Originally, the Bush Presidency asserted they didn't have to tell captives taken in Afghanistan why they were suspected of being "enemy combatants". The Supreme Court over-ruled the Executive Branch in its 2004 ruling, in Rasul v. Bush. Subsequently, the DoD cobbled together one-time Combatant Status Review Tribunals, and annual Administrative Review Board hearings.
About 60 percent of the captives attended their Combatant Status Review Tribunals, in late 2004. A surprising number of the captives considered themselves innocent, and trusted their Tribunals would set them free. A smaller fraction attended their first annual review, in 2005. Less than 20 percent attended their second annual review, in 2006. The documents from 2007 haven't been released yet. So we don't know how the attendance was this year.
Abdul Razzak was one of the very few captives who attended all three of administrative proceedings.
Summary of Evidence for Combatant Status Review Tribunal -- Razzak, Abdul -- 21 September, 2004 -- page 71
Summarized Unsworn Detainee Statement -- pages 55-59
Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the case of Razzak, Abdul -- 16 August, 2005 -- pages 61-63
Summary of Administrative Review Board Proceedings of ISN 942 -- pages 272-283
Unclassified Summary of Evidence for Administrative Review Board in the case of Razzak, Abdul -- August 5, 2006 -- pages 90-93
Summary of Administrative Review Board Proceedings of ISN 942, pages 37-41
He willingly acknowledged that he had been involuntarily conscripted by the Taliban -- for three months a year, for the first five years of the Taliban's rule.
After decades of warfare, and the consequent breakdown in infrastructure, the Taliban found Afghanistan had an enormous shortfall of professionals, of skilled trades, and of clerks who could read, write and do simple arithmetic. About two dozen of the Aghan captives in Guantanamo acknowledged being conscripted by the Taliban -- but not to serve as fighters, rather to work in the civil service.
Razzak testified that the Taliban put him to work as a truck driver.
Razzak testified that while he was illiterate, one of his sons was not only literate, but could read and write English. The Taliban conscripted his son to work in computer support.
Razzak totally denied almost all the allegations against him. But one serious allegation, possibly the most serious, contained a grain of truth. He was accused of involvement in a plot to try to help senior Taliban leaders escape from custody.
Razzak testified that approximately two years prior to 9-11,
his son had been able to have access to some captured senior Northern Alliance leaders. Taliban Intelligence had been forced to put trust in him, because they relied on him for computer support.
The three men were Ismail Khan -- who is Afghanistan's current Minister of Energy, Zahir Qadir, a senior military leader, and a General Qaseem.
Razzak's son got funds to buy a land rover for the escape. Razzak, as the professional truck driver, was to drive the land rover. The leaders escaped, even though the vehicle hit a land mine. Razzak's son lost his foot. Razzak's hand was injured.
Is it possible that Razzak was lying? Sure. It is possible. But what is clear is that even though Razzak was in US custody for six years -- no member of the US counter-terrorism establishment bothered to take the trouble to contact Ismail Khan, to see if Razzak had been telling the truth.
Many other captives were told that the USA couldn't find the witnesses they requested, even though those witnesses were members of Karzai's cabinet, or they were senior members of Karzai's administration.
Unfortunately, the American counter-terror establishment did not take any steps to check out the alibis of any of its captives.
Another aspect of Razzak's case is that his death casts doubt on the meme that the Guantanamo captives are getting excellent health care. Razzak died of colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is a very slow-growing kind of cancer, that takes decades to get to the fatal stage. It is also very easily detected, decades before it becomes dangerous, when one is receiving competent, modern medical care. After fifty everyone should get a butt periscope. A tube with a camera, and tiny pincers, is inserted up the butt. A doctor monitors the camera, and if he or she sees a pre-cancerous polyp, the pincers are used to snip it off.
If Razzak had been getting the excellent health care the Bush Presidency claims, his cancer would have been detected back in 2002.