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Right Turn
Posted at 12:32 PM ET, 06/14/2011

Jihadists in Kentucky?

Agence-France Press reports:

An Iraqi refugee waived his right to fight his detention in Kentucky on terrorism charges Wednesday, court records showed.

Waad Ramadan Alwan, 30, has been held without bail since his May 25 arrest on charges that he schemed to ship missiles, guns and money to his home country for use in attacks on US troops shortly after arriving in the United States.

The case raised questions about the US government’s screening practices given that Alwan’s fingerprints were found on an unexploded roadside bomb in Iraq and registered in a Department of Defense database long before he was granted refugee status.

The United States has since identified and corrected “specific gaps” in the vetting process and has rescreened refugee applicants, a Department of Homeland security official who declined to be named said after Alwan’s arrest.

Aside from the continued laxity of our vetting system, the question arises as to what to do with the terrorist. The Obama administration is prosecuting him in court “Alwan waived his right to a speedy detention hearing, while reserving the right to request his release on bail at a later day. . . . His cousin Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, who was also arrested after an elaborate sting operation, waived his right to a detention hearing on Tuesday. Both men have pleaded not guilty to 23 terrorism charges which carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.”

That does not sit well with Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). His office has released excerpts from a floor speech to be delivered today. It reads, in part:

I think it’s safe to say that a lot of Kentuckians, including me, would like to know why two men who either killed or plotted to kill U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq aren’t sitting in a jail cell in Guantanamo right now. When it comes to enemy combatants, our top priority — as I have said repeatedly — should be to capture, detain, and interrogate. That wasn’t done here.

These men are foreign fighters — unlawful enemy combatants who should be treated as such.

Alwan is on tape admitting to have procured explosives and missiles in Iraq and to using them daily to conduct strikes. He said he had personally used Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs, hundreds of times over a period of several years. He’s talked about using them against U.S. troops and the damage he’s done to U.S. military vehicles, like Humvees. He told undercover agents he was “very good with a sniper rifle,” and, in a reference to attacks on U.S. troops, he said his ‘lunch and dinner would be an American.’

He admits that he “collected everything — TNT, electronic detonators, tank explosive detonators, IED detonators, mortar shells, and rocket propelled grenades.” He also said that he “often placed IEDs after curfew, and that it was this activity that led to his being asked to formally join the Mujahidin.” He even tried to demonstrate his expertise as a foreign fighter by “drawing diagrams of four types of IEDs, explaining how to build them, and discussing various occasions in which he used these devices against U.S. troops in Iraq.”

McConnell, understandably, wants to know why Alwan is going to trial in his state:

Anyone who has taken up arms against U.S. forces in the field of battle is an enemy combatant pure and simple, and should be treated like one. They should be hunted and captured, detained and interrogated, and tried away from civilian populations according to the laws of war.

Unfortunately, since the earliest days of this administration when the President signed a series of executive orders which directed the closing of the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, and limited the ability of the military and intelligence community to detain and interrogate prisoners, a higher priority has been placed upon prosecution than on executing the War on Terror.

But I can say with certainty that Kentuckians don’t want foreign fighters who’ve bragged about killing and maiming U.S. soldiers in a combat theater treated like common criminals in their own backyards.

They don’t want foreign fighters to be afforded all the legal rights and privileges of U.S. citizens. . . .

He says: “The good news is, we already have the perfect solution for a case like this. These men don’t belong in a courtroom in Kentucky. They belong at the secure detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, far away from U.S. civilians.” And the better news is that Congress can determine by statute the jurisdiction of the federal courts. Is there a lawmaker ready and willing to introduce a bill?

By  |  12:32 PM ET, 06/14/2011

Categories:  law, National Security

 
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