Obama sending 6 Gitmo jihadis to Uruguay

Obama-Jihadi-Seed

via Hagel Said to Tell Congress 6 Guantánamo Detainees Will Be Sent to Uruguay – NYTimes.com.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has secretly notified Congress that the military intends to transfer six low-level Guantánamo Bay detainees to Uruguay as early as next month, according to people with knowledge of the communication. All six have been approved for transfer for more than four years.

Mr. Hagel’s formal determination that the transfer would be in the national security interest of the United States breaks a bureaucratic paralysis over a deal that has been waiting for his approval since March, but that stalled amid the political uproar over a prisoner exchange deal that secured the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from insurgents in the Afghanistan war.

The six detainees bound for Uruguay include a Syrian man who has brought a high-profile court challenge to the Pentagon’s procedures for forcibly feeding detainees who are on a hunger strike. His transfer would most likely render that lawsuit moot, although there are several similar challenges.

“The United States is grateful to our partner, Uruguay, for this significant humanitarian gesture, and appreciates the Uruguayan government’s generous assistance as the United States continues its efforts to close the detention facility at Guantánamo,” said Ian Moss, a State Department spokesman. “We remain very appreciative of the assistance of our friends and allies who have stepped up not just to receive their own nationals but also those countries who have accepted detainees for resettlement.”

The group would be the largest to depart the prison at once since 2009, and the transfer would reduce the Guantánamo Bay inmate population to 143. That figure includes 72 prisoners who are recommended for transfer, and 71 who are not.

By giving lawmakers a congressionally mandated notice of at least 30 days before any transfer, Mr. Hagel signaled a return to normal order for Guantánamo prisoner releases.

It may be mandated, but lawless Obama (and everyone in his administration) has proven nothing is enforceable and he is above all laws and Congress, the Senate, the military nor anyone else will do a damn thing about it.

In the Bergdahl deal, the Obama administration did not give notice before transferring five high-level Taliban detainees to Qatar. Some lawmakers in both parties said that was illegal. The Obama administration insisted that providing no notice in that case was lawful, citing the risk to Sergeant Bergdahl’s life posed by any delay after the deal was struck.

Before the controversy, the Senate Armed Services Committee had reached a bipartisan deal clearing the way to transfer some detainees to a prison on domestic soil, allowing the Guantánamo prison to be closed. After the Bergdahl exchange, the Republican-led House voted, largely along party lines, for a proposal to prohibit the transfer of any detainee for any purpose.

Amid the political fallout, Mr. Hagel and his top military advisers had signaled reluctance to move forward with the Uruguay deal, along with another proposal to repatriate four low-level Afghan detainees that has been awaiting his approval since February, according to people familiar with the deliberations.

Of the six detainees President José Mujica of Uruguay has offered to resettle, four are Syrian, one is Palestinian and one is Tunisian. On June 26, lawyers for the six sent a letter to the administration urging it to act quickly while there was a window of opportunity, arguing that “these men should not be used as scapegoats in the current bout of U.S. partisan politics.” The administration is said to have notified Congress on July 9 that Mr. Hagel had approved the deal.

Continue reading the main story Continue reading the main story

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Lt. Col. Myles Caggins III, a Pentagon spokesman, said he was limited in what he could say for security reasons, but added, “Although we will not discuss certain aspects of our communications with Congress, we continue to move forward in transferring Guantánamo detainees and will continue to comply with the law in notifying Congress 30 days in advance of any transfer.”

If the transfer takes place in early August, a consequence could be the dismissal, without a ruling on the merits, of a lawsuit brought by one of the men, Jihad Ahmed Mujstafa Diyab, challenging the military’s procedures for force-feeding detainees who have been on a long-term hunger strike to protest their indefinite detention without trial.

 Uruguay is near the tri-border region where Hizbollah and other Islamic terrorists thrive.

Obama to free Gitmo terrorist ‘because he took up yoga’

via Obama to free Gitmo terrorist ‘because he took up yoga’ | New York Post.

If you thought President Obama’s release of five top Taliban commanders in exchange for POW Bowe Bergdahl was bad, wait until you see what his Gitmo parole board plans.

Desperate to empty the Guantanamo Bay prison by the end of his term, Obama quietly is giving “get out of jail free” cards for the flimsiest of excuses.

One al Qaeda suspect captured in Afghanistan is considered reformed because he took up yoga and read a biography of the Dalai Lama. Another is eligible for release because of his “positive attitude.”

And one longtime detainee, a former bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, is now harmless because he’s going to start a “milk and honey farm.”

The Periodic Review Board already helped clear 78 of the remaining 149 prisoners for release, documents show, and has scheduled more hearings for this summer.

Many of these men were dubbed “forever prisoners” because of the threat they posed to the US — with intelligence officials warning that, if free, they would return to the jihad to kill Americans.

Based on past cases, that’s a good bet.

In a report on detainee recidivism, Obama’s own director of national intelligence this year documented that 178, or 29 percent, of the 614 prisoners already transferred from the prison have been confirmed to have, or are suspected of having, re-engaged in terrorism.

That means for every three freed from Gitmo, one has rejoined the war against us. Intelligence analysts admit their ability to track all former detainees is limited, so the recidivism rate may, in fact, be much higher.

One notorious recidivist, Abdullah Gulam Rasoul, became the Taliban’s operations commander in southern Afghanistan soon after his 2007 release from Gitmo. He was blamed for masterminding a surge in roadside attacks against American troops and organizing assaults on US aircraft in Afghanistan.

