Gitmo Trials and Unending Wars: PC Myths Prevail

In a recent article in the Gloucester Times, that covered a trip to the U.S. Military Detention Facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by Essex County District Attorney Jon Blodgett, he discussed the place and the current trial procedures against accused war criminals there. This is my reaction to the story.

Don’t fall into the trap of saying “We are now in a series of unending wars.” That ends the conversation.

The “war” is the point after all, the Global War on Terror, the “thing” over which all the PC talking heads cringe. They won’t say it, you won’t say it, and until we all say it and then talk about, it won’t go away.

Generals NEVER discuss a battle or war without also discussing an end state. Be it cyclical or linear, an objective is the goal. So here’s one for you: Until all Islamists are dead or no longer have the means or will to kill us we must defend ourselves. From that you can build courses of action, choose one and then close on the objective.

The problem is politics and PC rangers. Unless one’s political and military goals are the same, one CANNOT be successful in war. And, like anything else in life, if you can’t be honest about the problem you cannot possibly hope to solve it.

Winning the Global War on Terror will be measured in part by the lack of seeming random acts of terror. If the world does not come together to defend itself against the radical Islamists, perhaps like many countries did against Barbary Pirates several hundred years ago, then the war will seem endless due to it’s prolonged persistence over generations.

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One question I have is, why are so few Arab countries actively involved in the battle against ISIS, the Taliban and radical Islam? So it will take a group effort. And those closest to it must be reminded, “You are either with us or with the terrorists.”

Regarding the Gitmo trials you neglect to discuss the major difference between what’s going on there and what occurred at Nuremberg or even Washington, D.C. in 1942, when 6 of 8 dry-foot German saboteurs were executed for nothing more than breaking the Law of Land Warfare and the Geneva Conventions. Gitmo holds murderers and terrorists. The German saboteurs hurt no one and destroyed no property, yet, less than eight weeks after their capture six of them were dead. How in God’s name did that happen?

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We followed the law. Military Commissions were established – with the unanimous consent of the Supreme Court. Habeas corpus was denied. The trial took place according to the Geneva Conventions and Law of Land Warfare, giving the accused the SAME rights a U.S. soldier would enjoy in a courts martial.

Now, instead of going by the established law, we go by former President Obama’s 2009 Military Commissions Act, which gives unlawful combatants accused of war crimes virtually the SAME rights you or I would enjoy in a federal court of law. See the difference?

Lawfare is one of the techniques Islamists are taught in training if they are captured. We know this from training documents obtained from them, such as the “Al Qaeda Manual.“. They are trained to lie about their treatment in captivity, lie about their past, lie about who they are, where they are from and what they were doing when apprehended.

They are trained to demand better conditions and to demand a lawyer. And they are trained to disrupt detention operations and to threaten, befriend and wage psychological warfare on guards and others who are responsible for their fair treatment and care.

Now, sadly, we have the legal debacle on stage at the Gitmo trials.

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It’s too bad we don’t have the fortitude or courage to simply do what’s right and follow the Law of War or Geneva. It worked at Nuremberg and it worked in D.C. with the German saboteurs, and it would work at Gitmo.

Maybe President Trump will get wind of this and then erase the 2009 Military Commissions Act, simply follow the Law of War and Geneva, and then move these trials along. Maybe.

Montgomery Granger is a retired, three-times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major, and author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior.” He has made many appearances on Fox News programs discussing Gitmo and detainees.

Gitmo Detainees to the U.S.? The New American Islamist Mecca

The friends, family and nefarious colleagues of Gitmo detainees would surely follow them were they to be transferred to the United States. Through immigration, migration, or as refugees; as students, asylum seekers or vacationers, they would come.

This photo made during an escorted visit and reviewed by the US military, shows the razor wire-topped fence and a watch tower at the abandoned

This photo made during an escorted visit and reviewed by the US military, shows the razor wire-topped fence and a watch tower at the abandoned “Camp X-Ray” detention facility at the US Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, April 9, 2014. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

They would come to support and lobby for the release of unlawful combatant detainees. They would wage protests, peaceful and otherwise, and they would wage legal challenges to detainee incarceration. They would demand visitation rights and call for release time and parole.

Wherever detainees would be held would become the new hajj destination, an American Islamist Mecca.

