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Tortured Teens at Gitmo

Here’s a Rolling Stone article by Jeff Tietz  on a Gitmo prisoner, a teenager caught at 15 who actually did have some involvement with Bin Laden. The article details the conditions and abuse he suffered by Gitmo guards. It included some discussion about guilt/innocence.

Although the article is not about Abdurahman Khadr (but a teenage boy called Omar Khadr), the excerpt I pasted below mentions him  in the second paragraph. Abdurahman was an Afgani who was later recruited by the CIA to be a special agent/informer (and thus was given some  credibility by US forces)

Rick Wilson and Muneer Ahmad have a lot of experience representing prisoners, mostly immigrant detainees and death-row inmates. “Nothing we’ve seen comes close to the experience of Guantanamo,” says Ahmad. “Not just the treatment of detainees but the brute force of state power.”

During the course of their research, the attorneys were struck by the overwhelming evidence that most of the detainees at Guantanamo are innocent. The CIA had pulled Abdurahman Khadr out of the camps not just because the detainees around him had become mentally unstable and uncommunicative, but because so few of them knew anything about Al Qaeda or the Taliban. During his debriefing, one of the first things Abdurahman told his CIA handlers was how utterly the United States had failed, in its military sweeps after the fall of the Taliban, to distinguish between the guilty and the innocent. In Afghanistan, the U.S. offered cash rewards for suspected Al Qaeda members that were sometimes equivalent to several years of local wages. The American military thus made every Arab-looking person in Afghanistan vulnerable to opportunists. Warlords rounded up people and brought them en masse to American authorities. Others were turned in to settle grudges, or because they had once associated with someone from Al Qaeda. U.S. intelligence apparently took criminals and mercenaries and underpaid soldiers at their word.

In his debriefing, Abdurahman Khadr told the CIA that only ten percent of the detainees at Guantanamo “are really dangerous.” The rest, he said, “are people that don’t have anything to do with it, don’t even . . . understand what they’re doing here.” One innocent man, Abdurahman said, was given up by his own son for $5,000. Another detainee was nothing more than a drug user: Every time the MPs came around, he begged them for hashish: “He doesn’t even know what he’s doing here,” Abdurahman said. “Truly a drug addict, not Al Qaeda at all.”

One military-intelligence officer, speaking anonymously, told a reporter that more than seventy-five percent of the detainees at Guantanamo are innocent. When the government recently prepared Summaries of Evidence for its 517 detainees in an attempt to justify its “enemy combatant” designation, only eight percent were “definitively identified” as Al Qaeda fighters. Sixty-six percent have no definitive connection to Al Qaeda at all. The detention camps of Guantanamo Bay are filled with shepherds, taxi drivers, farmers, small businessmen, drug addicts, homeless people and children.

For Rick Wilson and Muneer Ahmad, this nasty truth led to an unnerving conclusion: After the invasion of Afghanistan, the Bush administration effectively kidnapped hundreds of innocent people because they looked like Arabs and shipped them to a detention facility designed to torture them nonstop and in perpetuity. If the president were tried in the Hague, the prosecution would have an easy case.

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