Former US Military Interrogator: Release al-Odaini from Gitmo

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By Matthew Alexander, former U.S. Senior Military Interrogator

The importance of releasing Mohammed Hassan al-Odaini cannot be overstated.  This isn’t about one innocent man that a federal judge ordered released on May 26, 2010.  This is about who we are as Americans. As the judge ruled, the US government has:

kept a young man from Yemen in detention in Cuba from age eighteen to age twenty-six.  They have prevented him from seeing his family and denied him the opportunity to complete his studies and embark on a career. The evidence before the Court shows that holding Odaini in custody at such great cost to him has done nothing to make the United States more secure. There is no evidence that Odaini has any connection to Al Qaeda.

Mohammed Mohammed Hassan al-Odaini remains detained in Guantánamo despite being cleared for release.

What the judge didn’t say is that holding al-Odaini actually makes the United States less safe.  How?  When Americans live up to the accusations of Al Qaeda, namely that we don’t uphold the principles upon which our country was founded, we hand Al Qaeda a powerful recruiting tool.  Imagine an enemy holding an American citizen for eight years without charges and then, after admitting he is innocent, refusing to release him?  Compare the U.S. response to recent detentions of U.S. citizens in Iran and North Korea.

Our greatest leverage in fighting terrorism is our ability to dissuade vulnerable populations from turning to crime (terrorism) as a remedy for personal adversities.  When we abandon our principles in favor of indefinite detention without charge, and worse, for detention after proven innocence, we have shifted the balance to favor Al Qaeda’s recruiters and the result is that America is less safe.

Help me and Amnesty International in calling for the immediate release of Mohammed Mohammed Hassan al-Odaini.  Restore America’s strength by helping us return to the rule of law.  ‘Winning’ in this conflict is not defined by stopping terrorist attacks.  It’s defined by adherence to our values.  To release Odaini is to stand up for the basic principles of humanity – principles that are ingrained in our own Constitution.

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18 thoughts on “Former US Military Interrogator: Release al-Odaini from Gitmo

  1. Totally agree that we (New Zealand is considered part of the West), are fostering terrorism by double standards in requiring other nations to adhere to human rights that we do not.

  2. It is completely unacceptable that al-Odaini is kept in custody in Gitmo. Indefinite detention without charge, and worse, detention after proven innocence, is contrary to the rule of law.

  3. Apparently, the Odaini case is making Guantanamo a front-burner issue for the US government. According to the Wall Street Journal, "The case of Mohammed Odaini has become so pressing that senior administration officials, including the secretaries of defense and state, or their deputies, will discuss it next week [i.e. the week of June 21]. . . . The administration, though, may come under further pressure to quickly release Yemenis besides Odaini. As many as 20 more Yemenis could be ordered released by the courts for lack of evidence to justify their continued detention, a second administration official estimated." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/arti

    If ever there was a time to speak up and be heard on this issue, it's now!

  4. If the guy is completely innocent, we have to find a way to let him go. We must at least try to live up to our own ideals.

    Sincerely,
    Neal J. King

  5. this story and many other that go unknown just show the Muslim world the extent to which America and its allies are capable of going in the name of the so called war against terror. Double standards by the USA will strengthen the anti-american sentiments already being seen across the world. Let the rule of law govern the people of the world, let all stand up against opression.

  6. al-Odaini is one between many others held for "terrorism" by European and American governments. The same ones that "supposably" have moral standards above others, respect all human and animal life, and have peace oriented laws.
    I do not see that in practice, therefore, I do not believe.

    Best wishes to al-Odaini from Portugal!

  7. Apparently, the Odaini case is making Guantanamo a front-burner issue for the US government. According to the Wall Street Journal, "The case of Mohammed Odaini has become so pressing that senior administration officials, including the secretaries of defense and state, or their deputies, will discuss it next week [i.e. the week of June 21]. . . . The administration, though, may come under further pressure to quickly release Yemenis besides Odaini. As many as 20 more Yemenis could be ordered released by the courts for lack of evidence to justify their continued detention, a second administration official estimated." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/arti

    If ever there was a time to speak up and be heard on this issue, it's now!

  8. Apparently, the Odaini case is making Guantanamo a front-burner issue for the US government. According to the Wall Street Journal, "The case of Mohammed Odaini has become so pressing that senior administration officials, including the secretaries of defense and state, or their deputies, will discuss it next week [i.e. the week of June 21]. . . . The administration, though, may come under further pressure to quickly release Yemenis besides Odaini. As many as 20 more Yemenis could be ordered released by the courts for lack of evidence to justify their continued detention, a second administration official estimated." http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/arti

    If ever there was a time to speak up and be heard on this issue, it's now!

  9. Totally agree that we (New Zealand is considered part of the West), are fostering terrorism by double standards in requiring other nations to adhere to human rights that we do not.

  10. It is completely unacceptable that al-Odaini is kept in custody in Gitmo. Indefinite detention without charge, and worse, detention after proven innocence, is contrary to the rule of law.

  11. If the guy is completely innocent, we have to find a way to let him go. We must at least try to live up to our own ideals.

    Sincerely,
    Neal J. King

  12. this story and many other that go unknown just show the Muslim world the extent to which America and its allies are capable of going in the name of the so called war against terror. Double standards by the USA will strengthen the anti-american sentiments already being seen across the world. Let the rule of law govern the people of the world, let all stand up against opression.

  13. al-Odaini is one between many others held for “terrorism” by European and American governments. The same ones that “supposably” have moral standards above others, respect all human and animal life, and have peace oriented laws.
    I do not see that in practice, therefore, I do not believe.

    Best wishes to al-Odaini from Portugal!

  14. Apparently, the Odaini case is making Guantanamo a front-burner issue for the US government. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The case of Mohammed Odaini has become so pressing that senior administration officials, including the secretaries of defense and state, or their deputies, will discuss it next week [i.e. the week of June 21]. . . . The administration, though, may come under further pressure to quickly release Yemenis besides Odaini. As many as 20 more Yemenis could be ordered released by the courts for lack of evidence to justify their continued detention, a second administration official estimated.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/18/AR2010061803531.html

    If ever there was a time to speak up and be heard on this issue, it’s now!

  15. When will the injustice end? Terrorism can occur in more than 1 form, and I believe this is another form. Not to mention that the terrorism of others is succeeding in more ways than 1 – it is forcing us to turn on our own, ie those that are innocent.

    Release Odaini!

    x

  16. When will the injustice end? Terrorism can occur in more than 1 form, and I believe this is another form. Not to mention that the terrorism of others is succeeding in more ways than 1 – it is forcing us to turn on our own, ie those that are innocent.

    Release Odaini!

    x