Judge Rules Yemeni’s Detention at Guantánamo Based Solely on Torture

23.4.10

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Note: This article is published as part of “Guantánamo Habeas Week” (introduced here, and also see the articles here and here), which also features an interactive list of all 47 rulings to date (with links to my articles, the judges’ unclassified opinions, and more).

On February 24, as I reported in an article entitled, “The Black Hole of Guantánamo,” Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. granted the habeas corpus petition of Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman, a Yemeni who was seized crossing the border from Afghanistan to Pakistan in December 2001. In the absence of the judge’s unclassified opinion explaining why he had ordered his release, I provided only a brief explanation of what was publicly known of his story, stating:

As I explained in my book The Guantánamo Files, Uthman, who was 22 years old at the time of his capture, “said that he had traveled between Kabul and Khost teaching the Koran from March to December 2001.” Although he “admitted that he had stayed at a Taliban house in Quetta, Pakistan, which was the normal entry point for volunteers who had come to fight with the Taliban,” he stated that this was “only because he had been told that it was the only way for him to enter Afghanistan.”

Judge Kennedy’s opinion was released a month ago (PDF), but was then abruptly withdrawn, and, perhaps with unnecessary delicacy, I held off from analyzing it, waiting for it to be reissued, as I was uncertain how much would be redacted. When the revised opinion was finally released on April 21 (PDF), I realized that the name of a criminal investigator with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service had been removed, as had other named operatives, but that other key elements had not; specifically, the names of two other prisoners who alleged that Uthman “acted as a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden.” These two men are Sharqwi Abdu Ali al-Hajj and Sanad Yislam Ali al-Kazimi, and in the most important part of the opinion, Judge Kennedy stated:

The Court will not rely on the statements of Hajj or Kazimi because there is unrebutted evidence in the record that, at the time of the interrogations at which they made the statements, both men had recently been tortured.

The torture of Sharqwi Abdu Ali al-Hajj

This, alarmingly, was something of an understatement. Al-Hajj (also identified as Abdu Ali Sharqawi, but more commonly known as Riyadh the Facilitator) was seized in a house raid in Pakistan in February 2002 and was then rendered to Jordan, one of at least 15 prisoners whose torture was outsourced to the Jordanian authorities between 2001 and 2004, where he was held for nearly two years before being transferred to the CIA’s “Dark Prison” near Kabul, and then, via Bagram, to Guantánamo.

As Judge Kennedy explained, he told his lawyer, Kristin B. Wilhelm, that, “while held in Jordan, he ‘was regularly beaten and threatened with electrocution and molestation,’ and he eventually ‘manufactured facts’ and confessed to his interrogators’ allegation ‘in order to make the torture stop.’” In the “Dark Prison,” he added, he was “kept in complete darkness and was subject to continuous loud music.”

Al-Hajj’s descriptions of the “Dark Prison” correspond with those of numerous other prisoners, including the British resident Binyam Mohamed, whose descriptions were included in my article, “A History of Music Torture in the ‘War on Terror.’” However, what is missing from the analysis of his time in Jordan is a more sustained narrative of torture, false confessions and his torturers’ regular contact with the CIA, which emerged in a letter given to Joanne Mariner of Human Rights Watch during a visit to Jordan in 2008, which had been written by al-Hajj during his detention, around October 2002. In this note, which was smuggled out of the prison, he explained that he “was held as a secret prisoner by the Jordanian intelligence service: unregistered, cut off from all communication and hidden during visits by representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross,” and gave the following “short summary of my sufferings,” as reported by Mariner:

“They beat me up in a way that does not know mercy,” Sharqawi wrote, referring to his Jordanian captors, “and they’re still beating me. They threatened me with electricity, with snakes and dogs … [They said] we’ll make you see death.” Sharqawi described his interrogations, explaining that the Jordanians were feeding his responses back to the CIA. “Every time that the interrogator asks me about a certain piece of information, and I talk,” Sharqawi said, “he asks me if I told this to the Americans. And if I say no he jumps for joy, and he leaves me and goes to report it to his superiors, and they rejoice.”

