Category Archive 'Guantanamo Detainees'
16 Nov 2009

Coming Soon To A Neighborhood Near You

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Courtesy of our elite law schools, Shearman & Sterling, and a liberal Supreme Court majority, some news agency reports that federal judges are busy right now turning captured jihadis loose.

Complying with a Supreme Court ruling last year, 15 federal judges in the U.S. courthouse (In Washington, D.C.) are giving detainees their day in court after years behind bars half a world away from their homelands.

The judges have found the government’s evidence against 30 detainees wanting and ordered their release. That number could rise significantly because the judges are on track to hear challenges from dozens more prisoners. …

Bush administration Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld once promised Guantanamo held “the worst of the worst.” The judges here have rejected pleas for release from eight detainees, but they have concluded the government doesn’t even have enough evidence to keep 30 other detainees behind bars.

“There is absolutely no reason for this court to presume that the facts contained in the government’s exhibits are accurate,” District Judge Gladys Kessler wrote in ordering the release of Alla Ali Bin Ali Ahmed. He was repatriated to Yemen after a seven-year stay at Guantanamo, where he was brought as a teenager.

“Much of the factual material contained in those exhibits is hotly contested for a host of different reasons ranging from the fact that it contains second- and third-hand hearsay to allegations that it was obtained by torture to the fact that no statement purports to be a verbatim account of what was said,” Kessler said. She ruled the government failed to prove the detainee was part of or substantially supported Taliban or al-Qaida forces.

14 Nov 2009

Why Give KSM a Civilian Trial?

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How can a case against a foreign enemy apprehended by another government possibly be prosecuted within the rules of domestic criminal procedure? Khalid Shaikh Mohammed obviously was never Mirandized. What can Eric Holder and Barack Obama possibly be thinking? Are these people hopelessly naive?

Andrew McCarthy doesn’t think so. He thinks they know exactly what they’re doing.

We are now going to have a trial that never had to happen for defendants who have no defense. And when defendants have no defense for their own actions, there is only one thing for their lawyers to do: put the government on trial in hopes of getting the jury (and the media) spun up over government errors, abuses and incompetence. That is what is going to happen in the trial of KSM et al. It will be a soapbox for al-Qaeda’s case against America. Since that will be their “defense,” the defendants will demand every bit of information they can get about interrogations, renditions, secret prisons, undercover operations targeting Muslims and mosques, etc., and — depending on what judge catches the case — they are likely to be given a lot of it. The administration will be able to claim that the judge, not the administration, is responsible for the exposure of our defense secrets. And the circus will be played out for all to see — in the middle of the war. It will provide endless fodder for the transnational Left to press its case that actions taken in America’s defense are violations of international law that must be addressed by foreign courts. And the intelligence bounty will make our enemies more efficient at killing us.

Read the whole thing.

22 Oct 2009

No More Catch and Release For Him

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the late Yousef Mohammed al Shihri

Thomas Joscelyn
reports that another released Guantanamo prisoner who rejoined al Qaeda was this time permanently detained by Saudi security forces.

On Oct. 13, a former Guantanamo detainee named Yousef Mohammed al Shihri was killed in a shootout at a checkpoint along the Saudi-Yemeni border. Al Shihri and his accomplices were stopped by Saudi security forces after their suspicious behavior drew attention.

Two of the travelers, including al Shihri, were reportedly dressed as women. Saudi security personnel decided to search the al Qaeda car and its passengers, but al Shihri and the others opened fire. Al Shihri and one other al Qaeda member were killed in the shootout, while a third was arrested. One Saudi security officer was also killed. …

Yousef Mohammed al Shihri was repatriated to Saudi Arabia in November 2007 along with thirteen other Saudi citizens. At least several of them have returned to al Qaeda’s ranks. One of those who rejoined al Qaeda is Said Ali al Shihri, who has become the deputy chief of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and was reportedly involved in the September 2008 attack on the US embassy in Sanaa, Yemen. According to memos prepared at Gitmo, Said Ali al Shihri is Yousef Mohammed al Shihri’s brother. However, according to a report by Caryle Murphy in the Christian Science Monitor, Saudi authorities have said the two al Qaeda terrorists were brothers-in-law.

