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In a story unlikely to receive attention from the mainstream media in the United States, a former Guantanamo Bay captive has been arrested in Spain for operating what authorities there say is a sophisticated jihadist recruitment network.

Spanish media is reporting that the one-time Gitmo prisoner is a 46-year-old Moroccan named Lahcen Ikassrien, who heads an Islamic cell that recruits fighters for the Syrian and Iraqi-based terror group known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Ikassrien and seven others were arrested in Madrid recently as part of a dozen raids on terrorism cells in the Spanish capital, Madrid.

The ISIL has received global attention recently for its terrorist activities in Iraq, where the extremist group seized the country’s second-largest city of Mosul. A number of international press reports have revealed that ISIL militants have massacred and captured Iraqi soldiers during the raid. Ikassrien, who spent four years at the U.S. Military prison in southeastern Cuba, recruited and sent jihadists to Iraq via Turkey, according to Spanish authorities cited in the news story.

After leaving Gitmo Ikassrien embarked on a sob tour for the leftist human rights group Amnesty International, mostly offering lectures throughout Spain recounting how he was mistreated by the evil Americans from the time he was arrested in Afghanistan until he was released from Gitmo years later. Here are some tidbits from one of the Spanish-language lectures delivered by Ikassrien; the prisoners at Guantanamo are all “suffering” he says, confirming that “everyone knows that Americans are the biggest assassins and torturers.” He goes into detail about how he was chained and tortured by U.S. forces, that he and his comrades were stripped and left without food and water for lengthy periods at Gitmo.

In the video Ikassrien seems like a regular guy, with short-cropped hair, a neatly trimmed beard and a stylish sweater with a matching scarf. The audience clearly sympathizes with him as he delivers the lecture almost matter-of-factly, in a soft tone sprinkled with smiles. Ikassrien proceeds to trash the United States and mentions, almost enthusiastically, that there could be positive changes under President Obama. How proud the commander-in-chief must be to have this type of endorsement.

The timing of this terrorist’s arrest couldn’t be worse for Obama because he’s in the process of emptying out Gitmo to fulfill a campaign promise of closing the prison. The world’s most dangerous terrorists—including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and USS Cole bomber Bad al-Rahim al-Nassir—remain at the maximum security compound. At its peak the facility had 770 captives and now the number is down to 154 as the president works to empty it out.

Many former Gitmo captives return to terrorist causes after getting released, according to government, press and independent think-tank reports. Judicial Watch, which has traveled to Gitmo multiple times to monitor the terrorists’ Military Commission proceedings, has reported this for years. The Pentagon and various intelligence agencies have also documented that many Gitmo captives rejoin terrorist missions after leaving the military compound.

In a report to Congress a few years ago, the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) revealed that of 598 detainees released up to that point, 150 were confirmed or suspected of “reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities after transfer.” In fact, a one-time Gitmo captive became an Al Qaeda chief who masterminded a U.S. Embassy bombing after getting released, according to a mainstream newspaper. His name is Said Ali al-Shihri and after leaving Gitmo he became an Al Qaeda deputy chief in Yemen and he organized a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen’s capital. The former captive was also involved in car bombings outside the American Embassy that killed 16 people. That was about five years ago and the recidivism among former Gitmo captives is still in full force today.

Just a few weeks ago a mainstream newspaper published an alarming story about three hardened Moroccan militants released from Gitmo to the Moroccan government under the assumption that they wouldn’t commit terrorist acts. Instead they wound up leading one of the most violent Islamist groups fighting in Syria’s civil war. Pointing out that this is hardly an isolated case, the article cites recent DNI figures that confirm 29% of 614 detainees released from Gitmo have returned to violence.






The Obama administration has allowed a fighter in Osama bin Laden’s 55th Arab Brigade to publish a sob letter in an international media outlet describing the “humiliating and brutal treatments” he suffers at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay Cuba.

Earlier in the year the administration let the mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), dispatch propaganda from his Guantanamo jail cell, undoubtedly aiding and abetting more terrorism. That was disgraceful enough; allowing the Al Qaeda operative, an enemy combatant who’s admitted being the architect of the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil, to issue a manifesto from his military prison cell. Besides boasting of waging jihad against the U.S., KSM’s Pentagon file confirms he’s a senior Al Qaeda recruiter, financier and operational planner for the group’s global terrorist network.

This month another Islamic jihadist, Moath al-Alwi, was allowed to publish his propaganda from a Gitmo prison cell. Al-Alwi is a Yemeni national who served as Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard, according to his Pentagon file. He is a top Al Qaeda operative and a “veteran jihadist and fighter in UBL’s 55th Arab Brigade who participated in hostilities against the U.S. and Coalition forced on the front lines and in UBL’s Tora Bora mountain complex,” the Department of Defense (DOD) assessment says. The file also includes details of al-Alwi’s elite, hand-to-hand combat training and lengthy stays at Al Qaeda guest houses in various locations, including Kandahar.

