WikiLeaks starts publishing the Guantanamo Bay files leak.
The Guantánamo Bay files leak (also known as The Guantánamo Files, or colloquially, Gitmo Files) began on 24 April 2011, when WikiLeaks, along with several independent news organizations, began publishing 779 formerly secret documents relating to detainees at the United States' Guantánamo Bay detention camp established in 2002 after its invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. The documents consist of classified assessments, interviews, and internal memos about detainees, which were written by the Pentagon's Joint Task Force Guantanamo, headquartered at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. The documents are marked "secret" and NOFORN (information that is not to be shared with representatives of other countries).
Media reports on the documents note that more than 150 innocent Afghans and Pakistanis, including farmers, chefs, and drivers, were held for years without charges. The documents also reveal that some of the prison's youngest and oldest detainees, who include Mohammed Sadiq, an 89-year-old man, and Naqib Ullah, a 14-year-old boy, suffered from fragile mental and physical conditions. The files contain statements from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the planner of the 9/11 attacks, who said that al-Qaeda possessed nuclear capacity and would use it to retaliate for any attack on Osama bin Laden.
Source of the leak
The New York Times said it received the documents from an anonymous source other than WikiLeaks, and it shared them with other news outlets such as NPR and The Guardian. WikiLeaks suggested on Twitter that the source might be Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a former associate. WikiLeaks noted that "our first partner, The Telegraph, published the documents at 1:00 AM GMT, long before NYT or Guardian."The Guardian reported that the Guantanamo Bay files were "among hundreds of thousands of documents" that U.S. soldier Chelsea Manning was accused of having turned over to WikiLeaks in 2010.
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) said the documents remained legally classified despite the leaks. It informed the lawyers who represent the prisoners in Guantanamo that they were not allowed to read the documents, which have been published by The New York Times and other major media outlets.
The U.S. government issued a statement: "It is unfortunate that The New York Times and other news organizations have made the decision to publish numerous documents obtained illegally by WikiLeaks concerning the Guantanamo detention facility." The documents seem to be "Detainee Assessment Briefs" (DABs) written between 2002 and 2009 and "may or may not represent the current view of a given detainee."
The Guardian noted that, despite the government's claim of having detained dangerous militants, the files, which covered almost all the prisoners held since 2002, revealed an emphasis of holding people to extract intelligence. Although many prisoners were assessed as not posing a threat to security, they were nonetheless detained for lengths of time.
The files showed that nearly 100 detainees had been diagnosed with depressive or psychotic illnesses. The United States tried to retain British nationals and legal residents, such as Jamal al-Harith and Binyam Mohamed, for intelligence value, although its agents knew neither were members of the Taliban or al-Qaeda, and Mohamed had been tortured, so any "evidence" he provided was suspect due to that fact.
The Guardian noted that the files revealed that the U.S. relied strongly on evidence obtained from a relatively few number of detainees, most of whom had been tortured. One detainee made allegations against more than 100 other detainees, so many that his accusations should have been considered suspect. The U.S. issued guidance to its interrogators that was based on assumptions of threat based on flimsy associations – through attendance at particular mosques, stays at certain guest houses in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and other elements.
The Guantanamo Files revealed that Sami al-Hajj, an Al Jazeera journalist and cameraman, was detained from 2002 to 2008, allegedly in part so that U.S. officials could interrogate him about the news network. According to the file, he was detained "to provide information on ... the al-Jazeera news network's training programme, telecommunications equipment, and newsgathering operations in Chechnya, Kosovo and Afghanistan, including the network's acquisition of a video of UBL [Osama bin Laden] and a subsequent interview with UBL." He was considered to be "a HIGH risk, as he is likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests, and allies" and "of HIGH intelligence value."
Sami al-Haji has said that he was beaten and sexually assaulted in detention. His lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, also legal director of the British organisation Reprieve, said that the U.S. had tried to force al-Haji to become an informant against his employers.
WikiLeaks has said that, as with previous releases, at least as important as the content of the published documents is that readers should note the reaction of each media news outlet. For instance, WikiLeaks suggested "[comparing] the first paragraph of these two stories about the same thing" by BBC and CNN.
