Grave Abuses of the First War on Terror

Mohamedou Slahi is an extraordinary person with a harrowing past and a remarkable, still-unfolding story. The interview I conducted with him on Saturday, which can be viewed below, is one I sincerely hope you will watch. He has much to say that the world should hear, and, with a new War on Terror likely to be launched in the U.S., his story is particularly timely now.

Known as the author of the best-selling Guantánamo Diary — a memoir he wrote during his fourteen years in captivity in the U.S. prison camp at Guantánamo — he is now the primary character of a new Hollywood feature film about his life, The Mauritanian. The first eight years of Slahi’s imprisonment included multiple forms of abuse in four different countries and separation from everything he knew, but it afforded no charges, trials, or opportunities to refute or even learn of the accusations against him.

— source | Glenn Greenwald | Mar 8, 2021

Nullius in verba

Abu Zubaydah Was Tortured for Years at CIA Black Sites

It was an extraordinary argument in several respects. The narrow question is whether we can secure the testimony of James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen for use by the Polish prosecutors in their investigation into whether crimes were committed in Poland at the black site there. But the more important turn that the oral argument took is several things. One, virtually every justice on the court described Abu Zubaydah’s treatment as “torture.” They used that word. There were no euphemisms. There was no equivocation. Everyone understood that what happened to him was torture.

Second was the observation that you made, which is the questions by Justice Breyer, Justice Gorsuch and Justice Sotomayor, asking, “Why is it that you can’t just let Abu Zubaydah testify?” That obviously would obviate the need for Mitchell and Jessen’s testimony. And what was as interesting as their request that Abu Zubaydah be allowed to testify was the government’s equivocation and inability to answer that. They were asked — that is, the solicitor general was asked to provide a follow-up statement, so they’ll be filing something else, explaining whether they’re going to allow Abu Zubaydah to testify. And if they do, that will be a sea change at Guantánamo. That will be a radical change. Guantánamo was built to be an isolation chamber, and they have never allowed any detainee to have uncensored access to the outside. The whole purpose of it was to prevent that

— source | Oct 07, 2021

Nullius in verba

Dont forget Guantánamo

Mansoor Adayfi. At the age of 18, he left his home in Yemen to do research in Afghanistan. Shortly before he was scheduled to return home, he was kidnapped by Afghan warlords and sold to the CIA after the September 11th attacks. He was jailed and tortured in Afghanistan, then transported to the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo in 2002, where he was held without charge for 14 years, many of those years in solitary confinement. Mansoor became known as Detainee 441. In 2016, he was released against his will to Serbia, which he compares to Guantánamo 2.0. By the time Mansoor was released, he had spent more than half his life in prison.

let’s fly back like 38 years, which, actually, I — like, when people ask me, “How old are you?” I say I’m like 24, because I don’t count Guantánamo, like try to cheat. Anyway, I born in a tiny village in Yemen, Raymah, born like with 11, 12 — 11 brothers and sisters, large family, very conservative family. I studied my primary school and secondary school in the village. We had no high school, so I had to go live with my aunt in the capital, Sana’a, which was like a new world.

When I finished with my high school, I was assigned to do some research in Afghanistan. I was like a research assistant in Afghanistan. This is how my journey started there. In Afghanistan, I spent a couple months researching and doing some of the research required to be done.

— source | Sep 27, 2021

Nullius in verba

Economic Costs of post-9/11 wars

Through Fiscal Year 2020, the United States federal government has spent or obligated $6.4 trillion dollars on the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and elsewhere. This figure includes: direct Congressional war appropriations; war-related increases to the Pentagon base budget; veterans care and disability; increases in the homeland security budget; interest payments on direct war borrowing; foreign assistance spending; and estimated future obligations for veterans’ care.

This total omits many other expenses, such as the macroeconomic costs to the US economy; the opportunity costs of not investing war dollars in alternative sectors; future interest on war borrowing; and local government and private war costs.

Public access to budget information about the post-9/11 is imperfect and incomplete. The scale of spending alone makes it hard to grasp. Public understanding of the budgetary costs of war is further limited by secrecy, faulty accounting, and the deferral of current costs.

The current wars have been paid for almost entirely by borrowing. This borrowing has raised the US budget deficit, increased the national debt, and had other macroeconomic

— source Watson Institute | Jul 2021

Nullius in verba