Armies of Liberation

Jane Novak's blog about Yemen

State dept runs interference for Saleh in USS Cole case

Filed under: USS Cole, Yemen, gitmo — by Jane Novak at 4:35 pm on Thursday, February 16, 2012

The military tribunal at Gitmo ruled today that Saleh cannot be compelled to testify as a witness in the al Nashiri case. I am shocked that Obama’s friend and vital US partner in the WOT wouldn’t voluntarily want to aid the US judicial system. Apparently Saleh was the one who supplied much of the information directly to the US about al Nashiri, as well as giving him sanctuary after the attack. But it begs the question: when did Saleh learn of the plot. It must have been “after” because the US wouldn’t have spent the last decade supporting a dictator while knowing he was complicit in a terror attack against the US military.

Boston Herald: MIAMI — Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is in the United States with full diplomatic immunity, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s legal adviser has written the Pentagon, and should not be compelled to provide sworn testimony for the Guantanamo war court. (Read on …)

Yemen gov’t aided Gimto detainee al Nashiri before the USS Cole attack, sheltered him after

Filed under: Aden, USA, USS Cole, Yemen, al nashiri, gitmo — by Jane Novak at 9:16 pm on Friday, November 4, 2011

2014 update: this is the correct link for the 2011 CRS report http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/159782.pdf

And other oddities:

The latest news on Gitmo detainee Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, in US custody since 2002, is that the Military Commission can not confirmthat he will be released if found not guilty. Its not in the Military Commission’s jurisdiction to make those kind of pledges. Considering Nashiri was water boarded, its questionable if any of his statements will be allowed at trial, but prosecutors are confident that there is enough other evidence for a conviction.

Al Nashiri is charged with aiding the al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in Aden port in 2000. The bombing killed 17 US service members and severely wounded dozens more. Al Nashiri selected the targets, the timing and coordinated the operatives. However, unexplored for a decade is the level of complicity by top Yemeni government officials and the failure of US intelligence to get a warning to the ship.

Prior to the attack on the USS Cole, Yemen’s then Interior Minister Hussain Arab issued al Nashiri a travel pass that enabled him to pass Yemen’s many internal checkpoints without search or question in the months preceding the terror attack. Al Nashiri also had a weapons permit issued by the Interior Ministry. These official documents were presented in Yemeni court during the 2005 trials of other conspirators.

In an interesting coincidence, Yemeni President Saleh ordered several top officials, including Interior Minister Arab, to travel from the capital Sana’a to Aden the night before the USS Cole was bombed there.

Saleh denied that Yemen was notified of the impending arrival of the warship. According to Centcom commander, General Zinni, in Congressional testimony, US naval officials followed the standard procedures for refueling including a two week advance notification to the host port.

It was also around two weeks prior to the attack that the military data mining group Able Danger and separately DOD analyst Kie Fallis picked up intel streams about an impending attack. Both made several attempts to obtain authorization to issue official warnings to no avail.

Kie Fallis quit the day of the Cole bombing. Able Danger’s Anthony Shaffer’s information never made it into the 9/11 report, although he tried. DOD later revoked Shaffer’s health insurance and forced him out over a “stolen” pen that he reported taking as a souvenir as a teen.

The NSA had the “Yemen hub” (a phone line in Yemen used by al Qaeda operatives for calls to and from bin Laden and others) under heavy surveillance for over a year prior to the Cole bombing, and for about a year after. There was a satellite trained on the house in Sanaa 24/7. Oddly, the NSA never learned of or reported on the USS Cole plot.

The CIA withheld information from the FBI about an al Qaeda summit, a high level meeting in Malaysia in January 2000, at which both the Cole and 9/11 were discussed. (See former federal investigator Ali Soufan’s excellent book, The Black Banners for more.)

Yemeni officials failed to cooperate with Soufan and other FBI agents in Yemen investigating the bombing. Some like the head of Yemen’s Political Security Organization in Aden, Hussain al Ansi, engaged in active misdirection and stonewalling.

Ten terrorists awaiting trial for the Cole attack escaped Yemeni prison in 2002 and after surrendering, their trials resulted in sentences of five to ten years. Most of escaped prison again in 2006. By 2008, all those convicted in the attack had their sentences commuted and were free. Al Nashiri, in US custody, was sentenced to death in Yemen in absencia in 2005.

The Jurist reports the Yemeni government sheltered (and lied for) al Nashiri after the bombing. The Congressional Research Service details the Cole bombers’ releases and notes that, according to the Washington Post, Al Nashiri had spent several months before his capture under “high-level protection” by the Yemeni government.

