The Guantánamo Files: An Archive of Articles – Part Four, January to June 2009


The Guantanamo Files

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For four years, I have been providing detailed information about the prisoners in Guantánamo, first through my book The Guantánamo Files, which tells the story of the prison and around 450 of the prisoners held, and then through 12 online chapters, which provide information about the majority of the other 329 prisoners. Alongside this project, I have been working assiduously as a full-time independent journalist, covering stories as they develop, and focusing in particular on the stories of released prisoners, the Military Commission trial system, and the prisoners’ progress in the courts, through their habeas corpus petitions.

My intention, all along, has been to bring the men to life through their stories, dispelling the Bush administration’s rhetoric about the prison holding “the worst of the worst,” and demonstrating how, instead, the majority of the prisoners were either innocent men, seized by the US military’s allies at a time when bounty payments were widespread, or recruits for the Taliban, who had been encouraged by supporters in their homelands to help the Taliban in a long-running inter-Muslim civil war (with the Northern Alliance), which began long before the 9/11 attacks and, for the most part, had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or international terrorism. As I explained in the introduction to my four-part Definitive Prisoner List (updated on January 1), I remain convinced, through detailed research and through comments from insiders with knowledge of Guantánamo, that “at least 93 percent of the 779 men and boys imprisoned in total” had no involvement with terrorism.

However, as this is a blog, rather than a website, I recognize that it’s increasingly difficult to navigate, as there are so many “Categories,” and, most crucially, there is no access to articles in anything other than reverse chronological order. In an attempt to remedy this shortcoming, and to provide easy access to the most important articles on the site, I’ve put together five chronological lists, covering the periods May to December 2007, January to June 2008, July to December 2008, January to June 2009 and July to December 2009, in the hope that they will provide a useful tool for navigation.

In this fourth period covered by the list, I continued writing for the Guardian, the Future of Freedom Foundation, Cageprisoners, the Huffington Post, CounterPunch,, AlterNet and ZNet, and also maintained contact with the Daily Star, Lebanon. I also wrote guest columns for the ACLU, co-wrote a post with my friend The Talking Dog, and made my first appearance on Democracy Now!

After George W. Bush shuffled off the world stage on January 20, Barack Obama launched his presidency exactly as his supporters had hoped, freezing the Military Commissions, and issuing executive orders upholding the absolute prohibition on torture and ordering the closure of Guantánamo by January 22, 2010. Despite this excellent start, the program soon slipped. The Justice Department continued to obstruct the defense teams in the prisoners’ habeas petitions, and the government persisted in putting forward cases that ended in humiliation, as judges cast an objective — and authoritative — eye over the supposed evidence. Of the eight cases decided in this period, four went the government’s way, but four others were won by the prisoners, including the former juvenile prisoner Mohammed El-Gharani, and Abdul Rahim al-Ginco, a Syrian who had been tortured by al-Qaeda as a spy.

One sign of paralysis in the government, after its bold early start, concerned the release of prisoners. Just 12 prisoners were released by Obama in this period (to add to the six released in Bush’s dying days). They included Binyam Mohamed and four of the 17 Uighurs, who were sent to Bermuda after the administration failed to seize the initiative by rehousing them in the United States. In April, Obama further cheered those seeking accountability for the Bush administration’s crimes by releasing four notorious “torture memos,” issued in 2002 and 2005 by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, but by May his reforming zeal effectively ground to a halt, when, in a major national security speech, he announced his intention to revive the Military Commissions, and to hold some prisoners indefinitely without charge or trial.

