Gitmo parole board cleared Saudi jihadist for release…on Sep. 11th

via al Qaeda’s favorite Gitmo reporter at the Miami Herald:

A U.S. parole board has cleared another captive from Saudi Arabia once suspected of being part of Osama bin Laden’s security detail for release from Guantánamo to the kingdom’s rehabilitation program.

The board lifted the “forever prisoner” status of Mohammed Shimrani, 40, on Sept. 11 but disclosed it two weeks later, days after Saudi Arabia picked up another long-held captive who was brought to Camp X-Ray in Cuba in the first week of operations, like many, as a suspected bin Laden bodyguard.

The decision meant that 53 of Guantánamo’s 114 detainees are cleared for release, once the State Department negotiates security assurances that satisfy Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. Now, 10 others are in war court proceedings, and 51 other captives are in a continue-to-detain status, 29 of them indefinite detainees, forever prisoners.

The parole board said in a brief, three-paragraph decision that it had faith in the Saudi rehabilitation program and the kingdom’s ability to subsequently monitor Shimrani’s movements.

It also said that the Saudi admitted to being a former combatant but was more inclined to spend time with family than jihad or on the battlefield.

Shimrani’s attorney, Martha Rayner, said by email that the Saudi “looks forward to participating in the Saudi rehabilitation program and reuniting with his family.”

In August, a U.S. military officer assigned to argue on behalf of Shimrani said the captive “has slipped quietly into middle age” in his 13 years of U.S. detention. Shimrani sat beside the officer, unlike at an earlier June 2014 hearing, when the captive refused to attend to protest the Army policy of conducting “humiliating and degrading” hand searches of captives’ genitals — a practice the prison has apparently modified.

In the links above we learn that Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard – who was part of an aborted component of the September 11 attacks – was also released…to Saudi Arabia, a Moroccan jihadist was released recently, and a British jihadist is set to win release in the coming weeks.

Kansas, South Carolina on Pentagon shortlist to receive Gitmo terrorists

Your state may also be on the list.

“We will also be assessing other sites in the coming weeks,” Pentagon chief Ashton Carter added.

And once liberal judges release them from U.S. prisons, their whereabouts in the U.S. will be unknown…until they strike again.

via Pentagon assessing US options for Guantanamo detainees.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Defense Department is taking another look at the military prison in Kansas and the Navy Brig in South Carolina as it evaluates potential U.S. facilities to house detainees from the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, part of the Obama administration’s controversial push to close the detention center.

Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said a team was surveying the Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth on Friday and will do a similar assessment at the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston later this month. Davis said the team will assess the costs associated with construction and other changes that would be needed in order to use the facility to house the detainees as well as conduct military commission trials for those accused of war crimes.

The closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention center has been a top priority for President Barack Obama, who pledged on his first day in office to shut it down. But that effort has faced persistent hurdles, including staunch opposition from Republicans and some Democrats in Congress and ongoing difficulties transferring out the dozens of detainees who have been cleared to leave.

The latest surveys come a week after a draft Pentagon plan to provide potential locations for the detainees was stymied when the administration said the Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois was off the table, according to officials. The draft plan had focused largely on Thomson and Charleston, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The officials said that early versions of the Pentagon report had made it clear that Thomson and Charleston were the most viable choices based on costs and the timeline needed to renovate the facilities to the maximum security levels required. Officials have acknowledged, however, that there were divisions within the Pentagon and across the administration over which military and federal facilities to highlight and how many options to assess and include in the report.

At the Aspen Institute’s recent national security conference in Colorado, Lisa Monaco, Obama’s homeland security adviser, said the administration wants to move out the 52 detainees. But, she added, “That doesn’t mean just unlocking the door and having someone go willy-nilly to another country. … It means a painstaking establishment of security protocols that would govern the transfer of that individual.”

