« Generals Speaking Out | Main | Remember: It's The Left That's Angry... »

April 17, 2006

Comments

Freedom is on the march!

hilzoy: I've followed the Guantanamo Bay detainment camps pretty closely and have never figured out how they decide to release individuals. I know they have let some individuals go home. Do you have any insight into this mysterious process or is it just as illogical as everything else?

...neither they, nor their lawyers, nor those of us who would dearly love for there to be some explanation of how this state of affairs can be allowed to continue in a nation that supposedly respects the right of habeas corpus and lives under the rule of law, get so much as a single word to help us understand why.

How about ... "Scalito"?

If I had to guess, based on a couple of recent high-profile decisions, I would say that the Supremes are well aware both of the magnitude of the Constitutional power struggle at the heart of this case and of the strong ideological divisions on a Court that includes two very newly-minted members, and as a result either they are being scrupulously -- many might say unreasonably -- attentive to issues of process, or they are already paralyzed by their own internal divisions and there is no hope.

If that's right, then the Uighurs' attorneys overplayed their hand by trying to bypass the appellate-level review, and either the SC decided more or less collegially to sacrifice justice for two men in the near term for the sake of positioning themselves for the very much larger Constitutional Gotterdammerung to come, or the case was just another monkey-wrench in an already essentially dysfunctional institution.

Naturally, between these two bleak alternatives, one would prefer the former. And if it's true, the situation is not without hope -- only without justice in the near term, which is bad enough.

But for this, we must thank the Cheney administration, and its supporters and apologists. This unfortunate situation is no doubt a price worth paying in the defense of ... um ... freedom.

Exercising his perogative to grant these men asylum could be an excellent PR move for Bush, if someone could present it to him in the proper (lese majeste) light.

Karen Hughes, forget about the cross-cultural heart-to-heart of mothers; how about a nice symbolic pardon?

Jackmormon: pardon for what?

They've not been accused, let alone convicted, of a crime.

The Judiciary, now that the Cheney administration has grudgingly permitted discussion of the most elemental legal principles of liberty, has found that they are not even being held legally, and that justice demands their immediate release.

The only crime being committed here is one by the Executive, by the military and its Commander-in-Chief. And I think the power of the pardon conventionally does not extend to pardoning oneself.

That logical absurdity disposed of, naturally Bush could have them released by a simple military order.

But of course, to do so would be to undermine the legal rationale for the existence of Guantanamo as a prison outside the legal system, and by extension the vaunted Article II "powers inherent in the presidency" to do whatever he wants in the name of war.

So I wouldn't hold my breath...

Wait! I know! They could sign a confession of their crimes, and then they could be pardoned as a gesture of magnanimity.

Face would be saved, justice would be served, and the War on Terror could continue without embarrassment.

Jeez, here I had, what, seventy-five years of Stalinist and Maoist criminal jurisprudence staring me in the face, and I couldn't even see the logic of it.

Obviously time for me to stop posting...

Jackmormon and bleh: citizenship would be nice, since we've deprived them of so much.

IntricateHelix: I don't know the general answer to this question. In this specific case, the problem is that they cannot be sent back to China, where they're from, because they would be tortured; the government has been unable to find anyone else who will take them, and we won't either. Thus the district court judge basically had very few options: he couldn't release them into the Guantanamo military base, since in general he can't order enemy nationals to be given access to a military base (or if he can, it would have to be in some very special circumstances that aren't coming to mind just now); he can't grant them asylum or any other form of access to this country; and what else could he do?

The Supreme Court would have had a lot more power here.

But the obvious branch to deal with this is the executive. The court couldn't order them released in the US because it would have trespassed on the rights of the executive. This isn't something the executive itself has to worry about. And I think it's the least we could do.

However, this is just one more bit of evidence that I am not, in fact, running the country.

In this specific case, the problem is that they cannot be sent back to China, where they're from, because they would be tortured.

Like that's stopped them before.

citizenship would be nice, since we've deprived them of so much.

Canadian citizenship would be nicer.

Who they release depends an awful, awful lot on what country they're from.

A related but slightly different question is how they determine whether someone is an "enemy combatant" or not. (But you can be found not to be an enemy combatant and be stuck there, like the Uighurs, and they started releasing people before they began holding "hearings" to determine whether they were enemy combatants or not. Shafiq Rasul, for instance, was released before the Supreme Court decided Rasul v. Bush.)

As far as how they determine whether someone's an enemy combatant or not: they hold a hearing at which the prisoner is assumed to be guilty and expected to prove his innocence without the help of a lawyer, being allowed to see the evidence against him, without any ability to bring in evidence if the tribunal determines that it's not "reasonably available"--in short, with no resemblance at all to an actual hearing. Basically, the prisoner is read a vague summary of the charges, and tells the panel it's not true. Then they open the secret evidence (which they don't even look at before the hearing itself) and assume all of that (no matter how weak and irrelevant and conclusory it is) is true and the prisoner's denials are false.

There are a small handful of exceptions to this: people whom the CSRT actually found to be "no longer enemy combatants." (There is no option to find that "sorry, we got the wrong guy, he never was an enemy combatant"). I don't really know how they managed this except in the Uighurs case. Maybe that got lucky and had passport stamps showing that their accusers were lying, or an unusually good personal representative, or a habeas case that the government preferred to end--I don't know. I can guess what happened in the Uighurs' case, because I read a bunch of their CSRTs. Basically, it seems like a very large group of them--18, 20, something like that; I can't remember the exact #--a large group was captured together, and they all independently told the exact same story. And I think it dawned on the panels that the story was true.

Unfortunately, though, part of the story is that if they are sent back to China they will be tortured or murdered by their government. And so it is illegal for the U.S. government to send them to China, and for whatever reason (presumably the knowledge that these men are not terrorists) the U.S. is going to obey those laws in this case.

(Which is a good thing, by the way, and I think it really is partially motivating the U.S. here even though I know all about our other violations of Article 3 of the CAT. It seems to be the state department making this call, not the CIA. And the Uighurs definitely do say that they prefer to remain in Guantanamo rather than being sent to China.)

Not surprisingly, no other country will have them. Countries don't tend to fall all over themselves to accept refugees in the best of circumstances, and I'm sure that being imprisoned at GTMO as an enemy combatant doesn't help any--there's the fear that maybe they really were terrorists, or that they've been radicalized in prison. I'm sure there's also the perception that the U.S. created this mess and has the responsibility to fix it--if they're really innocent we should be the ones to grant them asylum.

It's also not clear how hard the US is really trying. The leader most likely to offer these men asylum might well be some jerk like Chavez who wants to look benevolent and good and make us look bad--I don't imagine he's been asked.