In Human Rights Watch’s final report, “Double Jeopardy,” the extent to which he was interrogated about other men — using photos that, in Afghanistan and Guantánamo, were apparently described as “the family album” — was revealed in the following passage, which not only explains the pressures that led to him providing a false allegation against Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman in Bagram, but also indicates how hundreds — or thousands — of other false allegations may have been extracted:

I was being interrogated all the time, in the evening and in the day. I was shown thousands of photos, and I really mean thousands, I am not exaggerating … And in between all this you have the torture, the abuse, the cursing, humiliation. They had threatened me with being sexually abused and electrocuted. I was told that if I wanted to leave with permanent disability both mental and physical, that that could be arranged. They said they had all the facilities of Jordan to achieve that. I was told that I had to talk, I had to tell them everything.

The torture of Sanad al-Kazimi

The story of Sanad al-Kazimi’s false confession is just as distressing. Seized in the United Arab Emirates in January 2003, he was subsequently handed over to US forces, who rendered him to an unidentified secret CIA prison, and then to the “Dark Prison” and Bagram, and, as Judge Kennedy explained, he told his lawyer, Martha Rayner, that, “while [he] was detained outside the United States, his interrogators beat him; held him naked and shackled in a cold dark cell; dropped him into cold water while his hands and legs were bound; and sexually abused him. Kazimi told Rayner that eventually “[h]e made up his mind to say ‘Yes’ to anything the interrogators said to avoid further torture.”

After this he was relocated to the “Dark Prison,” where, he said, “he was always in darkness and … was hooded, given injections, beaten, hit with electric cables, suspended from above, made to be naked, and subjected to continuous loud music. Kazimi reportedly tried to kill himself on three occasions. He told Rayner that he realized ‘he could mitigate the torture by telling the interrogators what they wanted to hear.’”

At Bagram, he continued, “he was isolated, shackled, ‘psychologically tortured and traumatized by guards’ desecration of the Koran’ and interrogated ‘day and night, and very frequently.’ [He] told Rayner that he ‘tried very hard’ to tell his interrogators in Bagram the same information he had told his previous interrogators ‘so they would not hurt him.’”

This is damning enough, but back in August 2007, Jane Mayer of the New Yorker spoke to Ramzi Kassem, another of al-Kazimi’s lawyers, who, as I explained in an article at the time, added further details, telling her that:

[Al-Kazimi] was “suspended by his arms for long periods, causing his legs to swell painfully … It’s so traumatic, he can barely speak of it. He breaks down in tears.” He also said that al-Kazimi “claimed that, while hanging, he was beaten with electric cables,” and explained that he also told him that, while in the “Dark Prison,” he “attempted suicide three times, by ramming his head into the walls”: “He did it until he lost consciousness. Then they stitched him back up. So he did it again. The next time he woke up, he was chained, and they’d given him tranquillizers. He asked to go to the bathroom, and then he did it again.” On this last occasion, Kassem added, he “was given more tranquillizers, and chained in a more confining manner.”

The story of Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman

These accounts, sadly, fit a pattern of torture and false confessions that only becomes clearer as time passes and more evidence is revealed, and they also confirm that the two men described above were amongst the 94 prisoners — many still unaccounted for — who were held in secret CIA prisons and subjected to particularly brutal treatment (PDF). Compared to them, Uthman’s own story is easily overshadowed.

This is perhaps understandable, as nothing in the government’s supposed evidence thoroughly refutes his own assertions that he was in Afghanistan as a missionary, because the entire case against him is based on allegations made by other prisoners (in addition to al-Hajj and al-Kazimi), or attempts to infer guilt by association on the part of the government that make him something of a cipher in his own case.

Throughout the rest of the judge’s opinion, further attempts by the government to prove that Uthman was a bodyguard for bin Laden, that he trained in an al-Qaeda camp and was present at the battle of Tora Bora (where al-Qaeda and the Taliban fought the US military and its Afghan proxies in November and December 2001) are bedeviled with identifications based on a photograph and a variety of kunyas (nicknames) that Judge Kennedy found unconvincing. The only allegations given any substantial weight are claims that an individual who “supported jihad” financed his trip, that he followed a route that was typically used by al-Qaeda recruits, and that he was seen in two guesthouses in Afghanistan that were reportedly associated with al-Qaeda.

