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SSC


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Freed by the U.S., Saudi Becomes a Qaeda Chief
By ROBERT F. WORTH
Published: January 22, 2009 www.nytimes.com
BEIRUT, Lebanon — The emergence of a former Guantánamo Bay detainee as the deputy leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch has underscored the potential complications in carrying out the executive order President Obama signed Thursday that the detention center be shut down within a year.
The Guantánamo Docket: Said Ali al-Shihri

The Risks of Releasing Detainees
How does the case of Said Ali al-Shihri affect efforts to close Guantánamo?

Join the Discussion »The militant, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana, in September. He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists before resurfacing with Al Qaeda in Yemen.

His status was announced in an Internet statement by the militant group and was confirmed by an American counterterrorism official.

“They’re one and the same guy,” said the official, who insisted on anonymity because he was discussing an intelligence analysis. “He returned to Saudi Arabia in 2007, but his movements to Yemen remain unclear.”

The development came as Republican legislators criticized the plan to close the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, detention camp in the absence of any measures for dealing with current detainees. But it also helps explain why the new administration wants to move cautiously, taking time to work out a plan to cope with the complications.

Almost half the camp’s remaining detainees are Yemenis, and efforts to repatriate them depend in part on the creation of a Yemeni rehabilitation program — partly financed by the United States — similar to the Saudi one. Saudi Arabia has claimed that no graduate of its program has returned to terrorism.

“The lesson here is, whoever receives former Guantánamo detainees needs to keep a close eye on them,” the American official said.

Although the Pentagon has said that dozens of released Guantánamo detainees have “returned to the fight,” its claim is difficult to document, and has been met with skepticism. In any case, few of the former detainees, if any, are thought to have become leaders of a major terrorist organization like Al Qaeda in Yemen, a mostly homegrown group that experts say has been reinforced by foreign fighters.

Long considered a haven for jihadists, Yemen, a desperately poor country in the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, has witnessed a rising number of attacks over the past year. American officials say they suspect that Mr. Shihri may have been involved in the car bombings outside the American Embassy in Sana last September that killed 16 people, including six attackers.

In the Internet statement, Al Qaeda in Yemen identified its new deputy leader as Abu Sayyaf al-Shihri, saying he returned from Guantánamo to his native Saudi Arabia and then traveled to Yemen “more than 10 months ago.” That corresponds roughly to the return of Mr. Shihri, a Saudi who was released from Guantánamo in November 2007. Abu Sayyaf is a nom de guerre, commonly used by jihadists in place of their real name or first name.

A Saudi security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Shihri had disappeared from his home in Saudi Arabia last year after finishing the rehabilitation program.

A Yemeni journalist who interviewed Al Qaeda’s leaders in Yemen last year, Abdulela Shaya, confirmed Thursday that the deputy leader was indeed Mr. Shihri, the former Guantánamo detainee. Mr. Shaya, in a phone interview, said Mr. Shihri had described to him his journey from Cuba to Yemen and supplied his Guantánamo detention number, 372. That is the correct number, Pentagon documents show.

“It seems certain from all the sources we have that this is the same individual who was released from Guantánamo in 2007,” said Gregory Johnsen, a terrorism analyst and the editor of a forthcoming book, “Islam and Insurgency in Yemen.”

Mr. Shihri, 35, trained in urban warfare tactics at a camp north of Kabul, Afghanistan, according to documents released by the Pentagon as part of his Guantánamo dossier. Two weeks after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he traveled to Afghanistan via Bahrain and Pakistan, and he later told American investigators that his intention was to do relief work, the documents say. He was wounded in an airstrike and spent a month and a half recovering in a hospital in Pakistan.

The documents state that Mr. Shihri met with a group of “extremists” in Iran and helped them get into Afghanistan. They also say he was accused of trying to arrange the assassination of a writer, in accordance with a fatwa, or religious order, issued by an extremist cleric.

However, under a heading describing reasons for Mr. Shihri’s possible release from Guantánamo, the documents say he claimed that he traveled to Iran “to purchase carpets for his store” in Saudi Arabia. They also say that he denied knowledge of any terrorists or terrorist activities, and that he “related that if released, he would like to return to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, wherein he would reunite with his family.”

“The detainee stated he would attempt to work at his family’s furniture store if it is still in business,” the documents say.

