Monday, November 10, 2014

The Appeal of Ali Al Bahlul


Michel Paradis is the lead attorney representing Bahlul during his appeals.


President Bush signed an executive order authorizing military commissions to try enemy fighters captured in the War on Terror in November 2001. Military Commissions are war crimes trials.


Bahlul was charged under the military commissions created by that executive order in 2004. The case was put on hold while another Guantanamo prisoner, Salim Hamdan, challenged the legality of the commissions. In 2006 the Supreme Court declared that version of the military commissions system was illegal in Hamdan v Rumsfeld.


In 2006 Congress passed the Military Commissions Act, creating the second version of the military commissions.


In 2008 Bahlul was charged with and convicted of conspiracy, solicitation to murder, and material support for terrorism.


In 2011 the Court of Military Commission Review upheld Bahlul’s conviction.


In October 2012 the DC Appeals court decided the appeal of another prisoner in a similar case, Salim Hamdan. Hamdan had been convicted of material support for terrorism, which the Military Commissions Act said was a war crime prior its passage. Hamdan was convicted for actions which took place between 1996 and 2001. 


The US Constitution bars the government from passing ex post facto laws which define crimes that apply to actions made before the law was passed.


The court looked for evidence material support for terrorism was a war crime at the time of Hamdan’s conduct. The relevant statues authorized war crimes courts to try defendants for the crimes of spying, aiding the enemy, and violating “the law of war.” 


The appeals court concluded the “law of war” meant the international law of war, which did not include material support for terrorism.


Hamdan’s conviction was overturned. That decision of the Appeals court is known as Hamdan II to distinguish it from Hamdan v Rumsfeld.


When Bahlul’s appeal made it to the DC Appeals court, the court did not have the ability to overturn the precedent it created in Hamdan II. The government conceded as much and Bahlul’s convictions were overturned. The government asked for all of the judges in the DC Appeals court to hear the case, a rare procedure known as an En Banc appeal. The appeals court agreed.


The government argued that while Bahlul’s crimes did not violate the international law of war, they did violate the US domestic or common law of war. The government did concede, however, that the Ex Post Facto clause of the US Constitution applies to the Guantanamo military commissions. The case was argued in September 2013.


The court released its decision in July 2014.


The En Banc court decided Bahlul had forfeited his right to have his challenge reviewed De Novo, which would mean the court would answer the question directly, because he did not make the argument at his trial. The court said they would instead review the challenge for plain error. In plain error review an appeal can only succeed if the government’s mistake seriously affects the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of judicial proceedings.


The En Banc appeals court ruled insufficient historical precedent existed to show material support for terrorism or solicitation were war crimes under the US common law of war at the time of Bahlul’s conduct. Those convictions were vacated.


The court did find, however, there was sufficient precedent to uphold his conspiracy conviction under plain error review.


The defendants in the Lincoln assassination trial were found guilty in a military commission of conspiracy, among other charges, in 1865.


Eight undercover agents for Nazi Germany were convicted in a military commission in 1942 for entering the United States with the goal of destroying US war industries and facilities. They were convicted of conspiracy, among other charges.


The Supreme Court upheld their conviction in Ex Parte Quirin. The court did not decide the legitimacy of their conspiracy conviction because the court determined at least one of the specifications of one of the other charges qualified as a violation of the law of war.


Two more Nazi spies were convicted of conspiracy among other crimes in a military commission in 1945. That conviction was upheld by an appeals court in 1956.


Based on this historical evidence, the En Banc court upheld Bahlul’s conspiracy conviction.


The court then sent Bahlul’s remaining appeals back to the original appeals court panel.


Oral arguments in that hearing took place in October 2014. Bahlul’s lawyers argue Congress lacks the power under Article 1 of the US Constitution to make crimes triable by military commission that are not international war crimes.


They also argue Article III only allows civilian courts to try purely domestic crimes. Because military commission trials are part of the Executive Branch, Bahlul’s attorneys say allowing them to try domestic crimes poses a direct threat to the separation of powers at the heart of the US Constitution.


The government disagrees. The appeals court has not yet ruled on these challenges.  


If Bahlul’s conspiracy conviction is overturned he will almost certainly continue to be imprisoned at Guantanamo as an enemy combatant under the 2001 AUMF.


I discussed Bahlul’s appeal with David Frakt who represented Bahlul at his trial, but not during his appeals, on Public Occurrences in February 2014. (That part of the video begins at 2 minutes 57 seconds.) 





The national security law blog Lawfare has dedicated two podcasts to covering Bahlul’s appeal. The first covers the En Banc ruling. The second covers the oral arguments in his most recent appeal. Lawfare also has a well-organized collection of key documents in Bahlul’s case. 

The Trial of Ali Al Bahlul

ISN: 039
Nationality: Yemeni


Ali Al Bahlul was born in Yemen on September 11, 1969. His family moved to Saudi Arabia when he was about 4 years old. Bahlul told US interrogators he fought against the communist government in Afghanistan for a year and a half in the early 1990s.