I also don't think this means the Supreme Court will never take the case. It just means that they will not take the case before the D.C. Circuit rules. The D.C. Circuit panel in this case is more favorable than the one in Al Odah, IIRC, and the Supreme Court may take the case after the D.C. Circuit does.

I would guess part of the motive for this expedited appeal (albeit a small part) is simply making the Supreme Court aware that there are cases like this, which will presumably be relevant to their deliberations over the Detainee Treatment Act. (Harder to base your decision on a false assumption that these are all terrorists and enemy combatants when you know for certain that specific individuals who the government says are not enemy comabtants are stuck there. Hard to swallow the argument that the Graham amendment would give an adequate substitute for habeas when the government claims that it can detain admittedly innocent men forever and no court may ever do anything about it.)

If that was their goal, they succeeded. Breyer--who I thought would be the least solid of the usual Souter-Breyer-Ginsburg-Stevems quartet, and who has a reputation for being very much influenced by factual evidence about the cases before him--brought up the Uighur cases during oral arguments in Hamdan.

Not much of a silver lining, but not nothing.

I'm sure you'll find this ironic Hilzoy, but this is the first place I'd ever read about the Uighurs' unique situation.

I don't really get the "it would outrage China" argument either. We grant asylum to Chinese citizens every day, often on much weaker evidence than this. I couldn't even tell you how many cases in the past year but I am confident that it's in the thousands. Congress specifically amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to single out China's population control methods--forced sterilization and abortion--as persecutory.

These cases are higher profile, but granting these men asylum doesn't make China look any worse than their insistence that they would rather spend the rest of their lives in a US prison camp than be sent back there.

What I had meant to say is that the POTUS should with one statement issue a pardon for whatever-possible-technicalities-who-knows and a hello-welcome-to-the-US visa waver. The first part, while legally unnecessary (and yes, offensive given the lack of charges), might cover the domestic-political flank from the right. The second part would do something for the American image overseas.

As partisan as I am, as worried as I am about Gitmo's legal framework, I'd rather see the Executive do something easy, right, and useful in the propaganda war than see these men rot in prison while waiting for our courts to decorously sort out the Article II wreck.

Jackmormon, how would pardoning "terrorists" provide any cover for the right flank?

Judge James Robertson is the one who resigned from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, supposedly as a protest, right? Was there ever any more to that story? This may belong in the "Generals Speaking Out" thread, but it seems to me it's not much of a protest if he can't (or doesn't, at any rate) make any statement about resigning. All he's done is open a space for someone more subservient to the administration.

I'm confused. If they aren't terrorists and they aren't enemy combatants why are we holding them?

Among the various things I'm worried about, final recourse of appeals being based in Executive whim is high on the list.

A show of mercy from Bush would play well internationally, but our domestic order presumes that such lese majeste measures should not be necessary.

To more clearly address your question, KCinDC: an executive decision on the Uighurs would entrench the Executive's power to decide such cases. Pardoning or granting asylum to them by executive order would bypass all the Constitutional questions that have been raised in this case.

Sebastian:

I'm confused. If they aren't terrorists and they aren't enemy combatants why are we holding them?

The Christian Science Monitor's Warren Richey explains the rationale behind the ongoing detention:

The US government says that if the two men are sent home to the semi-autonomous western region of China they might face human rights abuses, and even torture, at the hands of Chinese authorities. Both men are members of the Uighur minority religious and ethnic group which has been the target of a Chinese government crackdown in recent years. They were captured after being trained with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

No other country has been willing to take them. And the Bush administration refuses to allow them to enter the US, even temporarily, out of fear of establishing a legal precedent that might be used by lawyers for other Guantánamo detainees.

Sebastian,
The short version is that they are Chinese nationals, picked up in Pakistan, whose political affiliations (and perhaps actions) would usually get them executed in China. Should they go to Pakistan, where they were probably illegal migrants, or should they go to China, from which they fled as political dissidents? So where do we release them to?

Strange that no other country will take them. Sounds to me like Bush should just grant them asylum. It would be a pity to keep holding them just because you didn't want to admit to a mistake--though it would be in character.

It would be nice if, say, the Cuban courts could, like, void the Guantanamo treaty on some grounds, or come into the fray from some legal point of order.

Sebastian: I'm confused. If they aren't terrorists and they aren't enemy combatants why are we holding them?

You ask that as if this were all news to you. Or am I missing intended false-naivete-as-snark?

Hilzoy's covered the Uighurs more than once here. A few months ago there was at least one major post at ObWi on the National Journal/Seton Hall articles showing that the overwhelming majority of the men being held at Guantanamo, something on the order of eighty percent, are neither terrorists nor enemy combatants.

Are you confused about why those hundreds of men are being held?

Congress specifically amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to single out China's population control methods--forced sterilization and abortion--as persecutory.

So if these men were fetuses, they could be let in to the US?

I didn't realize that Hakim and Qassim where the same people as talked about before. My bad for being bad with names I guess.

I don’t think it is as simple as made out to be here. China considers the ETIM (East Turkestan Islamic Movement, founded by the Uighurs) to be a terrorist group, responsible for hundreds of bombings the last 15 years. Since 911, China has made the case that ETIM has ties to al-Qaeda. There are of course disagreements amoung “experts”.

U.S. and Chinese officials say it does, but some experts are less sure. The State Department reports that the ETIM has a “close financial relationship” with Osama bin Laden’s terror network. U.S. officials are said to have gathered information about Uighur militants linked to al-Qaeda from a handful of Uighurs captured in Afghanistan and now detained at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay , Cuba. In January 2002, a Chinese government study reported that the ETIM has received money, weapons, and support from al-Qaeda. According to the report, some ETIM militants were trained by al-Qaeda in Afghanistan , crossed back into Xinjiang, and set up terrorist cells there. But while experts agree that hundreds of Uighurs left China to join al-Qaeda and its Taliban hosts in Afghanistan, some China specialists doubt that the ETIM currently has significant ties to bin Laden’s network.

Of course China’s data and case are suspect, given that they are actively supressing such groups.

If this is true (CSM article linked above):

“Both men are members of the Uighur minority religious and ethnic group which has been the target of a Chinese government crackdown in recent years. They were captured after being trained with the Taliban in Afghanistan.”

And there are only a “handful of Uighurs captured in Afghanistan and now detained at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay” then isn’t it possible that these two are part of that handful? Isn’t “being trained with the Taliban in Afghanistan” enough reason to hold them?

I just don’t think it is as simple as saying there is obviously no reason to hold them, or that they should get asylum due to their circumstances. Like it or not, human rights record and all, we do have to worry about relations with China. How would we feel if China released individuals whom we considered to be terrorists? If we want other countries to cooperate with us fighting terrorism, what responsibility do we have in a case like this, where the suspect’s home nation makes a case that they belong to a terrorist group and we have at least provisionally accepted that the group is a terrorist organization?

