Journalism in the Public Interest

Justice Dept: No Charges Coming Soon Against Prisoner Who Was Waterboarded

The military prosecution of a Guantanamo prisoner — alleged to be a senior al-Qaida operative, a close associate of Osama bin Laden and the mastermind of the deadly attack on the USS Cole in Yemen — has come to a halt, reported The Washington Post.

The prisoner, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was waterboarded while in CIA custody. He allegedly confessed to orchestrating the suicide attack on the Cole attack — which killed 17 sailors and wounded many more in October 2000 – but the CIA destroyed the videotapes of his interrogation. Charges against him were withdrawn in February 2009 and later dismissed because of the Obama administration’s concerns about the legitimacy of the military commissions set up by the Bush administration. His trial was supposed to be—as the Post describes it—“the signature trial of a major al-Qaeda figure under a reformed system of military commissions.”

But in a court filing last week, the Justice Department acknowledged that "no charges are either pending or contemplated with respect to al-Nashiri in the near future," the Post noted.

As we’ve reported, the government has more often than not lost in fighting Guantanamo prisoners’ habeas lawsuits – 8 of 15 cases &ndash when inmates alleged that either their confessions or witnesses’ testimony had been obtained through coercive techniques. From a recent New York Times editorial based on our story:

A new report prepared jointly by ProPublica and the National Law Journal showed that the government has lost more than half the cases where Guantánamo prisoners have challenged their detention because they were forcibly interrogated. In some cases the physical coercion was applied by foreign agents working at the behest of the United States; in other cases it was by United States agents.

Even in cases where the government later went back and tried to obtain confessions using “clean,” non-coercive methods, judges are saying those confessions too are tainted by the earlier forcible methods. In most cases, the prisoners have not actually walked free because the government is appealing the decisions. But the trend suggests that the government will continue to have a hard time proving its case even against those prisoners who should be detained.

Despite the Justice Department’s statements, the Defense Department told the Post that the case was still moving forward.

“Prosecutors in the Office of Military Commissions are actively investigating the case against Mr. al-Nashiri and are developing charges against him,” a statement from the Defense Department read.


Aug. 30, 2010, 10:02 p.m.

Coercive interogation techniques ? The word is “torture”. Water boarding and other so-called coercive interogation techniques were called “torture” when the Inquisition used them, when the Stalinists used them, when the Central and South American facist dictatorships used them, when the Khemr Rouge used them so why is a different standard applied when the USA uses them? America is one big f——-g great country ain’t it?

By now all should know this military system of “justice” is a joke. The real tragedy is all efforts will continue to get a conviction, and failing that, the POW will simply be held indefinitely without charges. So what’s the point? The US has pushed the envelope for torture experimentation, committed murder on prisoners, disappeared them and still it continues with no one being held accountable. Obama is worse than Bush/Cheney in all aspects and is pushing us all into a very dark place with complete erosion of all human rights.

Lenny Feinberg

Aug. 31, 2010, 4:03 p.m.

Do you think this man was involved in blowing up the USS Cole?

If so should he be released because he was tortured?

Lenny Feinberg, Great question!!!! Frankly though I could care less if this Jihadist spends the rest of his life rotting at GITMO in other words I hope this hot potato fries in the sun.

to Lenny Feinberg and pgillenw - you still do not get it, do you? Those “confessions” are as great a danger to this country as anything those men may have done.

The people who tortured those prisoners are criminals who are just as bad, in their own way, as terrorists. 

Terrorists attack people and property. Torturers attack our Constitution and Liberty.

Terrorists attack in order to destroy our freedoms and laws. Torturers actually destroy our freedoms and laws.

There is no such thing as a small act of terror. There is no such thing as a small act of torture.

We are either a nation of Constitutional laws that protect Liberty - or we are a nation whose Constitution is an admirable but feckless concept that is to be thrown aside by anyone with the keys to a prison cell. If you think that the torturers will stop with those terrorists and not come after you and me when it is convenient, you are dangerously naive.

As Ben Franklin told us, those who would give up a little bit of Liberty to have security will have neither.

the best article about psychological torture who creats suicide and terrorism,neans murder against civilian people,a MOST EVIL at the begining,like Michael Stone<“U"columbya”> who if does"t work means torture to become furious and to have a desire=revenge against a factor of risk or the “friends” of this enemies of the world.are known methods,nobody want to know,are victims,nobody want to know how,are attaks,nobody want to know why and who is the real former of this therrorists=invisible war against the warld=who succeed Kronkardt to CIA(his words are about a winner with an invisible weapon=gallo against REagan1987=sattelites)

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This article is part of an ongoing investigation:

The Detention Dilemma

The government remains uncertain what to do with its prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

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