A terror war prisoner, once considered of such high value by the Bush administration that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered he be tortured, has taken his first step toward freedom thanks to a federal district court judge, who ordered the government to free him after nearly 10 years of imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay.
Though 39-year-old Mohamedou Slahi, an alleged 9/11 conspirator, won his habeas corpus appeal before U.S. District Judge James Robertson on Monday, he likely does not know it yet. That’s because the judge’s decision was classified, according to published reports.
“After the [9/11] attacks, he was fingered by a senior al Qaeda operative for helping assemble the so-called Hamburg cell, which included the hijacker who piloted United 175 into the South Tower,” The Wall Street Journal reported in 2007.
After being captured and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, he was repeatedly subjected to torture by his American captors, with Rumsfeld himself ordering “special” interrogation tactics be set aside for Slahi.
“For a sampling of what Slahi experienced at Guantanamo, check out page 139 of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s 2008 report into the abuse of detainees in the custody of the Department of Defense,” Washington Independent reporter Spencer Ackerman noted.
The Senate report reads:
The memoranda indicate that, on several occasions from July 8 through July 17, Slahi was interrogated by a masked interrogator called “Mr. X.” On July 8, 2003 Slahi was interrogated by Mr. X and was “exposed to various lighting patterns and rock music, to the tune of Drowning Pool’s ‘Let The Bodies Hit [the] Floor.’” On July 10, 2003 Slahi was placed in an interrogation room handcuffed and standing while the air conditioning was turned off until the room became “quite warm.” The next day, Slahi was brought into the interrogation booth and again remained standing and handcuffed while the air conditioning was again turned off. After allowing Slahi to sit, the interrogator later “took [Slahi’s] chair and left him standing for several hours.” According to the memo, Slahi was “visibly uncomfortable and showed signs of fatigue. This was 4th day of long duration interrogations.”
On July 17, 2003, the masked interrogator told Slahi about a dream he had where he saw “four detainees that were chained together at the feet. They dug a hole that was six feet long, six feet deep, and four feet wide. Then he observed the detainees throw a plain, unpainted, pine casket with the number 760 [Slahi’s internment serial number (ISN)] painted on it in orange on the ground.”
On August 2, 2003 an interrogator told Slahi “to use his imagination and think up the worst possible thing that could happen to him” and asked him “what scares him more than anything else.”
“He’s been incarcerated, tortured and interrogated and rendered illegally,” attorney Nancy Hollander told The Miami Herald. “After almost 10 years the government has not been able to meet the minimal burden to detain him that’s required under habeas. He should be free.”
However, the government will not be freeing Slahi any time soon. First, government attorneys must decide whether they will appeal Judge Robertson’s secret decision.
Slahi’s case is made more notable by the involvement of a key Bush administration whistleblower, Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Couch, a government prosecutor who refused to bring charges against Slahi after learning of his torture.
“I felt like what had been done to Slahi just reprehensible,” Couch said during a Sept. 2009 interview with PBS. ” For that reason alone, I refused to have any further participation in this case.”
“Slahi faces no criminal charges,” McClatchy Newspapers reported. “He arrived at Guantanamo in August 2002, nearly a year after he turned himself in for questioning in his native Mauritania in late September 2001 and found himself handed over first to Jordan for interrogation and then to U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
“He filed his petition for habeas corpus himself in handwritten English on March 3, 2005, on a form provided by prison camp staff.”
‘How much did you get for your soul?’ Internet dogpiles Lindsey Graham after he walks back criticism of SCIF raid
On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared to have reached the limit of his capacity to defend his own party when a gang of House Republicans raided a sensitive, compartmented information facility where an impeachment hearing was taking place and illegally bringing in recording equipment. Initially Graham criticized the Republicans behind the stunt, calling it "nuts."
Later, however, he changed his mind and decided the demonstration was fine with him, offering this explanation:
I was initially told House GOP took the SCIF by force – basically like a GOP version of Occupy Wall Street.
‘We lost New Mexico to Mexico’: Internet breaks into hysterics over Trump wanting to build border wall on Colorado
The president of the United States indicated he accidentally forgot where the state of Colorado was during his speech to an energy conference of fracking companies Wednesday.
Trump told the audience he was building a "wall" in Colorado, which is the state just north of New Mexico. If Trump was referring to his U.S.-Mexico border wall, it's the southern New Mexico border on which he intends to build the wall.
It prompted many to wonder if the president whipped out his fact-changing Sharpie yet again.
Giuliani henchmen caught on tape doing statewide tour for Indiana Republicans during 2018 election
New images of Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman with prominent Republicans emerged on Wednesday.
"Two associates of Rudy Giuliani who are accused of illegally funneling foreign money into U.S. campaigns attended an Indiana Republican event promoting U.S. Sen. Mike Braun and others just days before the 2018 election," the Indy Star reports.
"The reason remains a mystery," the newspaper noted.