The BBC version opened with the following statement:
Wikileaks: Many at Guantanamo 'not dangerous' – Files obtained by the website Wikileaks have revealed that the U.S. believed many of those held at Guantanamo Bay were innocent or only low-level operatives.
Military documents reveal details about Guantanamo detainees, al Qaeda – Nearly 800 classified U.S. military documents obtained by WikiLeaks reveal extraordinary details about the alleged terrorist activities of al Qaeda operatives captured and housed at the U.S. Navy's detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The contrast between foreign and United States media was noted by several journalists, including Glenn Greenwald of Salon. He described the differences as "stark, predictable and revealing". He wrote, "Foreign newspapers highlight how these documents show U.S. actions to be so oppressive and unjust, while American newspapers downplayed that fact."
The bombing killed 37 people and injured 173 others, including 86 who had to be hospitalised. Of the casualties, 31 died at the scene, three later in hospitals, one en route to a hospital, one on the 2nd February after having been put in a coma, and another on the 24th February after being hospitalised in grave condition.
Russia's Federal Investigative Committee later identified the suicide bomber as a 20-year-old from the North Caucasus, and said that the attack was aimed "first and foremost" at foreign citizens.
Domodedovo International is located 42 kilometres (26 mi) southeast of central Moscow and is Russia's largest airport, with over 22 million passengers passing through in 2010. It is heavily used by foreign workers and tourists.
In 2004, two aircraft which had just taken off from Domodedovo were bombed by female Chechen suicide bombers. The incident resulted in an extensive step-up of security at the airport, including full body scanners.
The explosion affected the baggage-claim area of the airport's international arrivals hall. Some reports have suggested that the explosion was the work of a suicide bomber, with investigators saying the explosion was caused by an "improvised device packed with shrapnel, pieces of chopped wire" and the force equivalent to between two and five kilograms of TNT. Russia's chief investigator has stated the explosion was the work of terrorists. Investigators found a male head and believed it might have been that of the suicide bomber.
According to Russian newspaper accounts, the bombing was carried out by two suicide bombers, a man and a woman. Another three accomplices who had kept their distance from the blast were sought, but the source of the attack remained unclear. Security experts speculated that the attackers may have been Islamist militants from the North Caucasus, though this was not confirmed. The attack may have been an act of revenge for recent anti-militant operations, including the killing of Pakhrudin Gadzhiyev in Dagestan the previous Friday. Gadzhiyev was suspected of organizing suicide attacks in 2010.
The first identified casualty was 29-year-old Ukrainian playwright Anna Yablonskaya, author of more than a dozen plays. Half an hour before the explosion, Yablonskaya had arrived on a flight from her native city of Odessa to receive an award at a ceremony for young playwrights established by Cinema Art magazine.
According to Vladimir Markin, a representative of the Russian Federation Investigative Committee, two British citizens died in the blast, however, the BBC in a later article mentioned only one British citizen among the dead, as well as one German citizen. Gordon Cousland, an analyst for CACI, was confirmed to be a British citizen, while another victim, Kirill Bodrashov, who had been listed as a British citizen by EMERCOM, was a Russian citizen who lived in London for several years. The Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported that a Bulgarian man was among the casualties; however, it was later clarified that the ethnic Bulgarian who had died in the blast actually had Austrian citizenship.
According to the Slovak embassy in Moscow, Slovak actress Zuzana Fialová was injured in the blast.
A number of flights originally bound for Domodedovo were redirected to Moscow's Vnukovo International Airport following the attack. Russian authorities directed all of the country's airports to immediately begin inspecting all visitors before allowing them to enter the airports. However, this practice was ruled illegal by an appellate court in June 2011. The express commuter trains that run from Domodedovo to the city were operating free of charge. The trains from other Moscow airports, where flights originally scheduled to land at Domodedovo were diverted to, were also running free of charge.
At Domodedovo, the surge of emergency vehicles caused public transportation delays. In response, citizens volunteered to carpool passengers to Moscow, and taxi drivers slashed their rates.
The blast was followed by a drop of almost two percent at the (MICEX).
