The reports on this latest leak also seem more muscular and more critical from the Times than they had been for some of the previous WikiLeaks dumps. One report, “Lives in An American Limbo,” notes that “the leaked files show why, by laying bare the patchwork and contradictory evidence that in many cases would never have stood up in a criminal court or a military tribunal.” Among a list of findings in the same report are examples of extreme interrogations—on which there is little said in the documents—as well as cases of seeming innocents being declared “enemy combatants” against available evidence, and this report on an Al Jazeera journalist held in captivity at Gitmo.
A journalist’s interrogation: The documents show that a major reason a Sudanese cameraman for Al Jazeera, Sami al-Hajj, was held at Guantánamo for six years was for questioning about the television network’s “training program, telecommunications equipment, and newsgathering operations in Chechnya, Kosovo, and Afghanistan,” including contacts with terrorist groups. While Mr. Hajj insisted he was just a journalist, his file says he helped Islamic extremist groups courier money and obtain Stinger missiles and cites the United Arab Emirates’ claim that he was a Qaeda member. He was released in 2008 and returned to work for Al Jazeera.
The Times says in this same report that “The documents can be mined for evidence supporting beliefs across the political spectrum about the relative perils posed by the detainees and whether the government’s system of holding most without trials is justified.” But it is clear by the time we arrive to the story’s last two paragraphs that the Times is holding firmly to its established anti-Gitmo stance.
an assessment of a former top Taliban official said he “appears to be resentful of being apprehended while he claimed he was working for the US and Coalition forces to find Mullah Omar,” a reference to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban chief who is in hiding.
But whatever the truth about the detainee’s role before his capture in 2002, it is receding into the past. So, presumably, is the value of whatever information he possesses. Still, his jailers have continued to press him for answers. His assessment of January 2008 — six years after he arrived in Cuba — contended that it was worthwhile to continue to interrogate him, in part because he might know about Mullah Omar’s “possible whereabouts.”
Also worth checking out at the Times is Charles Savage’s similarly damning report, “As Acts of War or Despair, Suicides Rattle a Prison.”
The Guardian is strong once again in handling the latest WikiLeaks material, and its angry tone as strong as ever. Opening its central Guantánamo files story, David Leigh, James Ball, Ian Cobain, and Jason Burke write:
The US military dossiers, obtained by the New York Times and the Guardian, reveal how, alongside the so-called “worst of the worst”, many prisoners were flown to the Guantánamo cages and held captive for years on the flimsiest grounds, or on the basis of lurid confessions extracted by maltreatment.
Then there’s this interview with Reprieve founder Clive Stafford Smith.