As the nation prepares to commemorate the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military, a Pentagon insider reveals that Al Qaeda terrorist jailed at Guantanamo get better medical treatment than our own veterans.
As disgraceful as this may seem, it’s not at all far-fetched considering the Obama administration has gone out of its way to accommodate the prisoners—the world’s most dangerous terrorists—at the U.S. Naval base in southeastern Cuba. We’re talking about 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) and his partners in crime, Ramzi Binalshibh and Ali Abdul Aziz Ali. USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri is also locked up there.
Since 2008 Judicial Watch has regularly traveled to Gitmo to monitor the Military Commission proceedings of these Islamic jihadists. On many occasions, members of the U.S. Military have expressed to JW representatives that captives in the high-security compound have better living conditions than American soldiers stationed there. This includes food service, sports facilities and even high-speed internet, according to information obtained directly by JW during trips to Gitmo.
Now, in the midst of the scandal involving the Veterans Affairs healthcare system, a Pentagon insider confirms what many have suspected; while our veterans are receiving deplorable healthcare services, the VA is providing jailed terrorists with topnotch medical treatment. J.D. Gordon, a retired Navy Commander who served as a Pentagon spokesman in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, offers enraging figures via a news site. During his tenure Gordon visited Gitmo dozens of times and he got to go behind the scenes.
There are approximately 150 terrorists at Gitmo yet the VA has 100 doctors, nurses and healthcare personnel assigned to them, Gordon says. “Doctors and medical personnel are at their beck and call,” he confirms, adding that they are readily available for things as minor as a cold, fever, toothache or chest and back pain. The jihadists who murdered thousands of Americans never have to wait, Gordon says, because the Gitmo patient to healthcare provider ratio is 1.5 to 1. “No problem, come right on in,” Gordon writes in his piece.
If you risked your life serving your country, however, the ratio is 35 to 1, according to Gordon who discloses that there are 9 million veterans receiving VA healthcare and 267,930 providers. This is egregious, to say the least. The VA healthcare system has been notoriously flawed for many years—under both Democrat and Republican administrations—but the sad fact that even terrorists are getting better services from the agency really accentuates the severity of the problem.
The system is so inept that military veterans are needlessly dying because of long waits and delayed care at VA hospitals, news reports and federal audits have confirmed. The worst part is that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the nation’s second-largest presidential cabinet agency, is well aware of the crisis but has done nothing to correct it. In fact, VA managers have actively covered up the wrongdoing with fraudulent record keeping, including a secret list to conceal exorbitant waiting periods to receive medical attention. Now the VA Inspector General and Congress are investigating this atrocity. In the meantime it seems that veterans must relocate to a Gitmo jail cell to get adequate medical care from the from the U.S. government.
The Al Qaeda terrorist—Osama Bin Laden’s bodyguard—determined to be “too dangerous to be released” from Guantanamo just a few years ago will be freed from the military prison because President Obama’s new parole board found he no longer poses a “significant threat to the United States.”
The shocking about-face comes on the heels of mainstream news reports disclosing that a former Guantanamo detainee, Sufian bin Qumu, participated in the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Libya. Bin Qumu was released from the prison at the U.S. naval base in Cuba despite having historic ties to the Al Qaeda network and training at bin Laden’s Torkham camp, according to information obtained from his Gitmo file.
That makes this week’s news that bin Laden’s former bodyguard, Mahmud Abd Al Aziz Al Mujahid, will soon be free, all the more outrageous. It was not that long ago—in 2010—that an Obama task force listed Mujahid as too dangerous to release from Gitmo. That put him on a special “forever prisoner” list of 48 indefinite detainees. His Pentagon file says he’s a high risk likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies and that he is of high intelligence value.
The defense document also says Mujahid is a member of Al Qaeda who served as a body guard for bin Laden for one year and that he has familial ties to Al Qaeda members, including other bin Laden bodyguards and Gitmo detainees. He traveled to Afghanistan in late 1999 or early 2000 for jihad and received militant training at the Al Qaeda al-Faruq training camp, the file says.