Bahlul was captured by Pakistani forces with a group attempting to flee from Afghanistan to Pakistan in December 2001. The US government believes many members of the group were Bin Laden body guards. He was turned over to US custody later that same month.


Bahlul was sent to Guantanamo on January 11, 2001, the day the first War on Terror prisoners arrived at the prison.


In February 2008 Bahlul was charged in a military commission with conspiracy, solicitation to murder, and material support for terrorism.


At his trial the prosecution alleged and Bahlul did not dispute the following facts.


Bahlul traveled to Afghanistan in 1999 to join Al Qaeda and underwent military style training at an Al Qaeda training camp. He joined Al Qaeda by pledging loyalty to Osama Bin Laden.


Bahlul helped create a recruitment video for Al Qaeda using footage of the destruction of the USS Cole. FBI interrogator Ali Soufan testified Bahlul proudly admitted producing the video during one of his interrogations. Bahlul acted as both personal secretary and media secretary to Osama Bin Laden. He operated data processing and media communications equipment for Bin Laden and Al Qaeda.



He arranged for one of the 9/11 hijackers to join Al Qaeda. He prepared the video wills of two of the 9/11 hijackers prior to the attacks. After the operation took place, he researched its economic effect for Bin Laden.


Both FBI agent Ali Soufan and Navy interrogator Robert McFadden testified Bahlul had told them American civilians were legitimate targets because they, “are paying taxes and supporting the war against Al Qaeda.”


Bahlul refused to put on a defense at his trial. His lawyer, David Frakt, respected Bahlul’s wishes and did not make any legal arguments, cross-examine any witnesses or offer a closing statement.



Bahlul’s lawyer David Frakt said Bahlul boycotted the trial because, “he never viewed the court as legitimate; he said he answered only to Allah.”


I discussed Al Bahlul’s trial with his attorney David Frakt on Public Occurrences. (That discussion begins at 2 minutes 51 seconds into the video.)





Bahlul was convicted of all three charges.


In the sentencing phase of the trial Bahlul said he volunteered to participate in the 9/11 attacks. He also claimed the US was responsible for the deaths on innocent civilians over the past 50 years and as a result, “we give you the same cup you have given us.”


Bahlul was sentenced to life in prison.


And then the appeals began. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Manhattan, Kansas reacts to the World Series

The Kansas City Royals lost 3 to 2 against the San Francisco Giants in the seventh and final game of the World Series. 

It was the first time in 28 years the Royals qualified for the playoffs. Many Royals fans gathered in Manhattan, Kansas to support their team. 


Friday, August 29, 2014

Genital Searches to Continue at Guantanamo


An appeals court has upheld genital searches of Guantanamo prisoners. The prisoners are searched at least twice every time they meet with their lawyers. 


According to the US Military, during the searches a guard places his hand as a “wedge between the scrotum and thigh, and uses the flat hand to press against the groin to detect anything foreign attached to the body. A flat hand is used to ensure no contraband is hidden between the buttocks.” 


The policy was adopted in May 2013. The Government argued the searches were necessary because of the September 2012 death of prisoner Adnan Latif. A military investigation into Latif’s death concluded he committed suicide by overdosing on medication. The investigation speculated Latif may have hidden medications in his groin area.


The government also argued the procedure was necessary because of the discovery of improvised weapons in prison cells at Guantanamo in April 2013. 


Lawyers for the prisoners argued multiple prisoners have stopped meeting their lawyers due to the policy. 


In July 2013 Federal Judge Royce Lamberth ruled the practice illegal. 


In his decision, Lamberth wrote, “This Court is duty bound to protect the writ of habeas corpus as a fundamental prerequisite of liberty by ensuring that all those who seek it have meaningful and effective access to the courts. For Guantanamo detainees, it is undisputed that access to the courts means nothing without access to counsel.”


On August 1 the DC Appeals court reversed Lamberth’s decision, saying, “The tenuous evidence of an improper motive to obstruct access to counsel in this case cannot overcome the legitimate, rational connection between the security needs of Guantanamo Bay and thorough searches of detainees.”

Friday, August 15, 2014

Omar Khalifa Mohammed Abu Bakr

ISN: 695
Nationality: Libyan




The following is a summary of the allegations against Omar Khalifa Mohammed Abu Bakr found in publicly available US military documents. If US military documents about this prisoner are inaccurate or misleading, this summary will be as well. The introduction to this set of summaries explains some of the terms used below.

Omar Abu Bakr told US interrogators that he joined the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) in 1992, the year the group was founded. He said LIFG trained him in the use of explosives and AK-47s.

LIFG declared Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi un-Islamic and attempted to overthrow his government. Some LIFG fighters focused on toppling Gaddaffi while others aligned with Osama Bin Laden or became active in the international Mujahedin network in other ways.

Abu Bakr said LIFG smuggled him into Sudan after he learned Libyan intelligence planned to question him about his participation in LIFG. He said he supervised drivers in Osama Bin Laden’s trucking company in Sudan.

