Gitmo Yemenis to go back to AQ hotbed

posted at 10:12 am on December 18, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The detention center at Guantanamo Bay holds 97 Yemenis captured either on battlefields or by intelligence operatives in the war on terror.  Yemen has an active al-Qaeda network, and is in many ways its primary base.  The network largely originated, at least philosophically, in the conflict between Yemen and Saudi Arabia in a border dispute, and the bitterness has fueled this particular brand of Islamic extremism for decades.  Americans got a reminder of this in the Fort Hood shooting, in which Army Major Nidal Hasan killed 14 people and wounded dozens more after being in contact with a radical imam in Yemen who recruits for al-Qaeda — and who Yemen seems incapable of handling.

One might think that with that background, the US would be loath to trust Yemen with any of the detainees.  That, however, would seriously underestimate the Obama administration’s desperation to close Gitmo:

The Obama administration is planning to repatriate six Yemenis held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a transfer that could be a prelude to the release of dozens more detainees to Yemen, according to sources with independent knowledge of the matter.

The release is a significant first step toward dealing with the largest group of detainees at the prison — there are currently 97 Yemenis there — and toward meeting President Obama’s goal of closing the facility.

But Yemen’s security problems and lack of resources have spawned fears about its ability to monitor and rehabilitate returnees. Critics of the administration charge that returning detainees to Yemen, a country where al-Qaeda is believed to be thriving, is tantamount to returning terrorists to the battlefield. …

The transfer will be closely monitored and, if successful, could lead to the release of other Yemenis who have been cleared to go home by a Justice Department-led interagency review team, which examined the case of each detainee held at Guantanamo Bay. Obama set up the review process to accelerate the closure of the detention center.

The attorney for the Yemenis calls this a “breakthrough.”  It sounds more like a breakout.  The Post describes the country to which we’ll be sending dozens of Islamist radicals:

Yemen’s government has been struggling with a civil war in the north, a secessionist movement in the south and humanitarian crises as the economy crumbles. In this void, al-Qaeda has steadily grown, using the nation’s vast lawless, rugged terrain as a haven. U.S. officials are concerned that al-Qaeda could use Yemen, strategically located in the heart of one of the world’s lucrative oil and shipping zones, as a launching pad for attacks against neighboring Saudi Arabia and in the Horn of Africa.

The Bush administration sent 14 Yemenis back to its jihadi rehab program (Obama has sent one so far), but as the Christian Science Monitor reported almost a year ago, it’s not been very successful:

Yemen also has a rehab program for jihadis, but it has been much less aggressive and successful than its Saudi counterpart, which has been widely praised. This is another problem in closing Guantánamo because the largest group of remaining 245 inmates are Yemenis.

Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Saturday that his government had rejected a suggestion by the Bush administration to release the 94 Yemeni detainees into the Saudi rehabilitation program, wire services reported. He added that they all would be home within three months, and placed in Yemen’s rehab effort.

A Pentagon spokesman said on Jan. 13 that of the 520 detainees released from the controversial military camp in Cuba, 18 had “returned to the fight” and another 43 are under suspicion of being involved in extremist activities. He declined to name them.

And bear in mind that the 520 released at that point were those supposedly not incorrigible — and we still managed to have dozens return to terrorist operations.  Now we’re going to send 97 Yemenis back to a country that is falling apart and can’t manage the radical terrorists they already have.

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) says it best:

“Stop. These men are dangerous,” Wolf said when asked about the transfer. “I believe they will be involved in terrorism that will cost American lives.”

Their example certainly won’t deter it.  We held them for a few years, and then dumped them right back into the arms of their comrades, fed, rested, and ready to take another shot at Americans.  Remind me again how closing Gitmo makes America safer.


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This is crazy.

milwife88 on December 18, 2009 at 10:16 AM

milwife88 on December 18, 2009 at 10:16 AM

Super crazy.