Another repeat terrorist is Said Ali al-Shihri, who after his 2007 release ran al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch and helped plan the deadly bombing of the US Embassy there.

Already, one of the five Taliban leaders freed last week in exchange for Bergdahl — Mullah Noorullah Noori — has pledged to return to fight Americans in Afghanistan.

Obama’s terrorist parole board was established in 2011. He appoints its members — officials from the Justice Department, Pentagon, State Department and Homeland Security — without a congressional confirmation process. It is secretive and lacking in accountability.

In setting up the Periodic Review Board, meanwhile, Obama prohibited members from relying on information that has been obtained as a result of “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (in order) to support a determination that continued law of war detention is warranted for a detainee.”

The bias against interrogation evidence potentially opens up the release of some of Gitmo’s hardest cases, including al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah, 2002 Bali bombing mastermind “Hambali,” and Mohammed al-Qahtani, the suspected 20th hijacker of the 9/11 attacks.

But these releases won’t cause the same outcry, because it’s being done in virtual secrecy. Already, more than 600 prisoners have been transferred out of Gitmo with little fanfare. Two hundred of them were sent back to Afghanistan.

As defense lawyer David Remes explained to Al Jazeera news network, “The Periodic Review Board is likely to be predisposed to approval to transfer because the idea here is to close down Guantanamo.”

The inmates slated for release include:

GHALEB NASSER AL-BIHANI, 34

“He loves yoga”

What he did: Classified as an “indefinite detainee” in 2010 because of the danger he posed to the US. The Yemeni national was captured in 2001 fighting in Afghanistan. The military said he was a troublemaker while in custody, even inciting riots. He was uncooperative in interviews, showing “ill intentions toward the US.” One of his brothers in Yemen is a leader in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror group’s most lethal branch.

What they say now: His government-appointed lawyer argued he was merely an assistant cook for an unspecified military group. “He has asked for yoga magazines and self-help books,” lawyer Pardiss Kebriaei told the parole board in April, noting he practices yoga in his cellblock and has read biographies of the Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King Jr.

In his own plea to the board, Bihani suggested his hostility comes from losing his parents as a boy, saying, “It was hard growing up without a mother or father.” He promised to start a family and live a peaceful life if freed. “I look forward to the day when I can hold my baby in my hands,” he said. Last month, the board said it found his story “credible” and declared al-Bihani “no longer…a threat to the security of the United States.”

MAHMUD ABD AL AZIZ AL MUJAHID, 33

“Wants a milk & honey farm”

What he did: Served as Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard and was captured after 9/11. The military warns that, if freed, he would likely hook up in Yemen with his brother, “another former bin Laden bodyguard.”

Without explanation, the board blacked out a large section of Mujahid’s testimony dealing with al Qaeda.

What they say now: “Mujahid is a peacemaker,” his lawyer David Remes insisted, adding he “requires no rehabilitation when he returns.”

Mujahid called a character witness — another detainee — who testified that Mujahid had told him he wants to start a “milk and honey farm” in Yemen.

In November, the board cleared Mujahid for release, reasoning he would maintain his good behavior through “extensive family support in Yemen.” Panelists were impressed with his personal statement that, while growing up, “in our household, we were taught politeness, decency and human being [sic].”

ALI AHMAD MOHAMED AI-RAZIHI, 33

“Has a positive attitude”

What he did: Served as an Osama bin Laden bodyguard. There’s evidence he wrote to his family boasting of his commitment to jihad. The military cautioned officials against believing that “his stated intentions are genuine.”

Curiously, the board withheld Razihi’s written testimony and hearing transcript.

What they say now: In taking him off the threat list, the board cited his “positive attitude.” His personal representative convinced board members that Razihi “has keen business acumen” and seeks to take over the family’s “fruit and vegetable business” in Yemen.

Added the unnamed government advocate: “He’s ready to live out the rest of his days as a peaceful man, a family man and an entrepreneur, and no longer should be considered a continued significant threat to the United States.”

Prisoners in Gitmo at height in 2003: 684

Prisoners left: 149

Cleared for transfer but not yet released: 78

Prisoners, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who are considered “high-value detainees” charged with war crimes: 16

Recidivism rate for released prisoners: 29%

 

Previously, Obama to Free Gitmo Terrorists Who Learn About (non-existent) ‘Peaceful Form of Islam’.

 

Administration confirms Obama broke law releasing terrorists from Gitmo

via The Washington Post.

Lawmakers were not notified of the Guantanamo detainees’ transfer until after it occurred.

The law requires the defense secretary to notify relevant congressional committees at least 30 days before making any transfers of prisoners, to explain the reason and to provide assurances that those released would not be in a position to reengage in activities that could threaten the United States or its interests.

Before the current law was enacted at the end of last year, the conditions were even more stringent…

A senior administration official, agreeing to speak on the condition of anonymity to explain the timing of the congressional notification, acknowledged that the law was not followed.

 Even the left called out the blatant illegality of it all:

Rice also appeared on CNN’s State of the Union with Candy Crowley and was met with an uncharacteristically obstinate Crowley, who was never satisfied over Rice’s denial of negotiating with terrorists.

Here is their exchange, slightly abbreviated:

Crowley: This isn’t a judgment question, it’s just a question: You had to negotiate with terrorists to secure the release of the sergeant.

Rice: We actually negotiated with the government of Qatar, to whom we owe a great debt.

Crowley: No longer can it be said that the U.S. doesn’t negotiate with terrorists.

Rice: I wouldn’t put it that way, Candy. I wouldn’t say that at all.

