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The Cody Blog: The Cody News: Guantanamo, A Pock On Our Society

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Cody News: Guantanamo, A Pock On Our Society

Tale of 5 Muslims: Out of Guantanamo And Into Limbo

June 2, 2006; Page A1
TIRANA, Albania -- After four years in Guantanamo Bay, Abu Bakker Qassim, a former terror suspect cleared last year of having ties to al Qaeda, got word last month that he finally would be set free.

Guantanamo Bay is a shameful, horrific violation of the Geneva Convention. But you know what? That’s beside the point. It is immoral and wrong to imprison people with no representation and no chance at justice.

Guantanamo Bay now holds around 460 detainees. These include four who have been declared "no longer enemy combatants" -- bureaucratic jargon for innocent. About 116 others, though not exonerated, are no longer considered a serious threat or valuable to U.S. intelligence.

On top of it all we’ve got innocent fathers, sons, brothers, and children being held for years even after they’ve been declared outright innocent. Are you frickin’ kidding me?

About a month later, Mr. Qassim and the other exonerated Uighurs were moved to less-severe quarters in nearby Camp Iguana. They could walk around without chains and were allowed to watch nature videos. News broadcasts were banned. Mr. Willett requested permission to send a Uighur-English dictionary and other language materials but was told this was forbidden. Defense Department rules bar inmates from developing any skill, even English, that might be used against the U.S.

Information flow. Education. Those are the best weapon against all forms of crime, including terrorism. Flip It™: Give these men access to every single piece of information they want. Teach them English! Bring them into the civilized world.

Mr. Willett appealed, and a hearing was set for May 8. With the legal pressure mounting, the government stepped up previously fruitless efforts to find the Uighurs a home. U.S. officials at one time considered letting the Uighurs into America, but that option was rejected "at a senior policy level" out of concerns over possible litigation and security, says a senior State Department official.

“At a senior policy level?!” Who?! We should demand accountability. Who made that decision?

Sending the Uighurs back to China was never an option, say U.S. officials. The State Department's annual report on global human rights, released in March, concluded that China had "used counter-terrorism as an excuse for religious repression of Uighur Muslims." It also reported that a Uighur sent back to China from Nepal against his will had been executed. The State Department's latest report on global terrorism, issued in April, now lists the East Turkistan Islamic Movement as a group of "concern."

Yes, China kills dissidents. And the best way to fight that? I suppose, we could take away all access to information and the ability for Chinese people to learn English just like the geniuses at the Defense Department think they should be doing with these innocent men who were wrongfully detained for years at Guantanamo.

Local newspapers splashed their arrival across the front pages. The opposition blasted the government for upsetting China. Two days after the Uighurs landed, Prime Minister Berisha met with Vice President Dick Cheney in Croatia at a gathering of three countries hoping to join NATO. The prime minister said Albania was ready to "pay any price" to join the alliance. Mr. Cheney said he endorsed the entry of Albania, Croatia and Macedonia.

Finally in the last section of the article, the reporter touches on the reality and roots of this shameful pock on the world—it’s all about rich white and rich Asian men’s politics.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I especially like the fact that it now appears one-time enemy combatants are somehow becoming reformed enemy combatants at Guantanamo. Because we can't admit our errors, we're explaining the release of some of the Guantanamo prisoners by saying "they're no longer an enemy combatants." HUH - What, we converted them?! They were when we pulled them in, but they're not any longer? It's ridiculous and disgraceful.

6/26/2006 11:33:00 PM  

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