Not surprisingly, these extensive terrorist credentials and training aren’t mentioned in al-Alwi’s lengthy letter, which was published internationally by the Arab news conglomerate Al Jazeera. The headline reads: “A letter from Guantanamo: Nobody can truly understand how we suffer.” The piece only describes Al-Alwi as a Yemeni national who has been in U.S. custody since 2002. It also says that he was “one of the very first prisoners moved to Guantanamo, where the U.S. military assigned him the Internment Serial Number 028.”       

Whip out the tissue box for the letter’s introduction, which reveals that Al-Alwi and his fellow terrorists are “trapped behind the walls of Guantanamo.” Al-Alwi says he wrote the letter “between bouts of violent vomiting” and sharp stomach pains caused by a morning force-feeding session. He describes being force fed and trashes the colonel in charge of the military detention facility for confiscating prisoners’ legal papers and Qurans and for instituting “humiliating groin searches.” Al-Alwi also whines about having a special mattress and pillows to alleviate back pain, an electric razor and a bar of soap confiscated over his hunger strike.

He claims guards at the military compound make fun of him and laugh loudly and that sometimes they lay him on his stomach and press forcefully on his back. “Aside from those imprisoned with me, nobody can truly understand how we suffer,” Al-Alwi writes. “The Colonel will not allow media into Guantanamo Bay, claiming he is protecting our privacy. No man here wants privacy from the media. The Colonel fears that if the media comes in and meets with the prisoners, all of this daily brutality will be exposed. Hopefully this letter serves that end.”

The Al Qaeda operative stresses to the world that he is an unarmed captive and asks the American people where is the freedom the U.S. touts?  “Do you condone what your government is doing to us? I know that governments do not always represent the voices of their people, and I pray that the American people do not want this, and more, that they will do something to stop it.” This isn’t mentioned in the letter, but it’s safe to bet the American people didn’t want Islamic jihadists to brutally murder thousands of innocent fellow citizens in 2001.

President Obama is on a roll freeing of Guantanamo inmates to meet his deranged goal of closing the U.S. military prison in southeastern Cuba, but this week the mission got slammed with damaging evidence that confirms it’s a really bad and dangerous idea.

From the time the first Islamic jihadists were brought to Gitmo more than a decade ago, the intelligence community and the Department of Defense (DOD) confirmed the compound would house the world’s most dangerous terrorists. The masterminds of 9/11—Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al Hawsawi—are incarcerated there and so is USS Cole bomber Bad al-Rahim al-Nassir as well as a number of top Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives.

In fact, this week international and domestic media outlets reported that the Taliban has been negotiating with the U.S. to exchange an Army soldier (Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl), captured by the terrorist group in Afghanistan in 2009, for five senior Taliban prisoners at Gitmo. This helps illustrate the type of inmate being held at the facility, which is down to 155 prisoners from a high of 779 when the compound opened in 2002.

On the heels of that distressing “mediation” with extremists, authorities in England confirmed this week that a former Gitmo captive named Moazzam Begg was arrested on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offenses. Begg attended a terrorism training camp and facilitated terrorism overseas, according to authorities cited in a British newspaper. The U.S. held Begg at the Bagram detention center in Afghanistan after arresting him in Pakistan. He was eventually transferred to Gitmo, where he remained for three years before getting released.

This is one of numerous cases in which Gitmo prisoners rejoin terrorist causes after being released. A number of intelligence and Pentagon reports have documented this over the years and just a few months ago we saw yet another example. A former Gitmo captive died fighting the Bashar Assad regime in Syria as a member of an Islamic opposition group. His name was Mohammed al Alami and during his four years at Gitmo he admitted training with Al Qaeda and participating in an Afghan paramilitary camp where Osama bin Laden visited “to encourage and reinforce the trainee’s commitment to the cause of jihad.”

Another one-time Gitmo prisoner, Said Ali al-Shihri, became an Al Qaeda leader in Yemen who masterminded a U.S. Embassy bombing after being released. Dozens of others have also returned to “the fight” after leaving the military compound, according to the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, which gathers foreign military intelligence. A few years ago President Obama’s National Intelligence Director confirmed that one in four Gitmo inmates resume terrorist activities against the United States after being released. At the time 150 were confirmed or suspected of “reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities after transfer,” the intel agency revealed to Congress.

Nevertheless President Obama is determined to close Gitmo because it’s the only way to return America to the “moral high ground.” Closing the facility will “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great even in the midst of war, even in dealing with terrorism,” according to the commander-in-chief.

Judicial Watch is the only right-of-center organization to regularly monitor Gitmo Military Commission proceedings and has sent representatives to the U.S. Naval base in Cuba more than a dozen times since 2008. In the last few years JW representatives have been present for the commission proceedings of USS Cole bomber al-Nashiri, KSM, the 9/11 architect, and his cohorts, among others. On each occasion JW has witnessed a deep commitment to justice by military lawyers as well as the civilian attorneys provided to the terrorist suspects at American taxpayer expense.