The Yemeni branch of Al Qaeda has carried out a number of terrorist attacks over the past year, culminating in the assault on the American Embassy in Sana on Sept. 16. In that assault, the attackers disguised themselves as Yemeni policemen and detonated two car bombs. The group has also begun releasing sophisticated Internet material, in what appears to be a bid to gain more recruits.

Yemen began cooperating with the United States on counterterrorism activities in late 2001. But the partnership has been a troubled one, with American officials accusing Yemen of paroling dangerous terrorists, including some who were wanted in the United States. Some high-level terrorism suspects have also mysteriously escaped from Yemeni jails. The disagreements and security lapses have complicated efforts to repatriate the 100 or so Yemenis remaining in Guantánamo.

Despite some notable Yemeni successes in fighting terrorist groups, Al Qaeda in Yemen appears to be gaining strength.

“They are bringing Saudi fighters in, and they want to start to use Yemen as a base for attacks throughout region, including Saudi Arabia and the Horn of Africa,” said Mr. Johnsen, an expert on Al Qaeda in Yemen.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington; Khalid al-Hammadi from Sana, Yemen; and Muhammad al-Milfy from Beirut

rosco 357


Veteran
Two ex-Guantanamo inmates appear in Al-Qaeda video
6 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Two men released from the US "war on terror" prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have appeared in a video posted on a jihadist website, the SITE monitoring service reported.

One of the two former inmates, a Saudi man identified as Abu Sufyan al-Azdi al-Shahri, or prisoner number 372, has been elevated to the senior ranks of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, a US counter-terrorism official told AFP.

Three other men appear in the video, including Abu al-Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi, identified as an Al-Qaeda field commander. SITE later said he was prisoner No. 333.

A Pentagon spokesman, Commander Jeffrey Gordon, on Saturday declined to confirm the SITE information.

"We remain concerned about ex-Guantanamo detainees who have re-affiliated with terrorist organizations after their departure," said Gordon.

"We will continue to work with the international community to mitigate the threat they pose," he said.

On the video, al-Shihri is seen sitting with three other men before a flag of the Islamic State of Iraq, the front for Al-Qaeda in Iraq.

"By Allah, imprisonment only increased our persistence in our principles for which we went out, did jihad for, and were imprisoned for," al-Shihri was quoted as saying.

Al-Shiri was transferred from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia in 2007, the US counter-terrorism official said.

The other men in the video are identified as Commander Abu Baseer al-Wahayshi and Abu Hureira Qasm al-Rimi (also known as Abu Hureira al-Sana'ani).

The Defense Department has said as many as 61 former Guantanamo detainees -- about 11 percent of 520 detainees transferred from the detention center and released -- are believed to have returned to the fight.

The latest case highlights the risk the new US administration faces as it moves to empty Guantanamo of its remaining 245 prisoners and close the controversial detention camp within a year.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hZfIcWnHqBz4kQR90lC_pXaHeW4Q

gypsy


Moderator
that was 2007,they were released.? has any been released on the Obama watch? I believe that is still being evaluated?

SSC


Admin
Give it time, you can bet he will release a whole slew of them, and back to blowing up people will be their first action.

Even if the article was from 2007 it is a prime example that these people are not committed to do anything but harm others. Not a comforting thought if they will be released.

gypsy


Moderator
now how can you,or any of us know that, as fact?
if and when it does, then we shall comment

rosco 357


Veteran
gypsy wrote:that was 2007,they were released.? has any been released on the Obama watch? I believe that is still being evaluated?

i know it was 2007 , that has nothing to do with it, my post had nothing to do with obama, however he has signed i believe an executive order to close it, and it will take a year. they are hunting counties to take some of them . this is from memory, if they bring any here, they will have all kinds of loop holes in our criminal system to play us, thats why we are trying to avoid them being on our soil..no one is blaming obama, i do believe Bush was in the process of finding new homes for the 200 plus left there, a much lower number than from the start. by posting that, no one was head hunting obama. its just the fact these are bad guys, even the ones under bushes watch that were turned loose. if we thought these were the lesser of the evils and 61 have gone back to terrorism. just imagine the 200 plus that are still there how bad they must be, as i assume what we have not released are the worst of the worst..

