Six in Guantánamo Charged with 9/11 Murders: Why Now? And What About the Torture?


Andy Worthington, author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison, reports on the US administration’s recent announcement that it has filed charges against six Guantánamo prisoners for their alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

Finally, then, nearly six and a half years after the 9/11 attacks, the US administration has charged six Guantánamo detainees with, amongst other charges, terrorism, murder in violation of the law of war, attacking civilians, and conspiracy — adding, for good measure, that it will seek the death penalty in the case of any convictions.

The six men are: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), who confessed in his tribunal at Guantánamo last March that he was “responsible for the 9/11 operation, from A to Z”; Ramzi bin al-Shibh, reportedly a friend of the 9/11 hijackers, who helped coordinate the plan with KSM after he was unable to enter the United States to train as a pilot for the 9/11 operation, as he originally planned; Mustafa al-Hawsawi and Ali Abdul Aziz Ali (aka Ammar al-Baluchi), who are accused of helping to provide the hijackers with money and other items; Walid bin Attash, who is accused of selecting and training some of the hijackers; and, rather less spectacularly, Mohammed al-Qahtani, who is accused of trying and failing to enter the United States in August 2001 to become the 20th hijacker on 9/11.

Five of the six detainees charged in connection with the 9/11 attacks

From the top: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Walid bin Attash.

The announcement of the charges is immensely significant. In one fell swoop, many of the complaints about Guantánamo appear to have been swept aside. These, chiefly, have centered on well-founded claims that the prison has mostly held innocent men or low-level Taliban foot soldiers. Of the 749 detainees who were held at the prison during its first two and half years of existence, none, according to dozens of high-level military and intelligence sources interviewed by the New York Times in June 2004, “ranked as leaders or senior operatives of al-Qaeda,” and “only a relative handful — some put the number at about a dozen, others more than two dozen — were sworn Qaeda members or other militants able to elucidate the organization’s inner workings.”

Ten more reputedly significant detainees arrived at Guantánamo from secret CIA prisons in September 2004, and another 14 “high-value” detainees, including five of the men mentioned above, arrived in September 2006, but these arrivals — which, in themselves, revealed the existence of secret prisons that were even less accountable than Guantánamo — were hardly enough to convince any except the administration’s most fervent and unquestioning supporters that the whole extra-legal experiment was worthwhile.

In charging detainees for their alleged connections with the 9/11 attacks, the administration has also managed to divert attention away from the stumbling progress of the trial system which will be used to prosecute the six men. The Military Commissions, dreamt up by Vice President Dick Cheney and his advisors in November 2001, judged illegal by the Supreme Court in June 2006 and reinstated later that year in the Military Commissions Act (MCA), have struggled repeatedly to establish their legitimacy.

Described by former military defense lawyer Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift as fatally flawed because they included “no right to habeas corpus, no attorney-client privilege, forced guilty pleas for charges never made public, secret and coerced evidence, juries and presiding officers picked by executive fiat, [and] clients represented even if they declined legal counsel,” the Commission process was supposedly cleaned up during the passage of the MCA, so that prosecutors are prevented from using secret evidence or evidence obtained through torture (although the use of information obtained through “controversial forms of coercion” — torture, perhaps, by any other name — remains at the discretion of the government-appointed military judge), but they have failed, to date, to secure a single significant victory.

Their only alleged success — in the case of David Hicks, who accepted a plea bargain in March last year, admitting that he provided “material support for terrorism” and dropping well-documented claims that he was tortured by US forces in exchange for a nine-month sentence served in Australia — was undermined last fall by Col. Morris Davis, the Commissions’ former chief prosecutor, who resigned his post and then complained that the entire system was compromised by political interference. Currently, the Commissions are bogged down in pre-trial hearings for two detainees — alleged “child soldier” Omar Khadr, and Salim Hamdan, a driver for Osama bin Laden — whose cases have done nothing to assuage widespread concerns that the whole process remains both unjust and futile.

The 9/11 attacks

The terrorist attacks on New York on September 11, 2001.

