Will the real 20th hijacker…


If, as AlQaeda claims, Fawaz al-Nashmi, a Qaeda operative killed in 2004 in Saudi Arabia was the 20th 9/11 hijacker, slated to join the team that took over Flight 93, what happens to Mohammad al-Kahtani, the prisoner at Guantanamo who the Bush administration has been insisting is the 20th hijacker (whenever it’s not insisting that Zacharias Moussaoui was the 20th hijacker)? Al-Khatani was the subject of a March 3 Time expose, and the log of his interrogation, if you haven’t seen it yet, is an absolute must-read.

Gitanjali S. Gutierrez, a staff attorney at CCR, met with the prisoner in December 2005 and in January of this year. She tells Time that in her meetings with him, Khatani “painfully described how he could not endure the months of isolation, torture, and abuse, during which he was nearly killed, before making false statements to please his interrogators.” Al-Khatani, who has not been charged with anything, has withdrawn his statements, and Gutierrez has gone to federal court in the District of Columbia to demand that the government either release or charge him.

The interrogation transcript details conditions so severe, al-Khatani at one point had to be rushed to the hospital, according to CCR, which adds that “the Deputy Assistant F.B.I Director for Counterterrorism described Mr. al-Qahtani’s state as `evidencing behavior consistent with extreme psychological trauma.'”

Here is a brief excerpt from an interrogation on December 16, 2002:

0315: White noise. He was offered a drink of water and he refused.
0400: P/E down. Showed detainee banana rats [sic] standard of life vs his standard of life in his wooden booth. Compared his life in a wooden booth to the life he could have with his brothers in Cuba .
0430: Detainee was walked for 10 minutes. Detainee refused water. 0450: Detainee listened to white noise.
0530: Detainee required to sit and watch as interrogator and linguist played checkers. Laughed and mocked detainee throughout game. White noise present in background.

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