The Rest of the Story
6:50 PM, Sep 28, 2009 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Today, the Washington Post's Del Quentin Wilber tells the heart-tugging story of two Uighur detainees held at Guantanamo. The two detainees, Bahtiyar Mahnut and Arkin Mahmud, are brothers who are held at Gitmo, according to the Post, for no good reason. The brothers, along with other Uighur detainees, have been cleared for release but they have not found freedom yet.
Accompanying the Post's piece is an embedded video of Elizabeth Gilson, the brothers' lawyer. Gilson says that Bahtiyar "left China to seek his way in the world" in 2001 and "ended up in Afghanistan" somewhat by chance. After Bahtiyar called home, his mother got worried because, you know, Afghanistan under the Taliban was not such a great place. So, she dispatched Bahtiyar's older brother, Arkin, to retrieve him. Unfortunately, according to Gilson, the two brothers were not reunited until after they were captured and shipped off to Gitmo.
The South Pacific island nation of Palau has agreed to take Bahtiyar along with a number of Uighur detainees, but he won't go. Palau won't take his brother, Arkin, who apparently has some severe mental problems (which are all America's fault, of course). Because of his brotherly devotion, Bahtiyar has decided to stay with Arkin at Gitmo.
"This story really puts a human face on the cost of the Bush detention policy and the Guantanamo prison situation," Gilson explains to the Post's readers in her stirring video. Gilson says it's all Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the American military's fault that the brothers are in this predicament.
Now, as Paul Harvey would say, for the rest of the story -- the parts that Gilson and the Post conveniently left out.
Bahtiyar Mahnut was trained by a senior al Qaeda terrorist in the Tora Bora Mountains of Afghanistan. We know this because Mahnut admitted as much, without apparently realizing it, during his combatant status review tribunal (CSRT) session at Gitmo.
After denying that he was an al Qaeda member or that he had any animus for the United States, Bahtiyar explained why he went to Afghanistan:
Who is Abdul Haq? According to the Obama administration's Treasury Department, Haq is a senior al Qaeda member who sits on al Qaeda's elite Shura Council. Haq is also the leader of the al Qaeda-affiliated Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), aka the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), which has been designated by both the U.S. and the UN as a terrorist organization. The TIP/ETIM has executed a number of attacks against civilian targets in Western China and threatened to strike the Chinese Olympic games. As Stuart Levey, the Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, explained earlier this year, "Abdul Haq commands a terror group that sought to sow violence and fracture international unity at the 2008 Olympic Games in China." Levey added: "Today, we stand together with the world in condemning this brutal terrorist and isolating him from the international financial system."
Abdul Haq is not bashful about his al Qaeda and Taliban ties, or his radical jihadist worldview. In a recent jihadist video, Haq talked about his time fighting alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan and how the Taliban's martyrs inspired him. Haq also made sure to bless Osama bin Laden ("may Allah keep him safe") when saying the terror master's name.
But, you won't find Abdul Haq's name in the Post's account. You won't find the words "Tora Bora" or any mention of the TIP/ETIM either. Yet, Bahtiyar was clearly trained at Abdul Haq's TIP/ETIM camp in the Tora Bora Mountains -- a pre-9/11 stronghold for al Qaeda and the Taliban. Curiously, the Post refers to the Tora Bora location of the camp as in Afghanistan's "southern mountains," which sounds less ominous. Bahtiyar stayed at this terrorist camp in Tora Bora for several months.