Now, however, with the focus fixed firmly on 9/11 — the event that, all along, was supposed to have justified the invasion of Afghanistan, the detention without charge or trial of nearly 800 detainees in Guantánamo, and of hundreds more in Afghanistan and in secret prisons elsewhere — the administration must be hoping that the global response to the news will wipe away the last six years of injustice and direct all attention exclusively on that dreadful day in September 2001 when over 3,000 people — from 40 different countries — died in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and in the wreckage of a plane in Pennsylvania.

In spite of its laudable focus, however, the announcement still raises more questions than it answers. It is surely no coincidence, for example, that it came just six days after Michael Hayden, the director of the CIA, admitted that three of the “high-value” detainees — including KSM — had been subjected to waterboarding, a long-reviled torture technique that simulates drowning.

Ever since its notorious “Torture Memo” of August 2002, the administration has attempted to insist that “enhanced interrogations” counted as torture only if the pain endured was “of an intensity akin to that which accompanies serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death,” but these are, in the end, merely feeble attempts at semantic window-dressing. Under its international obligations — as a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture, for example, which makes it a crime for American officials to torture people either inside or outside the United States — the administration is prohibited from practicing torture, and waterboarding is clearly torture.

The second problem is with the charges themselves. Noticeably, both KSM and Ramzi bin al-Shibh bragged about their involvement with 9/11 before they were captured. In April 2002, al-Jazeera journalist Yosri Fouda was granted an exclusive interview with the two men, and his report featured the following passage:

“They say that you are terrorists,” I surprised myself by blurting out. A serene Ramzi just offered an inviting smile. Mohammed answered: “They are right. That is what we do for a living.”

Summoning every thread of experience and courage, I looked Mohammed in the eye and asked: “Did you do it?” The reference to September 11 was implicit. Mohammed responded with little fanfare: “I am the head of the al-Qaeda military committee,” he began, “and Ramzi is the co-ordinator of the Holy Tuesday operation. And yes, we did it.”

There, however, the open admissions come abruptly to an end, with the exception of the charges against Mohammed al-Qahtani, which I discuss below, and, presumably, Walid bin Attash’s seemingly unprompted confession, in his tribunal at Guantánamo last year, when he said that he was the link between Osama bin Laden and the Nairobi cell during the African embassy bombings in 1998, and also admitted that he had played a major part in the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, explaining that he “put together the plan for the operation for a year and a half,” and that he bought the explosives and the boat, and recruited the bombers.

The aftermath of the attack on the USS Cole in 2000

The aftermath of the attack on the USS Cole in 2000.

For the rest — the charges against Mustafa al-Hawsawi and Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, the remaining charges against Ramzi bin al-Shibh, and the vast shopping list of plots that KSM admitted to involvement with during his tribunal — all came about during the three to four years that these men spent in a succession of secret prisons run by the CIA. Moreover, it was in these prisons that, in contrast to Michael Hayden’s claim that, of the six, only KSM was waterboarded, CIA operatives who spoke to ABC News in November 2005 said that 12 “high-value” detainees in total were subjected to an array of “enhanced interrogation techniques.” These included not only waterboarding, but also “Long Time Standing,” in which prisoners “are forced to stand, handcuffed and with their feet shackled to an eye bolt in the floor for more than 40 hours,” and “The Cold Cell,” in which the prisoner “is left to stand naked in a cell kept near 50 degrees,” and is “doused with cold water” throughout the whole period.

These statements make it clear that torture — which, in case we forget, is condemned not just because it is morally repugnant, but also because the confessions it produces are unreliable — contaminates almost the whole basis of yesterday’s charges, and casts doubt on at least some of the government’s assertions. In his tribunal at Guantánamo, for example, Mustafa al-Hawsawi admitted providing support for jihadists, including transferring money for some of the 9/11 hijackers, but denied that he was a member of al-Qaeda. Ali Abdul Aziz Ali was even more adamant that he had no involvement with terrorism. Although he admitted transferring money on behalf of some of the 9/11 hijackers, he insisted that he had no knowledge of either 9/11 or al-Qaeda, and was a legitimate businessman, who regularly transferred money to Arabs in the United States, without knowing what it would be used for.

Yesterday’s announcement also raises additional questions. Was Michael Hayden’s admission meant to pave the way for the charges just announced, or did it cause such a barrage of outrage — including claims that, now the administration has openly admitted waterboarding, it can itself be charged with war crimes — that the decision to start the prosecution process was rushed through to justify the torture?