On 8 February 2011, a faction of the Caucasus Emirate led by Doku Umarov claimed responsibility for the attack, and threatened further attacks. In the video in which Doku Umarov claimed responsibility for the bombing, he took the opportunity to lash out, calling the major powers in the world "satanic". He criticised the US and Russia for being hypocrites, reasoning that if they actually followed their own principles, they would have to surrender world power to China, due to the senior status of Chinese culture and religion. He said, according to the logic of Russia and America, "China should then rule the world. They have the largest and most ancient cultures". He also attacked the US, Russia, Britain, and Israel for oppressing Muslims.
In the aftermath of the explosion, Russia's Investigative Committee stated that the bombing was aimed "first and foremost" at foreign citizens, adding that "it was by no means an accident that the act of terror was committed in the international arrivals hall".
Magomed Yevloyev's 16-year-old sister Fatima Yevloyeva and friend Umar Aushev were suspected of collaboration in the Domodedovo attack and detained in February 2011. They were released a few months later, but remained under investigation for illegal possession of firearms. In September, Yevloyeva and Aushev were no longer considered suspects, and were cleared of all charges.
In February and March 2011, Russian law enforcement agencies conducted special operations against members of the Caucasus Emirate in Ingushetia, during which they arrested several associates of Magomed Yevloyev, including Islam and Ilez Yandiyev.
By October 2011, four alleged associates of Yevloyev had been arrested: the Yandiyevs, Bashir Khamkhoyev, and Akhmed Yevloyev, Magomed's 15-year-old brother, who had allegedly helped assemble the bomb. They were charged with terrorism, formation of or participation in illegal armed bands, assault on a police officer, and illegal possession of firearms and explosives.Doku Umarov, who has claimed responsibility for masterminding the attack, has not been apprehended.
A year after the event, in January 2012, the Investigative Committee reported that the investigation was complete, and the final version of the indictment against Yevloyev, Khamkhoyev, and the Yandiyevs was to be brought by March 2012.
The trial in the case ended on 11 November 2013. Yandiyevs and Khamkhoyev were given life sentences, and Akhmed Yevloyev was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.
A separate investigation was conducted into the lax or inefficient security measures that were in place at the Domodedovo airport at the time of the attack.
It was reported that Doku Umarov had planned to follow the Domodedovo attack with two additional bombings in Moscow. An attack in Moscow's Red Square was planned for New Year's Eve, 2011, but it was foiled when the suicide bomber accidentally triggered the bomb in a hotel room in Kuzminki District, killing herself in the explosion. Another bombing was to be carried out by a Slavic Russian couple who had converted to Islam, and become members of Caucasus Emirate. However, they were unable to leave Dagestan, and instead committed two separate suicide bombings in the village of Gubden on 14 February 2011, killing two policemen and injuring 27 people.
On 11 November 2013, four men received jail terms for the offences including commissioning an act of terror, murder and attempted murder. Islam and Ilez Yandiyev and Bashir Khamkhoyev were sentenced to life terms in a penal colony, while Akhmed Yevloyev was jailed for 10 years as he was a minor at the time of the attack. The government's investigators said that the bombing was carried out by Magomed Yevloyev, Akhmed's brother, on the orders of the leader of the Caucasus Emirate, Doku Umarov. The convicted were accused of sheltering the bomber in Nazran, Ingushetia, providing him with money and putting him on a bus to Moscow in preparation for the attack. The investigators also said that his attack was plotted at a camp run by the Caucasus Emirate in Ingushetia.
In an interview with NTV on 31 January, the President of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov said that the bombing was most likely staged by the USA; he also previously had made statements in which he blamed the US for staging terrorist acts in Russia or for providing financial and technical support to its perpetrators. Senior Russian lawmakers Alexander Torshin and Vladimir Kolesnikov blamed the government of Georgia and its Ossetian agents for the bombing, an allegation that was swiftly condemned by the Foreign Ministry of Georgia as a "purposeful provocation".
The Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, the former separatist government in exile (which split from the other half which would become the Caucasus Emirate in 2007), released a statement sending condolences to the victims, suggesting the attackers may have been desperate, traumatized and hopeless, and strongly condemning the bombing.
A number of flights originally bound for Domodedovo were redirected to Moscow's Vnukovo International Airport following the attack. Russian authorities contacted all the Russian airports to immediately start inspecting all visitors before allowing them to enter the airport buildings.