While closely monitoring President Obama’s retreat from the bold initiatives of his first few days, I also attracted significant attention with my Definitive Prisoner List (published in March, and updated in January 2010), and with my articles about the CIA “ghost prisoner” Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, who was tortured in Egypt to produce a false confession about links between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. In May, I was the first Western journalist to pick up on al-Libi’s suspicious death in a Libyan prison, and in June I wrote an exclusive report about his “extraordinary rendition” and torture, based on information provided by the former Guantánamo prisoner Omar Deghayes through a contact in Libya. I also wrote well-received articles about the timing of Abu Zubaydah’s torture, and the fact that prisoners in Afghanistan were being tortured as early as December 2001, eight months before the “torture memos” were issued, and wrote a report for Cageprisoners analyzing the weight records of the Guantánamo prisoners, and revealing that, throughout the prison’s history, one in ten of the total population — 80 prisoners in total — weighed, at some point, less than 112 pounds (eight stone, or 50 kg), and 20 of these prisoners weighed less than 98 pounds (seven stone, or 44 kg).

Throughout this period, I also devoted time to the parlous state of Britain’s anti-terror laws, running a series on secret evidence in April, and covering an important ruling in June, when the Law Lords savaged the government’s control order regime, which functioned as a form of house arrest for men held without charge or trial on the basis of secret evidence. I also covered a story first published in the Mail on Sunday, but almost completely ignored, indicating further complicity by the British government in the rendition and torture of Binyam Mohamed, and involving an informer who was sent to visit Mohamed during his 18 months of torture in Morocco.

An archive of Guantánamo articles: Part Four, January to June 2009

January 2009

1. Closing Guantánamo: Will Europe help close Guantánamo? (in the Guardian)
2. Uighur prisoners: A New Year Message to Barack Obama: Free the Guantánamo Uighurs
3. Guantánamo and habeas corpus, Military Commissions: The Top Ten Judges of 2008 (with The Talking Dog)
4. Military Commissions: The Dying Days of the Guantánamo Trials
5. Guantánamo anniversary: Seven Years Of Guantánamo, And A Call For Justice At Bagram
6. Guantánamo anniversary: Will Guantánamo Bay ever close? (in the Guardian)
7. Guantánamo anniversary: Seven Years of Guantánamo, Seven Years of Torture and Lies
8. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: No End in Sight for the “Enemy Combatants” of Guantánamo (two prisoners lose their habeas petitions)
9. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: Former Guantánamo Prosecutor Condemns “Chaotic” Trials in Case of Teenage Torture Victim (Mohamed Jawad)
Mohammed El-Gharani10. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: Judge Orders Release of Guantánamo’s Forgotten Child (Mohammed El-Gharani)
11. Military Commissions: Torture Taints the Case of Guantánamo Prisoner Mohamed Jawad
12. Binyam Mohamed: British torture victim Binyam Mohamed to be released from Guantánamo
13. Torture: Bush Era Ends With Guantánamo Trial Chief’s Torture Confession (Susan Crawford on Mohammed al-Qahtani)
14. Children in Guantánamo: The Tale of Two Tortured Teenagers (in Bagram and Guantánamo) (for the ACLU)
15. Military Commissions: Chaos and Lies: Why Obama Was Right To Halt The Guantánamo Trials
16. Closing Guantánamo: Return To The Law: Obama Orders Guantánamo Closure, Torture Ban and Review of US “Enemy Combatant” Case
17. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: Refuting Cheney’s Lies: The Stories of Six Prisoners Released from Guantánamo (an Afghan, an Algerian and four Iraqis)
18. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: How Cooking For The Taliban Gets You Life In Guantánamo (Ghaleb al-Bihani loses habeas petition)