Davis said that there are other sites, in addition to those in Kansas and South Carolina, that the team will visit. Although previous surveys and reviews have been done of many of the prison facilities, Davis said the latest visits are aimed at getting consistent evaluations and establishing a baseline of information.

While the team is looking first at some military detention centers, the U.S. Bureau of Prisons is also identifying potential civilian facilities.

Congressional opposition has been fierce.

Both the House and Senate versions of the 2016 defense policy bill maintain prohibitions on transferring detainees to U.S. facilities. The Senate legislation, however, states that the restrictions could be lifted if the White House submits a plan to close the facility and the plan is approved by Congress. House and Senate negotiators are working to reconcile the two bills.

Lawmakers from Kansas on Friday quickly denounced the survey.

“As long as this detention facility remains open, it will remain a rallying cry for jihadi propaganda,” Carter said.

If this oath breaker thinks Gitmo is a jihadi rallying cry, what does he think Ft. Leavenworth or any other U.S.-based prison would be?

What Obama doesn’t want Americans to know on Gitmo closure

via What Obama doesn’t want us to know on Gitmo closure | TheHill. By J.D. Gordon

President Obama’s top counter-terrorism aide, Deputy National Security Advisor Lisa Monaca, said this past weekend at the Aspen Security Conference that the White House is preparing for another push to close Guantanamo, including a plan to move detainees into the U.S. mainland.

While she cited grossly exaggerated costs per detainee, here’s an actual fact that Team Obama isn’t telling us, far more important than just dollars and cents:

If and when the detainees are stateside, judges could release them onto Main Street, USA.

Our courts will have the final say on whether they remain locked up, not the administration. And if other countries won’t take them, they could just walk out of jail. Detainees don’t have to escape from Supermax if judges let them out.

And since nearly half of the current 116 detainees have been held under indefinite detention status, activist judges would line up for jurisdiction.

“Try them or release them,” has been the rallying cry for Al Qaeda’s defense lawyers for over a dozen years. Makes sense, right? Maybe so during peacetime, before mass casualty terrorist attacks like those on 9/11.

But America remains at war. Since there weren’t battlefield detectives collecting evidence from global jihadists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, military or civilian trials might not obtain convictions. Which doesn’t make those men any less dangerous, just less prosecutable.

Obama and his legal advisers know the courts routinely pummeled the Bush administration on detainee cases, including multiple losses at the Supreme Court. They ought to know, since 9 lawyers who represented Al Qaeda were rewarded with senior political posts in the Obama administration.

When I served as a Pentagon spokesman from 2005-2009, our DoD General Counsel’s office, working in tandem with the Justice Department, reminded me of a piñata. But instead of kids bashing away to free candy, it was judges hammering to free detainees.

One case that has direct applications to today’s prospect of Gitmo closure is Al Marri v. Bush.

Ali Al Marri was a Qatari national with a U.S. green card, believed to be an Al Qaeda sleeper cell agent, trained in advanced poisons for use against water reservoirs. Captured in Peoria, Illinois, and then held indefinitely at the Naval Brig in Charleston, South Carolina, Al Marri assembled a team of lawyers who argued that President Bush didn’t have the authority to hold him without trial.

Well, Al Marri won. While terrorism charges didn’t stand up in court, he was convicted of credit card fraud and served a short sentence in a civilian prison. It was like busting Al Capone for tax evasion. Al Marri is now a free man in Qatar.

If Al Marri could beat the federal government in court, dozens of Gitmo terrorists with less evidence against them will too. But what if other countries won’t take them? Then what?

The White House is also misleading about Gitmo’s cost, claiming $3 million per detainee, per year. Yet they don’t mention the primary expense is 2,000 troops guarding them, providing legal services and medical care. That’s the same number deployed to handle the total of 780 detainees, so it’s deliberate overkill. Taken together with 4 catered halal meals a day, Ramadan feasts with roasted meats and imported dates, expensive exercise equipment, Wii-fits, satellite TV, etc. Obama deliberately keeps that cost high to score political talking points.

