WikiLeaks: The Unknown Prisoners of Guantánamo (Part Four of Five)

9.6.11

Freelance investigative journalist Andy Worthington continues his 70-part, million-word series telling, for the first time, the stories of 776 of the 779 prisoners held at Guantánamo since the prison opened on January 11, 2002. Adding information released by WikiLeaks in April 2011 to the existing documentation about the prisoners, much of which was already covered in Andy’s book The Guantánamo Files and in the archive of articles on his website, the project will be completed in time for the 10th anniversary of the prison’s opening on January 11, 2012.

This is Part 4 of the 70-part series.

One of the great publicity coups in WikiLeaks’ recent release of classified military documents relating to the majority of the 779 prisoners held at Guantánamo, as I explained in the first part of this five-part series, was to shine a light on the stories of the first 201 prisoners to be freed from the prison between its opening, in January 2002, and September 2004, when 35 prisoners were repatriated to Pakistan, and 11 were repatriated to Afghanistan.

A handful of these 46 prisoners were cleared for release as a result of the Combatant Status Review Tribunals, a one-sided process, which ran from August 2004 to March 2005 and was designed to rubber-stamp the prisoners’ prior designation as “enemy combatants,” who could continue to be held indefinitely. Information about the 558 prisoners who passed through the CSRT process (PDF) was first made publicly available in 2006, but no records have ever been publicly released by the US government which provide any information whatsoever about the 201 released, or approved for release before the CSRTs began, except for a prisoner list released in May 2006 (PDF), which contains the names, nationalities, and, where known, dates of birth and places of birth for 759 prisoners (all but the 20 who arrived at Guantánamo between September 2006 and March 2008).

In the years since the documents relating to the CSRTs were released (and information relating to their annual follow-ups, the Administrative Review Boards, or ARBs), I attempted to track down the stories of these 201 men, and managed, largely through successful research that led to relevant media reports, interviews and reports compiled by NGOs, to discover information about 114 of these prisoners, but nothing at all was known about 87 others (except for their names, and, in some cases, their date of birth and place of birth). With the release of the WikiLeaks files, all but three of these 87 stories have emerged for the very first time, and in this series of articles, I am transcribing and condensing these stories, and providing them with some necessary context. The first 51 stories were in Part One, Part Two, and Part Three, and the penultimate instalment is below. Also see Part Five.

Please note that the overwhelming majority of these 84 prisoners were Afghans or Pakistanis, and that many were assessed by the US military as “being neither affiliated with AI-Qaida nor a Taliban leader,” of having “no intelligence value to the United States,” and of posing “no threat” or “a low threat to the US, its interests or its allies.” That last reference — to them posing “a low threat” — ought to alert readers to the problems with the classification system at Guantánamo, as many of the cases involve unwilling Taliban conscripts or patently innocent people seized by mistake, who, nevertheless, were referred to as “a low threat” rather than as no threat at all.

On their return, the majority of the Afghans were released outright, whereas the Pakistanis were mostly imprisoned for many months before they too were granted their freedom (see here for an article from Pakistani newspaper the Nation in June 2005 describing the release of 17 prisoners repatriated from Guantánamo in September 2004, some of whom are listed below).

WikiLeaks: The Unknown Prisoners of Guantánamo (Part Four of Five)

Bacha Khan (ISN 529, Pakistan) Released September 2004

Born in 1971, he was described in his assessment on September 13, 2003 as Badcha Khan, and was evidently regarded as troublesome by the Task Force, who described him as “uncooperative and aggressive while in detention.” It was also stated that he “ha[d] been defiant and during interviews ha[d] failed to be forthright or truthful.” It was also stated that he was “dedicated towards Islamic extremism” and was “assessed to have willingly traveled to Afghanistan to participate in the Jihad against the North Alliance [sic] and the US.”

In what was clearly regarded as a false cover story, Khan apparently claimed that he had traveled to Afghanistan in early November 2001 “to buy kitchen supplies for his home and to visit religious sites and visit graveyards.” Having allegedly traveled alone from Karachi to Quetta, and then to Spin Boldak and Kabul, he said that he stayed in Kabul “for 10-15 days at the home of an unknown Afghan ‘around government buildings,'” and then, after the US-led invasion, “tried to evacuate to the other side of Kabul ‘where the industrial companies were located,'” and where he was captured by a Northern Alliance commander while apparently carrying stolen Pakistani currency. He was then “held in a building called ‘the company’ near a bazaar with many others before he was turned over to the Americans.”

It was also stated, as a reason for his transfer to Guantánamo on June 16, 2002, that he was transferred “because of his affiliation with the Taliban as a foreign fighter,” but, as I explained in a recent article, How to Read WikiLeaks’ Guantánamo Files (originally published on WikiLeaks’ website when the Guantánamo files were first published, as part of my work liaising between WikiLeaks and its media partners):

[T]he “Reasons for Transfer” included in the documents, which have been repeatedly cited by media outlets as an explanation of why the prisoners were transferred to Guantánamo, are, in fact, lies that were grafted onto the prisoners’ files after their arrival at Guantánamo. This is because, contrary to the impression given in the files, no significant screening process took place before the prisoners’ transfer. As a senior interrogator who worked in Afghanistan explained in a book that he wrote about his experiences, every prisoner who ended up in US custody had to be sent to Guantánamo, even though the majority were not even seized by US forces, but were seized by their Afghan and Pakistani allies at a time when substantial bounty payments for “al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects” were widespread.