Abby Adams on December 18, 2009 at 10:18 AM

They are just chok full of smart power.

SHARPTOOTH on December 18, 2009 at 10:20 AM

Yumpin’ Yemenis!

Fletch54 on December 18, 2009 at 10:21 AM

I N S A N E

WashJeff on December 18, 2009 at 10:22 AM

If you wrote a book or screenplay about a war and included this move within your pages, your work would’ve been rejected outright as implausible and too far outside of the box. You would’ve then been characterized as some sort of kook, not to be taken seriously.

Well, that was then.

TXUS on December 18, 2009 at 10:24 AM

“Obama set up the review process to accelerate the closure of the detention center.”

“Pinky-swear you won’t do anything bad? Okay, you’re free to go.”

Trusser13 on December 18, 2009 at 10:25 AM

Bet they accidently escape while the guards were sleeping. Scotland sure did a great job in Libya.

faol on December 18, 2009 at 10:25 AM

Remind me again how closing Gitmo makes America safer.

Has this been answered? Seems like a REALLY STUPID pork barrel project. Spending another load of future generation’s wealth to move and rename GITMO to ILLMO.

WashJeff on December 18, 2009 at 10:29 AM

The transfer will be closely monitored and, if successful, could lead to the release of other Yemenis who have been cleared to go home by a Justice Department-led interagency review team, which examined the case of each detainee held at Guantanamo Bay.

They mean like the way the Pan Am bomber was closely monitored in his hospital room? This is absurd with the goal to free as many terrorists as quickly as possible so that the filthy lying coward can close Gitmo.

Did we really expect anything else from the terrorist-loving bastard in the White House?

highhopes on December 18, 2009 at 10:29 AM

Remind me again how closing Gitmo makes America safer.

It doesn’t. But if releasing them now means they don’t attack us (or our allies) again until 2012 when Obama is gone, well, hey, they’re someone else’s problem.

Which I think is Obama’s MO; every day at their meetings, he looks over and Rahm and Axelrod and Gibbs and asked Hey, how can we make this not my problem? I’ve got a waffle to get back to.

LastRick on December 18, 2009 at 10:31 AM

Insane from one point of view. Not from another. All I’m saying.

bbz123 on December 18, 2009 at 10:32 AM

Remind me again how closing Gitmo makes America safer.

It’s never been about making America safer. The filthy lying coward wants to be “liked” by the international community and has somehow gotten it in his tiny little brain that closing Gitmo will give the Chicago thug street creds with the terrorist nations of the world. Bottom line, Obama isn’t doing this for America, he is doing it in his self-appointed role as citizen of the world.

highhopes on December 18, 2009 at 10:32 AM

The Yemenis claimed they whacked 34 AQ the other day. We’re just sending in some fresh reinforcements.

JammieWearingFool on December 18, 2009 at 10:33 AM

“I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit…it’s the only way to be sure”

Mord on December 18, 2009 at 10:33 AM

I’m getting the feeling that after his term Obama will become an expat.

Daveyardbird on December 18, 2009 at 10:34 AM

You know what we need?

Our resident trolls opinions on this issue.

Abby Adams on December 18, 2009 at 10:34 AM

But Yemen’s security problems and lack of resources have spawned fears about its ability to monitor and rehabilitate returnees.

The only way to rehabilitate terrorists is with a bullet or a rope.

Johan Klaus on December 18, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Personally, I prefer the idea of loading all the Gitmo fanatics onto a large military plane, then flying them all back to the middle east. With a mid-air stop en-route, to allow all of them to meet Allah a little earlier than they’d planned. Just open the door at 10,000 feet and invite them all to step outside. Case (and Gitmo) closed. No further captured fanatics would be transferred. Just squeezed, then dealt with under extreme prejudice. I like that last phrase, from some old CIA book I read somewhere. Hmmm.

bradley11 on December 18, 2009 at 10:35 AM

You can’t rehabilitate a terrorist.
Maybe 1 out of 1000 cases you can, but these monsters are so brainwashed it’s better to get rid of them than to spend the effort trying to make them all nicey nice.
Perhaps I sound jaded, but watching the vids on some beheadings, like the Koreans, made up my mind.
Devil spawn needs to be eliminated.

