Who Are the Five Guantánamo Prisoners Given New Homes in Kazakhstan?

4.1.15

Three of the five prisoners released from Guantanamo and given new homes in Kazakhstan in December 2014. From L to R: Adel al-Hakeemy, a Tunisian, and two Yemenis, Mohammed Ali Hussain Khenaina and Sabri Mohammad Ibrahim al-Qurashi, in photos included in the classified US military files released by WikILeaks in 2011. No public photos exist of the other two men freed.On December 30, five men were released from Guantánamo, bringing to 28 the number of men released from the prison in 2014, and reducing the prison’s population to 127. The five men were approved for release in 2009 by the high-level, inter-agency Guantánamo Review Task Force that President Obama appointed shortly after taking office in January 2009, and three of them had previously been approved for release under President Bush.

The released prisoners — two Tunisians and three Yemenis — were not returned to their home countries, but were given new homes in Kazakhstan. As the New York Times described it, “Officials declined to disclose the security assurances reached between the United States and Kazakhstan,” but a senior Obama administration official stated that the five “are ‘free men’ for all intents and purposes after the transfer.”

The Obama administration is to be commended for its efforts, although, of the 127 men still held, 59 were also approved for release in 2009 by President Obama’s Guantánamo Review Task Force, and there can be no rest for campaigners until these men are also freed. 52 of them are Yemenis, whose release was prohibited by President Obama and by Congress in 2010 after it was revealed that a failed airline bomb plot in December 2009 had been hatched in Yemen.

President Obama lifted his ban last year, but the entire US establishment is so worried by the security situation in Yemen that the only Yemenis released since the ban was lifted have been given new homes in third countries — three in Georgia and one in Slovakia, in November, and now these three men in Kazakhstan.

The two Tunisians released are Adel al-Hakeemy (ISN 168), who is 49 years old, and Abdullah bin Ali al-Lufti, also identified in Guantánamo as Mohammed Abdul Rahman or Lotfi bin Ali (ISN 894), who was born sometime in 1966.

I discussed the case of al-Lufti (aka Abdul Rahman) in my article, “Guantánamo Scandal: The 40 Prisoners Still Held But Cleared for Release At Least Five Years Ago,” published in June 2012, in which I described his illnesses, and also explained that, disturbingly, he was first cleared for release nearly ten years ago:

In the classified US military files relating to the Guantánamo prisoners, which were released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, Abdul Rahman’s file was a “Recommendation to Release or Transfer to the Control of Another Country for Continued Detention (TR),” dated June 27, 2004, in which it was also noted that he “had a mechanical heart valve placed in 1999,” and “has chronic problems with his heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation),” and also “has a history of kidney stones, latent tuberculosis, depression and high blood pressure. He is also on chronic anticoagulation (blood thinners).” Abdul Rahman … was also approved for transfer/release after Administrative Review Board Round One, which was held at Guantánamo in 2005 (see PDF).

As I also noted in my article, “Guantánamo Scandal: The 40 Prisoners Still Held But Cleared for Release At Least Five Years Ago,” a transfer recommendation was made for the other Tunisian, Adel al-Hakeemy, after his Administrative Review Board Round Three, on March 17, 2007 (see PDF, p. 194).

I discussed al-Hakeemy’s story in an article in June 2008, in which I wrote:

Adel al-Hakeemy … traveled to Pakistan to get married, and was living in Jalalabad, in Afghanistan, near his wife’s family, when the US-led invasion began in October 2001. Far from being a militant, he was in fact a chef, and had lived in Italy for eight years, working as a chef’s assistant in several hotels in Bologna. “I lived with Italians in their homes,” he told Cori Crider of Reprieve during a visit at Guantánamo … “I am used to their culture. The Italians worked alongside me, they respected me, they treated me as their brother.”

Of the three Yemenis, the first, Asim Thabit Abdullah al-Khalaqi (ISN 152), was born sometime in 1968. As I noted in my article, “Guantánamo Scandal: The 40 Prisoners Still Held But Cleared for Release At Least Five Years Ago,” al-Khalaqi was also approved for release under President Bush:

In the classified US military files relating to the Guantánamo prisoners, which were released by WikiLeaks in April 2011, al-Khalaqi’s file was a “Recommendation for Transfer Out of DoD Control (TRO),” dated January 1, 2007. A transfer recommendation (for “transfer with conditions”) was also made after his Administrative Review Board Round Three, on August 20, 2007 (PDF, p. 159).

