Ft. Hood Jihad, Yemen And The Obama Connection

November 24, 2009 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Situated at the far southwestern tip of the Arabian peninsula, Yemen commands a strategic location, abutting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and taking up about 2/3rds of the troubled kingdom's southern [and porous] border.

Under pressure from U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and most recently [and somewhat reluctantly] in Pakistan, al-Qaeda has regrouped to a certain extent, strengthening an already existing base of operations in this largely lawless country.

The group operates with at least the acquiescence of Yemen's ineffectual central government, compounding both Western security considerations as well as representing a significant threat to the Saudi and other Mid Eastern governments.

Jihadi violence, directed against American targets of opportunity is nothing new in Yemen, for example in 2008 a car bomb attack was carried out against the U.S. Embassy in the capital city of Sanaa.State Dept. spokesman at the time Sean McCormack stated that the bombing which killed at least 16 and was accompanied by a 10 minute fusillade of automatic weapon fire, "bears all the hallmarks of an Al Qaeda attack."

The resilience of al-Qaeda can also be seen in the case of Said Ali al-Shihri, a former GITMO detainee, released in 2007 to Saudi Arabia where, despite having been "rehabilitated," nonetheless fled upon release to rejoin his fellow jihadis - in a leadership role in Yemen.

Though the various al-Qaeda factions in this country operate under nominally separate allegiances, recently, as reported by Bill Rogio in the Long War Journal, al-Qaeda in Yemen has linked up with al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, creating a more potent threat.

"Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has opened a new training camp in the South. The new camp highlights Yemen's value to al Qaeda in waging its global terror campaign...The camp was established with the approval of the central government, according to a report in Saru Hamyir, an Arabic-language Yemeni news website. The existence of the camp was confirmed by US military and intelligence officials familiar with the region...'Yemen is Pakistan in the heart of the Arab world," one official said. "You have military and government collusion with al Qaeda, peace agreements, budding terror camps, and the export of jihad to neighboring countries.'" [source, Long War Journal, Al-Qaeda opens new training camp in Yemen, http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/11/al_qaeda_opens_new_t.php]

Al-Qaeda's activities in Saudi Arabia are becoming more brazen with the group having come very close to assassinating the Saudi Interior Minister and anti-terror chief Mohammed bin Nayef in August of this year.

Yemen has come to greater public awareness most recently due to the Ft. Hood terrorist attack carried out by Major Hasan. Numerous news sources have pointed to incriminating statements as well as a series of email communications between him and radical, American born Anwar al-Awlaki, formerly the imam at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, VA.

Awlaki's ties to radical Islam are extensive. In addition to having had contact with some of the 9/11 conspirators and his Virginia mosque serving as the place of worship for Major Hasan, he has been cited in numerous terror cases [including the Ft. Dix plot] as an important inspiration for Islamic terror, not just domestically but on a global basis.

"In nearly a dozen recent terrorism cases in the United States, Britain and Canada, investigators discovered the suspects had something in common: a devotion to the message of Anwar al-Awlaki an eloquent Muslim cleric who has turned the Web into a tool for extremist indoctrination" [source, New York Times, Born in U.S., A Radical Cleric Inspires Terror, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/19/us/19awlaki.html?_r=1]

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, https://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.

"In a letter today to the president, [Congressman Frank] Wolf implored the administration not to send any more detainees back to Yemen, or any other unstable country...If the public had this information, they would never tolerate the release of these men back to unstable countries with a sizeable al Qaeda presence...If the administration does not halt these pending releases immediately, it could be responsible for creating a new revolving door of terrorism that will cost American lives..." [source, https://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=wolf11.12.09%2Ehtm]

Heightening concern, an article appeared in al-Jazeera on November 22, 2009 with the source reporting that as many as 90 of these un-reconstituted possible terrorists might be released - to, of all countries - Yemen.

"Yemen is struggling with the possible release of the largest group of detainees at the US detention centre in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The release of more than 90 Yemenis still being held at the facility may be delayed due to US fears that Yemen does not have the capacity to ensure the men will not rejoin al-Qaeda." [source, al-Jazeera, Yemen Weights Rehabilitation issue, http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2009/11/200911226329834508.html]

There are a multiplicity of conflicts of interest that might be in play here.

First, there is the matter of the Justice Department apparently missing the significance of the Hasan/Yemen connection completely or dismissing it as being of no consequence

Second, the fact that a member of AG Holder's former law firm represented some of the GITMO Yemenis presents ethical questions as to his ability to act impartially in this matter.

Third, we view with suspicion, the stonewalling by DOJ of Congressional efforts to be made aware of what is happening with the nearly 100 Yemenis - potential terrorists - who might be soon released back to the Middle East's burgeoning al-Qaeda stronghold.

We believe that these questions raise grave concerns regarding the desire of the Obama administration to adequately protect American national security. It's no wonder then that this administration is rapidly proving that its incompetence in foreign policy and national security matters is seemingly without bounds and that it apparently has little will to remedy the situation before there are irreparable consequences.

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