LIFG sent Abu Bakr to Afghanistan. Abu Bakr said he attended a LIFG militant training camp in Afghanistan where he received training on AK-47s, machine guns, anti-aircraft weapons, and rocket propelled grenades. He said the training included target practice with silhouettes and mock training on sets representing towns and drive by shootings or ambush attacks from moving vehicles and motorcycles.

He said he also trained at Al Qaeda’s Jihad Wahl militant training camp in Afghanistan.

Omar Abu Bakr does not have a right leg. He has given US interrogators various explanations about how he lost his leg. The US military believes the following story is the most accurate one. Omar Abu Bakr said Abd Al Hadi Al Iraqi asked him to help clear a minefield. In the process of doing so Abu Bakr stepped on a mine. He awoke in a Kabul hospital to find that his right leg had been amputated.

Two Al Qaeda suspects, Malik Al Andalusi and Nasir Al Maghribi, said Abu Bakr was a member of LIFG’s military committee.

Zuhail Al Sharabi identified Abu Bakr as the leader of a Libyan militant training camp in Afghanistan. Al Sharabi stated he traveled to Afghanistan specifically to train at this camp. Abu Bakr has admitted to being a trainer in Afghanistan.

A former Guantanamo prisoner, Abd Al Sharikh stated he trained under Abu Bakr, who he said was the head trainer at the Libyan camp in September 2001.

Ahmed Ghailani identified Abu Bakr as a trainer at Al Qaeda’s Al Faruq training camp. Ahmed Al Darbi also identified Abu Bakr as an instructor at Al Faruq. 

When shown a photo of Abu Bakr, former Guantanamo prisoner Humud Al Jadani said Abu Badr was a close friend of Al Nashiri, who has been charged with carrying out the attack on the USS Cole.

Omar Abu Bakr told US interrogators he fought against advancing US and coalition forces in November 2001.

Omar Abu Bakr was captured with other suspected militants when Pakistani authorities raided two Faisalabad safe houses, which they believed were under the command of Abu Zubaydah in March 2002. 

Omar Abu Bakr was sent to Guantanamo on August 5, 2002.

Abu Bakr has threatened to kill the guards at Guantanamo, including threatening to kill “all MPs” (military police) on several occasions.


Omar Abu Bakr declined to take part in his 2004 CSRT. He told his personal representative, “I would rather be in the worst American jail than be a minister in my country. I want to stay here.”

In January 2010 Obama’s inter-agency Guantanamo task force recommended Omar Abu Bakr for continued detention.

Libyan rebels toppled the government of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi with the help of NATO air strikes in 2011.

Rival militias continue to fight each other for power in Libya to this day. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Ismael Ali Farag Al Bakush

Ismael Ali Farag al Bakush
ISN: 708
Nationality: Libyan


The following is a summary of the allegations against Ismael Al Bakush found in publicly available US military documents. If US military documents about this prisoner are inaccurate or misleading, then this summary will be as well. The introduction to this set of summaries explains some of the terms used below.


Ismael Al Bakush told US interrogators that he traveled to Afghanistan to join the Islamic mujahedeen and fight Soviet forces in 1991. The Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. He could not have fought the Soviets in Afghanistan at that time.


Al Bakush said after the Soviet withdrawal, he remained in Afghanistan and fought the Soviet-supported Afghan government. He said beginning in 1994 he worked in Sudan for two years selling perfume imported from Pakistan. He said towards the end of 1994 he joined the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).


KSM said the term “ready to wear perfumes” referred to military-grade explosives purchased from Afghanistan and sold in Pakistan. KSM said “local perfumes” referred to explosives manufactured by Al Qaeda operatives from locally available compounds. Al Bakush’s DAB says it is possible his reference to selling perfume may have indicated he was involved in facilitating the movement of explosives from Pakistan to Sudan.


Al Bakush said in 1997 he was told by the Sudanese government to leave the country. He said he flew to Syria where he was arrested and tortured for three months because they thought me might be an Israeli spy. He said he returned to Afghanistan later that year.


Al Bakush said he fought as a member of LIFG alongside the Taliban against the Northern Alliance in 2000 and 2001. He said he continued to fight against the Northern Alliance after it became an ally of the United States after the 9/11 attacks. He said that he did not fight against US forces.


Ismael Al Bakush was captured by Pakistani authorities at a suspected safe house. He was sent to Guantanamo on August 5, 2002.


The Libyan External Security Organization (ESO) said Al Bakush received militant training under the supervision of Pakistani Intelligence in a border region between Pakistan and Iran.


The ESO reported Ismael Al Bakush trained at Al Qaeda’s Al Faruq training camp.


Four LIFG members, Abu Abdallah Al-Sadiq, Sami Mustafa al-Sadi, Malik Al Andalusi, and Nasir Al Maghribi, identified Al Bakush as a member of the LIFG Military Committee.