In 2010, I wrote the following about al-Khalaqi’s case:

As described in The Guantánamo Files, al-Khalaqi stated that he “went to Pakistan with a friend to preach with Jamaat-al-Tablighi, but decided to go to Afghanistan after discovering that there were too many Tablighi representatives in Pakistan. He explained that he and his friend were successful in their mission, but everything changed after 9/11, when his friend ‘went one day to go eat lunch and didn’t return home.’ He then met an Afghan, who advised him to leave because Arabs were being killed, and explained that this man took him in his car to the foothills where he joined a group of Arabs crossing the mountains to Pakistan and handed himself in to the army on arrival.” The US authorities allege[d] that he undertook military training and was on the front lines at Bagram.

The second of the Yemenis is Muhammad Ali Husayn Khanayna, aka Khenaina, and also identified as Mohammed Ali Hussain (ISN 254), who was born sometime in 1968. As I explained in an article in 2010:

In Guantánamo, Khenaina … stated that he went to Afghanistan in August 2001 “to teach the Koran in Arabic,” although he admitted that he “did not actually teach the Koran.” After staying in a guest house in Kabul, he said that he heard of the 9/11 attacks and was “concerned about retaliation by the Americans and wanted to get out.” He explained that the owner of the house arranged for him to travel to Logar and then Khost, where he stayed with an Afghan, and then traveled through the mountains to Pakistan with five other Arabs and an Afghan guide. After joining up with another group of 19 men who were also fleeing Afghanistan, he reached the border, where he was detained by the authorities. Throughout this story, the only claim of militancy against Khenaina was an allegation that the manager of the guest house “arranged transportation for guests to a Taliban training area 35 minutes north of Kabul,” but Khenaina insisted that “he was not in Afghanistan to participate in jihad,” and that he “did not have a weapon while in Afghanistan.” He also condemned the 9/11 attacks, and explained that, if released, “he would return to Yemen and marry a cousin who has been betrothed to him and never leave again.”

The last of the three is Sabri Mohammad Ibrahim al-Qurashi (ISN 570), who was born sometime in 1970. As I explained in an article in 2010:

In Guantánamo, al-Qurashi said that he went to Pakistan on a trip that combined business and religion: to start a perfume business, importing Pakistani perfume, which is “very famous in our country,” and to study religion, because “in Pakistan there is the biggest center for Dawa and [Jamaat-al-]Tablighi.” Having become separated from his traveling companions, he said that he met an Arab who told him that he had the addresses for various perfume companies, but suggested that he should go to Afghanistan as a missionary first “because the people need you there.” He said that this man told him that he would bring him back to Pakistan after a month, but that when he agreed and went to Afghanistan he “couldn’t get out because the guy who took me to Afghanistan left and I never saw him again.” Despite this, however, he said that he ended up renovating and reopening an old mosque in Logar province.

Responding to an allegation that, after Kabul fell to the Northern Alliance, he “joined a group of about 100 Arabs in the mountain regions,” led by Abu Mohammad al-Masri (aka Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah), regarded as one of the organizers of the 1998 African embassy bombings, and a senior al-Qaeda figure who escaped from Tora Bora, he said that he was not part of a group, that he did not know of al-Masri’s role, and that there were far more than 100 people — “hundreds including Arabs, Afghanis, Pakistanis, from other nationalities, kids, women, old people, animals, and cows that belonged to the people going toward Khost.” He also refuted an allegation that he had trained at al-Farouq (the main training camp for Arabs in Afghanistan, associated with Osama bin Laden in the years before the 9/11 attacks) and had identified al-Masri as the leader of the camp, saying that he had only told this story because, after his arrest, the Pakistani interrogators had told him that the Americans wouldn’t believe his story about “coming to Afghanistan to teach Islamic rule,” and would say that he went for jihad and to fight for the Taliban. He added that they said, “if you don’t say what we are saying to you … you know there are no rules or system to defend you. We will start torturing you until you say what we are telling you to say to the Americans.”

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer and film-maker. He is the co-founder of the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, the director of “We Stand With Shaker,” calling for the immediate release from Guantánamo of Shaker Aamer, the last British resident in the prison, and 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. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US).