Crowley: Why didn’t you notify Congress, which under the law it says you should?

Rice: It wasn’t unknown to Congress. The Department of Defense consulted with the Department of Justice. And given the acute urgency of the health condition of Sergeant Bergdahl, and given the president’s constitutional responsibilities, it was determined that it was necessary and appropriate not to adhere to the 30-day notification requirement, because it would have potentially meant that the opportunity to get Sergeant Bergdahl would have been lost.

Crowley: Is there no one in Congress you can trust with the information to call up the chairman of the intelligence committees or the chairwoman on the Senate side and say, ‘I want you to know that this is happening, we have to act now?’

Rice: Well we did do that. In fact, we had briefed Congress in the past and when the deal was done and Sgt. Bergdahl was in U.S. custody is when we began making notifications to Congress.

Crowley: But the deal had already been made and the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay were already on route to a plane to go to Qatar.

Rice: No actually Congress began to be notified when Sgt. Bergdahl was in American hands which was actually before the prisoners had left Guantanamo Bay.

Crowley: But not telling a couple of folks up on Capital Hill might that in hindsight not have been a good idea?

Rice: Candy, what we put the highest premium on was the safety of Sgt. Bergdahl. This was very held closely [sic] within the administration. We could not take any risk with losing the opportunity to bring him back safely.

Crowley: So there was a conscious decision to break the law as you know it dealing with the detainees and the release of them?

Rice: Candy, no. As I said earlier, the Department of Defense consulted with the Department of Justice and it is our view that it was appropriate and necessary to do this in order to bring Sgt. Bergdahl back safely.

Crowley: What about the wrong message to terrorists that they can negotiate for more Guantanamo releases if they capture U.S. soldiers or civilians?

Rice: I think the terrorist are intent on doing what they are going to do. But Candy, we have a commitment to close Guantanamo Bay. The president’s been very clear about that. The existence of Guantanamo Bay is itself a detriment to our national security, which is why the president has prioritized closing it and why we intend to get that done.

Closing Gitmo now takes priority over following the law. That kind of sounds like blaming a video for the Benghazi attack too.

Congress is inept, impotent and as corrupt as the White House.

Fiddle anyone?

U.S. Frees 5 Gitmo Terrorists for American Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl (updated)

And the jihadis are celebrating all around even making propaganda videos of the event:

via Taliban Prisoner Swap Frees U.S. Soldier Held Nearly 5 Years – NYTimes.com.

The lone American prisoner of war from the Afghan conflict, captured by insurgents nearly five years ago, has been released to American forces in exchange for five Taliban prisoners held at the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility, Obama administration officials said Saturday.

The soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, was handed over to American Special Operations forces inside Afghanistan about 10:30 a.m. Saturday by a group of 18 Taliban, officials said.

American officials said that Sergeant Bergdahl was in good condition and able to walk.

The five Taliban prisoners at Guantánamo were being transferred into the custody of officials from Qatar, who will accompany them back to that Persian Gulf state, where they will be subject to security restrictions, including a one-year travel ban.

Talks on the exchange resumed in earnest about a week ago with Qatari officials who were acting as intermediaries for the Taliban.

Sergeant Bergdahl is believed to have been held by the militant Haqqani network in the tribal area of Pakistan’s northwest frontier, on the Afghan border. He was captured in Paktika Province in Afghanistan on June 30, 2009.

The circumstances of how he was separated from his unit and captured have remained a mystery.

The latest evidence indicating that Sergeant Bergdahl, who was promoted twice while held prisoner, was still alive came in January, when a video was obtained by the American military showing him alert but also apparently in declining health.

One Defense Department official said that once Sergeant Bergdahl was safely aboard the American military helicopter flown to the rendezvous, he wrote on a paper plate with a pen — because it was so loud — “S.F.?” seeking to find out if the soldiers were American Special Forces.

One soldier yelled back, “Yes, we’ve been looking for you for a long time,” at which point Sergeant Bergdahl broke down crying, the Pentagon official said.

Update: via Mail Online.

The five detainees being released as part of a deal to save Bergdahl are among the most senior Afghans held at the controversial detention camp.

The White House responded to the Republicans’ statement, saying that ‘unique and exigent circumstances’ mean the transfer was agreed outside of the legal requirement.

Taliban prisoners named in deal

Abdul Haq Wasiq – Taliban deputy minister of intelligence

Mullah Norullah Nori – Senior Taliban commander in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif who commanded insurgents fighting U.S. forces in late 2001

Khairullah Khairkhwa – Senior Taliban official believed to have ties to Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s founder

Mohammed Nabi – A regional Chief of Security for the Taliban and eventual radio operator

Mohammed Fazl – Believed to have overseen the mass extermination of Shiite Muslims during the 2000 – 2001 war that saw the Taliban rise to power in Afghanistan.

Update: NY Times

His future in the Army remains unclear. But if Sergeant Bergdahl did in fact walk off his post, there has been no indication from the military that he will be punished for doing so. Any penalty appeared even more unlikely on Saturday, when Robert and Jani Bergdahl appeared in the Rose Garden with Mr. Obama, who embraced them and welcomed their son home.

As he stood at the president’s side, Robert Bergdahl said that his son was having difficulty with English after spending so much time with the Taliban, then said “bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim,” a common Arabic phrase meaning “in the name of God, most gracious, most compassionate,” and then spoke a few words in Pashto, a language of Afghanistan.

