Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spies at Gitmo

Have you read Marcy Wheeler's recent musings about the captives at Guantanamo? They explain a lot.

She says that the Americans have recruited the prisoners to function as spies -- first against other prisoners, later out in the field. This would explain the reported cases of "recidivism."

As everyone not blinded by right-wing propaganda understands, the so-called terrorists at Gitmo weren't really terrorists, at least not in most case. When the American military went in to Afghanistan, they offered a rewards to the locals to get them to finger bad guys. In so poor a country, the reward money was irresistible; naturally, those hoping to collect simply identified as a "terrorist" whoever happened to be on the receiving end of a grudge.

Marcy draws from this story...
U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that three of the 68 Guantanamo detainees released since Barack Obama became president have engaged in terrorism or insurgency, a senior administration told Congress Wednesday.

U.S. Ambassador Dan Fried, the diplomat who arranged many of the releases, revealed the figure during questioning from members of Congress at a House Armed Services Committee hearing.

He declined to say, however, who the men were or where they were sent after Guantanamo. He also wouldn't say when U.S. intelligence crunched its latest figure.

The rate of so-called return-to-battlefield detainees, however, is far less than what the Defense Intelligence Agency determined it was during the George W. Bush administration. In a report released in December, the DIA reported that 79 of 532 detainees released during the Bush administration had engaged in terrorism or insurgency.
Marcy's take:
There were quiet reports that the reason we used torture at Abu Ghraib was to recruit spies. And the example of Jabir al Fayfi, who was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007, underwent the Saudi retraining program, and then “fled” to Yemen, only to return and alert the Saudis of the toner cartridge plot last year, is most easily explained by assuming that Fayfi was a spy, either ours or Saudi Arabia’s.

While no one will ever talk about this, we can be sure that some of the Gitmo detainees who appear to “reengage” are doing so on orders from us.
My take: I think that the Bush administration wanted released detainees to turn pseudo-recidivist. (They're not really recidivist, since many of them were not terrorists to begin with.) Collecting intelligence was only part of the motive. "Recidivism" offers excellent propaganda opportunities. The messages: See, they really were dangerous and You can never trust a Muslim.

Here's a bit more on the Fayfi affair, from last December. Apparently, his information foiled a plot to bomb cargo planes:
The tip came from Jabir al Fayfi, a Saudi who was held for years at the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007. Soon after, he fled Saudi Arabia and joined the al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen, until he turned himself in to Saudi authorities in late September.

Yemeni security officials said Monday they believe Fayfi may have been a double agent, planted by Saudi Arabia in Yemen among al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula militants to uncover their plots.
Judging from the Wikipedia account, Al Fayfi was never involved with Al Qaeda before his capture. He was part of the resistance against American forces, although he never fired his weapon.

Yee gods! There have been a number of spy scandals, real or alleged, at Guantanamo over the past ten years. One of them involved an army chaplain named James Yee, who came under suspicion because he married a Palestinian woman and converted to Islam. After spending two-and-a-half months in solitary confinement, he was exonerated and released. Eventually, he became a delegate for Barack Obama at the 2008 convention.

His words at that time now seem so naive as to boggle even the most un-boggleable brain:
"I came out and basically reiterated that Sen. Obama is really the only candidate that consistently campaigns on rejecting torture without exception, on closing Guantanamo Bay, restoring habeas (corpus) and adhering to the Geneva Conventions."
O, Yee of too much faith...

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