An ISIS suicide bomber in Iraq who detonated a truck bomb at an army base outside Mosul has been identified as a British citizen who was held at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo, Cuba.
Ronald Fiddler, also known as Jamal al-Harith after he converted to Islam in the 1990s, was captured in a Taliban prison in 2002. He was suspected of having links to Osama bin Laden and was transferred to Guantanamo.
Al-Harith claimed he was mistreated at the prison camp and that British agents were complicit. He was transferred back to the U.K. in 2004 and was awarded a million pounds in compensation.
He was announced as a suicide bomber who targeted coalition forces outside Mosul this week when ISIS released a picture of him smiling in a 4×4 that was seen in video footage speeding down a track. ISIS claimed Harith caused multiple casualties, according to the Times of London.
Harith, 50, traveled to Syria to join the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL, in 2014, raising fears that the money given to him had been passed on to ISIS. He was known to fellow militants as Abu-Zakariya al-Britani.
Harith, who was accused of having links to Osama bin Laden, was held in Guantanamo Bay without charge for two years after he was discovered in a Taliban prison in Afghanistan in 2001, the Times of London reported.
Manchester-born Harith’s brother Leon Jameson told the newspaper that his brother “wasted his life.”
“It is him, I can tell by his smile,” he said of the ISIS image. “If it is true then I’ve lost a brother, so another family (member) gone.”
Memo to ISIS: Make sure you send a thank-you note to the British government. A million pounds buys a lot of bombs to kill innocent civilians
Free Beacon reported that Obama is going to reduce the Guantanamo Bay prison population even though the remaining prisoners present a serious danger to the U.S.. He recently released one of the planners of 9/11 to his native country Yemen.
Obama Ignores Trump’s Warning
“I would expect, at this point, additional transfers to be announced,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Tuesday, CNN reported, after Trump warned against further releases of “extremely dangerous” remaining detainees at the Guantanamo Naval Base, Cuba.
Last month, The New York Times reported that the Obama administration intends to transfer 17 or 18 detainees before the president leaves office, leaving 41 or 42 prisoners remaining at the military prison. The last detainee transfer was announced by the Defense Department at the start of December, meaning that 59 prisoners currently remain at Guantanamo Bay.
The people who okay these transfers are toadies of Barack Obama’s. They are review boards he controls.
Obama has accelerated his push to close Guantanamo over the last year, transferring numerous prisoners to foreign countries and delivering a plan to Congress that would involve moving detainees not cleared for release to stateside prisons.
On December 6 President Barack Obama defended his strategy for combating terrorism, a strategy – if one can call it that – based on restraint and withdrawal. Without mentioning Donald Trump’s name, the president went on to contrast his ideas with those enunciated by the president elect. He clearly attempted to make the case for why his successor should adhere to his approach.
That approach includes scaling back U.S. military presence abroad, a ban on torture and the closing of the detention facility in Guantanamo. President Obama referred to his approach as “smart policy” and noted with pride that “no foreign terrorist organization has successfully planned and executed an attack on our homeland, and it’s not because they didn’t try.” He argued, as well, for using diplomacy before military power, pointing to the Iran deal as the way to restrain a nuclear program.
While President Obama is keen on securing his legacy, the claims about “smart policy” are questionable. Alas, the scaling back of U.S. military presence has occurred with the precipitous withdrawal from Iraq, a symbol of misguided policy directives. The rise of ISIS is due in no small part to the departure of the U.S. military from the region. Similarly, the announcement that there will be a dramatic force reduction in Afghanistan on an announced date, led directly to enhanced field operations by the Taliban.
The Obama administration on Monday transferred 15 detainees from the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United Arab Emirates, the largest release under the current president, the Pentagon said.
The transfer comes as the president faces a looming deadline to keep the promise he made on his first day in office to close the military prison. The detainee population there dipped under 100 for the first time in years in January with the release of 10 Yemeni prisoners, and will shrink to 61 with the latest transfer, underscoring a late effort to move toward closure.
“The United States is grateful to the Government of the United Arab Emirates for its humanitarian gesture and willingness to support ongoing U.S. efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility,” the Pentagon said in a statement. “The United States coordinated with the Government of the United Arab Emirates to ensure these transfers took place consistent with appropriate security and humane treatment measures.”
The move was immediately condemned by Ed Royce (R.-Calif.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He accused the Obama administration in a statement of “doubling down on policies that put American lives at risk” and “recklessness.”
WASHINGTON — GOP lawmakers are asking for a freeze on transfers from Guantanamo Bay and more information about past transfers after one detainee released to Uruguay went missing and another was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the State Department.
As Congress blocks President Obama’s efforts to close the prison facility, the White House is trying to quickly deplete Gitmo’s population. The transfer of two detainees to Serbia was announced Monday, bringing the population down to 76. There were 242 terror suspects at Guantanamo when Obama took office.
On Wednesday, the State Department issued the designations of Aslan Avgazarovich Byutukaev, the ISIS leader in Chechnya, and Ayrat Nasimovich Vakhitov, a Tatar fighter from Russia.
“Vakhitov is associated with Jaysh al-Muhajirin Wal Ansar, a group that was designated by the U.S. Department of State as a SDGT under Executive Order 13224. Vakhitov has also used the internet to recruit militants to travel to Syria,” the State Department said.
Vakhitov was released to Russia along with six of his countrymen in 2004. The Russians later released the former detainees. Vakhitov threatened afterward that he would sue the U.S. for torture at Gitmo.