In its assessment, the Joint Task Force stated that Khan was “assessed as not being a member of Al-Qaida, or a Taliban leader,” and was “of no intelligence value to the United States,” although he was assessed as posing “a medium threat to the US, its interests and its allies,” and, as a result, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the commander of Guantánamo at the time, recommended that he be “considered for transfer to the control of another government for continued detention.”

Amanullah Alikozi (ISN 538, Afghanistan) Released March 2004

Born in 1973, and described in his assessment on November 12, 2003 as Aman Ullah, he was also described as “the first cousin of Mullah Abdul Bari, the governor of Helmand province, when the Taliban were in power.” Bari was also described as “a senior Taliban official,” who “reportedly communicated on a regular basis with Mullah Mohammed Omar using radios from Bari’s home and vehicle.”

Amanullah himself was described as having “owned and managed a shop selling excess farm goods” in Uruzgan province for eight years before his capture, and seemingly had little to do with his cousin’s activities. It was noted, for example, that in January 2002, when “Bari and an unidentified individual came to [his] home, and stayed for three days,” he moved his entire family to another village “[d]ue to the danger of housing a high-profile member of the Taliban.” Moreover, it does not seem that he was seized because of anything he had done. Instead, the new mayor of Uruzgan after the fall of the Taliban, Mohammed Jan, “arrested the detainee, confiscated his vehicle, and took 200,000 Pakistani Rupees” before handing him over — or selling him — to US forces.

He was flown to Guantánamo on June 10, 2002, on the spurious basis that his transfer was “because of his knowledge of information on local Taliban government personalities, and safehouses in Deh Rawood,” where he took his family when Bari came to stay in January 2002.

In its assessment, the Joint Task Force stated that Amanullah was “assessed as not being a member of Al-Qaida, or a Taliban leader,” and was “of no intelligence value to the United States,” and he was also assessed as posing “a low threat to the US, its interests and its allies.” As a result, Maj. Gen. Miller recommended that he be “considered for transfer to the control of another government for continued detention.”

Noor Allah (ISN 539, Afghanistan) Released September 2004

Born in 1971 in Deh Rawood, he was assessed on September 13, 2003 as suffering from “an Anxiety disorder” as well as the “latent tuberculosis” that is familiar from a large number of the prisoners’ files. It was also stated that he claimed that he was a farmer who was seized in Deh Rawood by forces loyal to Mohammed Nabi Khan, evidently a local commander. Noor Allah “stated that he  felt his capture was the result of a long-standing dispute between [him] and Mullah Khudai Nazar,” who “reportedly killed [his] cousin sometime around 1991 because [he] refused to give supplies and money to Mujahideen forces that were in control of Afghanistan under Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.” According to Noor Allah, he “was in the process of trying to settle the dispute with the Karzai government when Nazar reportedly set [him] up to be arrested as a member of the Taliban.”

He was flown to Guantánamo on May 4, 2002, on the spurious basis that his transfer was “because of his knowledge of the town of Deh Rawood,” where, it was stated, “Mullah Mohammad Omar is from,” and “specific family issues surrounding Mullah Mohammad Omar, Taliban activities in Uruzgan Province and information on foreign extremists operating in Uruzgan Province.”

The alleged connection with Mullah Omar continued with a claim that one of Noor Allah’s sisters was married to Mullah Omar, although it was unclear where this information had come from, or how accurate it may or may not have been. It was noted instead that Noor Allah had “not been forthcoming during interrogations when questioned on his personal and familial ties to Mullah Omar and the Taliban,” and “had lie [sic] several times stating that he [did] not even know Mullah Omar.” It was also claimed hat he had “not been forthcoming with his knowledge of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the Hekmatyar Forces.”

As a result, he was assessed as being “still of intelligence value based on potential knowledge of Mullah Omar, Taliban leaders from the Deh Rawood district, and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.” In addition, it was stated that his “ties to Mullah Omar [made] him a threat until the cessation of hostilities in Afghanistan or until Mullah Omar and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar [were] detained by friendly forces.” Although he was “assessed as being neither a member of AI-Qaida nor a Taliban leader,” he was “assessed as having knowledge of Taliban leadership and of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s forces and leaders in Afghanistan,” and although the Joint Task Force described him as being “of minimal intelligence value to the United States,” he posed “a high threat to the US, its interests or its allies.” As a result, Maj. Gen. Miller recommended that he “be retained under DoD control.”

The Task Force also noted that it had “notified the Criminal Investigative Task Force of this recommendation on 18 August 2003, who previously approved the detainee’s transfer under a conditional release agreement on 2 April 2003,” although Noor Allah was eventually released in September 2004, apparently without any strings attached.