Regardless, Yousef and Said were relatives. And their stories demonstrate the pitfalls of the US government’s transfer and release decisions. Prior to their transfers, US intelligence officials at Guantanamo had determined that Said was “a known al Qaeda operative.” Moreover, when they inquired about Yousef, they found that he was considered one of the more dangerous Saudis held at Guantanamo.

In a memo prepared at Guantanamo, US intelligence officials reported that:

    A foreign government service provided information on detainees held at Guantanamo Bay that they designated as being high priority targets, in order of precedence. [Yousef Mohammed al Shihri] is number four on the list.

The “foreign government service” is likely Saudi intelligence, as that organization would have the most information on Yousef and his fellow Saudi al Qaeda compatriots. Well more than 100 Saudis were detained at Guantanamo, so Yousef must have been considered especially dangerous to be listed as number four on the list.

In addition, US intelligence officials alleged that Yousef Mohammed al Shihri made his allegiances and animosity for America well-known long before being transferred to Saudi Arabia. Regarding Yousef Mohammed al Shihri, memos prepared at Guantanamo alleged:

The detainee stated he considers all Americans his enemy. The detainee decided that he hates all Americans because they attack his religion, Islam. Since Americans are the detainee’s enemy, he will continue to fight them until he dies.

    The detainee pointed to the sky and told the interviewing agents that he will have a meeting with them in the next life. …

    The detainee stated that the FBI, the United States and the interrogators are the enemy.

Despite all of this, Yousef and Said were transferred to Saudi custody. They both graduated from the Saudi jihadist rehabilitation program and then joined nine others in a planned escape from Saudi soil. They fled to Yemen, where they joined al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is currently one of the strongest al Qaeda branches. Said lives on to fight another day, while Yousef now gets to test his theory of the afterlife.

08 Jul 2009

Blame Afghanistan!

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Typical ordinary Afghans commonly frivolously detained by the United States

Another of the innocent inhabitants of the Middle East, erroneously and unjustly detained by the Bush Administration at Guantanamo Bay then freed in 2007, has resumed his former life and become a prominent and effective leader in his home community.

Fox News.

A former Guantanamo Bay inmate is leading the fight against U.S. Marines in the Helmand province of Afghanistan, a senior U.S. defense official confirmed to FOX News on Tuesday.

Mullah Zakir, also known as Abdullah Ghulam Rasoul, surrendered in Mazar-e-Sharif in Northern Afghanistan in 2001, and was transferred to Gitmo in 2006. He was released in late 2007 to Afghan custody.

Now as the United States is pushing ahead with the massive Operation Khanjar in the southern province of Afghanistan, Zakir is coordinating the Taliban fighters. Some 4,000 U.S. Marines and hundreds of Afghan forces have faced some resistance as they sweep across the province, reclaiming control of districts where Zakir and his comrades were running a shadow government.

Zakir was released from Afghan custody around 2008, according to the New York Post. He re-established connections with high-level Taliban leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan after his second release.

Taliban chief Mullah Omar appointed Zakir in mid-2008 as senior military commander, according to the newspaper.

Zakir quickly became a charismatic leader, helping establish an “accountability commission” to track spending and monitor activities of Taliban leaders in the districts where they held power and were running a shadow government, according to the Post.

Explaining why Zakir was released from Gitmo, the defense official said, “We were under incredible pressure from the world to release detainees at Gitmo. You just don’t know what people are going to do.

“He was no worse than anyone else being held at Gunatanamo Bay,” the official added. “He was not going to be tried for war crimes so we decided to release him. Either he was not thought to have committed a crime or we didn’t have enough evidence to prosecute him.”

The defense official shifted some blame for Zakir’s activities to Afghanistan. “The country which agreed to take him promised to take steps to mitigate the threat he posed.

15 Jun 2009

Uighurs in Bermuda

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Uighurs in Paradise

Back in 1959, well before Vietnam, there was a very funny Peter Sellers comedy called The Mouse That Roared.

Impoverished by the collapse of its only industry, the tiny European Duchy of Grand Fenwick proposes to declare war on the United States, lose, and then achieve prosperity via US reconstruction assistance and aid to a defeated foe.

