Mohammed Jawad: 'I was 12 when I was arrested and sent to Guantanamo'

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by JBond, Aug 27, 2009.

  1. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    Mohammed Jawad: 'I was 12 when I was arrested and sent to Guantanamo'


    Sitting cross-legged on the cushioned floor of a family friend’s house, Mohammed Jawad furrowed his brow and fidgeted nervously as he struggled to explain his extraordinary ordeal over the past seven years.

    In December 2002, when he says he was only 12, he was arrested on suspicion of throwing a grenade into a Jeep carrying US special forces soldiers through Kabul, wounding two of them and an interpreter. He was taken first to an airbase north of Kabul, then to the US prison in Guantánamo Bay, where he remained until his release a few days ago after a ruling by a US judge that his confession had been obtained by force.

    One of the youngest and most controversial prisoners in Guantánamo, Mr Jawad is now finally a free man after being flown back to Kabul on Monday and reunited with his family and friends.

    But after seven years in custody — six of them in Guantánamo — he faces a long struggle to pick up the pieces of his lost childhood and teenage years, and to build a future for himself in a country still at war with the Taleban.

    “This is one of the happiest moments in my life — to be back in Afghanistan after all this time,” he told The Times.

    “I hadn’t done anything — they took me for nothing. All I could do was hope that one day I’d be free and back home in Afghanistan with my mother.”

    When he was reunited with her, she refused initially to believe he was her son because he had changed so much, and fainted in a fit of hysterics, according to a family friend. Only when she came round and checked for a distinctive bump on the back of his head, did she embrace him as her offspring, said Sher Khan Jalalkhil, a close friend of Mr Jawad’s father.

    Mr Jawad is not the first Afghan prisoner to be released from the Guantánamo prison. But he is believed to be the youngest — although the Pentagon says that bone scans indicated that he was 18 when sent to Guantánamo in 2003.

    He has thus become a cause célèbre for human rights activists ... and something of a celebrity in Afghanistan. President Karzai even offered to give him a house in Kabul when he met him on Monday night. The Defence Minister, Abdul Rakhim Wardak, offered to pay for him to study overseas.

    When Mr Jawad was arrested, he was living with his mother in Kabul — his father having been killed fighting the Soviets in the 1980s.

    “We searched for him for nine months,” said Mr Jalalkhil. “We didn’t know if he had been killed, or kidnapped, or got lost. His mother went crazy.” Finally, a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross visited their house to show them documents proving that Mr Jawad was in Guantánamo.

    They were relieved at first to hear he was alive, but then they started to hear reports about conditions there.

    Since returning, Mr Jawad has accused his captors of torturing prisoners, depriving them of food and sleep, and insulting Islam and the Koran.

    He has described having his hands bound and stretched behind his back, and being forced to eat by bending over and putting his mouth into a plate of food.

    Yesterday he was reluctant to go into details, saying that he would describe everything in full at a press conference in Kabul today. “It was a jail and I wasn’t happy there — I didn’t feel very good,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “They threatened me a little. I will tell all of this tomorrow.” Human rights activists say that he was moved around often, and in one seven-day period was subjected to 152 episodes of mistreatment.

    Eric Montalzo, his lawyer, says that he was treated like an adult despite his young age. “He has been in a cage for seven years. So it’s very difficult for him,” Mr Montalzo said. “He is a fragile human being and we need to protect him and his interests.”

    Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that there should be compensation for prisoners such as Mr Jawad, and no immunity from prosecution for the torture of terror suspects.

    Some human rights activists accept the Pentagon’s assertion that Mr Jawad was 16 or 17 when arrested. But they also say that it could take years for him to recover from the trauma of being detained in such a way for so many of his formative years.

    Mr Jawad, meanwhile, is making plans to resume his studies — first in Afghanistan, then maybe overseas — and train to become a doctor.

