He probably doesn’t want to upset the folks in the tri-border area:
President José Mujica said in an interview Monday that any Guantánamo detainees his country takes will be treated as refugees and will be free to travel wherever they wish, even if they have promised the United States that they’ll stay in the South American country for at least two years.
Mujica told El Espectador radio that Uruguay has tentatively agreed to take four Syrians and a Palestinian who have been held at the military detention center in the U.S.-held corner of Cuba.
Mujica denied that the five are dangerous and said that “in no way” would Uruguay prevent them from traveling.
While he was at it, Mujica also said he’ll skip meeting Pres. Obama in Washington, thank you.
Andrew McCarthy writes about the release of Mohamedou Slahi, Mohammed Atta’s recruiter:
So, You Still Want to Close Gitmo?
Judge’s order to release 9/11 jihadist is a sign of things to come.
Mohamedou Slahi is responsible for the murder of thousands of Americans. He was a core member of the 9/11 conspiracy — the recruiter of Mohamed Atta and the other ringleaders. If he’d had his druthers, even more Americans would have been killed: He is almost certainly the al-Qaeda middle manager who activated the Canadian cell that attempted to bomb Los Angeles International Airport. On the scale of war criminals, he edges toward the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed range, as bad as it gets.
A federal judge has ordered that he be released.
Cassandra did not like being Cassandra. It is not enjoyable to foresee avoidable catastrophes again and again (and again and again and again) only to watch as no remedial measures are taken and disaster strikes. To repeat: The courts are institutionally incompetent when it comes to matters of national security, particularly the prosecution of war.
The Framers intended it that way. National-security decisions are the most important ones a political community makes, so our system of government was designed to have them made by the political branches — by those who answer to the voters, to the people whose lives are at stake. When the political branches abdicate this first responsibility of government, sitting by as it is usurped by politically insulated judges, they deny us the freedom to decide for ourselves what our security requires. We are then the subjects of judges rather than masters of our own destiny.
The courts, moreover, are the worst institution to which we could surrender this authority. Not only are we powerless to vote them out if they get national-defense matters wrong, they are guaranteed to get them wrong. This is not because judges are bad people; it is because they have no responsibility for protecting the country. They are generally good people whose job is to ensure that the parties before the court are given due process. When a judge does that job conscientiously, due-process rights are inevitably inflated. That judges do not run completely out of control in maximizing due-process rights owes not to judicial temperance but to the powers of the political branches.
This genius of separation of powers is on display in the civilian justice system. We know that judges are hardwired to maximize the rights of accused criminals. So we don’t give them free reign. It is Congress that writes the statutes that courts must apply and prescribes the rules of procedure. It is Congress that tells the judges what the punishment for a crime must be and whether an offender may be released — it doesn’t matter whether the judge thinks the criminal is unlikely to threaten society.
But the same Congress that performs these duties exactingly in the civilian justice system, where judges have institutional competence, has abdicated its responsibility in the conduct of war, in which judges have no expertise.
Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s taking notes.
Spain announced Monday it will accept five detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the largest commitment by a European country and a boost for the Obama administration’s dragging effort to close the military detention center.
Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos told reporters in Madrid that the detainees will not pose a security threat and that any transfers to Spain “will be done with all the legal guarantees so as to defend the security situation that our country requires.”
So, on the one hand, the detainees “will not pose a security threat”; on the other hand the transfers will be done with “all the legal guarantees” (whatever that means?), as to “defend the security situation”.
After which, the five Gitmo alumni will be free to travel throughout Spain and the European Union.
Good luck with that, buddies.
A series of unfortunate news:
Ongoing threats, but they’re sending Gitmo alumni to Yemen?
John Brennan, the assistant to the president for homeland security and counter-terrorism, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the failed Christmas Day terror attack on a U.S. airliner doesn’t change the plan to close the Guantanamo facility.
On Saturday, Obama linked the airline bombing suspect to an al Qaeda affiliate based in Yemen.
Brennan called the failed attack on a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to Detroit, Michigan a “unique incident” that won’t affect the process of closing the Guantanamo facility.
“We are making sure that we don’t do anything that’s going to put Americans at risk,” Brennan said.
About half of the roughly 200 detainees still held at Guantanamo Bay would be prosecuted in the United States by federal courts or military tribunals. Some would be sent to third countries, including Yemenis returned to their home nation, Brennan said.
How has that worked out in the past?
the Obama administration is apparently determined to make more suspect transfer decisions. Just this morning, John Brennan, the assistant to the president for homeland security and counter-terrorism, told CNNIn December, for example, the Obama administration transferred Ayman Batarfi from Gitmo to Yemen. Batarfi is a known al Qaeda doctor who attended to wounded jihadists during the battle of Tora Bora, met with bin Laden at Tora Bora, and has admitted ties to al Qaeda’s anthrax program. Despite all of this and more, Batarfi, who has been a committed jihadist for decades, was deemed one of the most transfer-worthy detainees by the Obama administration.