Frankly, if this is true:
“being trained with the Taliban in Afghanistan”

that is enough for me.

But how do we reconcile the military saying:
“they are neither terrorists nor "enemy combatants."”
As well as:
“being trained with the Taliban in Afghanistan”

Does the Taliban offer an undergraduate program in agriculture we don’t know about? What does one train for with the Taliban? Do we accept that people who trained to be a terrorist but were not caught red-handed performing an act of terrorism are really “neither terrorists nor enemy combatants"?

It just still seems like there is more we do not know in this case.

Here is the thing that I have always wondered. We know that what is happening is illegal. Shouldn't someone be prosecuted for said illegal action? Is there anyone to prosecute? I just find it striking that we have a case where an action is ruled by a court to be illegal but then is also not punished and, from the looks of things, not punishable.

OCSteve: Do we accept that people who trained to be a terrorist but were not caught red-handed performing an act of terrorism are really “neither terrorists nor enemy combatants"?

I guess it depends whether you believe in justice for all, or only justice for some.

You believe that some people deserve to be imprisoned for life without any evidence that they are guilty of any crime, and in that "some people" you include Uighurs kidnapped in Afghanistan and sold to the US for cash: your vision of justice is "justice for some". That's not my vision of justice.

"To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice."

OCSteve: my understanding is that the 'training' consisted of learning how to use a rifle (a skill that all sorts of people have), and spending a lot of time digging latrines. Also, and here I'm going on memory, that it's not at all clear that it was training 'with' the Taliban, as opposed to: in a camp that the Taliban allowed to exist. Though here I could be wrong, and alas don't have time to check.

I can see why they wouldn't take it. They probably feel this is a case that'll have a political resolution that doesn't require them making a broad or narrow finding that either widens or narrows the scope of non-American rights in Gitmo. That a travesty of justice is being committed is, of course, irrelevant.

Based on everything I have read about this case, it seems likely that these two individuals are guilty of plotting insurrection in Sinkiang (sorry, never got the hang of Pinyin spelling) and travelled to Afghanistan to obtain training for that purpose (even if it was just shooting rifles and digging latrines). No nation on Earth recognizes an independent East Turkestan. I'm with OCSteve on this one. How would we feel if the Chinese gave asylum to people we considered terrorists?

ThirdGorchBro: How would we feel if the Chinese gave asylum to people we considered terrorists?

Okay, try this on for size: an American "pro-lifer", travelling in China, is kidnapped by Afghan guerrillas and sold to the Chinese government. The government locks him up in one of their prison camps, claiming that they have reason to believe he is a member of a violent group in the US which blows up or sets fire to health clinics. They can bring no evidence that the man is a member of any such group, but they point to his outspoken "pro-life" views and claim this is evidence enough that he's probably a sympathizer and that he was sold to them by Afghans who say he had been at a terrorist training camp. And besides, they have his confession, obtained after some months imprisonment, which claims that he not only wants to blow up health clinics, he also wants to overthrow the US government and spread anthrax in the White House.

How would you feel about that? Supportive of the Chinese government's right to hold US citizens without trial? After all, if he is a terrorist, he deserves to be imprisoned for life, right? And if the Chinese government says they believe he's a threat, they have a reputation for honest dealing second only to the Bush administration, and they must be telling the truth, even if they have no evidence that will actually stand up in court.

Seriously, 3rdGorchBro, how would you feel?

Okay, try this on for size: an American "pro-lifer", travelling in China, is kidnapped by Afghan guerrillas and sold to the Chinese government.

That should have been "travelling in Afghanistan", I guess (that's the trouble with imaginary itineraries, it's hard to keep track of where you aren't).

Jes- Cmon "they have a reputation for honest dealing second only to the Bush administration" No way the Chinese government has a worse reputation for honesty than the Bush administration. I know for a fact that there are people the Chinese government often tells the truth.

Jes, I'm not sure that analogy holds, since the original reason they were turned over to the US government in the first place was that they were accused of being al-Qaeda. This hypothetical clinic-bomber probably wouldn't be sold to the Chinese, anyway, unless he was also being accused of plotting to blow up abortion clinics in China.

But for debate's sake, I'll play along. What would I want? I would want this individual turned over to the United States, so that we could conduct our own investigation and, if necessary, trial.

In the case of the two Uighurs, there are no easy solutions. I do not deny that we done these men an injustice by holding them for years when they (apparently) never had any designs against the US. I do not deny that they would most likely be tortured and executed without pretense of a fair trial if they are returned to China. But it doesn't necessarily follow that we owe them asylum, either.

If I was forced to decide their fate, I'd probably hand them over to China. Maybe that makes me a bad person, but there's your answer.

A military tribunal has already decided that these guys aren't enemy combatants, right? Why the heck do we think we can relitigate that in a comments section?

Either we have a legal basis to incarcerate people or we let them go. The fact that someone can come up with a good idea why it might be helpful to keep them incarcerated is no substitute for an actual legal process.

3rdGorchBro: since the original reason they were turned over to the US government in the first place was that they were accused of being al-Qaeda.

No: the original reason they were turned over to the US government in the first place was because the US government was offering a bounty of $5000 per al-Qaeda terrorist or Taliban fighter. Read Hilzoy's first post. Naturally the bounty hunter who turned them over to the US government claimed they were al-Qaeda: if he'd claimed anything else, he wouldn't have got the $5K.

I would want this individual turned over to the United States, so that we could conduct our own investigation and, if necessary, trial.

Why? You're arguing that even though investigation has proved there is no evidence that can be used to bring these Uighars to trial, they should still be detained.

Therefore, why shouldn't the Chinese government be allowed to continue to detain this imagined American even if investigation proves there is no evidence to bring him to trial?

If I was forced to decide their fate, I'd probably hand them over to China. Maybe that makes me a bad person, but there's your answer.

Well, it makes you a person who believes that international law can be violated when you feel like it, and that justice isn't for everyone. Whether that makes you a bad person or not, is up to you to decide.

A military tribunal has already decided that these guys aren't enemy combatants, right? Why the heck do we think we can relitigate that in a comments section?
When the military lets people go, it's obviously because they're forced to by bomb-hugging hippies. Their hands are tied, you see. If suspects weren't guilty, they wouldn't be suspects, would they?

OCSteve: my understanding is that the 'training' consisted of learning how to use a rifle (a skill that all sorts of people have), and spending a lot of time digging latrines. Also, and here I'm going on memory, that it's not at all clear that it was training 'with' the Taliban, as opposed to: in a camp that the Taliban allowed to exist.

