[Congressional Record: March 17, 2009 (Senate)]
[Page S3124-S3126]                      

                             GUANTANAMO BAY

  Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, a lot has been written over the past 
several days about the inmates at Guantanamo, and none of it makes the 
administration's decision to shut this facility down by the end of the 
year any less challenging than it already was. This is an issue which 
has grave implications for our Nation's security, and we really need to 
get it right. So this morning, I wish to spend a few minutes explaining 
why the administration would do well to reconsider its approach to 
Guantanamo, an approach that looks even hastier now than when it was 
first announced back in January.
  One of the most obvious problems the administration faces on this 
issue is what to do with these inmates once Guantanamo is closed. This 
is not a new concern. Ever since the United States started using 
Guantanamo as a detention facility after the invasion of Afghanistan, 
Government officials and legal thinkers have tried to come up with ways 
of dealing with enemy combatants who don't fall into the traditional 
categories of war. No one denies that the United States is legally 
entitled to capture and to hold enemy fighters to prevent them from 
returning to battle, but their release and repatriation have proved to 
be extremely complicated. As the years have passed, these questions 
have become even more complicated--not less--than they were back in 
  Just this week, a number of European countries that had previously 
offered to help the administration find a new home for about 60 of the 
remaining 241 inmates at Guantanamo began to backpedal. Some of these 
countries now indicate they won't take any of these inmates unless the 
United States agrees to take some of them as well and agrees to put 
them in American prisons. This is clearly a dodge since the American 
people appear to be even less interested in housing these inmates than 
the Europeans are. Well, if there is no place for these terrorists to 
go in Europe and no place for them to go in the United States, an 
obvious question arises: Where else can they go? At the moment, there 
is no answer to that most important question.

  When the question of sending detainees to U.S. soil was put to the 
Senate in the summer of 2007, the vote against it was 94 to 3. We had 
that vote right here in the Senate in the summer of 2007, and by a vote 
of 94 to 3 Members of the Senate said they did not want these 
Guantanamo prisoners on U.S. soil. This is not only a good reflection 
of where public opinion is on the issue, it is also notable that four 
of the votes cast were Senators from Kansas and Colorado, States that 
are most often mentioned as possibilities to house the inmates. One of 
these Senators, Ken Salazar, is now in the Obama administration, and 
former Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, who also opposes sending 
inmates to Kansas, is the administration's pick to head the Department 
of Health and Human Services. So the bottom line here is that it is 
hard to find anyone anywhere, even inside the Obama administration, who 
wants their State to become the next home to captured violent 
  Now, there is a reason no one wants to have these guys nearby. Over 
the years, the pool of prisoners at Guantanamo has become only more 
dangerous, not less, and those who remain include dozens of proud and 
self-proclaimed--proud and self-proclaimed--members of al-Qaida. Many 
have been directly linked to some of the worst terrorist attacks in 
history, including some who had direct knowledge--direct knowledge--of 
September 11. Others have trained or funded terrorists, made bombs or 
presented themselves as potential suicide bombers.
  We recently got a vivid glimpse into the minds of these men when a 
number of them responded in writing to the Government's charges against 
them. Here are some of the excerpts from the document which was signed 
by five men whose names appear on the chart right behind me:

       With regard to these nine accusations that you are putting 
     us on trial for--

  So said one of the terrorists--

     to us, they are not accusations. To us, they are badges of 
     honor which we carry with pride . . . therefore, killing you 
     and fighting you, destroying you and terrorizing you, 
     responding back to your attacks, are all considered to be 
     great legitimate duty in our religion.

  Later on, these men refer to the September 11 attacks as ``the 
blessed 11 September operation.''
  Toward the end of the document, they make a statement and a 
prediction. Here is what they said:

       We ask to be near to God, we fight you and destroy you and 
     terrorize you. . . . your end is very near and your fall will 
     be just as the fall of the towers on the blessed 9/11 day. . 
     . . so we ask from God to accept our contributions to the 
     great attack, the great attack on America, and to place our 
     nineteen martyred brethren among the highest peaks in 
     paradise. . . .

