Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Did Holder's Law Firm Represent Christmas Bomber Mastermind?

Don't mind us, just trying to connect some dots.
At least one leader of al-Qa'ida's branch in Yemen, where the failed bomber of a US-bound Christmas flight was allegedly trained, was freed from the US prison in Guantanamo, Cuba, a Pentagon list reveals.
The list, released in May, names 27 former prisoners who resumed terrorist activities after being released from Guantanamo, including Said Ali al-Shihri, who was transferred to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and later implicated in the bombing of the US embassy in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, last year.

ABC television named Muhammad Attik al-Harbi, a former al-Qa'ida leader in Yemen, as another unrepentant former Guantanamo prisoner.
Hmm. That name seems familiar.
The emergence of a former Guantánamo Bay detainee as the deputy leader of Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch has underscored the potential complications in carrying out the executive order President Obama signed Thursday that the detention center be shut down within a year.

The militant, Said Ali al-Shihri, is suspected of involvement in a deadly bombing of the United States Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana, in September. He was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007 and passed through a Saudi rehabilitation program for former jihadists before resurfacing with Al Qaeda in Yemen.
Considering he's a Saudi, that rehab program must have been hell.

Though it's not as if al-Shirhi's been keeping a low profile. In fact just this year he announced his intentions.
In the Internet statement, Al Qaeda in Yemen identified its new deputy leader as Abu Sayyaf al-Shihri, saying he returned from Guantánamo to his native Saudi Arabia and then traveled to Yemen “more than 10 months ago.” That corresponds roughly to the return of Mr. Shihri, a Saudi who was released from Guantánamo in November 2007. Abu Sayyaf is a nom de guerre, commonly used by jihadists in place of their real name or first name.

A Saudi security official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Shihri had disappeared from his home in Saudi Arabia last year after finishing the rehabilitation program.

A Yemeni journalist who interviewed Al Qaeda’s leaders in Yemen last year, Abdulela Shaya, confirmed Thursday that the deputy leader was indeed Mr. Shihri, the former Guantánamo detainee. Mr. Shaya, in a phone interview, said Mr. Shihri had described to him his journey from Cuba to Yemen and supplied his Guantánamo detention number, 372. That is the correct number, Pentagon documents show.

“It seems certain from all the sources we have that this is the same individual who was released from Guantánamo in 2007,” said Gregory Johnsen, a terrorism analyst and the editor of a forthcoming book, “Islam and Insurgency in Yemen.”

Mr. Shihri, 35, trained in urban warfare tactics at a camp north of Kabul, Afghanistan, according to documents released by the Pentagon as part of his Guantánamo dossier. Two weeks after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he traveled to Afghanistan via Bahrain and Pakistan, and he later told American investigators that his intention was to do relief work, the documents say. He was wounded in an airstrike and spent a month and a half recovering in a hospital in Pakistan.

The documents state that Mr. Shihri met with a group of “extremists” in Iran and helped them get into Afghanistan. They also say he was accused of trying to arrange the assassination of a writer, in accordance with a fatwa, or religious order, issued by an extremist cleric.
Yet our "leaders" now want to prosecute the acts of the Christmas jihadi as some sort of criminal act.

Which leads us to our Attorney General, Eric Holder, noticeably absent from the news the past few days. Since Holder plans on prosecuting Khalid Sheikh Mohammed like a common criminal, it figures the Christmas jihadi will also be treated will all due rights.

So where is Holder? Doesn't seem like he's much in the news.

Maybe this is why.
There is an additional and intriguing angle involving Yemen, creating a confluence between, that country, Ft. Hood and the Obama administration, in that U.S. AG Holder's former law firm, Covington & Burling, represented a number of Yemeni detainees who are/were being held in GITMO.

It was meddling by committed lefty attorneys which made military prosecution of the GITMO detainees so difficult. Relentless pressure applied by these advocates is what ultimately led to the Hamden decision [Hamden vs. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557, 2006] in which the military tribunal system established by the Bush administration - relying upon long historical precedent - was overturned on a 5-3 Supreme Court decision, which for the first time in American history applied principles codified in the Geneva Accords to terrorists to which Geneva was long understood not to apply.

As we noted in a February piece [Former Partner Of Eric Holder's Law Firm Represents Cole Bomber And 14 Other GITMO Detainees, http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=holder1id=2.9.09%2Ehtm] the involvement in this process by Holder's old law firm was substantial.

"On Thursday Army Col. James L. Pohl the military judge presiding over the trial of Abd al Rahim al Nashiri [suspected of masterminding the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in the port city of Aden, Yemen as well as being heavily implicated in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya - Mohammad Ali al-Makki a cousin of al Nashiri's was a suicide bomber in that attack] refused to go along with the Obama administration's request to postpone the prosecution for 120 days, saying that such a move would not serve justice and was as a result, "not reasonable."

Al Nashiri [born in Saudi Arabia] is part of a group of 15 Yemeni GITMO detainees who are represented by David Remes a member - until he was either booted or saw the handwriting on the wall and "resigned" on July 18, 2008 - of Attorney General Eric Holder's law firm, Covington & Burling,

"Remes, who represents 15 Yemeni detainees, announced his resignation on July 18, saying that he plans to devote himself exclusively to human rights litigation...My departure is the inevitable outcome of my human rights work at the firm in the past four years, which became a consuming passion," Remes said in a statement." [source, http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2008/07/16/to-protest-gitmo-punishment-covington-parnter-drops-trou-in-yemen/]

The status of many of the GITMO Yemenis is unknown at this point, despite continued demands by Congressman Frank Wolf and others for the administration to state who among them might have been released, whether there has been a threat assessment made regarding them, and if they have been released, where, when and under what conditions.
I think it's fair Eric Holder and his former law partners release all relevant documents pertaining to their representation of former Guantanamo detainees. All in the interest of transparency, of course.

By the way, has anyone in the media inquired as to to wherabouts of the Eric Holder the past few days? Doesn't seem like anyone is interested.

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