Al Sadiq and Al Sadi said Al Bakush was an explosives trainer for LIFG. Al Andalusi and Al Maghribi said Al Bakush was an explosives expert.


The unclassified summary of evidence for Ismael Al Bakush’s 2006 ARB says Al Bakush wanted Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi to be overthrown. Al Bakush said he wanted to be released to a non-Arabic country. He said he did not believe the Libyan government would not treat him well if he was sent back to Libya.


In January 2010 Obama’s Guantanamo task force recommended Ismael Al Bakush for continued detention.


Libyan rebels overthrew the government of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi with the help of NATO air strikes in 2011.



Rival militias continue to fight each other for power in Libya to this day. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Omar Hamzayavich Abdulayev

Nationality: Tajik
ISN: 257


The following is a summary of the allegations against Omar Hamzayavich Abdulayev found in publicly available US military documents. If US military documents about this prisoner are inaccurate or misleading then this summary will be as well. The introduction to this set of summaries explains some of the terms used below.   


Omar Abdulayev was transferred from Pakistani to US custody on January 3, 2002. The Pakistani government gave the US four notebooks in his handwriting they said he was captured with.


One notebook covered map symbols, military tactical symbols, rifle and pistol marksmanship, and Russian anti-aircraft weapons. The second covered explosives and poisons. The third covered how to hold secret meetings, terrorist cell organization, intelligence collection, and counterintelligence. The final notebook listed names of militants and serial numbers of the weapons issued to them.


Abdulayev told interrogators a former member of the Afghan military gave him books on military matters because Abdulayev wanted to be a soldier someday. He said he copied them in his own handwriting because the books were old.


The unclassified summary of Abdulayev’s 2007 Administrative Review Board says, “the journal notes are too disjointed and filled with gaps and errors to have been copied.” It goes on to say Abdulayev, “almost certainly composed these journals as a student at a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan or Pakistan.”


Omar Abdulayev was sent to Guantanamo February 9, 2002.


Adel Al Zamel said Abdulayev told him that Abdulayev worked with Abu Zubaydah and Ibn Al Shaykh Al Libi. Abdulayev never told interrogators he knew either of them. There is no mention in Abdulayev’s DAB that either of the two men, both of whom were previously prisoners of the CIA, acknowledged a relationship with Abdulayev, as they had with other prisoners at Guantanamo.


Adel Al Zamel said Abdulayev told him he was trained in poisons at a base in Kabul by Al Qaeda explosives and poisons expert Abu Khabab Al Masri. Al Zamel said as part of his training Abdulayev had poisoned rabbits and saw a video depicting a dog being placed in a room with “smoke” that killed the dog.


Ravil Mingazov also told interrogators he received poisons training that included the testing of poisons on rabbits. Mingazov would later say he lied about being trained on poisons based on what he had heard about actual training so he wouldn’t be sent back to Russia to be persecuted.


Adel Al Zamel also made allegations against Obaidullah and Bostan Karim and said after his release that he was threatened by interrogators who placed a gun on a table during an interrogation.


Omar Abdulayev told his CSRT that his family fled the civil war in Tajikistan in 1992 when he was 12 or 13 years old. He said he had completed the 6th grade when they left. He said his family went to live in a refugee camp in Afghanistan. He said that when his father went back to Tajikistan, he was killed by soldiers.


He said that after his father’s death his mother took the family to another refugee camp in Afghanistan where all men were required to join the Islamic Movement of Tajikistan, a militant group that was fighting against the Tajik government. He said that in late 2000 or early 2001 the family moved to the Babu refugee camp in Pakistan due to fighting in Afghanistan.


A foreign government service, likely a Pakistani intelligence agency, reported that Babu was a terrorist training camp. Abdulayev said Babu used to be a terrorist training camp before the Pakistani government shut it down and turned it into a refugee camp.


Omar Hamzayavich Abdulayev told his CSRT that he was captured by the intelligence service of Pakistan at a market in Pakistan in November 2001. He said they asked him for money and that when he told them he didn’t have any money, they put him in a prison basement. He said they gave him books and told him that if he copied them they would let him go. He said that after he said no, they beat and tortured him for a month, until he had no choice. He said they transferred him to another prison before turning him over, with the notebooks, to American forces.


He said he told his American interrogators what happened, but they didn’t believe him and beat him up.


Abdulayev told his CSRT, accurately, that the US paid Pakistan thousands of dollars for terrorist suspects. Abdulayev said, “The Pakistanis are making business out of this war.”


He said the Pakistani government, “knew that the more evidence they created, the more dangerous they made me, the more money they would make from the Americans.”


The unclassified summary of Abdulayev’s 2007 ARB says Abdulayev, “does not wish to return to Tajikistan, Pakistan, or Afghanistan because all of these governments are not good. He stated he would find his mother and seek asylum in whatever country would take him.”



