Fouad Mahoud Hasan Al Rabia

From dKosopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Findings

Fouad Mahoud Hasan al Rabia is a 45 year old Kuwaiti husband and father with a master's degree in management, who testified to a Guantanamo Bay Combatant Status Review Tribunal in fluent English. Hasan says he's been employed for many years by Kuwaiti Airlines as an engineer and emphasizes having given a $100 million contract to an American company and claims to be known in Kuwait as pro-American. He is an educated, well-to-do person of high social status. He has what seems like an authentic history of involvement in charitable causes such as help for orphans and disaster relief, and he describes having traveled to a variety of countries for this work, and at one point having his efforts featured on Kuwaiti TV.

The US military's contentions supporting Hasan's enemy combatant status are: "The detainee provided material support to the Taliban and al Qaida; the detainee traveled to Afghanistan in October 2001; the detainee met Usama Bin Laden on four occasions during July 2001; the detainee delivered money to Usama Bin Laden; the detainee's name and telephone number were found in an address book recovered from the residence where senior Al Qaida operative Khalid Shaykh (sic) Muhammed was captured; the detainee provided coordination and logistical support to Taliban fighters in Tora Bora [Afghanistan]; the detainee was present at an Al Qaida meeting in the Tora Bora Mountains [Afghanistan] where the distribution of SAM-7s and other anti-aircraft weapons was discussed; and the detainee was an operator for the Al WAFA non-governmental organization (NGO), and likely transferred large sums of money through a front company."

Hasan testified to his Combatant Status Review Tribunal that he went to Afghanistan in June 2001 to see Afghani relief needs for himself. Unbeknownst to him, or so he says, the arranger of his trip, Abu Suliyman, was an Qaida associate, and another traveling companion a Muslim student scholar who wanted to meet Usama Bin Laden. "To us in Kuwait before this, Bin Laden was an eccentric millionaire who became a revolutionary. This was way before September happened, and way before we realized what Bin Laden was capable of doing," said Hasan--and so meeting the man did not inspire dread, though Hasan was disturbed when Bin Laden seemed to approve "killing innocent people," and stated in response to a question by Hasan that he wanted the Americans out of the Arabian Peninsula even if it meant Saddam Hussein would again seize Kuwait. Over three days, he was in Bin Laden's presence four times.

The tribunal paraphrases him in its summary of his testimony, "meeting Usama Bin Laden was not the purpose of the trip and the only reason interrogators know about the meetings is because he volunteered the information." The tribunal considered his story that he traveled in the company of an Al Qaida operative to meet Usama Bin Laden and later fled into the Tora Bora mountains in the company of militants as a complete innocent, not to be believable. However, the documents do not imply to me what USA Today journalist Toni Loci inferred on 11/4/04: "'There was more to the story than the detainee would have the tribunal believe,' it said in its report, referring to secret evidence." In context, in my opinion, that assessment that there was "more to the story" seems based on the tribunal's skepticism of Hasan's own testimony and the circumstantial evidence. During questioning Hasan asserts that the tribunal has no evidence that, for instance, he delivered money to Usama Bin Laden (something he denies)--and they do not seem to disagree with him. I do not notice them ever alluding to classified evidence, which is not to say there necessarily isn't any.

Hasan testifies that he returned home after his first trip to Afghanistan and made a pitch to the Kuwaiti Joint Relief Committee, which he says was interested but sent him back to Afghanistan to obtain more concrete evidence of the needs, particularly photographs. Cageprisoners.com says that "In 2001 he applied for a job at the International Charitable Islamic Organization (according to that organization's website, it is a leading member of the Kuwait Joint Relief Council. However, it seems that the application process was quite lengthy, and he decided to deliver aid on his own. He delivered more than 30 trucks of aid from Meshad, Iran, he told his family," and he wrote similarly in a Red Cross letter, "As you know, I traveled to deliver rescue materials to the Afghani refugees on the Iranian Afghani borders and some hospitals in Kandahar." He does not mention this freelance giving in his tribunal testimony, and it not totally clear how this fits with the story he told there.

The September 11th attacks happened in this interval, and Hasan was aware Bin Laden was implicated. War broke out not long after Hasan re-entered Afghanistan (he claims he was not aware of the American deadline which had passed, for the start of bombings). He was trapped in the country which was devolving into a state of lawless chaos. He turned to the well connected Abu Suliyman who was able to arrange places to stay and eventually, apparently harrowingly, they headed for Pakistan over the Tora Bora Mountains in the company of an Al Qaida honcho named Abdul Ghoudous. Because of his obesity and knee, neck and back pain, this journey was very difficult for Hasan, and sometimes he was provided a mule.

Headed in the same direction were many refugees, and also a lot of fighters. Trapped and hiding high in the mountains, he says Ghoudous ordered him to oversee the distribution of provisions (blankets, rice, "no weapons"). Later "for another week, I was overseeing six or seven mules" used to carry water. When Goudous finally permitted Hasan to leave with a group of injured people, he was captured by villagers and turned over to the Northern Alliance, and then to the Americans.

The United States' case for Hasan's enemy combatant status includes a number of assertions which they did not present specific evidence of, for instance that he gave money to Usama Bin Laden. Perhaps the best evidence supporting Hasan's detainee status is his own frank admission that while he attempted to flee into Pakistan, he provided assistance to militants like Abdul Ghoudous in the form of basic work he did while stranded in the mountains. Whether he did more, I don't know.

Hasan had a "personal representative" at his tribunal hearing, who assisted with the process but clearly was not acting as an attorney. No witnesses were called, and if there was supporting evidence for Hasan's charitable and other activities (an included letter from his wife notes she was gathering such evidence), it wasn't discussed.

A point of concern which Hasan raises is his fear that the particular detention unit he was assigned to at the time of the tribunal, the new, state of the art permanent facility "Camp 5," was associated with detainees of the highest interest, and could be a factor prejudicing the tribunal against him. He gives a seemingly anxious explantion of why the tribunal should not be prejudiced by this, including his impression that "military police needed training on how to run this facility when it is fully operational. As you can see now, it is half full." This was actually the thing that made me pity Hasan the most for the unfair circumstances, even though I think it is unlikely it had anything to do with the tribunal's decision. He had been in Gitmo three years at that point and been interrogated more than 100 times, and seemingly been a fairly compliant prisoner, but none of this entitled him to have real charges brought against him in a real court of law with legal assurances of fairness and impartiality.

Cageprisoners.com says, "Recent reports cite that Fouad has been given a particularly bad time at Guantanamo. Initially, after passing a polygraph test he was put in the best section of the Camp, but recently has been moved back again. After General Miller came to the camp, he was treated more harshly and was moved cell very two hours and was short shackled. Because he was educated, wealthy, and they were determined that he had to be part of a cell." Among the negative effects of Gitmo imprisonment, Cageprisoners notes Hasan "losing weight in a substantial way;" this may be so, but he describes himself in his testimony as having been obese (240 pounds) to begin with. Cageprisoners says, "Shafiq Rasul recollects when he was next to him in isolation that he was suffering from serious stomach pains and that medication was denied. He was told that he couldn't receive medication unless he cooperated." He is also described as depressed and worried.

Links

AP List of Detainees

Personal tools