- Obama will release at least 22 of the 59 Guantanamo Bay terrorist that will be transferred before January 20; four were moved on Thursday
- Move would mean more than a third of the terrorist leaving U.S. custody before Donald Trump takes office
- Trump has already warned President Obama against moving any of those there saying they are ‘dangerous’
- One terrorist Obama to release threatened to behead a guard but is cleared to go.
- Transfer scheme lets other countries take responsibility for the terrorist but critics say supervision is minimal and some have returned to terror
- Those freed on Thursday were four Yemenis sent to Saudi Arabia
- Obama previously freed terrorist that have returned to the jihad, including at least four members of group which says it carried out Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris
The group being released will be drawn from those held at Guantanamo – who include an accused senior al Qaeda bomb-maker, the terror group’s top financial manager, and two intended 9/11 hijackers, who have all been held in the Cuba-based U.S. detention facility for more than a decade.
According to a military source briefed on the process, as total of 22 terrorist are being prepared for transfer out of the camp, also known as Gitmo, before January 20.
On Thursday afternoon, the Pentagon announced the ‘transfer’ of four terrorist to Saudi Arabia – Yemenis Salem Ahmed Hadi, Mohammed Ghanim, Mohammed Bawazir, and Abdullah al Shabli.
A source said there will be three more sets of transfers before Obama leaves office on January 20.
Although the White House has not specified which inmates will be transferred next – or which foreign countries have agreed to accept them – it has indicated that this will be a priority for Obama in his final days in office.
‘I can’t speak to any individual notifications that have been made to Congress or give you a specific preview about upcoming transfers,’ said White House press secretary Josh Earnest.
‘I think I would expect at this point additional transfers to be announced before January 20th.’
Obama will likely focus on moving jihadist who have been ‘cleared for transfer’ – a group that includes the alleged head of al Qaeda’s bomb-manufacturing operation in eastern Afghanistan, the head of al Qaeda’s Tunisian faction in Afghanistan, and senior weapons trainers.
Those held in Guantanamo in recent years have been dubbed ‘the worst of the worst’ by military and intelligence officials.
This act of treason is vehemently opposed by Republicans and the incoming Trump administration. The president-elect has already warned against any transfers at all, meaning the 22 planned moves will be another source of tension in the transition.
Fifty-nine enemy combatants in total still remain at Guantanamo, including terror ‘mastermind’ Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, two of the ’20th hijackers’ for the 9/11 attacks, and the strategists behind the USS Cole bombing of 2000.
The group includes al Qaeda henchmen from around the world who are trained in lethal military tactics – ranging from sniper assassins and rocket-propelled grenade operators, to explosives and chemical weapons experts.
Supporters of the prison say it is necessary to keep it open due to the national security threat posed by the detainees and the difficulty of compiling a traditional legal case against battlefield terrorists.
President-elect Trump pushed back on Obama’s plan to release additional detainees this week, calling it ‘dangerous.’
‘There should be no further releases from Gitmo,’ wrote Trump on Twitter this week. ‘These are extremely dangerous people and should not be allowed back onto the battlefield.’
Senate Republicans have also expressed their opposition to Obama’s move.
Senator Tom Cotton told DailyMail.com that he will work with Trump to ensure that Guantanamo Bay remains open.
‘Guantanamo is a first-rate, humane facility for the long-term detention and interrogation of hardened terrorists,’ said Cotton. ‘I look forward to working with President Trump to ensuring it remains filled with senior al Qaeda and ISIL [ISIS] terrorists.’
The remaining 59 Guantanamo prisoners include 17 ‘high-value’ detainees, seven of whom are currently facing military charges, according to the New York Times.
Three others have already been convicted of war crimes, and an additional 26 are being detained indefinitely and are not recommended for transfer.
One of Obama’s recommended transfers, Bostan Karim, is accused of running al Qaeda’s improvised explosive devices (IED) operations in Khowst, Afghanistan, which targeted US soldiers.
Some of the recommended transfers have also vowed to return to jihad if they are ever released, according to reports from US military officials. They have also threatened to assassinate the U.S. president, kill American citizens, and attack other world leaders who are allied with the West.
