2 Released Gitmo Prisoners Helped in Planning of Attempted Flight 253 Bombing

Posted on December 28, 2009


From ABC News:

Two of the four leaders allegedly behind the al Qaeda plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines passenger jet over Detroit were released by the U.S. from the Guantanamo prison in November, 2007, according to American officials and Department of Defense documents. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the Northwest bombing in a Monday statement that vowed more attacks on Americans.

American officials agreed to send the two terrorists from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia where they entered into an “art therapy rehabilitation program” and were set free, according to U.S. and Saudi officials.

Guantanamo prisoner #333, Muhamad Attik al-Harbi, and prisoner #372, Said Ali Shari, were sent to Saudi Arabia on Nov. 9, 2007, according to the Defense Department log of detainees who were released from American custody. Al-Harbi has since changed his name to Muhamad al-Awfi.

Art therapy?!  Exactly what kind of “rehabilitation” does this entail?  Underwater basket weaving? Paint-by-numbers?  Making clay “pinch pots” ?  How does this do anything to change the wish for violent jihad proclaimed by most of the Gitmo detainees?  It certainly didn’t convince these two who then went on to help plan the underwear bombing of Flight 253. 

Does our Defense Department actually approve of this type of “rehabilitation” for Gitmo detainees, or are the Saudis independently deciding what programs are appropriate?  And what was it that convinced the Saudis that these men were ready to be released?  Was the U.S. included in the release decision?

If the U.S. approves of this kind of rehabilitation, I’m seriously worried about our judgement in what it takes to deprogram the thoughts of jihad from muslims who’ve made the choice to try and kill as many infidels as possible.  If the Saudis are calling the shots, can we really trust their judgement on what it takes to rehabilitate these jihadists and conclude when they are ready (if ever) for release?

Either way, I feel even less secure now than before.  And what are we going to do now with those 95 Yemeni detainees currently in Gitmo?  Are we still going to send them back to Yemen where apparently Al Qaeda’s been building a bigger base of support? Let’s hope the smarter minds who aren’t politically motivated prevail.  And, again, why the rush to close Gitmo?

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Posted in: War on Terror