‘The US should be held accountable’: Guantánamo survivor on the war on terror’s failure

“Tyrants in the Middle East, they took it as an example of the bad they can do. Now, in China with the Uyghurs, in Saudi Arabia and Yemen and Egypt, [they think they can] take people and just indefinitely detain, torture, kill and beat them simply by saying ‘they are extremists’. They say, if our boss [America] can do it, why [can’t we]?”…

He had just been conducting research in Afghanistan, and was expecting to begin university at the end of the year. Instead, he was accused of being an al-Qaida leader, kidnapped by Afghan warlords and handed over to the CIA. He was kept in a prison camp in Afghanistan, then shipped to Guantánamo Bay. He remained hopeful. Aged 18, coming from a tribal area of Yemen with no electricity or running water, Adayfi did not know much about US values, but he assumed some principles held true in most of the world: that every person should be innocent until proven guilty; that if you have nothing to hide you should tell the truth; and that all humans, regardless of who they are, have rights.

He also believed common sense would prevail. After all, how could an 18-year-old from Yemen be an Egyptian al-Qaida leader when he couldn’t even speak the language captives accused him of speaking? Unfortunately, his assumptions were wrong. This was the beginning of 20 years of hell for Adayfi, who was held captive in Guantánamo until 2016. His new memoir, much of it written while chained and shackled to the ground with cameras and guards watching him (“I was like, I’m going to make it, my friend!” he laughs) is a harrowing account of the injustices detainees faced….


Guantanamo Bay – President Obama’s shame: The forgotten prisoners of America’s own Gulag



“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face, forever” – George Orwell’s Final Warning

George Monbiot – Asymmetric force: Pegasus spyware is the latest tool autocrats are using to stay in power