Volunteers drove their own private cars to the airport to help transport passengers into Moscow.
The blast was followed by a drop of almost two percent at the Moscow stock exchange (MICEX).
Many world leaders expressed their condolences to Russia following the attack.
The BrazilianMinistry of External Relations stated that "the Brazilian Government is saddened to learn of the attack at Moscow's Domodedovo airport, which resulted in the loss of many lives". According to the note, the Brazilian Government, "in denouncing the action of radical groups that resort to violent acts against civilians, reiterates its staunch condemnation of such attacks, regardless of its motivations".
New Zealand’s second deadliest earthquake happens in Christchurch, killing 185 people.
At 12.51 p.m. on Tuesday 22 February 2011, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake caused severe damage in Christchurch and Lyttelton, killing 185 people and injuring several thousand.
The earthquake’s epicentre was near Lyttelton, just 10 km southeast of Christchurch’s central business district. It occurred nearly six months after the 4 September 2010 earthquake.
The earthquake struck at lunchtime, when many people were on the city streets. More than 130 people lost their lives in the collapse of the Canterbury Television and Pyne Gould Corporation buildings. Falling bricks and masonry killed 11 people, and eight died in two city buses crushed by crumbling walls. Rock cliffs collapsed in the Sumner and Redcliffs area, and boulders tumbled down the Port Hills, with five people killed by falling rocks.
Although not as powerful as the magnitude 7.1 earthquake on 4 September 2010, this earthquake occurred on a shallow fault line that was close to the city, so the shaking was particularly destructive.
The earthquake brought down many buildings damaged the previous September, especially older brick and mortar buildings. Heritage buildings suffered heavy damage, including the Provincial Council Chambers, Lyttelton’s Timeball Station, the Anglican Christchurch Cathedral and the Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. More than half of the buildings in the central business district have since been demolished, including the city’s tallest building, the Hotel Grand Chancellor.
Liquefaction was much more extensive than in September 2010. Shaking turned water-saturated layers of sand and silt beneath the surface into sludge that squirted upwards through cracks. Thick layers of silt covered properties and streets, and water and sewage from broken pipes flooded streets. House foundations cracked and buckled, wrecking many homes. Irreparable damage led to the demolition of several thousand homes, and large tracts of suburban land were subsequently abandoned.
The government declared a national state of emergency the day after the quake. Authorities quickly cordoned off Christchurch’s central business district. The cordon remained in place in some areas until June 2013. Power companies restored electricity to 75 per cent of the city within three days, but re-establishing water supplies and sewerage systems took much longer.
The Space Shuttle Discovery makes its final landing after 39 flights.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. — The shuttle Discovery braved the hellish fire of re-entry for the last time Wednesday and glided back to Earth to close out the space plane’s 39th and final voyage, an emotion-charged milestone marking the beginning of the end for America’s shuttle program.
Dropping through a partly cloudy sky, the commander, Steven W. Lindsey, and Col. Eric A. Boe of the Air Force guided Discovery through a sweeping left overhead turn, lined up on Runway 15 and floated to a picture-perfect touchdown at 11:57 a.m. Eastern time to wrap up an extended 13-day space station assembly mission.
As it coasted to a stop under a brilliant noon sun, Discovery had logged some 5,750 orbits covering nearly 150 million miles during 39 flights spanning a full year in space — a record unrivaled in the history of manned rockets.
“And Houston, Discovery, for the final time, wheels stopped,” Mr. Lindsey radioed flight controllers in Houston.
The space shuttle Discovery ended its final mission Wednesday, landing smoothly in Florida.
“Discovery, Houston, great job by you and your crew,” replied Charles Hobaugh, an astronaut in mission control. “That was a great landing in tough conditions, and it was an awesome docked mission you all had.”
Mr. Lindsey and Colonel Boe were joined aboard Discovery by Benjamin Alvin Drew Jr.; Nicole P. Stott; Michael R. Barratt, a physician-astronaut; and Capt. Stephen G. Bowen of the Navy.
Continue reading the main story
Museums Compete for NASA’s Soon-to-be-Retired Space Shuttles MARCH 8, 2011
Shuttle Discovery Makes Final Landing MARCH 9, 2011, 3:01 P.M. E.S.T.
