Many in the Western media and political elites have spent years since 9/11 smearing a litany of Muslim “terrorists” because the US leaked selective information to friendly journalists and leaders. Serious questions were dismissed. The Murdoch press globally loved to hype bogus US claims about the “worst of the worst” at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere. So to read today this, in Murdoch’s Australian by Sally Neighbour, is welcome but when will the self-analysis come, if ever? What of the countless articles sourced solely from US intelligence in the pages of the Murdoch media? Media needs to grow a memory, or the general public will treat you with appropriate contempt:
The secret files released by WikiLeaks on the two Australians formerly consigned to the Guantanamo Bay prison camp provide a unique and disturbing window into the quality of the intelligence relied on by the US to confine terror suspects in the prison camp supposedly reserved for “the worst of the worst”.
The dossiers on Mamdouh Habib and David Hicks reveal the so-called evidence used to justify their incarceration to be a confused mishmash replete with glaring factual errors and inconsistencies, principally based on self-incrimination that would not be admitted in a proper court of law and tainted by the inclusion of information obtained under torture.
The case against Habib is summarised in a memorandum marked “secret” on the letterhead of the Department of Defence Joint Task Force, Guantanamo Bay, dated August 6, 2004, and addressed to the commander of the United States Southern Command in Miami.
The document begins with a “detainee summary”, which is said to be based on Habib’s own statements but is full of factual mistakes. For example, it says Habib lived in “Meadowbark” (a misspelling of Meadowbank) in Sydney in 1980, when he didn’t arrive in Australia until 1982; that he later moved to “Greenwika”, apparently a reference to Sydney’s Greenacre; that he visited Egypt with his wife and children in 1986 when in fact they went in 1988; that he travelled to the US in 1992, which he did not; and so on. These could be dismissed as trivial slips except that this is a quasi-legal document that was used to justify Habib’s detention in Guantanamo for more than three years.