U.S. offers reward on ex-gitmo poet

The United States government has put al Qaeda’s Ibrahim al-Rubaish on a global terrorist list and offered a $5 million reward for information on his whereabouts. Once we knew his whereabouts — Guantanamo Bay detention center. But in 2006, the U.S. released Rubaish to Saudi Arabia where he was to be “rehabilitated.”

At the time, Rubaysh was a poster child for the terrorist detainee-sympathizing, anti-Gitmo crew. Marc Falkoff, a lawyer for detainees and editor of Poems from Guantánamo: The Detainees Speak, included in his collection a poem by Rubaysh called “Ode to the Sea.” In his introduction to the poetry collection Falkoff, described Rubaysh as follows:

Ibrahim al-Rubaish was teaching in Pakistan when he was arrested by mercenaries and sold to allied forces. A religious scholar who dislikes hostility and was once a candidate for a judgeship, Rubaish has a daughter, born just three months before he was captured, who is now five years old.

Falkoff described “Ode to the Sea” as the most moving and literary poem in his collection.

Even then, however, it was clear that Rubaish was fine with “hostility.” According to Tom Joscelyn, during his hearing at Gitmo, he admitted that he was trained at al Qaeda’s al Farouq training camp.

I don’t think the training was in poetry. Rather, as Rubaish testified, he was at al Farouq “to train for the jihad for God” and to fight “whoever fights Muslims.” Pursuant to this mission he traveled to Tora Bora, the famous Taliban/al Qaeda stronghold, to fight.

Notwithstanding this record, the Bush administration released Rubaish.

Since his release, predictably, Rubaish has become a poster child for the unwillingness of ex-detainees to give up the fight against America and for the failure of Saudi Arabia’s joke of a “rehabilitation” program. Currently, Rubaish in Yemen where, according to the State Department, “he serves as a senior advisor for AQAP [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] operational planning and is involved in the planning of attacks.” The hostility-hating Rubaish also “provides the justification for attacks conducted by AQAP.”

In August, Rubaish publicly called on Muslims to wage war against the United States, one of a number of such appeals he has made. He makes them in prose, not poetry.

I hope the $5 million reward produces information that leads us to our erstwhile prisoner. If so, it would nice if Falkoff and any law firms whose attorneys assisted in securing Rubaish’s release helped foot the bill. Perhaps Covington & Burling, which named Falkoff Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year in 2005, could kick in some of the money.

For the public good.

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