The document says Rahim is about 47 and was born in eastern Afghanistan. He fled with his family over the border to Pakistan when the Soviet Union invaded in 1979. Rahim has told authorities that he returned temporarily to fight the invaders, a war that killed two of his brothers, and moved back permanently once they retreated from the country.
A younger brother, Abdul Basit, told The Associated Press in London, where he is seeking asylum, that Rahim eventually got a job working for an Afghan government committee responsible for eradicating opium poppies, but that he was forced from the job by members of the Taliban, the Islamic fundamentalist movement that emerged in the 1990s.
Basit, who was detained by the U.S. military for five years in Afghanistan, says his brother is a well-educated man who was not particularly interested in global politics. He suggests his brother is being held more for who he might know rather than what he has done. There is no reason to put him in Guantanamo for this long time, Basit said in broken English.
The Justice Department document says Rahim began helping the Taliban in the 1990s and that job morphed into working for al-Qaida. It cites two other prisoners and an undisclosed source identifying Rahim as a close associate of bin Laden. Rahim was captured in Pakistan in 2007 and turned over to the CIA, in whose custody he was subjected to prolonged sleep deprivation. He was transferred to Guantánamo in March 2008.
In photos taken by the Red Cross at Camp 7, and obtained by the AP from the prisoners family in Afghanistan, Rahim has a long flowing beard. In one, he smiles broadly at the camera.
The first letters from Rahim released by Warner were in June, including one in which he disclosed that Majid Khan, a former Maryland resident who pleaded guilty to aiding al-Qaida, had acquired a cat at Camp 7, which AP reported at the time. The Pentagon and prison officials declined comment and said they could not discuss conditions of confinement for high-value detainees, although they added that prisoners are not permitted to have pets.
The rest of the letters came during or after subsequent visits by Warner, who had them cleared by the military before releasing them to the AP. None are more than a few sentences, and contain many typographical errors, which have been corrected for this story for the sake of clarity.
In one, Rahim returns to the theme of his fellow prisoners alleged cat. I want a dog, he writes. I will train my dog to chase Majid Khans cat.
In separate notes, he asks Warner to appeal for help from radio personality Howard Stern. If he is the King of All Media he can help me.
In another, he criticizes Fox News Fair and Balanced slogan, writing that if that were true the channel would not have to say it every five minutes.
How he came by this information is not clear. A prison spokesman, Navy Capt. Robert Durand, wont discuss life in Camp 7 but he says that where satellite television and radio is available for detainees, they have access to a wide variety of channels in Arabic, Farsi, English, Russian, Spanish and other languages. The line-up, however, apparently does not include Howard Stern or Fox.
With no Internet access, he could have picked up such information from other shows or through Warner, who has spent hours with him and delivered magazines such as Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated and The Economist.
The U.S. military will not say when or if Rahim will be charged. His name does not appear on the list of detainees who have been cleared for release from Guantánamo and his name was not among those mentioned as possible candidates for an exchange with the Taliban as part of a peace deal.
Associated Press writer Paisley Dodds in London contributed to this report.