I went with ‘training’ based on your 12/23 post and the linked UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA decision:

These petitioners are Chinese nationals who received military training in Afghanistan under the Taliban. China is keenly interested in their return. An order requiring their release into the United States–-even into some kind of parole “bubble,” some legal-fictional status in which they would be here but would not have been “admitted”–-would have national security and diplomatic implications beyond the competence or the authority of this Court.

So it is acknowledged they received military training from the Taliban. Military training consists of more than firing a rifle. When the training is geared towards guerilla action more than normal military operations, it is also know as terrorist training.

“experts agree that hundreds of Uighurs left China to join al-Qaeda and its Taliban hosts in Afghanistan”

China considers them to be terrorists, and the US has agreed to consider them (ETIM) a terrorist organization.

So it seems pretty clear that these two were terrorists in training. Possibly we decided not to continue to classify them as terrorists because their intent was to terrorize China, not us. Well, that is how we operated for years right? But now we are supposed to consider a terrorist a terrorist and expect other nations to do the same.

China wants them back. They would rather stay at Gitmo then go back to China for obvious reasons. We have not been able to find another country to shelter them, and giving them asylum in the US is plain nuts.

What is left? Throw them out and tell them to make it as best they can as illegals in Cuba?

Either we have a legal basis to incarcerate people or we let them go.

Again – fine. I won’t say kick ‘em out and let them make their own way. I also won’t say they were detained improperly initially. But since they were reclassified, they have been in this ‘wrap up’ status, and there does not seem to be any good answer. Should they be put on the next plane back to China?

What would happen if we were delivered some Chetznian ‘rebels’ caught training with the Taliban? Russia would certainly want them. Would we give them back to the Russians? I think we would. How is this different?

Well, it makes you a person who believes that international law can be violated when you feel like it

But what is the applicable international law here? Actually, let's step back further. What is the applicable US law? I know US law (usually) requires that we offer asylum to anyone from Cuba who makes it ashore. But as OCSteve noted, these two are Chinese nationals. What are US laws and/or policies regarding asylum requests from Chinese? Should we equate these two with the Tiananmen Square protestors?

And what does international law say about extraditing accused terrorists? Does it make provisions for refusing extradition to countries that have poor human rights records? I am asking in all seriousness, because IANAL.

ThirdGorchBro: But what is the applicable international law here?

Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Article 3.1: that covers why it's illegal under international law to hand these Uighars the US has bought over to China to be tortured. You say you'd do it, if it was up to you: and of course, the Bush administration have broken this Convention themselves quite frequently.

However, it may make a difference that past breaches by the Bush administration of this Convention were done covertly - it was not publicly known that prisoners had been sent to countries where they would be tortured until after the prisoners had been sent there - whereas if these Uighars are handed over to China, it will be as public a breach of the Convention against torture as Guantanamo Bay was and is a public breach of the Geneva Conventions.

What would happen if we were delivered some Chetznian ‘rebels’ caught training with the Taliban? Russia would certainly want them. Would we give them back to the Russians? I think we would. How is this different?

The point is, it's the duty of the Executive Branch to make this call, one way or the other. They're not supposed to just ignore the issue and let people remain incarcerated indefinitely just because it's inconvenient to figure out where to release them.

what does international law say about extraditing accused terrorists?

Has China even requested that the men be extradited?

And what does international law say about extraditing accused terrorists?

Well, leaving aside the issue of torture for the moment, wiki has a good article on extradition. The US and China do not have an extradition treaty with each other, so if China were to apply for extradition for these Uighars, the US could legally refuse both on the grounds of the Convention against torture and on the grounds that there is no extradition treaty.

However, supposing that China were not likely to torture the Uighars, and supposing that the US had an extradition treaty with China, according to wiki, generally, an extradition treaty requires that a country seeking extradition be able to show that there exists a prima facie case against the individual sought.

As the whole issue with the Uighars is that the US government cannot show that it has a prima facie case against them, it seems doubtful that China could do so.

Has China even requested that the men be extradited?

Based on the DC District Court decision hilzoy linked in an earlier post:

China is keenly interested in their return. An order requiring their release into the United States–-even into some kind of parole “bubble,” some legal-fictional status in which they would be here but would not have been “admitted”–-would have national security and diplomatic implications beyond the competence or the authority of this Court.

Maybe a bad assumption on my part, but I assumed that the judge has specific knowledge about this. “China is keenly interested in their return” plus his implication that releasing them “would have … diplomatic implications beyond the competence or the authority of this Court”.

"“China is keenly interested in their return” plus his implication that releasing them “would have … diplomatic implications beyond the competence or the authority of this Court”"

It sounds like they are interested, but can't request extradition. The diplomatic implications are due to the fact that China is basically claiming they are terrorists.

It is an interesting bind. Let's say they are terrorists against China. We can't hand them over (Torture Convention) but we shouldn't let them go free (Terrorists).

Sebastian: Let's say they are terrorists against China. We can't hand them over (Torture Convention) but we shouldn't let them go free (Terrorists).

It's only a bind because of the assumption being made by 3rdGorchBro, OCSteve, and you, that accusation by itself is sufficient to prove guilt.

"It's only a bind because of the assumption being made by 3rdGorchBro, OCSteve, and you, that accusation by itself is sufficient to prove guilt."

Not entirely. We don't have to hold them. We don't have to accept them into the US (and probably don't want to if we suspect they are terrorists). We can't give them to China. Should we send them to the UK?

"These petitioners are Chinese nationals who received military training in Afghanistan under the Taliban"

could mean

"These petitioners are Chinese nationals who received military training in Afghanistan [in a camp operated by] the Taliban".

It could also quite plausibly mean

"These petitioners are Chinese nationals who received military training in Afghanistan [while that country was run by] the Taliban".

I have read a whole bunch of the Uighurs CSRTs. As I've said, they tell the same story, and part of that story was: it wasn't a Taliban training camp. It wasn't an Al Qaeda camp. We never met any Taliban. We know this because there weren't Afghans there, only Uighurs. We've barely heard of Al Qaeda. We have no problem with the United States.

The CSRTs apparently believed that story.

Something that it is crucial to understand about Taliban Afghanistan: it was a horrible government in ways I trust I don't need to enumerate. They harbored al Qaida. It was also a place where a Muslim who was in danger from his own government could go and find a place to sleep and food, without very many questions asked.

I would say, based on what I've read, that that was the primary motivation here. Actually aking up arms against China was secondary and extremely hypothetical, as they surely knew that it would be suicidal.