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, and “The Complete Guantánamo Files,” an ongoing, 70-part, million-word series drawing on files released by WikiLeaks in April 2011. Also see the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the “Close Guantánamo” campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

See the following for articles about the 142 prisoners released from Guantánamo from June 2007 to January 2009 (out of the 532 released by President Bush), and the 105 prisoners released from February 2009 to December 20, 2014 (by President Obama), whose stories are covered in more detail than is available anywhere else –- either in print or on the internet –- although many of them, of course, are also covered in The Guantánamo Filesand for the stories of the other 390 prisoners released by President Bush, see my archive of articles based on the classified military files released by WikiLeaks in 2011: June 2007 –- 2 Tunisians, 4 Yemenis (herehere and here); July 2007 –- 16 Saudis; August 2007 –- 1 Bahraini, 5 Afghans; September 2007 –- 16 Saudis; September 2007 –- 1 Mauritanian; September 2007 –- 1 Libyan, 1 Yemeni, 6 Afghans; November 2007 –- 3 Jordanians, 8 Afghans; November 2007 –- 14 Saudis; December 2007 –- 2 Sudanese; December 2007 –- 13 Afghans (here and here); December 2007 –- 3 British residents; December 2007 –- 10 Saudis; May 2008 –- 3 Sudanese, 1 Moroccan, 5 Afghans (herehere and here); July 2008 –- 2 Algerians; July 2008 –- 1 Qatari, 1 United Arab Emirati, 1 Afghan; August 2008 –- 2 Algerians; September 2008 –- 1 Pakistani, 2 Afghans (here and here); September 2008 –- 1 Sudanese, 1 Algerian; November 2008 –- 1 Kazakh, 1 Somali, 1 Tajik; November 2008 –- 2 Algerians; November 2008 –- 1 Yemeni (Salim Hamdan) repatriated to serve out the last month of his sentence; December 2008 –- 3 Bosnian Algerians; January 2009 –- 1 Afghan, 1 Algerian, 4 Iraqis; February 2009 — 1 British resident (Binyam Mohamed); May 2009 —1 Bosnian Algerian (Lakhdar Boumediene); June 2009 — 1 Chadian (Mohammed El-Gharani), 4 Uighurs to Bermuda, 1 Iraqi, 3 Saudis (here and here); August 2009 — 1 Afghan (Mohamed Jawad), 2 Syrians to Portugal; September 2009 — 1 Yemeni, 2 Uzbeks to Ireland (here and here); October 2009 — 1 Kuwaiti, 1 prisoner of undisclosed nationality to Belgium; October 2009 — 6 Uighurs to Palau; November 2009 — 1 Bosnian Algerian to France, 1 unidentified Palestinian to Hungary, 2 Tunisians to Italian custody; December 2009 — 1 Kuwaiti (Fouad al-Rabiah); December 2009 — 2 Somalis4 Afghans6 Yemenis; January 2010 — 2 Algerians, 1 Uzbek to Switzerland1 Egyptian1 Azerbaijani and 1 Tunisian to Slovakia; February 2010 — 1 Egyptian, 1 Libyan, 1 Tunisian to Albania1 Palestinian to Spain; March 2010 — 1 Libyan, 2 unidentified prisoners to Georgia, 2 Uighurs to Switzerland; May 2010 — 1 Syrian to Bulgaria, 1 Yemeni to Spain; July 2010 — 1 Yemeni (Mohammed Hassan Odaini); July 2010 — 1 Algerian1 Syrian to Cape Verde, 1 Uzbek to Latvia, 1 unidentified Afghan to Spain; September 2010 — 1 Palestinian, 1 Syrian to Germany; January 2011 — 1 Algerian; April 2012 — 2 Uighurs to El Salvador; July 2012 — 1 Sudanese; September 2012 — 1 Canadian (Omar Khadr) to ongoing imprisonment in Canada; August 2013 — 2 Algerians; December 2013 — 2 Algerians2 Saudis2 Sudanese3 Uighurs to Slovakia; March 2014 — 1 Algerian (Ahmed Belbacha); May 2014 — 5 Afghans to Qatar (in a prisoner swap for US PoW Bowe Bergdahl); November 2014 — 1 Kuwaiti (Fawzi al-Odah); November 2014 — 3 Yemenis to Georgia, 1 Yemeni and 1 Tunisian to Slovakia, and 1 Saudi; December 2014 — 4 Syrians, a Palestinian and a Tunisian to Uruguay, 4 Afghans.

9 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    Just updated: the full list of the remaining Guantanamo prisoners, on the Close Guantanamo website: http://www.closeguantanamo.org/Prisoners

  2. arcticredriver says...

    Thanks Andy.