FEB March 12, 2011
Not science. Nostalgia.Please provide more real science articles and less paparazzi journalism.
FEB March 12, 2011
Schlock!The truly sad part about his is that we hold this pathetic space program in any regard. Poorly made with a poor safety record and…
Dave Huntsman March 11, 2011
As a proud veteran of 20 years on the space shuttle team, I nevertheless want to correct BIll Harwood when he says “But between Atlantis’s…
As support crews swarmed onto the broad runway, engineers in the nearby Vehicle Assembly Building were busy preparing the shuttle Endeavour for rollout. The target date for Endeavour’s 25th and final flight is April 19.
NASA’s remaining orbiter, the Atlantis, is scheduled for liftoff June 28 on the shuttle program’s 135th flight, the final chapter in a post-Apollo initiative that produced what is arguably the most complex, capable and costly manned rockets ever built.
”We’re seeing a program come to a close here, and to see these shuttles, these beautiful, magnificent flying machines, end their service life is obviously a little bit sad for us,” Dr. Barratt said.
“But it is about time — they’ve lived a very long time, they’ve had a fabulous success record,” he added. “We look forward to seeing them retire with dignity and bringing on the next line of spaceships.”
What sort of spaceship might ultimately replace the shuttle is an open question, and it is not yet clear how NASA will fare in the budget debate.
But between Atlantis’s landing this summer and the debut of whatever vehicle replaces it — several years from now at best — the only way for American astronauts to reach orbit will be to hitch rides aboard Russian Soyuz spacecraft at $55 million a seat.
That is a bitter pill for the thousands of men and women who have worked on the shuttle fleet over the past three decades, who now face layoffs and the prospect of seeing Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis — the world’s most sophisticated spacecraft — turned into museum displays.
“We won’t do anything nearly as complex with another vehicle for a very long time,” Mr. Drew said. “Five or 10 years from now, they’re going to look back and say ‘How did we ever build a vehicle that could do all these things?’ ”
Correction: March 9, 2011
An earlier version of this article misstated the military standing of the astronaut Benjamin Alvin Drew Jr. He retired from the Air Force as a colonel; he is not a captain in the Air Force.
Hurricane Irene hits the United States east coast. 47 are killed.
Irene was one of the costliest storms in U.S. history and killed at least 47 people here and at least eight more in the Caribbean and Canada.
Irene was not considered a major hurricane because it did not have winds exceeding 111 mph, or Category 3, when it made landfall in North Carolina on Aug. 27.
You would think the impacts would be somewhat light, but the damages caused by Irene will be up there in one of the top 30 or so storms.The season produced the third-highest number of tropical storms on record, with 19, but only a slightly higher-than-average number of hurricanes, with six.
Read said low pressure systems on the East coast and high pressure systems over the central U.S. created favorable steering currents that kept the storms mostly churning far out to sea.
Storms won’t move into high pressure, clearing the way for an easy storm season for the U.S. Gulf Coast. An exception was Tropical Storm Lee, which formed off the Louisiana coast and drenched much of the eastern U.S.The rare combination of near-record ocean temperatures but unusually dry, stable air over the Atlantic was partially responsible for the unusually high count of named storms.
The space shuttle Discovery makes its final landing after 39 flights.
The oldest and most traveled space shuttle, Discovery, landed back on Earth after its final space flight and will now end its days as a museum piece to the delight the crowds.The shuttle cruised onto the runway at Kennedy Space Center at 1657 GMT, wrapping up a rich, 27-year career in spaceflight that has spanned more distance and endured longer than any of the remaining three US shuttles.
Discovery’s arrival back on Earth marks the beginning of the end for the three-decade old US shuttle program, which will formally end after Endeavour and Atlantis take their final spaceflights in the coming months.“Discovery is an amazing spacecraft and she has served her country well,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “The success of this mission and those that came before it is a testament to the diligence and determination of everyone who has worked on Discovery and the Space Shuttle Program, over these many years. As we celebrate the many accomplishments of this magnificent ship, we look forward to an exciting new era of human spaceflight that lies ahead.”
Discovery’s last trip to the International Space Station was initially scheduled to last 11 days but was extended to 13 so that astronauts could work on repairs and install a spare room.