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We’re giving al Qaeda the moral high ground

I am not sure how an American, even one who works for Human Rights Watch, can believe that an organization that beheads, burns and otherwise brutally murders women and children, not to mention any soldier they capture, could possible think America is ceding the “high ground” by not closing Gitmo.

My soldier friends assure me that people like this will eventually cost America lives. Oops, I guess I just ceded the moral high ground again.

Cause Lord knows, if we just let them out of Gitmo American will be safer and more loved.

Could rendition program be considered torture?

By scheduling the shut down of Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay and CIA secret facilities in other countries, President Obama – almost by default – has chosen to expand the rendition program that involves turning captured terrorists over to their home countries for interrogation.

Morrissey at Hot Air has more.

Renditions created a huge global controversy primarily because the home countries of the terrorists torture for information.  Most of these terror suspects grabbed by the CIA come from countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and other emirates where the Geneva Convention only provides a veneer of respectability and not legal constraints of any kind.  Critics complained that the CIA essentially “outsourced” its torture to subcontractors in this rendition process, ensuring that these methods would get used without getting their own hands dirty and getting the information torture produced.

Ed provides linkage to a story in the LA Times.

… the Obama administration appears to have determined that the rendition program was one component of the Bush administration’s war on terrorism that it could not afford to discard.

Well what else would you do with captured terrorists? We can’t take them to the United States, Gitmo or to CIA facilities offshore. Send them home!

The problem is terrorists are frequently really tortured when they get home. They tend end up dead. [see comments] The liberal left has been complaining about the rendition program during the Bush years. Back to Hot Air…

For the last seven years, the Left has screeched hysterically over the CIA practice of rendition, in which agents turn detainees over to authorities in their home country for interrogation.  Never mind that the practice started in the Clinton administration, and never mind that the other options were Guantanamo Bay, release, or two caps in the back of the head; they pilloried Bush over renditions as if he’d thought them up himself.  Hollywood even made a movie about how awful the process is, apparently matched in awfulness only by the film’s box office.

Exit question: Before terrorists could be assured that they would live – possibly to fight another day – when captured and held by the United States. Will the left step up and demand that Obama’s rendition program be stopped?

Exit question 2 (the thoughtful one): Will terrorists be more cooperative with the United States when captured to ensure that they will not be sent home? Will we get actionable intelligence quicker?

Europe wants Gitmo closed, will not commit to accept detainees

As many countries in Europe demanded the United States close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, they refused efforts by the Bush administration to provide asylum or refugee status to prisoners who were ready for release.

In Berlin yesterday, 27 members of the European Union made a weak attempt to support the new administration by offering assistance in closing the facility, but still would not commit to join together and accept inmates into the Union. What does this mean? Are they going to provide landing rights so we can refuel jets as we take the prisoners somewhere else?

Note there were prisoners ready for release by the Bush administration, but nobody would take them. Thanks a lot for the support guys, next time keep your mouths shut.

Again, no commitment from Europe, since they have been provided time to respond.

… the EU is expected to play for time, arguing that, since it will take at least a year to close the camp, European countries have several months to produce a detailed response.

“The reality is that we are divided,” said one of those close to the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. “There are a bunch of countries that want to offer something to the US, and there are countries that are careful and are not ready to jump.”

The divisions show how difficult it will be for the Europeans to reach a united stance, said Karsten Voigt, the coordinator for German-American cooperation in the Foreign Ministry in Berlin.

“We have been criticizing the US all along and demanding that Guantanamo be closed,” Voigt said. “Now that the new administration wants to do it, we either simply say it is a US problem and Washington must deal with it, or we help to solve the issue.”

Portugal has stepped up and stated that they will immediately take prisoners who have been cleared for release and are not welcome in their own home countries, but Austria has said no way.

Privately, many are saying that it’s America’s problem and we need to deal with it on our own. Well if it’s our problem why did you demand for months for us to close the facility?

Here’s the problem European Union countries face; they have no internal borders. Unless they have some sort of special rule for released detainees and hold them in some sort of prison atmosphere, released terrorists will be able to freely roam between 22 countries.

