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.