SSC


Admin
This part of the WE shall comment now, you were gun-ho at releasing the detainees now, it would appear most foreign countries are hesitant on taking on such scum
Option #1 place them in high security prisons, only small drawback to that is what state in their right mind would want them .
Option #2 change the means of interrogation and leave Gitmo open.
Option #3 move them to other prison camps run by the US.
Option #4 turn them lose and wait for them to rejoin terrorist units and try and blow them to hell.
Option #5 give them lifejackets and tell them to swim home

rosco 357


Veteran
gypsy wrote:now how can you,or any of us know that, as fact?
if and when it does, then we shall comment

well gypsy if they are brought here and realeased after the many appeals they can go through. if u think these ppl will not go back to killing ppl as i have posted it makes sense that they are keeping the worst of the worst and not released,, well if u have an extra bedroom u want to cook breakfast for one, have at it, take care,

gypsy


Moderator
Rosco, a good reply..I do hope if they are guilty,they are given the ultimate punishment..

I also do not think they should be brought to the USA..

How do they determine their guilt?
If all thought guilty that are held as detainees,then prosecute them~ with the strictness of the law..by the constitution, and Geneva convention..

gypsy


Moderator
SSC wrote:This part of the WE shall comment now, you were gun-ho at releasing the detainees now, it would appear most foreign countries are hesitant on taking on such scum
Option #1 place them in high security prisons, only small drawback to that is what state in their right mind would want them .
Option #2 change the means of interrogation and leave Gitmo open.
Option #3 move them to other prison camps run by the US.
Option #4 turn them lose and wait for them to rejoin terrorist units and try and blow them to hell.
Option #5 give them lifejackets and tell them to swim home

what other prison camps do the USA have?

gypsy


Moderator
I was never Gun ho on anything~(Gitmo)don't just detain them for reasons not proven, or if they are just suspects, try them ,move them, put to death whatever fits~ but this git-mo/torture, needs ending.

rosco 357


Veteran
gypsy wrote:I was never Gun ho on anything~(Gitmo)don't just detain them for reasons not proven, or if they are just suspects, try them ,move them, put to death whatever fits~ but this git-mo/torture, needs ending.


this will be settled, i believe for the worst. i think the executive order has been signed, and it has up to a year to be resolved, but u can bet, many of these will be back killing as they are radical Muslim terrorist, born to kill anyone that does not believe as they do, anyway, the clock has started, so it will happen, i just hope the old saying take no prisoners, applies, i never had a problem with water boarding, we learned a lot, no one died from water boarding, but anyways, what is to be will be, in a year, this is a war ur grandchildren will be involved in gypsy, these ppl are not like the japs or Germans, they will never cease their hate for ppl that don't believe like they do.new ones are born everyday,, an endless supply of terrorist, ur grandchildren will be dealing with..

SSC


Admin
So do the bombings and terrorist activities they obviously are involved in. Don't you think there was just cause to detain them, I am sure they didn't just grab them off the street without just cause. If some are released they will go home and as both articles state based on intelligence reports rejoin the terrorist movement. Why risk it, we have them now. Hang on to them.

gypsy


Moderator
how,do you know that,are you there? are you a government official?? jeeze!! some of you amaze me~~ it is only your theory~ your opinion.. if it happens then the sitting president will handle it~like the last one did~and the one before that,we have nothing to do with the decisions, just the bitching~

SSC


Admin
Jeez Gypsy you sound like a sympathizer, well of course none of us are there, but the hundreds of news releases are pretty detailed. Check out Guantanamo Prisoner list (google it up ) it gives the names and countries they are claiming as home.

gypsy


Moderator
haha SSC you are true to form~~ me a Sympathizer,,I think not.. you are very projectile, as usual LOL

SSC


Admin
Just reading your opinions Gypsy, and gathering my own about your statements.

