Mark was interviewed by Truthout Reporter Adam Hudson regarding a Guantanamo detainee held for 14 years, based on mistaken identity. It’s not a huge surprise that false charges and cases of mistaken identity occurred amid this race to incarcerate. Fallon said that JTF-GTMO (Joint Task Force Guantánamo), which runs the Guantánamo prison, was looking for anything to pin on detainees. For example, part of JTF-GTMO’s threat indication criteria was whether a detainee possessed a common item like a Casio F-91W or A159W wristwatch because it was “the sign of al-Qaida, [which] uses the watch to make bombs,” which Fallon called “sad” and “comical.” Fallon said CITF concluded “an overwhelming majority” of detainees had no intelligence or investigative value and should be released, while JTF-GTMO argued for further detention. However, it was JTF-GTMO’s assessments that caught the White House’s ear, while voices like Fallon’s were marginalized. Fallon shares his insider perspective on how the US government implemented torture in a book called Unjustifiable Means: The Inside Story of How the CIA, Pentagon, and US Government Conspired to Torture.
Before Barack Obama left office, he released 10 detainees from Guantánamo to Oman. Among them was Abdul Zahir, a 45-year-old man from Afghanistan. Zahir was detained at Guantánamo for 14 years, even though the US government later admitted that he was wrongfully held. He was mistaken for another man who shared his nickname, Abdul Bari. Zahir’s story exemplifies the cruelty of Guantánamo and the policies of indefinite detention and torture, which will, in all likelihood, continue with Trump as president.
Like every Guantánamo detainee, Zahir was tortured. His military defense lawyer, US Air Force Lt. Col. Sterling Thomas told Truthout that after Zahir’s capture, US forces “gave him the treatment that they thought every Brown person, every Muslim person they captured deserved — they tortured him.”
Thomas explained that Zahir suffered beatings, exposure to cold temperatures, cramped confinement, stress positions, hog-tying and sexual assault. “He would be kept in very small rooms with the air conditioning unit running full blast without proper clothing — so, a pair of shorts — and an iron bed,” Thomas said. Zahir “would be placed in interrogation rooms right under the air conditioner and they would make the room as cold as possible, with his hands tied to his waist, and then he would be tied into a fetal position on the floor in that very cold room.” In addition, Zahir “spent a year in a room that he called ‘a cage for animals.’ And in that room, he had to eat, sleep, exercise and shower all in the same place. Including elimination of waste.”
This reality has always been clear to some people within the US government. One of them is Mark Fallon, a retired 30-year federal investigator who, from 2002 to 2004, headed the Pentagon’s Criminal Investigation Task Force (CITF), established to investigate cases that would be brought before a military commission. In the early days, Fallon said it was clear to him and CITF that most of the people arriving at Guantánamo were not the super-villain terrorists portrayed by the US government.
Fallon said CITF concluded “an overwhelming majority” of detainees had no intelligence or investigative value and should be released, while JTF-GTMO argued for further detention. However, it was JTF-GTMO’s assessments that caught the White House’s ear, while voices like Fallon’s were marginalized.
TRT World traveled to Guantanamo to find out whether President Trump’s plan to fill the controversial prison with “bad dudes” will help or harm the US so-called ‘war on terror’.
Mark was interviewed in this TRT World story on Guantanamo, along with other former US government officials and former Guantanamo detainee Nazir Stassi.
TRT world travels to Guantanamo to find out whether President Trump’s plan to fill the controversial prison up with “bad dudes” will help or harm the US so-called ‘war on terror’.
Mark was quoted in this article published after a draft executive order was leaked that could have cleared the way for the CIA to once again brutally interrogate torture suspects in secret prisons around the world. During his presidential campaign, Trump vowed to bring back torture.
Channel News Asia reported on a panel Mark was on with other former senior US government officials in Paris, France. The conference and panel was organised by leading rights groups including the International Federation for Human Rights, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights and the US-based Center for Constitutional Rights.