Badger40 on December 18, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Just open the door at 10,000 feet and invite them all to step outside.
bradley11 on December 18, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Didn’t that happen in the book The Green Berets by Robin something-or-other?
Sounds like a plan.

Badger40 on December 18, 2009 at 10:37 AM

Obama isn’t doing this for America, he is doing it in his self-appointed role as citizen king of the world.

highhopes on December 18, 2009 at 10:32 AM

Johan Klaus on December 18, 2009 at 10:37 AM

Liberals are absolutely friggin’ clueless. Trust the Yemenis? Are we nuts? The last time we did that, Cole was attacked when she entered port. What a bunch of maroons!

NavyMustang on December 18, 2009 at 10:38 AM

For the love of….

Can we please just stop taking prisoners! All it does is make things worse in the long run it seems.

mechkiller_k on December 18, 2009 at 10:39 AM

You can’t rehabilitate a terrorist.
Maybe 1 out of 1000 cases you can, but these monsters are so brainwashed it’s better to get rid of them than to spend the effort trying to make them all nicey nice.
Perhaps I sound jaded, but watching the vids on some beheadings, like the Koreans, made up my mind.
Devil spawn needs to be eliminated.

Badger40 on December 18, 2009 at 10:35 AM

hey’re like rodents carrying bubonic plague, you exterminate them.

thomasaur on December 18, 2009 at 10:39 AM

dropped a T

thomasaur on December 18, 2009 at 10:40 AM

U.S. officials are concerned that al-Qaeda could use Yemen, strategically located in the heart of one of the world’s lucrative oil and shipping zones, as a launching pad for attacks against neighboring Saudi Arabia and in the Horn of Africa.

Apparently those “U.S. officials” are not in contact with the Obamateur Administration.

Buy Danish on December 18, 2009 at 10:41 AM

All these terrorists should have dropped through the gallow’s trapdoors years ago.

The Smug Suicide of The West marches blindly onward.

Which is the core of the The Obama Doctrine~ better known as gelding yourself for applause.

profitsbeard on December 18, 2009 at 10:42 AM

Just open the door at 10,000 feet and invite them all to step outside.
bradley11 on December 18, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Over the Gulf of Aden and try hit a pirate boat with these scum.

WashJeff on December 18, 2009 at 10:43 AM

Why weren’t these people given a military court trial, and then either released or shot? This is going to be a disaster.

DFCtomm on December 18, 2009 at 10:44 AM

Badger40 on December 18, 2009 at 10:35 AM

I agree, but they should be dealt with as they deal with us: public beheadings, one vermin at a time.

Harsh as it sounds, we need to speak their language.

TXUS on December 18, 2009 at 10:45 AM

jihadi rehab program

Seems that the most effective jihadi rehab program over the long haul should include a .45, a shovel and a hole.

Bruno Strozek on December 18, 2009 at 10:48 AM

The transfer will be closely monitored

yeah, right….

cmsinaz on December 18, 2009 at 10:48 AM

Yemen? Isn’t that the place where the mastermind of the U.S.S. Cole bombing wanders in and out of their prison at will? Good news.

Cindy Munford on December 18, 2009 at 10:49 AM

Harsh as it sounds, we need to speak their language.

TXUS on December 18, 2009 at 10:45 AM

Perhaps.
But I would be satisfied with a nice glass pond in that general area.

Badger40 on December 18, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Badger40 on December 18, 2009 at 10:35 AM

don’t tell that to growfins or bleedsblue..

cmsinaz on December 18, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Why weren’t these people given a military court trial, and then either released or shot? This is going to be a disaster.