gypsy


Moderator
SSC as we all have,glad to see you agree~

rosco 357


Veteran
gypsy wrote:haha SSC you are true to form~~ me a Sympathizer,,I think not.. you are very projectile, as usual LOL

well gypsy u have to agree u have shown sympathy toward radical muslim terrorist, u worry about colateral damage, when the terrorist dress as doctors and hide in hospitals, , and hid rockets and ammo in private houses, with familys in the house and their religious buildings. we would not bomb them in that case, but israel does, radical muslims have to know
they cant hide, we need to toughen up and be as israel , israel is probably just killing future terrorist in colateral damage,

gypsy


Moderator
rosco 357 wrote:
gypsy wrote:haha SSC you are true to form~~ me a Sympathizer,,I think not.. you are very projectile, as usual LOL

well gypsy u have to agree u have shown sympathy toward radical muslim terrorist, u worry about colateral damage, when the terrorist dress as doctors and hide in hospitals, , and hid rockets and ammo in private houses, with familys in the house and their religious buildings. we would not bomb them in that case, but israel does, radical muslims have to know
they cant hide, we need to toughen up and be as israel , israel is probably just killing future terrorist in colateral damage,

I show no sympathy for murders,or terrorists.as I said if they are guilty kill them` but the prison needs closed it is a bad mark on America..

rosco 357


Veteran
I show no sympathy for murders,or terrorists.as I said if they are guilty kill them` but the prison needs closed it is a bad mark on America..

it closing already, it has up to a year, as he signed the order, there is some talk of ft levenworth, but its just talk...

SSC


Admin
Also talk of a prison in N.Carolina, Gypsy I am sure you realize Gitmo isn't the only detainee facility, they are located around the world, Gitmo is a small drop in the bucket. A year at best to begin to ship them to other countries, Austraila has refused to take any stating they didn't want to become a point of interest for terrorists to attempt to seek the detainees release by criminal actions...a.k.a terrorist movements.
Again I will say if the US didn't have just cause to detain these people they wouldn't be there, stop feeling sorry for them.

gypsy


Moderator
I have no sympathy for them, if guilty punish them.. I will say that Git mo is an embarrassment for America,because of all the controversy on torture..I have no knowledge of any other American run Prison for detainees of war~I do know there are prisons for our soldiers who have broke the law, if that is what you mean..

rosco 357


Veteran
gypsy wrote:I have no sympathy for them, if guilty punish them.. I will say that Git mo is an embarrassment for America,because of all the controversy on torture..I have no knowledge of any other American run Prison for detainees of war~I do know there are prisons for our soldiers who have broke the law, if that is what you mean..

look if the terrorist dont have gitmo , they will just find something else to harp about , but its closing so no need to keep on about it, israel does far more harsh things as they attemp to survive, they dont care about opinions, its their survival, we are trying to keep more 9-11s off our shore, u can bet if more 9-11s start up here obama will be a one term president, i think thats why they are sending 20 ,000 more marines to afganistan and he is keeping the preditor patroling the north pakistan , afganistan border, and lettng loose the hellfire missle when they detect a terrorist leader , i think they monitor the vidio feed from the united states on each plane, they are quite and can stay over one place for along time, and obama will continue there use if he does nto change his mind, i dont think he will change,it works,

SSC


Admin
gypsy wrote:I have no sympathy for them, if guilty punish them.. I will say that Git mo is an embarrassment for America,because of all the controversy on torture..I have no knowledge of any other American run Prison for detainees of war~I do know there are prisons for our soldiers who have broke the law, if that is what you mean..

No Gypsy not our soldiers..TERRORISTS
--------------------------------------------
Obama to Close Guantanamo and Foreign Prisons, Limit CIA Methods
Obama is expected to sign "several" executive orders Thursday, directing the CIA to close secret foreign prisons and Guantanamo Bay, and limiting detention and interrogation methods.

FOXNews.com

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
President Obama is expected to sign "several" executive orders on Thursday directing the Central Intelligence Agency to close its network of "black sites," or secret foreign prisons, and order the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp within a year.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The executive orders, aimed at rolling back much of former President Bush's architecture for the war on terror, involve "altering CIA detention and interrogation rules, limiting interrogation standards in all U.S. facilities worldwide to those outlined in the Army Field Manual, and prohibiting the agency from secretly holding terrorist detainees in third-country prisons," the Washington Post said citing sources familiar with the briefings.

The New York Times said the "orders would bring to an end a Central Intelligence Agency program that kept terrorism suspects in secret custody for months or years," and "also prohibit the CIA from using coercive interrogation methods."

A revised version of the Army Field Manual was released in 2006, explicitly banning enhanced interrogation techniques such as beating, using dogs to intimidate, electric shocks and waterboarding, which critics say is tantamount to torture.

