The Washington Times is reporting today that Abu Zakariya al-Britani, the suicide bomber who attacked a military base in Iraq this week, was a former Guantanamo Bay detainee freed in 2004 after Britain lobbied for his release.
The article reports:
He was one of 16 men paid a total of 10 million pounds (now worth $12.4 million) in compensation in 2010, when the British government settled a lawsuit alleging its intelligence agencies were complicit in the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, according to the officials.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Al-Harith was a web designer and convert to Islam when he set off on a visit to a religious retreat in Pakistan in October 2001. He says he was warned the country was not safe due to deep anti-British and American sentiment in the days before the U.S. attack on Afghanistan, and decided to return to Europe by land via Iran and Turkey.
The article concludes:
Alex Carlile, Britain’s former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, said that al-Harith’s case was settled to avoid disclosing sensitive documents in a court battle.
“Plainly he was a terrorist and he was a potentially dangerous terrorist,” he told the BBC. “The issue was the legal disclosure rules. If someone brings a civil action for damages they are entitled to disclosure of material, some of which may be national security material.”
The issue will raise questions about how a person clearly on the radar of security officials might have left Britain and traveled to the Middle East without raising signals from the security services.
Arthur Snell, a former head of the Prevent program, which is part of the Britain’s counter terrorism strategy, said the authorities clearly had lost track of him.
“It’s obvious that collectively, the authorities — and obviously I have some personal responsibility there — we failed to be aware of what Fiddler was up to,” the told the BBC.
We cannot afford to continue making this sort of mistake. The prisoners at Guantanamo need to stay there. The likelihood of these prisoners ever living their lives as productive citizens is very slim. Guantanamo is not a horrible place, and they need to spend the rest of their lives there. There are being given diets following the religious guidelines and have access to recreational and educational facilities. I realize that it would be nice for them to be free, but how many innocent lives are you willing to sacrifice for their freedom? Keep in mind that Abu Zakariya al-Britani was a suicide bomber. How brainwashed do you have to be to blow yourself up in the name of Allah? How many more of the prisoners at Guantanamo would be willing to do the same thing if released?