Muieen Abdal Sattar, an accused al Qaeda member who fought in Tora Bora, has been at Guantanamo for 14 years and 11 months. While there he has ‘incited mass disturbances, assaulted and threatened to kill [Gitmo] personnel and made motivational speeches to ‘fight against infidels’ and to kill all Americans to include men, women, children, and babies,’ according to US military officials.
Others soon to be released Obama transfers vowed to ‘martyr’ themselves if released, and even while in Guantanamo, according to official military reports. Accused al Qaeda member Mohammed Bawazir reportedly agreed to be ‘a voluntary suicide operative’ in a suicide attack inside Gitmo, planned with two other detainees.
It is unclear where the detainees will be transferred. Obama has previously transferred ‘recommended’ Gitmo detainees to countries that agree to accept them, sending nine prisoners to Saudi Arabia last spring and another to Italy in July.
Many Obama released detainees have gone back into terrorism. Four of the senior leaders in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) are former Guantanamo Bay detainees that were transferred to Saudi Arabia or Sudan.
Over half of the currently ‘recommended’ detainees are from Yemen, a country where the Department of Defense has tried to avoid transferring Gitmo prisoners due to the recent resurgence in terror activity.
Some Examples of terrorist Obama will let go:
Obama CLEARED TO GO: Mohammed al Ansi. A bin Laden bodyguard from Yemen who also trained to be a suicide plane attacker in south-east Asia in a plot supposed to happen on 9/11. Detained since 2002.
BEING SENT TO SAUDI ARABIA: Mohammed Ghanim. Veteran Yemeni extremist who had fought in Bosnia in the 1990s, been jailed in Saudi Arabia for a plot to smuggle missiles, then guarded bin Laden. He told interrogators he knew about attacks ‘bigger than 9/11’. Detained since 2002.
CLEARED TO GO: Ridah al Yazidi. 51. ‘Emir’ of al Qaeda’s ‘Tunisian faction’ in Afghanistan who fought in combat and whose commitment to jihad went back to the 1990s, when he was a wanted terrorist. Detained since 2002.
CLEARED TO GO: Yasin Ismail. 38. Commanded al Qaeda forces in Bagram, north of Kabul and the notorious caves of Tora Bora, where bin Laden hid in late 2001. Yemeni-born terror group member is said to have threatened and assaulted guards and was assessed as too dangerous to be freed. Detained since
CLEARED TO GO: Haji Wali Mohammed. 50. Al Qaeda’s ‘financial manager’, he was an Afghan refugee in Pakistan who became rich as a currency dealer, then turned to drug trafficking to make more cash. U.S. intelligence says he sent money to fund a string of bin Laden’s plans, including attacks in 1998 on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Detained since 2002.
CLEARED TO GO. Mustafa al Shamyri. 38. Initially said to be member of the Yemeni cell responsible for the USS Cole attack in 2000, which claimed 17 Navy sailors’ lives. ‘Detainee is a veteran jihadist who participated in hostilities in the 1994 Yemeni civil war and in the Bosnian Jihad in the mid-1990s’, official documents say. But in 2015, it was concluded there was mistaken identity – and he was a much more low-level foot soldier. Detained since 2002.
BEING SENT TO SAUDI: Salem Ahmed Hadi. 40. The Yemeni had been a sub-commander in bin Laden’s ’55th Arab Brigade’, his handpicked fighting force, when he was captured in autumn 2001 as the Taliban and al Qaeda lost in Afghanistan. Held in prison in Mazar-i-Sharif he and hundreds of others took part in a rising in late November in which CIA special operative Johnny ‘Mike’ Spann was killed – the first American killed in combat in Afghanistan. Detained since 2002.
CLEARED TO GO: Abdul Latif Nasir. 51. An associate of bin Laden since 1993, the Moroccan was his top explosives expert in Afghanistan and an instructor at al Qaeda’s training camps. He commanded bin Laden’s troops on the front line at Tora Bora as the mastermind of 9/11 fled on horseback to safety. Detained since 2002.
CLEARED TO GO: Muieen Abdal Sattar. 42 or 43. The Dubai-born fanatic – he is of Burmese Rohingya descent, was brought up largely in Saudia Arabia and has Pakistani citizenship – has threatened to cut off a guard’s head and led a series of mass disturbances at Guantanamo. He made speeches telling prisoners to ‘fight against infidels’ and to kill all Americans -men, women, children, and babies. Detained since 2002.