Mohammed Noman (ISN 541, Pakistan) Released September 2004

In a JTF-GTMO assessment on February 9, 2004 (which was included in the files instead of a Detainee Assessment Brief, for no apparent reason, as it also was in the case of ISN 101, Mohammed Irfan), it was noted that, “[b]eing religious and wanting to actively participate in the jihad, [he] went to a Jamiat-Ul-Mujahideen sponsored pro-Taliban recruiting office in his hometown,” and was then taken to Afghanistan where he attended a training camp. He then “went back to his home town, traveled to the Paki-controlled side of Kashmir [sic], then traveled back to Afghanistan five more times,” on that last occasion fighting the forces of Northern Alliance commander Ahmed Shah Massoud near Bagram. It was noted that he had traveled extensively in Afghanistan, and that he “was ordered to retreat while fighting near Herat, and that his unit was in retreat when Northern Alliance forces closed in on him near a town called Gulran, capturing him on November 18, 2001, and taking him back to Herat, and then on to US custody.

Assessed as being a medium risk, it was noted that he had “demonstrated a commitment to jihad, ha[d] attended combatant training, and ha[d] participated and or supported hostilities against the US and coalition in support of jihad and maintain[ed] the capabilities to continue to do so.” However, it was also noted that he had been “extremely cooperative and appears truthful,” that he had been “fully exploited,” and that he was recommended for transfer to the control of another country for continued detention.

Mohammed Abas (ISN 542, Pakistan) Released March 2004

Born in 1980 and described in his assessment on August 16, 2003 as Mohammed Noramer Abbas, he told his interrogators that “he left Faisalabad in early November 2001 to visit his brother who [was] a clerk in the Pakistani military in Quetta.” There, he said, he “was re-united with an acquaintance at the bus station … who invited [him] to accompany him to visit his brother in Spin Boldak, Afghanistan.” From there, he said they “decided to visit the famous mosque in Kandahar.” From here his story jumped to “approximately” April 2002, when, “while returning to Quetta, his coach was stopped en route by an oncoming vehicle. Four men boarded the coach, and removed detainee and three other passengers who happened to be sitting towards the front and drove them to Gorlan, AF, where they were held for seven to eight days. After this time, all four were transferred to Herat, AF, where detainee claims he spent approximately two and a half months before being delivered into US custody in Kandahar.”

Abas “claimed that he had only been in Afghanistan for 10 days before being captured,” but the Task Force noted that the “transfer team” concluded that he had “not been truthful during his interrogations,” that “[i]nconsistencies in his timeline [had] not been truthfully explained” and that he had “not revealed all of his associates and his true reasons for traveling to Afghanistan,” and had “failed to be truthful and forthright in his interviews.”

The Task Force assessed Abas “as being a probable Taliban recruit who traveled to Afghanistan to support the call for Jihad,” although it was also noted that he was “of low intelligence value to the United States.” The Task Force concluded, without too much enthusiasm, that he posed “a medium threat risk to the US, its interests and its allies because of his possible interest in the cause of Islamic extremism, and Maj. Gen. Miller recommended that he “be considered for transfer to the control of another government for continued detention.” The unconfirmed suspicions about him also emerged in the spurious reason for his transfer to Guantánamo on June 16, 2002, which was “because he was suspected of being a foreign fighter assisting the Taliban.”

Wali Mohammed (ISN 547, Afghanistan) Released September 2004

Born in 1964, he was assessed on June 27, 2004, when it was noted that, two weeks before, he had had a “malignant tumour removed from his chest cavity (a malignant thymoma),” also described as a “large tumour,” which was “invasive.” It was also noted that “his chest require[d] further treatment with radiation to prevent a recurrence of this cancer,” although the “[r]ecommended radiation treatments [could] not be performed here at Guantánamo Bay.”

It was also noted that he had “a history of chronic hepatitis B and a seizure disorder,” and that he “should start radiation therapy after his surgical wound [had] healed, with an expectation that this would be by August 1, 2004.” It was also noted that the “long-term prognosis with treatment [was] probably very good, though data [was] lacking since this is an unusual cancer.”

Mohammed was only released because of the absence of necessary equipment at Guantánamo, although it is difficult to see how he would have survived in Afghanistan.From a security point of view, there was no obvious reason for his release so soon after this assessment, because It was stated that his “overall behavior has been non-compliant and slightly aggressive,” and that he “continue[d] to be of medium intelligence value,” and the Task Force noted that the opinion regarding his detention was the same as stated in the previous year’s Detainee Assessment Brief, when Maj. Gen. Miller recommended that he “be retained under DoD control.” Significantly, however, it was also determined that he posed “a low risk, due to his medical condition,” and, as a result, Brig. Gen, Jay Hood, the commander of Guantánamo at the time, accepted the Joint Task Force’s recommendation that, based on his “health status, intelligence value and risk level,” he “be released or transferred to the control of another country for continued detention.”

Sohab Mahud Mohammed (ISN 563, Iraq) Released March 2004

Born in 1976 and described in his assessment on August 16, 2003 as Surab Mahmed Mohammed, he was clearly not well, as it was noted that he was “blind in his right eye and his left eye require[d] correction.” He had also “been seen by psychiatric staff for Depressive Disorder” and was “listed in ‘poor condition’ with a fair prognosis.” It was also stated that he had “been refusing medications, thus complicating his condition.”

