Memoirs of Guantanamo Detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi

Slate has obtained extraordinary compelling memoirs of Guantanamo detainee Mohamedou Ould Slahi and is publishing them in three parts. Here is Part 1.

Slahi, a Mauritanian, has been in custody since 2001. He is still at Guantanamo. Here's a timeline of his captivity. He finished his handwritten 466 page memoir in 2006, but it took 6 years for the Pentagon to declassify it. Here's a 9 page sample of his handwritten version.

He describes what he calls an "endless world tour” of detention and interrogation." He was taken from Mauritania to Jordan to Bagram to Gitmo -- his account is riveting. [More...]

What followed was one of the most stubborn, deliberate, and cruel Guantánamo interrogations on record. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld personally signed Slahi’s interrogation plan. Like Mohamed al-Qahtani, the Pentagon’s other “Special Project,” Slahi would be subjected to months of 20-hour-a-day interrogations that combined sleep deprivation, severe temperature and diet manipulation, and total isolation with relentless physical and psychological humiliations. He was told his mother had been detained and would soon be at the mercy of the all-male population at Guantánamo. He was threatened with death and subjected to a violent mock rendition. Declassified files, including the Defense Department’s Schmidt-Furlow Report, the Justice Department’s investigation of FBI involvement in Guantánamo interrogations, and the Senate Armed Services Committee’s report on the treatment of detainees, document the Pentagon’s plan and its meticulous and malicious implementation.

Here is the 2010 federal court order granting his habease petition and ordering his release from custody. The Obama Administration has appealed.

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    I read the excerpts this morning, and (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by Anne on Wed May 01, 2013 at 02:08:29 PM EST
    was so sickened by them that I don't even know how to respond.

    The only thing I do know is that Obama is just talking.  He's providing the illusion of trying to do something, and I am, frankly, suspicious of his motives and the timing.

    Maybe the next time Obama asks himself why "the terrorists" hate us so much, he can read Slahi's memoirs for a clue.

    Here I Thought... (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by ScottW714 on Wed May 01, 2013 at 02:15:24 PM EST
    ...the latest reason for invading Iraq was to remove an evil man from power because of the brutality he unleashed on political prisoners ?

    We not only copied that behavior, we flew people all over the world to hand them off to other countries who were/are doing the exact same crap Hussein was doing, torturing people, some of whom were surely innocent.  And our lust for it was so intense, we decided transform GITMO into a Hussein style prison with no rules, no laws, where the US Constitution apparently doesn't exist.

    There is no excuse for Obama not to restore the rights of the prisoners held by the US Government at GITMO.  Who cares about closing it, they aren't protesting the location, they are protesting the treatment by our government.  They proved location doesn't matter, you can torture people in boats, helicopters, and planes.

    So until Obama decides to change our treatment of terror suspects, which he clearly has the power to do, it doesn't really matter where, or even if they move them.

    We are better than this.

    Thanks for this thread (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dadler on Wed May 01, 2013 at 12:51:26 PM EST
    Insane and infuriating, and all the more reason our President should go to the mat on this issue. Be willing to lose his job over it. He is fully aware Congress will do nothing, so it is really on him if he genuinely thinks it is that important. Time to stand up and lead. I know that's anathema to him, but it's long past time.

    But I'm not holding my breath.

    You Are Joking, Right.... (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by ScottW714 on Wed May 01, 2013 at 01:58:20 PM EST
    Obama never wanted to close Gitmo, it's unheard of for the Commander in Chief to ask for funding to move military prisoners.  And now he's out there pounding the podium, GITMO this and that, knowing damn well a judge ordered this guy released in 2010 and the only reason he is in jail is because Obama's Administration is appealing the decision(s).  Never mind that it's clearly unconstitutional to hold someone without a trail, which has been validated by every judge he's been in front of, as well as the Supreme Court.

    He is worse than Bush IMO on this matter.  At least Bush didn't act like he was helpless and pretend that he wanted anything differently for them.

    How is it that Bush could deny these guys trials, but Obama can't get them one, that make no sense ?

    From the timeline:

    June: The U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Boumediene v. Bush that the Military Commission Act's provisions nullifying habeas corpus petitions are unconstitutional and Guantánamo detainees have a right to habeas proceedings.

    8/27/2009-8/28/2009: U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson holds hearings on Slahi's habeas corpus petition.
    12/14/2009-12/15/2009: Slahi testifies before Judge Robertson via a video feed from Guantánamo. His testimony remains classified.

    3/22/2010: Judge Robertson grants Slahi's habeas corpus petition. In a declassified version of his opinion, Robertson writes, "The government's problem is that its proof that Salahi gave material support to terrorists is so attenuated, or so tainted by coercion and mistreatment, or so classified, that it cannot support a criminal prosecution. ... The question, upon which the government had the burden of proof, was whether, at the time of his capture, Salahi was 'part of' al-Qaida. On the record before me, I cannot find that he was. The petition for a writ of habeas corpus is granted. Slahi must be released. It is so ordered."

    3/26/2010: The Obama administration files a Notice of Appeal.

    9/17/2010: Sep 17: The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals hears the government's appeal of Judge Robertson's habeas decision, and two months later remands Slahi's case to the District Court for rehearing. The court cites three recent appeals courts decisions, issued since Robertson made his order, that revise the standard used to determine whether a detainee is "part of" al-Qaida.

    To be announced: A U.S. District Court will rehear Slahi's habeas corpus petition.

    For Christ sake, they can't even get the Prosecutor at GITMO to pursue the case because of the shameful treatment and lack of anything resembling proof.  Obama should be investigating these crimes against humanity.  Not appealing a judge's order to release the victim.  Mr X should be behind bars for a long time, along with the whole lot of them that has to know this is not acceptable behavior for a human being.  

    3/2004: Working with an investigator from the Navy's Criminal Investigation Task Force, Lt. Col. Couch uncovers details of Slahi's treatment during "special interrogation," including the letter suggesting that Slahi's mother was going to be brought to Guantánamo. Couch concludes that Slahi has been tortured and refuses to prosecute the case, citing his Christian beliefs. He puts his concerns in writing, recording that "prosecutors in our office are very concerned about the allegations of detainee abuse at GTMO and Afghanistan, and we have individually taken steps to address this issue."