Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Uighurs Are Still In Gitmo

Even after a federal court ruled the evidence against the Uighurs being held at Guantanamo Bay was "dubious" and that they should immediately be released, the 17 men are still in shackles. Rather than review the facts which had not been presented and build a stronger case, the US government has done nothing. Rather than release the Uighurs to those in the US who have offered to take them in, most themselves Uighur refugees, the US government has refused. After all, the 17 men are in Gitmo. They must have done something wrong and therefore must be dangerous.

An article in today's NY Times provides an update on the Uighurs' case which reminds us just what the last administration was doing in our name.

The men ended up in American hands in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2001 and 2002, in some cases after the payment of bounties. Their life stories are inexact: hat maker, shoe repairman, typist in the Uighurs’ Turkic language. The evidence against them has been declared dubious by federal courts. But former Bush administration officials said in interviews that there had been no serious effort to clear up the mysteries. ...

The Bush administration conceded last fall that none of the men were enemy combatants. Then the Justice Department argued that they should never be admitted into this country because they “sought to wage terror” in China. ...

...Bush administration officials said that among the Uighur prisoners were three men who had been captured in an active battle zone and a firearms trainer, a Uighur who claimed he had been mistaken for someone else. The Bush administration said the outpost was a training camp run by a Uighur resistance group that was listed by the State Department in 2002 as a terrorist group, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement.

That designation has raised as many questions as it answered. The listing, which came after the 17 men were already prisoners, came at China’s urging at a time when American diplomats were pressing for Beijing’s support for the coming war in Iraq.

The State Department has acknowledged that the Chinese used the terrorist listing to justify a harsh crackdown on Uighur separatists, much like the Beijing government’s better-known policies toward Tibet.
[Emphasis added]

In other words, the Uighurs, victims of the bounty system the US instituted in Afghanistan, were labeled terrorists after they were shipped to Gitmo in order to get China on board for the invasion of Iraq. Releasing them now would have the effect of admitting that the men who have been held for six long years were innocent to begin with and should never have been sent to the prison camp.

Does President Obama have the strength, the political cojones, to correct this "mistake" by releasing the men and allowing them to live in the US with those who are willing to sponsor them? That remains to be seen.

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Blogger Cosa Nostradamus said...

And the Chinese are still at the Treasury auctions. Yuan pro quo.

Sorry, boys. Or, as Dubya so eloquently put it, "WTF is a Wee-jer, anyhoo?"


5:57 AM  

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