Relating his story, the Task Force explained that, according to Mohammed, he served in the Iraqi army from 1993 to 1995. but deserted because it was “too hard.” He then “fled north and attempted to join up with the Kurds but was not accepted by them,” so he “then fled to Iran where he lived for three years doing various odd jobs and committing various crimes to earn money.” He was then “arrested by Iranian police and deported to Afghanistan because they believed he was Afghani,” and, “fearing execution for desertion,” he said that he “told the Iranians he was Afghani to keep from being deported back to Iraq.” He said that he then “traveled to Nimruz, AF, in late 2001,” where he “continued his life as a common criminal,” and where,  “[a]t one point, he was arrested by the Taliban under suspicion of being a spy.” He also said that “[t]he Taliban imprisoned [him] until Northern Alliance forces captured him.”

Despite the coherence of this narrative, the Task Force concluded that his story became “convoluted and complicated” and that he had “failed to be forthright, owing to his profession as a criminal.” It was also stated that the “transfer team” concluded that he was “an opportunist and a criminal,” who had “told so many disjointed stories that anything he was to say would be entirely unbelievable without direct corroboration.” With blunt confusion, the Task Force stated that he “may have had knowledge of the Taliban and possibly even AI-Qaida personalities but that knowledge is considered suspect and unreliable.”

Shorn of any convincing reason for holding Mohammed, who appeared to be nothing more than an unfortunate drifter, like other Iraqis in Guantánamo, and, moreover, one who had fallen foul of the Taliban and had actually been imprisoned by them, the Task Force nevertheless assessed him “as a criminal and as such, held in his country of origin and subject to its laws,” although it was conceded that “[n]o creditable information ha[d] come to light” to suggest that Mohammed was “affiliated with either the Taliban or AI-Qaida as a member.”

He was also described as being “of low intelligence value to the United States,” and of posing “a medium threat to the US, its interests, and its allies because of his criminal history and possible connections to criminal groups and organizations that continue to support Islamic extremism in the region.” This seemed unlikely, but Maj. Gen. Miller recommended him for “transfer to the control of another government for continued detention,” even though it was uncertain how he would have been treated in Iraq, one year after the US invasion.

Noor Ahmad (ISN 580, Afghanistan) Released July 2003

Born in 1973, it was stated in his assessment on January 11, 2003 that he had fled to Pakistan in 1994 due to the war in Afghanistan, and had not set foot in Afghanistan since 1999. A merchant, he apparently traveled between Quetta and Sanzar Khel in the North West Frontier Province on a regular basis but, in February 2002, was questioned by “two Pakistani police officers performing routine document inspections,” who took him to a police station for “further questioning,” when he was “[u]nable to produce any documents.” Ahmed also stated that, “While in jail, [he] was told that he would be released if he raised 1,000 Rupees [about $12],” but that, because he “did not have the money to pay the bribe, [he] was thus incarcerated for several days before being transferred to US forces.” Although it was clear from this story that he was seized on a random basis by the US military’s Pakistani allies and handed over — or probably sold — it was also stated, without any shame, that the reason for his transfer to Guantánamo, which was, of course, grafted onto his case after the event, was “because of his general knowledge of routes of ingress into Afghanistan.”

In its assessment, the Joint Task Force stated that it “consider[ed] the information obtained from and about him as not valuable or tactically exploitable,” and added, “Based on current information, detainee [580] is assessed as neither affiliated with Al-Qaida nor as being a Taliban leader. Moreover … the detainee has no further intelligence value to the United States and will not be seen for further intelligence purposes. [He] has not expressed thoughts of violence nor made threats toward the US or its allies during interrogations or in the course of his detention. Based on the above, detainee does not pose a future threat to the US or US interests.” As a result, Maj. Gen. Miller recommended that he be “considered for release or transfer to the control of another government.”

Ibrahim Al Umar (ISN 585, Saudi Arabia) Released May 2003

Born in 1985, and therefore a juvenile when seized (to add to the 22 other known juveniles held in Guantánamo), he was assessed on September 27, 2002, when it was stated that he went to Pakistan to study at a religious school in Bannu, in western Pakistan, attending for four months until, after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, “the  school director requested that [he] leave Pakistan for his own safety, and so that the Pakistani authorities would not close the school.”

It was stated that he then “headed towards Karachi in a car driven by a Pakistani,” but that, “[w]hile driving to Lahore, the car hit a pedestrian. The driver panicked and continued driving, but Pakistani police stopped the car at a checkpoint and took everyone in the vehicle into Pakistani custody on 28 February 2002,” when he would have been either 16 or, conceivably, 17. He was then taken to a prison run by Pakistan’s most notorious intelligence agency, the Inter Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), where he was held for 45 days before being turned over to US forces. He was transferred to Guantánamo on June 15, 2002, and the spurious reason given was that it was “because of his knowledge of an Islamic school frequented by Jihadists.”

In its assessment, the Joint Task Force stated that it “consider[ed] the information obtained from and about him as not valuable or tactically exploitable,” and added, “Based on current information, detainee [585] is assessed as not affiliated with Al-Qaida, and as not being a Taliban leader. Moreover … the detainee has no further intelligence value to the United States and will not be seen for further intelligence purposes. [He] has not expressed thoughts of violence nor made threats toward the US or its allies during interrogations or in the course of his detention. Based on the above, detainee does not pose a future threat to the US or US interests.” It was also noted positively that, when he was being interviewed in Afghanistan, he “gave his true name to US forces rather than an alias.”