They would probably launch violent attempts to free their brothers, just like they did on April 2, 2004, at the Battle for Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. This attempt saw several platoon sized elements of insurgents attempt to breach the wall at Abu Ghraib, where hundreds of in-country detainees were being held during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Blocking positions of improvised explosive devices were placed on avenues of approach to the prison, and two M1-A2 Abrams tanks patrolling near-by were diverted, so we could not quickly reinforce the prison garrison. At least 78 incoming projectiles (rockets and mortars) were tracked into the prison by Marine counter battery radar, yet there were no U.S. deaths in the battle, but over 70 enemy dead.

The garrison of U.S. Marines, some of the finest human beings on planet earth, went out of the prison in armored vehicles twice to kill every single attacker. Two Army AH-60 Apache helicopters finally arrived, but just after the Devil Dogs inside had completed the mission. I witnessed the attack via radio, from the 18th Military Police Brigade Tactical Operations Center at Lost Lake, Camp Victory, Baghdad, Iraq, one night after leaving duty at the prison on April 1, and later viewed insurgent and U.S. video of the attack.

If you bring unlawful combatant Islamists to this country, we will need to be prepared for the same type of attack.

The idea of bringing Gitmo detainees to the U.S. reminds me of three simple but illustrious stories. First, imagine an Islamist version of “If you give a mouse a cookie.”

This story addresses the fact of human nature that altruism does not result in gratefulness; it results in a sense of expectation and entitlement. And in this case, allowing unfettered and flawed immigration, migration and refugees, would result in the aid and comfort of our sworn enemy.

They will always ask for more, and the liberal politically correct media, human rights groups and radicalized Muslims will constantly demand extra-legal privileges, habeas corpus, and other rights that detainees are not entitled to according to the Geneva Conventions and Law of Land Warfare.

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The second story, “The Camel’s Nose,” is similar, and is the example followed by the Left regarding mission creep, or the incremental deterioration of will. They will, like the sheikh portrayed in the story, give in to the braying of those who would destroy us by claiming they are “cold” and need to come in from the chill of the night. Once you allow the camel’s nose into the tent, the rest of his stinky body will surely follow. The enemy is coming, and they are coming in droves. By claiming refugee status they are playing on our generosity and benevolence. We should not even let their nose into the tent!

Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, said in early 2002 that he knew the detainees were not entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions, but that we would treat them “within the spirit of Geneva.” This American generosity and benevolence afforded basic rights to detainees at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, even though they were not entitled to them.

All Gitmo detainees are at least unlawful combatants, and by international law and the Law of Land Warfare are not entitled to the protections of Geneva. Geneva was written to PROTECT innocent civilians in time of war, NOT to protect those who PRETEND to be civilians in order to murder them. Violators of the Conventions may be shot on sight or prosecuted for war crimes.

Over 660 detainees have been RELEASED from Gitmo, and NONE have been executed, beheaded, hacked to death, blown up, dragged naked and lifeless through the streets or burned alive. All things our enemies have done to us and/or our allies.

At least 30 percent of released Gitmo detainees have returned to the fight as recidivists in the Global War on Terror. My question is, what about the other 70 percent we don’t know about. Where are they? Mixed in with the 200,000 “Syrian” refugees headed our way?

The third story, “The Scorpion and the Frog,” illustrates what our fate would be should we bring Gitmo detainees to the United States with their minions to follow.

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the

scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The

frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion

says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,

the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of

paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,

but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”

Replies the scorpion: “It’s my nature….”

Scorpion and the Frog

It is in the Islamist’s nature to kill you.

They are demonstrating, as they have done since the 7th century, A.D. that all infidels must perish, and if they die in the effort, so be it, they are going to paradise.

Until all Islamists are dead or no longer have the means or will to kill us, we must defend ourselves, and Gitmo is a small price to pay for our safety and security.

But it won’t do us any good if we let free all those who are sworn to murder us. Bringing these enemies to our shores will surely create a new wave of Islamist activity, but this time – directly in our midst.

Don’t give a mouse a cookie, keep your tent closed tightly at night, and never give a ride across the river to a scorpion.

Convicted Terrorists: Your Next-Door Neighbors?