Shouldn’t Americans ask Obama why he would risk freeing them into our country, when nearly 1/3 are already confirmed or suspected of returning to terrorism?

In my view, he sees Guantanamo as a symbol of the America he’s determined to transform. To him, Gitmo equals U.S. overreach, the “empire” acting through brute force. Above the law, as they say. And that’s not just holding radical Islam-inspired terrorists. That also extends to “occupying” 45-square miles of Cuba against the will of Havana’s leaders.

Obama is desperate to empty Gitmo, let the chips fall where they may, because he wants to return the Naval Base to Cuba. Even though it’s been a strategically important military base for Americans, leased since 1903, complete with a deep water port and airfield, he views it as the left in Latin America does – a sign of Yankee imperialism.

Though the White House says they won’t cave to Raul Castro’s demands for the base, they have zero credibility on the issue. That’s because Ben Rhodes of the National Security Council went behind the backs of Congress and the American people to conduct the normalization of relations agreement last year in secret, in Canada. Rhodes and this same NSC also blamed the Benghazi terrorist attack on a video. Can we trust anything they say?=

Bottom line, closing Gitmo and giving it back to Cuba is all part of Obama’s legacy. He extends olive branches to terrorists and appeases dictators for little to nothing in return, designed to usher in a new, post-U.S. superpower status era. As America gets weaker with $1 trillion in defense cuts, our enemies get stronger. Is that what he meant by hope and change?

Gordon is a retired Navy commander and former Pentagon spokesman who served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2005-2009, during which time he visited Guantanamo Bay Naval Base over 30 times.


Two former Gitmo prisoners arrested in Belgium on terror charges

via Two former Gitmo detainees arrested in Belgium –

Two former detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba were arrested by Belgian police in a counterterrorism operation targeting a recruiting network for al Qaeda in Syria.

They were arrested Wednesday night along with three others as they were about to break into a house to raise funds in the town of Hoboken, near Antwerp, a senior Belgian counterterrorism official told CNN.

“We have dismantled a serious recruiting network for Syria,” the official told CNN.

One of the former Guantanamo Bay detainees was Moussa Zemmouri, 37, a Moroccan national born in Antwerp, Belgian federal prosecutors announced Friday. The other was an Algerian identified as Soufiane A., who prosecutors believe spent time in Syria.

Both have been charged with participating in the activities of a terrorist group and all five have been charged with attempted armed robbery.

Zemmouri was released from Guantanamo in 2005 and authored a book “Innocent at Guantanamo” after returning to Belgium. His case was featured prominently by the UK Muslim prisoner advocacy group CAGE, which has long maintained that he has no links to terrorism.

According to a 2003 detainee assessment file posted by the WikiLeaks website, Zemmouri was transferred to U.S. custody after he was detained by Pakistani police when fleeing Afghanistan after the beginning of the U.S. bombing campaign in autumn 2001.

The document alleged he had trained in the al Qaeda-sponsored Derunta training camp in Khost, Afghanistan. It said “sensitive reporting also indicates that detainee is a high-ranking member of the Theological Commission of the Moroccan Islamic Fighting Group (MIFG).”

According to the Belgian official, Zemmouri was put under observation after his return to Belgium. Belgian security services suspect he provided theological encouragement to several former members of the al Qaeda affiliated MIFG who left to fight jihad in Syria after they completed prison sentences in Belgian jails.

The official said there was no indication the group was plotting an attack in Belgium.

Efforts to immediately reach an attorney for Zemmouri were unsuccessful.

Belgian officials know of the identity of more than 300 extremists who have traveled from Belgium to join jihadi groups in Syria.

Meanwhile, Obama in ‘final stages’ of planning Gitmo closing.

