HEADLINES -- April 25, 2011 at 7:32 AM EDT
Details Revealed on Gitmo Detainees, Hundreds Escape from Afghan Prison
The release of hundreds of classified military documents has provided new details on inmates detained at Guantanamo Bay, as well as new insight on where key plotters were on 9/11. WikiLeaks, previously behind the release of hundreds of diplomatic cables, released them to a handful of American and European media outlets.
The documents include evaluations of inmates held at the prison over a seven-year period, from 2002 to 2009, known as Detainee Assessment Briefs (DABs). In them, each detainee has a designated classification of risk. Some remain incarcerated and some have been transferred to the custody of other nations. Included were both high-risk prisoners and those later deemed to be innocent.
The Guardian has an interactive graphic of all 779 detainees, which includes data points such as nationality, date of capture and why or how they were transferred to the prison.
More than 200 were seen as highly dangerous; several hundred more were considered low-level fighters.
According to the Washington Post, many of the key al-Qaeda leaders were in Karachi, Pakistan, when the attacks happened and soon shifted to Afghanistan.
And the so-called mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, is said to have continued giving orders while behind bars, according to the New York Times:
Sometime around March 2002, he ordered a former Baltimore resident to don a suicide bomb vest and carry out a "martyrdom" attack against Pervez Musharraf, then Pakistan's president, according to the documents. But when the man, Majid Khan, got to the Pakistani mosque that he had been told Mr. Musharraf would visit, the assignment turned out to be just a test of his "willingness to die for the cause."
The Times' account also tells of a shepherd who was captured near the site of a roadside bomb. He was declared an "enemy combatant" and not released for three years. A Sudanese cameraman who worked for al Jazeera was held for six years.
Government officials say that many of the details released from documents prepared years ago is not a reflection of current assessments. A statement released by the Pentagon to the Times and NPR said that many had been upgraded or bolstered by follow-up evaluations and that "any given DAB illegally obtained and released by Wikileaks may or may not represent the current view of a given detainee." It also said that both President Bush and President Obama's administrations "have made the protection of American citizens the top priority and we are concerned that the disclosure of these documents could be damaging to those efforts."
Taliban Insurgents Help Hundreds Escape From Afghan Prison
Taliban fighters helped dig a tunnel more than 1,000 feet long to a prison in Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, allowing an estimated 475 prisoners to escape. According to a Taliban spokesman, 100 of those were considered Taliban commanders.
An official in Kandahar said 12 of them have been recaptured and a search was underway for the rest. In 2008, more than 900 prisoners escaped from a Kandahar prison when a suicide bomber blasted open the gates.
Kandahar is among the most volatile provinces and a focal point for NATO forces trying to combat Taliban influence. It is not among the provinces being handed to Afghan security forces in July.
Libyan State Television Says NATO Strike Hit Gadhafi Compound
Libyan state television said a NATO strike hit one of Moammar Gadhafi's compounds in Tripoli, destroying the building. The bulletin claimed that "crusaders' airstrikes" on the Bab al-Aziziya complex had hit civilians.
The news follows a weekend of intense fighting in Misrata, which claimed an estimated 32 lives. The intensive shelling campaign by Gadhafi's forces compound an already dire humanitarian situation, with hospitals overwhelmed by casualties and supplies of food and water running low.
Rebel fighters claimed gains in Misrata and said some members of Gadhafi's forces had been trying to blend into the civilian population. A government spokesman said its forces were pulling back to allow for a negotiated end to fighting in the city.
At Least 5 Killed in Latest Syria Clashes, According to Witnesses
Security forces struck back at protesters in the southern city of Daraa, according to witnesses, bringing in tanks and using live ammunition. Five people were reportedly killed in the latest clashes, with an estimated 300 dead in more than a month of unrest in Syria.
Despite the lifting of the loathed emergency law, President Bashar al-Assad faces growing anger, calls for him to step aside and a barrage of international criticism for his handling of the protests. The head of the U.N.'s human rights division said Assad's government should "stop killing its own people."
The Syrian government has called the protests part of an "insurrection" and blamed militant groups. It has vowed to crack down on demonstrations.