Authorities at the U.S. military prison that houses the world’s most dangerous terrorists—including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammedhave allowed inmates to operate a “Business School Behind Bars” with an accused Al Qaeda financier as the self-appointed “dean of students.”

Among the brilliant plans this group of Guantanamo Bay terrorists has come up with is a utopian, self-sufficient milk and honey farm in their native Yemen. A south Florida newspaper reported the story this week and published a copy of the business proposal. The lengthy document is hand-written in English and includes professional-looking drawings. It lays out plans for a community with 200 families, 100 farmhouses, farm animals and computers. The proposal covers financial details and everything from milking a cow to wind gas production and a communication network that features internet and telephone service.

The Yemeni community will also have a “self-sufficiency institute,” a school, hospital, bank, park, police station, post office, vocational training school and, of course, a mosque. An incredible amount of detail is featured in the plan, including a breakdown of annual funding and regional population figures. Clearly, the five detainees—all determined by the Obama administration to be too dangerous to release—that designed the plan had access to many research tools, likely on the internet.

Is it any wonder why the U.S. is becoming a global laughingstock? We allow Islamic terrorists jailed at the most secure military prison in the world to create a makeshift business school that designs self-sufficient utopian communities in the Middle East! Then, the Pentagon releases the plan to the media in what appears to be an absurd effort to demonstrate that Gitmo prisoners have a plan after leaving the compound. It’s downright preposterous.

Just a few weeks ago the Obama administration let 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) dispatch propaganda from his Guantanamo jail cell, undoubtedly aiding and abetting more terrorism. The Obama administration helped the Al Qaeda operative, an enemy combatant who’s proudly admitted being the architect of the 2001 attacks, promote his manifesto even though he recently boasted of waging jihad against the U.S. and other non-Muslim nations.

KSM’s official Pentagon file confirms it, saying that he’s the “mastermind of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the hijacking of United Airlines flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania.” The Department of Defense (DOD) file also says that KSM is a senior Al Qaeda recruiter, financier and operational planner for the group’s global terrorist network. Remember Attorney General Eric Holder’s insane plan to try KSM in Manhattan rather than the military commissions at Gitmo?

A few years ago the Obama administration gave Gitmo inmates laptops and computer lessons in order to reintroduce them into modern society when the president fulfills his promise of closing the compound in southeastern Cuba. The Pentagon set up a sophisticated computer lab for detainees, who also get phones and fast-food takeout, and has provided them with training in basic user skills and language. This will prepare them to jump right into the labor pool when Obama releases them from Gitmo.








On October 24, 2012, Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the Department of Defense seeking records related to sanitary conditions at Camp Justice in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Specifically, JW’s request asked for the following records:

1)      All communications (including emails, memoranda, or any other form of correspondence) respecting health safety or sanitation at Camp Justice;

2)      All reports, assessments, evaluations, lab results, or any other documentation of health safety or sanitation planning or testing at Camp Justice;

3)      All contracts, invoices, expense vouchers, or any other documentation of financial transactions in relation to or in support of health safety or sanitation at Camp Justice;

4)      All commendations, comments, or complaints – medical or otherwise, from any source – respecting health safety or sanitation at Camp Justice; and,

5)      All Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), policy statements, guidelines, directives, initiatives, or other standards or protocols regarding health safety or sanitation at Camp Justice.

On June 20, 2013, US Southern Command produced 30 pages of documents in response to JW’s request. The 30 pages consist of inspection reports within the given timeframe and the standard operating procedures for inspecting facilities on the camp. Several issues stand out within the inspection reports:

  • During one rodent inspection on September 25, 2012, the inspectors discovered a decaying rat in a trap in the ceiling of one room. The report indicated the rat was “well decayed” and suggests that no one is maintaining the pest control efforts. The report suggests that the pest management contract be “reviewed to ensure it is being enforced.” (This report is attached under the name “Gitmo Rodent Inspection Report”)
  • During three separate inspections in November and December 2012 inspectors reported consistent issues with the sanitary conditions of a walk-in refrigerator. Additionally, the same problem of a missing thermometer was reported each time and not remedied. (These reports are attached under the name “Gitmo Freezer Inspection Reports”)
  • Two inspection reports from May and June 2012 indicate that chlorine levels in the water in the female showers was below the acceptable range. The report states that inspectors will continue to monitor the chlorine levels, but there are no further reports of low chlorine levels (These inspection reports are attached under the name “Gitmo Water Test Report”). These showers—designated for visitors to the camp, including media and NGO members—are housed in an outdoor tent, making sanitary conditions even more critical. (A more detailed description of the visitor tents from the US Navy is attached under the name “Visitor Tent Description”)

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.

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