Posted by Charity on January 23rd, 2009

Here is an example of the kind of tug-at-the-heartstrings story we hear all the time.  Poor, unsuspecting Arab gentleman mistaken for a terrorist by the evil Republican administration that hates brown people is torn from his home and family and subjected to the harsh conditions of the detention center at Guantánamo Bay.

Said Ali al-Shihri traveled to Iran “to purchase carpets for his store” in Saudi Arabia. He was captured and accused of meeting with a group of extremists in Iran and helping them get into Afghanistan. He denied knowledge of any terrorists or terrorist activities, and he “related that if released, he would like to return to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, wherein he would reunite with his family.” [Paraphrased from NYT, link below]

It’s stories like these that fuel the outrage over the US detention of terror suspects.

Said Ali al-Shihri was one of the lucky ones. He was released from Guantánamo Bay in 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program. He was then released.

Only, there’s one complication.

The New York Times reports today that Mr. Shihri is now the deputy leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch.

The emergence of a former Guantánamo Bay detainee as the deputy leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch has underscored the potential complications in carrying out the executive order President Obama signed Thursday that the detention center be shut down within a year.

The militant, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana, in September.

I can’t help but wonder if maybe President Bush was right not to close the detention facility.

It’s a pity the New York Times didn’t see fit to report this sort of thing when he was the one facing the “potential complications” of shutting the place down.

6 Responses to “NYT Reports “Potential Complications” with Closing Gitmo”

  1. There’s a difference between closing down the torture prison at Gitmo and just letting everyone go free. The vast majority of those that have been detained there have been let free so far without any chrages against them. What we are apparently down to is a number of people that the USA would like prosecute and/or hold onto, but the problem is that some of the “evidence” against these people has come from torture and can’t be used in any U.S. court.

    The Gitmo torture prison has to be shutdown. It’s one of many black marks on the USA’s good name in the world that’s been caused by the now defunct Bush Regime. We’re supposed to be the good guys, and the good guys don’t torture people or hold them as detainees for years & years with no charges against them. Setting up the prison at Gitmo in the first place, so the USA could bogusly claim that our laws didn’t apply there, was a complete & total farse in the first place…as our U.S. court system has basically already told the Executive Branch.

    I say prosecute the ones that are left that we have actual, real evidence against them in federal court, detain whatever number of people that the USA “picked up on the battlefield” as POWs, and then let the rest of them go.

    Said Ali al-Shihri seems to have been “lucky” only in that the USA apparently didn’t have any legal reason to hold him anymore. Oh well…the rule of law works in strange ways sometimes…tell it to O.J….

  2. Yeah, well that screw up happened on Bush’s watch. His incompetence isn’t a reason to leave Gitmo open.

  3. These are not criminals, nor are they POWs. A closer example would be John Andre, captured out of uniform by the Americans during the Revolutionary War. General Washington had him tried by a military tribunal. Then he was executed.

    http://www.bigbagofwind.com

  4. I can’t help but wonder if maybe President Bush was right not to close the detention facility.

    Have you wondered whether it was right to open it in the first place?

  5. “Have you wondered whether it was right to open it in the first place?”

    Honestly, it seems like a no-brainer to me. Where else would you house foreign enemy combatants during an ongoing war – in our country? In their country?

    Look, I am not comfortable with the way things went down, but the alternatives are not acceptable.

    In times of war, things can get uncomfortable. The president’s job is to protect the States.

  6. Where else would you house foreign enemy combatants during an ongoing war – in our country? In their country?

    We’ve had other wars before Afganistan, and we never needed an illegal torture prison in Cuba before. Suddenly it’s a no-brainer?