In January 2010 Obama’s Guantanamo Task Force recommended Omar Abdulayev for, “transfer to Tajikistan subject to appropriate security measures.” 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Muhammed Murdi Issa Zahrani

ISN: 713
Nationality: Saudi


The following is a summary of the allegations against Muhammed Zahrani found in publicly available US military documents. If US military documents about this prisoner are inaccurate or misleading then this summary will be as well. The introduction to this set of summaries explains some of the terms used below.  


Zahrani told US interrogators he was trained by Al Qaeda in intelligence collection techniques, explosives, bombings, hijackings, mechanical repair, hotwiring, poisons, and forced entry.


Zahrani told US interrogators that he was part of a unit that carried out assassinations of Northern Alliance leaders. The Northern Alliance was an ally of the US during the initial phase of the US war in Afghanistan. Zahrani said he participated in the assassination of Northern Alliance commander Al Baba Jumba and Northern Alliance leader Ahmad Shah Massoud.


Zahrani said that he fought on the front lines against the Northern Alliance.


Zahrani said that he executed an Egyptian suspected of spying on the militants for the Egyptian government. Zahrani also said that he participated in the interrogation of several suspected spies.


Zahrani was captured by Pakistani police during a house raid in May 2002.


Muhammed Zahrani was sent to Guantanamo in August 2002.


Zahrani said, “I am honored as a man to belong to Al Qaeda.” He also said, “I fought before and I will fight again,” and that if he is released he will “rejoin the jihad” wherever he is needed.


At his 2008 Administrative Review Board, Zahrani said he was not a member of Al Qaeda. He did not make this claim at his previous Administrative Review Boards. 


In January 2010 Obama's Guantanamo task force recommended Muhammed Zahrani for continued detention. 

Abdul Malik

ISN: 10025
Nationality: Kenyan


The following is a summary of the allegations against Abdul Malik found in publicly available US military documents. If US military documents about this prisoner are inaccurate or misleading then this summary will be as well. The introduction to this set of summaries explains some of the terms used below.  


On February 13, 2007 Abdul Malik was arrested by Kenyan Anti-Terrorism police at a café.


According to unclassified testimony sent to his lawyers, Abdul Malik says that during a flight to a US military base in Djibouti, American soldiers took him to the door of the aircraft and threatened to throw him out.


Abdul Malik says that a US interrogator told him, “You have two possible journeys: one back to your family, or another that is very, very long. If you don’t tell us what we want to hear, you will have a long, long journey; you will spend your life in a cage.”


According to his DAB, Abdul Malik told US interrogators that he was a member of the East Africa Al Qaeda (EAAQ) network. Salim Awadh Salim, an admitted member of EAAQ, identified Abdul Malik as a member of EAAQ.


Abdul Malik’s DAB says he admitted personal involvement in the November 28, 2002 terrorist attack against the Kikambala Paradise Hotel. Malik said that TNT was packed inside dried rotting sharks, and thus was able to pass undetected through Kenyan customs inspection. 13 people died in the attack.


Abdul Malik’s DAB says he admitted he participated in the planning and execution of the 2002 terrorist missile attack against an Israeli civilian airliner. The airliner was carrying 271 passengers. Malik said that he was in charge of videotaping the attack. The attack was unsuccessful.


Omar Said Omar said he maintained e-mail contact with Abdul Malik regarding the casing of potential targets in 2003, including western embassies and airliners.


Abdul Malik was sent to Guantanamo on March 23, 2007.


Abdul Malik is one of the few Guantanamo prisoners who has not faced a CSRT or any other parole-board style hearing. 



In January 2010 Obama’s Guantanamo task force recommended Abdul Malik for continued detention. 

Gouled Hassan Dourad

ISN: 10023
Nationality: Somali


The following is a summary of the allegations against Gouled Hassan Dourad found in publicly available US military documents. If US military documents about this prisoner are inaccurate or misleading then this summary will be as well. The introduction to this set of summaries explains some of the terms used below.  


Dourad told US interrogators that he trained at the Khaldan militant training camp in Afghanistan. He told interrogators he was a member of AIAI, a Somali militant group. He also said he was a member of the East Africa Al Qaeda (EAAQ) network.


Dourad told US interrogators that he observed the US military base Camp Lemonier to see if it would be a viable target for a terrorist attack. He said he concluded it was not. Camp Lemonier is located in the country of Djibouti, which boarders Somalia.


Dourad’s DAB says that according to “credible reporting from multiple sources,” AIAI and EAAQ conducted operational planning and pre-operational surveillance on Camp Lemonier in late 2003 and early 2004. Dourad’s DAB says the militant groups decided to attack the base with explosives hidden in a water truck, but that arrests of their members in 2004 and 2005 disrupted the operation.


Abdul Malik told US interrogators that Dourad was a member of both AIAI and Al Qaeda. Malik would later say that at least some of his interrogations were conducted under duress.


The National Security Service of Djibouti reported that Dourad resided in the US awaiting his family’s sponsorship to the US. The agency said sponsorship was granted and that Dourad’s parents and siblings relocated to the US. The agency said Dourad returned to Somalia after the September 11 attacks. This report says Dourad was in the United States during the time he told interrogators he was training in Afghanistan.