Other prisoners drift in and out of this narrative — Abdul Hakim Bukhari, a Saudi (released from Guantánamo in September 2007) who arrived in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks for jihad but was imprisoned as a spy, who unconvincingly alleged that Uthman “was a member of the Osama bin Laden … security detail” before 9/11, when Bukhari wasn’t in the country and could have had no such knowledge; and Richard Belmar, a British citizen (released in January 2005), who was seized in Pakistan in February 2002, and who, “when shown a picture of Uthman,” stated that he “’may have been a lower amir,’ or leader, ‘in the Kandahar guest house,’” even though, as seems apparent, Belmar was not in Kandahar at the same time as Uthman.

The judge refused to disregard this statement entirely, but, to be honest, it is difficult to see why not, as its basis in reality appears to be as flimsy as everything else thrown at Uthman by the government in the hope that some of it would stick, and, moreover, Belmar stated on his release that, on one occasion in Bagram, “a handgun was forced into his mouth,” and he explained, “It tasted cold, bitter. I thought, ‘Yeah, this is getting serious, there’s a good chance they will pull the trigger.’”

Elsewhere, the government resorted to trying out guilt by association, claiming that, because Uthman was seized in the vicinity of Tora Bora with approximately 30 other men, “a few of whom he knew from Yemen,” who “were admitted — or at least, alleged, al-Qaeda members, some of whom were likely coming from Tora Bora,” the Court should draw an inference that Uthman’s missionary story was a lie.

The truth, to be honest, is difficult to establish, as Judge Kennedy recognized. The group of approximately 30 men with whom Uthman was seized have long been referred to by the government as the “Dirty Thirty,” and portrayed, as in Uthman’s case, as bodyguards for bin Laden. Until this case came to court, it had been presumed that the bodyguard allegations came solely from Mohamed al-Qahtani, the supposed 20th hijacker for the 9/11 attacks, whose torture at Guantánamo is well-known (and was admitted by Pentagon official Susan Crawford in January 2009), but al-Qahtani is mysteriously absent from Uthman’s case, as are alleged al-Qaeda member Ibrahim al-Qosi (currently facing a trial by Military Commission) and convicted al-Qaeda member Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, who were also captured at this time.

It may dismay the government to have to concede that it is all but impossible to establish that everyone seized at this time was part of al-Qaeda, and that some of the men may have been missionaries or humanitarian aid workers, attempting to flee the chaos of post-invasion Afghanistan as part of general Arab exodus, but it is not beyond the bounds of reason that this is the case, as Judge Kennedy accepted in his conclusion, when he stated:

In sum, the Court gives credence to evidence that Uthman (1) studied at a school at which other men were recruited to fight for al-Qaeda; (2) received money for his trip to Afghanistan from an individual who supported jihad; (3) traveled to Afghanistan along a route also taken by al-Qaeda recruits; (4) was seen at two al-Qaeda guesthouses in Afghanistan; and (5) was with al-Qaeda members in the vicinity of Tora Bora after the battle that occurred there.

Even taken together, these facts do not convince the Court by a preponderance of the evidence that Uthman received and executed orders from al-Qaeda. Although this information is consistent with the proposition that Uthman was a part of al-Qaeda, it is not proof of that allegation. As explained, the record does not contain reliable evidence that Uthman was a bodyguard for Osama bin Laden or fought for al-Qaeda. Certainly, none of the facts respondents have demonstrated are true are direct evidence of fighting or otherwise “receiv[ing] and execut[ing] orders” … and they do not, even together, paint an incriminating enough picture to demonstrate that the inferences respondents ask the Court to make are more likely accurate than not. Associations with al-Qaeda members, or institutions to which al-Qaeda members have connections, are not alone enough to demonstrate that, more likely than not, Uthman was part of al-Qaeda.

