Obama’s unfulfilled executive order on Gitmo

Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Tahir Mahmoud

Ramadan 03, 1435 2014-07-01

Special Reports

by Tahir Mahmoud (Special Reports, Crescent International Vol. 43, No. 5, Ramadan, 1435)

Five years after promising to shut down the torture camp at the illegally-occupied Cuban island of Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo), it remains open. In fact, there are plans to expand the gulag. The American regime acts as an outlaw.

How should one read America’s policy on terrorism and terrorist groups? The US has declared al-Qaeda, the Islamic Front of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) as well as Jabhat al-Nusra as terrorist groups yet there is ample evidence to prove that Washington is in bed with these same hoodlums and mass murderers. American weapons, funding and CIA trainers have been involved in developing their fighting capacity against the government of President Bashar al-Asad in Syria. When the ISIS thugs crossed over into Iraq, the US claimed these were terrorists. So what are they: US allies or terrorists?

The US is not prepared to do anything to confront these thugs. Sure, we are not advocating the US invasion of Iraq again; our question relates to American behavior and policy. If the US is serious about confronting terrorism, why are CIA operatives training the terrorists in Jordan? This has gone on since at least 2012.

There is another contradiction in US foreign policy. This relates to the continued operation of the torture chamber at the illegally occupied Cuban island of Guantanamo Bay, commonly referred to as Gitmo. Periodically some news emerges about what is going on there. Often the news relates to prisoners being forced-fed, assaulted or beaten. The vast majority of prisoners were cleared for release years ago but they continue to languish in the torture chamber because it has become a political football between the White House and Congress. President Barack Obama does not want to spend political capital on an issue that affects the lives of innocent people of other countries. He can afford to wait and let these people languish even if they are completely innocent.

Last month, the presiding judge at the military tribunal in Gitmo, Colonel James L Pohl issued an 11-page ruling in the case of Abd al-Rahman al-Nashiri, a Saudi citizen. The judge ruled that prosecution attorneys must provide the defence information about the black sites where al-Nashiri was held, what was done to him and by whom during his incarceration before being shipped to Gitmo. The prosecution has demanded the death penalty. Al-Nashiri is accused of masterminding the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000. The Saudi citizen has been water boarded and subjected to other forms of torture during his long years of incarceration. As a consequence of undergoing prolonged torture, al-Nashiri suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

American agents captured him in Dubai two years after the USS Cole attack. For four years, he was shifted between different secret CIA prisons before being taken to Gitmo in September 2006. The reason for his frequent transfers was to keep attention away from a single location. All these prisons were illegally maintained albeit with the connivance of local governments, whether in Europe, the Middle East or Southeast Asia.

Colonel Pohl, however, said in his ruling that the prosecutors may shield the identities of some agents. The “leeway” comes from a footnote, according to those who read the ruling. Pohl suggested prosecutors might selectively invoke the Intelligence Identities Protection Act—he cites in US law, “50 USC 421”—to withhold from defense lawyers the names of CIA agents who worked at the black sites. The judge has yet to rule on the defence request for a complete copy of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s so-called “Torture Report,” a massive, classified examination of the CIA’s secret interrogation program; 500 pages of this report have been reviewed by the CIA for declassification and passed on to the White House.

Al-Nashiri and four others are on trial at the military tribunal. The four include persons accused of participating in the 911 attacks. Its alleged mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times. Defence lawyers have sought information about the black sites where Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others were held and waterboarded, a request the prosecution is resisting.

Soon after he took office in January 2009, Obama issued Executive Order #13493 amid much fanfare that he would shut down Gitmo within one year. To the applause of American drumbeaters, he proclaimed that torture chamber was a blot on the “good name” of America. Not only one year but five years have elapsed yet Obama’s promise remains unfulfilled. In fact, it took three years after a Freedom of Information request was made to the US government that the Pentagon released the full list of detainees in Guantanamo Bay in 2013. The list was updated by the Associated Press in November and included the names of 164 prisoners. Those that died in detention or were released were not on the list.