  One of the most chilling statements in the document is the simple 
assertion by these men, quoted on the chart behind me:

       We are terrorists to the bone.

  ``We are terrorists to the bone.''
  This is how they see themselves. These are the men the administration 
wants to release from Guantanamo?
  Not only are most of the remaining inmates at Guantanamo extremely 
dangerous, they are also increasingly likely to return to battle if 
they are transferred back to their home countries. According to 
Pentagon reports, detainees who have been released from Guantanamo 
appear to be reengaging in terrorism at higher rates, with the current 
rate of those either suspected or confirmed of reengaging in terrorism 
at about 12 percent. About 12 percent of those who have been released 
are back in the fight.
  More than a third of the detainees who have already been released 
were from Saudi Arabia, which has its own detention and rehabilitation 
system. But our confidence in that system has been shaken by recent 
reports that Saudi detainees who returned home have gone back to 
  Last month, two Saudis who were released from Guantanamo and who 
passed through the Saudi rehabilitation program appeared in a video as 
members of al-Qaida in Yemen. One of them, Ali al-Shihri, is thought to 
have been involved in a deadly bombing on the U.S. Embassy in Yemen 
last September.
  Al-Shirhi was released to Saudi Arabia from Guantanamo in 2007.
  Even more worrisome than the Saudi detainees, however, is the 
prospect of releasing Yemeni detainees to Yemen since Yemen has shown 
little ability to control even the most dangerous terrorists we 
release. Of the 100 Yemenis who remain at Guantanamo, about 15 have 
been cleared for transfer to Yemen. Another 15 may face trial in the 
United States. Some of the remaining Yemenis could go to Saudi Arabia, 
but the Yemeni Government is protesting the move.
  Other inmates who have been released have shown up on the battlefield 
in places like Pakistan and Iraq. One former inmate from Kuwait 
traveled to Syria after his release, snuck into Iraq, and plotted 
attacks against U.S. forces there. He eventually drove a truck packed 
with explosives into a joint American and Iraqi military training camp, 
blowing himself up, and killing 13 Iraqi soldiers.
  Each one of these concerns is serious enough to warrant a 
reconsideration of the administration's decision to close the detention 
facility at Guantanamo Bay. Taken together it is hard to imagine the 
administration is not already having second thoughts. Of the 
alternatives that have been considered, some, like a transfer of 
detainees to Europe, may no longer be viable.
  But even if these inmates were sent to Europe, one all-important 
question would remain: What then? Will they be released? With a 
recidivism rate now hovering around 12 percent, this is a risk that is 
simply too dangerous to take--especially when it only takes

[[Page S3125]]