Also worth asking is why two of three detainees whom Michael Hayden admitted were waterboarded — Abu Zubaydah and Abdul Rahim al-Nashiri — were not charged. It is surely not a coincidence that, in their tribunals last year, both men denied the allegations against them, and stated that they had only admitted to claims that they were involved with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda because they were tortured.

For all this, however, it is Mohammed al-Qahtani’s inclusion on the list that remains the least explicable. Reportedly the intended 20th hijacker on 9/11, he appears to this day to be little more than that, a would-be jihadist, recruited to provide the “muscle” to subdue the passengers, who failed in his mission when he was refused entry to the United States in August 2001, having flown to Orlando to meet up with lead hijacker Mohammed Atta. This, of course, is disgusting enough in itself, and deserving of punishment if proved in a court of law, but as he did not actually take part in 9/11, or contribute to it in any meaningful way, it’s odd that he too has been charged, when the evidence of his torture at Guantánamo — rather than in a secret prison run by the CIA — is so readily available and so remorselessly revealing of the excesses of the administration’s torture policy at Guantánamo.

As Time magazine revealed in an interrogation log (PDF) made available in 2005, al-Qahtani was interrogated for 20 hours a day over a 50-day period in late 2002 and early 2003, when he was also subjected to extreme sexual humiliation (including being smeared with fake menstrual blood by a female interrogator), threatened by a dog, strip-searched and made to stand naked, and made to bark like a dog and growl at pictures of terrorists. On one occasion he was subjected to a “fake rendition,” in which he was tranquilized, flown off the island, revived, flown back to Guantánamo, and told that he was in a country that allowed torture.

In addition, as I explain in my book The Guantánamo Files, “The sessions were so intense that the interrogators worried that the cumulative lack of sleep and constant interrogation posed a risk to his health. Medical staff checked his health frequently — sometimes as often as three times a day — and on one occasion, in early December, the punishing routine was suspended for a day when, as a result of refusing to drink, he became seriously dehydrated and his heart rate dropped to 35 beats a minute. While a doctor came to see him in the booth, however, loud music was played to prevent him from sleeping.”

Even more significant, perhaps, is what al-Qahtani’s torture reveals about how the whole process that led to these proposed trials could have, and should have been different. It was the interrogation of al-Qahtani that finally prompted the FBI — which was already alarmed at the random, self-defeating violence at Guantánamo perpetrated by other agencies — to make an official complaint to the Pentagon in June 2004, highlighting abuses witnessed by its agents and singling out al-Qahtani’s treatment for particular criticism. The letter stated that al-Qahtani was “subjected to intense isolation for over three months” and began “evidencing behavior consistent with extreme psychological trauma (talking to non existent people, reporting hearing voices, crouching in a cell covered with a sheet for hours on end).”

Reports of al-Qahtani’s treatment also provoked a heroic attempt by Alberto J. Mora, the director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) to persuade the Pentagon to call off the use of “enhanced interrogation.” Mora was ultimately unsuccessful — Donald Rumsfeld temporarily dropped the use of the techniques, but secretly mandated a new panel of pliant experts to reapprove them in an essentially undiluted form — but the complaints of both the FBI and the NCIS indicate how the interrogation process should have proceeded.

In fact, a senior FBI interrogator had worked on al-Qahtani before the CIA took over, who “slowly built a rapport” with him, “approaching him with respect and restraint,” according to officials who spoke to the New York Times. “He prays with them, he has tea with them, and it works,” the officials explained. Opening up to this skilled, and by now resolutely old-fashioned technique, al-Qahtani started to yield information, revealing that he had attended an important al-Qaeda meeting with two of the 9/11 hijackers in Malaysia in 2000, but officials in the Pentagon were frustrated that he failed to reveal anything else about al-Qaeda’s plans.

The truth, perhaps, is that he had no further information to give, and that, after failing to complete his mission, and with no inside knowledge because the “muscle” hijackers were not informed of the plans in detail, he returned to Afghanistan, where, after joining the Taliban in their resistance to the US-led invasion, he was caught crossing the Pakistani border in December 2001.