Gouled Dourad did not attend his 2007 CSRT, but did provide statements to his personal representative. He said that was not a member of AIAI or Al Qaeda, but that he did fight alongside AIAI against the Ethiopians. He said he did not fight against Americans. He was not presented with the allegation that he observed Camp Lemonier in preparation for a potential attack. He did not contest the allegation that he received military training in Afghanistan.


Djiboutian Authorities captured Gouled Dourad at his home in March 2004 for his alleged involvement in terrorist activities. He was transferred to US custody and interrogated by the CIA, at a time when the CIA was authorized to torture prisoners. Dourad was sent to Guantanamo on September 4, 2006 to be prosecuted for alleged terrorist activities against the United States.


In January 2010 Obama’s Guantanamo task force recommended Gouled Dourad for continued detention.



Gouled Dourad is one of 15 high value detainees imprisoned at Camp 7. The high value detainees are imprisoned separately from the general population at Guantanamo.  

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Abdul Latif Nasir

ISN: 244
Nationality: Moroccan


The following is a summary of the allegations against Abdul Nasir found in publicly available US military documents. If US military documents about this prisoner are inaccurate or misleading then this summary will be as well. The introduction to this set of summaries explains some of the terms used below.   


Abdul Nasir was captured by Northern Alliance forces with other suspected Al Qaeda fighters in December 2001.


Nasir was sent to Guantanamo in May 2002.


Nasir told US interrogators that he attempted to travel to Chechnya to fight but was unable to do so. Nasir said that he trained at an Al Qaeda training camp. Nasir said that he became an explosives trainer and a member of Al Qaeda’s explosives committee. He said that he fought alongside the Taliban against the US and the Northern Alliance.


Nasir also told US interrogators that the US missed their opportunity to capture Osama Bin Laden at Tora Bora. He said the fighters had a lack of leadership, were poorly armed, and demoralized.


When shown a photo of Nasir, Abu Faraj al Libi said Nasir had trained at Al Qaeda’s Al Faruq training camp.  


Ibn Al Shaykh Al Libi said Nasir trained at the Al Faruq training camp and became an instructor.


Ahmad Al Darbi said that Nasir was an explosives instructor at the Al Faruq training camp.


Hamud al Jadani said Nasir was an explosives expert who assisted the Taliban in destroying the Bamyan Buddha figures in 1999. Hamud said that the Taliban sought assistance from Al Qaeda after their first attempt to destroy the statues failed.


Hamud also said that Nasir was a commander who fought against the US at the battle of Tora Bora.


Nasir has threatened the guards at Guantanamo with references to the 9/11 attacks. Nasir also praised terrorist attacks in Tunisia and Egypt that killed civilians.


At his 2007 ARB Nasir denied having said that he was a member of Al Qaeda, on the Al Qaeda explosives committee, or an explosives trainer. He said that he did not agree with the 9/11 attacks. He also said that if he was released he would go to Morocco to see his family and buy and sell merchandise.



In January 2010 Obama’s Guantanamo task force recommended Abdul Nasir for continued detention. 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mohammed Kamin

ISN: 1045
Nationality: Afghan


The following is a summary of the allegations against Mohammed Kamin found in publicly available US military documents. If US military documents about this prisoner are inaccurate or misleading then this summary will be as well. The introduction to this set of summaries explains some of the terms used below.  



On May 14, 2003 Kamin was stopped at a checkpoint in Khowst, Afghanistan. He was detained due to his possession of a handheld GPS. Kamin said he was transporting the GPS for Abdul Manan.


Kamin said that Abdul Manan was a local cell leader of JEM. JEM is a militant organization that seeks to end Indian rule over the Kashmir region. The US military believes that he was transporting the GPS for Al Qaeda. Kamin’s 2005 DAB says that the GPS stored locations for key targets along the Afghan-Pakistan border.


Kamin told US interrogators that he traveled to and from Pakistan transporting and buying weapons, explosives, and equipment that he sold to members of Al Qaeda and other militant organizations. He said that he was trained on operating and detonating mines. He also said he received small arms training.


Mohammed Kamin was sent to Guantanamo in September 2004.


Kamin told his 2005 ARB that if he is released he will teach the Koran, work taking care of homes and land, and care for his handicapped father.


Mohammed Kamin was charged with material support for terrorism in a military commission in April 2008. The charge was dismissed without prejudice in December 2009.



In January 2010 Obama’s Guantanamo task force recommended Kamin for continued detention. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bostan Karim


ISN: 975
Nationality: Afghan


The following is a summary of the allegations against Bostan Karim found in publicly available US military documents. If US military documents about this prisoner are inaccurate or misleading then this summary will be as well. The introduction to this set of summaries explains some of the terms used below.  


In 2002 an informant told the US military that 18 IEDs had been prepared for use against US and Coalition forces. The source said that two of the IEDs were stored in a house belonging to a person named Karim. The source believed Karim and a person named Obaidullah were working together to plan the attacks.


