There are four – count ’em, four – countries on the U.S. State Department list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Not only is one of them Sudan but that country is led by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Omar al-Bashir, a man wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity. Nearly two years ago, a Gitmo detainee from Sudan named Noor Uthman Muhammed pleaded guilty to terrorism. Just last month, he and one other Sudanese detainee – Ibrahim Othman Ibrahim Idris – became the last two prisoners from Sudan to be released from Guantanamo-based detention center.
Via the Pakistan Daily Times:
Both former prisoners wore Muslim skull caps, and the bearded Idris smiled as a Sudanese official greeted him. The United States announced on Wednesday that it had transferred the two men from the controversial prison at a US naval base on the southeastern tip of Cuba. Uthman, 51, and Idris, 52, were both considered by the US military to be members of al Qaeda. The transfers came as Obama accelerated repatriations of Guantanamo detainees to meet his campaign promise to close the prison built to house terrorism suspects captured around the world. His predecessor George W Bush opened the facility after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US. Sudanese foreign ministry spokesman Abubakr Elsiddig could not immediately say whether any restrictions would be placed on Uthman and Idris in their home country. “I understand that they will be taken for a medical checkup,” he said. A US defence official confirmed they were the last Sudanese held at Guantanamo. Idris was seen by the Pentagon as a veteran member of the terrorist network who swore loyalty to its now slain leader Osama bin Laden in the 1990s.
The prisoners “smiled” upon arriving in the Sudan? Shouldn’t it be a worse place for them than Gitmo? Approximately six months prior to Noor Uthman Muhammed’s guilty plea, a letter regarding Sudanese prisoners at Gitmo who would be released, was penned by Karen Lass, Regional Security Officer for the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan.
Whether or not the NISSdocument referred to in Lass’s letter contributed to the U.S. releasing Gitmo detainees from Sudan is unclear but in either case, the notion that it was given serious consideration by the U.S. State Department is laughable. Here are some excerpts from the NISS proposal for monitoring Gitmo terrorists released into Sudan’s custody:
“…NISS meets the individual at the airport and takes them into their custody upon arrival. They are then taken to a secure NISS facility where they undergo a psychological evaluation, medical evaluation, and interviews are conducted based on the crimes they were arrested for… If the interviews reveal that the individual hold to extremist ideology, he is place(d) in an established rehabilitation program administered by NISS. This program… incorporates education, job skills training, marriage counseling (matchmaking), and de-radicalization counseling conducted by well respected imams and Islamic scholars… Once an individual has successfully completed the rehabilitation program and NISS determines that they no longer adhere to a radical ideology, they are released and closely monitored. NISS places them in a job and directs them to worship at an approved, moderate mosque.”
Matchmaking? No wonder these guys were smiling when they returned to Sudan from Gitmo!
Let’s get back to Sudan’s status as being a State Sponsor of Terrorism as identified by the State Department that Ms. Lass works for. The president of Sudan is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood; that would be the ‘radical’ Muslim Brotherhood. What are the odds that any “approved, moderate mosque” in Sudan is actually not moderate at all? Al-Bashir is a radical Muslim fundamentalist himself, who is wanted for crimes against humanity.
The question hangs in the air: Why would the U.S. release convicted al-Qaeda terrorists into the custody of an officially designated Terror state?
Just a couple of years before Lass passed along the NISS ‘plan’ for monitoring released terrorists, an American USAID worker named John Granville was murdered in Khartoum on New Year’s Day, 2008. In April of last year, Rep. Brian Higgins, a Democrat, took to the House floor to talk about Granville’s murderers:
“Four of his killers were captured and convicted, but they escaped from prison. Two remain at large, and the State Department has issued a $5 million reward for information leading to their capture. Meanwhile, in February, the Sudanese Government pardoned the man who helped John Granville’s killers escape… I will introduce a resolution calling for the Sudan to remain on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list until the pardon is repealed and the escapees are captured. I will also send a letter demanding that President al-Bashir rescind the pardon immediately.”
In June of 2009, Granville’s killers were convicted and sentenced to death. One month prior to Lass’s letter with the NISS attachment, those prisoners escaped. At least two have reportedly been re-apprehended.
This brings us back full circle to the release of Noor Uthman Muhammed and Ibrahim Othman Ibrahim Idris just last month. Remember, at least one of these al-Qaeda terrorists was found guilty of providing material support to terrorists in Afghanistan.
Upon their arrival in Sudan last month, the al-Bashir government could not say if they would be monitored. A statement made by a government official carried echoes of the attachment to Lass’s 2010 letter above, via Arab News:
Sudanese foreign ministry spokesman Abubakr Elsiddig could not immediately say whether any restrictions would be placed on Uthman and Idris in their home country. “I understand that they will be taken for a medical checkup,” he said.
As for the release of Gitmo detainees generally, consider the release of a one Sufian bin Qumu from Gitmo in 2007. Just weeks after the release of Muhammed and Idris, the State Department identified bin Qumu as a key player in the Benghazi attack of 9/11/12 that resulted in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods.
There is strong evidence to suggest that Barack Obama’s half-brother, Malik Obama, works for Omar al-Bashir in the former’s capacity as the Executive Secretary of the Islamic Da’wa Organization (IDO), which is overseen by al-Bashir. This could constitute a conflict of interest for the U.S. President at a minimum, though Congress has been AWOL in this regard.