On Monday the Pentagon released a list of all those who have been held prisoner at Guantanamo by the Dept. of Defense in the "war on terror." -- AP reported that the list was a response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. -- It gives the names, hometowns, and dates of birth of 759 current and former prisoners. -- "The military now holds about 480 detainees at Guantanamo," Ben Fox reported, "following a series of releases and transfers that began in October 2002, nearly 10 months after the detention center opened. -- An additional 136 detainees have been approved for transfer or release, but the timing depends on when their home countries agree to accept them and whether they can assure the U.S. the men will be treated humanely, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chito Peppler." -- Another AP story observed that "None of the most notorious terrorist suspects was included in the list delivered by the Pentagon to the Associated Press, raising questions about where America's most dangerous prisoners are being held," adding: "The United States has not disclosed where it's holding Khalid Shaikh Mohammed or Ramzi Binalshibh, who allegedly plotted the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks." -- A story in the Pakistan's Daily Times gave a link to the full list published on a DoD web site. -- The Pakistani paper noted that Lt. Cmdr. Peppler said the list named "every single individual detained under Department of Defence (DoD) control" at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since the jail opened in January 2002. -- "Asked whether that meant some detainees may have been held outside of Defense Department control at Guantanamo by other U.S. agencies like the CIA, Peppler said, 'I wouldnt know because I cant speak for other agencies'"; Amnesty International has similar concerns. -- Pakistan's interior minister observed that fewer Pakistani prisoners are named than are known to be held by the U.S. in Guantanamo. -- The Daily Times also said Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Chairwoman Asma Jahangir was demanding that U.N. rights investigators be allowed complete access to the prison, as well as compensation for freed detainees, and she "accused Pakistani intelligence of intimidating Pakistani inmates who had been released from the facility in Cuba and repatriated." ...
DIVERSE GROUP OF DETAINEES AT GUANTANAMO
By Ben Fox
May 16, 2006
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- He has a flowing white beard, can't hear or see very well and, according to his lawyer, uses a walker to hobble around the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
Haji Nasrat Khan is the oldest prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, according to a newly released list of all those who have been held at the isolated prison on a U.S. Navy base in southeastern Cuba, perched above the Caribbean Sea.
Khan, an Afghan who the military says is 71 but may be several years older, exemplifies the striking diversity of Guantanamo detainees past and present as identified by the list, which the Pentagon released Monday to the Associated Press in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
"I met him one time and came out of there thinking, 'Why is this old man here?'" said Peter Ryan, a lawyer whose firm represents Khan and 14 other Afghans at Guantanamo.
The list provides the first full official accounting of all those who have been held by the military in Guantanamo on suspicion of links to al-Qaida or the Taliban. The document provides the names, hometowns, and dates of birth of 759 current and former detainees.
They range from teenagers to an Afghan, now released, who was nearly 90 and was reportedly referred to as "al-Qaida Claus," by interrogators. Their hometowns are from all over -- including the holy Muslim city of Mecca; Lyon, France; and Baton Rouge, La.
The military now holds about 480 detainees at Guantanamo following a series of releases and transfers that began in October 2002, nearly 10 months after the detention center opened.
An additional 136 detainees have been approved for transfer or release, but the timing depends on when their home countries agree to accept them and whether they can assure the U.S. the men will be treated humanely, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chito Peppler.
"This has proven to be a complex and time-consuming process," he said.
The Pentagon list does not say whether detainees were released or transferred. But the information is available from other sources, including news reports and a comparison of the list released Monday with a roster released last month.
Among those who had left were Yaser Hamdi, who was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 and taken to Guantanamo, where U.S. authorities discovered he was born in Louisiana and was therefore an American citizen. He was transferred to a military brig in South Carolina.
Hamdi was released to his family in Saudi Arabia in October 2004 after the Justice Department said he no longer posed a threat to the United States and no longer had any intelligence value. As a condition of his release, he gave up U.S. citizenship.
Two Afghans who were under 18 when they arrived are no longer at the detention center, while a third who was still there in the summer of 2004 would no longer be a minor. Peppler said there now is no one under 18 at the camp.
Khan's defense lawyer said he doesn't know if the elderly Afghan is among the 136 who are slated for release or transfer. He is at Guantanamo with his adult son, who was captured in a compound with some 700 weapons, including small arms and rockets, according to lawyers and military documents released to the AP.
Khan and his son told a military panel that the younger man was guarding the weapons for the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the father said he was arrested while complaining about his son's capture several days later.
The military said the father and son had links to the Taliban. At a military hearing, the father ridiculed the notion he could be a threat.
