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Guantánamo Diary – Mohamedou Ould Slahi (2015)

In Archive, CIA, Guantanamo, Slahi, Terrorism, Torture, USA on March 15, 2015 at 7:22 PM



An unprecedented international publishing event: the first and only diary written by a still-imprisoned Guantánamo detainee. Since 2002, Mohamedou Slahi has been imprisoned at the detainee camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. In all these years, the United States has never charged him with a crime. Although he was ordered released by a federal judge, the U.S. government fought that decision, and there is no sign that the United States plans to let him go. Three years into his captivity Slahi began a diary, recounting his life before he disappeared into U.S. custody and daily life as a detainee. It details the savage beatings, sleep deprivation, death threats, and sexual humiliation he endured. His diary is not merely a vivid record of a miscarriage of justice, but a deeply personal memoir—terrifying, darkly humorous, and surprisingly gracious. Published now for the first time, GUANTÁNAMO DIARY is a document of immense historical importance.

Read/Download “Guantánamo Diary” Here (PDF/3MB)
Slahi’s Original Manuscript Here (PDF/24MB)


Related Links:

Secret Diary of Guantanamo Prisoner Abu Zubaydah

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Manifesto: Statement to the Crusaders of the Military Commissions in Guantanamo

Senate Intelligence Committee CIA Torture Report Executive Summary (Complete Coverage)

Some content on this page was disabled on August 3, 2015 as a result of a DMCA takedown notice from Hachette Book Group. You can learn more about the DMCA here:

UN Condemns US Human Rights Record Re: Spying, Torture, Guantanamo, Drones, Police Brutality, Death Penalty & More

In Archive, CIA, Drones, Guantanamo, NSA, Police Brutality, Surveillance, UN, USA on March 29, 2014 at 3:46 AM



The UN has delivered a withering verdict on the US’s human rights record, raising concerns on a series of issues including torture, drone strikes, the failure to close Guantánamo Bay and the NSA’s bulk collection of personal data.

The 11-page report was delivered by the UN’s Human Rights Committee in an assessment of how the US is complying with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights [ICCPR], which has been in force since the mid 1970s.

The committee, a panel of 18 experts from a variety of countries, which is chaired by the British law professor Sir Nigel Rodley, cataloged a string of human rights concerns, notably on the mass surveillance exposed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

It said the collection of the contents of communications from US-based companies under the PRISM program had an adverse impact on the right to privacy. It criticized the United States’ use of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to handle surveillance matters, saying the legal oversight of such programs had largely been kept secret and failed to protect the rights of those affected, “thus not allowing affected persons to know the law with sufficient precision.”

The UN committee urged the US to overhaul its surveillance activities to ensure they complied with US law and conformed to US obligations under the ICCPR.

The committee also criticized the US for failing to prosecute senior members of its armed forces and private contractors involved in torture and targeted killings.

It noted that only a “meager number” of criminal charges had been brought against low-level operatives. It also expressed concern that all investigations into enforced disappearances and torture conducted under the CIA’s rendition program were closed in 2012, and that the details of the program remained secret, creating barriers to accountability and redress for victims.

The US is urged to “ensure that all cases of unlawful killing, torture or other ill-treatment, unlawful detention, or enforced disappearance are effectively, independently and impartially investigated, that perpetrators, including, in particular, persons in command positions, are prosecuted and sanctioned”.

The committee was also scathing about Washington’s legal justification for targeted killings using drones. The US claims such strikes, which have killed dozens of insurgents and civilians, are an act of self-defense as part of armed conflicts with Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The committee criticized such justifications as too broad, and said it was unclear what precautionary measures were taken to avoid civilian deaths.

It urged the US to review the legal justification for drone strikes and said they should be subject to independent oversight.

The committee chides Obama for his failure to fulfill a commitment to close Guantánamo Bay. It notes that many detainees have been held there, and in military prisons in Afghanistan, for more than a decade without charge or trial. It call on the US to speed up the transfer of detainees and ensure that any criminal cases are dealt with by the US justice system rather than a military commission.

Half of the 154 detainees have been approved for release, yet the Obama administration must find resettlement or repatriation options for them. Forty-five captives are held indefinitely, without charges or a trial.

The committee expressed alarm about the continued use of the death penalty in a 16 states. A new report released Thursday by Amnesty International found that in 2013, the US ranked fifth in the world with 39 executions. The report brings up the recent issues with the use of untested drugs during executions and the refusal to disclose information about those drugs — a practice that’s increasingly been in contention.

