We are once again privileged to view information from secret government documents, as revealed by the infamous WikiLeaks. During the course of the just-ended Easter weekend, the whistleblower website provided early access to a number of American and European news outlets to information received with regard to 779 prisoners who have been held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, some since that notorious detention facility opened on January 11, 2002. A portion of the newly available information relates to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, and the implication of responsibility for those attacks of al- Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden.
WikiLeaks is currently described as an international non-profit organization that publishes secret and/or classified data derived from anonymous sources and news leaks. The founders of WikiLeaks consider themselves dissidents, journalists, and technicians; they have a global make-up, including members from China, United States, Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. Australian Julian Assange is generally considered to be the director of WikiLeaks.
First among terrorists wanted by the United States is Osama bin Laden, alleged head of the al-Qaeda terror organization, alleged to be behind the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.
During October of 2001, it was determined by examination of testimony given, some of it under enhanced interrogation techniques at Guantanamo Bay, that bin Laden was operating from a guest house in Kandahar, Afghanistan, with his lieutenant, a prominent leader of al-Qaeda and former Egyptian Islamic Jihadist, Ayman al-Zawahiri (see photo at right). The two al-Qaeda leaders met there with top Taliban official Mullah Mansour, and separately with Jalaluddin Haqqani, who still leads a Taliban insurgency targeting the United States and allies. Bin Laden and his lieutenant then moved to deep within the cave complex at Tora Bora in eastern Afghanistan, in December of 2001. This move was a response to a U.S.-led bombing campaign in Afghanistan. The ongoing bombing forced bin Laden later that December to again relocate, under a secondary pressure, a shortage of cash.
Bin Laden was one of many sons of billionaire Mohammed bin Laden. Osama’s personal wealth at one time was estimated at about $250 million. In 1991, owing to activities against the American government, his bank accounts were frozen. To facilitate his need to avoid capture during the bombing and searches in 2001, the al-Qaeda leader borrowed $7000 from an un-named protector.This money, the WikiLeaks papers reveal was paid back within a year.
Four days following the September 11th attacks, bin Laden visited a guesthouse in Kandahar, where he told fighters to prepare for “infidel invaders” and to “fight in the name of Allah,” the released documents say.
Bin Laden and his followers then fled to a house in Kabul, where they received visitors and gave instructions to continue operations against Western targets.
He told his fighters to disperse and ordered some of his wives and children to flee to Pakistan.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, alleged 9/11 architect, still in prison at Guantanamo Bay, and soon to be tried by military tribunal, is the subject of many of the newly released WikiLeaks documents. Information derived from detainees at Guantanamo indicates that as the death and devastation of September 11, 2011 unfolded, Shaikh Mohammed watched the televised coverage of those horrendous hours from a safe house in the Pakistani Port city of Karachi, along with other members of al-Qaeda.
Also present that September 11, was Bali bombing mastermind Riduan Ismuddin, commonly known as “Hambali.” Hambali, an Islamic scholar, is a key suspect in a number of bombings, and is wanted in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines in connection with a series of bomb attacks. He is accused by the United States of having participating in the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen in October 2000. Hambali was renting the flat in Karachi at the time, and was allegedly buying lab equipment for a planned biological weapons program on the day of the attacks.
Testimony uncovered in the WikiLeaks papers says that within little more than a year following the evasion in Afghanistan, Shaikh Mohammed gave Hambali a reward of $100,000, in consideration for the Bali attacks which killed 202 persons in the Sari Club and Paddy’s Bar at the popular tourist area of Kuta on October 12, 2002.
At the time of this assembly in Karachi, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri would have been present,watching the televised destruction unfold, had he not been in a hospital recovering from a tonsillectomy. Al-Nashiri is accused of masterminding the year 2000 attack on the US destroyer Cole, off the coast of Yemen. Shaikh Mohammed and al-Nashiri later quarreled over a matter of Nashiri unilaterally approving a foiled plot to attack a military base in Gibraltar.
Shaikh Mohammed also is revealed to have been obliged, while in Karachi, to fund a training program for assassinations and kidnappings and pistol and computer training.
The WikiLeaks revelations give some insight into the interrogation techniques used at Guantanamo Bay to provide information. This, as can be seen in these documents, is information not to prevent future terrorist attacks, but rather to obtain evidence for use against suspects, many of whom were already in custody. With many in the government and unexpectedly, in the media, calling for military tribunals rather than trials in the American court system, there is some possibility that evidence derived from questionable means, approved by the George W. Bush administration, may in fact be admissible.
We have seen photos of Guantanamo detainees forced to stand on small platforms, arms akimbo, for uncertain periods of time. Close examination of the photos reveals that in at least one case, the detainee has electrical wires attached to his hands and to his genitals.
Also documented is the forcing of suspect Mohammed al-Qahtani to wear a dog leash and collar, perform naked, and at times in women’s undergarments, for a female interrogator, to be sexually humiliated, and to urinate on himself. While these alleged facts are known to many Americans, it is not commonly known that this humiliation went on for 18 to 20 hours daily for 48 of 54 days.
Exactly 450 foreign guerrilla suspects were held at the naval base in Cuba, many for four years or more without charge. There, suspects were held without trial, unadvised of their charges and subjected to torture.
Photo copyright credits go to the following, respectively:
The Guardian (UK) for Osama bin Laden
New York Daily News for Ayman al Zawahiri
CBS New York for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
CBC News (Canada) for Himbali
Reuters for Nashiri
Allisonkilkenny.com for al-Qahtani