DFCtomm on December 18, 2009 at 10:44 AM

That was in the process already when Obama got elected. One of his very first actions a POTUS was to halt those military tribunals and sign an executive order to close GITMO by the end of this year. This is the fallout. Obama assumed he could talk other counties to take the prisoners, but nobody is willing.

Mord on December 18, 2009 at 10:50 AM

bradley11 on December 18, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Tell them to think of all those virgins mermaids…they are going to meet…

lovingmyUSA on December 18, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Seems that the most effective jihadi rehab program over the long haul should include a .45, a shovel and a hole.

Bruno Strozek on December 18, 2009 at 10:48 AM

This is a waste of a good bullet.
Especially since they are so hard to come these days.
I recommend using the shovel in 2 ways.

Badger40 on December 18, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Oh, for the love of Mike!

This ideology thing is going to get (more) Americans killed.

JusDreamin on December 18, 2009 at 10:52 AM

don’t tell that to growfins or bleedsblue..

cmsinaz on December 18, 2009 at 10:50 AM

Buy them a ticket for over there to stimulate some ‘talks’.
Meanwhile, a bomber will be on it’s way….

Badger40 on December 18, 2009 at 10:52 AM

It is worse than you think. Being X-Gitmo gives these guys extra cred in AQ. Even if they do not actively participate in further attacks, they are valuable as recruiters or trainers.

Sigh.

GnuBreed on December 18, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Why weren’t these people given a military court trial,
DFCtomm on December 18, 2009 at 10:44 AM

Bcs they have ‘rights’ now! Courtesy of the democrat party.

Badger40 on December 18, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Mord on December 18, 2009 at 10:50 AM

like he is trying to do in copenhagen…epic fail all around

cmsinaz on December 18, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Badger40 on December 18, 2009 at 10:52 AM

ya got that right

cmsinaz on December 18, 2009 at 10:54 AM

Waving the white flag. So much for the “war president” demeanor Obama tried to take on for all of two minutes.

evergreen on December 18, 2009 at 11:03 AM

Message to US Military:

“TAKE NO PRISONERS!”

dhunter on December 18, 2009 at 11:08 AM

The only way this makes sense is if the POTUS hates America and wants to see us harmed.

rbj on December 18, 2009 at 11:11 AM

We might just as well
Drop them all off in Times Square
With a MetroCard.

Haiku Guy on December 18, 2009 at 11:12 AM

Here’s an Onion-style parody: Guantanamo Bay Class of ’08, Now Released, Gathers for Class Reunion, Mass Destruction http://optoons.blogspot.com/2009/12/guantanamo-bay-class-of-08-now-released.html

Mervis Winter on December 18, 2009 at 11:15 AM

The transfer will be closely monitored and, if successful, could lead to the release of other Yemenis who have been cleared to go home by a Justice Department-led interagency review team, which examined the case of each detainee held at Guantanamo Bay. Obama set up the review process to accelerate the closure of the detention center.

Yes, as closely monitored as a prison break.

Smart power.

Who the hell voted for this idiot, anyway?

BuckeyeSam on December 18, 2009 at 11:23 AM

Morrissey calls them “Islamist radicals”. Rep. Wolf calls them “dangerous”.

What evidence do you have for either of these claims? I mean, if you have evidence that they have endangered American citizens, then I’m all for keeping them locked up. But we don’t have that evidence, so it goes against American values to lock someone up without evidence of guilt.

orange on December 18, 2009 at 11:27 AM

Craziness! Lots of news coming out this Friday. wow

becki51758 on December 18, 2009 at 11:30 AM

Well I guess we don’t have to worry about releasing those docs outlining interogation techniques. AQ is going to have first hand knowledge in their new instructors.

The only way to rehabilitate terrorists is with a bullet or a rope.

Johan Klaus on December 18, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Wrong, there are many many other ways–most of which come to the same result, they just take longer.