one terrorist to inflict unimaginable horror.
  According to the European Union's own rules, a detainee who is 
released within a 25-nation area within the EU is free to move about 
these countries without even a passport check. A member of al-Qaida who 
is sent to Europe and subsequently released could easily reenter a 
transnational terrorist network--and the recidivism rate suggests that 
this is not at all unlikely.
  Guantanamo itself, on the other hand, has proven to be a completely 
secure facility: in more than 7 years of use, not a single prisoner has 
escaped Guantanamo to maim or kill a single innocent person. Let me 
repeat that: in the more than 7 years that we have used Guantanamo as a 
detention facility, not a single prisoner out of the roughly 800 who 
have been housed there has escaped to maim or kill a single innocent 
  No one has credibly argued that the inmates are poorly treated: three 
meals a day, a full library or books, magazines, and DVDs, and medical 
care that is said to be excellent. Indeed, one European official who 
visited in 2006 called Guantanamo ``a model'' prison and better than 
the ones in Belgium. This is not Abu Ghraib.
  Attorney General Eric Holder is in charge of the review of the 
detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. He captured the dilemma over 
Guantanamo after a recent trip there when he offered a glowing report 
on the facility, said the prisoners were being treated well--and then 
reiterated the administration's intent to close it within the year. On 
some level, the Attorney General must realize how illogical this seems. 
If he doesn't, then for the sake of the safety of the United States and 
its citizens, it is my hope that he realizes it before the end of the 
  President Obama was right and courageous to rethink an artificial 
deadline on withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq. As we approach another 
artificial deadline, it is my hope that he rethinks this decision 
irrespective of what they may think in certain European capitals. Any 
shift in our policy on these detainees must meet a simple test: Will it 
keep us as safe as Guantanamo has from men like the ones whose names 
appear behind me? If the answer is no, then the policy we have is best. 
At the moment, the only safe option is to keep the inmates at 
Guantanamo in one place--and that's right where they are.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record 
the court order to publish the Islamic Response to the Government's 
nine accusations and the Response itself.
     D-101--Commission Order Regarding Pro Se Filing: ``The 
         Islamic Response to the Government's Nine Accusations''
       1. On 5 March 2009, the Commission received and reviewed in 
     chambers D-101, an unclassified document titled ``The Islamic 
     Response to the Government's Nine Accusations'', filed pro se 
     by the above named Accused.
       2. The Commission directs that copies of this pleading be 
     served upon the prosecution and defense counsel of record, to 
     include stand-by counsel. The Commission further directs the 
     pleading be provided to the Clerk of Court for immediate 
     public release.
       3. As this pleading seeks no specific relief, no responses 
     are required by either the prosecution or defense.
       4. The Clerk of Court is directed to have this order 
     translated into Arabic and served upon each of the Accused
       So Ordered this 9th day of March, 2009:

