Sunday, January 3, 2010

The US Continues to Fight with Itself

The US continues to lose the fight it has started with itself. Let me re-cap in order to explain...

The Bush Administration responds to a terrorist attack on US soil by declaring war on all terrorists. Yes, this is an unrealistic goal for a war. It is both obtuse and immeasurable. But the idea is a very important one for any world citizen who values his or her own right to live.

Then Bush capitalizes on an opportunity to gain intelligence about terrorists by capturing (rather than killing) terrorists on the battlefield. He holds them rightfully in accordance with the international guidance (Geneva Conventions), even though this document does not address how to treat terrorists, if a country is "at war" with them. Of course, this is because we have never declared war on a force that is an illegal one ("illegal" according to LOAC -- the Law of Armed Conflict, which governs wars across the world).

Since 2002, the Bush Administration (I believe led by Donald Rumsfeld's poor judgment) approved a series of harsh interrogation strategies that although are clearly unethical and abusive, have only been used on THREE occasions at GTMO. The rest of the policies and procedures to operate GTMO detention and intelligence missions abide by all US and international law starting in 2002 when it opened. Although it is true that laws were re-written and re-interpreted between 2002 and 2008. But as the law evolved, the American government adhered to the various changes with revised policies.

Shortly after GTMO opened in 2002 the complaints and accusations arose worldwide and country-wide. People actually began believing that America was literally torturing these detainees daily and holding them day-after-hellish day completely against the law. The GTMO pictures released on tv and the internet AND the actual abuses that occurred at Abu Ghraib didn't help. However, these masses of people having never worked at or visited GTMO believed and called these men innocent publically, without any full understanding of the legalities involved. They were also unaware that the terrible conditions we saw in pictures of GTMO, were actually temporary holding facilities while American tax dollars funded state-of-the-art facilities that were completed about 1 year later. Oh, and the orange jumpsuits -- big deal, they have to be some color, don't they? They were no different than American prison garments.

Sadly, the people believing everything negative that they saw and heard about GTMO were also unaware of the FACT that the rumors of abusive and lawless American policies were actually generated by Al Qaeda itself.

Yes, this is the sad and less-known truth -- The Manchester Document is the Al Qaeda terrorist training manual. When British Intelligence found it in Manchester in 2001, those privy to the classified document at the time learned that part of Al Qaeda's intricate plan was to frame America. The manual states in clear language that aside from using bombs and other means to terrorize Western nations, that Al Qaeda members were required to claim abuse at the hands of their captor and find ways to turn the nation's people against themselves. This sounds familiar, doesn't it?

It is painful to admit this, but Al Qaeda has succeeded in this endeavor. They have orchestrated a series of rumors and an image of the detainees: that America has continuously tortured innocent men. This Al Qaeda "information operation" (rumor) has successfully led to a split among Americans. We are fighting ourselves in regards to the idea of closing GTMO. Now in 2009, Americans and citizens of the world are being fooled by the very terrorists they sought to outlaw!

Here's a story that exemplifies how the entire movement to close GTMO has unfolded, and how every effort to close GTMO is a HUGE mistake:

American and Allied intelligence forces locate a man named Said al-Shihri, who their sources have tied to the September 11 attacks. Presumably, this is the intelligence information that led to his capture and detainment: he supported the extremist refugees associated with 9/11 attacks, he received weapons training at a camp north of Kabul and was hospitalized in Pakistan for a month and a half after he was wounded by an Allied Forces airstrike. He met with extremists in Iran and helped them get into Afghanistan, although he later claimed that he went to Iran to buy carpets for his store.

The US captures him and locks him up at GTMO.

Those politicians, attorneys, and human rights activists (who have not read the intelligence information that led to his capture because it was not released by the Pentagon until President Obama entered office) believe the detainee's bogus story (released to the world through the detainee's attorney). They claim that this man is innocent and was captured while travelling to Iran to buy carpets for his family's store.

The American government can't release the intelligence information disputing this because it's classified. Furthermore, if we release our sources or intelligence circuits, we would only increase all enemies' knowledge of how we conduct intelligence operations -- a big "no-no" for a country's chances of survivial, especially during war.

Note that none of the politicians, attorneys, or human rights activists have read the Manchester Document, mentioned earlier. They are therefore, not aware that falsely accusing your captor of abuse and claiming innocence are what Al Qaeda terrorists are trained to do very effectively. They have no idea that his detainee is just "following orders."

They believe the story he told his attorney to release to the world and went on to say on this detainee's behalf that if he was released, he wanted to see a daughter born while at Guantanamo and try to work at the family store in Riyadh, when released.

The American public and many politicians are so bothered by the idea that this man was supposedly abused and is innocent, that they fight against GTMO and its operations, while believing every similar rumor they hear about torture, abuse, and unlawful detention of detainees. Every rumor they hear (even though they don't realize these are rumors started by Al Qaeda) confirms that GTMO must be as horrible has they hear it is.

The American public and numerous special interest groups in America (including those funded by Al Qaeda itself) lobby the American government for GTMO's closure and the release of all detainees. President Obama takes office and essentially confirms the rumors of American maltreatment and lawlessness by signing that it must be closed so we can "return to our core values." Unfortunately, we never left our values. They were false accusations that Al Qaeda spread, and we believed every one of them -- as did our President.

So here we are in 2010 trying to release all of the GTMO detainees and President Obama discontinues and tries to control the Military Commissions process (military court hearings for the detainees) so that we can meet his deadline to close GTMO, but the truth has escaped us.

Remember that guy we captured? Said Ali al-Shihri? Yeah, well it turns out he was lying after all. After being released from GTMO in 2007 under the Bush administration, he has become the deputy leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a group that has claimed responsibility for the Christmas Day attempted bomb attack on a Detroit-bound airliner. Clearly he didn't really want to return to Iran to work in the family furniture store. But, he went ahead and completed a rehabilitation program in Saudi Arabia (conditions of his release from GTMO) and then fled to Yemen where he is now leading Al Qaeda. It turns out American intelligence was correct that he was a terrorist and all that gobbledy-gook about being innocent was just a sham.

The list of similar cases like this goes on-and-on. Americans have fallen for it. We are fighting ourselves after believing false and negative rumors about how we treat people at GTMO.

If only we had more faith in our country and had read information like the Manchester Document (which is now declassified and available through Google), we could have saved those people on that Detroit-bound Christmas Day flight. It is a fact that about 11% of those who complete the Saudi rehabilitation program re-enter the war on terrorism.

How many more Christmas Day terrorist attacks will it take for us to stop releasing terrorists under the misunderstanding that we have done something wrong by capturing them in the first place?

America must stop fighting itself. We are leading to our own destruction.

Here the AP story this is based upon:;_ylt=Au1_HOQND4Ouw2ZFdHNgYO6s0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNtM3IyNjY3BGFzc2V0A2FwLzIwMDkxMjMxL2NiX2d1YW50YW5hbW9fYWxfcWFpZGEEY2NvZGUDbW9zdHBvcHVsYXIEY3BvcwMyBHBvcwM1BHB0A2hvbWVfY29rZQRzZWMDeW5fdG9wX3N0b3J5BHNsawNmb3JtZXJnaXRtb2Q-

--Written by a former military officer who served at GTMO

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