Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gitmo files

Thomas Joscelyn at the Weekly Standard suggests we not take the interviews with people just released from Gitmo at face value.  At the very least, their testimony has not been consistent.
On Sunday night, CNN ran part of an interview with a Uighur named Khalil Abdul Nasser. Until just a few days ago, Nasser was detained at Guantanamo. Nasser's transfer to Bermuda, along with three of his fellow Uighurs, has caused a storm of controversy on the tiny resort island. So, Nasser wanted to quell any doubts about his innocence.
Regarding allegations that he attended a terrorist training camp, Nasser (speaking through a translator) said: "This is not true, because I have never been in any kind of training camp."
[Nasser] did not always dispute this. During his combatant status review tribunal (CSRT) at
Gitmo, Nasser freely admitted that he once trained at the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement's (ETIM's) Tora Bora training camp.
The transcript of Nasser's CSRT session at Gitmo, who was then known by his alias, Abdul Helil Mamut, is readily available on the New York Times's web site. (See here.) A U.S. military tribunal alleged: "The Detainee arrived at the Uighur Tora Bora training camp on 17 June 2001." Nasser responded, "That's correct. The name Tora Bora is used in the accusation, but it is not correct." (He later claimed he may have arrived earlier in June of 2001.)
Other Uighur detainees held at Gitmo, like Nasser, said they were not familiar with the name Tora Bora. It may be that the camp was not known to them as the "Tora Bora training camp," as described by the government. But, that is clearly where they were. Their descriptions of the camp match it precisely and, as described below, Nasser admitted he was in the Tora Bora mountains during the beginning of the U.S. bombing campaign in 2001. Nasser also admitted he was at the Tora Bora facility, after initially disputing its name.

Nasser did not say who ran the Tora Bora training camp during his CSRT session. But it is clear, based on the testimony of at least eight other Uighurs, including Hozaifa Parhat, that Abdul Haq ran the camp.

There is no real material dispute, then, that the camp was run by an al Qaeda terrorist. And Nasser lived and was trained at this camp.

A statement by the Uighur detainees' attorney and Nasser's newfound denial do not change these simple facts.

CNN, like most other news organizations, could not be bothered to do some basic fact checking of the Uighurs' story. If the news channel had, then perhaps it would not have presented their claims unchallenged.


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