In addition, it was noted that, during a visit to Guantánamo from July 1 to 12, 2002, Saudi intelligence officers interrogated him and “concluded that he had little or no intelligence value,” and stated that they would accept custody of him if he was released. As a result, Maj. Gen. Michael Dunlavey recommended that he be “considered for release or transfer to the control of another government.”

Nematuallah Sahib Khan Alizai (ISN 628, Afghanistan) Released May 2003

Born in 1958, he was assessed on January 18, 2003, when it was stated that, like many of the prisoners, he had latent tuberculosis, but also suffered from chronic headaches, and had been diagnosed with moderate depression and hypertension.

A Taliban conscript, he was apparently taken from his village shortly before Ramadan in 2001, arriving in Kunduz on October 4. He was then taken north to Takhar province, where the Taliban leader was Mullah Rahoof, with whom he “had a multi-year adversarial relationship as a result of a land dispute.” When he discovered that Mullah Rahoof was the leader, “he escaped by boarding a truck headed to Kabul,” but was seized en route by Northern Alliance troops and taken to a camp in Bamiyan, where he was held for approximately two months before being transferred to US forces. He arrived in Guantánamo on June 9, 2002, and the spurious reason given for his transfer was “because of his general knowledge of the Taliban conscription process” — a weak reason in an ocean of poor excuses for kidnapping or buying people and rendering them halfway round the world.

In its assessment, the Joint Task Force stated that it “consider[ed] the information obtained from and about him as not valuable or tactically exploitable,” and added, “Based on current information, detainee [628] is assessed as neither affiliated with Al-Qaida nor as being a Taliban leader. Moreover … the detainee has no further intelligence value to the United States and will not be seen for further intelligence purposes. [He] has not expressed thoughts of violence nor made threats toward the US or its allies during interrogations or in the course of his detention. Based on the above, detainee does not pose a future threat to the US or US interests.” As a result, Maj. Gen. Miller recommended that he be “considered for release or transfer to the control of another government.”

Mahngur Alikhan (ISN 629, Afghanistan) Released May 2003

Born in 1957, he was described in his assessment on February 1, 2003 as Mahngur Ali Khan, and it was stated that he had been diagnosed with “gastroesophageal reflux disease and latent tuberculosis,” and in his own report he referred to illness, stating that, “[a]fter returning from an unsuccessful trip to Karachi, Pakistan to find work, [he] began experiencing stomach problems,” and traveled to Pakistan seeking treatment. After hitching a lift, he “was given a ride by one of three vehicles that traveled together in a convoy,” but which was then attacked by two US helicopters, “causing the vehicle occupants to scatter.” Alikhan “fled the battle and hid until the gunfire ceased, and was then detained by US forces and transported to Bagram.” On June 15, 2002, when he was sent to Guantánamo, the spurious reason given was “because of his general knowledge on [sic] migrant worker travel across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border for winter work.”

In its assessment, the Joint Task Force stated that it “consider[ed] the information obtained from and about him as not valuable or tactically exploitable,” and added, “Based on current information, detainee [629] is assessed as neither affiliated with Al-Qaida nor as being a Taliban leader. Moreover … the detainee has no further intelligence value to the United States and will not be seen for further intelligence purposes. [He] has not expressed thoughts of violence nor made threats toward the US or its allies during interrogations or in the course of his detention. Based on the above, detainee does not pose a future threat to the US or US interests.” As a result, Maj. Gen. Miller recommended that he be “considered for release or transfer to the control of another government.”

Nisar Rahmad (ISN 630, Afghanistan) Released July 2003

Born in 1980, he was assessed on April 8, 2003, when it was stated that he had become a Taliban conscript in place of his brother, who had been chosen, but who had “severe injury to both arms,” obliging his family to “use its financial resources to pay for the brother’s medical expenses and family funds could not cover the 5 million Afghani payment to be exempt from service.” After serving for 20 days in Bamiyan province, the Taliban retreated, and he “fled with other conscripts through the mountains,” eventually being seized by members of the Hazara militia, the Hezb-e-Wahdat, and imprisoned for four months in Bamiyan before being handed over — or sold — to US forces. On June 9, 2002, when he was transferred to Guantánamo, the spurious reason given was that it was “because of his knowledge of Taliban travel routes, and recruitment.”

In its assessment, the Joint Task Force stated that it “consider[ed] the information obtained from and about him as not valuable or tactically exploitable,” and added, “Based on current information, detainee [630] is assessed as being neither affiliated with Al-Qaida nor a Taliban leader. Moreover … the detainee has no further intelligence value to the United States and will not be seen for further intelligence purposes. [He] has not expressed thoughts of violence nor made threats toward the US or its allies during interrogations or in the course of his detention. Based on the above, detainee does not pose a future threat to the US or US interests.” As a result, Maj. Gen. Miller recommended that he be “considered for transfer to the control of another government.”

Ali Mohammed (ISN 634, Pakistan) Released March 2004

Born in 1958, he was described in his assessment on October 21, 2003 as Ali Muhammad Murad. It is unclear what he was supposed to have done, as the Detainee Assessment Brief refers only to a previous DAB, dated August 16, 2003, in which Maj. Gen. Miller recommended that he be “considered for release or transfer to the control of another government,” based on an assessment that he “was affiliated with the Taliban as a member and a foreign Islamic extremist fighter.” However, “[a]fter consultation with the Criminal Investigative Task Force and further analysis concerning [his] detention,” it was decided that he was “not a member of the Taliban,” and that, although, “by his own admission, [he] traveled to AF to fight on behalf of the Taliban,” he may not pose an ongoing threat to the US” if released.

