As part of my ongoing project to record the stories of all the prisoners held at Guantánamo, I’ve just posted the eleventh of 12 additional online chapters supplementing my book The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, and available from Amazon here and here). This additional chapter complements Chapter 14 of The Guantánamo Files, looking at the stories of 23 prisoners not mentioned in the book, either because their stories were not available at the time of writing, or to keep the book at a manageable length. It also includes the stories of six prisoners not mentioned in Chapter 16 of The Guantánamo Files, which covers “extraordinary rendition” and secret prisons.
With just one more online chapter to complete, the mission I set myself three years ago — to record the stories of all the prisoners in Guantánamo — is now close to completion, and will be followed by the first definitive prisoner list, identifying not only those who are still held, and those who have been released (and the dates they were released), but also those who have been cleared for release, whose plight is one of the major stumbling blocks to Barack Obama’s promise to close Guantánamo within a year, as the majority of these prisoners cannot be repatriated because of fears that they will be tortured in their home countries.
Of the 779 prisoners who have been held at Guantánamo, the stories of around 10 percent are unknown, because they were released in 2003 or 2004, and the Pentagon has not been obliged to release and information relating to these prisoners, but the rest will be sourced and referenced in the definitive list. Links will be provided to the stories of half of these prisoners, and references will be provided for the other half, identifying where their stories can be found in The Guantánamo Files. The list will, I hope, be a useful research tool, not just in identifying the stories of those who have been released, but also as an aid to analyzing the stories of those who are still held, to compare the Bush administration’s long-standing assertions that the remaining prisoners are the “hardcore” with a more objective view, which, in the majority of cases, questions the quality of the so-called evidence against them.
This eleventh online chapter features the stories of 17 of the 220 or so Afghan prisoners who have been held at Guantánamo, revealing, as I also discussed at length in The Guantánamo Files, how the majority of the Afghans were seized not because they were a threat to the US or its allies, but largely because they were sold to US forces by their Afghan allies or were seized in raids based on dubious intelligence. Three of those discussed — including Mohamed Jawad, put forward for trial by Military Commission — were juveniles at the time of their capture. The chapter also includes the stories of half-a-dozen stray foreigners. In addition, I look at the stories of six of the 50 or so Guantánamo prisoners who were subjected to “extraordinary rendition” and detention in secret prisons before their transfer to Guantánamo, and cast an objective eye on the supposed evidence used to justify their extraordinarily brutal treatment.
Note: See the column on the left for the first ten online chapters, and the last.
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Investigative journalist, author, filmmaker, photographer and Guantanamo expert
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