From Al Qaeda Recruit to Millionaire?
The British government is reportedly set to make one of KSM’s operatives a wealthy man.
11:45 AM, Nov 17, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Who is Shaker Aamer? The Post doesn’t say. He has, like the former Gitmo detainees who sued the British government, a significant fan base inside the UK. Human rights organizations, lawyers, and others have portrayed him as an oppressed innocent.
That’s not what the Obama administration found, however. The Post notes that President Obama’s own interagency task force determined he was too dangerous to release. That hasn’t stopped the Brits from continuing to lobby on his behalf.
The British approached the Bush administration about Aamer in 2007. At the time, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs Sandra Hodgkinson described the intelligence accumulated against Aamer in an interview with the Associated Press.
Hodgkinson said that Aamer shared an apartment with Zacarias Moussaoui in London in the 1990s. Moussaoui was later scheduled to take part in either the September 11 attacks, or a similar follow-on plot, at the time of his arrest in August 2001. Aamer had also met with convicted shoe bomber Richard Reid, Hodgkinson said, and received a stipend directly from Osama bin Laden.
“He has been involved in a lot of significant terrorist plots,” Hodgkinson explained.
Documents prepared for Aamer’s hearings at Guantanamo further outline the allegations against him. Aamer “was an advisor to Osama bin Laden and organizer at Tora Bora, Kandahar and Kabul,” a memo produced for Aamer’s first administrative review board hearing reads. Aamer “was very close to Osama bin Laden and would ask him for advice.”
He also allegedly acted as a “special interpreter” for bin Laden and knew the terror master’s “former representative…in the United Kingdom.” This may be a reference to Abu Qatada, who has been one of Osama bin Laden's chief representatives in the UK for years.
U.S. intelligence officials believe that Aamer was a member of an al Qaeda cell in London and that he compiled an extensive dossier of terror prior to his detention. Aamer allegedly trained and fought in Bosnia (a jihadist hotspot in the 1990s) and Afghanistan.
This is the man who the Brits have decided to pay, even while he is still detained at Gitmo. All he had to do is claim he was tortured and the British folded.
Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.