Five Odd Revelations from the WikiLeaks Guantanamo Files

Casio watches denote Al-Qaeda members and a former detainee is now a U.S.-supported Libyan rebel

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This morning, we summarized the primary insights from the classified documents on Guantanamo Bay released today by WikiLeaks and dissected by several news outlets--insights that mainly revolve around the various threat levels posed by detainees in the camp and Osama Bin-Laden's whereabouts shortly after 9/11. But as journalists pick apart the vast amount of data, they're also surfacing some strange revelations.

Casio Wristwatch Considered 'Sign of Al-Qaeda' The Guardian points out that in a training document on how to determine the threat posed by detainees, staffers were told that black Casio F-91W or silver Casio A159W digital watches were given to students as a timer during "al-Qaida bomb-making training courses in Afghanistan," and that around "one-third of the JTF-GTMO detainees that were captured with these models of watches have known connections to explosives." Casio, from what we can tell, has decided to stay silent on this rather unsavory association with their products, though the company does recommend the inexpensive F-91W for "casual wear" and for people who don't want to worry "about missing an appointment again."

WorldNetDaily Cited in KSM File Foreign Policy's Blake Hounshell points out on Twitter that the file for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed includes as a source the conservative website WorldNetDaily--a news outlet that recently feuded with Salon over the accuracy of WND's stories on President Obama's efforts to conceal the truth about his birth certificate. The KSM file cites a 2006 WND article about an Al-Qaeda commander warning of a terror attack in the U.S. to rival 9/11. Oh, and that whole Casio wristwatch thing? The file notes that KSM had one in a sign of his links to Al-Qaeda.

The Ridiculous Reasons Given for Some Detentions Today's leaks reveal that 150 detainees were innocent civilians who were detained as part of an intelligence gathering effort but who appear to have been targated, at least in part, for simply doing their jobs. Sami al-Hajj, a Sudanese cameraman for Al Jazeera who was was held at Guantanamo for six years, was kept there partially for questioning about the television network's "training program, telecommunications equipment, and newsgathering operations in Chechnya, Kosovo, and Afghanistan, including the network's acquisition of a video of UBL [Osama bin Laden] and a subsequent interview with UBL." One Afghan taxi driver was shipped to Guantanamo "because of his general knowledge of activities in the areas of Khowst and Kabul based as a result of his frequent travels through the region as a taxi driver."

Former Detainee Now Libyan Rebel Leader The New York Times details how former Guantanamo prisoner Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda bin Qumu, who was once deemed a "probable member of Al Qaeda," is now a leader of a Libyan rebel brigade. "The former enemy and prisoner of the United States is now an ally of sorts, a remarkable turnabout resulting from shifting American policies rather than any obvious change in Mr. Qumu," the Times notes.

U.S. Thought Al-Qaeda Operative Was British Informant The file for Adil Hadi al Jazairi Bin Hamlili, an Algerian citizen accused of bombing two Christian churches and a hotel in Pakistan in 2002, shows that "U.S. interrogators were convinced that he was simultaneously acting as an informer for British and Canadian intelligence, The Guardian observes.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.