Youngs98 on December 18, 2009 at 11:31 AM

But we don’t have that evidence, so it goes against American values to lock someone up without evidence of guilt.

orange on December 18, 2009 at 11:27 AM

The people in GITMO weren’t improsoned following some law engorcement investigation gone awry. They were picked up on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan because they were shooting at the good guys. The recidivism rate of the ones released is in the high 90% range. Don’t be a fool.

Youngs98 on December 18, 2009 at 11:34 AM

Morrissey calls them “Islamist radicals”. Rep. Wolf calls them “dangerous”.

What evidence do you have for either of these claims? I mean, if you have evidence that they have endangered American citizens, then I’m all for keeping them locked up. But we don’t have that evidence, so it goes against American values to lock someone up without evidence of guilt.

orange on December 18, 2009 at 11:27 AM

Um, because they were captured on the battlefield opposing US soldiers? Or they joined an organization that is committed to the destruction of the USA, an organization that has acted in killing Americans?

Pull your head out of the sand (I would say another place, but ’tis the season)

rbj on December 18, 2009 at 11:36 AM

orange on December 18, 2009 at 11:27 AM

You are part of the problem.

thomasaur on December 18, 2009 at 11:37 AM

The people in GITMO weren’t improsoned following some law engorcement investigation gone awry. They were picked up on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan because they were shooting at the good guys.

False.

The recidivism rate of the ones released is in the high 90% range.

Youngs98 on December 18, 2009 at 11:34 AM

Here’s something you missed from the post, above:

A Pentagon spokesman said on Jan. 13 that of the 520 detainees released from the controversial military camp in Cuba, 18 had “returned to the fight” and another 43 are under suspicion of being involved in extremist activities. He declined to name them.

That is nowhere near a 90% recidivism rate.

orange on December 18, 2009 at 11:43 AM

Um, because they were captured on the battlefield opposing US soldiers? Or they joined an organization that is committed to the destruction of the USA, an organization that has acted in killing Americans?

rbj on December 18, 2009 at 11:36 AM

As I said to Youngs98, this is false.

(to be 100% clear, I’m not saying that there arent any Gitmo detainees who fit rbj’s description – I’m sure there are. I’m pointing out that there are many Gitmo detainees who do not fit that description.)

orange on December 18, 2009 at 11:45 AM

Revolving door in the war on terror.

Kissmygrits on December 18, 2009 at 11:53 AM

The network largely originated, at least philosophically, in the conflict between Yemen and Saudi Arabia in a border dispute,

So….9/11, London, Madrid, Mumbai, Maj Hassan and everything else comes from a border disagreement between Saudi Arabia and Yemen? Islam is just a background insignificant abstraction?

Jebus Ed.

BL@KBIRD on December 18, 2009 at 12:34 PM

Who the hell voted for this idiot, anyway?

BuckeyeSam on December 18, 2009 at 11:23 AM

A lot of dead ACORN people.

Badger40 on December 18, 2009 at 1:24 PM

As I said to Youngs98, this is false.

(to be 100% clear, I’m not saying that there arent any Gitmo detainees who fit rbj’s description – I’m sure there are. I’m pointing out that there are many Gitmo detainees who do not fit that description.)

orange on December 18, 2009 at 11:45 AM

I read the article. A biased piece.
And since none of us are privy to what goes on on the battlefield, it’s incredible to take the word of any detainee as truth for a ‘news’ article.
It’s called war & it sucks for the people that live where the war is at.
Honestly, during WWII how many civilians were detained for false reasons?
And let’s consider that many of these people go along with AQ way of thinking.So it’s probably pretty hard for us to figure who’s innocent & who’s not.
And a 70 yo man (like in your article) is still a threat.
Aiding & abetting the enemy still gets people killed.

Badger40 on December 18, 2009 at 1:34 PM

Remind me again how closing Gitmo makes America safer.

Ed, what exactly are you proposing should be done with these people?