Bergdahl’s father had previously posted Tweets that sounded very sympathetic to the Taliban.
berg-fatherHere’s one that was recently deleted:

berg-father2More: Sgt. Bergdahl: What We Are Not Being Told

Former Gitmo detainee killed while leading jihadist group in Syria

via The Long War Journal. h/t Religion of Peace

Ibrahim Bin Shakaran, a Moroccan who spent more than three years at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility before being released to Moroccan custody, has been killed while leading a jihadist group that fights Syrian government forces.

Bin Shakaran, who is also known as Abu Ahmad al Maghribi, Abu Ahmad al Muhajir, and Brahim Benchekroune, was “martyred, Insha’Allah, in battles for Hilltop # 45 in Latakia,” according to Kavkaz Center, a propaganda arm of the Islamic Caucasus Emirate.

Bin Shakaran led a jihadist group known as Sham al Islam, which is based in Latakia and is comprised primarily of fighters from Morocco, according to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Bin Shakaran created the group “not only to recruit fighters for the Syria war, but also to establish a jihadist organization within Morocco itself.”

Sham al Islam has been fighting alongside the al Qaeda’s Syrian branch, the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, as well as Ahrar al Sham and the Army of the Emigrants and Supporters in an ongoing offensive in the coastal province of Latakia.

Sham al Islam was one of several rebel groups that fought in another offensive in Latakia in August 2013 in which major human rights abuses were committed. While Human Rights Watch noted that Sham al Islam was present during the offensive, it could not confirm if the group was involved in the atrocities committed. The group’s allies, the Al Nusrah Front, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, Ahrar al Sham, Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar (or Army of Emigrants and Helpers), and Suquor al Izz, were directly implicated. [See Report highlights al Qaeda affiliates' role in Syrian atrocities, from LWJ.]

Bin Shakaran is the second former Guantanamo Bay detainee from Morocco reported to have been killed in Syria while waging jihad for Sham al Islam. The other ex-Guantanamo detainee, who was known as Mohammed al ‘Alami, was killed last year.

A December 2003 leaked threat assessment authored by Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) identified Bin Shakaran as a “high-ranking member” of the theological commission of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organization. According to the assessment, he traveled to Afghanistan in November 2000, “attended basic and advanced training at the Al Farouq training camp,” a known al Qaeda facility, “from January to May 2001,” and then “rotated to the front lines near Kabul” in October 2001 after the US invaded Afghanistan.

Bin Shakaran fled Afghanistan as US forces pressed al Qaeda. He passed through the Afghan province of Logar, then to Pakistan’s Waziristan tribal area, then to Bannu, and after that to Lahore with “two Pakistanis, three Arabs and a Turkmenistani.”

The 2003 JTF-GTMO threat assessment recommended that Bin Shakaran remain in custody as he “poses a high risk as he is likely to pose a threat against the US, its interests, or her allies.”

Despite the assessment, the US transferred Bin Shakaran to Moroccan custody in July 2004, and he was released shortly afterward by Moroccan authorities.

Bin Shakaran immediately returned to the fight. The Defense Department reported in 2008 that Bin Shakaran and another freed Guantanamo detainee known as Mohammed Bin Ahmad Mizouz were involved “in a terrorist network recruiting Moroccans to fight for Abu Musab al Zarqawi’s al Qaeda in Iraq.” Zarqawi’s group was responsible for killing and wounding thousands of US soldiers in Iraq.

Read it all.

Obama Frees Osama Bin Laden’s bodyguard from Gitmo

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via Obama Parole Board Frees Al Qaeda Terrorist, Bin Laden Guard From Gitmo | Judicial Watch.

The Al Qaeda terrorist—Osama Bin Laden’s bodyguard—determined to be “too dangerous to be released” from Guantanamo just a few years ago will be freed from the military prison because President Obama’s new parole board found he no longer poses a “significant threat to the United States.”

The shocking about-face comes on the heels of mainstream news reports disclosing that a former Guantanamo detainee, Sufian bin Qumu, participated in the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Libya.  Bin Qumu was released from the prison at the U.S. naval base in Cuba despite having historic ties to the Al Qaeda network and training at bin Laden’s Torkham camp, according to information obtained from his Gitmo file.

That makes this week’s news that bin Laden’s former bodyguard, Mahmud Abd Al Aziz Al Mujahid, will soon be free, all the more outrageous. It was not that long ago—in 2010—that an Obama task force listed Mujahid as too dangerous to release from Gitmo. That put him on a special “forever prisoner” list of 48 indefinite detainees. His Pentagon file says he’s a high risk likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies and that he is of high intelligence value.

The defense document also says Mujahid is a member of Al Qaeda who served as a body guard for bin Laden for one year and that he has familial ties to Al Qaeda members, including other bin Laden bodyguards and Gitmo detainees.  He traveled to Afghanistan in late 1999 or early 2000 for jihad and received militant training at the Al Qaeda al-Faruq training camp, the file says.

“Detainee is a committed jihadist who received theological training from, and was recruited by, radical Yemeni shaykhs who continue to recruit Yemeni youth to participate in hostilities against US and coalition forces. Detainee’s assessed commitment to jihadis supported by his discussions with another JTF-GTMO detainee on methods to conduct suicide during detention.”

Yet soon he will be freed to his native Yemen because Obama promised to close the military prison. Gitmo still houses 155 men and the president created a special parole panel, a six-member Periodic Review Board, to essentially clear out the facility. Mujahid is the first prisoner to be considered by the panel, though dozens of Gitmo detainees have already been approved for release to meet the demands of the leftist groups that have long called for the facility to shut down.

