WikiLeaks: Saudi King told U.S. to implant Guantanamo inmates with tracking chips
Saudi King Abdullah, in talks with U.S. officials, floated the idea of implanting electronic chips in former Guantanamo Bay inmates to track them after release, the Guardian newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The idea was among several "extraordinary proposals" by Gulf countries in talks with U.S. officials about how to deal with inmates following their release from the detention facility on Cuba, the daily reported, citing U.S. diplomatic messages.
The Guardian is one of a number of publications worldwide to have had early access to some 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.
The newspaper said U.S. officials heard the proposal from King Abdullah at his palace in March this year.
In a discussion with White House counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan about how to deal with detainees, Abdullah interjected: "I've just thought of something."
According to the cables, the king proposed "implanting detainees with an electronic chip containing information about them and allowing their movements to be tracked with Bluetooth. This was done with horses and falcons."
Brennan replied: "Horses don't have good lawyers."
Brennan said such a proposal would face legal hurdles in the United States but he would look into it, the newspaper reported.
In Riyadh on Tuesday, an unnamed Saudi foreign ministry official told state media that Saudi Arabia would not comment on the U.S. diplomatic cables issued by the WikiLeaks website as it was unsure about their reliability.
"Saudi Arabia has no link to these documents or any role in their formulation and does not know about their reliability and would not comment about them," the official said.
Another suggestion on Guantanamo, from Kuwaiti interior minister Sheikh Jaber Khaled al-Sabah in a meeting with a U.S. ambassador in February 2009, was to release detainees into a war zone, the newspaper reported.
The ambassador expressed concern about releasing more Guantanamo detainees to Kuwait, citing Abdullah al-Ajmi, who returned to Kuwait but was reported by the U.S. military to have blown himself up in a suicide attack in Mosul, Iraq, in 2008.
According to the cable, Jaber said: "You know better than I that we cannot deal with these people. I can't detain them ... If they are rotten, they are rotten and the best thing to do is get rid of them. You picked them up in Afghanistan; you should drop them off in Afghanistan, in the middle of the war zone."
The Kuwaiti foreign minister on Wednesday said the comments as reported in the cable were untrue.
"The interior minister has said it is lies," Sheikh Mohammad al-Salem al-Sabah told reporters. "It is impossible that Kuwait abandons its sons...who are unrightfully detained in Guantanamo without trial."
Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have all accepted Guantanamo detainees back into their countries. A minority have resumed violent militant activities, some joining al Qaeda's regional branch, the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
The newspaper said Brennan also held a discussion on Guantanamo with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who offered to take all Yemenis in Guantanamo into the Yemeni prison system.
But the United States, in a cable, expressed scepticism. "Saleh would, in our judgment, be unable to hold returning detainees in jail for any more than a matter of weeks before
public pressure (or the courts) forced their release."
U.S. President Barack Obama promised to close the widely criticised jail set up by his predecessor, George W. Bush, during his first year in office, but the deadline passed in
January 2010 and 174 detainees remain.