After the USS Cole attack, Interior Minister Arab was transferred, appointed by Yemeni President Saleh to the Shura Council. Arab resigned and joined the Pro-Revolutionary Military Council in March 2011.

Previous: (2007) The USS Cole Bombing in Yemen: What We Know Today

Related: Defense argues US was not at war in 2000, thus the Military Commission does not have jurisdiction.

Terrorist mercenary Fahd al Quso strongly denies relationship with Saleh regime

Filed under: Abyan, Islamic Imirate, Presidency, USS Cole, fahd — by Jane Novak at 4:02 am on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

There was a deal from the time of the Cole bombing that is relatively unbroken until today. Fahd had to deny that he is Saleh’s stooge because the public perception is that they are nothing but guns for hire.

Memri: Indicted USS Cole Bomber Fahd Al-Quso Strongly Denies Association with Yemeni Regime

The September 19, 2011 issue of the London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi featured an interview with Fahed Al-Quso, a senior operative of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), wanted by the US for involvement in the bombing of the USS Cole. Al-Quso discusses the situation in Yemen, as well as the ongoing clashes in the south of the country between government forces and a previously unknown jihad group called “Ansar Al-Shari’a,” supposedly linked to Al-Qaeda.

“C.I.A. Is Disputed on Civilian Toll in Drone Strikes”

Filed under: Air strike, Counter-terror, US jihaddis, USA, USS Cole, Yemen's Lies — by Jane Novak at 10:48 am on Friday, August 12, 2011

God help us, Obama taught them all to lie. At best, he condones and encourages it. Apparently US foreign policy is determined only through the prism of Al Qaeda, CT ops and drones. The entire mid-term “war of ideas” kind of strategy to protect US interests is not present anywhere. And moral considerations are tertiary. Its no wonder Obama has not spoken the word “Yemen” since he called Saleh “a friend” and never once addressed the millions of Yemeni protesters; thirty murderous religious fanatics outweigh all other US concerns. The GCC plan and the earlier US re-branding of Saleh as a good partner in the WOT are efforts to retain as much of the existing US created CT structure as possible. Its a policy doomed to fail and fail big in both countries. Here’s a good article about the Yemeni Air Force bombing the tribes fighting al Qaeda and other developments in Abyan.

Here Brennan lies about civilian casualties in Pakistan but also in Yemen: TN: C.I.A. Is Disputed on Civilian Toll in Drone Strikes, “Fortunately, for more than a year, due to our discretion and precision, the U.S. government has not found credible evidence of collateral deaths resulting from U.S. counterterrorism operations outside of Afghanistan or Iraq, and we will continue to do our best to keep it that way,” Mr. Brennan said.

Its the same type of bold mis-characterization as when General Patraeus, now the head of the CIA, said with a straight face there were no civilians casualties in the ‘09 airstrike in Abyan, because the women and children were related to the terrorists or had sold them vegetables, making them guilty of providing material support. The fact that the poor dead villagers had appealed to local authorities for help in expelling al Qaeda weeks before has no impact on their “lawful enemy” status.

Now certainly these fanatics should be thoroughly condemned for bringing their children to training camps and sheltering among civilians. But no six year old is a terrorist.

And this repugnant spin is similar to US Department of Defense statements that the US found no irrefutable evidence that the US trained counter-terror forces have committed any atrocities in Yemen. Its the other members of the Republican Guard and other divisions that receive US funds I guess who shot all the protesters.

Ammar Saleh, head of the National Security, just bought a three million dollar palace in Sanaa–with cash. I guess he found the money on the street or in a taxi. Your tax dollars at work, worse yet, beyond the scope of congressional oversight.

As an aside and to save the link, some lefty site is carrying Richard Clark’s uncorroborated accusation that the top level of the CIA withheld info on al Midhar and al Hamzi’s presence in the US from the rest of the gov’t. The CIA insists it was only a few low level analysts who knew they were here. The article fails to address the issue of the Yemen Hub, a phone line monitored by the NSA for the CIA since 1996, ie-prior to and after both the 1998 embassy attacks and the USS Cole bombing. The USS Cole bombers called the hub several times in planning the attack; Midhar and Hamzi called the monitored number several times from the US as well. The number was under such heavy surveillance that there was a satellite dedicated to recording visitors to the house.