Dan Coleman, one of these old-school FBI interrogators, who retired from the agency in 2004, knows exactly where the faults lie with the Pentagon-led policy of combating terror with torture. As a top-level interrogator, who interrogated many of the terrorists captured before 9/11 (and convicted in the US courts) without resorting to “enhanced interrogation,” Coleman remains fundamentally opposed to torture, because it is unreliable, and because it corrupts those who undertake it.

In 2006, he told Jane Mayer of the New Yorker that “people don’t do anything unless they’re rewarded.” He explained that if the FBI had beaten confessions out of suspects with what he called “all that alpha-male shit,” it would have been self-defeating. “Brutality may yield a timely scrap of information,” he conceded. “But in the longer fight against terrorism,” as Mayer described it, “such an approach is ‘completely insufficient.’” Coleman added, “You need to talk to people for weeks. Years.” In 2005, he delivered an even more devastating verdict, which explains, succinctly, why the administration now faces such an uphill struggle to regain the moral high ground. “Brutalization doesn’t work,” he said. “We know that. Besides, you lose your soul.”

Click here for access to the tribunal transcripts of the “high-value” detainees.

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 and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in July 2010, 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), 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 on the Huffington Post, CounterPunch, and AlterNet.

See the following for a sequence of articles dealing with the stumbling progress of the Military Commissions: The reviled Military Commissions collapse (June 2007), A bad week at Guantánamo (Commissions revived, September 2007), The curse of the Military Commissions strikes the prosecutors (September 2007), A good week at Guantánamo (chief prosecutor resigns, October 2007), The story of Mohamed Jawad (October 2007), The story of Omar Khadr (November 2007), Guantánamo trials: where are the terrorists? (February 2008), Guantánamo’s shambolic trials (ex-prosecutor turns, February 2008), Torture allegations dog Guantánamo trials (March 2008), African embassy bombing suspect charged (March 2008), The US military’s shameless propaganda over 9/11 trials (April 2008), Betrayals, backsliding and boycotts (May 2008), Fact Sheet: The 16 prisoners charged (May 2008), Four more charged, including Binyam Mohamed (June 2008), Afghan fantasist to face trial (June 2008), 9/11 trial defendants cry torture (June 2008), USS Cole bombing suspect charged (July 2008), Folly and injustice (Salim Hamdan’s trial approved, July 2008), A critical overview of Salim Hamdan’s Guantánamo trial and the dubious verdict (August 2008), Salim Hamdan’s sentence signals the end of Guantánamo (August 2008), High Court rules against UK and US in case of Binyam Mohamed (August 2008), Controversy still plagues Guantánamo’s Military Commissions (September 2008), Another Insignificant Afghan Charged (September 2008), Seized at 15, Omar Khadr Turns 22 in Guantánamo (September 2008), Is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Running the 9/11 Trials? (September 2008), two articles exploring the Commissions’ corrupt command structure (The Dark Heart of the Guantánamo Trials, and New Evidence of Systemic Bias in Guantánamo Trials, October 2008), Meltdown at the Guantánamo Trials (five trials dropped, October 2008), The collapse of Omar Khadr’s Guantánamo trial (October 2008), Corruption at Guantánamo (legal adviser faces military investigations, October 2008), An empty trial at Guantánamo (Ali Hamza al-Bahlul, October 2008), Life sentence for al-Qaeda propagandist fails to justify Guantánamo trials (al-Bahlul, November 2008), Guilt by Torture: Binyam Mohamed’s Transatlantic Quest for Justice (November 2008), 20 Reasons To Shut Down The Guantánamo Trials (profiles of all the prisoners charged, November 2008), How Guantánamo Can Be Closed: Advice for Barack Obama (November 2008), More Dubious Charges in the Guantánamo Trials (two Kuwaitis, November 2008), The End of Guantánamo (Salim Hamdan repatriated, November 2008), Torture, Preventive Detention and the Terror Trials at Guantánamo (December 2008), Is the 9/11 trial confession an al-Qaeda coup? (December 2008), The Dying Days of the Guantánamo Trials (January 2009), Former Guantánamo Prosecutor Condemns Chaotic Trials (Lt. Col. Vandeveld on Mohamed Jawad, January 2009), Torture taints the case of Mohamed Jawad (January 2009), Bush Era Ends with Guantánamo Trial Chief’s Torture Confession (Susan Crawford on Mohammed al-Qahtani, January 2009), Chaos and Lies: Why Obama Was Right to Halt The Guantánamo Trials (January 2009), Binyam Mohamed’s Plea Bargain: Trading Torture For Freedom (March 2009).