American charity to wartime enemies was sufficiently notorious in the post-WWII era to provide themes for comedy, but it never occurred to George Marshall or Harry Truman to dispatch captured members of Axis forces to tropical resorts in the manner described by yesterday’s New York Times.

Almost exactly seven years after arriving at Guantánamo in chains as accused enemy combatants, and four days after their surprise predawn flight to Bermuda, four Uighur Muslim men basked in their new-found freedom here, grateful for the handshakes many residents had offered and marveling at the serene beauty of this tidy, postcard island.

In newly purchased polo shirts and chinos, the four husky men, members of a restive ethnic minority from western China, might blend in except for their scruffy beards. Smelling hibiscus flowers, luxuriating in the freedom to drift through scenic streets and harbors, they expressed wonder at their good fortune in landing here after a captivity that included more than a year in solitary confinement. …

“Before we were asking, ‘Why are the Americans doing this to us?’ ” said Mr. Abdulahat. Now, he said, with others nodding in agreement, “We have ended up in such a beautiful place….

While some less affluent residents said they felt it was unfair to offer jobs and citizenship to men the United States itself would not take, many others shrugged and expressed pride at Bermudan hospitality. As the men venture from the seaside cottage where they temporarily live until they get jobs and figure out next steps, people often come up to shake their hands and wish them well, and the men said they were deeply touched.

Their homeland of Xinjiang, a largely Muslim region in western China where many residents chafe under Chinese rule, is landlocked, and many of the Uighur detainees saw an ocean — still a distant, mysterious presence — for the first time ever through fences at Guantánamo.

Now they can play in the waters. Khaleel Mamut, 31, said he went fishing on a boat on Saturday and caught his first fish ever. “I was so excited,” he said. “You just drop the hook in the water and you get a fish.” Hearing that fishing did not always bring such quick results, one of the other men quipped that perhaps the fish were joining in Bermuda’s welcome.

They have been promised work visas and, in perhaps a year or so, possible citizenship, their American lawyers said. That would give them passports and a right to travel.


Tired of living in hopeless poverty driving sheep across the Gobi’s trackless sands? Get yourself an AK-47 and start taking potshots at US troops. Maybe you, too, will be captured and awarded a new life in a tropical resort at US taxpayers’ expense. Allahu Akhbar!

12 Jun 2009

Four Uighurs, Trained at Tora Bora, Will Be Going to Bermuda

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Thomas Joscelyn has news on the Obama Administration’s latest tropical retirement for terrorists at US taxpayers’ expense breakthrough.

Surviving German and Italian prisoners of war of the WWII era, who were, after all, lawful combatants fighting in uniform as members of military forces typically observing the laws and customs of war, were by comparison lodged in Spartan conditions behind barbed wire and commonly required to perform agricultural or construction labor. Those Axis POWs must be feeling a trifle slighted. No one ever offered to release them into new lives in vacation playgrounds.

Palau is not the only resort island willing to take the Uighurs detained at Guantanamo. The Obama administration has transferred four Uighurs to Bermuda, which is, of course, much closer to the continental U.S. than Palau. Understandably, the Obama administration has placed travel restrictions on the Uighurs. ABC News reports that they are not allowed to travel to the U.S. without prior consent.

This alone is somewhat of a reversal by the administration, since it was reportedly considering freeing some of the Uighur detainees in the U.S. at one point. One wonders what our European allies will think, too. Leading European nations were only willing to consider taking detainees, including the Uighurs, if the administration showed a willingness to release them on U.S. soil. While the administration has found a home for the Uighurs, it fails to satisfy the quid pro quo conditions that our allies have demanded. Keep an eye out for Europe’s reaction to this news, and whether attitudes across the pond evolve. The reaction of European politicians could very well be: If the Obama administration won’t even allow former detainees to travel to the U.S., then why should we free them in our own nations?

So, who are Bermuda’s new residents? And why would the Obama administration place travel restrictions on them?

