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Who Are The Original 20 Guantánamo Detainees? Where They Are Now

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Mullah Mazloom, sometimes identified as Mullah Mohammad Fazl, was among five Taliban members sent to Qatar in exchange for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was held prisoner by the militant Haqqani network in the tribal area of Pakistan’s northwest frontier. Mullah Mazloom, a former chief of the Taliban Army, is accused of having a role in the massacres of Shiite Hazara in Afghanistan before the United States invasion in 2001, crimes that cannot be tried by a military commission. In Qatar, he has emerged as a member of the Taliban negotiating team devising an agreement to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan and determine a power-sharing settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban. He traveled to Pakistan as part of the negotiating team in the summer of 2020, with advance approval of the U.S., Qatari and Pakistani governments.

Mr. Wasiq, a deputy minister of intelligence before his capture in 2001, was also included in the Bergdahl trade and has joined the Taliban’s political office in Doha, Qatar. His brother-in-law, Ghulam Ruhani, was repatriated in 2007. Both men were captured after attending a negotiating meeting with U.S. officials. Once transferred to Doha, where he remains, Mr. Wasiq also took part in the talks with the United States, which resulted in the release of more Taliban prisoners held by the Afghanistan government under a deal with the Trump administration that was meant to halt insurgent Taliban attacks on U.S. forces.

Mullah Noori, who was a provincial governor in Afghanistan, has also joined the Taliban’s political office in Doha, Qatar. He and the other four Taliban prisoners who were traded for the release of Sergeant Bergdahl live as guests of the Qatari government like many expatriates in Doha. They have been joined by family, send their children to a Pakistani school set up for foreign families, and live on government stipends in a compound. Their ability to travel is regulated by the Qatari government.

Mr. Shalabi became one of the best-known Saudi prisoners at Guantánamo because of his long-running hunger strikes, which at times required that he be force fed. After returning to Saudi Arabia in September 2015, he was immediately sent to prison on a three-year sentence that was cut short for “good behavior” and he was released in 2018 after a year or more in a rehabilitation program. He has married and became a father, making good on a wish his lawyer put before the Guantánamo parole board in April 2015 “to settle down, get married and have a family of his own, and put the past behind him.”

Mr. Rahizi, a Yemeni citizen who the United States concluded could not safely be repatriated, is confined to a cell in the United Arab Emirates, according to activists who have spoken with the families of Yemenis who were sent there for resettlement by the Obama administration. American officials said that the Emirates had agreed to establish a step-down program for detainees who could not go home — moving from prison to a rehabilitation program to jobs in the area, which relies heavily on foreign labor. That never materialized. The Life After Guantánamo project, based in London, describes detention in the Emirates as grim and threatening, in part because the country has considered involuntarily repatriating former prisoners to Yemen, where they would be in danger.

Mr. Malik, a Yemeni who went by the name Abdul Malik al Rahabi, is living in Montenegro, where the United States sent him for resettlement, and trying to sell works of art he painted while at Guantánamo. He was joined by his wife and daughter, who found life there socially incompatible, so the family moved to Khartoum, Sudan. But life was difficult there, too, and they returned to Montenegro. Art sales stopped some time ago and Mr. Malik’s idea to work as a driver and guide for tourists soured when the coronavirus pandemic hit.

As a Yemeni, Mr. Moqbel was ineligible for repatriation because of the civil war, which made it impossible for the Obama administration to negotiate safe security arrangements. Instead, neighboring Oman agreed to take him, along with 29 other detainees, in one of the most successful resettlement programs. He has found work in a factory, married and is now father to two children, according to the former Guantánamo prisoner Mansour Adayfi, who chronicles life after detention for some former prisoners. As a rule, former detainees in Oman refuse to speak with foreign reporters, apparently at the urging of the host nation.



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FDA finds peeling paint, debris at US plant making J&J’s COVID vaccine

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A US plant that was making Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine must fix a long list of problems including peeling paint and unsanitary conditions and practices to resume operation, according to a highly critical report by the Food and Drug Administration.

Experts said addressing the issues raised in the scathing FDA inspection report could take months.

Neither J&J nor the FDA has said when they expect vaccine production to restart at the Baltimore plant owned by Emergent Biosolutions. Only two other plants are currently equipped to supply the world with the key drug substance for J&J’s vaccine.

“It may take many months to make these changes,” said Prashant Yadav, a global health care supply chain expert at the Center for Global Development. He described some of the issues raised by the FDA as “quite significant.”

No vaccine manufactured at the Emergent plant has been distributed for use in the United States. However, J&J said it will exercise its oversight authority to ensure that all of the FDA observations are addressed promptly and comprehensively.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine was put on a pause in the US over a potential link to a blood clotting condition.
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The health care conglomerate has drawn scrutiny for months over its halting process to scale up production of a vaccine that is easier to handle and, by virtue of being a single shot, easier to use than other authorized vaccines.

Its use in the United States has been paused since last week as health officials study a possible link to a very rare but serious blood clot condition.

Emergent has been seeking regulatory authorization to make the J&J vaccine in the United States. It stopped production at the plant recently, saying the FDA had asked it to do so after an inspection.