Obama’s special Periodic Review Board found that Mujahid’s “continued law of war detention is no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the United States,” according to a Pentagon announcement. Therefore Mujahid is “eligible for transfer subject to appropriate security and humane treatment conditions.” No further information was offered on the drastic change in this prisoner’s assessment.

His file leaked/stolen from Gitmo reads:

Detainee is a committed jihadist who received theological training from, and was recruited by, radical Yemeni shaykhs who continue to recruit Yemeni youth to participate in hostilities against US and coalition forces. Detainee?s assessed commitment to jihadis supported by his discussions with another JTF-GTMO detainee on methods to conduct suicide during detention.

Click the “Gitmo” link below to see previous posts on matters at Gitmo, but in particular read this July 2013 post that garnered almost no media attention: US releases five Taliban and two Algerian jihadis from Gitmo.

Congressional Deal Clears Way For Release of Jihadis from Gitmo

From behind enemy lines… ThinkProgress.

A deal between the House and Senate is set to clear the way for the the transfer of more than half of the current detainees at the prison in Guantanamo Bay to other countries, a move that Congress has long prevented.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is one of the most closely watched bills to come out of the Congress each year, as it is considered one of the bills that a president is particularly loathe to veto. Each side of the Capitol’s initial draft of the Fiscal Year 2014 NDAA included a different view of what should be done with the 162 detainees remaining imprisoned in the United States’ outpost on Cuba. Within the Senate version, detainees would be allowed to be brought to the U.S. for trial in civilian courts. In the House’s draft, meanwhile, all current restrictions on prisoner transfers would remain in place.

In what’s being hailed as a compromise, the ban on moving detainees to the United States remains, while the president is given the authority to increase the number of detainees transferred to third countries. At present, 84 of the detainees set for release or transfer have yet to be moved; 55 of those would be reptriated to Yemen in the event they are given the green light from the Pentagon. President Obama in April pledged once more to make good on his campaign promise close the facility, with a boost in transfers included as part of the strategy.

“This is a bipartisan bill that meets our obligations to our men and women in uniform and their families and includes important reforms and authorities for the Department of Defense,” Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said. His Republican counterpart, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), agreed, urging his colleagues “to move quickly to pass this bill before we adjourn for the year.”

Transfers for those cleared to be sent overseas became one of the focal points of this year’s widespread hunger strike among the camp’s detainees. At its peak, more than 100 of the detention center’s occupants were on strike, refusing meals after their copies of the Quran were searched and their fellow inmates cleared for transfer remained in place. Gitmo authorities responded by force-feeding dozens of the strikers, in doing so drawing international condemnation for violating medical ethics. Army Capt. Jason Wright, a detainee lawyer, told ThinkProgress in March when asked about how to end the hunger strike that one step could be through providing hope to detainees, through the previously promised release of some of their co-inhabitants.

Several amendments were offered last year to aid in the closure of the base, but the only change to the NDAA that passed through Congress related to GTMO involved expansions of the prison, to the tune of $200 million. In recent months, however, Congress has finally begun to balk at the amount of money it costs to keep Guantanamo open. “The annual cost of holding a prisoner at the Supermax is $79,000,” CAP expert Ken Gude wrote at ThinkProgress last week. “At Guantanamo, that number is $2.7 million.”

Both costs are too high and too many in government are lining their pockets in the process.

The most recent transfer from Guantanamo took place on December 5, when two detainees — Djamel Saiid Ali Ameziane and Bensayah Belkecem — were sent to their country of origin, Algeria. Rather than being praised, however, activists are condemning the transfer due to Algeria’s record of human rights abuses. Instead, they would have preferred that the two had been transferred to a third country, such as Luxembourg who has offered to take in former detainees.

Send them all to their country of origin, with a bill, and let them be dealt with accordingly.

Obama to Free Gitmo Terrorists Who Learn About ‘Peaceful Form of Islam’

bizarroworldvia Judicial Watch.

The Obama administration is negotiating to release Guantanamo terrorists to a renowned Middle Eastern Al Qaeda training ground if the prisoners undergo “counseling, instruction in a peaceful form of Islam and job training.”

This is no joke, though it sounds like a bad one. Better yet, the famously corrupt and leftist United Nations is helping with the deal, which is being kept quiet and solidified in a western European country. A mainstream newspaper got wind of it and reported on it this week, revealing “previously undisclosed talks held in Rome recently because of security risks in Yemen,” the eventual landing spot for the prisoners.

The deal would involve transferring dozens of prisoners held at the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo Cuba to a “detention facility” outside Yemen’s capital. “Deep disagreements remain on funding, and about whether it would function as another prison or as a halfway house for detainees to reenter society after years of confinement and isolation,” according to the news article, which quotes a U.S. official admitting “the risks are very high.”

That’s because Yemen, deemed a high security threat by the State Department for its terrorist activities, is an Al Qaeda hotbed and major base of Islamic militants. In fact, many of the Gitmo captives already released to Yemen have resumed their jihadist training, according intelligence reports. This led a powerful Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, California’s Dianne Feinstein, to join a group of Republicans to call for a halt of the flawed Yemeni repatriation program for Gitmo captives a few years ago.

Remember that it was a Yemen-trained terrorist who tried to bomb a U.S. airliner on Christmas a few years ago and an Al Qaeda wing in Yemen claimed responsibility for the attempt. Before that the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency revealed that an Al Qaeda leader in Yemen (Said Ali al-Shihri) was one of many who rejoined terrorist missions after being released from Gitmo to a Saudi Arabian “rehabilitation” program. Al-Shihri organized a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen in 2008 and was involved in car bombings outside the American Embassy that killed at least 16 people.