All four of them are members or associates of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (otherwise known as the Turkistan Islamic Party). The ETIM/TIP is a U.S. and UN designated terrorist organization affiliated with al Qaeda and has attacked civilians in China, as well as reportedly plotted against other targets elsewhere, including the U.S. embassy in Kyrgyzstan. According to the State Department, ETIM/TIP members have also fought alongside the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. And last year the organization threatened to attack the Olympic Games in China.

The four Uighurs attempted to deny any relationship with the ETIM/TIP, the Taliban, and al Qaeda during their CSRTs. But their denials are not credible. In the context of their denials they made important admissions.

For example, all four of the Uighurs admitted during their combatant status review tribunals (CSRTs) at Gitmo that they received training in the Taliban’s Afghanistan. And all four of them received this training at an ETIM/TIP terrorist training facility in Tora Bora, a key area once controlled by the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Three of the four Uighurs transferred to Bermuda also admitted that they had firsthand ties to senior terrorists such as Hassan Mahsum and Abdul Haq – the leaders of the ETIM/TIP. Haq was recently designated an al Qaeda terrorist by the Obama administration’s Treasury Department, which noted that he is also a member of al Qaeda’s elite Shura council. Mahsum was killed in a Taliban and al Qaeda stronghold in northern Pakistan in 2003.

11 Jun 2009

Fighting Terrorism Obama-Style

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As Stephen Hayes describes, first you make sure that US forces Mirandize captured enemy fighters.

When 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was captured on March 1, 2003, he was not cooperative. “I’ll talk to you guys after I get to New York and see my lawyer,” he said, according to former CIA Director George Tenet.

Of course, KSM did not get a lawyer until months later, after his interrogation was completed, and Tenet says that the information the CIA obtained from him disrupted plots and saved lives. “I believe none of these successes would have happened if we had had to treat KSM like a white-collar criminal — read him his Miranda rights and get him a lawyer who surely would have insisted that his client simply shut up,” Tenet wrote in his memoirs.

If Tenet is right, it’s a good thing KSM was captured before Barack Obama became president. For, the Obama Justice Department has quietly ordered FBI agents to read Miranda rights to high value detainees captured and held at U.S. detention facilities in Afghanistan, according a senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.


Then, you arrange $11.1 million a head retirement packages to the South Seas for your prisoners. Yes, 17 Uighurs into $200 million comes to $11.1 million semolians.

Fox News:

Palau says its decision to temporarily take the 17 Uighurs, or Chinese Muslims, being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison was a “humanitarian gesture.”

But the South Pacific island may have been motivated more by 200 million other reasons.

Two U.S. officials told the Associated Press that the U.S. was prepared to give Palau up to $200 million in return for accepting the Uighurs and as part of a mutual defense and cooperation treaty that is due to be renegotiated this year.

Figures on Palau’s federal budget weren’t immediately available, but if it is close to its size in 1999, when it was $71 million, the deal with the U.S. would in effect more than double the nation’s spending and make it the fastest growing economy in the world.

Frankly, I bet you could get very close to every terrorist simply to put down his AK-47 and retire for a considerably smaller one-time payment.

Of course, it’s hard to imagine a more effective recruiting promotional deal. I can see Achmed the al Qaeda recruiter delivering his spiel even now, “And if the soldiers of the great Shaitan capture you, they will only provide you with attorneys from Sherman & Sterling before funding your retirement to a life of leisure in a tropical paradise surrounded by beautiful maidens serving you Mai Tais. Inshallah!”

26 May 2009

Don’t Hold Back, Ralph, Tell Us What You Really Think

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Ralph Peters has a simple solution to the indefinite detention conundrum which keeps wet liberals like Marc Ambinder up all night sobbing into their pillows over the neglected “rights” of terrorists given quarter and taken alive.

Silly narcissistic people, like Ambinder, who make moral statements along with their fashion statements and for the same reasons, will never recognize the inevitable fruits of their eager intrusion into the issue. Bang! goes the gun in the hand of the US soldier or intelligence officer who now knows better than to take any prisoners who are going to serve as the focus of such a costly, idiotic, and self-lacerating domestic debate.

There can be little doubt that what Ralph Peters advocates will de facto be the never-expressed policy.

We made one great mistake regarding Guantanamo: No terrorist should have made it that far. All but a handful of those grotesquely romanticized prisoners should have been killed on the battlefield.