                                            Stephen R. Henley,

                                               Colonel, U.S. Army,
                                                   Military Judge.
       In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most 
     The 9/11 Shura' Council
       Many thanks to God who revealed the Torah, the Bible, and 
     the Quran, and may God praise his messenger, the prophet 
     Mohamed, so that he causes mercy to the two realms. Also, may 
     God praise the prophet's household, his entire companionship, 
     and his followers until judgment day.
       With regards to these nine accusations that you are putting 
     us on trial for; to us, they are not accusations. To us they 
     are badges of honor, which we carry with pride. Many thanks 
     to God, for his kind gesture, and choosing us to perform the 
     act of Jihad for his cause and to defend Islam and Muslims. 
     Therefore, killing you and fighting you, destroying you and 
     terrorizing you, responding back to your attacks, are all 
     considered to be great legitimate duty in our religion. These 
     actions are our offerings to God. In addition, it is the 
     imposed reality on Muslims in Palestine, Lebanon, 
     Afghanistan, Iraq, in the land of the two holy sites [Mecca 
     and Medina, Saudi Arabia], and in the rest of the world, 
     where Muslims are suffering from your brutality, terrorism, 
     killing of the innocent, and occupying their lands and their 
     holy sites. Nevertheless, it would have been the greatest 
     religious duty to fight you over your infidelity. However, 
     today, we fight you over defending Muslims, their land, their 
     holy sites, and their religion as a whole.
       The following is our Islamic response back to your nine 
     untenable, just like a spider web, accusations:
       First, ``the conspiracy accusation'':
       This is a very laughable accusation. Were you expecting us 
     to inform you about our secret attack plans? Your 
     intelligence apparatus, with all its abilities, human and 
     logistical, had failed to discover our military attack plans 
     before the blessed 11 September operation. They were unable 
     to foil our attack. We ask, why then should you blame us, 
     holding us accountable and putting us on trial? Blame 
     yourselves and your failed intelligence apparatus and hold 
     them accountable, not us.
       With regards to us, we were exercising caution and secrecy 
     in our war against you. This is a natural matter, where God 
     has taught us in his book, verse 71 from An-Nisa: ((O you 
     believers! Take your precautions, and either go forth (on an 
     expedition) In parties, or go forth together.))
       Also, as the prophet has stated: ``War is to deceive.''
       With regards to the second. third, and forth accusations: 
           ``Attacking civilians.'' ``Attacking civilian 
           objects.'' and ``deliberately causing grave bodily 
       We ask you; who initiated the attacks on civilians? Who is 
     attacking civilian objects? And who is causing grave bodily 
     harm against civilians? Is it us, or is it you?
       You are attacking us in Palestine and Lebanon by providing 
     political, military, and economic support to the terrorist 
     state of Israel, which in turn, is attacking unarmed innocent 
     civilians. In addition, Israel attacks Palestinian and 
     Lebanese civilian objects by bombing them and destroying 
     them. Furthermore, Israel is causing grave bodily harm by 
     using weapons that are forbidden internationally, such as: 
     cluster bombs in Lebanon and the rubber and live ammunitions 
     in Palestine and breaking bones of Palestinian children. 
     Moreover, the Israeli criminal list is long and endless, 
     against civilians in Lebanon and Palestine.
       In addition, was it not you that attacked an entire 
     population in Iraq, destroying civilian targets and its 
     infrastructure? Was it not you that has killed one million 
     Iraqi children caused by your oppressed economic sanctions, 
     which you imposed after the first Gulf War?
       In fact, it was you who had wiped out two entire cities off 
     the face of the earth and killed roughly half a million 
     people in a few minutes and caused grave bodily harm by 
     nuclear radiation? Did you forget about your nuclear bombs in 
     Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
       You are the last nation that has the right to speak about 
     civilians and killing civilians. You are professional 
     criminals, with all the meaning the words carry. Therefore, 
     we will treat you the same. We will attack you, just like you 
     have attacked us, and whomever initiated the attacks is the 
     guilty party.
       In God's book, verse 193, Al-Baqara, he states: ((The 
     sacred month is for the sacred month, and for the prohibited 
     things, there Is the law of equality. Then, whoever 
     transgresses the prohibition against you, you transgress 
     likewise against him.))
       God stated, in verse 179, Al-Baqarah: ((And there is (a 
     saving of) life for you in Al-Qisas (The law of equality in 
     punishment), O men of understanding, that you may become A-
     Muttaquin (the pious).))
       God also stated, in verse 40, Al-Shura: ((The recompense 
     for an evil is an evil like thereof.))
       In verse 45, Al-Maida: ((Life for life, eye for an eye, 
     nose for a nose, ear for an ear, tooth for a tooth, and 
     wounds equal for equal.))
       In verse 193, Al-Baqara: ((. . . Let there be no hostility 
     except to those who practice oppression.))
       With regards to accusations five and six. ``Crimes in 
           violation of the law of war.'' and ``Destroying 
           property in violation of the law of war'':
       Who is breaking the law of war in this world? Is it us, or 
     is it you? You have disobeyed all heaven and earth's laws of 
     war, to include your own laws.
       You have violated the law of war by supporting the Israeli 
     occupation of Arab land in Palestine and Lebanon, and for 
     displacing five million Palestinians outside their land.

[[Page S3126]]