And for a sequence of articles dealing with the Obama administration’s response to the Military Commissions, see: Don’t Forget Guantánamo (February 2009), Who’s Running Guantánamo? (February 2009), The Talking Dog interviews Darrel Vandeveld, former Guantánamo prosecutor (February 2009), Obama’s First 100 Days: A Start On Guantánamo, But Not Enough (May 2009), Obama Returns To Bush Era On Guantánamo (May 2009), New Chief Prosecutor Appointed For Military Commissions At Guantánamo (May 2009), Pain At Guantánamo And Paralysis In Government (May 2009), My Message To Obama: Great Speech, But No Military Commissions and No “Preventive Detention” (May 2009), Guantánamo And The Many Failures Of US Politicians (May 2009), A Child At Guantánamo: The Unending Torment of Mohamed Jawad (June 2009), A Broken Circus: Guantánamo Trials Convene For One Day Of Chaos (June 2009), Obama Proposes Swift Execution of Alleged 9/11 Conspirators (June 2009), Obama’s Confusion Over Guantánamo Terror Trials (June 2009).

In addition, for a sequence of articles dealing with the use of torture by the CIA, on “high-value detainees,” and in the secret prisons, see: Guantánamo’s tangled web: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Majid Khan, dubious US convictions, and a dying man (July 2007), Jane Mayer on the CIA’s “black sites,” condemnation by the Red Cross, and Guantánamo’s “high-value” detainees (including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed) (August 2007), Waterboarding: two questions for Michael Hayden about three “high-value” detainees now in Guantánamo (February 2008), The Insignificance and Insanity of Abu Zubaydah: Ex-Guantánamo Prisoner Confirms FBI’s Doubts (April 2008), Secret Prison on Diego Garcia Confirmed: Six “High-Value” Guantánamo Prisoners Held, Plus “Ghost Prisoner” Mustafa Setmariam Nasar (August 2008), Will the Bush administration be held accountable for war crimes? (December 2008), The Ten Lies of Dick Cheney (Part One) and The Ten Lies of Dick Cheney (Part Two) (December 2008), Prosecuting the Bush Administration’s Torturers (March 2009), Abu Zubaydah: The Futility Of Torture and A Trail of Broken Lives (March 2009), Ten Terrible Truths About The CIA Torture Memos (Part One), Ten Terrible Truths About The CIA Torture Memos (Part Two), 9/11 Commission Director Philip Zelikow Condemns Bush Torture Program, Who Authorized The Torture of Abu Zubaydah?, CIA Torture Began In Afghanistan 8 Months before DoJ Approval, Even In Cheney’s Bleak World, The Al-Qaeda-Iraq Torture Story Is A New Low (all April 2009), Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi Has Died In A Libyan Prison, Dick Cheney And The Death Of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, The “Suicide” Of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi: Why The Media Silence?, Two Experts Cast Doubt On Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi’s “Suicide”, Lawrence Wilkerson Nails Cheney On Use Of Torture To Invade Iraq, In the Guardian: Death in Libya, betrayal by the West (in the Guardian here) (all May 2009), Lawrence Wilkerson Nails Cheney’s Iraq Lies Again (And Rumsfeld And The CIA), and WORLD EXCLUSIVE: New Revelations About The Torture Of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi (June 2009).