The few kept alive for their intelligence value should have been interrogated secretly, then executed.

Terrorists don’t have legal rights or human rights. By committing or abetting acts of terror against the innocent, they place themselves outside of humanity’s borders. They must be hunted as man-killing animals.

And, as a side benefit, dead terrorists don’t pose legal quandaries.

23 May 2009

President Above-It-All

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“In my long experience in Washington, few matters have inspired so much contrived indignation and phony moralizing as the interrogation methods applied to a few captured terrorists.”

–Dick Cheney

Rich Lowry hits Obama’s nail right on the head.

Put Barack Obama in front of a Tele PrompTer and one thing is certain — he’ll make himself appear the most reasonable person in the room.

Rhetorically, he is in the middle of any debate, perpetually surrounded by finger-pointing extremists who can’t get over their reflexive combativeness and ideological fixations to acknowledge his surpassing thoughtfulness and grace. …

It’s natural, then, that his speech at the National Archives on national security should superficially sound soothing, reasonable and even a little put upon (oh, what President Obama has to endure from all those finger-pointing extremists).

But beneath its surface, the speech — given heavy play in the press as an implicit debate with former Vice President Dick Cheney, who spoke on the same topic at a different venue immediately afterward — revealed something else: a president who has great difficulty admitting error; who can’t discuss the position of his opponents without resorting to rank caricature, and who adopts an off-putting pose of above-it-all righteousness.

Read the whole thing.

07 May 2009

Obama Guantanamo Release Policy in Trouble

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Coming soon to a city near you?

Congressional Republicans (1, 2) and democrats are raising serious questions about Barack Obama’s plans to release terrorist detainees from the US holding facility in Guantanamo Bay into the United States, pointing to already existing statutes barring entry to recipients of terrorist training and introducing further legislation to block the president’s plans.

Jennifer Rubin, at Commentary, thinks Obama has painted himself into a corner on this one, and is going to incur serious political costs whichever way he decides in the end to proceed.

So what does the president do now? To go back on his promise to close Guantanamo would mean incurring the wrath of not only the Left in the U.S., but of the fawning European leaders and public who praised his decision to shut the place down. And it would, of course, be a humiliating admission that his initial pronouncement — made even before Eric Holder visited Guantanamo — was ill-conceived. He can try to fudge the issue or delay, but ultimately he has to do one or the other: proceed to close Guantanamo and begin releasing the detainees, or admit error and adhere to the Bush policy of housing dangerous terrorists there. It is not “a false choice,” but a very real one. We’ll see which audience, American or European, he is willing to offend.

27 Mar 2009

What to do with Guantanamo Detainees

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The Obama Administration has an answer: release them in the United States and put them on welfare. Before long, presumably, ACORN will be taking them to the polls to vote democrat.

Thomas Joscelyn
quotes a news agency report and comments.

23 Mar 2009

Obamateur Hour

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John Hawkins finds the Annointed One embarrassing to watch on 60 Minutes.

Many of us, that at times during our lives, have believed we could do a better job than the President of the United States, just as we thought we’d do a better job than the coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers or the network executive who greenlighted Real Chance of Love.

The problem tends to be that what looks so crystal clear from the outside, usually in hindsight, appears confusing, muddled, and difficult to fathom when you’re actually going through it.

That’s why experience matters, particularly executive experience, and it’s a big part of the reason why Barack Obama has done such a mediocre job so far.

Obama is a silver-tongued political novice who has managed to be in the right place at the right time.

Now, if you’re a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. And if you’re a politician like Barack Obama, who has gotten everything he has in life by being slick and sounding confident, every problem looks like something that can just be talked away.

That tendency was on display in his Sixty Minutes interview, a ‘grilling’ which would be considered a softball interview for a Republican (”Wow, that’s a great swingset for your kids to play on. How are they liking the White House so far?”) but was still probably tougher than any interrogation Obama has received since he entered the White House. (After all, he even admitted that he gets lost in the White House “repeatedly.”)

Each time Obama got a tough question, he did what sociopathic politicians have doing for decades: he lied, dodged, and talked out of both sides of his mouth.

Read the whole thing.

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