It really comes down to two things; the perspective you bring to the table and critical thinking, or a lack there of.
If you come to this book, Guantanamo Diary by Mohamedou Ould Slahi with editing help from Larry Siems, from the perspective that Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld are war criminals or that being forced to listen to heavy metal music at staggering volumes while having the air conditioning or heat cranked up equates to torture, then this book will confirm much of the simplistic, mind numbed liberal horse crap that you have been fed about Gitmo.
Slahi, a Mauritanian by birth, has been in custody since November of 2001 and housed for much of that time at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Slahi penned this tale during a period in 2005 and 2006 and after some time and legal wrangling was allowed to release a redacted version of the story after some editing by Mr. Siems.
Magical Liberal Thinking
It doesn’t take long for what I can only call magical thinking to begin; in the preface of the book, Siems details some of the background to Slahi’s story.
Slahi readily admits that he was a member of al Qaeda in 1991 and 1992 when he traveled to Afghanistan and being trained in weapons and tactics then joining the fight against the invaders from Soviet Union. Magically you are supposed to believe that once that fight ceased with the Soviet defeat, that Slahi severed all ties and drop his allegiance to al Qaeda.
Then we must account for an ongoing, steady series of coincidences that occurred in Slahi’s life.
· Slahi was arrested in Mauritania in 2001 on suspicion that he was involved in the foiled Millenium Plot to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport on New Year’s Eve 1999. That plot was foiled by an alert border crossing agent at the Seattle/Tacoma, U.S./Canada crossing point who took Ahmed Ressam into custody when he attempted to smuggle explosives across the border. Magically Ressam had been a member of the same mosque that Slahi had led prayers during Ramadan. Canadian Security Intelligence Service agents had put Slahi under surveillance for several weeks, suspecting his participation in the plot, but had not been able to connect the dots to arrest him.
· According to the 9-11 Commission Report Slahi was responsible for recruiting multiple jihadists into the al Qaeda fold. In the book Slahi again readily admits meeting with Marwan al-Shehhi and Ziad Jarrah while living in Germany, even allowing them to stay with him. Magically al-Shehhi and Jarrah were among the terrorists who flew hijacked planes into building on September 11, 2001, killing nearly 3000 people in the process.
· Slahi also admits in the book to crossing paths with Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who intended to be a participant in the 9-11 attacks, but could not manage to get a U.S. Visa to enter the country. When bin al-Shibh was arrested and taken to Gitmo he admitted to knowing Slahi and told his interrogators that it was Slahi who directed him to an al Qaeda training camp. Bin al-Shibh later helped to supply cash and other items to the 9-11 terrorists as part of what would become known as the Hamburg (Germany) Cell that Slahi was believed to be a key contact in.
· Peter Finn, writing in the Washington Post, hardly a outlet of conservative thought, described Slahi and fellow Gitmo detainee Tariq al-Sawah as “two of the most significant informants ever to be held at Guantanamo.” Finn went on to say that the pair had provided enough reliable information to “help officials chart connections among Islamic radicals across Europe.” So while Siems and other magical thinking liberals would have you believe that Slahi simply told interrogator “what they wanted to hear” this report clearly shows that hard intel that was garnered from Slahi.
· Siems points to Marine Lt. Colonel Stuart Crouch a military prosecutor assigned to Slahi’s case, who declined to bring a prosecution against Slahi as evidence that there is no case to be made against him. To the contrary, Couch as stated in an Atlantic Magazine article, again far from a conservative outlet, that he chose not to prosecute Slahi on moral grounds, because he believed that Slahi had been tortured, but he still believed that Slahi was guilty of terrorist activities.
If Mohamadou Ould Slahi is innocent as seems and many other would lead you to believe it begs the question; why hasn’t President Obama, who seems hell bent to release as many terrorists as possible from Guantanamo and make good on his promise to close the facility, released Slahi back into the world? With reports of upwards of 60 to 70 percent of those who have been released from Gitmo taking up arms and returning to the Jihad, if Slahi is is so innocent, then wouldn’t he be a poster child for the program to release detainees?
Or could it be that all of these “coincidences” and the magical thinking they spawn are nothing more than a bunch of bullshit and this guy is a terrorist pure and simple. Was he on the receiving end of harsh treatment at the hands of his interrogators? Without a doubt. Did it amount to torture? All I ask is that you compare the treatment he received to that of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl or those taken prisoner by ISIS. Also know that Slahi is reported to be spending his time at Gitmo in a special compound, separated from other detainees for his own protection; tending his personal garden, writing and painting.