There are no longer any frontier controls at the borders between 22 EU countries. This is thanks to the Schengen agreement which is part of EU law. The Schengen rules remove all internal border controls but put in place effective controls at the external borders of the EU and introduce a common visa policy. The full Schengen members are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia,Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden (but not Ireland and the United Kingdom) plus Iceland and Norway (which are not EU members).

Cyprus which joined the EU in 2004 and Bulgaria and Romania which joined in 2007 do not yet fully participate in Schengen. You will therefore need a valid passport or ID card to travel to those countries and to Ireland and the United Kingdom.

If Portugal will take a few, will they be allowed to roam into Austria who does not want any of them?

My guess is that you’re not going to see any agreement from EU diplomats within one year. Not going to happen.

Rehabbed Guantanamo terrorists buy video camera

Two former guests at Camp Delta – it is now confirmed – are back in the fight after progressing through an otherwise successful Saudi rehabilitation program for jihadists after their release from Guantanamo.

photo-al-shahri

This is not surprising since there is a get-arrested-and-return-to-prision rate of more than 50 percent here in the United States, so one in ten – that we know about – is really not a failure; you had to figure some of them would go back to the jihad.

But these two seem pretty comfortable in their official Al Qaeda’s Yemeni outfits, since they got on video and basically said hah hah. … (Think of Nelson from The Simpsons.) From the New York Times

Two former Guantánamo Bay detainees now appear to have joined Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch, which released a video on Friday showing them both and identifying them by their names and Guantánamo detainee numbers.

American counterterrorism officials have already confirmed that Said Ali al-Shihri, 35, who was released from the American prison camp at Guantánamo in November 2007, is now the deputy leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch. He is suspected of playing a role in a deadly attack on the American Embassy in the Yemeni capital, Sana, in September.

In the video released Friday, Mr. Shihri sits alongside a man identified as Abu Hareth Muhammad al-Awfi, who appears with a script at the bottom of the screen giving his Guantánamo identification number, 333. That number corresponds to a man known in Pentagon documents as Mohamed Atiq Awayd al-Harbi, who was also released to Saudi Arabia in November 2007. …

Both men passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for jihadists after their release from Guantánamo. That program has been seen as a model, and the Saudi government had previously said that none of its graduates had returned to terrorism.

In the video released Friday, Mr. Awfi warns fellow prisoners about the Saudi program and threatens attacks against Saudi Arabia. He also speaks angrily about the Israeli attacks on Hamas in Gaza.

Mr. Shihri also speaks in the video, saying “by God, our imprisonment only increased our perseverance in the principles for which we went out, did jihad for, and were imprisoned for.”

Malkin has the following…

This is an issue the Right should unite around immediately and in full force. 9/11 families are leading the way. Don’t miss this must-read from Michael Burke, brother of FDNY Capt. William F. Burke Jr., who was killed on Sept. 11, 2001, and follow-up from 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America.

In reference to the photo of al-Shahri above, someone should really tell their team the belt holster thing-a-ma-gig holding the bullets looks cool, but would provide a reload time that could only be described as pathetic.

I might be having a little fun since I’m pretty tired, but you can’t say that these guys are not dangerous. What is Yemen doing to shut this group down?

Previous hot post… We need a National Terrorist Offender Registry.

Closing Camp Delta, Guantanamo Bay – without a plan

Today, President Obama signed an Executive Order to delay a decision his administration will soon need to make. By signing the order within the first 48 hours of his presidency, he throws a bone to the liberal left, placates them with a quick salvo fired at Bush, and kicks the can down the road.

The can is going to soon roll back down the hill, and he does not seem to have a plan.

The order references the Geneva Conventions, but as we all know terrorists are not a signatory to the Conventions and they – quite frankly – use the rules against us. That policy is chapter one of the Terrorist 101 syllabus.

I quote from the order

In view of the significant concerns raised by these detentions, both within the United States and internationally, prompt and appropriate disposition of the individuals currently detained at Guantánamo and closure of the facilities in which they are detained would further the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States and the interests of justice.

Does this say that releasing terrorists – who have fought and plotted against us and deemed the Geneva Conventions irrelevant – would improve our national security?

The paragraph continues.

Merely closing the facilities without promptly determining the appropriate disposition of the individuals detained would not adequately serve those interests. To the extent practicable, the prompt and appropriate disposition of the individuals detained at Guantánamo should precede the closure of the detention facilities at Guantánamo.

