Quelle surprise? Mais, non. The recidivism rate among former detainees at Guantanamo Bay’s prison is rather high — at least 25-30%, and that’s the cases we’re able to track. The CNN report on the arrest of two former detainees in Belgium has two more interesting angles to it, however:
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.
Interesting Angle #1: One of the men arrested became a cause célèbre after his release from Gitmo. Moussa Zemouri, released in 2005, wrote a book titled Innocent at Guantanamo, which made him the darling of anti-US activists determined to shame the US into closing Gitmo. A British group, CAGE, featured Zemouri and have long argued that he has never had links to terrorism. Oopsie!
Interesting Angle #2: Barack Obama has recently taken to arguing for closing Gitmo again. Josh Earnest claimed earlier this week that the White House has a plan in the “final stages” to shut the prison down:
The juxtaposition of the two developments had CNN’s panel noting the bad timing for the White House. Wolf Blitzer goes on to note that it’s not just Guantanamo, either, that has produced a veteran cadre of upper-level jihadists. He reminds the panel that the leader of ISIS was once in US custody in a facility in Iraq — and released:
We can either treat this like a war, or treat it like a law-enforcement problem. The Obama administration favors the latter, which is exactly how we treated it before 9/11, too. Pretending we’re not at war is not the same as actually not being at war, a lesson we seem to have to learn the hard way repeatedly.