     You have supported the oppressor over the oppressed and the 
     butcher over the victim.
       Also, you have violated the law of war by attacking an 
     independent sovereign Arab nation with your first crusade 
     campaign in 1991. By force, you have occupied the Arabian 
     Peninsula and the Gulf. In addition, today, you are occupying 
     Iraq and Afghanistan.
       Also, you have violated all laws of war, and in particular, 
     your treatment of Prisoners of War, in Afghanistan and Iraq. 
     We are the best example of such violations and your ``Black 
     Sites'' for torturing prisoners. This, and with your ``Abu-
     Ghurayb'' prison in Iraq. Guantanamo camps are witness to all 
     of that.
       So, you are the first class war criminals, and the whole 
     world witnesses this. You have no values and ethics and no 
     principles. You are a nation without a religion. On the other 
     hand, we are a great nation, with a great religion, values, 
     ethics, and principles, which we comply with and follow, and 
     we invite people to following our ways. History will testify 
     on our actions. You should look back at Salah Al-Din and how 
     ethically he treated your crusader ancestors that were 
     prisoners to him.
       We fight you to defense our nation, our religion, and our 
     land. All heavenly and earthly laws guarantee our rights to 
     do so. We, Muslims, are content with God's book, the Quran, 
     to fight you with. God has granted us to fight, in verse 39, 
     Al-Hajj: ((To those against whom war is waged, permission is 
     given (to fight,) because they are wronged and verily, Allah 
     is most powerful for their aid.))
       God stated in his book, verse 190, Al-Baqara: ((And fight 
     in the way of Allah those who fight you, but be not the 
     transgressor, Allah likes not the transgressors.))
       With regards to the seventh accusation, ``Hijacking and/or 
           endangering a vessel or an aircraft'':
       In return, we ask you: Which is more dangerous; Hijacking 
     and/or endangering a vessel or an aircraft, or endangering an 
     entire population with a military occupation, killing and 
     endangering innocent civilians by starving them with an 
     economic sanction?
       If you do not respect the innocent in our countries, then 
     we will do the same, by exposing you to danger and hijacking 
     in the air, at sea, and land.
       In God's book, he ordered us to fight you everywhere we 
     find you, even if you were inside the holiest of all holy 
     cities, The Mosque in Mecca, and the holy city of Mecca, and 
     even during sacred months.
       In God's book, verse 9, Al-Tawbah: ((Then fight and slay 
     the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, and 
     besiege them and lie in wait for them in each and every 
       Remember, that you are the ones who attacked the Iranian 
     civilian aircraft, flight 655, in 1988 with your Cruise 
     missiles over the Hermuz straights, killing all of its 290 
     passengers, among them 66 children. They are still shedding 
     tears today over your victims. Does your blood have a value 
     and the blood of Muslims not?
       With regards to the ``Terrorism'' accusations:
       Who are the real terrorists? Is it us, or is it you? 
     America is the terrorist country number one in the world. Is 
     has nuclear weapons of mass destruction, and the hydrogen 
     bombs, and the biological weapons, and its ocean fleets are 
     around the world, threatening countries' security and safety 
     and any country that is not subjected to its oppressed will.
       In addition, America is the main shepherd of the main 
     support to the Israeli terrorism against Muslims in the 
     occupied state of Palestine, and also support and bond with 
     the terrorist governments of the Arab and Islamic world, 
     which, in turn, oppress and suppress their own people that 
     are calling for freedom, and the application of Islamic law.
       We do not possess your military might, not your nuclear 
     weapons. Nevertheless, we fight you with the almighty God. 
     So, if our act of Jihad and our fighting with you caused fear 
     and terror, then many thanks to God, because it is him that 
     has thrown fear into your hearts, which resulted in your 
     infidelity, paganism, and your statement that God had a son 
     and your trinity beliefs.
       God stated in his book, verse 151, Al-Umran: ((Soon shall 
     we cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, for that 
     they joined companies with Allah, for which he has sent no 
     authority; There place will be the fire; and evil is the home 
     of the wrongdoers.))
       God also stated in his book, verse 60, Al-Anfal: ((Against 
     them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, 
     including steeds of war, to strike terror into the heart of 
     the enemies of Allah and your enemies.))
