• The Curious Case of Benjamin Qumu

    April 26, 2011

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Iraq

    Benjamin ButtonAbu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda Bin Qumu has lived an odd life, his own choices and actions constantly crisscrossing with the ever-fickle policies of the US.

    Qumu, the Guardian tells us, started his adult life in Libya as a thug, quickly ending up in jail for ten years for alleged “murder, physical assault, armed assault and distributing narcotics.” The US was in a state of semi-war with Libya at the time, though Qumu was unlikely aware of the changes in the US presidency that took place while he racked up years on the inside.

    He escaped somehow in 1993 and fled to Afghanistan, where, with US weapons and support, he fought the Russians while under the control of the good folks we’d come to know later as the Taliban and al Qaeda. Qumu likely did not know his weapons came from the US, but his existence depended on them.

    Under somewhat murky circumstances as the Afghan franchise closed down, Qumu found his way to Sudan, working for some of the same people he worked with in Afghanistan. Only by the time of his arrest and shipment to Guantanamo in 2001, the US no longer supported those guys. Osama and Sheik Khalid, once spunky revolutionaries comparable to our Founding Fathers and fat with US money, were now evil men. Qumu found himself in the Cuban lockup under US guard.

    History took another turn for Qumu in 2007, when the US and Libya renewed their vows and became diplomatic friends again. As part of the budding romance, Qumu was released from Guantanamo and sent back to Libya. The Libyans promptly threw him in jail, labeling him a “dangerous man with no qualms about committing terrorist acts.” Nonetheless, he was released from Libyan prison in 2008 under an amnesty.

    Now Qumu turns up again, this time helping lead whomever the “rebels” are in Libya, trying to overthrown Gaddafi, with US weapons and assistance. Qumu, once a bad guy, then a good guy, then a bad guy, is now a good guy again in the eyes of the US, practically ready to move in with John “More Blood, Please” McCain.

    Politics makes strange bedfellows indeed.

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