February 2009

19. Closing Guantánamo: Don’t Forget Guantánamo (hunger strikes and doubts about the Pentagon’s role)
20. Binyam Mohamed: A transcript of Jon Snow’s interview with David Miliband on Channel 4 News
21. Binyam Mohamed: The betrayal of British torture victim Binyam Mohamed
22. Closing Guantánamo: Who’s Running Guantánamo? (more on hunger strikes and doubts about the Pentagon’s role)
23. Closing Guantánamo: Guantánamo’s refugees (prisoners cleared for release who cannot be repatriated)
24. Binyam Mohamed: Hiding Torture And Freeing Binyam Mohamed From Guantánamo
25. Interviews: The Guantánamo Files: Andy Worthington interviewed for Foreign Policy Journal
26. Closing Guantánamo: Guantánamo: Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics (an analysis of the supposed “evidence” against the prisoners)
27. Uighur prisoners: Bad News And Good News For The Guantánamo Uighurs (Obama backs appeal against rehousing Uighurs in the US)
28. Interviews: The Talking Dog interviews Darrel Vandeveld, former Guantánamo prosecutor (for Mohamed Jawad)
29. Binyam Mohamed: Binyam Mohamed’s Coming Home From Guantánamo, As Torture Allegations Mount
30. UK anti-terror laws: Abu Qatada: Law Lords and Government Endorse Torture
Binyam Mohamed on his release from Guantanamo31. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: Binyam Mohamed’s statement on his release from Guantánamo
32. Conditions in Guantánamo: Obama’s “Humane” Guantánamo Is A Bitter Joke
33. Binyam Mohamed: Who Is Binyam Mohamed, the British resident released from Guantánamo?
34. UK anti-terror laws: Home Secretary ignores Court decision, kidnaps bailed men and imprisons them in Belmarsh

March 2009

35. US enemy combatants: Ending The Cruel Isolation Of Ali al-Marri, The Last US “Enemy Combatant”
36. Interviews: An interview with Andy Worthington, author of “The Guantánamo Files” (by Elizabeth Ferrari)
37. Binyam Mohamed: Seven Years of Torture: Binyam Mohamed Tells His Story
38. US enemy combatants: Why The US Under Obama Is Still A Dictatorship (Ali al-Marri)
Shaker Aamer and two of his children39. British residents: Forgotten in Guantánamo: British resident Shaker Aamer
40. Recidivism: Who are ‘the worst of the worst’? (in the Guardian)
41. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: Guantánamo: The Nobodies Formerly Known As Enemy Combatants
42. UK anti-terror laws: Britain’s insane secret terror evidence
43. Intelligence failures: Lawrence Wilkerson Tells The Truth About Guantánamo
44. Conditions in Guantánamo: Guantánamo’s Long-Term Hunger Striker Should Be Sent Home
45. Torture: Prosecuting the Bush Administration’s Torturers
46. Binyam Mohamed: Binyam Mohamed’s Plea Bargain: Trading Torture For Freedom
47. Uighur prisoners: A Letter To Barack Obama From A Guantánamo Uighur
48. Binyam Mohamed: Guantánamo, Bagram and the “Dark Prison”: Binyam Mohamed talks to Moazzam Begg
49. Torture: Abu Zubaydah: The Futility Of Torture and A Trail of Broken Lives
50. UK anti-terror laws: Torture taints all our lives (in the Guardian)

April 2009

51. UK anti-terror laws: Britain’s Guantánamo: Calling For An End To Secret Evidence
52. UK anti-terror laws: Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (1) Detainee Y
53. UK anti-terror laws: Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (2) Detainee BB
54. UK anti-terror laws: Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (3) Detainee U
55. UK anti-terror laws: Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (4) Hussain Al-Samamara
56. UK anti-terror laws: Five Stories From Britain’s Guantánamo: (5) Detainee Z
57. UK anti-terror laws: Britain’s Guantánamo: Fact or Fiction?
58. Bagram: Justice extends to Bagram, Guantánamo’s Dark Mirror
59. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: Farce at Guantánamo, as cleared prisoner’s habeas petition is denied (Hedi Hammamy, a Tunisian)
Ayman Batarfi60. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: The Story of Ayman Batarfi, a Doctor in Guantánamo
61. Torture: Ten Terrible Truths About The CIA Torture Memos (Part One)
62. Torture: 9/11 Commission Director Philip Zelikow Condemns Bush Torture Program
63. Torture: Ten Terrible Truths About The CIA Torture Memos (Part Two)
64. Torture: Who Authorized The Torture of Abu Zubaydah?
65. Torture: CIA Torture Began In Afghanistan 8 Months Before DoJ Approval
66. Abu Ghraib: Images that exposed the truth on abuse (in the Guardian)
67. UK anti-terror laws: Taking liberties with our justice system (in the Guardian)
68. Torture: Even In Cheney’s Bleak World, The Al-Qaeda-Iraq Torture Story Is A New Low