Canada Frees Gitmo Terrorist Who Killed US Army Sgt.

via Gitmo Terrorist Who Killed Army Sgt., Lived at Bin Laden Compound Freed in Canada – Judicial Watch

An Al Qaeda terrorist guilty of murdering a U.S. Army sergeant and “transferred” from Guantanamo to Canada by the Obama administration has been released from an Alberta prison while he appeals his conviction for war crimes.

His name is Omar Ahmed Khader and he’s a member of Canada’s “first family of terror,” according to an international news report that confirms Khader’s father was an associate of Osama Bin Laden who moved his family to Pakistan to support the Afghan mujahideen in its war against the Soviet Union. In 2010 Khader was convicted of five war crimes, including throwing a grenade that killed Army Sergeant Christopher Speer in Afghanistan during a 2002 combat operation.

Khader spent around a decade at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and in 2010 cut a deal to serve the majority of his sentence in Canada. Under the terms, he admitted being an “alien unprivileged enemy belligerent” and throwing the grenade that killed Sergeant Speer. In 2012 Khader was taken to Canada, where he evidently began working on an appeal. This month a Canadian judge ordered the release of the jihadist while he appeals his U.S. convictions. Canadian government officials argue that the judge has no jurisdiction to hear the unprecedented bail application from an offender convicted abroad and returned to Canada, according to a national news story.

The bottom line is that this terrorist, like so many others who have returned to jihadist causes after leaving Gitmo, never should have been released. To meet his longtime goal of closing Gitmo President Obama has tried clearing out the military compound that still houses the world’s most dangerous terrorists, including 9/11 masterminds Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi as well as USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. In December Judicial Watch reported that the U.S. government put an Al Qaeda operative that had been freed from Gitmo on a global terrorist list and offered a $5 million reward for information on his whereabouts.

Hundreds of Gitmo terrorists who have been discharged over the years—under a program that started with President George W. Bush—have reengaged in terrorism. In fact, Judicial Watch has been reporting this for years based on U.S. intelligence sources. Back in 2010 JW wrote about a report that the Director of National Intelligence gave Congress documenting that 150 former Gitmo detainees were confirmed or suspected of “reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities after transfer.” At least 83 remained at large, according to the document.

Now we must worry that yet another radical extremist who hates America is on the loose, in a friendly neighboring country where cross border travel is quite easy. Khader was encouraged by his father, a senior Al Qaeda leader in Canada, to travel to Khowst Afghanistan to translate for Al Qaeda personnel and participate in jihad against the United States, according to a Department of Defense (DOD) file kept by the Joint Task Force Guantanamo. “Detainee received training and instruction on how to build and plant Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and how to plant land mines,” the DOD file says. It also reveals that Khader “admitted to taking part in several mining and combat operations” and that he was present during a 2002 raid on a suspected Al Qaeda compound by U.S. Special Forces. “Detainee was wounded and captured after killing the USSF soldier,” the DOD writes.

Khader has direct family affiliations with senior Al Qaeda members, the Pentagon file states, and his entire family lived at one of Osama bin Laden’s compounds in Jalalabad Afghanistan. The U.S. government considered him to be a detainee of “high intelligence value” who provided important information on the Derunta, Al-Farouq and Khalden training camps as well as key Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives. The U.S. let Khader go even though it had labeled him a “high risk” enemy combatant “likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interest or its allies.”

More on Khadr and his jihadist family: Continue reading

Canada: Judge grants bail to ex-Gitmo jihadi who killed American soldier

Videos below. via Alberta judge grants Omar Khadr bail | Toronto Star.

A Canadian judge has granted Omar Khadr bail, offering the former Guantanamo Bay detainee his first taste of freedom after more than 12 years in custody.

Alberta Justice June Ross released her verdict Friday, a month after Khadr appeared in an Edmonton court appealing for bail while his Guantanamo conviction is being challenged in a Washington court.

“He has 12 ½ year track record as a model prisoner, and a release plan supported by educators, mental health professionals, and his lawyers,” Ross wrote.

“This is a circumstance where balancing a strong appeal and the public confidence in the administration of justice favour the same result.”