As a result, he was “assessed as not being a member of Al-Qaeda or a Taliban leader.” It was also stated that he was “of no intelligence valet the United States,” and posed “a low threat to the US, its interests or its allies,” and Maj. Gen. Miller recommended that he be “considered for release or transfer to the control of another government” — the same outcome as two months earlier, but presumably with more weight put on the option to release him rather than for him to be detained on arrival in Pakistan.

Insanullah (ISN 637, Afghanistan) Released November 2003

Born in1980, he was described in his assessment on March 8, 2003 as Insan Ullah, and it was stated that he was “forcibly conscripted” by the Taliban from his village in Nangarhar province, where he was a sharecropper, on October 10, 2001, and flown to Bamiyan. He immediately escaped, “before he could receive any weapons training,” and traveled to the next village where he sought a lift to Kabul but was, instead, taken captive by villagers who took him to a prison camp near the city of Bamiyan, where he was held for four months until he was “turned over” to US forces. He was sent to Guantánamo on June 25, 2002, and the spurious reason for his transfer was “because of his knowledge of Taliban conscription in Nangarhar province.”

In its assessment, the Joint Task Force stated that it “consider[ed] the information obtained from and about him as not valuable or tactically exploitable,” and added, “Based on current information, detainee [637] is assessed as being neither affiliated with Al-Qaida nor a Taliban leader. Moreover … the detainee has no further intelligence value to the United States and will not be seen for further intelligence purposes. [He] has not expressed thoughts of violence nor made threats toward the US or its allies during interrogations or in the course of his detention. Based on the above, detainee does not pose a future threat to the US or US interests.” As a result, Maj. Gen. Miller recommended that he be “considered for transfer for release [sic] to the control of another government.”

Bismillah (ISN 639, Afghanistan) Released March 2004

Born in 1968, he was described in his assessment on November 20, 2003 as Bismulah, and it was stated that, approximately 25 days before Ramadan in 2001, he left home to buy flour and cooking oil, but “was approached by an individual named Mullah Musa, a Taliban commander,” who told him “he had to either pay 5,000,000 Afghani rupees or serve in the Taliban army. As he could not afford the bribe, he and three other villagers were forcibly conscripted and sent to the border with Hazara territory, in central Afghanistan, where they stayed for 17 days until Hazara troops advanced and they fled to a town where they were captured by a local militia affiliated with the Northern Alliance, and transferred to a prison in Bamiyan, where they were held for four months until they were “turned over” to US forces. He was sent to Guantánamo on June 11, 2002, and the spurious reason for his transfer was “because of his general knowledge of Taliban conscription, and of the facility he was guarding.”

In his assessment, it was stated that he was “assessed as being neither affiliated with AI-Qaida nor a Taliban leader,” that he was “of low intelligence value to the United States,” and that he posed “a medium threat to the US, its interests or its allies.” As a result, Maj. Gen. Miller recommended him for “release or transfer to the control of another government for continued detention.” It was also stated that, “pursuant to an agreement between the CITF [Criminal Investigative Task Force] and JTF GTMO Commanders, CITF will defer to JTF GTMO’s assessment that the detainee poses a medium threat,” although there was no indication as to whether CITF had initially regarded him as more or less significant.

Hamidullah (ISN 642, Afghanistan) Released November 2003

Born in Kunduz in 1980 and described in his assessment on April 8, 2003 as Hamidullah Haji Abdul Ghafor, he was diagnosed with latent tuberculosis (as were many other prisoners), but also with “an anxiety disorder.” It was stated that, in order to prevent him being conscripted by the Taliban, along with his brother and a friend, his family paid 300,000 Afghanis, which came from “family savings and farm sales.” However, while trying to flee south in a specially commissioned Flying Coach, they heard that Kabul was “already overrun,” and the driver refused to proceed. They then hired a taxi, but near Pul-i-Kumri, in Baghlan province, they were seized by Taliban forces, and transferred to a prison in Bamiyan province, where they were held for four months before being turned over to the Northern Alliance, who in turn handed them on to US forces. He was sent to Guantánamo on June 26, 2002, and the spurious reason for his transfer was “because of his knowledge of Taliban and their operations in and around Kunduz.”

In its assessment, the Joint Task Force stated that it “consider[ed] the information obtained from and about him as not valuable or tactically exploitable,” and added, “Based on current information, detainee [642] is assessed as being neither affiliated with Al-Qaida nor a Taliban leader. Moreover … the detainee has no further intelligence value to the United States and will not be seen for further intelligence purposes. [He] has not expressed thoughts of violence nor made threats toward the US or its allies during interrogations or in the course of his detention. Based on the above, detainee does not pose a future threat to the US or US interests.” As a result, Maj. Gen. Miller recommended that he be “considered for transfer to the control of another government.”

