Al Qaeda trails should continue

NY Post:

Army Col. James Pohl, the chief military judge at Guantanamo, threw the Obama administration into a tizzy after refusing to honor the president's request to halt all ongoing trials of terrorist detainees.

Specifically, Pohl refused to delay the scheduled arraignment of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri - the accused mastermind of the 2000 attack on the destroyer USS Cole, which killed 17 sailors. He called the government's request "not reasonable."

Good for him.

Of course, Pohl's decision can - and likely will - be overruled by Susan Crawford, the Pentagon official who oversees the Gitmo trials system. Just recently, she threw out a case against the so-called "20th hijacker" after ruling that he'd been "tortured" at Gitmo.

The White House wants to re-evaluate the whole detention system and possibly move to try the accused terrorists in US criminal courts.

Bad move.

Consider: The last time a Democrat held the White House, the official response to the Cole attack was, essentially, to do nothing.

Less than a year later came the 9/11 attacks.

Now, with a Democrat once again in the Oval Office, the government is looking to shut down the prosecution of the terrorist responsible for the deaths of 17 young Americans.


He spilled his guts when caught at an airport in the United Arab Emirates. Here is what the NY Times said about his arrest in 2002:

A senior leader of Al Qaeda described as its chief of operations in the Persian Gulf has been captured, American officials said today.

The suspect, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was also described by officials as a pivotal planner of the 1998 embassy bombings in East Africa and the October 2000 attack on the American destroyer Cole.

A Saudi in his mid-30's who reportedly worked at Osama bin Laden's side for more than a decade, Mr. Nashiri would be the highest-ranking Qaeda operative taken into custody since the arrest last March of Abu Zubaydah, who is described as the terror network's No. 3 official.

The American officials said that Mr. Nashiri was captured earlier this month at an airport in a foreign country, and that he had been surprisingly cooperative in his initial questioning at an American-run interrogation center elsewhere overseas.

They expressed optimism about Mr. Nashiri's information, saying it might help the United States thwart imminent terrorist attacks -- especially because he seemed to have been in the process of planning several of them when caught. They also said he might provide leads to the whereabouts of even more senior Qaeda leaders.

The officials said Mr. Nashiri was believed to have been responsible for terrorist attacks carried out in the Persian Gulf region as recently as Oct. 6, when a boat loaded with explosives disabled a French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen, killing a crewman.


''This is a serious blow to Al Qaeda,'' said an American official, referring to Mr. Nashiri's capture. ''He was Al Qaeda's top guy in the Persian Gulf. He is an expert in terrorist weapons and explosives. He had a major role in the Cole attack, and he was involved in the training of the principal suspects in the East Africa bombings.''

The official described Mr. Nashiri as a ''ruthless operator who has long-term ties to key Al Qaeda figures, including Osama bin Laden,'' and said Mr. Nashiri ''joined the jihad'' when he traveled to Afghanistan as a teenager in the 1980's.

''Given his lengthy track record in terrorist operations, as well as his experience and contacts and resources,'' the official said, ''he is believed to have been involved in the planning of new attacks aimed at new targets in the gulf -- and possibly elsewhere.''

Another American official said Mr. Nashiri was so dedicated to Al Qaeda's cause that he recruited a cousin to be one of the suicide bombers in the attack on the American Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, in August 1998. That attack and a simultaneous one on the embassy in Tanzania left more than 220 people dead.

Officials would not say whether Mr. Nashiri's arrest was connected in any way to an Oct. 3 incident in Yemen, in which another senior Qaeda leader, Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, was killed in a pinpoint missile strike from a drone aircraft operated by the Central Intelligence Agency. Mr. Harethi, too, was described as an architect of the Cole bombing.


See what I mean about spilling his guts. He may have done so after waterboarding which evidently confirmed his story.

There is another element to this case that is important. Obama has claimed that the lawfare approach of the Clinton administration is the ideal, but they never caught this guy and he went on to attack the Cole and other terrorist targets after some of his helpers were put on trial. It was also at that trial that bin Laden found out we were intercepting his satellite phone conversations and that is how we knew of his involvement. After that he quit using it and we never found about the 9-11 attacks.

There is no good reason not to continue this trial. This is a bad guy who deserves to be treated as a war criminal. CNN reported last summer that the US was seeking the death penalty. This guy is certainly deserving. If would be an injustice for Obama to let him off the hook.



  2. I was surfing about the USS Cole and found your blog. Wow...95 posts in 5 days, over 500 in January, over 6000 each of the last 3 Not too many comments though. Hope you enjoy this one.

    Here's what a Sunday front page Washington Post article (May 4, 2008) had to say about the previous two administrations regarding the Cole bombing investigation:

    "The day after the attack, a planeload of armed FBI agents arrived in Aden."

    "A week after the Cole bombing, President Bill Clinton vowed to hunt down the plotters and promised, 'Justice will prevail.' "

    However, Yemeni officials (and possibly the US Ambassador) were not helpful with the investigation and nothing happened in the remaining 3 months of Clinton's term. Never fear, George W. Bush was on the case:

    " 'During the first part of the Bush administration, no one was willing to take ownership of this,' said Roger W. Cressey, a former counterterrorism official in the Clinton and Bush administrations who helped oversee the White House's response to the Cole attack. 'It didn't happen on their watch. It was the forgotten attack.' "

    "The families [of the 17 servicemen victims] have fought for years to obtain information from the State, Defense and Justice departments about their inquiries into the attack. 'We never really got anyplace,' said Andrew C. Hall, an attorney for the relatives."

    "John P. Clodtfelter Jr. of Mechanicsville, Va., whose son Kenneth died on the Cole, said the families have tried to meet with Bush to press for more action. 'I was just flat told that he wouldn't meet with us,' Clodtfelter said. 'Before him, President Clinton promised we'd go out and get these people, and of course we never did. I'm sorry, but it's just like the lives of American servicemen aren't that important.' "

    Entire article at

    PS Too bad about PJ Media.

  3. NPR interviewed Kirk Lippold, the former commander of the USS Cole, a couple of days ago:

    He stated that Bush never met with a group of USS Cole families and that 9/11 and Cole families had never been included in the same event.


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