    I took a look at the DABs. Muhammad Ibn Arfhan Shahin’s DAB says he was “assessed to be a senior member of the Global Jihadist Support Network. I’ll bet that this Global Jihadist Support Network was a pure invention by frustrated incompetent US intelligence officials, and there never was such an organization.

    Page 2 says he trained at Khaldan and Derunta. Well, aren’t there strong reasons to believe
    that Khaldan was never a affiiated with al Qaeda, that it was a rival organization to al Qaeda,
    with a key ideological difference from al Qaeda? Didn’t Abu Zubaydah testify that the management
    of Khaldan tried to tell its trainees not to attack civilians? Didn’t Abu Zubaydah testify that the
    management of Khaldan did not believe in launching first strike attacks against the USA, and
    other Western nations? These factors, taken together, would suggest that individuals who
    trained at Khaldan may not have been acceptable recruits into al Qaeda.

    On page 3 it says:

    In October or November of 1995, detainee went to Zenica, BK, via Zagreb, HR. In Zenica, he worked and slept in a large hospital while helping the wounded. He was not paid for this work and spent less than three months there before returning to Bologna were [sic] his extremist affiliation solidified.

    His DAB seems to be implying that volunteering in a non-combatant hospital is a sign he was a terrorist, or on his way to being a terrorist.

    If volunteering to join a foreign army made one a terrorist then every individual who joined the French Foreign Legion would be a terrorst. Every Ghurka who joined the British Army would be a terrorist, and the 50,000 or so Canadians who crossed the border and enlisted in the US Army during the War in Vietnam would be terrorists. Maybe the Bosnian War was a war with more than usual number of atrocities. But by my understanding of the Geneva Conventions, Bosnian soldiers, or foreigners who enlisted in the Bosnian forces, who did not order the commission of atrocities, did not commit atrocities themselves, and did not help cover up atrocities, would not be responsible for any atrocities, and wouldn’t be war criminals — just as the bulk of US GIs were not responsible for the horrific rape and murder perpetrated by Steven Green and his comrades.

    The DAB says: lived with his wife in the Istakhbarat (Taliban Intelligence) section of Jalalabad until after 11 September 2001. Jalalabad is one of the largest cities in Afghanistan. I think its population is about 1 million. Did US intelligence analysts really believe there was a whole neighbourhood devoted to Taliban intelligence? Yes, Washington DC might have whole neighbourhoods where most home-owners worked for the NSA or CIA. But the US is a highly literate society — practically everyone can read and write. In Afghanistan, where most members of the Taliban were functionally illiterate, how big an intelligence bureaucracy could they have maintained? Minuscule I would guess, far too small for their to be an intelligence distrct in a provincial capital.

    The DAB tries to associate him with resistance at Tora Bora:

    It is assessed that detainee fled Afghanistan after the US bombing campaign with a group of al-Qaida and Taliban fighters led by UBL appointed military commander in Tora Bora, LY-212. The group crossed the Afghani-Pakistani border in the Nangarhar region in mid-December 2001. Once safely in Nangarhar, their Pakistani contact convinced them to surrender their weapons and gathered the group in a mosque where Pakistani forces immediately arrested them. Detainee was transferred from Kohat, PK to US custody in Kandahar on 30 December 2001.

    US intelligence officials wrote these accounts without ever looking at a map. Tora-Bora doesn’t havea “Nangarhar region”. Tora Bora is the area around a small high pass in the south of Nangarhar Province. I am convinced that these reports routinely state someone was in Tora Bora when they merely passed through the province. The Province has an arable valley that is dozens of kilometers wide at most places. Most refugees from the US bombing are going to have stuck to the valley, and, if they didn’t try to cross at Torkham would have used a lower pass than the one near Tora Bora. (In a 60 minutes interview with the Special Forces commander who claimed he could have killed or captured OBL in 2002 he asserted he planned to equip his men with oxygen masks so they could cross the pass.)

    Finally, this passage implies the analysts thought Nangarhar was a Pakistani Province. Once the refugees crossed the border I believe they would be in Waziristan.