For other stories discussing the use of torture in secret prisons, see: An unreported story from Guantánamo: the tale of Sanad al-Kazimi (August 2007), Rendered to Egypt for torture, Mohammed Saad Iqbal Madni is released from Guantánamo (September 2008), A History of Music Torture in the “War on Terror” (December 2008), Seven Years of Torture: Binyam Mohamed Tells His Story (March 2009), and also see the extensive Binyam Mohamed archive. And for other stories discussing torture at Guantánamo and/or in “conventional” US prisons in Afghanistan, see: The testimony of Guantánamo detainee Omar Deghayes: includes allegations of previously unreported murders in the US prison at Bagram airbase (August 2007), Guantánamo Transcripts: “Ghost” Prisoners Speak After Five And A Half Years, And “9/11 hijacker” Recants His Tortured Confession (September 2007), Former US interrogator Damien Corsetti recalls the torture of prisoners in Bagram and Abu Ghraib (December 2007), Sami al-Haj: the banned torture pictures of a journalist in Guantánamo (April 2008), Judge Orders Release of Guantánamo’s Forgotten Child (Mohammed El-Gharani, January 2009), Forgotten in Guantánamo: British Resident Shaker Aamer (March 2009).

37 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    After this article was published, I received the following comment:

    Dear Mr. Worthington,

    I appreciate your articles that I regularly read whether at or other such websites. But what prompted me to write to you is a line you wrote that I sincerely wonder why you and others like you keep repeating as if it is factual. You Sir are a historian by claim and it makes me wonder whether you have investigated for yourself the lies that have been propagated about that historic day for the US. Label me a “Truther” if you choose but it was in your home city at Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park that my eyes were opened to what I was initially skeptical about but wrote off as “conspiracy theory” as I try not too hold onto such theories as they are usually implausible.

    Your “Gitmo Charges: Why Now? And What About the Torture?” was great but the line I refer to is your statement “in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and in the wreckage of a plane in Pennsylvania.”

    The fact is Sir that there is no plane wreckage in Pennsylvania. There is no plane wreckage at the Pentagon as well. Perhaps you are unaware as I was regarding this reality. I would hope that this is the case as the alternative of you deliberately perpetuating the lie that the mainstream media is perpetuating is something I do not wish to believe to be true.

    You might be of the opinion that it is just too incredible to believe that a conspiracy of AT LEAST facilitation by the US government of those events. I maintain that on some level there was active involvement since who but the military could coordinate a projectile attack on the Pentagon or fake a plane crash (using some form of projectile) in Pennsylvania.

    One need not be a FBI or CIA image analyst to make such an assessment that this is a certainty once you see the pictures that are available on the net should you choose to seek them yourself. I suggest you do so if you already have not and you will be as shocked as I was.

    So long as the entire premise that a man in a cave in Afghanistan and his accomplices and his “network” coordinated the criminal attacks on this country, so long as the main stream media does not shed light onto the realities of that dreadful day, so long as a full and independent investigation is not carried out, and so long as people even like yourself perpetuate the disinformation regarding that day, then the trials held and the punishments meted out to those that are held in the spotlight as being the culprits is just the smallest of injustice compared to the bigger lie that allowed, indeed gave the excuse for, the gravest of injustices of preemptive war and a genocidal policy inflicted on the Iraqi people.

    Please Sir, if you have not done so, look into the abundant facts available online and if you should have trouble doing so I would be happy to forward you links that will enlighten you as they did for me.

    There is no moving forward without FIRST bringing the facts to light. It is no understatement that the truth will set us all free – God willing.

    God speed and keep up the good works.
    Khaled Hassan

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    After this article was published on CounterPunch, I received the following message:

    Thank you for your essay today as well as the work you’ve done in writing your book. I, too, have an essay on CounterPunch today regarding Gitmo and torture, but I am writing re: al-Qahtani. I’ve wondered if he’s included in those being charged so that those who are known to have tortured him will not be held accountable. John Leso is well-known as the psychologist in charge of the BSCT [Behavioral Science Consultation Team] that interrogated and tortured al-Qahtani. I’ve filed two complaints against Leso with the American Psychological Association, of which he remains a member, and just today received a letter from the APA Ethics Director, Stephen Behnke (after numerous requests on my part and delays on his), with a convoluted explanation as to why they must not have received my complaints.

    The farce is frightening, though even more so if one were locked up at Guantánamo.