“Detainee is a committed jihadist who received theological training from, and was recruited by, radical Yemeni shaykhs who continue to recruit Yemeni youth to participate in hostilities against US and coalition forces. Detainee’s assessed commitment to jihadis supported by his discussions with another JTF-GTMO detainee on methods to conduct suicide during detention.”
Yet soon he will be freed to his native Yemen because Obama promised to close the military prison. Gitmo still houses 155 men and the president created a special parole panel, a six-member Periodic Review Board, to essentially clear out the facility. Mujahid is the first prisoner to be considered by the panel, though dozens of Gitmo detainees have already been approved for release to meet the demands of the leftist groups that have long called for the facility to shut down.
Obama’s special Periodic Review Board found that Mujahid’s “continued law of war detention is no longer necessary to protect against a continuing significant threat to the United States,” according to a Pentagon announcement. Therefore Mujahid is “eligible for transfer subject to appropriate security and humane treatment conditions.” No further information was offered on the drastic change in this prisoner’s assessment.
A legal filing in the Military Commission proceeding of a Guantanamo Bay terrorist actually credits Judicial Watch with exposing how the Obama administration released sensitive intelligence information to the filmmakers of Zero Dark Thirty.
The critically acclaimed movie told the dramatic story of the U.S. raid that killed Al Qaeda chief and 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Judicial Watch obtained documents that show the Obama administration gave the Hollywood filmmakers—Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal—unusual access to classified intelligence information, including the names of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operatives involved in the bin Laden raid.
The records, from the CIA and Department of Defense (DOD), include meetings and communications between Bigelow and Boal in preparation for Zero Dark Thirty, which was nominated for multiple Academy Awards. As part of JW’s lawsuit for the records, Obama administration officials disclosed in sworn court documents that the sensitive information released to the filmmakers could cause an “unnecessary security and counterintelligence risk” if released to the public.
Now that information is the focus of a military commission trial involving a key player (Ammar al Baluchi) in the September 2001 terrorist attacks. Baluchi is the nephew of 9/11 architect Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) and the United States has charged him with helping finance the hijackers who murdered thousands of Americans by slamming passenger jets into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
Baluchi’s attorneys—one civilian and one military—claim that Hollywood filmmakers have more information about how the CIA handled their client than they do. In the legal filing made public with redactions the lawyers want the military commission judge to order the government to give them uncensored correspondence between the Zero Dark Thirty filmmakers and U.S. officials.
The south Florida newspaper that wrote about this over the weekend also mentions Judicial Watch’s work, saying that the documents obtained by JW show an “agency and Pentagon eager to participate in the effort — even providing the filmmakers four CIA officers to brief them in the summer of 2011.” The reporter tried to get feedback from Boal, Zero Dark Thirty’s screenwriter, but he had “nothing to comment.”
Judicial Watch has repeatedly traveled to Guantanamo Bay Cuba to monitor the military tribunals of terrorists incarcerated in the military compound. In the last few years JW representatives have been present for the commission proceedings of USS Cole bomber Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, KSM, the 9/11 architect, and his cohorts Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi , among others.
Judicial Watch, Inc. has obtained from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) documents revealing that the Obama administration has spent more than a half million dollars in taxpayer funds on car rentals at Guantanamo Bay Naval Air Station since 2009, including seven instances costing Americans more than $5,000 and 11 of more than $4,000. In releasing the tables summarizing the documents requested pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the agency stated that “the data provided may not be a complete or accurate representation of rental car expenses at Guantanamo as it reflects only those purchases made with the [Government Travel Charge Card] and only in those cases where vouchers were filed in [the Defense Travel System] database.” Additionally, the agency explained that rental car records for members on permanent duty assignment to the base were not available in the one record system to which the agency limited its search.
