Posted Apr 25, 2011 12:13 pm CDT
Nearly 800 classified WikiLeaks documents about Guantanamo detainees and al-Qaida have been obtained by news organizations.
The documents contain intelligence assessments of the detainees and information about the location of the Sept. 11 plotters on the day of the attacks in New York in Washington, D.C., report the Washington Post and the New York Times, two of the news outlets that received copies of the information. CNN also has a story.
The documents show most of the 172 prisoners remaining at Guantanamo are deemed to be “high risk,” as were about a third of the 600 detainees already released, the Times says. The information in the risk assessments may not represent the current views of the Pentagon, since a task force reviewed each detainee and sometimes came to different conclusions.
In a separate story, the New York Times reports that military analysts sometimes “ignored serious flaws in the evidence—for example, that the information came from other detainees whose mental illness made them unreliable.” One man captured in 2003 said he was a shepherd, had extensive knowledge of herding animals and little knowledge of military and political concepts, Yet he was held until 2006, the Times says.
An account in the Guardian says the files reveal that man prisoners were “held captive for years on the flimsiest grounds.”
“The files depict a system often focused less on containing dangerous terrorists or enemy fighters, than on extracting intelligence,” the Guardian says. “Among inmates who proved harmless were an 89-year-old Afghan villager, suffering from senile dementia, and a 14-year-old boy who had been an innocent kidnap victim.”
Among other information in the documents:
• On Sept. 11, key al-Qaida leaders watched news of the attacks on television at a safe house in Karachi, Pakistan, the Washington Post says. A day later, many of the leaders returned to Afghanistan to prepare for war. Three months later, senior operatives met in Zormat, a mountainous area of Afghanistan, to plan new attacks. Osama bin Laden traveled around Afghanistan by car after the attacks, handing out assignments to his followers. He also issued orders from a secret guest house in or near Kabul.
• One detainee who lost a leg as a teen told interrogators he was caputured as he tried to rescue his brother from the Taliban, the New York Times says. He was cooperative in prison and deemed not to be a threat. He was outfitted with a prosthetic leg and released. He went back to Pakistan, where he revealed he was a militant who had used a false identity. He plotted an attack on Pakistan’s interior minister that killed 31 people and later died in a suicide bombing.
• According to a guide for analysts, the U.S. military viewed Casio F91W watches and the detainees who wore them with suspicion, because they were handed out by al-Qaida at bomb-making courses, the Times and the Guardian report.
• One al-Qaida leader reportedly received injections to make him impotent so he could devote more time to the cause, according to the Post and the Times.