    Asked if he would consider studying in the United States, he hesitated and looked to the assembled elders for advice, before answering: “I have not made any plans yet.” As the interview began, the elders had asked him teasingly whether he learnt English in Guantánamo. He said no and spoke only in his native Pashto during the interview.

    But when thanked at the end, he smiled shyly and said, with only a slight accent: “No problem.”
  2. Chinfu

    Chinfu Member

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    Detained in Dec. 2002 at the age of "12"

    Father killed in the "80's" fighting the Soviets.

    It's possible but that's a tight timeline. Might as well throw out the 80's, it's 89 or they are full of ****.

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    Al Qaeda Manual Drives Detainee Behavior at Guantanamo Bay

    By Donna Miles
    American Forces Press Service

    WASHINGTON, June 29, 2005 – If you're a Muslim extremist captured while fighting your holy war against "infidels," avoid revealing information at all costs, don't give your real name and claim that you were mistreated or tortured during your detention.

    This instruction comes straight from the pages of an official al Qaeda training manual, and officials at the detention facility at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, say they see clear evidence that detainees are well-versed in its contents.

    Police in Manchester, England, discovered the manual, which has come to be known as the "Manchester document," in 2000 while searching computer files found in the home of a known al Qaeda member. The contents were introduced as evidence into the 2001 trial of terrorists who bombed the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998.

    The FBI translated the document into English, and it is posted on the Justice Department's Web site.

    The 18-chapter manual provides a detailed window into al Qaeda's network and its procedures for waging jihad - from conducting surveillance operations to carrying out assassinations to working with forged documents.

    The closing chapter teaches al Qaeda operatives how to operate in a prison or detention center. It directs detainees to "insist on proving that torture was inflicted" and to "complain of mistreatment while in prison."

    Chapter 17 instructs them to "be careful not to give the enemy any vital information" during interrogations.

    Another section of the manual directs commanders to teach their operatives what to say if they're captured, and to explain it "more than once to ensure that they have assimilated it." To reinforce the message, it tells commanders to have operatives "explain it back to the commander."

    And at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, detainees take this instruction to heart. Many of the more than 500 detainees are "uncooperative" in providing intelligence, Army Brig. Gen. Jay Hood, commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, told military analysts who traveled to the facility June 24 and reiterated today during a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee.

    Some detainees have never uttered a single word during more than three years of interrogation. Others give false names or refuse to offer their real names.

    This can prove challenging for interrogators at the facility, because many detainees "follow the al Qaeda SOP (standard operating procedures) to the T," according to Army Col. John Hadjis, chief of staff for Joint Task Force Guantanamo.

    Officials say they see evidence of the al Qaeda-directed misinformation campaign in allegations of detainee abuse and mishandling of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay.

    Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld expressed frustration over this effort during a June 21 interview on the "Tony Snow Show."

    "These detainees are trained to lie, they're trained to say they were tortured, and the minute we release them or the minute they get a lawyer, very frequently they'll go out and they will announce that they've been tortured," Rumsfeld said.

    The media jumps on these claims, reporting them as "another example of torture," the secretary said, "when in fact, (terrorists have) been trained to do that, and their training manual says so."

    During a February 2004 Pentagon news conference, a DoD official said new information provided by detainees during questioning is analyzed to determine its reliability.

    "Unfortunately, many detainees are deceptive and prefer to conceal their identifies and their actions," said Paul Butler, principal deputy assistant secretary for special operations and low-intensity conflict.

    Butler said the Manchester document includes "a large section which teaches al Qaeda operatives counterinterrogation techniques: how to lie, how to minimize your role."

    The document, he said, has surfaced in various locations, including Afghanistan.

    The manual's preface offers a chilling reminder of the mentality that drives al Qaeda disciples and the lengths they will go to for their cause.

    "The confrontation that we are calling for ... does not know Socratic debates, ... Platonic ideals ... nor Aristotelian diplomacy," its opening pages read. "But it knows the dialogue of bullets, the ideals of assassination, bombing and destruction, and the diplomacy of the cannon and machine gun."

