In light of the fact that President Obama has just released five 'high-value' Taliban terrorists from U.S. custody, and wants to completely close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, it is now quite possible that he will actually free Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the man who has confessed to attacking the U.S.S. Cole in 2000. After all, though al-Nashiri has been in custody for several years, he has never actually stood trial for the crime to which he admitted planning.
In 1998, al-Nashiri joined al-Qaeda and under the direction of Osama bin Laden, began planning an attack on a U.S. warship. Originally, he plotted to attack the guided missile destroyer U.S.S. Sullivans, but the suicide bombers overloaded their rather small boat with explosives and the vessel sank, according to the 9/11 Commission report.
However, on Oct. 12, 2000, while the USS Cole was anchored off the port of Aden, Yemen, a boat filled with explosives pulled alongside the destroyer, and the terrorists detonated their charges. The explosion tore a 40-by-40-foot hole in the ship's port side, killing 17 sailors and injuring another 39.
The near-sinking of the Cole reportedly garnered al-Nashiri the position of al-Qaeda's chief of operations for the Arabian Peninsula. He is also believed responsible for overseeing a similar attack on the oil tanker Limburg in the Gulf of Aden, in which one crewman was killed and 12 others were wounded.
In November 2002, al-Nashiri was captured in Dubai by the CIA, and imprisoned in Eastern Europe for the next four years, before being brought to Guantanamo Bay.
Thus began the long, strange legal journey of the man dubbed the "Cole Bomber:"
-On June 30, 2008, Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann announced charges against al-Nashiri for "organizing and directing" the bombing plot, and that the Defense Department would seek the death penalty against the Saudi national.
-Then, on Jan. 29, 2009, only nine days after taking office, Obama ordered a suspension of all Guantanamo military commission hearings for 120 days. That order was overruled by military judge Col. James Pohl in al-Nashiri's prosecution.
-On Feb. 5, 2009, Obama ordered that all charges against al-Nashiri be dropped "without prejudice," meaning they could be re-instated.
-In August 2010, the Obama administration actually set aside al-Nashiri's prosecution.
The Justice Department filed a motion with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, stating that "no charges are either pending or contemplated with respect to al-Nashiri in the near future."
The statement was quietly hidden in a motion to dismiss a petition by al-Nashiri's attorneys, and, completely ignored by the mainstream press.
The move by the Obama administration to at least temporarily delay trial was a puzzling one since military prosecutors were already prepared to try al-Nashiri for months, and had planned to do so by mid-2010.
Though the charges against al-Nashiri were re-instated in 2011, motions by both the defense and prosecution continue to delay trial. At this time, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri has been convicted of nothing, and has since recanted his confessions, claiming they were made under duress.
So, since he is yet to receive a sentence, nor a conviction, the question becomes...Will Obama set the terrorist free sometime soon, or will he wait until his last day in office?
The list of those much-forgotten souls lost on the U.S.S. Cole, follows:
-Hull Maintenance Technician Second Class Kenneth Eugene Clodfelter, 21, of Mechanicsville, Va.
-Electronics Technician Chief Petty Officer Richard Costelow, 35, of Morrisville, Pa.
-Mess Management Specialist Seaman Lakeina Monique Francis, 19, of Woodleaf, N.C.
-Information Systems Technician Timothy Lee Gauna, 21, of Rice, Texas
-Signalman Seaman Cherone Louis Gunn, 22, of Rex, Ga.
-Seaman James Rodrick McDaniels, 19, of Norfolk, Va.
-Engineman Second Class Marc Ian Nieto, 24, of Fond du Lac, Wis.
-Electronics Warfare Technician Second Class Ronald Scott Owens, 24, of Vero Beach, Fla.
-Seaman Lakiba Nicole Palmer, 22, of San Diego, Calif.
-Engineman Fireman Joshua Langdon Parlett, 19, of Churchville, Md.
-Fireman Patrick Howard Roy, 19, of Cornwall on Hudson, N.Y.
-Electronics Warfare Technician First Class Kevin Shawn Rux, 30, of Portland, N.D.
-Mess Management Specialist Third Class Ronchester Manangan Santiago, 22, Kingsville, Texas
-Operations Specialist Second Class Timothy Lamont Saunders, 32, of Ringgold, Va.
-Fireman Gary Graham Swenchonis Jr., 26, Rockport, Texas
-Ensign Andrew Triplett, 31, of Macon, Miss.
-Seaman Craig Bryan Wibberley, 19, of Williamsport, Md.
Though it has become painfully obvious that Obama has no regard for our military, and is seemingly incable of recognizing those who have truly served with "honor and distinction," please take a moment to remember these fallen sailors today.