Latif: Indefinitely Detained Even in Death

ProPublica reports that Adnan Farhan abd al Latif’s body remains in limbo–in an undisclosed location.

His body hasn’t been sent back to his home country of Yemen, and it’s no longer at Gitmo.

It’s being held in an undisclosed location.

“Mr. Latif’s remains are being handled with the utmost care and respect by medical professionals and are being maintained in an appropriate facility designed to best facilitate preservation,” said a Defense Department spokesman, Lt. Col. Todd Breasseale. “His remains are no longer at JTF-Guantanamo Bay.”

Breasseale blames the delay on the Yemenis, who have insisted on autopsy and investigation reports into why he died.

Lt. Col. Breasseale said the U.S. is responding to Yemen’s “wishes that we maintain the remains until a time when they are prepared to receive them.”

A Yemeni official said his government “will not accept the remains until we get an official autopsy and an investigation report. We just want to know what happened.” The official, who declined to be named, also said that the government was in touch with Latif’s family.

Latif died on September 8–26 days ago, or 44% the period until the election. if the sole explanation for the delay is that the US is unwilling to turn over an explanation of how Latif died, it makes it far more likely that Latif died of something other than suicide.

So are they going to hold Latif on ice until the election? Is that the idea?

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

15 replies
  1. harpie says:

    Six Questions for Dr. Michael Baden: The Guantánamo autopsies; Scott Horton; 4/4/10

    [Horton][emphasis added] It appears that the autopsies of the three Guantanamo prisoners were commenced within one day of their deaths and that no effort was made to notify their families or secure permission for an autopsy. Does this strike you as normal procedure?

    Probaility of “something other than suicide”? Pretty large, imo.

  2. Snarki, child of Loki says:

    I thought there was an Islamic religious injunction to bury a dead person within something like 2 days.

    Not sure how that would fit with “utmost care and respect”. Well, that’s probably code for “not pissing on it. Much”.

  3. guest says:

    I think it is pretty far fetched to think that most Americans care whether he killed himself or if another Lindsey England (or whatever her name was) did him in so she could get her Xmas card picture taken with him.
    On the other hand, Team Obama seems to think that promising to revive Simpson Bowles and screw over everybody hoping ever to retire is a winning debate/campaign strategy. Basically I’m saying that you’re using logic and morality as tools to understanding the motives of very sick people.

  4. Garrett says:

    His body hasn’t been sent back to his home country of Yemen, and it’s no longer at Gitmo.

    It’s being held in an undisclosed location.

    Kafka could not have written it better.

  5. thatvisionthing says:

    @Garrett: Is anyone thinking Cheney … necrophilia? My second thought.

    Clues are shaping up: VP Cheney, in undead heaven, with a [____].

    [Congress? Lawyer? Judge?]

  6. thatvisionthing says:

    @guest:

    I think it is pretty far fetched to think that most Americans care whether he killed himself…

    You’ll never know, of course, until you put it to a fair vote, if that is even possible in America anymore. I would like to see that on my ballot: Do you care? I hear way too much about American people don’t care when in fact I’m never asked.

    I noticed something recently, though, that I find interesting. If you do a search on Latif’s tag here, look at the number of shares and tweets and likes, it’s a stat at the bottom.

    http://www.emptywheel.net/tag/adnan-farhan-abd-al-latif/

    Especially look at the stats for these two posts:

    – Janice Rogers Brown and Our Failed Justice System Killed Adnan Farhan abd al Latif
    – SCOTUS Kills Habeas Corpus

  7. harpie says:

    Maybe someone feels they need to hold onto this “ghost detainee” until some other “things die down.”

    While 928 of the 950 pages of documents from the Transportation Command of the DOD are reprinted news articles, there is one internal email dated February 17, 2006—relating to Guantánamo detainees scheduled for release—that is of note. It recommends “hold[ing] off on return flights for 45 days or so until things die down. Otherwise we are likely to have hero’s welcomes awaiting the detainees when they arrive.” The email also recommends transfer in a smaller, more discrete plane and has attached a reference to the United Nations (UN) report released around that time criticizing Guantánamo.

  8. thatvisionthing says:

    @harpie: I know Latif was cleared for release several times — could this e-mail actually be referring to him in a group?

    Second thought is, why not do the bin-Laden “burial at sea”, even if it’s just a press release? Maybe they can’t decide what the story should be? It’s all PR fiction, I’m just imagining their story conferences.

  9. harpie says:

    @thatvisionthing: I don’t think this e-mail refers to Latif, because he was only first recomended for release in December 2006.
    I think Marcy’s conjecture is correct. It has something to do with how he died and trying to wait until the election is over.

  10. thatvisionthing says:

    @harpie: Meaning we will hear some grisly hidden truth when it’s too late to matter?

    Though, election — Romney’s worse than Obama, or no better, when it comes to Gitmo and prisoners, yes? What truth would Obama want to hide? That he was too nice to Latif? Now there’s Romney ammunition.

    Well, I can’t wait. Hold that thought: http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=iceman+abu+ghraib

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