[Ppnews] Guantánamo: The Definitive Prisoner List ( Updated for Summer 2010)

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jul 13 14:37:05 EDT 2010

Guantánamo: The Definitive Prisoner List (Updated for Summer 2010)



In March 2009, I published a four-part list 
identifying all 779 prisoners held at Guantánamo 
since the prison opened on January 11, 2002, 
which I updated in January this year. To keep up 
with developments over the last six months, I 
have now updated it again, and the four parts of 
the list are available here: 
Three and 

As I explained when I first compiled the list, 
the original product of my research was my book 
Guantánamo Files, in which, based on an 
exhaustive analysis of 8,000 pages of documents 
released by the Pentagon (plus other sources), I 
related the story of Guantánamo, established a 
chronology explaining where and when the 
prisoners were seized, told the stories of around 
450 of these men (and boys), and provided a 
context for the circumstances in which the 
remainder of the prisoners were captured.

The list provides references to the chapters in 
The Guantánamo Files where the prisoners’ stories 
can be found, and also provides numerous links to 
the hundreds of articles that I have written over 
the last three years, for a variety of 
publications, expanding on and updating the 
stories of all 779 prisoners. In particular, I 
have covered the stories of the 199 prisoners 
released from Guantánamo between June 2007 and 
May 2010 in unprecedented depth, as well as the 
50 prisoners whose habeas corpus petitions have 
been the subject of rulings in the District Court 
in Washington D.C. (see 
Habeas Results: The Definitive List” for links to 
all my articles, and to the judges’ rulings). I 
also covered the stories of the 27 prisoners 
charged in Guantánamo’s Military Commission trial 
system under the Bush administration (and have 
covered the handful of cases revived, 
falteringly, by President Obama) in more detail 
than is, or was available from most, if not all other sources.

In addition, the list also includes links to the 
12 online chapters, published between November 
2007 and February 2009 (see the links in the 
left-and column), in which I told the stories of 
over 250 prisoners that I was unable to include 
in the book (either because they were not 
available at the time of writing, or to keep the book at a manageable length).

As a result ­ and notwithstanding the fact that 
the <http://projects.nytimes.com/guantanamo>New 
York Times had made a list of documents relating 
to each prisoner available online ­ I maintain 
that I am justified in stating that the list is 
“the most comprehensive list ever published of 
the 779 prisoners who have been held at 
Guantánamo,” providing details of the 591 
prisoners released (and the dates of their 
release), and the 181 prisoners still held 
(including information on those cleared for 
release by military review boards under the Bush 
administration or by President Obama’s Guantánamo 
Review Task Force), for the same reason that my 
book provides what I have been told is an 
unparalleled introduction to Guantánamo and the 
stories of the men held there: because it 
provides a much-needed context for these stories 
that is difficult to discern in the Pentagon’s 
documents without detailed analysis.

This update to the four parts of the list draws 
150+ articles that I have published in the last 
six months, tracking the Obama administration’s 
lamentable failure to close the prison as 
promised, to thoroughly repudiate the Bush 
administration’s policies, and to 
anyone accountable for 
torture as official policy. Throughout this 
period, I have reported the stories of the 17 
prisoners released, and have also covered the 
habeas petitions in unprecedented detail. I am 
pleased to report that 37 habeas cases have now 
been won by the prisoners (out of 51 in total), 
but I remain concerned that the District Court 
judges are obliged to approve the ongoing 
detention of soldiers at Guantánamo, when they 
should be held as prisoners of war, and I’m also 
disappointed that President Obama has only 
released 59 prisoners since he took office.

Of the 181 prisoners who remain, 97 have been 
approved for release by the Task Force and 35 are 
scheduled to face trials, but 48 others have been 
designated as suitable for indefinite detention 
without charge or trial ­ 
distressing development that may well mark the 
nadir of President Obama’s promise to mark any 
kind of meaningful change from his predecessor. 
One other man, 
Hamza al-Bahlul, is serving a life sentence after 
a one-sided trial by Military Commission in 2008 
(although his sentence is being appealed), and 
another ­ 
Khalfan Ghailani ­ was transferred to the US 
mainland to face a federal court trial in May 
2009, before Congress descended into the kind of 
cynical scaremongering that regards trial for 
terrorists ­ and respect for the Constitution ­ as somehow quaint and obsolete.

As for my intention, it remains the same as it 
did when I first published the list. As 
explained at the time:

It is my hope that this project will provide an 
invaluable research tool for those seeking to 
understand how it came to pass that the 
government of the United States turned its back 
on domestic and international law, establishing 
torture as official US policy, and holding men 
without charge or trial neither as prisoners of 
war, protected by the Geneva Conventions, nor as 
criminal suspects to be put forward for trial in 
a federal court, but as “illegal enemy combatants.”

I also hope that it provides a compelling 
explanation of how that same government, under 
the leadership of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and 
Donald Rumsfeld, established a prison in which 
the overwhelming majority of those held ­ at 
least 93 percent of the 779 men and boys 
imprisoned in total ­ were either completely 
innocent people, seized as a result of dubious 
intelligence or sold for bounty payments, or 
Taliban foot soldiers, recruited to fight an 
inter-Muslim civil war that began long before the 
terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and that 
had nothing to do with al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or international terrorism.

To this I would only add that, nearly a year and 
a half after President Obama took office, I hope 
that the list and its references provide a useful 
antidote to the administration’s apparent 
paralysis, and to the cynical scaremongering of 
lawmakers that I outlined above.

Nearly six months on from President Obama’s 
failure to close Guantánamo by his self-imposed 
deadline of January 22, 2010, it now seems almost 
inconceivable that so many of us once thought it 
possible, because of the extent to which the 
administration has lost its purpose, and the 
extent to which lawmakers (and media pundits) 
delight in channeling the lies and distortions of 
former Vice President Dick Cheney, with an 
arrogant disregard for how ridiculous this appears to the rest of the world.

Six months ago, I mentioned that there was no 
reason for complacency. That was perhaps 
optimistic, as now I can only exhort those who 
oppose torture, arbitrary detention and political 
bankruptcy to resist despair. However, as the 
ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches, 
it remains imperative ­ for those of us who call 
for the full reinstatement of the Geneva 
Conventions for prisoners of war, federal court 
trials for terrorists and accountability for 
those who authorized torture ­ that we maintain 
the pressure to close Guantánamo, and to charge 
or release the prisoners held there, as swiftly as possible.

Andy Worthington
July 12, 2010

Andy Worthington is the author of 
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 
and the 
and of two other books: 
Celebration and Subversion and 
Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles 
in your inbox, please subscribe to my 
<http://www.andyworthington.co.uk/feed/>RSS feed 
(and I can also be found on 
and <http://twitter.com/GuantanamoAndy>Twitter). 
Also see my 
Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in January 
2010, details about the new documentary film, 
the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by 
Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, 
on tour in the UK, and available on DVD 
and my 
Guantánamo habeas list, and, if you appreciate my 
work, feel free to 
a donation.

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