It’s inconceivable that the administration is even considering releasing Gitmo captives to a Yemeni “halfway house.” Detainees at the facility would undergo counseling, instruction in a peaceful form of Islam, and job training in Yemen before any decision on freeing them, U.S. officials reveal in the newspaper article. They say the program would be modeled on a “largely successful Saudi effort to reintegrate Islamic militants into society” even though intelligence reports have shown a sharp rise in those who rejoin terrorist missions after going through the comical Saudi rehab.

Released Gitmo detainee was on ground in Benghazi during terror attack

benghazi-libya-coverup-obama-white-house-hillary-clinton-chris-stevens

via Former Guantanamo detainee was on ground in Benghazi during terror attack, source says | Fox News.

A former Guantanamo Bay detainee with Al Qaeda ties was in Benghazi the night of the Sept. 11 attack, according to a source on the ground in Libya.

The source told Fox News that ex-detainee Sufian bin Qumu, who is suspected of running camps in eastern Libya where some of the assailants trained, is also a “respected member” of Ansar al-Sharia — one of the Islamist groups identified in State Department email traffic two hours after the attack.

Two sources familiar with the investigation, when asked about bin Qumu’s whereabouts the night of the attack, did not dispute the claim he was in Benghazi.

While it is not clear whether bin Qumu was directing the assault, his security file from Guantanamo may be revealing. Having already trained in Usama bin Laden’s camps, in 1998 bin Qumu joined the Taliban in Pakistan and “communicated with likely extremist elements via radio during this period indicating a position of leadership,” the file shows.

Fox News’ ongoing reporting on the attack has shown that at least four key Benghazi suspects have ties to the Al Qaeda senior leadership in Pakistan. They include bin Qumu and Muhammad Jamal, whose network is also suspected of training jihadists for the attack. Jamal was held, and later released by, Egyptian authorities. Earlier this month, the State Department’s terrorist designation for Jamal and his network cites letters he exchanged with Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, where Jamal asked for money and explained the scope of his training camps, which included Libya and the Sinai.

Fox News was first to report that two other suspects have ties to the Al Qaeda senior leadership — one believed to be a former courier and the other, a bodyguard for the network. Faraj al Chalabi, identified to Fox News as the bodyguard, was also in Afghanistan with bin Laden until the U.S. invasion in October 2001.

The hunt is still underway for suspects in the attack more than a year later, though some have questioned the administration’s resolve.

After Fox News reported earlier this week that the Benghazi suspects are not included on the State Department’s “Rewards for Justice” program, which offers cash for tips that lead to suspected terrorists, Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry questioning the omission.

The letter is now being circulated on Capitol Hill for signatures, Fox News has learned, and should be delivered to Kerry’s office no later than next week.

A draft reviewed by Fox News includes highly critical language. “We fail to understand how such an important counterterrorism tool could not be used by the administration, when you and the president claim that bringing the assailants to justice is such a high priority,” the draft says.

Bin Qumu was transferred to Guantanamo on May 5, 2002, and released to Libya on Sept. 28, 2007, where he was initially held and later released. His Guantanamo review file, originally a classified document but made public by WikiLeaks, says he is a “former member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a probable member of al Qaida and a member of the North African Extremist Network. Detainee is a medium to high risk and he is likely to pose a threat to the US and it’s interests and allies.”

A review of State Department cables, also made public by WikiLeaks, shows that former Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in the 2012 attack, was interested in bin Qumu’s fate once he was transferred from the U.S. military detention facility to Libya. Stevens had one of his subordinates meet with bin Qumu at the Libyan jail.

Before he was promoted to U.S. ambassador to Libya in May 2012, Stevens served as CDA, or “Charge de Affairs,” at the embassy in Tripoli. In 2008 cables, Stevens noted that he and his team from the politics and economic section of the embassy were visiting prisons to ensure the welfare of repatriated Guantanamo detainees from Libya. This included bin Qumu, who is referred to as ISN 557 in the cables dated from September 2008.

One cable says: “During our previous meeting on June 10, the security official who facilitated the meeting explained that detention protocols for extremists and terrorists mandate that they be held in solitary detention to preclude the possibility that they could recruit other members of the prison population. End note.”

Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton noted to Fox News that “as we returned Gitmo inmates to Libya to be imprisoned by Muammar Qaddafi, the U.S. government was tasked with officially inquiring about their welfare in Libyan prisons.”

Fox News’ Bret Baier was first to report last fall that the intelligence community believed the former detainee was involved in the Benghazi terrorist attack.

Representatives with the CIA and National Counterterrorism Center declined to comment for this report. The FBI did not respond.

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New Obama Policy Limits Gitmo Access to Leftist, Terrorist Advocate Groups

via Gitmo Policy Change: Only Leftist Groups Get Access | Judicial Watch.

In a startling about-face, the Obama administration is restricting exclusive access to Military Commission hearings in Guantanamo Bay to five leftist human rights groups that openly advocate for the terrorist defendants.

The abrupt policy change was delivered a few weeks ago to Non-Government Organizations (NGOs)—like Judicial Watch—that have repeatedly traveled to the U.S. Naval base in southeastern Cuba to observe the commission proceedings. In the name of transparency, the Department of Defense (DOD) years ago opened the legal proceedings of the world’s most dangerous terrorists to a wide spectrum of observers.