The AP list broke down detainees by name and home country. Of the 164 detainees, the largest number, 88 were from Yemen followed by Afghanistan (17), Saudi Arabia (12) and Algeria, Pakistan and Tunisia (5 each). Four detainees were listed as being from Libya while there were three each from China (Uighurs) and Syria. Kuwait, Malaysia, Mauritania, Sudan and Morocco have two each.

Two months ago, the US released five senior Taliban members in exchange for the captured US sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. The five Taliban members had served as ministers in the Taliban government and could in no way be considered terrorists since they served in a government with which the US had dealings even if it had not recognized it formally. Three US allies—Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan—had recognized the Taliban government until the US invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 toppling them a month later.

Misspelling of several names is evident from the Pentagon list indicating lack of knowledge of those tasked with compiling even such basic data as names. The Pentagon also released a list of 48 “indefinite detainees.” These detainees will not be released, ever. They will also not be charged with any offence or presented in any court, not even a kangaroo court. The US considers itself above the law.

The “indefinite detainees’” list contains prisoners’ internment serial number (ISN), names and nationalities.

Two of the mentioned “indefinite detainees” have died since the list was released, one of them allegedly of suicide and the other of a heart attack. The names of the two deceased prisoners are marked with an asterisk and the notation “deceased” on the second list.

List of Guantanamo detainees

1. Mullah Mohammed Fazl - Afghanistan
2. Haji Wali Muhammed - Afghanistan
3. Karim Bostan - Afghanistan
4. Ahmid Al Razak - Afghanistan
5. Muhammad Rahim - Afghanistan
6. Abdul Haq Wasiq - Afghanistan
7. Mullah Norullah Noori - Afghanistan
8. Khairullah Said Wali Khairkhwa - Afghanistan
9. Mohammad Nabl Omari - Afghanistan
10. Mohammed Kamin - Afghanistan
11. Abdul Sahir - Afghanistan
12. Obaidullah - Afghanistan
13. Haroon al-Afghani - Afghanistan
14. Shawali Khan - Afghanistan
15. Abdul Ghani - Afghanistan
16. Khi Ali Gul - Afghanistan
17. Mohammed Zahir - Afghanistan

18. Said bin Brahlm bln Umran Bakush - Algeria
19. Sufylan Barhoumi - Algeria
20. Bensayah Belkecem - Algeria
21. Ahmed Bin Saleh Bel Bacha - Algeria
22. Djamel Saiid Ali Amezlane - Algeria

