edits May 10
his case file, (photo at right), he suffered from “a non-specific personality disorder” and, per the authorities of his home country, Libya, a history of drug addiction and violence. In March 2011, he was reported as leading or training rebel fighters against that government in his home town of Dernah.
Rod Nordland and Scott Shane: Libyan, Once a Detainee, Is Now a U.S. Ally of Sorts, New York Times, April 24 2011.
He was captured in Pakistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, accused of being a member of the militant Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and sent to Guantánamo — in part because of information provided by Colonel Qaddafi’s government.
“The Libyan Government considers detainee a ‘dangerous man with no qualms about committing terrorist acts,’ ” says the classified 2005 assessment, evidently quoting Libyan intelligence findings, which was obtained by The New York Times. “ ‘He was known as one of the extremist commanders of the Afghan Arabs,’ ” the Libyan information continues, referring to Arab fighters who remained in Afghanistan after the anti-Soviet jihad.
When that Guantánamo assessment was written, the United States was working closely with Colonel Qaddafi’s intelligence service against terrorism. Now, the United States is a leader of the international coalition trying to oust Colonel Qaddafi — and is backing with air power the rebels, including Mr. Qumu.
It's the Libyan government's own fault he was left about to cause trouble. In September 2007, he was transferred from U.S. custody back to Libya, and then released by them in 2008 under a general asylum arrangement. Their liberal reforms nice-making gestures backfired. Now, he is back at home and:
...reportedly a leader of a ragtag band of fighters known as the Darnah Brigade for his birthplace, this shabby port town of 100,000 people in northeast Libya.Nick Allen: Libya: Former Guantánamo detainee is training rebels. Telegraph. April 3 2011.
Rebel recruits in the eastern port city of Derna are being trained by Sufyan Bin Qumu, a Libyan who was arrested following the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, and held at Guantánamo for six years.Nordland and Shane note "Colonel Qaddafi has cited claims about Mr. Qumu’s past in statements blaming Al Qaeda for the entire Libyan uprising." For example, a mostly-ignored Gaddafi speech of March 3 said:
Mr Qumu, 51, a Libyan army veteran, was accused by the US government of working as a truck driver for a company owned by Osama bin Laden, and as an accountant for a charity accused of terrorist links.
“Al Qaeda is infiltrating, brainwashing and recruiting our children … operating from a mosque or a snake hole. Al Qaeda has no demands, they do not negotiate.” [...] He also said that a former Guantanamo inmate was behind anti-government protests and the “brainwashing and training” of young people. “One operative from Guantanamo [has been] executing people: the police, security personnel and other civilians.”That's correct - training is what Mr. bin Qumu was up to. He may also be the origin of Gaddafi's drugs angle. The leader had accused the protesters of being psyched out on illegal drugs and alcohol, and has called this minor senior of theirs a druggie in the past. By the photo above, he does looks a bit like a Muslim Charles Manson. But with the Afghanistan connection, I'm thinking heroin's his bag, not acid. And heroin just isn't the best flash-mob promotion drug.
According to his Wikipedia entry, he was never put through the usual review board and release process, and Amnesty International tried to keep track of bin Qumu after his release, but he's been hard to get ahold of ever since.
In Connection With al-Hasadi
Nick Allen, Telegraph
Abdel Hakim al-Hasidi, a senior Libyan rebel commander in Derna, was also held following the invasion of Afghanistan and handed over to Libyan custody two months later.In retrospect, Libya might have been too soft, in spot anyway. An odd coupling of quotes by Allen:
Both men were said to have been released from prison in Libya in 2008 as part of a reconciliation process with Islamists in the country.
[Hasidi] has also called on foreign governments to supply rebels in Libya with Stinger surface-to-air missiles.Not working together? Nordland and Shane, NYT
Mr Qumu has described the Nato-led bombing in Libya as a "blessing".
In addition to Mr. Qumu, local residents say the Darnah Brigade is led by Abdul-Hakim al-Hasadi, another Libyan thought to be a militant who was in Afghanistan during the Taliban’s rule, when Al Qaeda had training camps there.
Mr. Qumu did not turn up for a promised interview last week, but Mr. Hasadi did, in crumpled fatigues with a light beard and a lazy left eye, perpetually half-closed. He denied that Mr. Qumu was in his group, recently renamed the Martyrs of Abu Salim Brigade.