This tip-off lead to Obaidullah’s capture on July 20, 2002 at his home. Active mines were found at Obaidullah’s house.


In subsequent interrogations, Obaidullah said that Bostan Karim recruited him to join his Al Qaeda cell. Obaidullah said that Bostan gave him the mines and that three days before he was arrested, Bostan drew schematics showing how to detonate the mines in Obaidullah’s notebook. Bostan did not tell Obaidullah when the landmines would be used or who they would be used against, but did tell him that they would be used to kill people Bostan did not like.


On August 13, 2002 Pakistani police stopped a bus carrying Bostan Karim and Abdallah Wazir. The police asked Abdallah to step outside the bus to see if he was carrying contraband. Abdallah then attempted to hand a satellite phone to Bostan without the police noticing. The police saw the exchange and detained both men.


Pakistani police later realized Bostan matched the description of an al Qaeda bomb cell leader and formally arrested both men. Bostan spent about 6 months in a prison in Islamabad before being handed over to US forces in February 2003.


Bostan told his CSRT that while he was in US custody at the US military prison at Bagram, he was not allowed to sleep for 15 days.


Bostan Karim was sent to Guantanamo on March 6, 2003.


Bostan told US interrogators that from 1995 until his capture he owned two stores. He said one store sold plastic flowers and the other rented furniture and dishes for special occasions.


Bostan denied being a part of Al Qaeda or the Taliban. 


Bostan said that he was a member of Tablighi Jamaat and that he joined the organization in 1996. Tablighi Jamaat means Group for Preaching.


According to Stratfor, Tablighi Jamaat, “sends missionaries across the globe on proselytizing missions intended to bring wayward Muslims back to more orthodox practices of Islam.”


Bostan’s DAB said that affiliation with JT has been identified as an Al Qaeda cover story and that Al Qaeda is known to have used the JT to facilitate and fund the international travel of its members.


Stratfor says that, “Although the TJ organization unintentionally serves as a front for, or conduit to, militant organizations such as al Qaeda, there is no evidence that the Tablighis act willingly as a global unified jihadist recruiting arm.”


Adel Al Zamel, another Guantanamo prisoner, said that Obaidullah told him that Bostan, Obaidullah, and 5 others placed 30 anti-tank mines along a road to attack an American convoy. Zamel said the mines were set up so they could be triggered remotely.


Al Zamel also said that Bostan told him that Bostan was a member of an Al Qaeda cell.


At his 2004 CSRT, Bostan said that Obaidullah had been his business partner. Bostan said that they parted ways because Obaidullah owed him money.


At his CSRT, Bostan said that when he was captured he had been traveling to Pakistan to buy merchandise. He requested Obaidullah and Abdullah as witnesses. Although both were at Guantanamo, his request was denied.


At his 2005 ARB Obaidullah said that he falsely incriminated Bostan at US military prisons in Afghanistan because he was tortured.


“The first time when they [US soldiers] captured me and brought me to Khost they put a knife to my throat and said if you don’t tell us the truth and you lie to us we are going to slaughter you […] There were a lot of things they made me say.”


The Unclassified summary provided to Bostan at his 2005 ARB showed that Obaidullah had recanted his allegations against Bostan. At his ARB Bostan said, “The one that really has punished me is Obaidullah.”


Adel Al Zamel was released in November 2005. In an interview he gave after his release he said that when he was walked to his interrogations at the US military prison in Bagram, “the guards would continuously hit me on my head with sticks, and every time I denied their accusations during interrogations (of being tied to Al-Qaida) the guards would hit me even more.”


Zamel also said interrogators intimidated him by placing a gun on the table during an interrogation. 


At his 2006 ARB Bostan said that Obaidullah, “is my enemy.”


Bostan said, “I asked the interrogators to have him face me… This is a very important thing. Even if we go back home, I will not let it go. He said to Americans that I am involved. When I came here, he is hiding from me.”


Bostan also said that Obaidullah, “damaged me, he has been cruel to me. I want Obaidullah to tell the truth and the facts. Whether he does it today, tomarrow, 10 days later, I just want to face him. I know that, when we got back home, he will tell everybody where he got the bombs, the booklets, and everything, but it will be useless at that time. So I want him to tell the truth now because it will help me out.”


Obaidullah’s 2008 DAB says that Obaidullah made statements that show he is afraid of Bostan.


In January 2010 Obama’s Guantanamo task force recommended Bostan for continued detention.


In 2011 Obaidullah’s defense team sent a military investigator to Afghanistan. The military investigator confirmed Obaidullah’s claims that he had been tortured. Obaidullah had been sleep deprived and struck in the back of the head with a rifle. The investigator found that the mines at his house had been left by a communist military commander who used Obaidullah’s house during the Soviet war in Afghanistan.