23. Yousef Abbas - China
24. Saidullah Khalik - China
25. Hajiakbar Abdul Ghuper - China
26. Tariq Mahmoud Ahmed AI Sawah - Egypt
27. Zayn al-lbidin Muhammed Husayn - Gaza
28. Encep Nurjaman (Hambali) - Indonesia
29. Nashwan abd al-Razzaq abd alBaqi (Hadl) - Iraq
30. Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu - Kenya
31. Fawzl Khalid Abdullah Fahad AI Odah - Kuwait
32. Faez Mohammed Ahmed Al-Kandari - Kuwait
33. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - Kuwait
34. Jihad Deyab – Lebannon (sic)
35. Omar Khalif Mohammed Abu Baker Mahjour Umar - Libya
36. Ismael Ali Faraj Ali Bakush - Libya
37. Mustafa Faraj Muhammad Masud al-Jadid al-Uzaybi - Libya
38. Salem Abdu Salam Ghereby - Libya
39. Mohd Farik bin Amin - Malaysia
40. Bashir bin Lap - Malaysia
41. Mohamedou Ould Slahi - Mauritania
42. Ahmed Abdel Aziz - Mauritania
43. Abdul Latif Nasir - Morocco
44. Younis Abdurrahman Chekkouri - Morocco
45. Saifullah Paracha - Pakistan
46. Abdul Rabbani - Pakistan
47. Mohammed Rabbani - Pakistan
48. Ali abd al Aziz Ali - Pakistan
49. Majid Khan - Pakistan
50. Mohammed Tahanmatan - Palestine
51. Ravil Mingazov - Russia
52. Abd Al Rahman Shalbi Isa Uwaydah - Saudi Arabia
53. Mohammed Abd Al Rahman Al Shumrant - Saudi Arabia
54. Mohammed Al Zahrani - Saudi Arabia
55. Mohamed Mani Ahmad al Kahtani - Saudi Arabia
56. Abdullah AI Sharbi - Saudi Arabia
57. Jabran al Qahtani - Saudi Arabia
58. Ahmed Al-Darbi - Saudi Arabia
59. Hassan Bin Attash - Saudi Arabia
60. Mustafa Ahmad al Hawsawi - Saudi Arabia
61. Mohammed al Nashiri - Saudi Arabia (under trial for USS Cole attack)
62. Saad Muhammad Husayn Qahtani - Saudi Arabia
63. Shaker Aamer - Saudi Arabia (UK)
64. Guleed Hassan Ahmed - Somalia
65. Noor Uthman Muhammed - Sudan
66. Ibrahim Othman Ibrahim Idris - Sudan
67. Ali Hussein Muhammed Shaban - Syria
68. Ahmed Adnan Ahjam - Syria
69. Abd Al Hadi Omar Mahmoud Faraj - Syria
70. Omar Hamzayavich Abdulayev - Tajikistan
71. Ridah Bin Saleh al Yazidi - Tunisia
72. Hasham Bin Ali Omar Siiti - Tunisia
73. Abdul Bin Mohammed Abis Ourgy - Tunisia
74. Abdullah Bin Ali Al Lufti - Tunisia
75. Adel Al Hakeemy - Tunisia
76. Mjuayn Al-Din Jamal Al-Din Abd Al Fadhil Abd Al-Sattar - United Arab Emirates

