Saudi 'terrorist rehab resorts' serve as 'recruiting ground' for militants

 © Louie Palu / ZUMAPRESS.com / Global Look Press
They talk and they talk and there is no real action. The fact that they are engaged in terrorism around the world, it is the same thing, Michael Springmann, former head of US visa bureau in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, whistleblower told RT.

According to testimony of Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi, a prisoner at Guantanamo, who is a former Al-Qaeda member of Saudi origin, the Saudi government uses one of its 'terrorist rehab' centers to train terrorists.

The center is meant to help former jihadists abandon their militant ways in a resort-style setting with pools and palm trees. Dozens of Guantanamo detainees have been enrolled in the program.

However, Al-Sharbi said that inmates are often recruited and sent to fight against Shia groups in Yemen or Syria.

RT: Do you think Al-Sharbi’s claims are trustworthy?

Michael Springmann: I think the claims are very trustworthy. This fellow, [Ghassan Abdullah] al-Sharbi, for example, that was quoted in the newspaper article, he was a guy that had been captured in Afghanistan, I think, held in Guantanamo for three years, and never charged with anything. And then finally after a while they came up with some ridiculous thing about known association with bad people. And he has been held there ever since like far too many people from elsewhere in the world. They are being held in Gitmo on the basis of strange things.

But the Saudis, according to the former Iraqi Prime Minister, were charged with having a ‘culture of terror.’ This is a country that has worked hand-in-glove with the US to recruit, train and support terrorists in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets, and they’ve rebranded them from the Mujahideen to now Al- Qaeda and then the latest incarnation is Daesh or ISIS, or whatever you want to call it. But it is the same crowd - according to the former Senator Mike Gravel and former Colonel Tony Shaffer - that we’ve been fighting for years, and it is the same people that grew out of Afghanistan. So the Saudis are in this. This nonsense of giving them jacuzzis, young brides and new cars is crazy. How do you change somebody’s mindset by playing ping pong or having art therapy? 

RT: The Saudis claim that the center helps extremists to rehabilitate and change their mindset. What’s your take on this? Do you think it’s even possible?

MS: … It is amazing. If anything, it would convert me to whatever they want me to convert to, but I think you don’t change somebody’s mindset from being a mass murderer by having him play ping pong. I think this whole thing is just absolute nonsense. The Saudis are doing this to give the impression that they are doing something, which is always good for the American mind. The fact that they are engaged in terrorism around the world, whether it is in Syria, or in Libya, or in what used to be Yugoslavia, it is the same thing. They talk and they talk and they talk, and there is no real action. It is like they are saying they regret the war in Yemen, but in every case you look at it – they say one thing and they do the entire opposite. 

RT: Do you think US intelligence agencies officials have been aware what’s been going on in these so-called ‘“rehabilitation” centers?

MS: Oh, I think so. I know that people in the CIA, the NSA, and Defense Intelligence are not perhaps the brightest bulbs in the socket. But they can’t be that stupid that they don’t know what is going on. The Americans are very deeply involved with the Saudis in Afghanistan, for example. Robert Baer, the former CIA official told me that the Americans wanted to keep back from this, and did such a good job of letting the Saudis do the running, and do the recruiting that they had no idea the Americans were behind the whole deal.

For example, there was a fellow named ‘Badib’ who would fly from the US, he was a Saudi, to Pakistan to deliver money to purchase weapons for the Mujahedeen. And he would arrive with suitcases with millions of dollars in them in freshly printed bills. He would pay off the local officials in the Pakistani government. One hand washes the other, but they try to keep the hands otherwise occupied in their pockets or in gloves, so nobody see can what is happening.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.