Today is the tenth anniversary of Shaker Aamer’s arrival at Guantanamo Bay. Even though he was cleared for release in 2007, he still languishes in a cell there today.
Shaker is a British resident of Saudi descent. He was captured in Afghanistan in December 2001 and was one of the first detainees transferred to Guantanamo when it opened in 2002.
We have seen much of the intelligence on which the US originally based its decision to hold Shaker courtesy of the WikiLeaks website.
Shaker’s Detainee Assessment Brief (DAB) revealed that the bulk of the case against him had been assembled from the testimony of other detainees at Guantanamo.
Prisoners with something to gain from cooperating with their jailers don’t make the most credible of witnesses. SEE THE REST OF THIS POST
There are still 172 detainees held at the Guantánamo Bay detention centre © Amnesty International
Released just as President Obama seems to have washed his hands of closing Guantanamo, a new batch of leaked government documents provide fresh insight into just how inadequate, iniquitous and ultimately counterproductive, the US foray into indefinite detention has been.
The new document cache consists of Detainee Assessment Briefs (DABs) – essentially case summaries – produced by intelligence analysts at Guantanamo between 2002 and 2009 that were first leaked to Wikileaks and then by someone in the Wikileaks community to the press.
The picture of Guantanamo that emerges from these new documents is of an arbitrary review process, operating from a presumption of guilt not innocence, thrown together on the fly, and overseen by individuals with so little understanding of cultural nuance that they might as well have been drafted in from Mars.
The New York Times points out that the qualification “possibly” appears 387 times about intelligence used in the files, with the qualifiers “unknown” and “deceptive” appearing 188 times and 85 times respectively. Further proof that the intelligence business is anything but a precise science.
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