President Barack Obama,
I have just finished reading, Guantanamo Diary, by Mohamedou Ould Slahi. I am enclosing the copy that I read with this letter, in the hope that you will pardon these men so that they may be released. If you read nothing else from his book, this passage on page 371 pretty much sums it up:
In the beginning, the U.S. Government was happy with its secret operations, since it thought it had managed to gather all the evils of the world in GTMO, and had circumvented U.S. law and international treaties so that it could perform it’s revenge. But then it realized, after a lot of painful work, that it had gathered a bunch of non-combatants. Now the U.S. Government is stuck with a problem, but it is not willing to be forthcoming and disclose the truth about the whole operation.
Everybody makes mistakes. I believe the U.S. owes it to the American people to tell them the truth about what is happening in Guantanamo.
There is nothing new reported in Guantanamo Diary. The United States Intelligence services believe a man is a terrorist. All information against him is completely circumstantial, and after an initial investigation he is cleared of involvement in any terrorist plot. But the United States Intelligence services just cannot let him go. He is extradited to a foreign country (Jordan) to a prison and kept there as a shadow prisoner – one that does not officially exist – who must be hidden every two weeks when the delegation from the International Red Cross visits the prison. ( I was surprised the CIA did not redact this portion of Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s account. Perhaps they think they have enough deniability to avoid being prosecuted for this war crime. Unfortunately for You, since the buck stops in the oval office: You do not. ) The Jordanians are harsh, but for them to cross the line and torture someone they need a good reason. No information they were given about Mohamedou Ould Slahi was enough of a reason for them to treat him more than harshly. Mohamedou Ould Slahi is then sent to the Bagram Air Force base in Afghanistan, where his torture begins. After two weeks at Bagram, he is shipped ( like a sack of potatoes ) to the United States military prison on the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. He is still there. He is still there, because of You.
What I learned from Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s book was that he is a fellow Information Technologies professional. I should feel a certain empathy for all people ( and I do ); however Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s background in Engineering and IT makes me more empathetic to his imprisonment and torture at our request in Jordan and in our custody in Guantanamo than the rest of the random people our terrorist dragnet has captured.
You could pardon these men today. You could order the military to return these men to their families and home countries.
Please do not wait until it is too late.
Too late for you to help them.
Too late to retrieve something of your legacy.