Khadr’s longtime Canadian lawyer, Dennis Edney, along with his wife Patricia, has offered to have Khadr live with them and provide whatever community supervision he may require.

A large community group in Edmonton — from imams and medical professionals, to professors at a Christian university where Khadr has been offered admission — has rallied around the 28-year-old.

Edney and lawyer Nathan Whitling, who argued the bail application, said they were delighted by the news. “Omar is fortunate to be back in Canada where we have real courts and real laws,” said Whitling.

Added Edney about Khadr’s release, “it has been a long time coming.”

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney issued a statement saying he was “disappointed” by the decision and that the federal government plans to appeal. Ottawa could argue that Khadr must remain in custody until that appeal is heard.

“Our Government will continue to work to combat the international jihadi movement, which has declared war on Canada and her allies,” Blaney wrote.

A hearing will be held May 5 to determine the conditions of Khadr’s bail.

Khadr is currently held at Bowden Institute, in Innisfail, Alta. and has spent nearly half his life in custody. He was shot and captured in 2002, at the age of 15, during a firefight with American and Afghan soldiers. During the battle, U.S. Delta Forces soldier Christopher Speer was fatally wounded with a grenade.

The Pentagon charged Khadr with five offences under the Military Commissions Act (MCA), which were written years after Khadr’s alleged crimes.

Khadr’s U.S. lawyer is arguing that the Pentagon should not have retroactively prosecuted Khadr since killing a soldier in conflict was not a war crime until the Bush administration rewrote the laws of war after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

In 2010, Khadr confessed to throwing the grenade that killed Speer as part of a Pentagon plea deal that allowed him to return to Canada to serve the remainder of his eight-year sentence. He later said he could not remember the firefight and only pleaded guilty because he felt it was his “only hope” to get out of Guantanamo.

More on Khadr and his jihadist family:

Facts about Omar Khadr that the mainstream media won’t to tell you

More: Media whitewashing of Canadian jihadist Omar Khadr (video).


bin Laden Bodyguard Cleared for Release from Gitmo

via Herridge: Possible Bin Laden Bodyguard Cleared for Release From Gitmo.

A terror suspect who was once profiled as Usama bin Laden’s bodyguard is a step closer to leaving Guantanamo Bay.

Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reported the latest details this morning on the case of 36-year-old Yemeni foot soldier Saeed Sarem Jarabh.

Jarabh was captured in 2002 as he fled the mountains of Tora Bora in Afghanistan, where bin Laden was believed to be hiding out after the 9/11 attacks.

Now, a federal parole board has cleared Jarabh to be transferred out of Gitmo, calling him a “low-level” fighter.

He had previously been classified as a “forever detainee,” meaning he was deemed too dangerous for release, but evidence for prosecution was insufficient.

According to Herridge, analysts believe the Obama administration is now accepting more risk that detainees will return to terror activities as it ramps up its efforts to further empty the prison and shut it down before the president leaves office.

The head of the Defense Intelligence Agency recently testified to Congress that the terror recidivism rate is at 18% among Guantanamo transfers in the last 4-5 years.

She said in almost all of the recent transfers, there have been no meaningful restrictions on the freed detainees once they arrive in a third country.

Herridge said about 122 detainees are left at Gitmo, with 50 cleared for transfer. The administration, she reports, is said to be trying to reduce the population under 100 so the remaining detainees can be moved to a U.S. federal prison.


Meanwhile, abandoned by the U.S., lawyer for doctor who helped CIA in bin Laden hunt killed in Pakistan.

The lawyer had represented Dr. Shakeel Afridi, who was convicted of treason in 2012 by a Pakistani tribal court and is now serving a 23-year prison sentence.

Unidentified gunmen attacked the lawyer, Samiullah Afridi, in his car near the city of Peshawar on Tuesday, said Mian Saeed, a police superintendent in Peshawar.

Two different militant groups claimed responsibility for the killing.


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