Jim Kouri
Gitmo connection to Yemeni Jihadists suspected in latest terror plot
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By Jim Kouri
October 31, 2010

Security and law enforcement agencies foiled a terrorist plot that entailed sending packages containing improvised explosive devices hidden in photocopy or printer ink cartridges from Yemen to strike targets in the US, including Jewish synagogues.

Yesterday evening, President Barack Obama called the attempt a "credible threat" and detailed the U.S. response.

The suspicious packages were discovered Friday in the United Kingdom and Middle East aboard planes in an apparent change of tactics by al-Qaeda- inspired terrorists who had targeted the synagogues in Chicago.

The incident sparked an international terror alert on three continents following a tip-off from MI6 — the British military intelligence agency — to the American intelligence and law enforcement officials.

U.S. counterterrorism sources claim that a Muslim cleric — who in the past lived in London — is a likely suspect in IEDs being sent on cargo planes to targets within the United States.

Anwar al-Awlaki was born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents, and has been accused of encouraging terrorism in his sermons and writings. He originally moved to the U.K. and lived in London for 18 months before finally moving to Yemen in 2004. Al-Awlaki is suspected of hiding in Yemen's rugged Shabwa or Mareb regions, an area considered an excellent hideout for radical Muslims.

Anwar al-Awlaki has been involved in several attempted terror attacks against the U.S. by plane and by car bomb. He was also linked to one successful atrocity — the killing of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas in November 2009 by a Muslim U.S. Army Major.

GITMO CONNECTION TO YEMEN TERROR GROUPS

According to a declassified Pentagon report, one in five terror suspects released from the Guantanamo Bay prison has returned to fight against the United States and other nations opposed to terrorist groups. Several

of them are believed to be part of the Yemen-based terrorist group.

However, the White House and its news media allies continue to downplay the report in order to avoid an expected fierce backlash against President Barack Obama's plan to close the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The finding reflects an upward trend on the recidivism rate, although human rights activists who advocate closing the prison have questioned the validity of such numbers.

Early last year, the Defense Department claimed that the rate of released detainees returning to terrorism was 11 percent. In April, it rose to 14 percent. This latest figure of 20 percent is not favorable for a White House already suspected of being weak on national security.

"In my mind, Gitmo remains the proper place for locking up terrorists, especially those who may not be able to be detained as securely in a Muslim country," said terrorism expert, former New York City cop and intelligence officer Michael Snopes.

Snopes points to a report regarding two Saudis released from Guantanamo Bay, one in 2006 and the other in 2007, who are believed to be involved al-Qaeda's activities in Yemen.

However, proponents say the Obama Administration and Defense Department acted in accordance with Congressionally-mandated reporting requirements: the Administration informed Congress of its intent to transfer these detainees at least 15 days before their transfer. These transfers were carried out under an arrangement between the United States and the Government of Algeria.

This finding reflects an upward trend on the recidivism rate, although human rights activists who advocate closing the prison have questioned the validity of such numbers.

Early last year, the Defense Department claimed that the rate of released detainees returning to terrorism was 11 percent. In April, it rose to 14 percent. This latest figure of 20 percent is not favorable for a White House already suspected of being weak on national security.

"In my mind, Gitmo remains the proper place for locking up terrorists, especially those who may not be able to be detained as securely in a Muslim country," said terrorism expert, former New York City cop and intelligence officer Michael Snopes.

Snopes points to a report regarding two Saudis released from Guantanamo Bay, one in 2006 and the other in 2007, who are believed to be involved al-Qaeda's activities in Yemen.

However, proponents say the Obama Administration and Defense Department acted in accordance with Congressionally-mandated reporting requirements: the Administration informed Congress of its intent to transfer these detainees at least 15 days before their transfer. These transfers were carried out under an arrangement between the United States and the Government of Algeria.

© Jim Kouri

 

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Jim Kouri

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police... (more)

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