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Thursday, September 26, 2002

Incident: Arar is detained at New York's JFK airport, sent to Syria, tortured

According to press reports after Maher Arar's release, on this day Arar is detained by U.S. Immigration and Naturalization officials at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport while returning alone to Montreal from a family vacation in Tunisia. A citizen of both Canada and Syria, he is carrying a Canadian passport. American officials allege Arar has links to al-Qaeda and detain and question him.

On 10 October 2002, Canadian officials will be informed that Arar has been deported to Syria. High level discussions begin between Ottawa and Washington.

Over one year from now, Arar will return home to Montreal. Upon returning, he will claim to have been mentally and physically tortured and forced to sign documents. His allegations will include being:

  • strip-searched;
  • given an unknown 'vaccination' which left his arm red for a fortnight;
  • kept in a basement cell (3 by 6 by 7 feet) with no light for 10 months, and let out only for interrogations;
  • repeatedly and severely beaten during interrogations;
  • hit with two-inch thick black electrical cable on the palms, hips, lower back, which left bruises for several weeks;
He alleges that this torture compelled him to falsely confess to going to Afghanistan and training camps.

Arar claims that beatings would subside for the few days before consular visits. During these, he was compelled not to tell about the torture he had endured and witnessed. He spent the time in the meeting weeping, unable to explain the cause of his sorrow.

He also learns of the treatment of other detainees. He claims to have heard continuous screaming from other rooms, and a man's head being repeatedly bashed against a desk. He also meets an acquaintance, Abdullah Almalki, after being moved to another prison, who said he was held at the same facility. Arar describes Almalki as emaciated and weak, and Almalki claims to Arar to have been severely tortured with the cable and the "tire" (a device in which detainees are restrained, and the soles of their feet beaten, c.f. Driss bin Lakoul' claims, entry on 31 January 2003).

Maher Arar plays with his children Baraa Arar, 7 (L), and Houd Arar, 2, in his home January 14, 2004 in Ottawa, ON.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

GTMO detainee's family threatened by details released to [censored] government

Today, a detainee at Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, will be questioned by a Special Agent, NCIS, and FBI-JTTF. His response recorded will eventually be made available due to NGO's Freedom of Information Act request. He will claim that he is a dissident fighting against his own government's repressive regime, and that information about his family was passed on to this government by the U.S. His story bears strong resemblance to this story, which relates a similar situation. An excerpt is reproduced below (page 3924).
[censored] explained that he has been interviewed approximately six (6) times since he has been in U.S. custody. Three times by U.S. personnel (people in uniform), a few times by U.S. civilians, and one time by [censored]. [censored] informed that prior to the [censored] visit, the U.S. interrogators told him the information he provided would not be provided to [censored] government, his picture would not be provided and no information about him or his family would be provided to the government [censored]

... [censored] explained that since the delegation visit, some of the [censored] have been mistreated by the guards at the detention facility. [censored] stated, "it's unbelievable, this is a U.S. prison, in the U.S., and [censored approx. 11 letters] government is able to come here and do anything they want. It makes me wonder who's running this prison."

[censored] informed that he does not belong to any extremist group(s) or party and he has never harbored any ill feelings towards the U.S. [censored] explained that his "fight" has always been with [censored] government and their treatment towards [censored] [censored] claims to be from [censored] and the natives just want their own land and freedom. [censored] stated [censored] government labels all [censored] (or people from [censored] as terrorists.

[censored] explained that he would not provide information related to his family because he fears the information would be provided to [censored] government and his family's safety, if not already, would be threatened.

Considering this story and the story here, I propose that the detainees may be Uyghurs, and the government that the detainee is fearful of is the Chinese Government.

Update: In several years time, on 24 August 2005, the Washington Post will do a story on the Uyghurs, verifying that their details were released to the Chinese government, and noting that the US is now uncertain as to where to send them.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

GTMO detainee: Fabricates evidence to avoid torture

Today, a detainee at Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, will be questioned by FBI and NCIS. His response recorded will eventually be made available due to NGO's Freedom of Information Act request.

He is recorded as having admitted to fabricating parts of his previous interviews with American interviewers because he feared torture (page 3894). He is also recorded as claiming that, after being shot and captured by the Northern Alliance, he was tortured for two days and ordered to admit he was Al' Qaeda and had met UBL. Only then was his wound was treated.

An excerpt is reproduced below (page 3900).

[censored] was asked about his egress from Afghanistan. [censored] advised that First Name Unknown (FNU) [censored] was his point of contact in Karachi, Pakistan. [censored] was the facilitator for travel to respective countries for [censored] and several other Arabs staying at [remainder of paragraph censored].

At this point in the interview, [censored] stated that all information about his travel to Afghanistan in previous interviews with U.S. authorities was coerced and fabricated. [censored] claimed that Pakistani authorities threatened him with torture unless he admitted to attending [one line censored] claimed that the Pakistani authorities promised his release if he said he [censored].

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

GTMO detainee: Northern Alliance beat detainee to death

Today, a detainee at Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay, will be questioned by FBI and a Special Federal Officer. His response recorded will eventually be made available due to NGO's Freedom of Information Act request. An excerpt is reproduced below (page 3911).
he was detained by Northern Alliance forces and housed in a Kandahar, Afghanistan 'jail.' [censored] advised he was detained for approximately two weeks at this location. During his detention he advised he observed the Northern Alliance guards randomly select detainees on a nightly basis and remove them from their cell. [censored] advised the guards would then commence beating the detainee with sticks, chains and in some cases kicking the individual while on the ground. [censored] advised on one occasion, a Pakistan Jihad fighter was removed from his cell by the guards, then beaten to death.

Saturday, September 07, 2002

Abuse at Kandahar Detainee Facility

Sourced from released documents here, detailing the investigation of alleged detainee abuse at Kandahar Detainee Facility, Afghanistan.

The summary states that

[A medic observed three detainees with] minor injuries conducive with abuse. SPC [censored] ... further related in the memorandum that the detainees claimed the (sic) be abused by U.S. Personnel at the Kandahar Detainee Facility, between 7 and 9 Sep 04 [should read "02"] (page 4 of pdf).
The documents include statements from one witness denying seeing any abuse at Kandahar, and a medic doing the same. This can be contrasted with the list of incidents that have occurred at Kandahar here. The medic claims that one detainee died during his stay there, but he did not know the cause.

The summary concludes that the

Investigation failed to prove or disprove the detainee abuse occurred as originally alleged due to the inability to interview the alleged victims since the areas which they are believed to be residing are under high combat threat (page 2)