J&J’s plant in Leiden, the Netherlands, is still producing doses for the world. It has another facility in India, which is currently curtailing exports of the shot as it struggles to vaccinate its own population.

Johnson & Johnson reiterated on Wednesday that it was working to establish a global supply chain in which 10 manufacturing sites would be involved in the production of its COVID-19 vaccine, in addition to the Leiden plant.

The company has a US government-brokered agreement with rival drugmaker Merck, which is preparing to make doses of J&J’s vaccine.

Failure to train personnel

The FDA in its final 12-page inspection report said it had reviewed security camera footage in addition to an in-person site visit to the Emergent plant.

It found a failure to train personnel to avoid cross-contamination of COVID-19 vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca, which had also been produced at the site. The agency also cited staff carrying unsealed bags of medical waste in the facility, bringing it in contact with containers of material used in manufacturing.

The FDA reviewed security camera footage and visited the Emergent BioSolutions plant in Baltimore.
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Earlier this week, the House launched an investigation into whether Emergent used its relationship with a Trump administration official to get a vaccine manufacturing contract despite a record of not delivering on contracts.

Emergent said in a statement that it is working with the FDA and J&J to quickly resolve the issues outlined in the report.

Production of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not yet authorized for use in the United States, was previously stopped at the Emergent plant after ingredients from that shot contaminated a batch of J&J vaccine, ruining millions of doses.

The FDA also noted that Emergent did not produce adequate reports showing that the vaccines it was producing met quality standards.

The inspection, carried out between April 12 and April 20, also found the building not of suitable size or design to facilitate cleaning, maintenance or proper operations.

J&J said it was redoubling its efforts to get authorization for the facility as quickly as possible.

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One dead after pair of fires breaks out in Manhattan

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One person was killed and several others were injured in a pair of Manhattan fires Wednesday morning, officials said.

The first blaze erupted in Midtown around 8:15 a.m. inside a DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse at 213 W. 34th St., where an escalator became fully engulfed in flames — sending smoke billowing into the first and second floor and the interconnected 40-story hotel building, fire officials said.

It was not immediately clear which hotel it was.

Five firefighters suffered minor injuries putting out the blaze.

“The fire went out, but we have a smoke condition that we’re trying to alleviate,” FDNY Battalion Chief John Porretto said at the scene. “Units are going to remain on scene until all the smoke alleviates.”

The fire marshal will determine the causes of the fire.

A second blaze broke out 15 minutes later on the Upper East Side at 1576 2nd Ave., officials said.

A three-alarm fire at 213 W. 34th Street in Manhattan that left one dead
A three-alarm fire at 213 W. 34th St. in Manhattan left one dead.
NYFD

One man died in the fire and a second man was in serious condition at Lenox Hill Hospital, police said.

A firefighter suffered minor injuries battling the blaze and was taken to Cornell Hospital, fire officials said.

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NYC school leaders react to Derek Chauvin guilty verdict

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The leaders of the city’s public schools and largest charter network both weighed in on the Derek Chauvin verdict with passionate statements about how there is still a long way to go to reach systemic equality.

Department of Education Chancellor Meisha Ross-Porter issued a personal commentary Tuesday night after the murder conviction of former Minnesota cop Chauvin.

“I felt pain and rage, deep in my bones,” she said of her initial reaction to George Floyd’s death. “It wasn’t a new feeling. I have felt that many times in my life, as a Black woman, sister, daughter, and mother to Black children—and as an educator who has served children of color in this city for more than 20 years.”

Ross-Porter said the Department of Education would be issuing guidance for teachers and families to help them process the verdict.

Eva Moskowitz with two students, the CEO and Founder of the Success Academy
Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz issued a statement on the Derek Chauvin verdict.
Brigitte Stelzer

“For our Black and brown children to know that they matter, the accountability this verdict represents is so important,” she stated. “In a world that too often tells them otherwise, accountability in this moment tells the Black and brown children in our schools that their lives matter, and lifts up the importance of their futures.”

Several teachers told The Post on Wednesday morning that they planned to broach the topic with their students to allow them to discuss Floyd’s death and Chauvin’s conviction.

Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross-Porter said the Department of Education would issue guidance to help teachers and families process the verdict.
Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross-Porter said the Department of Education would issue guidance to help teachers and families process the verdict.
Mark Lennihan/AP

“Because while the individual who took George Floyd’s life will be held accountable, we recognize that systemic racism, and the violence it fuels, is still creating tragedy and inequality across our country every single day,” Ross-Porter said. “We are all part of the work to undo this harm and reach true justice.”

Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz, who oversees the city’s largest charter school network, also issued a statement.

People react after the verdict was read in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis.
People react after the verdict was read in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis.
Scott Olson/Getty Images

“We are grateful that justice has been served and that the judicial process has worked as intended,” she wrote. “We recognize, however, that this verdict does not resolve the systemic inequities that led to Floyd’s death; nor does it heal the anguish we feel witnessing our fellow citizens die at the hands of the public servants tasked with protecting us.”

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