May 2009

69. US enemy combatants: Dictatorial Powers Unchallenged As US “Enemy Combatant” Pleads Guilty (Ali al-Marri)
70. Closing Guantánamo: Obama’s First 100 Days: A Start On Guantánamo, But Not Enough
71. Military Commissions, preventive detention: Obama Returns To Bush Era On Guantánamo
72. Military Commissions: New Chief Prosecutor Appointed For Military Commissions At Guantánamo
73. Torture: Obama’s First 100 Days: Mixed Messages On Torture
Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi74. Torture: Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi Has Died In A Libyan Prison
75. Torture: Dick Cheney And The Death Of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi
76. Torture: The “Suicide” Of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi: Why The Media Silence?
77. Torture: Two Experts Cast Doubt On Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi’s “Suicide”
78. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: Judge Condemns “Mosaic” Of Guantánamo Intelligence, And Unreliable Witnesses (Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed)
79. Torture: Lawrence Wilkerson Nails Cheney On Use Of Torture To Invade Iraq
80. Torture: Death in Libya, betrayal in the west (in the Guardian)
81. Torture: Cheney’s Lies Undermined By Iraq Interrogator Matthew Alexander
82. Abu Ghraib: The Torture Photos We’re Not Supposed To See
83. Binyam Mohamed: UK Government Lies Exposed; Spy Visited Binyam Mohamed In Morocco
84. Binyam Mohamed: Daily Mail Pulls Story About Binyam Mohamed And British Spy
Lakhdar Boumediene, after his release from Guantanamo85. Prisoners released from Guantánamo, conditions in Guantánamo: Pain At Guantánamo And Paralysis In Government (Lakhdar Boumediene)
86. Torture: Lawrence Wilkerson Nails Cheney’s Iraq Lies Again (And Rumsfeld And The CIA)
87. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: Guantánamo: A Prison Built On Lies (Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed and other prisoners)
88. Binyam Mohamed: Government Bans Testimony On Binyam Mohamed And The British Spy
89. Uighur prisoners: Guantánamo: A Real Uyghur Slams Newt Gingrich’s Racist Stupidity
90. Federal court trials: Out Of Guantánamo: African Embassy Bombing Suspect To Be Tried In US Court (Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani)
91. Military Commissions, preventive detention: Transcript Of President Obama’s Speech About Guantánamo And Terrorism, May 21, 2009
92. Military Commissions, preventive detention: My Message To Obama: Great Speech, But No Military Commissions and No “Preventive Detention”
93. Binyam Mohamed: More twists in the tale of Binyam Mohamed (in the Guardian)
94. Binyam Mohamed: Did Hillary Clinton Threaten UK Over Binyam Mohamed Torture Disclosure?
95. Closing Guantánamo: Guantánamo And The Many Failures Of US Politicians
96. UK torture: Outsourcing torture to foreign climes (UK-assisted torture in Bangladesh, in the Guardian)
97. Algerian prisoners: Life After Guantánamo: Lakhdar Boumediene Speaks
98. Deaths in Guantánamo: Forgotten: The Second Anniversary Of A Guantánamo Suicide (Abdul Rahman al-Amri)
99. Uighur prisoners: Free The Guantánamo Uighurs!

