Not in our backyard. That is US Representative Sue Myrick’s (NC-09) message to Congress. She introduced a bill this week to stop prisoners from Guantanamo Bay from being sent to North Carolina. It does this by prohibiting federal funds from being used to transport detainees to, and housing them within, the state.
“This legislation sends a clear message that we don’t want enemy combatants and terrorists housed in our backyard,” Rep. Myrick said. “There is a reason they have been housed off the US mainland; any area they are moved inland will become a target. I don’t want North Carolina to be targeted by Al-Qaeda because we house their leaders.”
President Obama signed an executive order in January to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, where terrorists such as Al-Qaeda Chief and 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed are currently detained, within a year.
“Of course the question now is where to send these individuals. The answer is that the Guantanamo Bay facility was serving its purpose and shouldn’t be closed in the first place. These terrorists were captured on the battlefield and are not entitled to be treated as citizens of the United States. We have laws in place to try these terrorists pursuant to military law, and we should do so. Shutting down this facility and possibly inserting the prisoners of war in the US legal system is against our national interest and against our country’s respect to the laws of war,” Rep. Myrick said.
Released Guantanamo Bay prisoners have returned to their countries of origin and have returned to their jihadist ways. Recently released prisoner number 333, Abu al-Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi, has been identified as a new Al-Qaeda commander. In addition, recently released prisoner Abu Sufyan al-Azdi al-Shahri, or prisoner number 372, has been elevated to the senior ranks of Al-Qaeda in Yemen. This is important to note because Al-Qaeda attacked the US Embassy in Yemen in September 2008. Experts said the attacks were conducted by a new, aggressive, generation of Al-Qaeda leaders.
The Defense Department has said as many as 61 former Guantanamo detainees — about 11 percent of 520 detainees transferred from the detention center and released — are believed to have returned to their jihadist ways.