77. Fahed Abdullah Ahmad Ghazi - Yemen
78. Ahmed Umar Abdullah al-Hikimi - Yemen
79. Mohammed Al-Adahi - Yemen
80. Abdel Qadir Al-Mudafarl - Yemen
81. Samir Naji AI Hasan Moqbil - Yemen
82. Adham Mohamed Ali Awad - Yemen
83. Abdel AI Saleh - Yemen
84. Abdul Rahman Mohammed Saleh Nasir - Yemen
85. Mukhtar Anaje - Yemen
86. Adil Said AI Haj Ubayd Al-Busayss - Yemen
87. All Yahya Mahdl - Yemen
88. Abu Bakr ibn AN Muhammad ai Ahdal - Yemen
89. Tariq AN Abdullah Ba Odah - Yemen
90. Mahmoud Omar Muhammad Bin Atef - Yemen
91. Abd al-Rahman Sulayman - Yemen
92. Abd al-Razaq Muhammed Salih - Yemen
93. Abdallah Yahya Yusif AI Shibli - Yemen
94. Muhammad Said Salim Bin Salman - Yemen
95. Ahmed Yaslam Said Kuman - Yemen
96. Muhammad Ali Abdallah Muhammad Bwazir - Yemen
97. Abd al Rahman al-Qyati - Yemen
98. Mohammed Ahmen Said Haider - Yemen
99. Mohammed Khalid Salih al-Dhuby - Yemen
100. Mohammed Nasir Yahi Khussrof Kazaz - Yemen
101. Umar Said Salim Al-Dini - Yemen
102. Walid Said bin Said Zaid - Yemen
103. Abdul al-Aziz Abduh Abdullah Ali AI Suwaydi - Yemen
104. Fahmi Abdullah Ahmed al-Tawlaqi - Yemen
105. Abdul Muhammad Nassir al-Muhajari - Yemen
106. Tawfiq Nasir Awad Al-Bihani - Yemen
107. Uthman Abd al-Rahim Muhammad Uthman - Yemen
108. Mohammed al-Ansi - Yemen
109. Aii Ahmad al-Rahizi - Yemen
110. Saeed Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah Sarem Jarabh - Yemen
111. Yassim Qasim Mohammed Ismail Qasim - Yemen
112. Zahar Omar Hamis bln Hamdoun - Yemen
113. Omar Mohammed Ali Al-Rammah - Yemen
114. Abd Al-Salam Al-Hilah - Yemen
115. Moath Hamza Ahmed AI-AIwi - Yemen
116. Mahmud Abd AI Aziz AI Mujahid - Yemen
117. Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab AI Rahabl - Yemen
118. Majid Mahmud Abdu Ahmed - Yemen
119. Muhammed Rajab Sadiq Abu Ghanim - Yemen
120. Ghaleb Nassar AI Blhanl - Yemen
121. Salem Ahmad Hadi Bin Kanad - Yemen
122. Khalid Ahmed Qaslm - Yemen
123. Mashur Abdullah Muqbil Ahmed Al-Sabri - Yemen
124. Mustafa Abd al-Qawi Abd al-Aziz al-Shamiri - Yemen
125. Abdul Rahman Ahmed - Yemen
126. Salman Yahya Hassan Mohammad Rabei'i - Yemen
127. Ayub Murshid AN Salih - Yemen
128. Bashir Nasir AN Al-Marwalah - Yemen
129. Shawqi Awad Balzuhair - Yemen
130. Musab Omar AN Al-Mudwani - Yemen
131. Hail Aziz Ahmed Al-Maythall - Yemen
132. Said Salih Said Nashir - Yemen
133. Ali Hamza al-Bahlul - Yemen
134. Suhayl Abdul Anam al Sharabi - Yemen
135. Sanad Al Kazimi - Yemen
136. Sharqawi Abdu Ali Al Hajj - Yemen
137. Ramzi Bin Al Shibh - Yemen
138. Walid Mohammed Bin Attash - Yemen
139. Salah Mohammad Salih al-Dhabi - Yemen
140. Hamood Abdulla Hamood - Yemen
141. Sabri Muhammad Ibrahim al-Qurashi - Yemen
142. Fadhel Hussein Saleh Hentif - Yemen
143. Husayn Salim Muhammad alMatari Yafai - Yemen
144. AI Khadr Abdallah Muhammad AI Yafi - Yemen
145. Idris Ahmad Abd AI Qadir Idris - Yemen
146. Asim Thahit Abdullah Al-Khalaqi - Yemen
147. Fayiz Ahmad Yahia Suleiman - Yemen
148. Khalid Abd AI Jabbar Muhammad Uthman AI Qadasi - Yemen
149. Sharaf Ahmad Muhammad Mas'ud - Yemen
150. Abd Al-Rahman Abdullah All Shabatl - Yemen
151. Muhammed Abdullah AI Hamiri - Yemen
152. Muhammad Ali Husayn Khanayna - Yemen
153. Said Muhammad Salih Hatim - Yemen
154. Sulaiman Awath Silaiman Bin Agell Al Nahdi - Yemen
155. Abdul Khaled Al-Baydani - Yemen
156. Fahmi Salem Said Al-Asani - Yemen
157. Jalal Salam Awad Awad - Yemen
158. Mansour Mohamed Mutaya Ali - Yemen
159. Saa'd Nasser Moqbil al-Azanl - Yemen
160. Emad Abdallah Hassan - Yemen
161. Abdel Ghaib Ahmad Hakim - Yemen
162. Mohammed Ahmed Salam - Yemen
163. Abdul AI Qader Ahmed Hassain - Yemen
164. Muhammad Ali Salem AI Zarnuki - Yemen.

List of ‘indefinite detainees’