Judicial Watch launched its investigation into rental car and gasoline expenses at Guantanamo Bay in the course of its observation of the military commissions of individuals accused of terrorism on behalf of al Qaeda, including the attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Most of the 45-square mile base is off limits to nonofficial vehicles due to the detention center and other ongoing military operations at the base. Notwithstanding the limited area of travel, DOD personnel visiting the base rent cars at taxpayer expense, paying a rate of $600 per month or $7,200 per year.
Despite its inability to account for all rental car spending on base, the agency refused Judicial Watch’s request for a fee waiver, provided under FOIA for records obtained in the public interest. DOD reasoned as follows in affirming its decision not to waive fees associated with this request:
“While the documents provided do concern the operations and activities of the government and they are not being used in a commercial interest, it is not apparent how they contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government. After carefully reviewing your request and the responsive documents, I am denying your fee waiver request because I do not see how the information will significantly contribute to the public’s understanding of the operations and activities of government.”
DOD charged Judicial Watch $880 for these records at a rate of $44 per hour. However, DOD further stated that since the agency had failed to alert Judicial Watch of costs exceeding $350 (as requested), it would forego collecting the difference. Nevertheless, DOD warned Judicial Watch that failure to pay within 30 days would result in unspecified interest charges.
While leftist human rights groups and the famously liberal mainstream media rejoice that the Obama Administration is releasing 55 Guantanamo terrorists, none has mentioned that among them is Osama bin Laden’s personal bodyguard.
That’s right; the president is freeing the al-Qaeda operative, Idris Ahmad Abdu Qadir Idris, who once protected the world’s most famous Islamic terrorist. The administration announced the list late last week and most of the media coverage has focused on the overdue release of the most benign captives. One mainstream newspaper mentioned the Chinese Muslims of the Uighur minority who rebelled against the Beijing leadership and never represented a threat to the U.S. or other western countries.
Another news article focused on a Saudi national who was cleared long ago by the Bush Administration but fears repatriation. It also tells the story of several Yemenis and Syrians who haven’t been repatriated because their countries are rocked by unrest and Tunisians who fear persecution if returned to the dictatorship in their homelands.
News report after news report tells the same sob story except for a conservative publication that points out bin Laden’s body guard is among those approved to leave the military prison in southeastern Cuba. Idris Ahmad Abdu Qadir Idris provided security for bin Laden before and after the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and the Pentagon, the story says. Yet, President Obama plans to release him from the high-security detention center. If it’s any consolation, inclusion on the list does not mean that the United States has absolved them of any wrongdoing or that it believes they pose no threat.
Check out a 2008 Department of Defense (DOD) report on the body guard, who is labeled a high-risk detainee. Besides identifying him as bin Laden’s security guy, it reveals that Idris Ahmad Abdu Qadir Idris is an al-Qaeda recruiter associated with a Salafist network in Yemen. Detainee transited through multiple extremist support guesthouses, received militant training at the al-Faruq Training Camp in Afghanistan and is assessed to have received advanced training, the DOD report says.
A number of Guantanamo detainees who have been released over the years have rejoined terrorist missions after leaving the military prison, according to a variety of intelligence and Pentagon reports. A few years ago President Obama’s National Intelligence Director confirmed that one in four resume terrorist activities against the United States after being released. Previous to that the Pentagon reported a sharp rise in the number of detainees who rejoined terrorist missions after leaving Guantanamo.
But clearing out the prison is part of Obama’s goal to return America to the “moral high ground.” Remember that one of his biggest promises during the 2008 presidential campaign was to close Guantanamo. The president has also caved into terrorists in other ways. Last year he released a Hezbollah militant, Ali Mussa Daqduq, in U.S. military custody for murdering five American soldiers in Iraq. Obama turned him over to Iraq out of respect for the country’s sovereignty and last month an Iraqi court absolved him.