“Weapons of mass destruction” have now returned full-circle to the Middle East.
And now the Gitmo detainees may be heading there.
While Mr. Obama has acknowledged that he would miss the Jan. 22 deadline for closing the prison that he set shortly after taking office, the administration appeared to take a major step forward last week when he directed subordinates to move “as expeditiously as possible” to acquire the Thomson Correctional Center, a nearly vacant maximum-security Illinois prison, and to retrofit it to receive Guantánamo detainees.
But in interviews this week, officials estimated that it could take 8 to 10 months to install new fencing, towers, cameras and other security upgrades before any transfers take place. Such construction cannot begin until the federal government buys the prison from the State of Illinois.
The federal Bureau of Prisons does not have enough money to pay Illinois for the center, which would cost about $150 million. Several weeks ago, the White House approached the House Appropriations Committee and floated the idea of adding about $200 million for the project to the military spending bill for the 2010 fiscal year, according to administration and Congressional officials.
The Dems don’t want it:
But Democratic leaders refused to include the politically charged measure in the legislation. When lawmakers approved the bill on Dec. 19, it contained no financing for Thomson.
However, the issue is national security. In his post, We Interrupt this Socialization of Medicine to Bring You an Abdication of Our National Defense . . . Andy McCarthy explains that twelve detainees were released from Gitmo to – astonishing to believe, but true – Yemen:
Yemen, an al-Qaeda hotbed whose government makes common cause with jihadists (and has a history of allowing them to escape — or of releasing them outright); Afghanistan, which is so ungovernable and rife with jihadism that we’re surging thousands of troops there (troops the jihadists are targeting); and Somaliland, which is not even a country, and which offers an easy entree into Somalia, a failed state and al-Qaeda safe-haven. At least one of the released terrorists, a Somali named Abdullahi Sudi Arale (aka Ismail Mahmoud Muhammad), was released notwithstanding the military’s designation of him as a “high-value detainee” (a label that has been applied only to top-tier terrorist prisoners — and one that fits in this case given Arale’s status as a point of contact between al-Qaeda’s satellites in East Africa and Pakistan).
As if that’s not bad enough,
the Justice Department has taken the lead role in making release determinations — the military command at Gitmo has “zero input” and “zero influence,” in its own words. DOJ is rife with attorneys who represented and advocated for the detainees, and, in particular, Attorney General Holder’s firm, represented numerous Yemeni enemy combatants.
Maybe Holder expects the released detainees to take a job with al-Jazeera.
Not only did he graduate from Gitmo, he also graduated from Saudi Arabia’s rehab program:
A former Guantanamo detainee has reportedly been killed in a shootout between the Yemeni Army and Houthi rebels in northern Yemen. The former detainee, Fahd Saleh Suleiman al Jutayli, was captured in Pakistan after fleeing the Tora Bora Mountains in 2001. He was repatriated to his native Saudi Arabia in May 2006.
According to the Yemen Post, two other former Gitmo detainees – Yusuf al Shehri and Othman al Ghamdi – called their families to tell them Jutayli had been killed in the fighting and asked them to inform Jutayli’s family.
Earlier this year, the Saudi government included all three of these former Guantanamo detainees – Jutayli, Shehri, and Ghamdi – on a list of the Kingdom’s 85 most wanted terrorists. After being released from Guantanamo, the three graduated from Saudi Arabia’s rehabilitation program and joined eight other former Gitmo detainees in fleeing south to Yemen. All eleven joined al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Yusuf al-Shehri, a former Gitmo detainee, reportedly informed his family of Jutayli’s death. Photo courtesy of the NEFA Foundation.
The escape of the eleven former Gitmo detainees from Saudi Arabia was reportedly organized by still other Gitmo veterans. Writing in the May 2009 issue of the CTC Sentinel, Dr. Christopher Boucek, an associate in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said that Saudi officials found their disappearance “was well-coordinated in advance.” Their escape “was allegedly coordinated with other non-Saudi former Guantanamo detainees who have been repatriated to other countries, indicating that returnees have maintained ties from Guantanamo,” Boucek reported.
Surely we have nothing to worry about with all the plans to close Gitmo by next January, do we?
Train with al-Qaeda, bask in Bermuda:
Here you have it: four guys enjoying a great day at the beach, on someone else’s dime. New clothes, a new lease on life,
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.
Makes you want to join them, doesn’t it?
And they’ll be getting Bermudan citizenship soon enough, too. Hmm….Bermuda has nicer tax laws that we have (even Vladimir Putin realizes that), but I digress.
Couldn’t happen to a bunch of nicer guys, couldn’t it?
I’ll be talking about this in today’s podcast at 11AM Eastern.
