Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Osama bin Laden, Ramzi Binalshibh and Mohammed Atta
All poor Mohamedou Ould Slahi did was recruit Mohammed Atta, Marwan al Shehhi, and Ziad Jarrah, the suicide pilots of American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, and United Airlines Flight 93, for their mission on September 11, 2001.
Mr. Slahi and his defense team allege that he was tortured, i.e., beaten, exposed to uncomfortable temperatures, threatened, frightened by threats against his family, and sexually taunted by female interrogators. A DOD inquiry failed to confirm most of these allegations, but they were obviously credited, and considered to constitute torture, by the officer in charge of prosecution.
Although the treatment apparently induced Mr. Slahi’s compliance, the military prosecutor, Marine Lt. Col. V. Stuart Couch, determined that it constituted torture and evidence it produced could not lawfully be used against Mr. Slahi.
Col. Couch, in a March 31, 2007, Page One story in The Wall Street Journal, cited legal, professional and moral reasons for declining to prosecute.
Mr. Slahi, who was then viewed as a cooperator by interrogators, was granted various privileges at GuantÃ¡namo Bay, including his own quarters and garden to tend.
Col. Couch, now in private practice in North Carolina, said Monday’s order “is one of the consequences that the decision-makers should have foreseen when they decided to adopt a policy of cruelty, and the interrogation techniques that flowed from it.”
The same Journal article informs us that he is consequently being freed to resume his former activities.
A suspected al Qaeda organizer once called “the highest value detainee” at GuantÃ¡namo Bay was ordered released by a federal judge in an order issued Monday.
Mohamedou Ould Slahi was accused in the 9/11 Commission report of helping recruit Mohammed Atta and other members of the al Qaeda cell in Hamburg, Germany, that took part in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Military prosecutors suspected Mr. Slahi of links to other al Qaeda operations, and considered seeking the death penalty against him while preparing possible charges in 2003 and 2004.
U.S. District Judge James Robertson granted Mr. Slahi’s petition for habeas corpus, effectively finding the government lacked legal grounds to hold him. The order was classified, although the court said it planned to release a redacted public version in the coming weeks.
Mr. Robertson held four days of closed hearings in the Slahi case last year. Mr. Slahi testified via secure video link from GuantÃ¡namo Bay, said his attorney.
“They were considering giving him the death penalty. Now they don’t even have enough evidence to pass the test for habeas,” said the attorney, Nancy Hollander, of Albuquerque, N.M.
Spiegel did a major article in October of 2008 on Slahi.
What can one possibly say about the kind of stupidity that equates misinforming, threatening, taunting, scaring, and even roughing up or inflicting some discomfort on a mass murderer with torture? Or about the legal acumen of jurists who award habeas corpus protection to unlawful belligerents apprehended overseas during time of war?
Do you suppose they can quote “Quos Deus perdere, dementat” [Those whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad] in Arabic?