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June 14, 2009

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...cool...

Wait. They can't both be on the right....but they can both be happy. Good for them.

He's just training those fish to be terrorist fish, schooled in the ways of eevil.

There's apparently some pretty serious bedwettery abrewing in vexed Bermuthes. Makes a person embarrassed to be a member of the species.

Now I'm not a prayin' man, but seeing this photo makes me think what a blessing it is to be free.

terrorist fish, schooled

Nicely done.

Here's hoping their fellows will soon share their happy fate.

I like how they're both in middle aged suburban dad weekend uniform.

Menacing.

Check this out: the Uighurs eat ice cream!

As the men venture from the seaside cottage where they temporarily live until they get jobs and figure out next steps, people often come up to shake their hands and wish them well, and the men said they were deeply touched.

...makes me a little teary-eyed.

Great news for Monday. Thanks for posting it.

It's interesting that these folks are getting (at least for one day) some more soft-focus, human-interest treatment in the New York Times, in a way other people who've been released after long detention as innocent victims of the War On Terror haven't received - even the seemingly simple and outrageous cases like that of Khalid El Masri, a German citizen whom the CIA whisked from Macedonia to Afghanistan, tortured, and finally laft stranded and penniless by an Albanian country road, all because his name is similar to an Al Qaeda member's. I don't remember happy pictures of El Masri, or Maher Arar, or anyone else appearing in the Times or other mainstream media after their release.

Don't get me wrong: I think it can only help the chances of rebuilding a just system if the innocent victims of the system's excesses are humanized, I just wonder why it's taken so long, and why it's now happening with these guys.

Maybe it's happening now because the Uighurs, not being Arabs or Afghanis, don't inspire the kneejerk response in average Americans that other released detainees do. Or maybe it's because they're being released at a time when things are a bit calmer and without nearly so much muttering that they're really dangerous terrorists despite their release, as has happened with David Hicks and with the British detainees released from Gitmo. Or maybe - and if this is the case, it could have important implications - it's because some savvy, influential people, perhaps affiliated with the new administration, are conducting a media campaign to humanize the innocent victims of the War On Terror, having seen in that insane 90-6 Senate vote that they need to change public opinion if they hope to reform the rules controlling detainee treatment.

(a slight amendment: I've seen pictures in mainstream media of other people released from Gitmo; what I haven't seen is articles that essentially celebrated their return to and celebration of life and freedom after an extended and unjustified detention.)

For some reason, this column reminds me of Jesus recruiting his disciples at the sea of Gallilee. "I will make you fishers of men."

The United States has enormous military might, but we will also win over people by our enormous capacity for compassion, justice, and our striving for equality. I hope that we will be brave enough to lead first with our values, and not with mere brute strength at the cost of all else. We've seen where that's led us...

I wish these men years of happiness as they lead their lives in freedom.

Guess it's down to me to be the usual dark cloud. This story ran in Canada, in the more liberal of Toronto's major papers, so I doubt very much that anyone connected to the administration has anything to do with it.

Warren Terra's correct that stories that allow the humanity of released detainees to show through might have been a helpful step in the first 100 days of this new regime. Here's another radical idea: prisoners cleared for release at Guantanamo get called by their names, and treated like human beings.

And there are a hundred other small steps that would add up to something significant, none of which have been taken, or are going to be. Because we're still committed to telling ourselves pretty stories about "our enormous capacity for compassion, justice and our striving for equality" while doing whatever it takes to avoid facing up to our crimes.

Nell, as you say, Hilzoy linked a story in the Toronto Star, but there's a similar New York Times story, headlined "Out of Guantánamo, Uighurs Bask in Bermuda", which is what I was mostly responding to. It's not on the front page of the paper edition, and it's actually slipped off of the main stories being featured on the front page of the Times website, but at least for some of the night it was the main featured story on the Times website, with its picture of two ex-detainees swimming the featured picture on the website.

Thanks for that, Warren. I'd just encountered it, as a link on the TPM feed, and was coming back to apologize.

This story's about four months too late, I'd say. Prisoners cleared for release at Guantanamo should have access to the press, to their lawyers, their families, and other visitors if they wish. Obama's unwillingness to take on the existing DoD conditions of detention is just one piece of his unwillingness to take on the larger mindset/propaganda model of the waronterra.

Franz F: speak for yourself. Not for us, not for the Uighurs.

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