Incoherencies, Eponymies: Proofs of Accusations Often Skimpy
By Ariane Chemin and Yves Eudes
Monday 13 March 2006
Summaries and extracts from the 5,000 pages of "raw" data the Pentagon supplied to the Associated Press, in compliance with the court judgment in AP's suit.
Afghan Mohammed Gul: "I don't want to stay a minute longer."
Originally from the Afghan province of Khost, Mohammed Gul was a peasant and service station proprietor in Afghanistan. He lived previously in Saudi Arabia. The Americans suspect him of having enjoyed tight links with the Taliban. He explains that he was a delivery truck driver in Saudi Arabia and that he was arrested in his home solely because he possessed a Kalashnikov, like many other farmers: "I'm poor; I've only got a little plot of land. (...) I don't want to stay here one minute more."
Afghans Mohammed and Naquibullah Rasul: "I never went to smell my brother's hair."
After twenty-five years spent in Pakistan, Afghan Mohammed Rasul came home in September 2001. He is accused of using a rocket launcher against American forces. He denies it and says he came back to help his doctor brother, Naquibullah, open a clinic. The interrogator asked the latter if he had ever seen his brother with burned hair - a possible consequence of rocket use: "I've never gone to smell my brother's hair," answered Naquibullah.
Yemenite Fahed Abdullah Ahmad Ghazi: "Bin Laden would never have trusted a seventeen-year old bodyguard."
According to the Americans, he trained at Camp Al-Farouq, in Afghanistan, before being selected for the Tora Bora Camp, where Fahed Ghazi is suspected of having entered bin Laden's circle to become his bodyguard. "I wasn't in Tora Bora by choice (...) I didn't have any idea about how to get out of Afghanistan. The only solution was to listen to those who took me from one place to another (...) Bin Laden would never have trusted a youth of 17, with only nine days of training behind him, to make him his bodyguard and confidence man."
Saudi Abdelaziz Kareem Salim al-Noofayee: "The guards here wear the same Casio watch I did."
Salim Al-Noofayee, accused of having been trained in 1997, was arrested in March 2002 in Pakistan, "because he wears a Casio F-91W watch, known to be used by al-Qaeda members. The detainee: "The watch I was wearing looked like the same one the guards wear here. Does that mean they're al-Qaeda members?"
Pakistani chicken farmer Abdur Zahid Rahman: "My name is Zahid Rahman, not Sayed Rahman."
This "poor chicken farmer," as he defined himself during the interrogations, was arrested in Pakistan in autumn 2001. He's accused of being either a military Taliban judge or the Taliban Foreign Affairs Minister. Note, it seems that the minister's name is Abdur Zahid (and not Sayed) Rahman: "An American told me I had been arrested by mistake and that in a few days I would be free. I've never seen that American since, and I'm still here."
Syrian Abu Omar Al-Hamawe: "Nobody's named Mohammed in my family."
Abu Omar al-Hamawe is a butcher. He went to Iran and Afghanistan in 2000 to earn enough money to get married, he says. "After the invasion of Afghanistan, I had to flee because the Northern Alliance was killing Arabs and all Arabs were targets." Arrested at the Afghan-Pakistani border, he was interrogated by the Americans, who brandished a document found in one of al-Qaeda's headquarters. "The interrogator said: 'This is your name,' but it wasn't my name. The name on the paper is Abu Omar Mohammed. My name is Abu Omar al-Hamawe. There's no one called Mohammed in my family."
Algerian Mohammed Nechle: "My future is destroyed."
Mohammed Nechle worked in Bosnia in a United Arab Emirates Red Crescent orphanage. After September 11, he was accused of having prepared an attack against the United States embassy. After three months in prison in Bosnia, he was acquitted and ... remitted to the American authorities.
He says: "The way all that took place, that I was brought here ... I have the impression my future has been destroyed."
Uighur Abdel Abdulhehim, from China: "To escape persecution."
He asserts he left China to "escape the persecutions" of his people. He found his way to Afghanistan in a training camp near Tora Bora. Mr. Abdulhehim says his only objective was to learn how to fight the Chinese should he one day return to his province.
Professor Ashraf Salim: "No need for us to keep on talking."
Ashraf Salim, whose nationality doesn't appear in the hearing notes, denies having trained in Afghanistan as well as having any links to al-Qaeda. "How long will the data classified secret in my file remain secret?" The President of the Court: "They'll always be classified." Salim: "Then there's no need for us to continue to talk. That means you've already made your decision, that's all."
The American colonel: "This is a military tribunal, not a judicial procedure."
Briton Feroz Ali Abassi rejected "enemy combatant" status, which does not exist in law, and wanted to be considered a "prisoner of war." During a hearing of the Military Tribunal in Guant a1namo, its President, a US Air Force colonel whose name is not mentioned, refutes his argument: "You've announced that your lawyer would come to declare that you are illegally detained in violation of international law. This is a Military Tribunal, not a judicial procedure. Your request for a lawyer is refused." Mr. Abassi wanted to have another detainee testify. The tribunal president refused: "International law does not apply here; the Geneva Convention does not apply. (...) I don't want to hear the words 'international law.'"