New secret files leak shines light on Guantanamo

Secret documents about detainees at Guantanamo Bay reveal new information about some of the men the US believes to be terrorists, according to reports about the files.

The military detainee assessments have been made public by numerous news organisations and appear on the WikiLeaks website.

The Guardian reported yesterday that the files were shared with it and US National Public Radio by the New York Times, which says it did not obtain them from WikiLeaks.

The records contain details of the more than 700 detainee interrogations and evidence the US had collected against these suspected terrorists, according to the media outlets.

The files - known as detainee assessment briefs or DABs - describe the intelligence value of the detainees and whether they would be a threat to the US if released. To date, 604 detainees have been transferred out of Guantanamo while 172 remain locked up.

The disclosures are likely to provide human right activists with additional ammunition that some cases against inmates appear to be based on flawed evidence.

However, the DABs show certain inmates were more dangerous than previously known to the public and could complicate efforts by the US to transfer detainees out of the controversial prison that President Barack Obama has failed to close.

The dossiers provide new insights into some of the prison's most notorious detainees, such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. According to the New York Times, Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, commanded a Maryland resident to kill Pakistan's former present Pervez Musharraf.

Another high-value detainee, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, bragged that he outranked Mohammed who was then considered the terrorist group's No 3. Al-Nashiri faces charges before a military commission for his suspected role in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole. According to The Times, al-Nashiri was also consumed with jihad and believed women were a distraction.

He was so "dedicated to jihad that he reportedly received injections to promote impotence and recommended the injections to others so more time could be spent on the jihad", according to al-Nashiri's file.

US officials said the documents "may or may not represent the current view of a given detainee" and criticised the decision by media organisations to publish the "sensitive information".

"It is unfortunate that several news organisations have made the decision to publish numerous documents obtained illegally by WikiLeaks concerning the Guantanamodetention facility," said Ambassador Daniel Fried, the Obama administration's special envoy on detainee issues, and Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell.

The classified files contain rare pictures of many of the inmates. One shows Abu Zubaydah, who has been described as al Qaida's "travel agent", sporting a beard and an eye patch. Zubaydah was captured in Pakistan in 2002 and taken to several CIA black sites overseas until he was transferred to Guantanamo in 2006 for the second and last time.

The files do not mention what happened to Zubaydah and others while they were in CIA custody. Zubaydah and Mohammed were both waterboarded dozens of times by CIA interrogators.

The Washington Post reported that the DABs offered new details about the movement of Osama bin Laden and top deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri after the 9/11 attacks and the internal disputes that erupted within the terrorist organisation.

Many of the 704 assessments are riddled with ambiguous language. A Times analysis shows the word "possibly" is used 387 times.

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