In a deplorable move that could seriously compromise national security, the Obama Administration is in the process of negotiating a deal to release up to five Taliban prisoners from the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
As part of “Taliban reconciliation efforts,” the terrorists would be transferred to Qatar, a Middle Eastern Arab state where the militant Islamic group will soon open an office. The Obama Administration is selling the preposterous deal to Congress by saying that the prisoners won’t actually be released but rather transferred to the custody of the Qatari government and they will remain in jail.
While much of the mainstream media has ignored this unbelievable story, a bimonthly global magazine dedicated to covering politics and economics, published a piece this week on how the backdoor deal is going down. It includes details of how top Obama Administration officials briefed eight senior Senate leaders this week about the pending Taliban “transfer” from Gitmo to Qatar.
The classified briefing took place in the basement of the capitol building and none of the eight senators would discuss details, according to the magazine, but a few spoke before entering the secure briefing room. Michigan Senator Carl Levin revealed that the briefing was “about the ongoing Taliban reconciliation efforts.” The Democrat lawmaker questioned whether the Qataris can be trusted to keep the Taliban prisoners behind bars.
Calling the deal “highly questionable,” Arizona Senator John McCain said he’s not confident that the Qataris will keep the Taliban prisoners locked up. The Republican lawmaker also noted that at least one of the prisoners was responsible for the deaths of several Americans. Reports have identified three of them as Mullah Khair Khowa, a former interior minister, Noorullah Noori, a former governor in northern Afghanistan and former army commander Mullah Fazl Akhund.
It’s not clear who the two others will be, though one thing is certain; the Obama Administration’s own Guantanamo review task force has determined that they are too dangerous to transfer. Additionally, U.S. intelligence assessments have concluded that the Taliban prisoners scheduled for transfer are too dangerous to be released.
The Taliban is a radical terrorist group that rules large parts of Afghanistan and enforces Sharia law, the authoritarian doctrine that inspires Islamists and their jihadism. Just last month the Taliban released a horrific video of the executions of 15 Pakistani soldiers that had been abducted weeks earlier. Incredibly, the Obama Administration believes the terrorist group is reformed and last month began engaging in “peace talks” with Taliban leaders.
Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was escorted into a top security courtroom at Guantanamo Bay Naval Station Wednesday morning by an army of military officers. Clean shaven and with short-cropped hair, the al-Qaeda terrorist charged with orchestrating the 2000 attack on the Navy destroyer USS Cole chose to wear his white prison jump suit to the arraignment of his military tribunal. In fact, he told the judge through his Arabic interpreter that he “intended to show up” in his “prison uniform” though he knew of his right to wear civilian clothes.
Al-Nashiri appeared physically fit, cocky and quite relaxed for a man facing death. At times he smiled and often looked back at the media and observer gallery separated from the courtroom by sound-proof glass. Shortly after entering the courtroom al-Nashiri waved at the observer gallery where family of USS Cole victims also sat. At a press conference following the four-hour hearing, al-Nashiri’s defense attorney, Richard Kammen, dismissed it as a “completely meaningless gesture” and a “reaction to being in a different setting.” Al-Nashiri did not enter a plea in the death-penalty case.
Next to al-Nashiri were his four taxpayer-funded defense attorneys—two civilian and two military—led by Kammen, who has impressive credentials as a renowned death-penalty lawyer who has appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court and federal district courts throughout the nation. Kammen estimates it will cost millions to defend al-Nashiri, whose trial has been tentatively scheduled for next November.
About an hour into the hearing Kammen bombarded the judge, Army Colonel James Pohl, with a series of questions not permitted by counsel in civilian courts. Among them was the judge’s personal opinion about the death penalty and if he thought al-Nashiri was guilty. Kammen also asked Judge Pohl if he believed that, by torturing al-Nashiri, the U.S. forfeited its “moral authority to seek the death penalty” against him. The judge responded that he did not think al-Nashiri was guilty and dismissed the other questions as irrelevant to the proceedings.