ISN 004, Abdul Haq Wasiq (Afghanistan)
ISN 006, Mullah Norullah Noori (Afghanistan)
ISN 007, Mullah Mohammed Fazl (Afghanistan)
ISN 027, Uthman Abd al-Rahim Muhammad Uthman (Yemen)
ISN 028, Moath Hamza Ahmed al-Alwi (Yemen)
ISN 029, Mohammed al-Ansi (Yemen)
ISN 031, Mahmud Abd Al Aziz Al Mujahid (Yemen)
ISN037, Abdel Malik Ahmed Abdel Wahab al Rahabi (Yemen)
ISN041, Majid Mahmud Abdu Ahmed (Yemen)
ISN042, Abd al Rahman Shalbi Isa Uwaydah (Saudi Arabia)
ISN044, Muhammed Rajab Sadiq Abu Ghanim (Yemen)
ISN045, Ali Ahmad al-Rahizi (Yemen)
ISN128, Ghaleb Nassar al Bihani (Yemen)
ISN131, Salem Ahmad Hadi Bin Kanad (Yemen)
ISN195, Mohammed al-Shimrani (Saudi Arabia)
ISN232, Fawzi Khalid Abdullah Fahad al Odah (Kuwait)
ISN235, Saeed Ahmed Mohammed Abdullah Sarem Jarabh (Yemen)
ISN242, Khalid Ahmed Qasim (Yemen)
ISN244, Abdul Latif Nasir (Morocco)
ISN324, Mashur Abdullah Muqbil Ahmed al-Sabri (Yemen)
ISN434, Mustafa Abd al-Qawi Abd al-Aziz al-Shamiri (Yemen)
ISN441, Abdul Rahman Ahmed (Yemen)
ISN508, Salman Yahya Hassan Mohammad Rabei’i (Yemen)
ISN522, Yassim Qasim Mohammed Ismail Qasim (Yemen)
ISN552, Faez Mohammed Ahmed al-Kandari (Kuwait)
ISN560, Haji WaH Muhammed (Afghanistan)
ISN576, Zahar Omar Hamis bin Hamdoun (Yemen)
ISN579, Khairullah Said Wali Khairkhwa (Afghanistan)
ISN695, Omar Khalif Mohammed Abu Baker Mahjour Umar (Libya)
ISN708, Ismael Ali Faraj Ali Bakush (Libya)
ISN713, Mohammed al Zahrani (Saudi Arabia)
ISN782, Awal Gul (Afghanistan) * deceased
ISN832, Mohammad Nabi Omari (Afghanistan)
ISN836, Ayub Murshid Ali Salih (Yemen)
ISN837, Bashir Nasir Ali al-Marwalah (Yemen)
ISN838, Shawqi Awad Balzuhair (Yemen)
ISN839, Musab Omar Ali al-Mudwani (Yemen)
ISN840, Hail Aziz Ahmed al-Maythali (Yemen)
ISN841, Said Salih Said Nashir (Yemen)
ISN975, Karim Bostan (Afghanistan)
ISN1017, Omar Mohammed Ali al-Rammah (Yemen)
ISN1045, Mohammed Kamin (Afghanistan)
ISN1119, Ahmid al Razak (Afghanistan)
ISN1463, Abd al-Salam al-Hilah (Yemen)
ISN10023, Guleed Hassan Ahmed (Somalia)
ISN10025, Mohammed Abdul Malik Bajabu (Kenya)
ISN10028, Inayatullah (Afghanistan)* deceased
ISN10029, Muhammad Rahim (Afghanistan)

Far from closing it as he promised in January 2009, Obama authorized an infrastructure upgrade and also signed the National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) in December 2011 that prevents the transfer of innocent prisoners held at Gitmo to their homeland or even the US mainland.

Periodically, Obama has made soothing noises about the torture camp and how it is damaging America’s “reputation”. “Guantanamo has become a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law,” Obama said on May 23, 2013 during a speech at the American Military College in Washington, DC. He said, for the umpteenth time, he would like to close it, yet since January of 2013, there was no envoy appointed to oversee its closure. On July 1, 2013 Clifford Sloan took up his assignment as the newly appointed Gitmo closure envoy. The appointment and reopening of the office is the only concrete step Obama has taken concerning Guantanamo since his May counter-terrorism speech.

The US Senate has tried to facilitate release of the cleared prisoners as well as close the torture chamber altogether. The Senate Armed Services Committee passed a bill on June 13, 2013 a day before Congress’s NDAA amendment that would allow the Pentagon to send detainees to the US for medical treatment, sustained detention, and prosecution. Democratic Senator Carl Levin inserted the provisions into the Senate version of the 2014 NDAA, and the Senate would be voting on it in the fall.

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