       Also, God has informed us, in his book, of what is in your 
     heart from fear and terror towards us, and that you fear and 
     have been terrorized from us more than God himself. Verse 13, 
     Al-Hashir: ((Of a truth you (Muslims) are more feared in 
     their (the infidels from Christians, Jews, and others) 
     hearts, than Allah. This is because they are men devoid of 
       Therefore, you do not fight us face-to-face, man-to-man. 
     But rather, you fight us from behind roadblocks, trenches, 
     and warplanes, which are thousands of feet in the air.
       Your status in Iraq and Afghanistan does not need any 
     further explanation. God has demonstrated to us your mental 
     and your defeated fighting moral status.
       God has stated in his book, verse 14, Al-Hashir: ((They 
     fight not against you even together, except in fortified 
     townships, or from behind walls, their enmity among 
     themselves is very great, you would think that they were 
     united, but their hearts are divided. That is because they 
     are a people who understand not.))
       Our prophet was victorious because of fear. At a month 
     distant, the enemy did not hear from him.
       So, our religion is a religion of fear and terror to the 
     enemies of God: the Jews, Christians, and pagans. With God's 
     wiling, we are terrorists to the bone. So, many thanks to 
       The Arab poet, Abu-Ubaydah Al-Hadrami, has stated: ((We 
     will terrorize you, as long as we live with swords, fire, and 
       With regards to the ninth accusation. ``Material support to 
       America is the number one, and the largest country in the 
     world, in spreading military might and terrorism. Also, 
     America is the principle and greatest supplier to the 
     occupying terrorist state of Israel in Palestine. Also, 
     America supports and finances the terrorist regimes that 
     govern the countries of the Arab world, such as Egypt, Saudi 
     Arabia, and Pakistan.
       Nevertheless, we are defending our rights, land, religion, 
     and our oppressed Muslim brethrens around the world. 
     Therefore, we would spend all of our money and properties for 
     this cause. This is not strange, since Muslims are all part 
     of the same Umma.
       We will make all of our materials available, to defend and 
     deter, and egress you and the filthy Jews from our countries.
       God has ordered us to spend for Jihad in his cause. This is 
     evident in many Quranic verses.
       Verse 195, Al-Baqara: ((And spend of your substance in the 
     cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to 
     your destruction, but do good; for Allah loves those who do 
       We ask to be near to God, we fight you and destroy you and 
     terrorize you. The Jihad in god's cause is a great duty in 
     our religion. We have news for you, the news is: You will be 
     greatly defeated in Afghanistan and Iraq and that America 
     will fall, politically, militarily, and economically. Your 
     end is very near and your fall will be just as the fall of 
     the towers on the blessed 9/11 day. We will raise from the 
     ruins, God willing. We will leave this imprisonment with our 
     noses raised high in dignity, as the lion emerges from his 
     den. We shall pass over the blades of the sword into the 
     gates of heaven.
       So we ask from God to accept our contributions to the great 
     attack, the great attack on America, and to place our 
     nineteen martyred brethren among the highest peaks in 
       God is great and pride for God, the prophet, and the 
     believers. . . .

       Signed: The 9/11 Shura Council
       Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
       Ramzi bin As-Shibh
       Walid bin 'Attash
       Mustafa Ahmed Al-Hawsawi
       'Ali 'abd Al-'Aziz 'Ali
       Sunday, 3/1/1429h
       Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

  The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tempore. The majority leader is recognized.
  Mr. REID. Madam President, I certainly agree with the Republican 
leader about AIG. If I were in the AIG administration, I would 
recommend they give back those bonuses. Remember, we as a Congress are 
not defenseless. We can also do things. Senator Baucus, chairman of the 
Finance Committee, is going to make a proposal that will certainly send 
a message to the people at AIG and others who try to benefit from the 
hardships the American people face. So in the next 24 hours, you will 
hear from the chairman of the Finance Committee, Senator Baucus, that 
AIG's recipients of these bonuses will not be able to keep all their 
money. That is an understatement.
  Also, regarding Guantanamo, I think we should not make this a 
political issue. John McCain has come out in favor of this. ``I think 
that it's a wise move,'' McCain said about closing Guantanamo Bay. So 
this is something President Obama is not out there alone on.