Later in 2011 Bostan lost his habeas corpus case. Judge Reggie Walton wrote that the most likely explanation for Bostan taking Abdullah Wazir’s phone on the bus in Pakistan, “was his knowledge that the telephone could be used to detonate explosive devices.”


Why did Abdullah hand his phone to Bostan? Bostan didn’t know why. Abdullah was imprisoned at Guantanamo from June 2003 through December 2007.


Abdullah told his 2004 CSRT that he left his phone on the bus because he feared that if the Pakistani authorities saw the phone, they would take his money because they were corrupt.


Boston Karim remains at Guantanamo to this day. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mohammad al Rahman al Shumrani

ISN: 195
Nationality: Saudi


The following is a summary of the allegations against Mohammad al Rahman al Shumrani found in publicly available US military documents. If US military documents about this prisoner are inaccurate or misleading then this summary will be as well. The introduction to this set of summaries explains some of the terms used below.   


Shumrani told US interrogators that he trained at Khaldan, a militant training camp in Afghanistan. He also said that he trained at Al Qaeda’s Al Faruq training camp. He said he attempted to fight the Russians in Chechnya, but was unable to contact anyone who was fighting there. He said that he fought in support of the Taliban at Bagram but retreated to Tora Bora when the fighting became intense in November 2001.


When shown a photo of Shumrani, Abu Zubaydah said Shumrani trained at Khaldan and was a fighter who fought with the Taliban on the front lines against the US-allied Northern Alliance.


Shumrani fled Afghanistan with a group of suspected al Qaeda and Taliban fighters led by Ibn Al Shaykh Al Libi, one of the principal administrators of the Khaldan militant training camp. The group entered Pakistan in December 2001. According to Shumrani’s DAB, the group’s Pakistani contact convinced them to surrender their weapons and gathered the group in a mosque where Pakistani forces arrested them.


Shumrani was sent to Guantanamo on January 16, 2002.


In 2004 Shumrani declined to participate in his CSRT. At his 2005 ARB, he denied being a member of Al Qaeda or ever wanting to join Al Qaeda. He did not make this claim at his 2006 or 2008 ARB.


In October 2007 Shumrani said, “When I get out of here, I will go to Iraq and Afghanistan and kill as many Americans as I can. Then I will come here and kill more Americans.” Shumrani has threatened to kill the guards at Guantanamo on multiple occasions.  



In January 2010 Obama’s Guantanamo Task Force recommended Shumrani for continued detention. 

Abdul Rahman Shalabi

ISN: 042
Nationality: Saudi


The following is a summary of the allegations against Abdul Rahman Shalabi found in publicly available US military documents. If US military documents about this prisoner are inaccurate or misleading then this summary will be as well. The introduction to this set of summaries explains some of the terms used below.  


Nine Guantanamo prisoners said Shalabi was a bodyguard for Osama Bin Laden.


After being shown a photo of Shalabi, KSM, Ahmad Ghailani, Ramzi Bin al Shibh, and Ahmed Al Darbi each separately identified Shalabi as a bodyguard for Bin Laden. When shown a photo of Shalabi, Abdu Sharqawi and Sanad Kazimi both said that Shalabi was a Bin Laden bodyguard who used the alias Saqr al-Madani. Salim Hamdan said he knew Shalabi as Saqr, a Bin Laden bodyguard. Mohammad Al Qahtani and Walid Bin Attash also said Shalabi served as a bodyguard for Bin Laden.  


Shalabi appears in a January 2000 video released by Al Qaeda along with other Osama Bin Laden bodyguards.


Walid Bin Attash said that in July 2001, KSM took Shalabi and other Al Qaeda members to Karachi to teach them English and American behaviors in preparation for a canceled Southeast Asia portion of the 9/11 attacks. Shalabi’s DAB says that Al Qaeda planned to highjack US airliners in Southeast Asia and “destroy them in midair” on 9/11. That part of the 9/11 attacks was canceled.


Israeli Military Intelligence identified Shalabi as having obtained training in Karachi for an operation similar to the 9/11 attacks.


Shalabi said he is not a member of Al Qaeda. Shalabi said he went to Afghanistan to teach the Koran. He said that he taught the Koran to children at a mosque in Afghanistan. According to his 2008 ARB, Shalabi was asked how he taught the children without speaking their language. Shalabi replied that he taught the children how to read the Koran in Arabic, but that it was up to the children’s parents to explain the meanings of the Koran to them because he could not speak their language.


Shalabi was captured by Pakistani forces in December 2001 attempting to enter Pakistan from Afghanistan. Shalabi was captured with a group of 31 other suspected Arab Al Qaeda fighters.


Shalabi arrived at Guantanamo on January 11, 2002, the day the first War on Terror prisoners arrived at the prison.


The summary for this 2006 ARB says that Shalabi affirmed his intention to cooperate in every way with the US government.


In January 2007 Shalabi said, “Go to Iraq, I will kill you there.” This was interpreted as a threat against the guards at Guantanamo.  



In January 2010 Obama’s Guantanamo Task Force recommended Shalabi for continued detention.