Since 2008 Judicial Watch, the only right-of-center organization to regularly monitor Gitmo proceedings, has sent representatives to Cuba 12 times. JW was present for the 2008 arraignment of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the 2011 arraignment of USS Cole bomber Bad al-Rahim al-Nassir and a number of KSM motion hearings in 2012 and 2013.

Under the new policy only five NGOs, selected by the Pentagon, will be guaranteed a seat at the commission hearings. They include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the American Bar Association. A memo issued by the Office of the Secretary of Defense blames “logistical limitations” for the sudden move.

Judicial Watch appealed the decision but the Pentagon is not backing down from its new policy giving permanent observer seats at Gitmo to nonprofits that advocate for terrorists. “These groups represent a narrow, extreme ideological view on terrorist detainee issues,” JW President Tom Fitton writes in a letter to the DOD official in charge of the Military Commissions. “As you may well know, in some instances, persons affiliated with the five NGOs have served as legal counsel or political advocates for the terrorist detainees held at GTMO.”

The appeal letter further says that the group of permanent observers should reflect a full range of views in the debate on terrorist detainee issue. “Your proposed system could have the effect of freezing out any alternative voices from the NGO community, specifically those voices that have not served as legal and political advocates for terrorist detainees.”

The Military Commission chief of staff, Michael Quinn, responded by explaining that the five NGOs “were selected due to their ability to reach an international audience, their experience with international human rights in criminal trials and their stated mission to advance human rights through advocacy and respect for the law.” He ends by expressing appreciation for “Judicial Watch’s interest in the conduct of military commissions” and invites JW to watch proceedings on closed-circuit television at Fort Meade, Maryland.

Freed Gitmo Terrorist Killed Fighting with U.S.-backed Syrian “Rebels”

Was he armed with U.S.-supplied weapons or “non-lethal” aid? via Freed Gitmo Terrorist Member of Islamic Opposition in Syria | Judicial Watch.

As the Obama administration pushes its delusional tale that Syrian rebels aren’t terrorists, a mainstream newspaper chain publishes a story about a former Guantanamo captive who died fighting the Bashar Assad regime as a member of an Islamic opposition group.

The ex-Guantanamo prisoner, Mohammed al Alami, was one of hundreds released from the U.S. military facility in southeastern Cuba during the Bush administration. He spent four years at Gitmo, admitted training with Al Qaeda and participating in an Afghan paramilitary camp where Osama bin Laden visited “to encourage and reinforce the trainee’s commitment to the cause of jihad.” Records cited in the article show that the U.S. Army general in charge of Gitmo at the time advised against releasing Alami.

Over the years a variety of intelligence and foreign news reports have revealed that, like Alami, many of the freed Gitmo prisoners have rejoined terrorist missions after leaving the military compound. One of them, Said Ali al-Shihri, became an Al Qaeda leader in Yemen who masterminded a U.S. Embassy bombing after being released. Dozens of others have returned to “the fight” after leaving Gitmo, according to the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, which gathers foreign military intelligence.

The Department of Defense (DOD) supposedly keeps track of the released Gitmo captives, but the agency had no comment when asked about Alami and his role in the Syrian insurgency. That’s probably because, in its quest to make a case for U.S. military intervention, the Obama administration claims that a collection of secular moderates—that deserve U.S. backing—are leading the fight against the Syrian regime. Concerns about Al Qaeda jihadists running the rebel operations in Syria are unfounded, the administration assures.

To back this up the administration adopted the assessment of a 26-year-old Syria “expert” (Elizabeth O’Bagy), who convinced the president, secretary of state and some federal lawmakers that Syrian rebels are mostly moderates and not terrorists. It turns out that O’Bagy is also the political director for the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF), a group that advocates for Syria’s rebels from Washington D.C. She recently got fired from a Washington D.C. think-tank that studies military affairs for lying about having a doctorate.

Getting back to Gitmo, the compound is still home to 164 prisoners including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and USS Cole bomber Bad al-Rahim al-Nassir.

More: Ex-Guantanamo detainee dies fighting Assad in Syria

During the Bush years, the Pentagon repatriated more than 530 of the 779 prisoners held at Guantánamo since Jan. 11, 2002. Obama, vowing to close the prison, had his administration repatriate or resettle about 70 more.

And more on the dead jihadi and others: Moroccan Ex-Guantánamo Detainees Fighting in Syria’s Civil War

So far in the Syrian civil war, I have come across two Moroccan ex-Gitmo detainees fighting in Syria. One of them was killed during the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham-led [ISIS] offensive in Latakia during the summer, whose sole aim was to strike a symbolic victory against the Assad regime by capturing and ethnically cleansing Assad’s ancestral village of Qardaḥa, while clearing out a number of Alawite localities on the way. The goal was to reach Qardaḥa by Eid al-Fiṭr (as Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi wanted) so that the mujahideen could hold prayers in the village.

The Moroccan ex-Gitmo detainee killed in question was known by the nom de guerre of Abu Hamza al-Maghrebi. One of the first local Syrian pro-ISIS outlets to report his death was Maysar, based in Aleppo and using the FSA flag in its logo but ideologically aligned with ISIS.

Gitmo braces for unrest (ie, jihad) after Ramadan truce

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Giving jailed Muslim terrorists all the things that reinforce their beliefs is like giving jailed pedophiles kiddy porn. Still waging jihad via Guantanamo braces for unrest after Ramadan truce | The Raw Story.

The end of Ramadan has left authorities at the Guantanamo Bay military jail preparing for an uptick in unrest at the controversial prison, US officials say.