    On page 4 he is called, out of the blue, a “veteran terrorist”. Is this based on the highly questionable previous assertion he was present in Tora Bora? Being subjected to a US aerial bombardment doesn’t make one a terrorist. Planning, or engaging in, or supporting, or cleaning up after a terrorist attack makes one a terrorist. So far the DAB hasn’t stated he did any of those things.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, arcticredriver, for the solid analysis of just one of the files released by WikiLeaks in 2011, which reveal how extraordinarily dubious and generally unsubstantiated the supposed evidence is. I had to look up Muhammad Ibn Arfhan Shahin; I had forgotten that it was one of the names by which Adel al-Hakeemy had been known in Guantanamo.
    You did some good work there refuting the claim that everyone who left Afghanistan for Pakistan was at Tora Bora and involved with al-Qaeda. It’s been a pretty persistent claim by the US authorities, even though it seems obvious that civilians and lowly foot soldiers were leaving the country along with a handful of al-Qaeda types -and it’s worth remembering that most significant al-Qaeda/Taliban individuals were spirited out of the country with Pakistani intel assistance without even having to make the trek on foot, and that others got out before the while Tora Bora shambles began.

  4. arcticredriver says...

    Andy, did you see the news that Asim Thahit Abdullah al Khalaqi died in Kazakhstan on May 7, 2015? So far I have only seen it reported by Claire Ward, of Vice News.

    Vice contacted his friend Lufti bin Ali, who described intrusive surprise visits by Kazakhstan security officials. He described these intrusive visits as almost as bad as still being in Guantanamo. I wonder how much this was an exagerration?

    Ward said that:

    “…In cooperation with the Kazakh government, the local chapter of the ICRC is charged with the care of the former detainees, and provides healthcare, food stipends, language classes, and transport.”

    That made me wonder the extent to which each cohort of transferees is at the mercy of a different set of secret negotiations as to how much the US government was willing to pay to have the local governments monitor the men.

    At the time Uyghurs were transferred to Palau there was unconfirmed speculation that Palau only accepted because they were a recipient of generous US aid. Some years later it turned out the USA had handed over a lump sum to the Government of Palau for the Uyghur’s support — and that sum had been prematurely exhausted. If I recall correctly the President of Palau had earmarked a large portion of the lump sum to a contract to a close relative to construct houses for the refugees, and, after a new President came to office questions had been raised as to whether the relative gouged the fund.

    Four of the refugees transferred to Uruguay tried a sit-in outside the US embassy in Uruguay arguing the US government should be obliged to provide more funds for their support.

    Lufti bin Ali told Claire Ward that al Khalaqi told him he had felt he had to subsist on bread and potatoes, because he needed to save enough money to get married.

    He told Ward that al Khalaqi had regularly needed a cart to provide emergency medical care for him, or maybe to take him to the infirmary, because his on-going health problems routinely caused him to go into comas. A Guantanamo spokesman denied this, claiming the DoD wouldn’t have released any unhealthy men. Those spin-doctors! Hasn’t the DoD rushed to release some unhealthy men, exactly so they would die in some other country — not in Guantanamo?

    Personally I think an on-going stipend, or annuity, sufficient to allow them to live in dignity, re-unite with their family, and get the therapy and after-care they need is not only the moral thing to do, it is the wise and practical thing to do. A few years ago we were finally able to read the estimate that it cost the DoD a million dollars a year to hold an individual in Guantanamo — about thirteen times as much as it costs to hold someone in a supermax prison, and about thirty times as much as it costs to hold them in a regular prison. Now the estimate is up to three million dollars a year. I suspect that, even leaving aside the large intangible that Guantanamo is a key recruiting point to dangerous hot-headed jihadists, even three million dollars a year is too low an estimate.

    But, even if it is just three million dollars, just one year of detention would be enough to establish a generous enough annuity to allow transferees to live in dignity, and get occupational help, or mental health help.

    It is both sad and wasteful for the USA to squander fortunes in payments to the security police of the host nations to covertly monitor the transferees, when the same result could probably be achieved, with more dignity for all involved, through requesting the recipients of the stipends to self-report on the progress of their efforts to benefit from the occupational and mental health support the USA financed.

  5. arcticredriver says...

    The Guardian is now also reporting al Khalaqi’s death.

    They interviewed a different friend of his, from Guantanamo, Jihad Dhiab. The Guardian quoted Dhiab explicitly challenging the assertion of DoD spin-doctors that the DoD would not release men with health problems. He explicitly said

    “When a prisoner’s health becomes very fragile, the American military seek to release him as soon as possible to avoid the responsibility of a death in prison,”

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks arcticredriver. Yes, I saw the sad story yesterday, and will be writing about it tomorrow.
    I was shocked to read about how ill he was, as no information about his health had previously been made public.
    I also agree with Abu Wa’el Dhiab that the authorities don’t want the PR inconvenience of having prisoners die at the prison, and so would rather release them – as happened with Ibrahim Idris, the Sudanese prisoner who was very ill.
    Your proposals for dealing fairly with those held at Guantanamo is commendable, but as we both know it won’t happen. Lawyers will, instead, continue to advise officials that anything that looks like an admission of any kind of mistake on the part of the US will lead to a tsunami of compensation claims – and, who knows, might perhaps even open up a significant route towards holding accountable those who set up and ran Guantanamo and the rest of America’s response to 9/11.

