Monday, December 21, 2009

Detainees Freed From Gitmo, Some Free As a Bird

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Fine, upstanding citizens all, I presume!

A couple of days ago, I posted a link on the Forum about the Obama administration releasing two detainees from Guantanamo to Yemen, where we were currently firing missiles at Al-Qaeda camps. Since then, color me unsurprised, it's gotten worse.

News is out now that twelve detainees have been released to foreign custody, two of them to a "government" that the US does not formally recognize. And, get this: that "government" has already released these two to go about whatever they were doing before.

The United States freed a dozen men from Guantanamo this week -- including one of the last captives sent there by the Bush administration -- in a mission that dropped detainees off in Yemen, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa.

The dozen included six Yemenis, four Afghans and two Somali citizens. Their departure left the prison camp census at 198 on Saturday -- the first time the detention center dropped below 200 captives since February 2002.

...Reports from Somaliland, a breakaway region in northern Somalia that has its own autonomous government, identified the freed Somalis as Ismael Arale, 45, and Mohamed Suleiman Barre, 44.

Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air:

We captured Arale in Somalia three years ago. Since we don’t have any military presence in that country, or at least none we acknowledge, Arale had to have been captured either by covert intelligence forces or a secret military mission. That must have meant that the Pentagon and/or the CIA thought him to be a significant target. We don’t know, because the paperwork released on Arale has been heavily redacted — which also indicates the presumed value of having him in our custody.

Now he’s gone back to an area known to be a haven for terrorists — and under the control of a government with which the US doesn’t do business. How exactly did that happen? Somaliland is a breakaway piece of Somalia that no one recognizes. Does the US usually extradite prisoners to jurisdictions that we do not recognize and in the absence of an extradition treaty?

Wonder if Al-Qaeda could use a good forger for anything?

Arale, who’s been described as a document forger and Islamic jurist, was captured in Somalia in 2006 was one of the last detainees ever taken to Guantánamo.

Cross posted at Say Anything

Update: Here's what was thought of Arale when he was first shipped to Gitmo:

The Department of Defense announced today the transfer of a dangerous terror suspect to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Abdullahi Sudi Arale is suspected of being a member of the Al Qaeda terrorist network in East Africa, serving as a courier between East Africa Al Qaeda (EAAQ) and Al Qaeda in Pakistan. Since his return from Pakistan to Somalia in September 2006, he has held a leadership role in the EAAQ-affiliated Somali Council of Islamic Courts (CIC).

There is significant information available indicating that Arale has been assisting various EAAQ-affiliated extremists in acquiring weapons and explosives, and has facilitated terrorist travel by providing false documents for AQ and EAAQ-affiliates and foreign fighters traveling into Somalia. Arale played a significant role in the re-emergence of the CIC in Mogadishu.

The capture of Abdullahi Sudi Arale exemplifies the genuine threat that the United States and other countries face throughout the world from dangerous extremists.
The detainees being held at Guantanamo have provided information essential to our ability to better understand how Al Qaeda operates and thus to prevent future attacks.

As with all detainees in Guantanamo, Arale will undergo a combatant status review tribunal, where he will be given the opportunity to review an unclassified summary of the evidence against him and contest his enemy combatant status

H/T Weasel Zippers


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