And really, terrorism? I am not particularly sympathetic to comparisons of terrorists to the founding fathers, but in this particular case....If these guys are terrorists for digging latrines and getting rifle training for a hypothetical future independence struggle in which they hypothetically wouldn't wear uniforms, what were the original minutemen? The Uighurs have much more compelling reasons to want independence from China than the colonists did from England. Which isn't to say that I think the attempt would turn out well on about 100 levels, but to call people terrorists on this evidence expands the definition to the point of uselessness.

Sebastian--
U.S. law actually provides for that situation. You are eligible for something called deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture. You may not be sent to the country that will torture you. You may be sent to another country, or detained in immigration custody in the U.S. If the government thinks the odds of torture in your country has dropped under 50%, it can, at any time, ask the immigration judge (or whichever official is deciding) to reopen your case.

As far as I can tell, these guys are eligible not only for this fairly crappy form of relief, but also for withholding of removal under the CAT, and arguably also for asylum and withholding of removal under the INA.

The bars to withholding of removal under the CAT are:
1) Commission of particularly serious crime while in the U.S.; (nope)
2) Commission of a serious non-political crime in another country prior to entry in the U.S.; (I've seen no evidence of this)
3) Participation in persecution of others; (I've seen no evidence of this)
4) If there are reasonable grounds for regarding the applicant as a danger to the security of the U.S.; (the CSRT thought not)
5) Terrorism. (the CSRT thought not).

Also, here is the option available to the district judge: order an end to their illegal detention without specifying how it is to be accomplished.

Judge Robertson said it was impossible to accomplish without admitting the men into the United States, and he can't order the President to admit them.

First, it's not necessarily impossible--he's taking the government's word for it that they're trying as hard as possible to get another government to accept them. Given the government's track record in this case, I don't know why he does this.

Second, even if it were really impossible, it's not actually that unusual for courts to enjoin the government to do something impossible. I studied this precise issue for an environmental nonprofit once: an environmental statute orders an agency to do something by X date. Will a court order an agency to obey the law even if it is impossible to meet the deadline? Even if Congress has also cut off the agency's funds so that it is impossible to follow X statutory command?

In general, a court will. They won't hold the agency in contempt for violating the injunction, but they will issue the injunction. I think they recognize that an injunction influences the compromise settlement and the negotiations even if it cannot be enforced through the contempt power, and the party who has the law on its side deserves that much.

Sebastian: Not entirely. We don't have to hold them. We don't have to accept them into the US (and probably don't want to if we suspect they are terrorists).

Well, given that the US effectively paid for them to be kidnapped, and has held them illegally now for years, actually I think the US does have a moral obligation to accept them, if the US can't persuade any other country to take them in.

Especially given the US has no evidence that they are terrorists. None at all.

Followup: I don't doubt that you will not respond to Katherine's more detailed legal arguments, because you tend to avoid doing so, but the simple issue is:

The US is directly and inarguably responsible for the plight of these men, from the bounty paid to their kidnappers onwards. Your argument appears to be, Sebastian, that the US shouldn't have to bear the consequences of its actions. Justify.

Greetings from America's Tropical Gulag Paradise! Just a quick note, GTMO dial up being what it is.

The only basis ever offered for holding people without trial is that they are enemy combatants engaged in hostilities against the United States or its allies. Where you have someone accused of engaging in (or wanting to engage in) hostilities against some country not allied to the US, surely you have to either try them for some crime, or let them go. If there is any inherent Article II power to hold anyone, it can only apply to people we are at war with -- not to just anyone someone can think of a reason to hold. Or we can just completely give up the nation of laws thing, and say that anyone the government thinks can be held can be held.

(I'm not sure, btw, that the military training of the Uyghurs is conceded. In the posture of the case, the prisoner would agree for sake of argument only that everything the government says is true, and contend that they still should be released. And, it's important to remember that the Taliban did have an undergraduate program in agriculture. I don't know these guys' facts, or those of the other NECs, but everyone knows that there are cases of mistaken identity/private vengeance denunciation in the prison).

The attempt to get the Supreme Court to take the case early was always a long shot, imo, but one worth taking. Because of the way the schedule works, even if the Uyghurs win at the Circuit, the government will appeal, and that may take until July 2007 to be resolved.

Katherine, I should be clear. I think it is fully possible that we can't prove to a criminal standard that these guys are terrorists. I also fully believe that the procedures they are being held under are crappy. I also believe that in this particular case, better procedures are likely to leave them in some sort of incarceration anyway. Asylum not being a positive right, they are going to be stuck behind bars so long as we have them. That is crappy, though significantly less crappy than sending them to China to be tortured and executed. I think the case is important in that it shouldn't let people be held indefinitely without a procedure of some sort. That isn't a good idea. But we should realize that if they were in the normal asylum procedure they would probably still be spending years in a jail.

"Where you have someone accused of engaging in (or wanting to engage in) hostilities against some country not allied to the US, surely you have to either try them for some crime, or let them go."

Yes, but the problem is that the normal procedure would be to let them go in China, which we ought not do.

Okay, Sebastian, though I don't quite get your caution. "Fully possible that we couldn't prove to a criminal standard that these guys are terrorists"? According to the CSRT, they HAVE demonstrated that--under an incredibly broad definition of "enemy combatant" and without the presumption of innocence, the help of a lawyer, the right to subpoena witnesses and documents, the right to see the evidence against them and confront withnesses against them.

It seems to me you said: "assume for the sake of argument that these are terrorists, what would our immigration laws say", and then just all of sudden, you assumed--without any basis at all and contrary to the CSRT--that that assumption was actually true.

You also seem to be confused about my explanation of the immigration laws.

Asylum is discretionary. Withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture and the INA are NOT discretionary. If you are more likely than not to be tortured in your country, and none of the statutory bars I listed above apply, which you've assumed rather than arguing or proving in any way, you get withholding of removal. Unlike asylum, that doesn't get you a green card, but it does get you legally in the United States & out of prison.

No, the normal procedure is to open the front door of the jail and let them walk out.

IMO, they should be given asylum in the US, Canada, Turkey, or Germany, and I'm sorry that none of our friends is stepping up to help us out with this.

And Sebastian, they're not being held under a crappy procedure. They're not being held under any procedure at all -- the only procedures they've ever had said to let them go.

I'm not sure I can say how I know that their military training was limited to learning to use a rifle, but I do. It may be in publicly available affadavits; I'll look. On checking, neither al Qaeda nor the Taliban were present at their camp.

If learning to use a rifle makes you a terrorist, then I became a terrorist at summer camp, when I was around seven.

CharleyCarp: IMO, they should be given asylum in the US, Canada, Turkey, or Germany, and I'm sorry that none of our friends is stepping up to help us out with this.