HCG: As outlined in the Yemen Hub category, the number was under heavy surveillance by the US. It was al-Qaeda’s operations centre and had been integral in the embassy bombings, when it received calls from both the bombers in Africa and bin Laden in Afghanistan. Intercepts of the calls enabled the FBI to map al-Qaeda’s global network (except the 9/11 hijackers in the US, whose location the NSA failed to communicate). According to a US investigator, the hub number was used by the bombers to “put everything together” before the Cole bombing.

There are two simple questions: If the NSA was listening in on the bombers putting everything together before the Cole attack, why was it not prevented? Second, why was the hub not shut down after the Cole attack? The policy of allowing the hub to operate to map al-Qaeda was proved to be a failure by the Cole bombing, as no amount of intelligence was worth the lives of the dead sailors, so the people who ran the hub should have been arrested, as were some of the other Cole bombers in Yemen, like Fahad al-Quso.

Fahd al Quso, who was ultimately given a ten year sentence, was released by Saleh’s govt in May 2007, after three years. The release was met by weak protestations from the USG and outrage by the sailors’ families. By 2010 al Quso, had released an AQAP vid threatening the US, and was placed on the Freds MWT list. Several drone strikes have targeted al Quso since 2009.

Meanwhile the US holds Yemen’s democratic process hostage by insisting on the GCC plan, rejected by Salah, the GPC, the JMP and the demonstrators, in order to implement cosmetic changes to a deeply dysfunctional system:

Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said democratic processes in Yemen shouldn’t be “held hostage” while the president weighs his options.

“Our view is that Yemen needs to move in a democratic direction along the lines of the GCC report,” she said. “How that happens is up to the Yemeni people but it’s got to happen.” Officials in Saleh’s ruling General People’s Congress maintain he is the legitimate leader until the country has presidential elections. ( UPI)

Massive protests on the streets today. Check News of the Yemen Revolution to get the Youtube URLs: https://www.facebook.com/EngYemenNews and Yemen Rights Monitor for all the recent updates, military conflicts and political statements: http://yemenrightsmonitor.blogspot.com/. The day is themed, “Victorious God Willing” Friday and nation-wide protests reject Saleh and GCC plan, and call for the quick announcement of a national council. The protests condemn crimes in Taiz, Arhab, and Abyan.

These vids are from yesterday: (Read on …)

Nashiri’s defense motion opposing the death penalty should include Yemen’s govt’s culpability in the USS Cole attack

Filed under: Presidency, USS Cole, Yemen, al nashiri — by Jane Novak at 3:09 pm on Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Miami Herald reports on Nashiri’s legal teams’ motion to take the death penalty off the table. Beyond challenging the legality of the death penalty on the basis of torture, delay and jurisdiction, the lawyers should assert the Nuremberg defense: Nashiri was just following government orders.

The (pdf) motion makes the point that Nashiri’s lawyers are unable to travel to Yemen to investigate exculpatory evidence and mitigating circumstances.

There is a strong circumstantial case that the Saleh regime, or top elements of it, had foreknowledge of the attack and furthermore, facilitated the murder of 17 US service members.

Saleh’s Interior Minister Hussain Arab issued the travel documents that afforded Nashiri free passage prior to and after the attack, as well as weapons permits. (Arab was later appointed to the Shura Council and remained a Major General in the army until he resigned a few months ago.) Saleh sent several top Yemeni officials to Port Aden the evening prior to the terror attack. The Saleh regime obstructed the US investigation. Nashiri was sheltered in Yemen immediately after the bombing with the knowledge of government officials. All those tried and convicted in Yemen for the terror attack were released years early, including al Quso and al Badawi, per a deal with Saleh. There are also witnesses in Yemen who say Nashiri is “wearing a shirt to big,” and culprits (in the government) were never charged.

Its not news. Why Bush (and DOD) gave Saleh a pass on the USS Cole attack, and why Obama called him “a friend” a few months ago, is beyond me. Saleh is no friend to the US. For more on the miscarriage of justice, for the victims not their murderers, see my friend Gary Swenchonis Sr.

US’s new CT strategy

Filed under: Counter-terror, US jihaddis, USA, USS Cole, Yemen, gitmo — by Jane Novak at 5:36 pm on Friday, July 1, 2011

WH

confronting both challenges, we will look chiefly to our partners in the region—Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, and others—to take the lead, with U.S. support and assistance. Our CT efforts in the Arabian Peninsula are part of our overall strategy for the region that includes other objectives such as promoting responsive governance and respect for the rights of citizens, which will reduce al-Qa‘ida’s resonance and relevancy. (Read on …)

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