Two former Gitmo residents arrested in Belgium; recruiting terrorists for al-Qaeda
The president is once again planning to close the Guantanamo detention facility, no doubt releasing some of the remaining prisoners and bringing others to the US.
But Belgium police just arrested two former inmates of Gitmo on terrorism charges - one of them held up as a poster boy for a poor, innocent Muslim held on false terrorism charges.
"We have dismantled a serious recruiting network for Syria," the official told CNN.
One of the former Guantanamo Bay detainees was Moussa Zemmouri, 37, a Moroccan national born in Antwerp, Belgian federal prosecutors announced Friday. The other was an Algerian identified as Soufiane A., who prosecutors believe spent time in Syria.
Both have been charged with participating in the activities of a terrorist group and all five have been charged with attempted armed robbery.
Zemmouri was released from Guantanamo in 2005 and authored a book "Innocent at Guantanamo" after returning to Belgium. His case was featured prominently by the UK Muslim prisoner advocacy group CAGE, which has long maintained that he has no links to terrorism.
Next, we will be told he was "radicalized" at Gitmo and wouldn't have harmed a hair on the head of a flea - except for being brutalized while in US custody.
The truth is a little less dramatic:
According to a 2003 detainee assessment file posted by the WikiLeaks website, Zemmouri was transferred to U.S. custody after he was detained by Pakistani police when fleeing Afghanistan after the beginning of the U.S. bombing campaign in autumn 2001.
The document alleged he had trained in the al Qaeda-sponsored Derunta training camp in Khost, Afghanistan. It said "sensitive reporting also indicates that detainee is a high-ranking member of the Theological Commission of the Moroccan Islamic Fighting Group (MIFG)."
According to the Belgian official, Zemmouri was put under observation after his return to Belgium. Belgian security services suspect he provided theological encouragement to several former members of the al Qaeda affiliated MIFG who left to fight jihad in Syria after they completed prison sentences in Belgian jails.
There is much debate about the recidivism rate of Guantanamo prisoners, but whatever it is - 30% or less according to supporters of closing the detention facility - you can add two more to the total.