Son-in-law to Osama bin Laden, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, recently convicted of providing and conspiring to provide material support to terrorism and conspiring to kill Americans, in a federal criminal courtroom in New York City, was “the most senior Bin Laden confederate to be tried in a civilian court in the United States since September 11.”

The liberal left were unabashedly gleeful at the conviction, not because justice had been done, but that the trial took place on U.S. soil rather than by Military Commission at the U.S. military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Location, location, location. This mantra is not lost on liberal Islamist apologists who act as though anyone ever held at Gitmo or accused of terrorism should be freed and compensated. This is similar to the 16 British nationals, including Moazzam Begg, who were awarded nearly 1 million pounds sterling each rather then be put on trial, which the British government said would have been “extremely expensive” and may have compromised “national security,” to hell with principle and true justice.

In this undated image made from video and provided by by Al-Jazeera, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, is shown. Osama bin Laden's son-in-law and spokesman still maintains that there was justification for the September 11, 2001 attacks orchestrated by al-Qaida upon the United States. (AP Photo/Al-Jazeera)

With the conviction of Abu Ghaith, we see repetitive behavior from the Obama administration with relation to giving aid and comfort to the enemy – this time in the form of a federal criminal court which could give him a light sentence and see him free to re-join his released and never caught brothers in years to come.

According to Human Rights First, the U.S. federal criminal courts have “convicted nearly 500 individuals on terrorism-related charges” since Sept. 11, 2001, yet there are only “over 300 individuals” in federal prisons on terrorism-related convictions.

My question is, where are the other nearly 200 terrorist convicts?

Were they deported? Did they go home? Did they go back to a life of jihad? Are they in your neighborhood?

We know some of the released Gitmo detainees have returned to the battlefield, such as Abu Sufian Bin Qumu, who planned and participated in the Benghazi attack which resulted in the murders of four U.S. personnel, including Ambassador to Lybia, Christopher Stevens. But the statistics on Gitmo recidivism, now at 29 percent according to the Director of National Intelligence, belie a troubling trend; releasing the enemy does not increase our safety.

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But because “there is no defined entity responsible for convicted and released terrorists,” no one knows how many of these released federally convicted terrorists have gone back to the fight, have turned over a new leaf, or are living in your neighborhood waiting for the next call from Allah to strike.

This is the epitome of left liberal Islamist apologist Pagan humanist utilitarian sentiment towards the enemy in the Global War on Terror.

Logic says that the number of terrorists caught represents only a tiny percentage of all terrorists. Imagine then if you will that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the living of the two brothers who set off the bombs in last year’s Boston Marathon massacre, had not been caught. Let’s say he was still out there on the loose, plotting his next attack.

How “safe” would you feel if you were a Boston resident knowing this accomplished terrorist was free? How safe would you feel living ANYWHERE if Tsarnaev were free?

How do you feel about nearly 200 federally convicted terrorists that are now on the loose, legally? How about the 170-plus recidivists from the over 600 released Guantanamo Bay detainees?

In this photo of a sketch by courtroom artist Janet Hamlin and reviewed by the U.S. Department of Defense, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, right, speaks with lawyer and U.S. Marine Corps Major Derek Poteet, a member of his legal team, while wearing a camouflage vest during the third day of the Military Commissions pretrial hearing against the five Guantanamo prisoners accused of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba, Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has told authorities he was the mastermind of the Sept. 11 hijacking plot, wore the woodland-style camouflage vest for the first time Wednesday, a clothing choice previously denied because of fears it might disrupt the court. Co-accused Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali is seen in the background, second from left. Photo Credit: Janet Hamlin/AP

Say what you want about Gitmo, or our federal prisons, but none of the Gitmo detainees or federal terrorism convicts have been executed, beheaded, hacked-to-death, blown up or dragged naked and lifeless through the streets, like those of us they have caught or targeted with planes, bombs, explosive belts, vests or long knives and meat cleavers.

The fate of the likes of Daniel Pearl, Wall Street Journal reporter beheaded by Khalid Sheik Mohammad while being filmed on video, is an example of the barbarity of the Islamists who want us all dead, and are the opposite of remorseful. In fact, they consider beheading or hacking to death of “infidels” to be a religious prerogative and duty, such as revealed in the statements made by the assailants of murdered British soldier, Lee Rigbyadmitting they were “Soldier[s] of Allah,” and that Rigby’s murder was “an eye for an eye.”

