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Re: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher on the Uighurs [Response]
Weekly Standard ^ | 06/30/09 | Thomas Joscelyn

Posted on 06/30/2009 10:44:19 AM PDT by freespirited


Editor's note: The following is Thomas Joscelyn's response to this letter from Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.

Let’s be clear about the extreme position Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has taken here: Al Qaeda-trained terrorists pose no threat to the American people. This is obviously a disturbing stance - especially for a sitting congressman.

Now, of course Mr. Rohrabacher pretends that his defense of the Uighurs detained at Gitmo is not a defense of al Qaeda-trained terrorists at all. But it is, for at least two reasons.

First, Mr. Rohrabacher offers no rebuttal to the facts and evidence I cited. This body of evidence conclusively demonstrates that the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM, and now known as the Turkistan Islamic Party, TIP) is an al Qaeda-affiliated organization. This is the position of the United Nations, the United States government, as well as other foreign governments. It should be obvious to any outside observer. Members of the ETIM/TIP have identified themselves as al Qaeda terrorists in their propaganda videos, which are not difficult to find.

It is hard to believe that anyone would argue the ETIM/TIP is not an al Qaeda affiliate when its members openly brandish al Qaeda’s black flag while threatening to commit terrorist attacks.

It is also obvious that the Uighurs detained at Gitmo were trained by the ETIM/TIP. At least 8 of the 17 Uighurs who were all, until recently, detained at Gitmo admitted a terrorist named Abdul Haq was the leader of their organization. The Uighur detainees also admitted that Abdul Haq, as well as another ETIM/TIP leader, oversaw their training camp. Abdul Haq is not only the head of the ETIM/TIP, he is also a known al Qaeda terrorist.

There is no mention of Abdul Haq in Congressman Rohrabacher’s reply and for good reason. Haq’s identity and ties to the Uighur detainees completely undermine his case. Rohrabacher writes, “The oft repeated accusation that the Uighurs held at GITMO were members of the ETIM is patently false.” This is flat wrong and Rohrabacher selectively cites the record to “prove” his point. For instance, Rohrabacher cites the Uighur detainees’ own denials of any connection to the ETIM/TIP, while ignoring that these same detainees admitted that Abdul Haq – the notorious ETIM/TIP chieftain – was their leader. This renders their denial of any ETIM/TIP connection meaningless.

More after the jump...

Congressman Rohrabacher also argues that “court rulings,” such as the Parhat v. Gates decision, vindicate the Uighurs. This is, again, wrong. The Parhat decision contained basic errors. For example, the court – like Rohrabacher - made no mention of Abdul Haq. In addition, a subsequent ruling ordering the release of the Uighurs on American soil was overturned by a higher court because it abused the law. Thus, the court rulings Rohrabacher cites are hardly dispositive.

In sum, there is no material dispute over the ETIM/TIP’s ties to al Qaeda or the Uighur detainees’ training at ETIM/TIP facilities under the supervision of senior ETIM/TIP leaders. Nothing in Congressman Rohrabacher’s reply even begins to challenge these basic facts.

Second, Mr. Rohrabacher offers no real evidence in support of his alternative conspiracy theory – that the ETIM/TIP is somehow a creation of Chinese intelligence. Rohrabacher says the Bush administration only designated the ETIM/TIP as an al Qaeda affiliate in an attempt to curry favor from the Chinese government in 2002, during the run-up to the Iraq war.

What, then, explains the Obama administration’s designation of Abdul Haq this year?

The Obama administration is certainly not seeking Chinese approval for any war. But it was the Obama administration’s designation that pointed out Abdul Haq is a longtime al Qaeda terrorist as well as a member of al Qaeda’s elite Shura council, in addition to being the leader of the ETIM/TIP. Indeed, recent reports confirm that Haq is still involved in the al Qaeda and Taliban-led insurgency in northern Pakistan.

Congressman Rohrabacher says that some witnesses at recent Congressional hearings had not heard of the ETIM before 2002. They must not have been paying close attention. And Rohrabacher simply called the wrong witnesses. I suggest he consult Rohan Gunaratna’s excellent book, Inside Al Qaeda, which confirms that the ETIM has long been allied with al Qaeda. In fact, the ETIM/TIP maintained safe houses throughout the Taliban’s pre-9/11 Afghanistan, in addition to a training camp at Tora Bora – a stronghold for al Qaeda and the Taliban. Most, if not all, of the Uighur detainees were trained at Tora Bora.

Previously, I asked: “Does Rohrabacher believe that the Uighurs’ admissions, Abdul Haq’s designation by the Obama administration, the ETIM/TIP’s designation by the UN, the propaganda videos, the Uighurs’ training at Tora Bora, and the safe houses in the Taliban’s Afghanistan were all manufactured by Chinese intelligence?”

Rohrabacher did not attempt to answer this question in his response. And he has not offered a shred of evidence to support his case. Meanwhile, he simply ignores a mountain of evidence that disproves his conspiracy theory. As a result, he finds himself defending al Qaeda-trained terrorists.

TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: eitm; gitmo; rohrabacher; uighurs
I've been impressed with Joscelyn and the work he has posted at
1 posted on 06/30/2009 10:44:19 AM PDT by freespirited
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To: freespirited

Personally, I trust Dana Rohrabacher.

Thomas Joscelyn, however, I don’t know and — consequently — don’t trust. I couldn’t find anything reassuring about him on the internet.

2 posted on 06/30/2009 11:00:11 AM PDT by OldNavyVet (The essence of evil lies in the irrational.)
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To: OldNavyVet

I have always liked Rohrabacher, but I have to wonder whether his staff has done as much research as Joscelyn.

3 posted on 06/30/2009 11:05:11 AM PDT by freespirited (Is this a nation of laws or a nation of Democrats? -- Charles Krauthammer)
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To: freespirited
I just checked Wikipedia and found that their bio on Rohrabacher is slanted.

Considering how much Rohrabacher is disliked by liberals, the hit-piece infomation in understandable.

My first impressions on Rohrabacher came out of his trip to Afghanistan when America was assisting Afghan rebels in fighting the Russians.

In the Wikipedia bio, that episode reads as follows.

Rohrabacher had a history of involvement in Afghanistan dating back to the Cold War, when he openly supported the groups that were fighting troops from the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.[26] In late 1988, Rohrabacher went to Afghanistan:

After I left the White House and was elected to Congress, but before I was sworn into Congress, I knew I had that two months between November and January to do things that I could never do once I was elected to Congress. I chose to hike into Afghanistan as part of a small Mujahedin unit and to engage in a battle against the Russian and communist forces near and around the city of Jalalabad.

Is Rohrabacher interesting? You bet!!!

4 posted on 06/30/2009 11:23:33 AM PDT by OldNavyVet (The essence of evil lies in the irrational.)
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To: OldNavyVet

“Personally, I trust Dana Rohrabacher”

I’m with you. I would like to hear the whole story.

5 posted on 06/30/2009 11:29:06 AM PDT by Parley Baer
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