June 2009

100. Military Commissions: A Child At Guantánamo: The Unending Torment of Mohamed Jawad
101. Deaths in Guantánamo: Yemeni Prisoner Muhammad Salih Dies At Guantánamo
Muhammad Saad Iqbal Madni, photographed at Guantanamo102. Diego Garcia: Revealed: Identity Of Guantánamo Torture Victim Rendered Through Diego Garcia (Muhammad Saad Iqbal Madni)
103. Military Commissions: A Broken Circus: Guantánamo Trials Convene For One Day Of Chaos (Omar Khadr)
104. Deaths in Guantánamo: Death At Guantánamo Hovers Over Obama’s Middle East Visit
105. Recidivism: New York Times finally apologizes for false Guantánamo recidivism story
106. Uighur prisoners: Uighur Protest In Guantánamo: Photos
107. Military Commissions: Obama Proposes Swift Execution of Alleged 9/11 Conspirators
108. Closing Guantánamo: Council Of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner Urges European Governments To Help Close Guantánamo
109. Video: Lakhdar Boumediene Talks About Torture At Guantánamo
110. Uighur prisoners: From Guantánamo To The South Pacific: Is This A Joke?
111. Conditions at Guantánamo: Guantánamo’s Hidden History: Shocking Statistics of Starvation (report for Cageprisoners)
112. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: Guantánamo’s Youngest Prisoner Released To Chad (Mohammed El-Gharani)
113. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: Who Are The Four Guantánamo Uighurs Sent To Bermuda?
114. Deaths in Guantánamo: Binyam Mohamed: Was Muhammad Salih’s Death In Guantánamo Suicide?
115. UK anti-terror laws: Law Lords Condemn UK’s Use of Secret Evidence And Control Orders
The four Uighurs freed in Bermuda116. Uighur prisoners: Guantánamo’s Uighurs In Bermuda: Interviews And New Photos
117. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: The Last Iraqi In Guantánamo, Cleared Six Years Ago, Returns Home
118. Military Commissions, preventive detention: Obama’s Confusion Over Guantánamo Terror Trials
119. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: Empty Evidence: The Stories Of The Saudis Released From Guantánamo
120. Closing Guantánamo: Europe agrees to accept cleared Guantánamo prisoners (and I talk to the BBC)
121. UK torture: Miliband Shows Leadership, Reveals Nothing About Torture To Parliamentary Committee
122. UK torture: Britain’s Torture Troubles: What Tony Blair Knew
123. Mohammed El-Gharani: Guantánamo’s Youngest Prisoner, Mohammed El-Gharani, Is Imprisoned In Chad
124. Torture: WORLD EXCLUSIVE: New Revelations About The Torture Of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi
125. Prisoners released from Guantánamo: The Lies Told About The Saudi Hunger Striker Released From Guantánamo
126. Video: Andy Worthington Discusses Guantánamo on Democracy Now!
Abdul Rahim al-Ginco, filmed after being tortured by al-Qaeda to admit that he was a spy, in the videotape that the US authorities mistakenly thought was a jihadist martyrdom tape127. Guantánamo and habeas corpus: Why Did It Take So Long To Order The Release From Guantánamo Of An Al-Qaeda Torture Victim? (Abdul Rahim al-Ginco wins habeas petition)
128. Torture: Never Forget: The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture
129. Torture: ACLU Interviews Wife Of Rendition Victim Abou Elkassim Britel
130. Torture: Torture In Guantánamo: The Force-feeding Of Hunger Strikers (for the ACLU)
131. Video: Mohammed El-Gharani, Guantánamo’s youngest prisoner, speaks to al-Jazeera
132. Libya: UK protestors mark 13th anniversary of Libyan prison massacre
133. Preventive detention: Guantánamo: Charge Or Release Prisoners, Say No To Indefinite Detention

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK). To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in January 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, and launched in October 2009), and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.

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  1. The Guantánamo Files: An Archive of Articles — Part Eleven, October to December 2011 | Friction Facts says...

    […] articles, covering the periods May to December 2007, January to June 2008, July to December 2008, January to June 2009, July to December 2009, January to June 2010, July to December 2010, January to March 2011, April […]

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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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