US transfers two Gitmo detainees to Saudi Arabia

The US Department of Defense announced Dec. 16 that two Guantánamo Bay detainees have been transferred to Saudi Arabia. Saad Muhammad Husayn Qahtani and Hamood Abdulla Hamood had been held since 2002, but neither had been charged with a crime. The two men were recommended for transfer in 2009 after a review by the the interagency Guantanamo Review Task Force. According to a statement:

The United States is grateful to the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its willingness to support ongoing US efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. The United States coordinated with the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to ensure these transfers took place with appropriate security and humane treatment assurances.

The transfer brings the total number of Guantanamo detainees down to 160, and more transfers are anticipated.

From Jurist, Dec. 16. Used with permission.

  1. “Saudi 9-11 coverup”?

    The gung-ho Long War Journal is of course unhappy that Saad Muhammad Husayn Qahtani and Hamood Abdulla Hamood have been turned over to Saudi Arabia (even though accounts do not make clear if they will be free or detained there). It is noted that Joint Task Force-Guantanamo had opposed the Bush administration decision to clear them for release, alleging that Qahtani is an "al-Qaeda member who swore allegiance to Osama Bin Laden" and "participated in hostilities against US and Coalition forces on the front lines and in [bin Laden's] Tora Bora Mountain complex in Afghanistan." Qahtani also allegedly "acknowledged his associations with numerous al Qaeda members, leaders, and other extremists, including at least five 11 September 2001 hijackers."

    The transfer of the pair conveniently comes just as conspiranoids right and left are avidly touting a Dec. 15 New York Post piece, "Inside the Saudi 9/11 coverup," on the redacted pages in the Congressional report on 9-11, dealing with "specific sources of foreign support" for the attackers. Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-MA) say they've read the redacted section, but "can’t reveal the nation identified by it without violating federal law." They've proposed Congress pass a resolution asking President Obama to declassify the entire 2002 report, the "Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001." Adds the Post: "The findings, if confirmed, would back up open-source reporting showing the hijackers had, at a minimum, ties to several Saudi officials and agents while they were preparing for their attacks inside the United States." (As Wikipedia notes, the Congressional report is separate from the "9-11 Commission" report.)

    We fail to see what the Saudis had to gain from hurting their top patron and client. Funny how the conspiranoia about a foreign hand in 9-11 always revolves around either Israel or the Saudis—reflecting the culturally ingrained fear of hidden Semitic puppet-masters. We had to call out Michael Moore for similarly engaging in useless speculation about a Saudi role in the attack—which ultimately constitutes scapegoating Arabs for blowback from the crimes of US imperialism. As we have had all too many opportunities to point out: anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are genetically linked phenomena. 

  2. Moussaoui calls Saudi Princes patrons of al-Qaeda

    From the NY Times, Feb. 3:

    WASHINGTON — In highly unusual testimony inside the federal supermax prison, a former operative for Al Qaeda has described prominent members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family as major donors to the terrorist network in the late 1990s and claimed that he discussed a plan to shoot down Air Force One with a Stinger missile with a staff member at the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

    The Qaeda member, Zacarias Moussaoui, wrote last year to Judge George B. Daniels of United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, who is presiding over a lawsuit filed against Saudi Arabia by relatives of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He said he wanted to testify in the case, and after lengthy negotiations with Justice Department officials and the federal Bureau of Prisons, a team of lawyers was permitted to enter the prison and question him for two days last October.

    In a statement Monday night, the Saudi Embassy said that the national Sept. 11 commission had rejected allegations that the Saudi government or Saudi officials had funded Al Qaeda.

    It is not explained why Zacarias Moussaoui would turn on his Saudi ex-patrons.