    Dr. Trudy Bond

    Dr. Bond’s article is here:

    This was my reply:

    I think you’re probably right, and that al-Qahtani’s inclusion is an attempt to extend the whitewashing of torture to include Guantánamo as well as the secret prisons. Quite how they intend to get away with it is, however, another matter. I’m trying not to speculate too much at present, but I can’t see how it’s going to be anything but an extremely long and bumpy process that will rumble on into the next administration.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Here’s another response to the article, raising an important point:

    Andy, thanks for the article in CounterPunch on 12th Feb.
    I know it is nitpicking but you of all people should drop the word “simulated” when talking about drowning, it lessens the impact. “Controlled” might be more appropriate.
    Thanks anyway.

    My reply:

    You’re right, of course, and I’ve been consulting your message to try and make sure I don’t make the same mistake again.
    Would you mind if I posted your comment on my website?

    And Luis’ reply:

    Dear Andy,
    Thanks for taking the time to answer. Happy you agreed with my deeply felt comment and of course you can use it as you see fit. I wish major media would drop it too.
    Kind regards,

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  8. Tim Baker says...

    Hi, i personally think that its awful,how these ‘people’ i say that because with out meaning to seam to much are they what we would class as people, human yes but people, surely one of the main charastics of people is a sense of moral of which is that really true of these ‘people’, back to my point i dont understand how someone can possibly dream of doing this, has it never occoured to them how they would be if they were on the other end?
    I could go on for hours about this so i wont but just wanted to say that i personally am very happy that there is not a death sentence (of topic from this article i know but see where i going) as i personally beleive that they should be made to pay for what they have caught and not given an ;easy; route out.

    I would also just like to ask you would i be able to usr the image of the plane flying in to the twin tower on a memorial video on youtube?
    (I know there are many already but that is besides the point in my opion!)

    Thanks Tim

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    […] for Michael Hayden about three “high-value” detainees now in Guantánamo (February 2008), Six in Guantánamo Charged with 9/11 Murders: Why Now? And What About the Torture? (February 2008), The Insignificance and Insanity of Abu Zubaydah: Ex-Guantánamo Prisoner Confirms […]

  12. Obama’s Confusion Over Guantánamo Terror Trials by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] New York Times revealed that a Justice Department task force, looking into the proposed trial of five other “high-value detainees” (including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed), who are accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks, not only […]

  13. Guantánamo: Charge Or Release Prisoners, Say No To Indefinite Detention by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] to be submitted to Congress, which was apparently designed to pave the way for the prisoners accused of involvement with the 9/11 attacks to plead guilty in a trial by Military Commission (the “terror trials” […]

  14. Former Insider Shatters Credibility of Military Commissions by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] they are “unreliable,” Vandeveld noted that, although in some cases, including those of the “high-value detainees,” coerced statements “may be corroborated by evidence that would be admissible,” for many […]

  15. exotraxx division: discover US Disneyland - a reader dedicated to my US American friends says...

    […] show[s] that Omar Khadr is a mere guinea pig for the anticipated trials of real terrorists such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other alleged al-Qaeda […]

  16. trent says...

    sad those bitchass dumbies killed more than 1,000 poeple

  17. Obama’s Failure To Close Guantánamo By January Deadline Is Disastrous by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] fought back against this proposal, and announced last week that ten prisoners, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-confessed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, were to be brought to the US mainland to face […]

  18. Judge Orders Release Of Algerian From Guantánamo (But He’s Not Going Anywhere) by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] Judge Kessler’s ruling comes at an inconvenient time for the administration, which has just conceded that it will miss President Obama’s deadline of January 22, 2010 for the prison’s closure, although many Americans may not notice, as they are likely to remain transfixed by the unprincipled right-wing assault on the administration’s decision to bring five prisoners to New York to face a federal court trial for their alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-confessed mastermind of the attacks. This is a shame, as Farhi Saeed bin Mohammed is a more typical prisoner than Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-defendants. […]

  19. Judge Orders Release of Algerian from Guantanamo « Norcaltruth says...

    […] Judge Kessler’s ruling comes at an inconvenient time for the administration, which has just conceded that it will miss. President Obama’s deadline of January 22, 2010, for the prison’s closure, although many Americans may not notice, as they are likely to remain transfixed by the unprincipled right-wing assault on the administration’s decision to bring five prisoners to New York to face a federal court trial for their alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-confessed mastermind of the attacks. This is a shame, as Farhi Saeed bin Mohammed is a more typical prisoner than Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-defendants. […]

  20. Guantánamo: Idealists Leave Obama’s Sinking Ship by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] and Carter then watched, two weeks ago, as Attorney General Eric Holder announced that, although Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other men accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks would face a federal court trial in New York, five other […]

  21. Chaos and Confusion: The Return of the Military Commissions by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] the advice of their own lawyers, and to pursue these cases in federal court, along with those of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other four men accused of involvement in the 9/11 […]

  22. “Model Prisoner” at Guantánamo, Tortured in the “Dark Prison,” Loses Habeas Corpus Petition « says...