So-called human rights organizations, leftist Islamist apologists, and others who believe the U.S. must be a “beacon” for human rights don’t like to talk about the Daniel Pearl’s, the Lee Rigby’s or other victims of terror. They only want to discuss how “proud” they are that “justice” was done in the U.S. criminal courts.

They don’t care about how many convicted terrorists have been released, or about how many Gitmo detainees have been released and then have returned to the battlefield, because that would ruin their fantasies about righteous humanism, which is more devoid of moral foundation than had the September 11 terrorists.

We are not dealing with jaywalkers here, or even bank robbers. We are dealing with hard, cold, calculating murderers who have declared war on western civilization, making themselves unlawful combatants.

It’s not that the Taliban and al Qaeda can’t afford uniforms of their own, it’s that they CHOOSE to not let you see them coming. The Geneva Conventions were written to protect innocent civilians and property in time of war, not to protect those who PRETEND to be civilians in order to MURDER them. They are attacking overtly and covertly in an effort to TERRORIZE “non-believers” into accepting Sharia Law, and those who oppose them are better off dead. Simply, they are terrorists and should be tried in military commissions, not federal criminal courts.

How comforting is it to hundreds of the enemy that they are released to fight again, and to perhaps run off to a place like where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was found, in your own backyard?

I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Twitter: @mjgranger1

Releasing The Enemy Won’t Help Win Our Struggle Against Islamists

There has been criticism of the military medical staff at the U.S. military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, over the ordered release earlier this month of Ibrahim Idris, a native of Sudan who has been held as an unlawful combatant at Gitmo for over 11 years.

Idris was captured with al Qaeda fighters in 2001. Shortly after arriving at Guantanamo in 2002, he was diagnosed by a U.S. Army psychiatrist as being schizophrenic. Islamist apologists are seizing on this gesture of humanitarian compassion and practical military efficiency by saying Idris should have been medically released soon after his diagnosis.

What the al Qaeda fighter’s apologists and sympathizers don’t realize is that two entities must recommend release of a detainee who may be suffering from a medical condition which may render him less of a threat to repeat his aggression against the United States, one is the medical command (not just at Gitmo, but at the highest levels of the U.S. Army Medical Department (AMEDD)), and the other is the intelligence command.

Back in 2002, when I was serving at Guantanamo Bay as the ranking AMEDD officer with the Joint Detainee Operations Group (JDOG), Joint Task Force (JTF) 160, I was selected to participate in the very first repatriation of a Gitmo detainee, an Uzbek Afghani national named Abdul Razeq.

We nicknamed Razeq “Wild Bill,” due to his bizarre behavior in Camp X-Ray, where he would take bites out of his flip-flops, hang objects from his genitals, and generally cause frequent verbal disruptions. Eventually, the military medical staff diagnosed Razeq as schizophrenic, but, by his own admission to me, during a long break in his release journey to the Leeward airport at Guantanamo, Razeq offered another source for his symptoms.

Razeq admitted to being a heroin addict who had picked up an AK-47 in the fall of 2001 for the Taliban in order to sustain his habit. Some of the bizarre behavior, as it turned out, was due to his violent withdrawal from his heroin addiction.

But this behavior and diagnosis alone were not sufficient to get him a trip back to Afghanistan. He had to be declared not only a low risk of returning to the enemy, but also had to be determined not to be of any further intelligence value. Lastly, even if these two criteria are established, the country from which the detainee originated, or his national country of origin, must be able and willing to take him back.

The Sudan, in Idris’ case, was not a stable enough place in the past for him to be returned to, and still may not be. The Geneva Conventions stipulate that even lawful combatant Prisoners of War (POWs) may be held without charge, “until the end of hostilities.” During WWII the U.S. held over 400,000 German and Italian lawful combatant POWs without one call for extra legal privileges for them, or for medical releases back to their countries of origin. Even now, with a combined 28.9% recidivism rate (reported by the Director of National Intelligence, September 2013 http://www.lawfareblog.com/2013/09/september-2013-guantanamo-recidivism-report-from-dni/) of confirmed and suspected recidivists amongst released Gitmo detainees, it may not be wise to release any of the Gitmo detainees who aren’t facing war crimes charges in the Military Commissions there.

