Let’s face it, when it comes to Guantánamo, there’s little to laugh about, unless you’re an Islamophobic sadist — in which case, there’s still nothing for the rest of us to laugh about.
The Associated Press reports that, in a desperate effort to rid itself of the toxic human debris of Guantánamo, the Obama administration is eyeing up the tiny Republic of Palau, an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, some 500 miles (800 km) east of the Philippines, to dispose of some, or all of the 17 Uighurs in Guantánamo.
The Uighurs are Muslims from China’s Xinjiang province, who were swept up in the US-led invasion of Afghanistan, and sold to US forces by Pakistani villagers after fleeing from a run-down hamlet in which they had sought solace from their Chinese oppressors, or, in many cases, because they had found themselves unable to make their way to Turkey or Europe, to look for work, as they had originally intended.
On Monday, just hours after the first war crimes hearing for four months was convened at Guantánamo, and just hours before the Pentagon announced that a sixth prisoner had died, apparently by committing suicide, the small group of reporters — “less than a dozen,” according to Michelle Shephard of the Toronto Star — who had made the trip to watch a military judge commend the Canadian prisoner Omar Khadr for being “well-spoken” and “professional,” while criticizing his lawyers for their infighting, witnessed what Shephard called “a rare unscripted moment on the base,” when two prisoners staged “an impromptu protest.”
On Friday, court-watchers received some deeply depressing news — 33 pages of unconstitutional hogwash directed at the Supreme Court by President Obama’s Justice Department (PDF), in which no stone of dubious legality was left unturned in the administration’s desperate and unprincipled attempts to mimic its predecessors by preventing 17 Uighurs at Guantánamo from being resettled in the United States. Continue reading →
In recent weeks, there has been an unsavory race to see which Republican can come up with the most scare-mongering drivel about the remaining 240 prisoners in Guantánamo. This competition, which has also drawn in Democrats to such an extent that, on Wednesday, they spinelessly voted to withhold the funds needed to close the prison, and also to prevent the transfer of prisoners to the US, has generally focused on NIMBYist (“Not In My Back Yard”) responses to proposals to move prisoners from Guantánamo and incarcerate them on the US mainland, and has, for the most part, involved politicians who think that Americans are the toughest people in the world, and who have a network of impregnable maximum-security prisons, but who, nevertheless, have been wailing like babies about the “threat” posed by a group of men who have never been adequately screened, or received a fair hearing, to ascertain whether they are in fact a “threat” to the US.
Last week, however, Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, hit a new low in the debate by lashing out at Guantánamo’s Uyghurs (also known as Uighurs), 17 men from China’s Xinjiang province, who, after a stunning court victory last June, are the only prisoners in Guantánamo to have persuaded the Bush administration to drop its claims that they were “enemy combatants.”