If it were possible to convict them in any way, they that would happen and they would be locked up. Are you in favor of defying the Supreme Court and keeping them locked up without trial anyway?

tneloms on December 18, 2009 at 2:30 PM

This reaffirms my stance that if we have no prisoners we have no problem. I hope all our marines and soldiers are privy to this info. I ‘ll be willing to bet there WILL be a fewer prisoners. Who knows, this may be Obummers main objective at cost cutting .

flyoverboy on December 18, 2009 at 2:31 PM

cost cutting .

flyoverboy on December 18, 2009 at 2:31 PM

Hmmm.
And since they aren’t part of the Genva convention, how would this be ‘illegal’?
Sounds like a plan.

Badger40 on December 18, 2009 at 2:34 PM

Another GREAT idea…

Wonderful…

Khun Joe on December 18, 2009 at 3:06 PM

I read the article. A biased piece.

How is it biased? Remember – there’s a difference between a piece that forces you to reconsider your worldview and a piece with bias.

And since none of us are privy to what goes on on the battlefield, it’s incredible to take the word of any detainee as truth for a ‘news’ article.

Fine. So take the word of the senior intelligence officers who were sources for the piece. Or the military tribunals.

I mean, why do you think that – even under Bush – we (finally) released many of the people we were holding at Gitmo? Because we realized we were wrong to be detaining them.

Honestly, during WWII how many civilians were detained for false reasons?

My hope is that the US didnt detain any innocent civilians for 8+ years with no review of their status. If we did, then it was wrong then just as it’s wrong now.

So it’s probably pretty hard for us to figure who’s innocent & who’s not.

Badger40 on December 18, 2009 at 1:34 PM

It probably is.

So we shouldnt abide by our treaties and our principles of law if it’s “pretty hard” for us to do so?

orange on December 18, 2009 at 3:51 PM

And since they aren’t part of the Genva convention, how would this be ‘illegal’?
Sounds like a plan.

Badger40 on December 18, 2009 at 2:34 PM

Yes, then obummer could brag on running a cheaper war, plus possibly blackmail the troops .

flyoverboy on December 18, 2009 at 4:19 PM

So it’s probably pretty hard for us to figure who’s

innocent & who’s not.

Badger40 on December 18, 2009 at 1:34 PM
It probably is.

So we shouldnt abide by our treaties and our principles of law if it’s “pretty hard” for us to do so?

orange on December 18, 2009 at 3:51 PM

Yep, looks like we are back to no prisoners.

flyoverboy on December 18, 2009 at 4:24 PM

Yep, looks like we are back to no prisoners.

flyoverboy on December 18, 2009 at 4:24 PM

So the hundreds of innocent people we released really should have been killed. That’s what you’re saying, right?

orange on December 18, 2009 at 5:39 PM

The reason he wants to close the prison is he wants to give Camp Delta, the US base, back to Cuba.

Ed Laskie on December 19, 2009 at 8:47 AM

Morrissey calls them “Islamist radicals”. Rep. Wolf calls them “dangerous”.

What evidence do you have for either of these claims? I mean, if you have evidence that they have endangered American citizens, then I’m all for keeping them locked up. But we don’t have that evidence, so it goes against American values to lock someone up without evidence of guilt.

orange on December 18, 2009 at 11:27 AM

Speaking of them as a group, they were captured on the battlefield. Granted, there may be some individuals who were basically forced into it and could be safely released. That’s what the military trials were for. The ones Obama stopped.

By stopping the trials and sending them as prisoners elsewhere, we’ve removed any chance the individuals had to argue that they didn’t belong there. So if there were any innocents, Obama has taken away their chance to prove it.

If the Gitmo detainees had as many innocents as you argue, the worst thing we could do to them is to take away their trial.

But liberals don’t really care about the facts. They just believe that since they were sent to Gitmo under Bush, they must be innocent.

There Goes The Neighborhood on December 19, 2009 at 10:55 PM