    It's hard for me to believe any of these stories I hear. Not saying that some are not true but I highly doubt that all are true. I've witnessed this kind of thing before. I will always lean towards our soldiers and give them the benifit of the doubt. It may not be right but it is hard wired with me. I don't appoligies for it. It's just won of those things. Just like I'll always pull for the Cowboys.
  4. StanleySpadowski

    StanleySpadowski Active Member

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    The last Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan on February 15th of 1989. Unless Afghan women have a different gestation period then the rest of the females on the planet, it's physically impossible for him to have been 12.

    You would have thought that one person would have done the math before this...
  5. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    The advantage for the US in translating this document is that it puts up a firewall against any complaints or accusations. 'See! They were trained to do this."

    America is more willing than most to admit it's mistakes, but it's not that willing....

    Countless abuses have gone on in this war, trivial to major. Most are from the nature of war, not some commentary on our national character. Certainly, being occupied by American soldiers is perhaps the best draw for that in the world. I can guarantee that Afganistan occupied by Soviet soldiers was much worse.

    The guys at the top are a different story, imo.

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    It is not a secret that these people are using our own government and judicial system against us. We allow it to happen so that's our responsability. I do know that our Military and Intelligence agancies do things necessary to extract information but we don't do things, on the whole, out of spite. Their are reasons we suspect these people. 100% right? No, but more right, IMO, then wrong.
  7. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    That is always the hope, isn't it....
  8. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    That was my first thought. I wanted to see if anyone else was thinking the same thing. His receding hairline is unusual for a 19 year old also. That's why I included the picture of him.
  9. trickblue

    trickblue Not Old School...Old Testament...

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    If the mantra fits...
  10. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    So far I am a little surprised the leftists on the board have not taken the bait. I expected to see multiple posts about how evil GWB and America are.
  11. MetalHead

    MetalHead Benched

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    ...And I was born a poor black child.
  12. DaBoys4Life

    DaBoys4Life Benched

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    That doesn't mean anything some people just bald faster than other I knew a couple of people that's been balding since their freshman year of college.
  13. daschoo

    daschoo Slanje Va

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    he certainly doesn't look 19 but then i suppose anyone coming out of seven years there could be forgiven for having prematurely aged. in saying that i'm very sceptical that he is the age he claims to be.
    regarding giving u.s. soldiers the benefit of the doubt. some of the stories of abuse at their hands will be true and some won't. as previously said these kind of stories always come out when a country is occupied by a foreign army. that isn't a reflection of the entire u.s. armed forces. if you take a group of a couple of thousand people from any walk of life and any culture you are going to find a few who act in a way that is less than desirable. its the reaction of those in charge and so long as these people are found and punished then i don't really see what else you can expect the military to do.
  14. burmafrd

    burmafrd Benched

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    Argle the difference between libs like you and conservatives like me was revealed in your post

    I expect our military to do the right thing. You expect them to do the wrong thing.
    I give them the benefit of the doubt. You do not.
  15. Chinfu

    Chinfu Member

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    From the pic, if he's 19 then I'm the Queen of England. To me the age is baseless anyways. If he threw a live grenade at our troops then he doesn't belong on the streets.
  16. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    I wish we would stop taking these idiots prisoner.

    If they attack our troops ..... shoot them on the field.

    Problem solved.
  17. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    We agree.
  18. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    I was one of those that lost some hair early. I did not throw a grenade at our soldiers.

    ABQCOWBOY Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes. That is always the hope. Is that not the hope with the introduction of many of the Liberal ideas we have seen of late? Stimulus with checks going to prisoners etc.? That is always the hope.
  20. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    The hope! I hope our government will not screw up the new government programs like they screwed up the old government programs. Medicare and Social Security are a complete disaster financially. Why anyone still relies on the government for anything is beyond my comprehension. The terminally stupid and lazy will always be there. We need to determine how much money we want to divert from our families to give away to them.

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