A new batch of WikiLeaks files from Guantanamo Bay reveals a secret checklist U.S. investigators used to figure out whether detainees were really al-Qaida members. Among the criteria was the kind of wristwatch they were wearing.
"The Casio was known to be given to the students at al-Qaida bomb-making training courses in Afghanistan, at which the students received instruction in the preparation of timing devices using the watch," the document states.
One-third of detainees captured while wearing the Casio watch "have known connections to explosives," it said.
The memo was used to train U.S. investigators on how to accurately gauge the threat level of certain detainees at the U.S. terror prison in Cuba. More than 50 reports about individual detainees mention the Casio watch, along with a slightly more expensive model, the A-159W, made of stainless steel.
Millions of innocent people around the world are believed to wear the Casio F-91W. But the idea that it could be used by al-Qaida was first revealed in 2006, after The Associated Press sued the U.S. government to make public transcripts of U.S. military tribunals at Guantanamo.
One transcript reveals how U.S. military interrogators kept questioning one detainee, a Kuwaiti engineer, about his Casio watch. According to the German newspaper Der Spiegel, which republished an excerpt of the transcript, the Kuwaiti man expressed surprise when told that his wristwatch could link him to al-Qaida.
"We have two watches in Kuwait: Fossil and Casio. This watch has a compass that shows the direction of Mecca. I am Muslim and pray five times a day," the man explained.
"I swear I don't know if terrorists use it or if they make explosives with it," the Kuwaiti detainee said. "If I had known that, I would have thrown it away. I'm not stupid."
The man's name wasn't revealed, and it's unclear whether he was released or is still being held.
There's been no public comment from the Casio company about the U.S. allegations, and it's unclear whether they've affected sales.