Freed Detainee: Torture Went Beyond His ‘Darkest Nightmares’

Date: Tuesday, February 24, 2009
By: Paisley Dodds, Associated Press



Binyam Mohamed, the first inmate freed from Guantanamo Bay since President Obama took office, says he was tortured. (AP)


LONDON - The first Guantanamo detainee released since President Barack Obama took office returned to Britain on Monday, saying his seven years of captivity and torture at an alleged CIA covert site in Morocco went beyond his "darkest nightmares."

Binyam Mohamed's allegations - including repeated beatings and having his genitals sliced by a scalpel - have sparked lawsuits that could ensnare the American and British governments in protracted court battles.

Looking frail from a hunger strike, Mohamed, who once was accused by U.S. authorities of being part of a conspiracy to detonate a bomb on American soil, stepped off a charter plane and was whisked away by police, border control agents and immigration officials.

The 30-year-old Ethiopian refugee, who moved to Britain as a teenager, was freed after four hours of questioning.

Attorney General Eric Holder, who traveled Monday to Guantanamo Bay as the Obama administration weighs what is needed to shut the facility, thanked Britain for its cooperation in the case.

"The friendship and assistance of the international community is vitally important as we work to close Guantanamo, and we greatly appreciate the efforts of the British government to work with us on the transfer of Binyam Mohamed," he said.

Lawyers for Mohamed are seeking secret U.S. intelligence and legal documents they say will prove the Bush administration sent Mohamed to Morocco, where it knew he would be tortured. They claim the documents also prove Britain was complicit in the abuse.

Unlike in the U.S., Britain's leaders don't have a past government to blame - Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party has been in power for more than a decade.

But the case is also a test for Obama. While he has promised Guantanamo's closure and an end to torture, he has not yet publicly explained how his government will change the process of extraordinary renditions, which involve sending terror suspects to foreign countries to be interrogated.

CIA Director Leon Panetta has told Congress renditions could continue, but that prisoners won't be handed over to countries where they are likely to be tortured - which has always been the stated U.S. policy.

The Bush administration's extraordinary rendition program was much criticized, in part because some prisoners were handed over to countries with documented histories of human rights abuses. Morocco was one such country, according to an Amnesty International report.

The United States refuses to account for the 18 months Mohamed says he was in Morocco.

In a statement released Monday by his attorneys, Mohamed said: "I have been through an experience that I never thought to encounter in my darkest nightmares."

"Before this ordeal torture was an abstract word to me ... It is still difficult for me to believe that I was abducted, hauled from one country to the next and tortured in medieval ways all orchestrated by the United States government." He said he would not make any media appearances until he had recovered from his ordeal.

Britain's Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he was pleased with Mohamed's return. The British government has been fighting for his release since 2007.

Mohamed has few remaining ties to Britain, and authorities say there's no guarantee he'll be allowed to stay since his residency expired in 2004. He will have to report regularly to police and volunteered to other restrictions that will limit his foreign travel.

Mohamed's parents are back in Ethiopia and his siblings live in the United States. His sister, Zuhra Mohamed, traveled to Britain for her brother's release and said: "I am so glad and so happy, more than words can express."

It is unlikely any of Mohamed's accused interrogators will be prosecuted because the worst abuse allegedly occurred in Pakistan and Morocco. But any British or American officials found to have known about his rendition or any mistreatment could face civil or criminal charges.

Mohamed has said he was interrogated by at least one British security agent from MI5 in Pakistan and that British intelligence officials fed material about his time in Britain to his interrogators in Morocco.

"Many have been complicit in my own horrors over the past seven years," his statement said Monday. "The very worst moment came when I realized in Morocco that the people who were torturing me were receiving questions and materials from British intelligence."

According to Mohamed's account, which The Associated Press obtained from his lawyers in 2006, he converted to Islam in 2001 and went to Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he said he wanted to experience a traditional Islamic society and get away from a bad circle of friends in London as he tried to kick a drug habit.

He was arrested in Pakistan in 2002 for trying to return to Britain on a false passport and held in Karachi for three months, during which time he said he was beaten, hung by his wrists from a leather strap and questioned by at least one MI5 agent.

Mohamed claims the Americans then sent him to Morocco, where he endured 18 months of torture, including the genital mutilation. He was then sent to another alleged CIA detention site in Afghanistan before arriving in Guantanamo in 2004.

He was charged in May 2008 with conspiring to fill U.S. apartments with natural gas and blow them up - charges he said he only confessed to after more than two years of torture.

The charges were dropped without explanation in October 2008 - but only after the prosecutor in his planned military trial quit and accused the U.S. government of withholding evidence. Lawyers in Britain filed a lawsuit for the disclosure of 42 secret U.S. intelligence documents they said would prove any evidence was obtained under torture.

Two British judges have reopened the case and Britain's attorney general is investigating whether there was criminal wrongdoing on the part of Britain or the MI5 agent who interrogated Mohamed in Pakistan.

Several other lawsuits are under way in the United States against a Boeing subsidiary that allegedly supplied planes for rendition flights to Morocco and for the disclosure of Bush-era memos on renditions and interrogation tactics.

Some criticized Mohamed's release, saying Monday that no detainees should have been freed before their status was reviewed under an executive order Obama issued last month.

"President Obama ordered a 180-day review to determine the status of the detainees, so it's unclear to me why Mr. Mohamed has been released without such a review," said retired Navy Cmdr. Kirk Lippold who was in charge of the USS Cole when it was attacked by suicide bombers in 2000.

"Everyone is interested in the rights of detainees but where are the rights for the families of my 17 sailors who were killed?"