How much more blood on his hands will it take before the domestic threat of Islamist terror hits home for Barack Hussein Obama (Boston, Ft. Hood, 13 defeated terror plots on Manhattan alone)? How many more recidivists (Abu Sufian bin Qumu, alleged mastermind of the Benghazi jihadi attack, and former Gitmo detainee) will it take before he realizes we are in a war with Islamists who want us all dead and not in a game of “Capture the Flag?”

Idris may be harmless now, and I appreciate why he was released, but why take that chance while the Global War on Terror (GWOT) still rages? This fantasy that Islamist terrorists should be treated like common criminals and then arbitrarily released is literally killing us, and feeding the flames of Arab uprisings and civil wars (Egypt, Syria, et. al.).

Giving up the high ground in the GWOT by abandoning Iraq, in the face of overwhelming success of keeping the peace by keeping troops in the countries we liberated and defeated in WWII, was perhaps the President’s most myopic and deadly foreign policy blunder to date, which has grown from ripples of internal Middle East strife, into a tsunami of destabilization in the region today.

Today, we have troops in over 70 countries in our struggle with Islamists who want to kill us, including Germany, Japan and Italy, countries we defeated in WWII and who are now world economic leaders, peaceful, and prosperous because we stayed, economically and militarily. Leaving Afghanistan would seal the fate of that region to the Iranians, Taliban and al Qaeda, just like throwing Iraq to those wolves has done.

When will we learn from our past in a way that teaches every new generation that the only way to truly defeat an enemy is to take away the means and will for them to fight? Sun Tzu, author of “The Art of War,” said, “100 victories in 100 battles is not the most skillful, subduing the enemy’s military without battle is the most skillful.” We cannot hope to influence the enemy “without battle” if we are not willing to remain close enough to him to do so. And we certainly can’t hope to do that by releasing more than 600 from our military detention facility, only to meet them again on the battlefield and on our streets. “Until the end of hostilities,” is soon enough for me.

Detainees Earned No Extra Legal Privileges

Over 400,000 lawful Prisoners of War were held in the United States during World War II without one call for extra legal privileges for them.  Habeas corpus was suspended then for dry foot German saboteurs, who were captured, tried by military commission, and then most executed, all within four weeks time.  Why is it then, when all Americans have been targets for Islamist extremists since the death of Marine CPL Stephen Crowley in Islamabad, Pakistan, back on November 21, 1979, when he was murdered by one when the U.S. embassy there was stormed by bussed-in radicals (later to be funded by Osamma bin Laden) on false news reports the U.S. had seized the mosque at Mecca, in Saudi Arabia, and after Iranian “students” had seized the U.S. embassy in Teheran, Iran weeks before, on news that the Shah of Iran had been allowed into the United States for treatment of an illness, and fast forward to today, when we have troops in 75 countries (including those we defeated in WWII), CIA in over 90 countries, and Diplomatic Security Service in over 200 countries, that we pay so much attention to a comparative handful of UNLAWFUL COMBATANT Islamist extremists who want to kill us?  These detainees BROKE Geneva Convention rules, and our own Law of Land Warfare (US Army Field Manual 27-10 Warfare http://ac-support.europe.umuc.edu/~nstanton/FM27-10.htm ) during war time, and BY LAW have earned NO EXTRA LEGAL PRIVILEGES.  Also BY LAW, they can be held “until the end of hostilities.”  Where is the sanity in even discussing what should become of them?  They have ZERO rights, according to LAW.  But, because they are held by the benevolent, kind, generous, and moral United States of America, they are treated within the spirit of Geneva, and in accordance with DoD policy (by which they have due process rights – see Military Commissions Act  http://www.defense.gov/news/commissionsacts.html ), and in accordance with U.S. Army Regulations governing the care and treatment of detainees. All Gitmo detainees are lucky to be alive, let alone realistically hoping to receive extra legal privileges.  The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have told me on two separate occasions, once in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and once in Iraq, that “nobody does [detention operations] better than the U.S.”  The detainees are at Gitmo so long as they either pose a risk or are suspected of having valuable information that may aid us in our effort to win the Global War on Terror (Struggle Against Islamist Extremists).