The annual Muslim fast is traditionally regarded as an unofficial truce at Guantanamo, where some inmates have been held for around a decade without trial.

However officials expect the end of Ramadan and the festival of Eid al-Fitr will be the cue for trouble at Guantanamo, which has witnessed an unprecedented six-month hunger strike this year.

Some inmates at Guantanamo have taken advantage of a tailored menu to observe the Eid holiday.

This weekend inmates were offered halal chicken, halal beef, lamb, dates, honey, says kitchen manager Sam Scott.

“We did begin Ramadan with what we call a Ramadan pardon,” he explained. “Some welcomed that opportunity; for some of them it was not a matter of two days before they began insulting guards.

“We’re not expected to see a massive disturbance but we will see an uptick in misbehaviors as we come out of Ramadan,” he added.

“Misbehavior” can take different forms, from hurling urine and feces and spitting to punching.

“If there’s a window of opportunity for a detainee for acting out, many will take that opportunity,” said Durand, who reported a calmer atmosphere in the camp during Ramadan.

If ever there was a good reason to shut Gitmo, dhimmitude and wasting taxpayer money would qualify. Otherwise, put the jihadists on trial and be done with it.

More: Guantanamo Bay will offer special meals, prayer services for inmates to celebrate Ramadan, officials said

The military planned to serve lamb, bread, dates and honey as the last daylight fasting period of Ramadan ends, followed by three traditional holiday dinners on Thursday, said a spokesman for the prison, Navy Capt. Robert Durand. There will also be a special hour-long prayer for the holiday known as Eid al-Fitr in addition to the five daily prayers.

US releases five Taliban and two Algerian jihadis from Gitmo

Prelude to surrender…er negotiations. via US releases prisoners from Guantanamo – Israel News, Ynetnews. h/t Jihad Watch

Without much publicity or official announcements, the Unites States released five Guantanamo Bay detainees as a nod of willingness to open peace talks in Afghanistan. After officials in Kabul expressed desire for negotiations, the Obama administration released five members of the Taliban who were detained at the US detention center.

A top US official said that the prisoners were released under the condition that they will not engage in any violent activity. While it is clear that they are guilty of crime, the benefit in releasing them—the potential withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan by the summer of 2014—is greater than the risk. The US announced it will attempt to negotiate peace talks with the Taliban and Afghanistan government officials some months ago.

This gesture from the US government was a departure from the Obama administration’s policy of zero tolerance to negotiations with terrorists and releasing prisoners; thus, in preparation for talks with Afghan officials, the US state department redefined the Taliban as an organization that is no longer included in the US enemy list.

Releasing the detainees from Guantanamo Bay serves another purpose for President Obama: The more prisoners released from the camp, the likelier it is for Congress to approve shutting down the facility altogether—a campaign promise which Obama he has been trying to realize since first being elected in 2008.

Why do we find this out from Israeli media and not national news in the U.S.? Apparently it wasn’t even tweeted by terrorist sympathizer and Gitmo reporter Carol Rosenberg.

The Taliban release was preceded by the announcement that the Pentagon official in charge of detainee affairs was forced out “quitting” and that two Algerians were being released from Gitmo.

Meanwhile, Surrenderer in Chief is silent:

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Judge Halts Groin Searches at Gitmo, Calling Them Abhorrent to Muslims

via Judge Halts Groin Searches at Guantánamo, Calling Them Abhorrent to Muslims – NYTimes.com.

WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Thursday ordered the military to stop touching the groins of detainees at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, when they are moved from their cells to speak with lawyers. The procedure had led some prisoners to stop meeting with or calling their lawyers.

In a 35-page opinion, Judge Royce C. Lamberth, the chief judge of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, called the searches — which included guards wedging their hands between the genitals and thighs of the detainees as many as four times when moving them to a meeting and back to their cells — “religiously and culturally abhorrent” to Muslims. He portrayed the procedure as unnecessary and intended to “actively discourage” meetings with lawyers.

…the judge, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, rejected those explanations as “yet another exaggerated response” by the military that was “inhibiting petitioners’ access to counsel.”

Maybe this judge should rule on NDAA, the Patriot Act, NSA spying, TSA groping, Obamacare or the multitude of other unconsitutional acts now limiting the rights of American citizens. As noted at Sweetness & Light:

Meanwhile, the rest of us are regularly subjected to groin searches at airports, thanks to these very same (ahem) gentlemen. But Muslim terrorists, who constantly attack their guards, get a free pass.

In fact, doesn’t this mean Muslims can’t even be groin searched at airports? While nuns and grannies will still get the full treatment.

Update: Americans have to pay for the less groping.

And just in time the TSA is claiming there is a new, undetectable underwear bomb being used by al Qaeda, Beware “Underwear 2″: TSA Chief Offers:

“They want to show that we can spend billions and billions of dollars,” Pistole told Ross, “and we still can’t stop them.”

We could stop letting in people from Muslim countries though. Or we could single out with intense scrutiny all travelers to and from Muslim countries. But no, while jihadis at Gitmo can’t be searched, Americans of all ages are terrorized by the TSA – all to stop Muslim terrorists.

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Gitmo terrorist: “The Mistreatment Now is More Severe than During Bush”

It ain’t just at Gitmo son.

The mistreatment now is more severe than during Bush.

Things are getting bad when Islamic terrorists and the ultra far left call out Obama, via Islamo-terror-defender Andy Worthington.

Of course they will say anything to get out of Gitmo and some are getting book deals and Match.com profiles. CNN panders:

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