The dozen included six Yemenis, four Afghans and two Somali citizens. Their departure left the prison camp census at 198 on Saturday -- the first time the detention center dropped below 200 captives since February 2002.As I've repeatedly pointed out in the past, the release of detainees is fraught with danger, not the least of which is that many of those released have gone on to rejoin the jihad to fight against the US.
Defense and Justice Department officials Saturday refused to comment on the massive transfer, a portion of which was reported by The Washington Post on Friday as a potential "prelude to the release of dozens more detainees to Yemen'' at a time of gathering Republican resistance to the White House plan to move other detainees to Thomson, Ill.
Reports from Somaliland, a breakaway region in northern Somalia that has its own autonomous government, identified the freed Somalis as Ismael Arale, 45, and Mohamed Suleiman Barre, 44.
Arale and Barre were processed by the Somaliland government and then released to rejoin their families in Hargeisa, the major city in Somaliland and capital of the region, according to a statement on the official Somaliland Web site.
The United States does not recognize the government in Somaliland and there were no official statements on how Arale and Barre arrived there. A local newspaper, the Somaliland Press, said they arrived aboard a jet provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross, suggesting that the United States had released the men to the Red Cross in a third country.
Arale, who's been described as a document forger and Islamic jurist, was captured in Somalia in 2006 was one of the last detainees ever taken to Guantánamo.
The Pentagon said in a June 6, 2007, announcement that Arale ``exemplifies the genuine threat that the United States and other countries face throughout the world from dangerous extremists.''
One detainee went on to become the head of al Qaeda in Yemen. Dozens others have engaged in terrorism and/or attacks on the US or US interests around the world. 30 of those released have gone on to be killed or recaptured in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
The political decision to close Guantanamo Bay does nothing to improve the US security situation, and undermines US national security particularly if these detainees return to their life as terrorists and resume their connections with jihadi groups like al Qaeda