Judge Pohl went out of his way to assure that al-Nashiri understood all his rights and repeatedly asked if he comprehended what was going on in the hearing. Al-Nashiri responded affirmatively, often slouching in his chair and appearing uninterested. Besides al-Nashiri, eight people sat on the defense side and six on the prosecution. Designed to try high-value detainees, the courtroom seats only the legal teams and jury. Around 15 chairs that accommodate military guards, line the side wall. The viewing gallery seats about 50 and audio is delayed 40 seconds to protect classified information that may arise in proceedings.
Judicial Watch was approved by the Department of Defense (DOD) to observe al-Nashiri’s arraignment along with several legal and civil rights groups, most of which are advocating on his behalf and pushing for the trial to be held in a civil court rather than a military tribunal. Judicial Watch witnessed a deep commitment to justice by military lawyers as well as al-Nashiri’s topnotch capital defense attorney. Even some of the pro al-Nashiri civil rights advocates who witnessed the arraignment admitted it was “well managed” and that they were “impressed” with some of the questions asked by defense attorneys.
The USS Cole was the target of a suicide attack while the warship was moored and being refueled in the Yemeni port of Aden. Seventeen American sailors were killed and dozens were injured. The blast occurred when a skiff laden with explosives detonated against the port-side hull of the USS Cole and tore a 40-by-40-foot hole in the side of the stricken ship. It was the deadliest attack against a U.S. Naval vessel since the Iraqi attack on the USS Stark in May 1987.
Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the attack. In 2002, al-Qaeda operative al-Nashiri was captured in the United Arab Emirates and charged with being the mastermind of the bombing. He has been a prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay facility since September 2006. Previous to that, he was held in a secret CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) location. A DOD intelligence report describes him as one of al-Qaeda’s most skilled, capable and prolific operational coordinators.
After the arraignment the father of a sailor who died in the blast answered what appeared to be a challenge by a reporter about the death penalty in this case. “It’s worth it for 17 of our soldiers,” said John Clodfelter whose 21-year-old son Kenneth died in the USS Cole attack.
Judicial Watch, the public interest organization that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has been approved to monitor the military tribunal of Saudi-born Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, an al-Qaeda terrorist accused of orchestrating the October 12, 2000, attack on the Navy destroyer USS Cole. Al-Nashri is set to be arraigned at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, Cuba on November 9, 2011, with the prosecution planning to seek the death penalty.
Judicial Watch representative Irene Garcia has been approved to observe the proceedings by the U.S. Department of Defense through the Office of Military Commissions. At this time, the proceedings against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri is the only active case scheduled for Guantanamo Bay.
The USS Cole was the target of a suicide attack while the warship was moored and being refueled in the Yemeni port of Aden. Seventeen American sailors were killed and 39 were injured. The blast occurred when a skiff laden with explosives detonated against the port-side hull of the USS Cole and tore a 40-by-40-foot hole in the side of the stricken ship. It was the deadliest attack against a U.S. Naval vessel since the Iraqi attack on the USS Stark in May 1987.
Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist organization claimed responsibility for the attack. In 2002, al-Qaeda operative Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was captured in the United Arab Emirates and charged with being the mastermind of the bombing. He has been a prisoner at the Guantanamo Bay facility since September 2006. Previous to that, he was held in a secret CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) location.
Two days after his inauguration, Barack Obama signed an executive order directing that Guantanamo Bay be closed within a year. While the facility remains open, White House Spokesman Jay Carney told reporters in February 2011: “The president remains committed to closing Guantanamo.”
“It has been a long time in coming, but Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri will now face the justice he deserves before a military tribunal,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “In the effort to bring terrorists into the civilian court system, the Obama administration has irresponsibly disparaged military tribunals and the Guantanamo Bay terrorist-detention facility. We look forward to once again observing the military tribunal process and to providing some balance to the radical groups advocating for the terrorist detainees that will also be observing the proceedings.”
Judicial Watch Civil Litigation Director and attorney Paul Orfanedes visited Guantanamo Bay in 2008 to monitor military commission proceedings against Khalid Sheik Mohammed and other top 9/11 conspirators.