Via Ed, the Bermuda Parliament is hoppin’ mad over the Gitmo alumni reunion on their island:
Breaking News: UBP proposes motion of no confidence
The United Bermuda Party today moved for a motion of no confidence against the Government led by Premier Ewart Brown.
Opposition leader Kim Swan proposed the motion in the House of Assembly this morning.
“This is not just about Uighurs in Bermuda, though that issue typifies a style of leadership that is reckless, autocratic and conducted with no sense of accountability to the people or, indeed, to Bermuda’s Constitution.”
Britain‘s Foreign Office is also telling Ewart Brown that he had no right to agree to take Uighur inmates without consulting London.
The decision to move the Uighurs to Bermuda is the Obama administration’s blunder that appears to have PO’d the most people, at least so far:
- The Chinese, who want them back
- The Brits, who were not consulted even when Bermuda’s part of the Commonwealth and Britain is responsible for its security
- The Governor of Bermuda, who was told on Thursday night – when they were on their way
- The people of the Bermuda, and now the opposition’s upcoming vote of no confidence
Did I leave anyone out?
Where’s that overload button when you need it?
Pun on the post title? yes. You say Uighur, I say weegur.
The Obama administration has all but abandoned plans to allow Guantanamo Bay detainees who have been cleared for release to live in the United States, administration officials said yesterday, a decision that reflects bipartisan congressional opposition to admitting such prisoners but complicates efforts to persuade European allies to accept them.
Four Uighur detainees, Chinese Muslims who were incarcerated at the U.S. military prison in Cuba for more than seven years, arrived early yesterday in Bermuda, where they will become foreign guest workers. An administration official said the United States is engaged in negotiations with other countries, including Palau, an island nation in the western Pacific, to find places for the remaining 13 Uighurs held at Guantanamo.
China considers the Uighurs “terrorist suspects” and wants them back, but the administration refuses to return them to China.
The 17 Uighurs, who acuse the US of being twice as bad as the Nazis,
were picked up in the training camps in Afghanistan where they were preparing for Jihad against China. They were cleared for release, in part, because their supporters claim the United States is not their direct enemy.
Thomas Joscelyn has more details on the background of the four Uighurs relocated to Bermuda:
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.
Joscelyn’s post has a lot more details on their testimony.
One thing is clear, these men who were released admitted ties to senior al Qaeda terrorists.
John Hinderaker comments,
Bermuda may or may not be Heaven on earth, but it’s my nominee. If you haven’t been there, you should go. But, if I’m not mistaken, you can only buy a round-trip ticket. Bermuda doesn’t allow riffraff to hang around. You have to apply to get in if you want to stay for more than a week or two. Except, I guess, if you’re an Islamic terrorist who has become an embarrassment to Barack Obama. It is a very weird world in which we live.
If I believed in alternate universes, I’d say that somewhere in an alternate universe, a huge crowd in a movie theater must be having a big laugh at us.
A friend who lives in a tropical vacation spot reminds me that the Uighurs were these guys:
Not long after being granted access to TV, some of the Uighurs were watching a soccer game. When a woman with bare arms was shown on the screen, one of the group grabbed the television and threw it to the ground, according to the officials.
It’ll be interesting to see what they do when they see women in string bikinis, or going topless.
Please note there will be no podcast this morning since I have laryngitis.
Andy McCarthy, the prosecutor for the first World Trade Center (1993) bombing, writes, Uighurs: Sometimes, the Obama Friday Night Bad News Dump Is Bad for the Left
The Obama Justice Department told the Supreme Court this evening that the Uighurs have no right to be released into the United States.
The Uighurs, Chinese Muslim detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, received terrorist training at al Qaeda affiliated camps (from an organization formally designated as a foreign terrorist organization under U.S. law) and were captured after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. They are the Left’s combatant cause célèbre. The military took the incoherent position that they were trained al Qaeda terrorists but that their real beef was with China, not us. Thus, the federal courts have held that they are not enemy combatants. The government has been trying to relocate them for years but no country will take the remaining 17 — other than China, where our treaty obligations arguably forbid us from sending them because there is reason to believe they’d be persecuted.
Of course, it’s one thing to say that they are not enemy combatants and should therefore be released. It is quite another thing, though, to say that they should be released into the United States (which, because of their terrorist affiliations, would violate federal immigration law).
Federal judge Richard Urbina tried to order their release into the US; the DC Court of Appeals overruled Urbina,
The Uighurs appealed, and today the Justice Department filed its responsive brief. Solicitor General Elena Kagan argued — consistent with the Bush administration position — that the Uighurs have no right to be released into the U.S.
This is an important decision not only for domestic security, but also because as Michael Goldfarb points out,
European nations are clamoring for the U.S. to accept some of the Uighur detainees in return for accepting some themselves.
Bottom line: the Uighurs have no right to be released into the US.