Since Sebastian appears unlikely to respond to my query: why should Canada, Turkey, or Germany help the US out with this? Granted it would be better for the Uighars if one of these countries did volunteer to help the US avoid the consequences of its own actions, still, the decision to pay bounties to have people kidnapped for the US gulag was entirely American, and it's hard to see why the US shouldn't have to deal with it all by itself, or why any other country should step up to help the US out. (Conceded again that it would be better for the Uighars if some country did.)

Sebastian, is it then your view that once someone has been kidnapped by the US they have to stay in jail forever?

Why should Canada, Germany, or Turkey help out? Because someone has to be the grown-up, and we seem to be completely incapable. The UK has some stepping up to do too, but it's at least within the realm of possibility . . .

Oddly enough, considering i'm now a land use lawyer, as a law student I litigated the Constitutional ability of the US to detain an excludable alien pending deportation when the deportation was not likely to occur in the near future. The core of the argument was that (a) the Constitution applied to all persons within the jurisdiction of the court; and (b) that at some point permissible detention turned into prohibited punishment if the executive was unable to set a date for the termination of detention. I lost 3-0 in the 9th circuit and the Supes denied cert. (Alvarez-Mendez v. Stock, 9th Cir. 1991?1992?)

the particular case arose from the 1980 Mariel boatlift. A number of Cubans could not adjust to US society and ended up committing crimes, some quite serious. Mr. Alvarez-Mendez was found guilty of felony murder, but served only 3 years. (I have suspected, but could never prove, that the State of Florida deliberately sentenced Mariel Cubans to very low prison terms, with the understanding that they would be immediately picked up by the INS. Essentially Florida federalized its Cuban prisoner problem.)

While I haven't cracked an immigration case in 12 years, I have a vague memory of reading that the law on the indefinite detention of Mariel Cubans has changed, but that it was as a result of statutory changes.

the short answer to the problem with the Uighurs is that the court has the power to order the executive to change the terms of the detention so that it no longer constitutes punishment. The govt can then come up with creative ways to allow the Uighurs enough freedom to satisfy the court while still being able to lay hands on them if a suitable country of destination is found.

Here, by the way, is the State Department's list of designated foreign terrorist organizations. Unless I'm missing something ETIM is not on there. (I don't know if any of these people are actually members of ETIM, either.)

Fun fact from reading CSRTs by the way: there is an Islamist insurgent group in the Phillipines called the Moro-Islamic Liberation Front. Abbreviated, of course, as MILF.

I've been cruising through various documents, but non-legal me can't find what I want. I did, however, find that Brig. Gen. Hood, commander of JTF-GTMO, writing an affadavit for the government, describes the camp as "provided by the Taliban", not "a camp where you train to be a Taliban member", "a camp where you train with the Taliban", or any such closer connection. I would have thought that more or less any camp in Afghanistan would have been "provided by the Taliban".

the normal procedure is to open the front door of the jail and let them walk out

Of course since there is a mine field around gitmo that could be a dangerous walk. It would be interesting though to see how Cuba handled the problem if they somehow made it.


Here's another one of the innocents that have been defended here.

Turns out he was a liar.

http://www.tampatrib.com/MGBRXQWT5ME.html

Teeto: I just googled 'Al Arian' and 'Obsidian Wings', and found only two mentions of al-Arian, neither of which were in the posts (I didn't read through the comments to see who brought him up.) Can you point us to where we defended him?

"It seems to me you said: "assume for the sake of argument that these are terrorists, what would our immigration laws say", and then just all of sudden, you assumed--without any basis at all and contrary to the CSRT--that that assumption was actually true."

No I'm not assuming that at all. I'm assuming that you do not (and indeed should not) have to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that they committed a crime in order to not let them roam free in the United States.

"the short answer to the problem with the Uighurs is that the court has the power to order the executive to change the terms of the detention so that it no longer constitutes punishment."

I'm ok with that, I'm just pointing out that even given better procedures it is quite possible that they will end up detained essentially indefinitely.

Sebastian, is it then your view that once someone has been kidnapped by the US they have to stay in jail forever?

Jes, is it your experience that this kind of belligerent straw-manning is in any way productive at any level beyond personal catharsis?

Could you please explain which of the bars to withholding of removal you think applies and why?

It would probably help to quote the relevant section of the INA-these are the bars to withholding of removal under both the INA and the CAT:

(i) the alien ordered, incited, assisted, or otherwise participated in the persecution of an individual because of the individual's race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion;

(ii) the alien, having been convicted by a final judgment of a particularly serious crime, is a danger to the community of the United States;

(iii) there are serious reasons to believe that the alien committed a serious nonpolitical crime outside the United States before the alien arrived in the United States; or

(iv) there are reasonable grounds to believe that the alien is a danger to the security of the United States.

(See 8 USC § 241(b)(3), 8 CFR § 208.16(d).)

#4 is the only one that seems even potentially applicable, and I don't think it works given the CSRT.

If learning to use a rifle makes you a terrorist, then I became a terrorist at summer camp, when I was around seven.

Tomorrow, on LGF and Powerline: "Liberal blogger Hilzoy admits to being a terrorist!"

OK, you guys have forced me to reconsider the idea of sending them back to China. Thanks Jes for the cites.

"there are reasonable grounds to believe that the alien is a danger to the security of the United States."

Reasonable grounds is a hugely different standard than beyond reasonable doubt. I'm not so deeply immersed in this case to give a quick judgment about "reasonable grounds". But I am pointing out that contra the Jesurgislac style

1) a person picked up in Afghanistan who

2) would be subject to torture in another country if released there and who

3) cannot be proven to normal criminal standards to have committed a crime

nevertheless might be properly detained indefinitely.

Now I am most certainly not ok with the current non-procedure of determining reasonable grounds to believe that the alien is a danger to the security of the United States for prisoners in Gitmo. But I am definitely ok with it not being anything close to a criminal proceeding.

By the way, Sebastian, fun fact: you see the one about "particularly serious crimes"? The Attorney General takes the position that any conviction of any drug trafficking offense is a particular serious crime that bars you from all relief except deferral of removal under the CAT>

Therefore, an 18 year old convicted who (on the advice of a crappy public defender) pleads nolo contendere to possession of 20 grams of marijuana with intent to distribute, and gets a suspended sentence, is entitled to exactly the same protection under our asylum/refugee/anti-torture laws as Ayman al-Zawahiri would be if we captured him in New York tomorrow: he can stay in immigration detention forever, or he can take his chances with the prisons in his home country.

In general, I think deferral of removal is a good thing, as you need some sort of protection if you're really going to impose an absolute ban on sending people to be tortured. But indefinite detention is a genuinely awful thing, and it should be reserved for genuinely awful or dangerous people. And that goes triple for people who are picked up neither in the United States nor by US troops on any battlefield, but who are sold to us for $5000 from some bounty hunter in Pakistan.