CLEARED TO GO Tawfiq al Bihani. 44. Yemeni who trained in making IEDs and in urban warfare at an al Qaeda camp was captured when he opened fire on Afghan forces at Kandahar airport. Threatened to kill the president and American citizens if he is ever released. Detained since 2003.
CLEARED TO GO: Jabran al Qahtani. Around 40. The Saudi-born electrical engineer helped build IEDs to attack American forces in Afghanistan. Has vowed that he would go back to killing Americans if he is released, threatened to assassinate the Afghan president, and the Saudi King, because ‘they were Americans’. Detained since 2002.
BEING SENT TO SAUDI ARABIA: Mohammed Bawazir.35 or 36. The Yemeni fought with bin Laden’s Arab forces in Afghanistan as well as the Taliban itself. Refused to get on a plane early last year to be transferred to another country because he did not want to go somewhere where had no relatives. Detained since 2002.
CLEARED TO GO: Ravil Mingazov. 49. Least likely of the Guantanamo detainees, he was a ballet dancer as a schoolboy in Russia and a Soviet then Russian non-commissioned officer. He left Russia in 2000, feeling persecuted because he was an ethnic Tatar, a Muslim minority. He fell out with one terror group in Uzbekistan who thought he was a KGB spy, while he thought they were not committed enough to jihad. He moved to Afghanistan, trained in poison and sniper tactics for assassinations – but fell asleep during bin Laden’s lengthy speeches, as he spoke no Arabic. Captured in Faisalbad, Pakistan in 2002 at an al Qaeda safe house. Still wanted in Russia. Detained since 2002.
CLEARED TO GO: Abdul Zahir. 44 or 45. Afghan who was a translator for an Arabic-speaking al Qaeda boss, he and two other men were captured in 2002 after chasing down a car with American passengers and throwing a live grenade in it. Detained since 2002.
CLEARED TO GO: Mohammed Haidel. 37 or 38. Another Yemeni who had advanced weapons training before he was wounded in fighting in Tora Bora as bin Laden fled. Detained since 2002.
CLEARED TO GO: Salman Rabeii. 37. Saudi fought for bin Laden’s Arab forces and was captured by rival Afghans at Tora Bora as the terror chief fled. Has written letters to his family about his ‘own martyrdom.’ Detained since 2002.
CLEARED TO GO: Walid Zaid. 38. Possible al Qaeda money courier before 9/11, he was at a training camp in Afghanistan when they happened. He was wounded at Tora Bora as he manned a fighting position. Detained since 2002.
BEING SENT TO SAUDI ARABIA: Abdullah al Shabli. 39. The former honey salesman went to Afghanistan from Yemen up to two years before 9/11 and may have received advanced training. Captured as al Qaeda forces fled Tora Bora. Detained since 2002.
CLEARED TO GO: Sufyian Barhoumi. 43. Algerian-born Barhoumi was recruited to jihad when he lived in London in the 1990s, by Abu Qatada, a Jordanian cleric who was one of al Qaeda’s most notorious preachers of hate. A senior explosives expert and trainer, he was at Abu Zabaydah’s side when he was captured, at a safe house in Faisalalbad, Pakistan, where they were hatching more terror plots. Detained since 2002.
CLEARED TO GO: Musa’ab al Madhwani. 38. The Yemeni citizen had been trained in using explosives – and when he was captured by Pakistani security forces at an al Qaeda safe house in Karachi he had a laptop with data that could be used to help hijack planes. Detained since 2002.
CLEARED TO GO: Hail Aziz Ahmed al Maythali. 39. Another Yemeni arrested in Karachi in the safe house where they were plotting terror. He may have also guarded bin Laden before 9/11. Detained since 2002.
CLEARED TO GO: Bostan Karim. 46 or 47. He was in charge of al Qaeda’s IED factory in Khost, in Afghanistan, which was designed to target U.S. forces, and received orders from al Libi, bin Laden’s chosen commander. Captured with a satellite phone as he tried to cross into Pakistan. Detained since 2003.