  7. arcticredriver says...

    Yes, it is heartbreaking and extremely frustrating. Personally, I am firmly convinced that open accountability that holds up to full public scrutiny all those who bore responsibility for the use of torture is what best serves public safety.

    I believe that the efforts to obfuscate the full extent to which the USA used torture, to protect the reputations of those at the top, has been extremely damaging to public safety. The efforts to claim that torture worked have had the absolutely terrible side effect of continued belief in flawed theories as to the threats the public faces, and this continues to result in squandering massive resources on wild goose chases.

    There are genuine threats to public safety, due to militants, that go unguarded against, because counter-terrorism resources are being squandered on bogus threats our leaders and the public still believe in because those responsible for torture keep lying to us.

    Further, there are other terrible threats to public safety — terrorists are not the only threat. When war mongers magnify the threat to public safety public safety is at risk because those other threats go unaddressed. You have written about some of the other priorities we should address, like homelessness and health care. You are right to do so.

    One thing I dread is a question from the kids growing up today. I am afraid fully addressing Global Warming, in a truly realistic manner, will continue to be delayed, until it is either completely too late, or requires living under truly draconian rationing and similar restrictions. I am afraid that the kids growing up today will be told that, if only responsible people at the turn of the 21st Century had allocated a key couple of trillion dollars then, Global Warming could have been reversed, then. I dread them asking us

    “What threat did you face back in the early 2000s that was a greater threat than Global Warming? Did you really all go along with squandering trillions of dollars chasing a handful of hot-headed religious fanatics?

    “Why even if those religious fanatics had gotten ahold of some nuclear weapons, and had murdered millions, that would still have been a drop in the bucket compared to the billions your inactivity on combatting Global Warming condemned to die today.”

    It is possible that Cheney, Yoo, Rumseld, Miller, Bogdan, and their co-conspirators have actually convinced themselves that torture worked. I think that makes open and transparent scrutiny on all the details of the torture program even more important.

  8. arcticredriver says...

    The coverage also revealed that Lufti Bin Ali’s health is very poor. It says he has an artificial heart valve. Carol Rosenberg noted that his DAB recommended his transfer, way back in 2004.

    The Guardian said “some” of the transferees were not allowed to attend al Khalaqi’s funeral. Vice News said that Tunisians had been housed in one city, while the Yemenis had been housed in another. My guess is that the two other Yemenis, who were living in Kyzlorda, where al Khalaqi died, were allowed to attend the funeral, but the Tunisians in Semey, Lufti and Adel al-Hakeemy, weren’t allowed to leave Semey to attend the funeral.

    I agree with Lufti, if Kazakhstan agreed to place security restrictions on the men, that denied them the right to travel freely within Kazakhstan, they weren’t truly free.

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for your comments, arcticredriver.
    I agree wholeheartedly with you about the need for accountability, not just because that is the right thing to do, morally and legally, but also to do away with the fearmongering “counter-terrorism” industry that has grown up since 9/11, and that, as you note, continues to squander resources on false narratives.
    I’m glad that I sometimes find the opportunity to discuss some of the other problems we face, but I do also wonder whether I shouldn’t also address environmental issues at some point. That said, there are obviously people doing just that, who have a wide audience- like Naomi Klein, for example (author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate), or Bill McKibben, whose important book The End of Nature I read when it came out in 1989.
    That said, if we are heading towards a dystopian future as the consequences of our environmental blindness hit us, then the battle for our human rights and legal rights will hopefully have had some consequence!
    As for whether or not Cheney & co. believe their own hype, I’m sure sometimes they do, but other times they appear to be as cynical as Hermann Göring, senior Nazi and the founder of the Gestapo, who said, in a private conversation during the Nuremberg Trials, “[T]he 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 in any country.”
    Details about that quote are here: http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview/id/235519.html
    And finally, regarding the situation in Kazakhstan, I agree that it is likely that the other Yemenis were allowed to attend the funeral, but not the Tunisians, and I also agree that this rather devalues the notion of the men’s “freedom.”

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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