Obama has released this Executive Order without a plan. There is no explanation of what will happen with the Gitmo terrorists.

A couple of notes before sharing a few paragraphs from a novel I recently read. This Executive Order only deals with detainees in Guantanamo Bay, it does not discuss other locations where terrorists may be held. In section 8…

Nothing in this order shall prejudice the authority of the Secretary of Defense to determine the disposition of any detainees not covered by this order.

Wink wink … there is more!

If any individuals covered by this order remain in detention at Guantánamo at the time of closure of those detention facilities, they shall be returned to their home country, released, transferred to a third country, or transferred to another United States detention facility in a manner consistent with law and the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.

Can someone say symbolism over substance? This paragraph seems to indicate an option would be to transfer the prisoners to another detention facility, possibly outside of the United States!

Others discussing include Hot Air, Gateway PunditPower Line, Volokh Conspiracy, Sister Toldjah (with a new blog theme by the way) and LGF.

The following is from the Vince Flynn novel Extreme Measures. On page 271, this is a snippet of a discussion between two characters, Ralph Wasson and Senator Barbara Lonsdale. I’ll let it stand without commentary.

[Wasson] “… You ask the people if they are pro-torture, and ninety plus percent say no. You then ask them what the CIA should do if they catch a senior al-Qaeda member who has carried out attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq that have killed thousands. You then tell them that the CIA has solid information an attack is looming and this man has information that could help stop it. You then ask them if they are okay with slapping this guy around and making him think he’s about to drown and all of a sudden seventy percent of them are pro-torture.

“Now” – Wassen wagged a finger at his boss – “I can get that number to over ninety percent if you give the people a third option.”

“What’s that?”

“Don’t tell me what’s going on. Just take care of it. I don’t need to know everything my government does.”

“So the options are torture, don’t torture, or stick you head in the sand.”

“Exactly.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“That’s reality, Babs.”

We need a National Terrorist Offender Registry

We’re finding out some information concerning the recidivism rate of terrorists who have been released from Guantanamo Bay. Some – not the majority – seem to be going back to the fight. With that knowledge in hand I’d like to suggest a National Terrorist Offender Registry.

Welcome Michelle Malkin readers!

terrorist-registryWe could make them register with local authorities when they move into town, and have a cool Google map that displays where they live, their photo and what they were convicted of.

Hmm… they may elect to live out of the country, so maybe we could make it a world-wide registry…

The Obama administration is planning to close the Guantanamo detention center soon after arrival in the White House so we’ll need to move quickly to make this law.

Word from the Pentagon is that more than one in 10 released detainees go back to their old ways – you know – terrorizing people and fighting the jihad.

Pentagon: 61 ex-Guantanamo inmates return to terrorism
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon said on Tuesday that 61 former detainees from its military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, appear to have returned to terrorism since their release from custody.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said 18 former detainees are confirmed as “returning to the fight” and 43 are suspected of having done in a report issued late in December by the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Morrell declined to provide details such as the identity of the former detainees, why and where they were released or what actions they have taken since leaving U.S. custody.

“This is acts of terrorism. It could be Iraq, Afghanistan, it could be acts of terrorism around the world,” he told reporters.

Morrell said the latest figures, current through December 24, showed an 11 percent recidivism rate, up from 7 percent in a March 2008 report that counted 37 former detainees as suspected or confirmed active militants.

Granted, these are Pentagon figures and no details as to how the recidivism rate was calculated. But when the American judicial system has someone in custody and they are released to create another crime, people get pretty mad.

Hence, the Terrorist Offender Registry. Many states already have sex offender registries, all we would need is another table in the database.

Hat tip to Geller over at Atlas Shrugs.

Update: Sister Toldjah, Malkin, Gateway Pundit and Scott at Power Line all discussing.

Obama is planning to start closing up shop on the first day of his presidency, but with almost 250 prisoners, it’s going to take some time – some figure more than a year – to complete the process.

Photo Credit: Home page photo courtesy casmaron.
Amnesty International demonstrates in front of the US Embassy in London on 11 January 2007 for the closure of the US detention centre at Guantanamo Bay.