The report also condemned the “still high number” number of fatal shootings by certain police forces, notably in Chicago, and the high proportion of black people in the country’s jails.

The U.N. body calls on the U.S. to retroactively implement the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act and close a loophole that allows thousands of nonviolent offenders to languish in federal prisons as a result of draconian drug laws. The report also demands measures to end to racial profiling and praises steps to end New York City’s stop-and-frisk program.

The committee lays out corrective steps for the US to take in response to all of its concerns — generally, ending the practice, better protecting rights, or falling in line with its obligations to UN commitments — though there’s little holding the US to following these. The committee has asked the United States to respond with its progress on these matters in its next report, due five years from now on March 28, 2019.

Gitmo Detainees’ ECHR Testimony on CIA Torture in Poland: Waterboarding, Stress Positions, Mock Executions, Threats of Raping Mother!?

In Archive, Guantanamo, Poland on December 6, 2013 at 3:41 AM

ZD30 Torture


Owen Bowcott/Ian Cobain/Guardian:

Lawyers for two men subject to extraordinary rendition by the CIA told the European court of human rights (ECHR) on Tuesday that Poland, which permitted a secret “black” site to operate on its territory, should be held responsible for their torture.

The two-day hearing at Strasbourg was the first time a European country has been taken to court for allowing US agencies to carry out “enhanced” interrogation and “waterboarding” programmes. In a highly unusual legal move, the media and public were barred from the opening day’s session.

The military base at Stare Kiejkuty, north of Warsaw, it was revealed, had previously been used by German intelligence and later the Soviet army during the second world war. One of the men, it was alleged, was subjected to mock executions while hooded and otherwise naked.

Abd al-Rahim Hussayn Muhammad al-Nashiri, a Saudi Arabian national of Yemeni descent, and Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husayn, also known as Abu Zubaydah, a stateless Palestinian, maintain they were waterboarded and abused during interrogation in Poland. Both men arebeing held by the US in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

They claim that after being captured by the CIA they were transferred on the same “rendition” plane in December 2002 to a secret detention site in Poland, with the knowledge of the Polish authorities, for the purpose of interrogation and were tortured.

Nashiri maintains he was seized in Dubai in October that year and subsequently moved around secret CIA detention facilities in Afghanistan and Thailand before being taken to Poland. He remained in a secret detention centre until early June 2003, when he was secretly transferred, with the assistance of the Polish authorities, to Morocco and then, in September 2003, to Guantánamo Bay.

He claims he was subjected to the so-called “waterboard technique”, where a detainee is tied to a bench with his feet elevated above his head, a cloth placed over his mouth and nose and water poured on to the cloth producing the sensation of drowning and suffocation.

Nashiri alleges he was also forced into prolonged stress positions – kneeling on the floor and leaning back – and was threatened that his family would be abused if he did not provide information.

Amrit Singh, of the Open Society Justice Initiative who represented Nashiri, said that her client had been repeatedly tortured. “The court heard expert testimony [on Monday] confirming how Polish officials filed false flight plans and assisted in the cover-up of CIA operations,” Singh said. “In a secluded villa, hidden from sight, CIA interrogators subjected him to torture: to mock executions while he stood naked and hooded before them; to painful stress positions that nearly dislocated his arms from his shoulders; and to threats of bringing in his mother to sexually abuse her in front of him.” He now faces the death penalty before a US military commission, she added.

Husayn alleges that, having been captured in Pakistan in March 2002 and subsequently transferred to a secret CIA detention facility in Thailand, he was brought to Poland in early December 2002 where he was held in a secret CIA detention facility until September 2003.

According to his submissions, Husayn was waterboarded, placed in a box and exposed to extreme noise.

Communication with his lawyers is restricted, making it impossible to pass on information or evidence directly from him to the ECHR. The presentation of his case is principally based on publicly available sources.

Romania and Lithuania also have cases pending at the ECHR for hosting secret CIA prisons.

Related Links:

ECHR Rules CIA “Tortured and Sodomised” Wrongly Detained German Citizen

Report: Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition

Guantanamo’s “Penny Lane”: Secret CIA Camp Turned Gitmo Prisoners Into Double-Agents

In Archive, CIA, Guantanamo on November 26, 2013 at 5:54 PM



Adam Goldman/Matt Apuzzo/AP:

A few hundred yards from the administrative offices of the Guantanamo Bay prison, hidden behind a ridge covered in thick scrub and cactus, sits a closely held secret.