    […] in Karachi, Pakistan, and a firefight with the Pakistani authorities, on September 11, 2002, with Ramzi bin al-Shibh, one of the five alleged 9/11 co-conspirators, and Hassan bin Attash, the brother of Walid bin […]

  23. Sophie morcom says...

    Omg that’s nasty I’m not gunna end my life I’m only ten

  24. Sophie morcom says...

    🙁 I’m sad I won’t be able to get married or get my driving licence cuz the worlds gunna end in 2012!!! 🙁 I’m soo scared
    this is all a disaster i won’t even be 15 I’ll only be 12 on 1012 cuz I’m 10 this year

  25. On Democracy Now! Andy Worthington Discusses the Forthcoming 9/11 Trials and “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] just an hour after the story first broke that the Obama administration is preparing to bring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other prisoners to the US mainland to face trials in federal court for their alleged involvement in the 9/11 […]

  26. nikhi asrani says...

    bad people

  27. Gonzalo Gato Villegas » Blog Archive » ¿Sabe realmente Obama, le preocupa acaso, quién sigue en Guantánamo? says...

    […] con al-Qaida u otros grupos terroristas internacionales era de entre 38 y 50. Como expliqué en un artículo en 2008: De los 749 detenidos que hubo en la prisión durante sus primeros dos años y medio de […]

  28. New Evidence About Prisoners Held in Secret CIA Prisons in Poland and Romania : says...

    […] men who arrived on December 5, 2002, were the HVDs (HVDs) Abu Zubaydah, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who had all been held previously in a secret CIA prison in […]

  29. New Evidence About Prisoners Held in Secret C.I.A. Prisons in Poland and Romania « Little Alex in Wonderland says...

    […] 2002, were the “high-value detainees” (HVDs) Abu Zubaydah, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who had all been held previously in a secret C.I.A. prison in […]

  30. No Surprise at Obama’s Guantánamo Trial Chaos | Dark Politricks says...

    […] was a reference to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other “high-value detainees” accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks, whose proposed federal court trials were announced on […]

  31. WikiLeaks and the 22 Children of Guantánamo by Andy Worthington « Dandelion Salad says...

    […] bin al-Shibh and is the younger brother of the “high-value detainee” Walid bin Attash (both allegedly involved in the 9/11 attacks), but there is, of course, no excuse for subjecting juveniles to torture because of their family […]

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

    […] other international terrorist groups was somewhere between 38 and just over 50. As I explained in an article in 2008: Of the 749 detainees who were held at the prison during its first two and half years of existence, […]

  33. Congress And The Dangerous Drive Towards Creating A Military State - OpEd says...

    […] Sheikh Mohammed and his alleged co-conspirators, held for years in secret CIA torture prisons, were first put forward for military trials. If we are back in the dirty world of torture, that is even more chilling than the persistent […]

  34. WikiLeaks And The 22 Children Of Guantanamo says...

    […] bin al-Shibh and is the younger brother of the “high-value detainee” Walid bin Attash (both allegedly involved in the 9/11 attacks), but there is, of course, no excuse for subjecting juveniles to torture because of their family […]

  35. "Tragedy in the sky" says...

    “Tragedy in the sky””Tragedy in the sky”

  36. Jennifer Males says...

    Smh.. They need to be prisoned for life.

  37. Predictable Chaos As Guantánamo Trials Resume by Andy Worthington – Dandelion Salad says...

    […] big news of the week was supposed to be the pre-trial hearing of the five men accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks, but in the end this too was a damp squib. No one turned up at all in the morning, after the men […]

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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 and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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