A commentator on the previous item points out this story, which I’d missed: Chinese Detainees Are Men Without a Country:
In late 2003, the Pentagon quietly decided that 15 Chinese Muslims detained at the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, could be released. Five were people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, some of them picked up by Pakistani bounty hunters for U.S. payoffs. The other 10 were deemed low-risk detainees whose enemy was China’s communist government — not the United States, according to senior U.S. officials.
More than 20 months later, the 15 still languish at Guantanamo Bay, imprisoned and sometimes shackled, with most of their families unaware whether they are even alive.
Do Americans understand what’s being done in their name?
For more than three years these unpersons were not allowed a lawyer. When they got one, he was appalled.
One of the Uighurs was “chained to the floor” in a “box with no windows,” Willett [his lawyer] said in an Aug. 1 court hearing…
And all this after they had been cleared — not that the US government was willing to admit this little fact:
All 15 Uighurs have actually been cleared for release from Guantanamo Bay twice, once after a Pentagon review in late 2003 and again last March, U.S. officials said. Seven other Uighurs were ruled to be enemy combatants and will continue to be detained.
Even after the second decision, however, the government did not notify the 15 men for several months that they had been cleared. “They clearly were keeping secret that these men were acquitted. They were found not to be al Qaeda and not to be Taliban,” Willett said. “But the government still refused to provide a transcript of the tribunal that acquitted them to the detainees, their new lawyers or a U.S. court.”
Having wrongly imprisoned them, treated them very harshly at the very least, and having held them long after it had reason to do so, the US government’s position is that these victims should return to their home country — China — a place they fled in the first place due to a well-founded fear of persecution, and where their record of having been in Guantanamo is not likely to better their circumstances.
Words really fail me, here. Can anyone seriously claim to be proud of this conduct by our government? Is there no one in Congress who will act to stop the running sores on the national honor? We do still have a national honor don’t we? Or has that gone missing too?
Oh, do I feel shrill today.