Just what is it about Guantanamo Bay?


Remnants of the Bush administration’s fascination with Gitmo Bay keep rearing their ugly heads at Obama’s announcement Gitmo will be closed.  First the argument was there is no place to house those who have yet to be released, or that there are no facilities sufficient to hold them, or that we don’t want them housed in our midst, as if they’ll be our  next door neighbor. This argument, meekly advanced has been rather quickly disarmed and has dropped off the political discussion.

A more sinister argument with accomplices has taken its place, and this is the argument of recidivism, or terrorists released from Guantanamo Bay who have “returned” to terrorism.   The first point to make is if they were indeed terrorist why were they released by our government?  Does this mean the US is  NOT able to determine, even under the most draconian and loosely structure  means, those who are terrorists and who are not? But to underscore this point comes this news.

Two men released from the US “war on terror” prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have appeared in a video posted on a jihadist website, the SITE monitoring service reported.

One of the two former inmates, a Saudi man identified as Abu Sufyan al-Azdi al-Shahri, or prisoner number 372, has been elevated to the senior ranks of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, a US counter-terrorism official told AFP.

Three other men appear in the video, including Abu al-Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi, identified as an Al-Qaeda field commander. SITE later said he was prisoner No. 333.

A Pentagon spokesman, Commander Jeffrey Gordon, on Saturday declined to confirm the SITE information.

At first glance this seems rather ominous until you discover who the players are and the last sentence in the quote above really gives away what is being said/done with this “news”.   SITE is a group with an agenda, like all the other groups that have sprung up post 911 and that agenda is not even close to US interests.  Rather it appears it’s one based on settling old scores.   A terrorist cottage industry has risen on the US political landscape and it seems to have been given free hand, with the provision or understanding  that the US government won’t always rubber stamp what that industry produces.  This seems to be the meaning of the last sentence, “A Pentagon spokesman, Commander Jeffrey Gordon, on Saturday declined to confirm the SITE information”, because frankly under closer inspection the government has been burned by these self-appointed, government anointed terrorist experts.

However, what’s even sadder and more dastardly is the lies, damned lies and statistics game being played by the US when it comes to Gitmo Bay and who was once housed there.

The Seton Hall Center for Policy and Research has issued a report which rebuts and debunks the most recent claim by the Department of Defense (DOD) that “61, in all, former Guantánamo detainees are confirmed or suspected of returning to the fight.”

Professor Denbeaux of the Center for Policy & Research has said that the Center has determined that “DOD has issued ‘recidivism’ numbers 43 times, and each time they have been wrong—this last time the most egregiously so.”

Denbeaux stated: “Once again, they’ve failed to identify names, numbers, dates, times, places, or acts upon which their report relies. Every time they have been required to identify the parties, the DOD has been forced to retract their false IDs and their numbers. They have included people who have never even set foot in Guantánamo—much less were they released from there. They have counted people as ‘returning to the fight’ for their having written an Op-ed piece in the New York Times and for their having appeared in a documentary exhibited at the Cannes Film Festival. The DOD has revised and retracted their internally conflicting definitions, criteria, and their numbers so often that they have ceased to have any meaning—except as an effort to sway public opinion by painting a false portrait of the supposed dangers of these men.

“Forty-three times they have given numbers—which conflict with each other—all of which are seriously undercut by the DOD statement that ‘they do not track’ former detainees. Rather than making up numbers “willy-nilly” about post release conduct, America might be better served if our government actually kept track of them.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Israel and its unholy alliances


abu_nidal_2The Obama administration has shown a willingness to work and negotiate with the Palestinians to coexist with their Israeli neighbors and that’s not a good thing for the Israelis  who believe in war and territorial expansion as instruments of state power.  Look for the Israeli  government to reach back into its old bag of dirty tricks and form partnerships with people to sabotage Obama’s efforts using terror attacks against people in any place in the world, or by forming groups that will challenge the Palestinian status quo and  offer the Israelis the opportunity to work with them at the expense of and in anticipation of  the demise of the present Palestinian leadership.

The Israelis have always set up and used one group of Palestinians against another in order to sow dissension and keep the movements for peace off balance.  Despite what they say, the Israeli government is NOT interested in a peaceful coexistence with Palestinians or any other Arab neighbor state, so turmoil is necessary to justify a militarily strong and aggressive Israeli state.  Abu Nidal is an example.  A  Palestinian terrorist who was fronted by several states, and this observer believes one of them being Israel, Nidal engaged in acts of terror and later confronted and challenged the political leadership of Yasser Arafat.

Nidal’s attempted assassination of Israeli ambassador to the  UK, Shlomo Argov was all the pretext Ariel Sharon needed to invade Lebanon and occupy that country for several years while reaping death and destruction on a scale not seen until Gaza, 2008.  Later Nidal went on to kill several members of Fatah, or so it was made to seem Nidal was responsible for their deaths, and set back  the nascent Fatah movement’s political legitimacy.  Israel was more than happy to see its enemies preoccupied with one another, or appear an existential  threat to Israel so that military action against them was justified.

There are other examples where Israel used militant groups to commit acts of terror to which they, Israel, responded with the foreknowledge of the attacks, how they would be executed, the intended outcome and how they would be concluded.  Political fortunes were built on such episodes of intrigue that until today remain dominant in Israeli politics.

An extraordinary claim that Israeli intelligence may have had a hand in an airline hijacking before sending in commandos to rescue the hostages at Entebbe was made to the Foreign Office….

*snip*

……the attack was carried out by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine with help from the Israeli Security Service, the Shin Bet.

It was designed to torpedo the rival Palestine Liberation Organisation’s standing in France and to prevent what they saw as a growing rapprochement between the PLO and the Americans.

Fast forward to today, where Hamas, a group that was aided by Israel during its infancy is now the target of Israeli aggression.  Hamas too was formed to challenge the legitimacy of Arafat’s Fatah, and since its inception has been the excuse for several Israeli military incursions.

“Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation,” says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel’s destruction.

Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas.

A look at Israel’s decades-long dealings with Palestinian radicals — including some little-known attempts to cooperate with the Islamists — reveals a catalog of unintended and often perilous consequences. Time and again, Israel’s efforts to find a pliant Palestinian partner that is both credible with Palestinians and willing to eschew violence, have backfired. Would-be partners have turned into foes.

The consequences for Israel have been anything but perilous. Israeli political fortunes and the sympathy it has been able to attract with a minimal amount of damage to itself have been built on their overtures to Palestinian suitors who seemingly have had no interest in the Jewish state, and Hamas is no different.  That Hamas, after much Israeli grooming, has become a foe is precisely what the Israelis wanted.

Having tried to paint Hamas as the aggressor in the days preceeding an Obama administration and failed, the Israelis no doubt will resort to even larger operations they hope to pin on the Palestinian group to make it unpalatable to the new American administration.  If that doesn’t work, look for them to set up group(s) that will challenge Hamas’ authority in Gaza and leave Americans wondering with whom they should negotiate.  These are tricks that have been tried before with amazing success.  There is no reason to think, by Israeli standards, they can’t work again.  You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, or so the saying goes.