Mohammed Kabel (ISN 645, Afghanistan) Released March 2003

Born in 1963 in Parwan province, north of Kabul, he was assessed on December 5, 2002, when it was stated that he was conscripted by the Taliban because he was unable to pay a bribe of five million Afghanis. He was sent to a fighting position in the mountains for 21 days, until, “having decided to surrender,” he and others walked to Bamiyan province where they were seized by Northern Alliance forces three days before the start of Ramadan in November 2001, and held for four months before being transferred to US custody. He was sent to Guantánamo on June 9, 2002, and the spurious reason for his transfer was “because of his general knowledge of Taliban conscription procedures and extortion activities.”

In its assessment, the Joint Task Force stated that it “consider[ed] the information obtained from and about him as not valuable or tactically exploitable,” and added, “Based on current information, detainee [645] is assessed as not affiliated with Al-Qaida or as being a Taliban leader. Moreover … the detainee has no further intelligence value to the United States and will not be seen for further intelligence purposes. [He] has not expressed thoughts of violence nor made threats toward the US or its allies during interrogations or in the course of his detention. Based on the above, detainee does not pose a future threat to the US or US interests.” As a result, Maj. Gen. Miller recommended that he be “considered for release or transfer to the control of another government.”

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) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Digg and YouTube). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in June 2011, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, on tour in the UK throughout 2011, and available on DVD here — or here for the US), my definitive Guantánamo habeas list and the chronological list of all my articles, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

As published exclusively on Cageprisoners.

33 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    On Facebook, Mary Shepard wrote:

    What still shocks me is what passes for “terrorism,” including having a relative in the Taliban, sharing a name with someone else, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but most notably, speaking your mind in Islamic terms – and heaven help you if you use the word “jihad,” whose meaning the US has completely distorted. Thank you, Andy, for continuing to share these people’s stories with the world and for everything you do. Shared.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    George Kenneth Berger wrote:

    I just Dugg this, Andy. Thanks for the comments on my FB page.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    You’re welcome, George. And Mary, thank you for recognizing the depressing reality of what is exposed in these documents. As my research continues, I intend to collate and analyze the supposed reasons that the Bush administration came up with for sending the men to Guantanamo. To some extent, these were obviously intended to justify the Guantanamo dragnet internally, even though, when revealed publicly, they are pitiable. A full analysis should be damning, as should a full analysis of exactly how many prisoners were not regarded as possessing intelligence value or as being a threat to the US.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Yahya Abdul Rahman wrote:

    That is an incredible contribution you have made. Thanks so much!

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Yahya. That’s very much appreciated.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Mary Shepard wrote:

    What is also so horrific is that these prisoners become human detritus that must be dealt with – they’re sick, they’re mentally ill, they are guilty of nothing and I see no justification for their detention. The root of the problem is, of course, the whole war on terror premise – that anyone and everyone, under the thinnest of pretenses, can be designated an “enemy combatant” and shut away forever. The lack of transparency is NOT justified by any security concerns but seems clearly a tactic used by the government to circumvent basic human rights.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, absolutely, Mary, and I believe that that’s exactly what I’ve been opposing all these years, and what my research and writing is intended to expose, so that this kind of aberration from international norms will one day be regarded honestly with horror and will not be allowed to happen again. And if this doesn’t happen, of course, the we’re all in big trouble, as our supposedly civilized countries are heading back to the middle ages, or Nazi Germany, or Stalin’s Russia.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Mary Shepard wrote:

    This is tinpot dictatorship/banana republic stuff. The US is hypocritical in pointing fingers at other countries’ human rights records. Its success in using fearmongering to justify its actions should give us all pause. What, exactly, is it we are supposed to be so afraid of that we think the treatment of these people is justified? Shouldn’t we be more afraid of what our society is becoming?

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, Mary, we should indeed be frightened of what we’re becoming, but we never hear enough about that, do we? Far too much time is given over to the opinions of brutal, warmongering types, and the media, of course, is complicit. Think about how they wheel out war criminal Dick Cheney every time there’s an opportunity for a pro-torture pep talk instead of calling for his arrest, or, at the very least, refusing to have anything to do with him. And then people like Marc Thiessen are given op-ed columns to espouse their hatred on a weekly basis …

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Mary Shepard wrote:

    How easily a society’s attitudes and opinions are manipulated! By endlessly repeating the rubbish about the world being under dire threat by “terrorism,” people become convinced that any and all measures must be undertaken to protect us, no matter how ludicrously illogical the whole thing is. I’m still waiting for someone to explain to me how the Taliban is a threat to the US. But more to the point is the fact that this is all a vicious circle – US policies, and its actions, help to plant the seeds of anger and outrage that grow into extremism. How ironic that these policies and actions don’t plant the seeds of anger and outrage in American citizens, and motivate them to put a stop to it.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    John D Rachel wrote:

    Courageous and excellent reporting, Andy!

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Corey Mondello wrote:

    “[T]he majority of politicians, on the evidence available to us, are interested not in truth but in power and in the maintenance of that power. To maintain that power it is essential that people remain in ignorance, that they live in ignorance of the truth, even the truth of their own lives. What surrounds us therefore is a vast tapestry of lies, upon which we feed.” – Harold Pinter, Nobel Lecture (Literature), 2005

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    Corey Mondello wrote:

    Interview with Hermann Göring: http://enominepatris.com/politics/goering.htm

    Saturday, 8 Mar 2003. His last days, and his thoughts on the war. By Charles Mauch.