A dirt road winds its way to a clearing where eight small cottages sit in two rows of four. They have long been abandoned. The special detachment of Marines that once provided security is gone.

But in the early years after 9/11, these cottages were part of a covert CIA program. Its secrecy has outlasted black prisons, waterboarding and rendition.

In these buildings, CIA officers turned terrorists into double agents and sent them home.

It was a risky gamble. If it worked, their agents might help the CIA find terrorist leaders to kill with drones. But officials knew there was a chance that some prisoners might quickly spurn their deal and kill Americans.

For the CIA, that was an acceptable risk in a dangerous business. For the American public, which was never told, it was one of the many secret trade-offs the government made on its behalf. At the same time the government used the threat of terrorism to justify imprisoning people indefinitely, it was releasing dangerous people from prison to work for the CIA.

Nearly a dozen current and former U.S officials described aspects of the program to The Associated Press. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the secret program, even though it ended in about 2006.

The program and the handful of men who passed through these cottages had various official CIA codenames. But those who were aware of the cluster of cottages knew it best by its sobriquet: Penny Lane.

It was a nod to the classic Beatles song and a riff on the CIA’s other secret facility at Guantanamo Bay, a prison known as Strawberry Fields.

When prisoners began streaming into the prison on the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in January 2002, the CIA recognized it as an unprecedented opportunity to identify sources. That year, 632 detainees arrived at the island. The following year 117 more arrived.

By early 2003, Penny Lane was open for business.

Candidates were ushered from the confines of prison to Penny Lane’s relative hominess, officials said. The cottages had private kitchens, showers and televisions. Each had a small patio.

Some prisoners asked for and received pornography. One official said the biggest luxury in each cottage was the bed, not a military-issued cot but a real bed with a mattress.

The cottages were designed to feel more like hotel rooms than prison cells, and some CIA officials jokingly referred to them collectively as the Marriott.

Current and former officials said dozens of prisoners were evaluated but only a handful, from varying countries, were turned into spies who signed agreements to spy for the CIA.

Prisoners agreed to cooperate for a variety of reasons, officials said. Some received assurances that the U.S. would resettle their families. Another thought al-Qaeda had perverted Islam and believed it was his duty as a Muslim to help the CIA destroy it.

One detainee agreed to cooperate after the CIA insinuated it would harm his children, a former official said, harkening to similar threats interrogators lodged against admitted 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

All were promised money. Exactly how much each was paid remains unclear. But altogether, the government paid millions of dollars for their services, officials said. The money came from a secret CIA account, codenamed Pledge, that’s used to pay informants, officials said.

The biggest fear, former officials involved with the program recalled, was that a former detainee would attack Americans, then publicly announce that he’d been on the CIA payroll.

The U.S. government had such high hopes for Penny Lane that one former intelligence official recalled discussion about whether to secretly release a pair of Pakistani men into the United States on student or business visas. The hope was that they would connect with al-Qaeda and lead authorities to members of a U.S. cell.

Another former senior intelligence official said that never happened.

Officials said the program ended in 2006, as the flow of detainees to Guantanamo Bay slowed to a trickle. The last prisoner arrived there in 2008.

Penny Lane still stands and can be seen in satellite photos. The complex is surrounded by two fences and hidden among the trees and shrubs of Guantanamo Bay.

Related Link: FBI Accused of Using No-Fly List to Recruit Informants

38 Retired Generals/Admirals Urge Guantanamo Closure: “Betrayal of American Values. Symbol of Torture and Justice Delayed”

In Archive, Guantanamo on November 14, 2013 at 8:58 PM


Thirty-eight of the most respected retired generals and admirals have urged the US Senate to close Guantanamo Bay. America’s most notorious military detention facility has reached its 12th anniversary, despite pressure and promises to shut it down.

In a letter to American senators, the retired generals and admirals wrote that they believe it is “imperative” for Congress to address Guantanamo.

Related Links:

Cost of Detention Operations at Guantánamo Bay $4.8 Billion Since 2002 (Report & Infographic)

(REPORT) Ethics Abandoned: Medical Professionalism and Detainee Abuse in the War on Terror

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