"How could I be an enemy combatant if I was not able to stand up," asked Khan, who has told his lawyers that he doesn't know his exact age but believes it's close to 78.
Ryan, who works for a Philadelphia-based law firm, said it seems unlikely the man is a threat to the United States but acknowledged he hasn't seen the classified evidence against him and may not know the full story.
"He just seems very grandfatherly," Ryan said. "But it's hard to say this without seeming naive."
War on Terror
NAMES OF ALL PRISONERS AT GUANTANAMO RELEASED
By Andrew Selsky
May 16, 2006
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- The Pentagon handed over on Monday the first list of everyone who has been held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- more than four years after the United States began using it as a detention center in its war on terror.
None of the most notorious terrorist suspects was included in the list delivered by the Pentagon to the Associated Press, raising questions about where America's most dangerous prisoners are being held.
Officials say 759 detainees have been held at the center since it opened. More than a quarter -- 218 -- were Afghans. A total of 131 Saudis also passed through the prison gates at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.
The handover marks the first time that everyone who has been held by the Defense Department at Guantanamo has been identified, according to Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chito Peppler, a Pentagon spokesman.
The names of all detainees held there were previously kept classified because of "the security operation as well as the intelligence operation that takes place down there," said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.
In a briefing, he did not explain why the Pentagon didn't contest the AP's request for the release of the names, as it did with previous Freedom of Information Act requests for prisoner information. Last month, the Pentagon released 558 names of current and former detainees to AP.
'MAKE THE PROBLEM GO AWAY'
Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, believes U.S. officials are trying to deflect international criticism of Guantanamo Bay by gradually moving out detainees.
"They are trying to slowly let the air out of the tires as a way to make the problem go away," Romero said.
The United States has not disclosed where it's holding Khalid Shaikh Mohammed or Ramzi Binalshibh, who allegedly plotted the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
U.S. RELEASES GUANTANAMO INMATES LIST
Daily Times (Pakistan)
May 17, 2006
WASHINGTON -- The United States on Monday issued its most comprehensive accounting to date of detainees currently or formerly held at the Guantanamo prison for foreign terrorism suspects, naming 759 people and their nationalities.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Chito Peppler, a Pentagon spokesman, said the list named every single individual detained under Department of Defence (DoD) control at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since the jail opened in January 2002.
Asked whether that meant some detainees may have been held outside of Defense Department control at Guantanamo by other U.S. agencies like the CIA, Peppler said, I wouldnt know because I cant speak for other agencies.
The 18-page list was disclosed and posted on a Pentagon website, http://www.defenselink.mil/pubs/foi/detainees/detaineesFOIArelease15May2006.pdf, in conjunction with an ongoing Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the Associated Press. It listed detainees by name, citizenship, place of birth, date of birth and an internment identification number.
Amnesty International official Jumana Musa said the Pentagons language describing the new list fed long-running speculation about whether the CIA held detainees at Guantanamo outside of military control.
Musa said it also begged the question of whether ghost detainees -- kept off the books and deprived of contact with the International Committee of the Red Cross -- had been held there. While we certainly think its about time that the names of the folks who were in DoD custody were released, whether or not other government agencies held people in Guantanamo will remain an open question, said Musa, who has observed military hearings at the base.
Later, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Chairwoman Asma Jahangir said the U.S. should follow its disclosure of the names of all Guantanamo Bay detainees by allowing UN rights investigators complete access to the prison.
Jahangir, who served on a U.N. panel that recently issued a scathing report on Guantanamo, also demanded compensation for freed detainees and accused Pakistani intelligence of intimidating Pakistani inmates who had been released from the facility in Cuba and repatriated.
She said that despite the Pentagons release of detainee names, nationalities, and ages the lack of information about parentage, addresses, or where they were arrested made it very difficult to trace their relatives. We want full information. We dont want bits and pieces, and we dont want this game that is played between the U.S. and its so-called allies in the war on terrorism, she added. We want to get to the depths of the human rights violations so it doesnt happen again in the future, reported agencies.
Shehzad Raza adds from Islamabad: Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao said that 29 Pakistani prisoners were still in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay of which eight would be handed over to Pakistan soon. He did not specify exact date of their return.
The new list shows only 13 Pakistani prisoners. The interior minister said U.S. authorities had notified 16 other prisoners as Pakistani nationals and had informed the government of Pakistan. The Interior Ministry wants the remaining Pakistani prisoners released and has already asked the Foreign Office to arrange counsellors access for them, he said.
The ministry would also send a delegation to Afghanistan to ascertain the exact number of Pakistani prisoners in Afghan jails, he added.