    Hermann Göring, Nazi Reichmarshall and Luftwaffe-Chief was a reviled twentieth-century figure associated with the most chilling example of genocide in human history. Göring was one of the highest-ranking Nazis who survived to be captured and put on trial for war crimes in the city of Nuremberg by the Allies after the end of World War II. He was found guilty on charges of “war crimes,” “crimes against peace,” and “crimes against humanity” by the Nuremberg tribunal and sentenced to death by hanging. The sentence could not be carried out, however, because Göring committed suicide with smuggled cyanide capsules hours before his execution, scheduled for 15 October 1946.

    Görings last days were spent with Gustave Gilbert, a German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist who was granted free access by the Allies to all the prisoners held in the Nuremberg jail. Gilbert kept a journal of his observations of the proceedings and his conversations with the prisoners, which he later published in the book Nuremberg Diary.

    During the conversation, Gilbert recorded Göring’s observations that the common people can always be manipulated into supporting and fighting wars by their political leaders:

    We got around to the subject of war again and I said that, contrary to his attitude, I did not think that the common people are very thankful for leaders who bring them war and destruction.

    “Why, of course, the people don’t want war,” Göring shrugged. “Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.”

    “There is one difference,” I pointed out. “In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.”

    “Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    John D Rachel ‎wrote:

    Corey: A chilling reminder of why we must learn and respect the lessons of history.

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Dani Taylor wrote:

    ‎*~*~*FDR’s Solicitor General Withheld Evidence in Japanese Internment Cases http://thenewamerican.com/history/american/7762*~*~*~*~

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Frank LeFever wrote:

    shared

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Thank you, my friends, for your continuing comments, and also to those who have shared it.
    Mary, I’m sorry for walking out on our conversation, but I had to travel to Cardiff in Wales to show my film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantanamo” to a Stop the War group. Great people! A shame I had to leave so soon to get back to London …
    Thanks also, John, for the kind words, Corey for those well chosen quotes, and thanks also, Dani and Frank.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Christine Casner wrote:

    Thanks, Andy, as always!!! Guess what I am waiting for the mailman to bring me?? A VERY, VERY special delivery!!!! ♥ Love ya my friend, CC ♥

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    How lovely to hear from you, Chris. Thanks!

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Mary Shepard wrote:

    Andy, feel free to “walk out” anytime, especially when you’re spreading the word on Gitmo. Without your work, I worry that the prisoners will be forgotten.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Mary. I was really enjoying our conversation, though. You very accurately and eloquently get to the heart of the problems facing us.

  22. Today on Antiwar Radio « Antiwar.com Blog says...

    [...] Andy Worthington will be on to talk about the latest from the Gitmo Files. Read his work here. [...]

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Mary Edwards wrote:

    Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated because he got to the heart of the problem….in April 4, 1968, shortly after he started speaking out against the global elite and the injustice they inflict on all of humanity though orchestrated wars and economic oppression. He believed that “a nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
    http://www.prisonplanet.com/martin-luther-king-jr-and-the-tools-of-freedom.html

  24. Andy Worthington says...

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    Mary Edwards wrote:

    Well covered and thx for the link to the Vietnam speech. So very relevant to us today with regard to Afghanistan and Iraq. As well as to the situation here at home with the rising number of youth on youth killings. Where I live, three men have been shot to death in the past week. I was going to place on the latest death site words by Martin Luther King and now will copy the whole Vietnam speech out…

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    Mary Edwards wrote:

    Its long so maybe just sections although it is all relevant…Replace Vietnam with Afghanistan/Iraq….and highlight that the call for an anti-war stance was seen to be so radical that even ML King took time before he joined the movement once he realised that the struggle for Peace and Human/Civil Rights go hand in hand…so that boys killing each other here on the streets has got everything to do with the wars that are being fought NOT in our names but for the rich..for the corporations, for the Enrons of this world, for the Bilderberg group.

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    Mary Edwards wrote:

    And interesting that the Philanthropists who were behind the civil rights movement after ML King’s death were mainly from the Zionist movement and so were able, by their gifting, to control the movement. When does this stop? When there are enough of us who understand what is going on….so that there are not enough bullets to shoot us all? Indeed, as MLKing says, “Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak.”

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    A vocation of agony” — what an expression! It made me think how little people are generally prepared to put themselves on the line these days. Thanks for your thoughts, Mary.

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    Mary Edwards wrote:

    yes, it takes courage and by doing so they willingly take on the mantle of this vocation of agony when it is easier to relax and enjoy themselves which really is what we should all be doing (it is such a beautiful planet!)…if not for the few who mess it all up for the rest of us…enuf said.

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    OK, Mary, enuf said for now, but I think conscious people are finding that our very opportunities to relax and enjoy are endangered by our leaders.

  31. Andy Worthington says...

    Mary Edwards wrote:

    Yes, while these leaders enjoy their celebrity lifestyles, those who are conscious suffer the agony of knowing what is really going on and in trying to do something about this we have little time to relax, to enjoy the benefits of being on this beautiful planet, although it is this that nourishes us, gives us strength.

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    Agreed. Thanks again, Mary.

  33. Today on Antiwar Radio | IndyInAsia-Pacific says...

    […] Andy Worthington will be on to talk about the latest from the Gitmo Files. Read his work here. […]

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, filmmaker, photographer and Guantanamo expert
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