Why Did It Take So Long To Order The Release From Guantánamo Of An Al-Qaeda Torture Victim? by Andy Worthington

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by Andy Worthington
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
www.andyworthington.co.uk
24 June 2009

In over three years of researching and reporting about the prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, I learned early on to expect, as one of Guantánamo’s first commanders, Maj. Gen. Michael Dunlavey explained, that many of the men were “Mickey Mouse” prisoners, with no connection to terrorism whatsoever, and, in hundreds of cases, not even a tangential involvement in the Taliban’s inter-Muslim civil war with Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance, which preceded the 9/11 attacks, but morphed into a war against the US after “Operation Enduring Freedom” — the US-led invasion of Afghanistan — began on October 7, 2001.

I learned about how the wrong people had ended up in Guantánamo not just from Maj. Gen. Dunlavey, but also from a former interrogator at the US prisons in Kandahar and Bagram, which were used to process the prisoners for Guantánamo. Using the pseudonym Chris Mackey, he wrote a book about his experiences, The Interrogators, in which he explained that the military commanders on the ground in Afghanistan received instructions from the highest levels of government that every Arab who ended up in US custody was to be transferred to Guantánamo, even if those on the front line had concluded that they had been seized by mistake.

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Andy Worthington Discusses Guantánamo on Democracy Now!

by Andy Worthington
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
www.andyworthington.co.uk
23 June 2009

Today I was delighted to be invited into a London studio for an interview about Guantánamo on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. The show, which airs on over 750 stations, is described as “pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the US,” and it was, therefore, a great pleasure to be able to talk about the case of Abdul Rahim al-Ginco (or al-Janko), the al-Qaeda torture victim whose release from Guantánamo was ordered yesterday following a habeas corpus review by Judge Richard Leon. Memorably, Judge Leon (an appointee of George W. Bush) lambasted the government for attempting to claim that, despite being tortured by al-Qaeda to admit to being an American spy, and then being imprisoned for 18 months by the Taliban, al-Ginco retained some sort of connection with either group that justified his indefinite detention. This was, he said, a sign that the government’s position “defies common sense.” Continue reading