[Ppnews] The definitive list of the remaining prisoners in Guantánamo

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Sep 16 12:49:49 EDT 2010

Introducing the definitive list of the remaining prisoners in Guantánamo

Written by 
Worthington Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Over the next month, in an attempt to focus 
attention more closely on Guantánamo, and on the 
remaining prisoners who are held there, 
Cageprisoners is publishing an eight-part series 
of articles, telling, for the first time, the 
stories of the 176 men who are still held. 
series begins with the stories of 20 men 
described by the US authorities as part of the 
“Dirty Thirty,” seized crossing from Afghanistan 
to Pakistan in December 2001, who are mostly 
regarded as having been bodyguards for Osama bin 
Laden, even though there is copious evidence that 
these allegations were produced by a number of 
prisoners who were tortured -- including 
al-Qahtani, for whom Guantánamo’s version of 
CIA’s torture program was 
in autumn 2002, and approved by then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

The articles to follow, covering the rest of the 
prisoners still held, deal with those seized in 
particular locations: two cover prisoners seized 
in Afghanistan; two more tell the stories of 
prisoners seized crossing from Afghanistan to 
Pakistan in December 2001; two deal with 
prisoners seized in Pakistan; and the final 
article covers the “high-value detainees” 
transferred to Guantánamo from secret CIA prisons 
in September 2006, and other prisoners, seized in 
a variety of countries, who were subjected to 
“extraordinary rendition” and imprisonment in secret CIA prisons.

In reading these articles, I hope that readers 
will be able to discover the stories of the men 
behind the statistics of Guantánamo -- and the 
still-repeated and thoroughly unfounded claims 
that the prison holds “the worst of the worst.” 
In the accounts, readers will encounter a variety 
of different individuals. Many of these men 
traveled to Afghanistan before the 9/11 attacks 
to fight with the Taliban against the Northern 
Alliance, and suddenly found themselves to be 
enemies of America in a “War on Terror,” and 
others were not even involved in any kind of 
military conflict, and were, instead, students, 
humanitarian aid workers, missionaries, or 
economic migrants, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Many of the 176 men who were still in Guantánamo 
at the time of writing were rounded up for the 
substantial bounty payments (averaging $5000 a 
head) that were paid by the US military for 
“al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects,” and, given that 
596 men have already been released, it should be 
profoundly troubling that the majority of the men 
still held were either foot soldiers in an 
inter-Muslim civil war that had nothing to do 
with al-Qaeda or the 9/11 attacks, or civilians 
still struggling to establish their innocence.

Readers will also encounter many stories of 
brutality and torture in these accounts, but, I 
believe, few stories of genuine terrorists [sic], 
and should bear in mind that, 
advised by President Obama’s interagency 
Guantánamo Review Task Force, only 34 of the 
remaining 176 men are to be put forward for 
trials, although 48 others are to be held 
indefinitely without charge or trial (because 
they are regarded as too dangerous to release, 
even though there is insufficient evidence to put 
them on trial), and 92 others are to be released. 
One other man, 
Hamza al-Bahlul, is serving a life sentence in 
isolation after being convicted in 
one-sided trial by Military Commission in 
November 2008, in which he refused to mount a 
defense, and another -- Ibrahim al-Qosi, a cook 
in an al-Qaeda compound -- is 
to hear how much longer he will be imprisoned 
a plea deal in his trial by Military Commission 
in July. Another prisoner, 
Khalfan Ghailani (not included here) was 
transferred to New York in May 2009 to face a 
federal court trial for his alleged involvement 
in the 1998 African embassy bombings. His trial 
is scheduled to begin in the near future.

58 of the men approved for release (or for 
“transfer,” to use the Obama administration’s 
language, learned carefully from the Bush 
administration) are Yemenis, whose release was 
halted in January. After the capture of the 
failed Christmas Day plane bomber Umar Farouk 
Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who was reportedly 
recruited in Yemen, President Obama capitulated 
to unprincipled criticism and 
a moratorium on any further releases to Yemen 
that appears to have no end date, and that 
clearly constitutes “guilt by nationality.”

I find it interesting to speculate on which of 
the Yemenis have been cleared (and 
are the 31 Yemenis recommended for trials or for 
indefinite detention), as this information has 
not been made publicly available by the Obama 
administration, but more generally I’m interested 
to hear whether readers can figure out, from 
these articles, why the administration believes 
that there is a good reason to either charge or 
to continue holding 82 of these men, as it has 
never seemed plausible to me that there are 82 
men in Guantánamo who pose what might be 
described as “a clear and present danger.”

The lists also contain references to the 
prisoners’ ongoing habeas corpus petitions in the 
US District Court in Washington D.C., where 
prisoners have won 38 cases and the government 
has won only 16. Much of what has been confirmed 
about unacceptable evidence based on statements 
by the prisoners themselves (under torture or 
duress) or by unreliable witnesses 
Guantánamo or 
other “War on Terror” prisons (who were subjected 
to torture, duress, or, in a few cases, the 
promise of better living conditions), has come 
from these proceedings, and it is disappointing 
that, at the time of writing, 12 of the 38 men 
who have won their petitions are still held.

In addition, it is no less disappointing that the 
majority of those who have lost their petitions 
were nothing more than 
Taliban foot soldiers (and, in two cases, 
medic and 
cook), whose ongoing detention, on an apparently 
legal basis, is not a validation of the habeas 
process, but is, rather, an indictment of the 
unjust basis for holding “War on Terror” 
prisoners -- neither as criminal suspects, not as 
prisoners of war -- that was conceived by the 
Bush administration, and that has been largely preserved under President Obama.

Andy Worthington
London, September 2010

Please note: The eight parts of the list contain 
the stories of three released prisoners who have 
not been identified -- two of unspecified 
nationality who were released in Georgia in March 
2010, and an Afghan released in Spain in July 2010.

Andy Worthington is a Senior Researcher for 
Cageprisoners. He is also the author of 
Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 
Detainees in America's Illegal Prison (published 
by Pluto Press) and the co-director (with Polly 
Nash) of the new documentary, 
the Law: Stories from Guantánamo.”

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