The military commissions, which Obama has reinstated despite promises while running for office not to, appear by no less an authority than Colonel Yvonne Bradley, military lawyer who defended some of the prisoners at Guantanamo, designed to find the prisoners guilty and keep them incarcerated at Guantanamo.  The prisoners say that as well, as you can see from the story of Al-Hamari and others in this series.

Shawali Khan, an Afghan citizen kept a shop that provided gasoline, kerosene, and natural gas.  He was sold to the US by other Afghans in the general round up of people after Cheney allowed the air lifting of real al Qaeda and Taliban leaders out of Kunduz..  We must remember that there had been fighting for decades among the warlords of that country, of which the Taliban were one group.  It is also true that over the years the US has paid and continues to pay some of these warlords when that serves its purposes.

Khan is the nephew of Zabit Jalil, whom Khan reported worked for the Karzai government.  Khan denies any knowledge of his uncle’s activities.  The US has a list of weapons which it says were in Khan’s orchard.  Khan declares that any such list was a receipt from the Karzai government to his uncle because all weapons had to be accounted for to the government.  Khan says that he, too, worked for a while as a driver for the Karzai government.

Andy Worthington says that the board of the military court at Guantanamo “were frustrated that he [Khan] seemed to be evading further questioning about the alleged weapons cache in his orchard, but it appeared to me that he had already stated that all the allegations about HIG [Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin] had no substance whatsoever.”  The HIG was an anti Soviet military organization, of which there were many.  It also attacked the US and its allies after the US invasion of Afghanistan.  Khan denied having any affiliation with that organization. ( I wonder why a people invaded by not one, but two superpowers in the space of several decades are demonized for defending themselves against all invaders anyway.)

Worthington further reports that Khan’s lawyers “had nine affidavits from his rural village and from Kandahar where he drove for the Karzai government ”  He continues: “the judge in his case ‘Judge John D. Bates’ preferred to rely on classified documents provided by the Justice Department than on the copious evidence demonstrating his innocence, and Khan must now appeal if he is to have any chance of being released from Guantanamo.”

The Karzai government, installed by the US after it invaded, is in principle its ally.  Why would the US not get information about both Khan and his uncle from that government instead of shipping Khan off to be tortured and still keep him after all these years in Guantanamo?  What kind of country tortures and holds in prison for nearly a decade, people who claim to work for its allies without so much as asking?

If the US had any evidence that Shawali Khan was ever a threat, it should long ago have brought that forth in a real court for that evidence to be evaluated.  Torturing and imprisoning him for nearly a decade is the only clear crime I see here.  And even though I believe that is a crime and one that must be investigated and tried in a legitimate court, I would defend against torture, rendition, and imprisonment without charge the perpetrators of it.  No human being, not even the US leaders who sanctioned Guantanamo and all its horrors, should ever experience the things the US has done to Shawali Khan and the other prisoners there.

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