Released Guantanamo Detainees Planned Fizzled Plane Explosion

ABC News says that two of the four leaders said to have planned the al Qaeda attempt to blow up a jet plane over Detroit with a suicide bomber were former Gitmo detainees, released into a “rehabilitation program” run by the Saudis.

Will this news, if true, cause the Obama administration to revisit its approach to Gitmo detainees?

I’m thinking it might. These guys weren’t released on Obama’s watch, so even if the plot had succeeded, Obama’s administration could not be credibly blamed for the disaster… but surely if some future detainee released by the present administration goes on to plan or commit a successful attack of some kind, there will be a chorus of blame-the-White-House.

It is certainly worth looking into, but let’s remember that because someone was in Guantanamo and released isn’t evidence that the person deserved to be incarcerated in the first place. I would say that if 100 people are thrown into a gulag for no good reason (whether it is run by the Soviets, Chinese, Americans, or the Swiss) and kept for years, at least a few of them will take up arms against their captors.

Furthermore, not that I’m drawing personal comparisons to Al Qaeda, or the justness of either one’s cause, Nelson Mandela was kept for decades at Robbin Island, which became known to the ANC as the University. That’s because petty criminals were indoctrinated into the ANC political agenda, so when released, they would take up the cause. Would it surprise me at all if Guantanamo is Al Qaeda’s University? Not a bit.

Surely that consideration is already on the table.

It occurs to me that it’s an unavoidable consequence of arresting and detaining anyone for any cause. It’s a consequence of failing to imprison every suspect for anything for life: if you let them go while they are still alive, they might come back to haunt you.

There is no perfect way to treat naughty–and potentially naughty–people. The best you can do is the best you can do.

Ever since the spectacularly successful hoopla around Willie Horton, this seems to be a concern that focuses on the released individual. But whattya gonna do: lock up every suspect for life?

I’m sure the would be bomber was sent also to Guantanamo…


Well, so much for being against the approach of moving them here, what about the issue of freeing the ones that we found that we had no good evidence to keep in Guantanamo or other jails? Unless we decide to assume that “Minority Report” was a documentary and not a movie we will have to accept that pre-crime is not a good reason to keep people in prison forever.

I don’t have a cite, but this is not the first bunch of terrorists released from Gitmo who were recidivist terrorists. I remember reading about this in Time magazine (of all places).

Capture a terrorist on the battlefield, let him go, and he continues to be a terrorist. Imagine that.

These people are not citizens, not criminal defendants, and not traditional POWs. This has been pointed out for years. Maybe now this will sink into Obama’s head. I have no hopes that it will ever do so for the SDMB.


Right. It is clear that we have no choice but to keep the remaining detaineees locked up for life, not because they might necessarily have been guilty of terrorist activities in the past, but because they might in the future, and most importantly, because that might eventually result in political embarrassment for for some administration or another.

The term “Kafkaesque” comes to mind.

Will this ever sink in some of the SDMB heads? :slight_smile:

Wonderful Stalinist type analysis you have there mate. Worthy of the kind of “preventive” thinking that sent millions off to the Gulags. Impervious to factual analysis even.

Bravo. I think the next great step is stripping your own citizens of citizenship and sending them off to the gulag, you just can’t be sure after all. Nothing could possibly be wrong with that. All for Mother America and the Great Freedom Party.

The bulk of the replies above seem to center on whether it’s wise or just to let this incident inform future policy.

Now, I realize that many people may believe that naturally, an Obama administration decision could not be other than wise and just, but it’s worth noting that I didn’t invoke either of those criteria in my question. I asked what would actually happen.

Well, of course you did! Who could ever gaze into those limpid, brown innocent eyes and detect any hint of political snark?

Do we know why the planners mentioned in the OP were released?

I expect not. Trying those two Gitmo inmates in US courts, rather than releasing them to the Saudi’s might well have resulted in convictions. We’ll never know, but the fact that Bush’s apparently ad hoc approach failed here has little bearing on the application of a systematic approach to dealing with the Guantanamo detainees.

He’s not going to change his mind about shutting down the prison camp. It’s possible some policies could be changed relating to who gets repatriated and who is put on trial or held in detention, but I don’t know what the guidelines are (or if they have even been established) at the moment.

It’s not that surprising that this would happen. While they have to try to prevent it, I’m not sure how that can be done. Oh, right- there’s the option of not having these kinds of camps in the first place.

Do you have a real cite for this? FAIR is not exactly the most impartial cite in the world, and denial is not refutation.


You need not worry about preventing anything, just take a new prisoner, extract information right away, put on a ship where a quick 5 minute tribunal would decide if he shot at our American forces. If he did, death for murder, carried out right on the ship with the body overboard. Problem solved, there should never have been a place like Gitmo.

Where are all the prisoners we take TODAY anyway, I never hear anything about that? Are we just letting everyone go walk away or what? Why do we never hear how many we capture and kill for Pete sake, we are at war.

Never mind.

The issue is as simple as it’s always been: is it just to lock up a hundred people because one of them might be guilty of a crime?

of course, to be recidivist, you actually had to be an offender prior to incarceration, but don’t worry, we won’t let logic get in the way of your politicking.

Wrongfully accuse someone, incarcerate him for a half a decade without any communication with the outside world, let him go, and he will expeditiously attempt retribution in whatever way is available to him. Imagine that.

yes, they aren’t “normal” in the sense of some community college criminal justice textbook definition of what a bad person is. This hasn’t been a point of debate, ever. Maybe it will sink into someone’s head that the best way to simultaneously prevent non-offenders who have been erroneously incarcerated from becoming aggressors, punishing actual offenders with life incarceration, and preserving our moral clarity in this situation, is by channeling them through the systems we already have?


Why don’t we do this to common domestic criminals, while we’re at it, since this sounds like an absolutely perfect solution with absolutely no drawbacks. You should win the Nobel Prize for Fightin’ Crime in a Future Time for this.

As a general rule of thumb, I wait until I actually say something before I attempt to back it up. For instance, if I say “a terrorist” and some unfortunate person changes it to “all”, more often than not I merely laugh at the transparent stupidity of such a post and move on.

No, the next great step would be to laugh derisively at the various attempts to distort the incident of the OP into something it is not.