---

Associated Press Writer Pam Hess contributed to this report from Washington.
 
 BLACK by NATURE, PROUD by CHOICE.
Original Post
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
This is f-ed up.. but not surprising and quite predictable. At least what happenned to him is out in the open. Now, let's watch and see who gives a damn...


You know, the biggest thing about stories like this for me is the fact that this is only ONE of what are probably HUNDREDS of stories. That this one is a big deal, only because we're hearing about it.

I really don't think people stop to think that the problem is magnified waaaaayyyy beyond that ONE story that makes the papers and newsbites.

It's the same way with the government. I think 5 Congresspeople were brought up on ethics charges last year. There are 535 members of Congress. Do we really think those 5 were the ONLY ones doing dirt?? Confused

No, they were the only ones that got caught. That kind of corruption is a way of political life. Just as the mistreatment of individuals and misdeeds by our gov't reaches every corner of the earth in one way or another. The invasion of Iraq is not the only unlawful takeover by the U.S. It's only the one that made the news. Roll Eyes
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
quote:
Originally posted by Oshun Auset:
This is f-ed up.. but not surprising and quite predictable. At least what happenned to him is out in the open. Now, let's watch and see who gives a damn...


You know, the biggest thing about stories like this for me is the fact that this is only ONE of what are probably HUNDREDS of stories. That this one is a big deal, only because we're hearing about it.

I really don't think people stop to think that the problem is magnified waaaaayyyy beyond that ONE story that makes the papers and newsbites.

It's the same way with the government. I think 5 Congresspeople were brought up on ethics charges last year. There are 535 members of Congress. Do we really think those 5 were the ONLY ones doing dirt?? Confused

No, they were the only ones that got caught. That kind of corruption is a way of political life. Just as the mistreatment of individuals and misdeeds by our gov't reaches every corner of the earth in one way or another. The invasion of Iraq is not the only unlawful takeover by the U.S. It's only the one that made the news. Roll Eyes


yeah All of it, I definitely feel you on this one ER...
ER, as a reminder what you agreed with:
quote:
It’s not about America being right or wrong. It is about a solider who SIGNED up to be in the military. He was not forced to be in the military, he VOLUNTEERED to be the PROPERTY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. He should go to prison for his AWOL stunt. Do I think the war is just? No I don’t, but I do believe that the soldiers should continue with illegal wars because they signed up to follow orders and wherever those orders send them.
http://africanamerica.org/eve/...160213/m/1701008/p/2


what do you expect, and why do you roll your eyes when you say this:
quote:
That kind of corruption is a way of political life. Just as the mistreatment of individuals and misdeeds by our gov't reaches every corner of the earth in one way or another. The invasion of Iraq is not the only unlawful takeover by the U.S.


This "political life" is only possible with people following orders...
quote:
Originally posted by listener:
ER, as a reminder what you agreed with:
quote:
It’s not about America being right or wrong. It is about a solider who SIGNED up to be in the military. He was not forced to be in the military, he VOLUNTEERED to be the PROPERTY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. He should go to prison for his AWOL stunt. Do I think the war is just? No I don’t, but I do believe that the soldiers should continue with illegal wars because they signed up to follow orders and wherever those orders send them.
http://africanamerica.org/eve/...160213/m/1701008/p/2


what do you expect, and why do you roll your eyes when you say this:
quote:
That kind of corruption is a way of political life. Just as the mistreatment of individuals and misdeeds by our gov't reaches every corner of the earth in one way or another. The invasion of Iraq is not the only unlawful takeover by the U.S.


This "political life" is only possible with people following orders...


I was actually rolling my eyes at the one part that you didn't capture in my quote:
quote:
The invasion of Iraq is not the only unlawful takeover by the U.S. It's only the one that made the news.


My intent was to point out that most people don't consider the things that happen that are not presented to them by the news media. And that the news media does not present to the pubic most of the wrongdoing that happens both domestically and abroad.


I'm not sure what point you were trying to make, but nothing I wrote had anything even remotely to do with the comments you posted. Eek

What did you mean by "what do you expect"?? Expect from whom?? And about what? Confused
quote:
Originally posted by listener:
quote:
I'm not sure what point you were trying to make, but nothing I wrote had anything even remotely to do with the comments you posted.


I think you are sure. If actually not, think about it.


Well, perhaps if you could clarify what "what do you expect" means ... I might could give it shot.

Or at least tell me what you thought I meant by what I (actually) said.

I don't "expect" anything from anybody. My comment had to do with the very real KNOWLEDGE that most people don't think deeply enough into what's really going on in the world around them.

What that has to do with an old story about an AWOL soldier asking for amnesty in Germany?? ... No, I'm sorry, but I'm not about to try and guess. sck I can't see any correlation between the two.

And if you don't want tell me, then that's fine, too. Smile
quote:
My comment had to do with the very real KNOWLEDGE that most people don't think deeply enough into what's really going on in the world around them.


what would it change do you think? When you condemn people who seem to actually think and refuse to follow orders, like Andre Shepherd.

quote:
What that has to do with an old story about an AWOL soldier asking for amnesty in Germany?? ... No, I'm sorry, but I'm not about to try and guess.


do you only complain that the mass media does not report often enough in which way the obedient soldiers just follow orders to help the government being corrupt and help keeping the system of white supremacy alive?
Guantanamo and other camps aren't the result of people not knowing enough, they are possible because soldiers follow orders, something you support. You support with your "soldiers are the property of the government" this what Binyam Mohamed and many others had and have to go through.

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