On Wednesday, White House counsel Greg Craig met with top Republicans to review the president's plan and "told members of Congress to expect 'several' executive orders on Guantanamo Bay."

Obama's plan to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba could face resistance among some Republicans and the families of terror victims, and questions already are being raised about what would happen to the 245 remaining detainees at the facility.

Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, told FOX News that he worries that if the prisoners are transferred to U.S. soil then constitutional standards would apply to them, and that raises the potential of a "friendly judge" releasing them.

Smith also voiced concern about detainees being transferred to other countries, saying it was "almost inevitable" that the Obama administration will relax some of the standards for confining and prosecuting the detainees.

Drafts of the orders obtained Wednesday state that closing the facility "would further the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice."

With the executive orders, Obama will call for a panel to conduct a systematic review of each of the 245 remaining detainees' cases to determine which ones can be released and which should be prosecuted or remain confined. In the meantime, trials before the existing military commissions would be put on hold.

"It is in the interests of the United States to review whether and how such individuals can and should be prosecuted," the drafts say.

A judge has already granted Obama's request to suspend the war crimes trial of a young Canadian for 120 days. Army Col. Stephen Henley issued the ruling Wednesday after a brief hearing at the Guantanamo base.

That decision promoted outrage among the families of people killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, because some of the detainees at Guantanamo are suspects in the attacks.

"I see no reason why we should delay these proceedings. Let justice be served," said Jefferson Crowther, whose 24-year-old son, Welles, was killed in the Twin Towers after he saved the lives of several others.

Some of the defendants say they oppose the delay because they want to plead guilty to charges that carry a potential death sentence. Execution would enable them to become martyrs.

Under a scenario foreshadowed in the draft orders, some detainees being held at Guantanamo would be released, while others would be transferred elsewhere and later put on trial under terms to be determined. Closing Guantanamo could potentially mean moving the remaining detainees to federal prisons in the U.S., such as the Leavenworth prison in Kansas.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, vehemently opposes that idea. He introduced legislation almost immediately after the draft regulation was announced requiring Obama to provide Congress 90 days' notice as well as a study that answers specific questions relating to security, logistics and alternatives before taking any action to close the Guantanamo prison or move the detainees.

"We cannot afford to make snap decisions about detainee policy, and the American people should be able to judge any policy changes for themselves," Brownback said. "This legislation would require an open and comprehensive review of the factors related to moving the Guantanamo detainees."

Wednesday's drafts may be as much an indictment of the Supreme Court's direction on how to prosecute detainees than on anything else.

The Supreme Court's decisions over the past few years -- most recently its June ruling on Lakhdar Boumediene, a naturalized U.S. citizen held at the prison who successfully claimed habeus corpus rights -- have produced legal contradictions in allowing detainees access to U.S. courts.

The facility at Guantanamo Bay has long been the target of Bush administration critics at home and some governments overseas. The Bush administration established the prison early in battling terrorism, contending that the people held there were not entitled to the customary rights of prisoners in the United States, or to the protections of the Geneva Conventions that cover war prisoners.

The draft orders note that some of the detainees at the site have there for more than six years, and most for at least four years.

At the Pentagon, military leaders were preparing for the orders that spokesman Bryan Whitman said would begin a "comprehensive review of policies and procedures related to detainee activities."

"The president has clearly made his intentions well known," Whitman said. "And he has taken the first steps with respect to his direction to order a pause to military commission proceedings."

David Rivkin, a constitutional attorney, said he hoped the 120-day review to be undertaken by the Pentagon would lead to "responsible" results.

"You can, but that does not resolve the situation. You either have to detain them under the military justice/laws of war paradigm, you need to decide how you're going to prosecute the rest," he said.

Rivkin said that such a decision isn't just about moving the 245 detainees remaining at Guantanamo, which initially housed more than 800.

"This is about hundreds and thousands of people the United States is likely to capture in future wars .. ongoing wars frankly against Al Qaeda and Taliban. You cannot fight a war without retaining this vital legal architecture," Rivkin said.

He said he's less concerned about whether it's military commissions or tribunals or giving more due process to the detainees.

"They have to keep this architecture, they can not just keep or resort to a criminal justice model," he said.

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