured and held without trial. They now have it within their power to have these men released," said Sarah Teather, MP for Brent East. Mr el Banna is one of her constituents.

Air conditioning is also shut off for up to a week at a time, subjecting the prisoners to temperatures of up to 95F with no fresh air. At other times the air conditioning is blasted at maximum so that the prisoners freeze with only a single sheet to cover them. When Mr al-Rawi attempted to cover himself in his prayer mat for warmth, it was removed for "misuse".

"My fear is that if Mr al-Rawi is not released imminently from prison or at least from Guantanamo's Camp V, he will no longer be Mr al-Rawi," said Zachary Katznelson, a lawyer with the campaign group Reprieve. "My concern is that they will not bring him home until he is very mentally damaged."

Before he was taken to Guantanamo the 39-year-old was described as a humorous and good-natured "playboy". The great-great-grandson of a former prime minister of Jordan, he came from a privileged family background and attended Millfield public school and London University, where he studied engineering but dropped out before graduating. He was born in Iraq but fled to Britain with his family aged 14 after his father was arrested and tortured by Saddam Hussein's regime.

He was open about his friendship with Abu Qatada and acted as a translator and a go-between for MI5, delivering messages given to him by agents and collecting information about his views for the service. But when his brother asked to go into business with him he leapt at the chance. With Jamil el Banna he devised plans to start to a mobile peanut oil factory in Gambia. It was on a trip to the West African state to establish the plant that he was seized.

Mr el Banna does not come from as privileged a background as his friend. A Palestinian with Jordanian citizenship, he sold cars at auction and is said to be a devoted family man. His five children, the youngest of whom he has never met, eagerly await his return from their north London home and write regularly to their father. But their statements such as "I love you daddy" are taken out by the US censors.

Although Mrs el Banna has worked hard to shield her children from the truth about Guantanamo, it is clear that Anas, aged 10, is well aware of what happened to the father who disappeared from his life when he was five. " They just kidnapped him and took him to Guantanamo, just because he never had the English passport. Everybody has to know that my dad went to jail for no reason," he said. "He always writes in the letters 'I just want to come back'. I tell him I like maths and computer and that I love him."

Ironically, the Americans say that the two men could in theory be released, but they argue they must be watched constantly by the security services if they return to Britain. In informal talks the UK is believed to have said it would be disproportionate to implement such stringent measures because the two men do not impose a sufficient security risk.

"We are not making representations on their behalf. They are not British citizens," said a Foreign Office spokesman. "We have no locus to make consular representations on their behalf."

A day in the life of Bisher al-Rawi

5am The prisoner is woken by guards banging on his cell door. The lights have been on through the night. The prisoner is told to return his cotton sheet, which he will not get back until nightfall.

8am The guards pass his daily ration of 15 sheets of toilet paper through a slot in the door. They are instructed not to talk, adding to the sensory deprivation.

9am Mr al-Rawi is served the first meal of the day: eggs, potatoes and water.

9.30am He is told to return the tray and plastic spoon through the slot.

11.30am Twice a week, the prisoner gets a rare treat: a shower. He is allowed out of his cell after being shackled and manacled and is taken to the shower by a guard. He is issued with a small piece of soap and watched at all times. He is allowed precisely five minutes.

12.30pm A lunch of cold halal chicken is passed through the slot in the door. No hot food has been allowed for the past five years. The plastic utensil is passed back through the door after 30 minutes.

3pm If he is lucky, this is the day for the prisoner's weekly letter writing session. He is issued with the internal part of a miniature Biro pen through the door. Again, the transaction will be carried out in silence.

3.30pm After 30 minutes, the slot on the door reopens and the prisoner is told to hand back the pen and paper. The letter is edited before being despatched.

5pm Mr al-Rawi hears neighbouring prisoners being taken to the exercise yard, but he will not be joining them, as part of the policy of denying him any social contact.

6pm A cold meal is passed through the door slot.

7pm The prisoner usually spends the next three hours pacing the 6ft by 8ft cell, talking to himself.

10pm The slot on the door opens for the final time of the day. He is issued with a sheet, but no blanket, and prepares his bedding on an inch-thick foam mattress.

Midnight The library cart rattles past cells but Mr al-Rawi is not allowed reading material, except a copy of the Koran.

1am The prisoner settles down to sleep. The fluorescent lamp in the ceiling will glare down all night.
�To those who are afraid of the truth, I wish to offer a few scary truths; and to those who are not afraid of the truth, I wish to offer proof that the terrorism of truth is the only one that can be of benefit to the proletariat.� -- On Terrorism and the State, Gianfranco Sanguinetti

Joined: 26 Nov 2005, 01:46

08 Jan 2007, 10:58 #7

From the Guardian, no mention of MI5:
Brent Mickum, an American lawyer who also represents him, said al-Rawi was 'slowly but surely slipping into madness. Bisher's treatment is designed to achieve a single objective: to make him lose his mind.'
Guardian 7/1/07
�To those who are afraid of the truth, I wish to offer a few scary truths; and to those who are not afraid of the truth, I wish to offer proof that the terrorism of truth is the only one that can be of benefit to the proletariat.� -- On Terrorism and the State, Gianfranco Sanguinetti