It's not clear to me that the immigration laws would get you legally in the clear even assuming there are "reasonable grounds" to believe someone is a threat, because if they are not actually enemy combatants it was not legal for us to take them into custody in the first place. The immigration laws don't provide a legal basis for rounding up people in Pakistan or basically kidnapping them from other countries.

Say we detain some dirt farmer, a refugee from Uzbekistan who would be tortured if sent back, who has never committed any crime or fought against US forces at all, and was not an enemy comabtant, but is embittered and radicalized in GTMO to the point where there are reasonable grounds to fear admitting him to the US. Is that legal?
I don't think it is.

"Say we detain some dirt farmer, a refugee from Uzbekistan who would be tortured if sent back, who has never committed any crime or fought against US forces at all, and was not an enemy comabtant, but is embittered and radicalized in GTMO to the point where there are reasonable grounds to fear admitting him to the US. Is that legal?"

Like many deeply unfortunate things, that would be legal.

"Therefore, an 18 year old convicted who (on the advice of a crappy public defender) pleads nolo contendere to possession of 20 grams of marijuana with intent to distribute, and gets a suspended sentence, is entitled to exactly the same protection under our asylum/refugee/anti-torture laws as Ayman al-Zawahiri would be if we captured him in New York tomorrow: he can stay in immigration detention forever, or he can take his chances with the prisons in his home country."

I'm not arguing that the asylum system is perfect. I'm arguing that if we can do that over something so stupid as drugs--and we can--we should certainly be able to that over concerns about terrorism.

I don't think so. Don't just assume I'm saying it's illegal because it's unfortunate--what's the legal basis for detaining him? The immigration laws aren't it.

He's not an enemy combatant, he hasn't lifted a finger against us, he's never sought entry into the United States, we just have vague but reasonable fears. What fears there are, are our fault. The war in Afghanistan is long over, and he didn't fight in it. What is the legal basis for detention here? There isn't one.

I guess your argument is that by asking us not to send him to Uzbekistan, he effectively puts himself under the jurisdiction of our immigration laws? I don't buy this. He's only in this situation because we put him there, and he's perfectly content to go back to Afghanistan, or a number of other countries.

Under your theory, we could legally kidnap the entire population of Turkestan and Uzbekistan tomorrow, stick them in Guantanamo, accuse them of being enemy combatants, have that proven false, and detain them for the rest of their lives. Does that sound right to you?

What you might have, assuming no other country will take this hypothetical dirt farmer and for some reason we cannot follow the former S.O.P. of releasing civilians at the point of capture, is an illegal situation for which there is no remedy (not just no remedy a court can order, but no remedy). But that's not the same thing as it being legal.

Fear is Freedom.

and

Freedom is on the march!

As for the drug thing--I suspected you would make that argument, that it somehow justifies the situation with the Uighurs, but it's a crappy one. One stupid policy that screws over people who doesn't deserve it is not an argument for another stupid policy that screws over people who don't deserve it. (This is why I don't like the automatic assumption on the left that the State Department's concern about them being tortured is fake--that we ignored the CAT in Arar's case is not an argument for ignoring it again.)

I am fine with the standards in the immigration law if: 1) they are applied rigorously against people where there is actually good evidence that they are actually dangerous, and 2) we recognize that we can't just kidnap foreigners abroad or buy them from bounty hunters abroad and imprison them for the rest of their lives if they fall into any of those categories. Those are for people seeking admission into the United States. They might provide a legal basis for denying someone the right to live freely in the United States and for detaining them here, but they're not some sort of worldwide arrest warrant and they don't retroactively legalize illegal detention.

"I guess your argument is that by asking us not to send him to Uzbekistan, he effectively puts himself under the jurisdiction of our immigration laws? I don't buy this. He's only in this situation because we put him there, and he's perfectly content to go back to Afghanistan, or a number of other countries."

If Afghanistan will take him great. If we have reasonable fears that he will damage the United States we absolutely should not let him in to the United States.

"As for the drug thing--I suspected you would make that argument, that it somehow justifies the situation with the Uighurs, but it's a crappy one."

What is this justify? My whole point is that they aren't really parallel cases in that the security case is vastly stronger. If we can keep people out of the US for something as trivial as drug possession we absolutely definitely 100% can keep people out over reasonable fears that they endanger US security. How could it possibly be otherwise? I would gladly argue against the drug case and still be for the US security case.

"we recognize that we can't just kidnap foreigners abroad or buy them from bounty hunters abroad and imprison them for the rest of their lives if they fall into any of those categories."

Let me restate my position because I don't think I'm being clear enough.

If they are detained for whatever reason

AND
If they cannot be sent back to their home country for whatever reason

AND

If no other country will take them

AND

If it is reasonable to believe that if released in the US they will endanger the security of the US

THEN

We should continue to detain them until the time comes that one of the above conditions is not true.

Maybe we should, but I don't think it would be legal.

You can get yourself into situations where, although it was once entirely possible to both uphold the law and protect the country, your initial actions make it impossible to do both.

Another example of this is the high level detainees at the black sites--I worry more and more that there's never going to be a legal way to deal with KSM et. al. because we are so thoroughly tainting the evidence against them.

It's not going to be easy to clean up this mess. It's not at all easy to figure out what the best policies are, and politically it's extremely high-risk-low-reward. I'm afraid that future presidents who would never have started these policies will end up continuing them for that reason.

To be super-clear, I don't think the current procedures (or really vacuum of implemented procedures) is a good way of handling things. The "reasonably believe they will endanger US security" bit should mean what it says, not just be subject to Administrative edict.

Frank: I know for a fact that there are people the Chinese government often tells the truth.

Name three. ;}

Katherine: Fun fact from reading CSRTs by the way: there is an Islamist insurgent group in the Phillipines called the Moro-Islamic Liberation Front. Abbreviated, of course, as MILF.

And since it's been around a while (it was an offshoot of the original MNLF), those handful of us who specialize on the Philippines knew this acronym well before we ever heard the now more-popular version. Imagine our confusion.


Anarch: Jes, is it your experience that this kind of belligerent straw-manning is in any way productive at any level beyond personal catharsis?

Belligerent yes: straw-man, no. Sebastian restated his belief (here) that it's legal for the US to have people kidnapped and then detain them indefinitely.