In granting Uthman’s habeas petition, Judge Kennedy added that, “at first blush,” some of the government’s evidence was “quite incriminating of Uthman and supportive of the position that he is lawfully detained,” but that, on close examination, there was “reason to not credit some of it at all and reason to conclude that what remains is not nearly as probative of respondent’s position as they assert.”

An alarming conclusion

This is indeed the case, but what is missing from Judge Kennedy’s conclusion, but is glaringly obvious from his opinion as a whole, is that the shadows that surround the barely fleshed-out figure of Uthman are populated not by reliable witnesses, but by a procession of torture victims or other prisoners worn out by endless interrogation, who, when shown photographs, invented stories to get the torture to stop, or to get the interrogators off their back.

As a demonstration of how to produce false confessions to incriminate insignificant prisoners at Guantánamo, it would be hard to find a document that more perfectly expresses the brutal pointlessness of the “War on Terror” than this opinion, and when the bigger picture is examined — Sharqwi Abdu Ali al-Hajj‘s statement that, in Jordan, “I was shown thousands of photos, and I really mean thousands” — the scale of this shocking witch-hunt is explicitly revealed.

Beyond Guantánamo, where habeas judges are not empowered to tread, who knows how many other men were seized because of false confessions made through the use of torture?

(‘DiggThis’)

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in January 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and currently on tour in the UK), and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

As published on the Huffington Post, AlterNet, CounterPunch, Antiwar.com and ZNet. Cross-posted on Prison Planet, Uruknet, Deep Journal, New Left Project, BreaktheChains, Doom Daily, Truth is Contagious and Grande Strategy.

For a sequence of articles dealing with the Guantánamo habeas cases, see: Guantánamo and the Supreme Court: the most important habeas corpus case in modern history and Guantánamo and the Supreme Court: What Happened? (both December 2007), The Supreme Court’s Guantánamo ruling: what does it mean? (June 2008), Guantánamo as Alice in Wonderland (Uighurs’ first court victory, June 2008), What’s Happening with the Guantánamo cases? (July 2008), Government Says Six Years Is Not Long Enough To Prepare Evidence (September 2008), From Guantánamo to the United States: The Story of the Wrongly Imprisoned Uighurs (October 2008), Guantánamo Uyghurs’ resettlement prospects skewered by Justice Department lies (October 2008), Guilt By Torture: Binyam Mohamed’s Transatlantic Quest for Justice (November 2008), After 7 Years, Judge Orders Release of Guantánamo Kidnap Victims (November 2008), Is Robert Gates Guilty of Perjury in Guantánamo Torture Case? (December 2008), A New Year Message to Barack Obama: Free the Guantánamo Uighurs (January 2009), The Top Ten Judges of 2008 (January 2009), No End in Sight for the “Enemy Combatants” of Guantánamo (January 2009), Judge Orders Release of Guantánamo’s Forgotten Child (January 2009), How Cooking For The Taliban Gets You Life In Guantánamo (January 2009), Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics (February 2009), Bad News And Good News For The Guantánamo Uighurs (February 2009), The Nobodies Formerly Known As Enemy Combatants (March 2009), Farce at Guantánamo, as cleared prisoner’s habeas petition is denied (April 2009), Obama’s First 100 Days: A Start On Guantánamo, But Not Enough (May 2009), Judge Condemns “Mosaic” Of Guantánamo Intelligence, And Unreliable Witnesses (May 2009), Pain At Guantánamo And Paralysis In Government (May 2009), Guantánamo: A Prison Built On Lies (May 2009), Free The Guantánamo Uighurs! (May 2009), Guantánamo And The Courts (Part One): Exposing The Bush Administration’s Lies (July 2009), Obama’s Failure To Deliver Justice To The Last Tajik In Guantánamo (July 2009), Obama And The Deadline For Closing Guantánamo: It’s Worse Than You Think (July 2009), How Judge Huvelle Humiliated The Government In Guantánamo Case (Mohamed Jawad, July 2009), As Judge Orders Release Of Tortured Guantánamo Prisoner, Government Refuses To Concede Defeat (Mohamed Jawad, July 2009), Guantánamo As Hotel California: You Can Check Out Any Time You Like, But You Can Never Leave (August 2009), Judge Orders Release From Guantánamo Of Kuwaiti Charity Worker (August 2009), Guantánamo And The Courts (Part Two): Obama’s Shame (August 2009), Guantánamo And The Courts (Part Three): Obama’s Continuing Shame (August 2009), No Escape From Guantánamo: The Latest Habeas Rulings (September 2009), First Guantánamo Prisoner To Lose Habeas Hearing Appeals Ruling (September 2009), A Truly Shocking Guantánamo Story: Judge Confirms That An Innocent Man Was Tortured To Make False Confessions (September 2009), 75 Guantánamo Prisoners Cleared For Release; 31 Could Leave Today (September 2009), Resisting Injustice In Guantánamo: The Story Of Fayiz Al-Kandari (October 2009), Justice Department Pointlessly Gags Guantánamo Lawyer (November 2009), Judge Orders Release Of Algerian From Guantánamo (But He’s Not Going Anywhere) (November 2009), Innocent Guantánamo Torture Victim Fouad al-Rabiah Is Released In Kuwait (December 2009), What Does It Take To Get Out Of Obama’s Guantánamo? (December 2009), “Model Prisoner” at Guantánamo, Tortured in the “Dark Prison,” Loses Habeas Corpus Petition (December 2009), Judge Orders Release From Guantánamo Of Unwilling Yemeni Recruit (December 2009), Serious Problems With Obama’s Plan To Move Guantánamo To Illinois (December 2009), Appeals Court Extends President’s Wartime Powers, Limits Guantánamo Prisoners’ Rights (January 2010), Fear and Paranoia as Guantánamo Marks its Eighth Anniversary (January 2010), Rubbing Salt in Guantánamo’s Wounds: Task Force Announces Indefinite Detention (January 2010), The Black Hole of Guantánamo (March 2010), Guantánamo Uighurs Back in Legal Limbo (March 2010), Guantánamo and Habeas Corpus: The Torture Victim and the Taliban Recruit (April 2010).

Also see: Justice extends to Bagram, Guantánamo’s Dark Mirror (April 2009), Judge Rules That Afghan “Rendered” To Bagram In 2002 Has No Rights (July 2009), Bagram Isn’t The New Guantánamo, It’s The Old Guantánamo (August 2009), Obama Brings Guantánamo And Rendition To Bagram (And Not The Geneva Conventions) and Is Bagram Obama’s New Secret Prison? (both September 2009), Dark Revelations in the Bagram Prisoner List (January 2010), Bagram: Graveyard of the Geneva Conventions (February 2010).

33 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    Note to my readers: Well, I made it finally! I’ve got technical problems, and it’s taken me about six hours to get this published. If I weren’t so pig-headedly stubborn, I’d have given up on it, but I wanted it out there!

    Over the next few days, if I can recover from the stress that this has caused me, I’ll only be posting short pieces, which seem to fox the gremlins that are plaguing me, until I can secure technical assistance again on Monday morning.

    I hate to sound like I’m whingeing, but this is going to dent my meager income, so if you’ve been enjoying “Guantanamo Habeas Week,” please consider donating.

    And yes, “Guantanamo Habeas Week” is now something more along the lines of “Guantanamo Habeas Fortnight.” I still have articles to write about five more opinions!

  2. Cosmic Surfer says...

    Andy – Keep up the great work…Your voice, it leads the way for a chorus to rise up and give voice to the truth and to those who have had their voices taken.
    May the Universe echo the voice of truth and the light shine on those who hide from it.
    We cannot stop until EVERY SINGLE PERSON has their justice, no matter what that TRUE justice brings; We cannot stop until those who are innocent are let free

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thank you. I’ve had a miserable day with the gremlins plaguing my site, and that’s just what I needed to hear!

  4. Jeffrey Kaye says...

    A superlative article, extremely informative, and right on in its analysis of this insane, criminal “war on terror” and its many, many victims. Well worth the wait, and I’m glad you persevered. This is a very important story. Much thanks for all your hard work.

    To those reading this, please support Andy in his work!

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Jeff. Much appreciated. And if you’re reading this, please check out “Guantanamo Habeas Results: Prisoners 34, Government 13,” now updated with links to all the articles this week. As I advised above, “Guantanamo Habeas Fortnight” (as it now is) continues next week.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Here are some comments from the Huffington Post:

    GrumpyGrandpa wrote:

    I have read Andy’s reporting on the inappropriately named “War on Terror” as long as I can remember. I have never commented on it before because it usually left me so nauseated and sick that I had to go lie down. I think that a better name for this whole Bush/Cheney butchery would have been the “War Using Terror.”
    Some may say that Andy has been obsessive about Guantanamo and the other disgusting hell-holes around the world that have committed such atrocities. I am not one of them. The truth must be told no matter how ugly. And this is so ugly that the subsequent president refused to release the photographs of the victims of these barbaric acts because he feared that the photographs would spark massive worldwide retaliation against all US citizens. That tells you that the photographs must be horrendous, let alone what the atrocities were like to live through.
    Andy deserves to have a Pulitzer Prize. If the Pulitzer people ever wake up and realize that the new media is going to drive their little club out of business, maybe they will include electronic media. I commend Andy and the Huffington Post for having the intestinal fortitude to publish what government undoubtedly wishes would just go away. This is a classic example of speaking truth to power.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Jannsmoor wrote:

    First, Andy should be commended for shining light on this ugly chapter in American history. His work is important and should be receiving mainstream media attention.
    Second, it points to fundamental schisms between how America fights wars and how our legal system works.
    I will use combat as an example. I submit hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have been killed because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Soldiers are not prosecuted for destroying an entire house or block of houses if they have any articulable belief one of the many killed was an enemy combatant (even if there were NO combatants killed).
    Yet in law, there is no such guilt by association. The law requires each person to have actually participated in wrong doing before they are found guilty.
    The single most important question that was never asked before, or during, the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq is whether we, as a nation of laws and fundamental beliefs, really want to discard and undermine those laws and beliefs and execute innocent people. Because war ALWAYS comes down to executing innocent human beings, and ALWAYS in numbers far greater than our government reveals.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    greyhound2 wrote:

    Reminds me of the Spanish Inquisition, and that dark affair went on for centuries.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Eris23 wrote:

    Meanwhile, despite all the revelations about this festering cancer on the face of our nation, President Obama doesn’t do anything about it except sign an ornamental executive order.

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    ThankfullyCanadian wrote:

    These are the worst human rights abuses of our lifetime! I demand that the world start taking these types of revelations more seriously! We have known about this for years and people think they can still deny it ever happened. The only appropriate response to this article involves tears and vomit. If you’re not crying, you didn’t read it right.

    We owe apologies to George Orwell, whose explicit warnings about our horrific future were clearly ignored. He tried to show us that there are things so much worse than death. This article shows that the United States has literally RUINED people. Death would have been a merciful alternative. And we know that hundreds of detainees have been treated like this! These were free human beings!! How can anybody in the world be alright after knowing that this happened?!

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Red Herring wrote:

    I don’t think Americans even realize how much danger they are in, not from some Afgan Insurgent or Iraq Insurgent , but from their own military and intelligence agencies. How long before these tactics are brought home to US soil and used on US citizens? How long before they are rationalized as essential in the “War on Terror” right inside the USA?
    There does seem to be an abundant supply of well educated and qualified Americans more than willing to engage in torture, even on people that they know are innocent. Is anyone safe from people like these twisted human beings? I would suggest not, and I would also suggest that they will find a way to justify inflicting torture on Americans and American Society in the future, unless they are rooted out of the system, properly tried in court, and if found guilty, imprisoned for long periods of time, or if found guilty of murder, executed in accordance with the law of the land.
    Right now they are a danger on the world stage, in future, with lawyers like Yoo twisting the law, they could become a danger right inside the continental USA. The threshold of what the President can declare legal has already been crossed, so it is only a matter of time.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    This was my reply to GrumpyGrandpa (at 6, above):

    Thanks for the wonderfully supportive words! It helps to know that some people are listening, when what we get from the mainstream media, for the most part, is either hostility — one one side — or that fabled “objectivity” on the other, which more often than not only plays into the hands of those abusing their power in the first place.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    This was my reply to Eris23 (at 9, above):

    I like that description of the executive order as “ornamental.” I honestly don’t think it was meant to be, when Greg Craig first pushed the new President into setting a deadline for the closure for Guantanamo, but it certainly became that way as last year wore on, and the administration caved in to anyone who shouted loud enough.
    See: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2009/12/01/guantanamo-idealists-leave-obamas-sinking-ship/
    and: http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/2010/01/19/obamas-countdown-to-failure-on-guantanamo/

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    [...] Friedman. Unidentified sources — often revealed in previous cases to have been other prisoners subjected to torture or other forms of coercion — alleged that Almerfedi “was seen” at al-Qaeda guesthouses in [...]

  25. WikiLeaks Reveals Secret Guantánamo Files, Exposes Detention Policy as a Construct of Lies « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] airbase. In February 2010, in the District Court in Washington D.C., Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. granted the habeas corpus petition of a Yemeni prisoner, Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman, largely because he refused to accept testimony produced by either Sharqawi al-Hajj or Sanad [...]

  26. Does Obama Really Know or Care About Who Is at Guantánamo? « Dandelion Salad says...

    [...] addition, in a recent habeas case, similarly baseless allegations were revealed to have originated with two other prisoners held in [...]

  27. Meet the Seven Guantánamo Prisoners Whose Appeals Were Turned Down by the Supreme Court | Cii Broadcasting says...

    [...] — but another of the seven, Uthman Abdul Rahman Mohammed Uthman, another Yemeni, had. Uthman’s habeas corpus petition was granted in February 2010, but the government appealed, and his successful opinion was reversed on appeal in [...]

  28. Who Are the Remaining Prisoners in Guantánamo? Part One: The “Dirty Thirty” | NO LIES RADIO says...

    [...] that he had traveled between Kabul and Khost teaching the Koran from March to December 2001.” won his habeas corpus petition in February 2010, when Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. ruled that the main allegation against him — [...]

  29. House Kills Plan to Close Guantanamo | MEDIAROOTS – Reporting From Outside Party Lines says...

    [...] supposed evidence consists of unreliable statements made by the prisoners themselves or by their fellow prisoners, and also exposing how torture, coercion and the bribery of prisoners with better living conditions [...]

  30. Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman [027] – (Yemen) | Be in this world as a wayfarer says...

    [...] he had traveled between Kabul and Khost teaching the Koran from March to December 2001.” won his habeas corpus petition in February 2010, when Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. ruled that the main allegation against him — [...]

  31. Clergy Gitmo Justice Fast. | Speaking of... says...

    [...] who had his habeus corpus petition granted in February 2010. At that time, the judge ruled that the only evidence against Uthman was derived from torture and therefore unreliable.  But the government appealed, and the decision was reversed in March [...]

  32. freedetainees.org – In Court, Guantanamo prisoner Shaker Aamer asks for independent medical evaluation says...

    […] The lawyers also draw on previous Guantánamo habeas cases to point out that “the Court must be able to investigate whether a statement introduced in evidence against a prisoner is the ‘unreliable product of coercion,’” and specifically mention cases in which judges recognized statements as being unreliable — including the case of Fouad al-Rabiah, which I described in an article in 2009 entitled, “A Truly Shocking Guantánamo Story: Judge Confirms That An Innocent Man Was Tortured To Make False Confessions,” and the case of Uthman Abdul Rahim Mohammed Uthman, which I described in a 2010 article entitled, “Judge Rules Yemeni’s Detention at Guantánamo Based Solely on Torture.” […]

  33. GUANTANAMO: GUILTY EVEN AFTER PROVEN INNOCENT | Caravan Daily says...

    […] released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, witnesses queued up to accuse him, but all are suspicious — Sanad al-Kazimi, Sharqawi Abdu Ali al-Hajj, Ahmed al-Darbi,Mohammed al-Qahtani, Hassan bin Attash and Mustafa al-Hawsawi (a “high-value […]

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, filmmaker, photographer and Guantanamo expert
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