Guantanamo’s Repeat Offenders

June 8, 2009

Guantanamo’s Repeat Offenders


In his Cairo speech, President Obama went out of his way to say the U.S. had disavowed torture, however defined, of those who fly planes into buildings and otherwise plan mass murder.

He reminded the Arab street that the Supermax facility at Guantanamo housing these murderers, past and future, will be closed.

What will happen to these Gitmo residents is still unclear. Not a single member of Congress wants them housed in his or her district, and few countries seem willing to take many off our hands.

Congress still hasn’t funded the closing of Gitmo, and the Obama administration seems to be moving toward rationalizing some form of permanent detention.

Adding fuel to the controversy is a long-awaited Pentagon report, parts of which have been obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by CNSNews.com.

The report was first made available in late May in the form of a fact sheet that did not provide a complete picture of the released detainees who returned to terrorism.

Now we know more, including who they all are and what they did after their release. The stunning statistic in the report is that of the more than 530 Gitmo detainees transferred from the facility, 27 were confirmed to have re-engaged in terrorist activity and 47 were suspected of having done so. That’s a recidivism rate of 14%.

Among those released to return to make war on America are Said Mohammed Alim Shah (aka Abdullah Mahsud), who spent 25 months at Gitmo until his release from such inhuman bondage in March 2004.

While out on his own recognizance, Shah returned to his native South Waziristan, where he rebuilt and led a Taliban cadre estimated at 5,000 foot soldiers conducting cross-border raids from Pakistan. Shah kidnapped two Chinese engineers in October 2004 and directed a suicide attack in April 2007 that killed 31 people, according to the Pakistani government. After the attack, he blew himself up to avoid capture.

Then there’s Mohammed Ismail, one of two “innocent” teens held at Gitmo until he was released last year to great fanfare, holding a press conference thanking the American soldiers there for teaching him to read.

So grateful was he for his release, he tried to kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. After his recapture four months later, he was found carrying a letter confirming his status as a Taliban member in good standing.

Abdullah Salim Ali al Ajmi was originally detained in Afghanistan and spent three years at Gitmo before being released in 2005. Ajmi returned to Kuwait and in April of 2008 went to Iraq to become a suicide bomber. He was successful, taking numerous civilians with him when he blew himself away in Mosul.

At the time of that attack, Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said it “demonstrates the difficulty of the detainees in Gitmo.”

“Once again,” said Hoekstra, “a detainee may have been given the benefit of the doubt, released and returned to the battlefield and attacked innocent people and our troops. These are dangerous people.”

Those who would close Gitmo, once they figure out how and where to put these guys, would give them all the benefit of the doubt.

During a press conference, President Bush once articulated a common-sense reason such people should be held as prisoners of war at Gitmo and held until the war on terror ends: They will return to kill us again.

“Some have been released to their previous countries, and they got out and they went on the battlefield again,” Bush said. “I have an obligation, as do all of us who are holding office, to protect our people.”

So do we all. Keep them locked at Gitmo and throw away the key.

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