The New York Post headline reads “Obama to free Gitmo terrorist ‘because he took up yoga.’” As many have observed, after the Taliban 5 it’s all downhill, but I think “because he took up yoga” probably goes too far. Anyway, Paul Sperry reports in the Post article:
Desperate to empty the Guantanamo Bay prison by the end of his term, Obama quietly is giving “get out of jail free” cards for the flimsiest of excuses.
One al Qaeda suspect captured in Afghanistan is considered reformed because he took up yoga and read a biography of the Dalai Lama. Another is eligible for release because of his “positive attitude.”
And one longtime detainee, a former bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, is now harmless because he’s going to start a “milk and honey farm.”
The Periodic Review Board already helped clear 78 of the remaining 149 prisoners for release, documents show, and has scheduled more hearings for this summer.
Many of these men were dubbed “forever prisoners” because of the threat they posed to the US — with intelligence officials warning that, if free, they would return to the jihad to kill Americans.
Based on past cases, that’s a good bet.
Here’s Sperry’s profile of the yoga man:
GHALEB NASSER AL-BIHANI, 34
“He loves yoga”
What he did: Classified as an “indefinite detainee” in 2010 because of the danger he posed to the US. The Yemeni national was captured in 2001 fighting in Afghanistan. The military said he was a troublemaker while in custody, even inciting riots. He was uncooperative in interviews, showing “ill intentions toward the US.” One of his brothers in Yemen is a leader in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror group’s most lethal branch.
What they say now: His government-appointed lawyer argued he was merely an assistant cook for an unspecified military group. “He has asked for yoga magazines and self-help books,” lawyer Pardiss Kebriaei told the parole board in April, noting he practices yoga in his cellblock and has read biographies of the Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King Jr.
In his own plea to the board, Bihani suggested his hostility comes from losing his parents as a boy, saying, “It was hard growing up without a mother or father.” He promised to start a family and live a peaceful life if freed. “I look forward to the day when I can hold my baby in my hands,” he said. Last month, the board said it found his story “credible” and declared al-Bihani “no longer…a threat to the security of the United States.”
If that’s not enough for you, the Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg has more on Bihani here (Rosenberg describes Bihani as “sickly”) and Sperry has more on other detainees deemed fit for release in the story linked above.