And - productive? Sebastian keeps skipping over the point that these Uighars are in detention because they were kidnapped. This is the key point in all discussions about the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere: their continued detention is justified because they are imprisoned already, as if it was irrelevant how they came to be in prison. Once they are jailed they are presumed to be guilty - of something. Yet many of those taken in Afghanistan or Pakistan were kidnapped by bounty hunters and sold to the US for so much per head. They are in jail because someone wanted the money the US was giving out to anyone who brought in a "Taliban fighter" (and any Afghan man could be named that) or an "al-Qaeda terrorist" (and any non-Afghan could be named that).

The US kidnapped people, or had them kidnapped, and is now claiming that it owes these people no responsibility for having had them kidnapped and illegally imprisoned for years: which irresponsible attitide Sebastian appears to be defending on the grounds that once someone has been kidnapped and jailed by the US, they might present a threat to the US.

ThirdGorchBro: OK, you guys have forced me to reconsider the idea of sending them back to China. Thanks Jes for the cites.

You're welcome.

Like Jes's style or not as you will, she has a point. No one aspect of these detentions exists in a vacuum, least of all the fact that these men (like many others in Gitmo) were kidnapped at our behest. We have mistakenly stolen years of their lives away and we owe them every effort at giving their lives back to them. If our having illegally detained them has radicalized them, that is our fault and is a consequence we're going to have to suck up and deal with as we hand them their clothes and apologize profusely for what we've done to them. If no other country will take them, then we owe them a country to call home: ours. By all means, keep tabs on them, ensure they don't pose a threat, but give them their lives back.

That is the only moral thing to do here, the only way to handle this consistently with who we are--or should be--as a nation. It's a shame we have such a moral microbe in the White House.

That is the only

"If our having illegally detained them has radicalized them, that is our fault and is a consequence we're going to have to suck up and deal with as we hand them their clothes and apologize profusely for what we've done to them. If no other country will take them, then we owe them a country to call home: ours."

If our detention of them has radicalized them it still makes no sense to make them a danger at home once it has happened.

But we are way overanalyzing. In the instant case it appears that there is not a reasonable fear that they will cause problems in the US, so we should release them here.

Bush should grant them asylum. Better yet, he should sign an executive order to enroll them at Yale.

Why would Yale want them? It appears they didn't actually work for the Taliban. ;)

"Better yet, he should sign an executive order to enroll them at Yale."

But since enrollment at Yale will brainwash them into being liberals, and we know being a liberal (especially an Ivy-League educated one) turns one into a fifth columnist, to use Andrew Sullivan's choice of words, wouldn't enrolling them at Yale be the surest way to make them dangerous to this country?

If our detention of them has radicalized them it still makes no sense to make them a danger at home once it has happened.

I find this troublesome. Do you think the US has any responsibility to such individuals? Bear in mind that not only were they wrongfully detained, but that wrongful detentions were an inevitable consequence of the practice of paying bounties.

In other words, the detentions cannot even be said to be an unfortunate accident. They were, in a real sense, deliberate policy. Is it really just to simply shrug our shouldrs and lock such people up forever?

"Do you think the US has any responsibility to such individuals?"

It not only has A responsibility, it has many responsibilities. Unfortunately they conflict. It has the responsibility not to turn them over to China where there is a reasonable fear that they will be killed or tortured. It has a responsibility to set them free in a country that will take them, but such a country might not exist. It has a responsibility to set them free here if we can't find another country, but it has a responsibility to its own citizens not to endanger them either.

So IF they are a danger to American citizens there is no way the US should release them in to the US. That is a rather big IF so far as I am concerned. But if they are that is going to suck. Now that doesn't mean we should just throw them in any random prison. So much as an incarceration can be we should ensure it isn't punitive.

You want to say that it isn't fair? Sure. You want to crack down on the procedures that got them there? I'm with you. But I'm not going along with "They are a terrorist security risk but they would be executed in China therefore they should be admitted into the country." If they really are so benign, surely some other country can be convinced to take them.

Sebastian: So IF they are a danger to American citizens there is no way the US should release them in to the US.

Again kind of missing the point about the US owing these people big time.

Still, I can see your point. Because the US is just not technically capable of keeping track of them. Once they walk out of the prison door onto an American street, that's it, lost and gone forever, there is no way you could ever find them again or know what they're doing while they're in the US.

Perhaps the US should hire some specialists on surveillance, and perhaps hire in some technical help? I believe some European countries have some useful electronic gadgets and experienced specialists in keeping track of people. Domestic incompetence can be remedied by hiring people to act for the US and train some Americans in these arcane but useful arts - if, that is, as you surmise, the US really is incapable of keeping track of two individuals once released.

I'm glad you suggested making them third-class immigrants. I suspect if I had I wouldn't have survived the thread.

As I was browsing through case filings last night, I learned that both of these men have children they have never seen.

Think about that. Not to mention: wives who thought they were dead for years.

Maybe they will be able to pick up again, if they ever get released, and their marriages will be fine, despite the years without contact. Maybe, on the other hand, not.

The more you think about it, the worse it gets.

Are there any facts available on whether there are any other countries that will take them? It seems unlikely, somehow, that there aren't.

Sebastian: I'm glad you suggested making them third-class immigrants. I suspect if I had I wouldn't have survived the thread.

You survived suggesting - persistently - that these kidnap victims of the US should be locked up in perpetuity, Sebastian.

In the instant case it appears that there is not a reasonable fear that they will cause problems in the US, so we should release them here.

Yes. We probably take greater risks when we routinely release criminals from prison, since the high recidivism rate means, unarguably, that they represent a risk to society.

Long thread. got to go to work, started some replies:
What Uighurs might have to go back to: exception denial in national birthcontrol policy.
Jimbo in case this wide-ranging discussion skipped this technical detail, The Guantanamo treaty expired several years ago; we unilaterally refused to close shop.
Katherine I appreciate the background.
Jesurgislac US Supreme Court in late February 2006 exonerated the clinic protesters, refusing to approve the RICO-based request for a restraining order; this following nineteen years litigation; though your parallel was an interesting view from outside the controversies.
Hilz. Sounds like time to sound the bugle for the best diplomats, surely, some progressive Antilles or other clime would suit the isolated Uighur individuals at Gitmo; but reunion with family is going to take some quid pro quo diplomacy.
John L.

I didn't know the popular usage of MILF and after looking in the online dictionary (my browser does that when I click on a word) I am still confused:
MILF

MILF is an acronym that can stand for:
Moro Islamic Liberation Front
MILF - Mother I'd Like to F*** (Wiktionary link)
MILF Hunter - A reality porn website.

Frankly I doubt wether the US government has requisted other countries to take the Uighuirs in. It would be a rather awkward question, wouldn't it? "Eh, we have these people that were brought to us by bounty hunters and that we kept secretly locked up for years. Now it seems the bounty hunters were bringing innocent people, but they might be rather angry at the US so we don't dare to take them. Would you be so kind?"

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad