Tuesday, April 25, 2006

If they are so bad, why let them go from Guantanamo?

I’m surprised at how little play both the mainstream media and blogosphere are giving to the announcement that we're releasing nearly a third of the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Meanwhile, we continue to hold most of the remaining nearly 500 inmates, apparently with no plans to either charge them or release them.

The Los Angeles Times reported today on the pending release of the inmates the Bush Administration calls the “worst of the worst” – so horrible they had to be held without trial for an unlimited time without even the most basic of human rights. Suddenly, though, they “pose no threat to U.S. security.”
Charges are pending against about two dozen of the remaining prisoners, the chief prosecutor said. But he left unclear why the rest face neither imminent freedom nor a day in court after as many as four years in custody.

Only 10 of the roughly 490 alleged "enemy combatants" currently detained at the facility have been charged; none has been charged with a capital offense.

That leaves the majority of the U.S. government's prisoners from the war on terrorism in limbo and its war crimes tribunal exposed to allegations by international human rights advocates that it is illegitimate and abusive.
The exact release date and where they will be released has been announced yet.
Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director of Human Rights Watch, said the full significance of freeing the detainees could not be assessed until their fates were clear.
Most interesting is this fact.
Announcement of the pending releases coincided with a considerable drop in the number of detainees likely to be charged, suggesting that the U.S. government either lacks the evidence to convict more or — as defense lawyers and human rights monitors contend — feels little pressure to accord the terror suspects a speedy trial or due process.
I wonder if in the years to come, historians will point to Gitmo as one of the most shameful periods in U.S history. Maybe not, but I believe that any nation that refuses to give even the most basic rights to hundreds of people has lost its way, both morally and politically.

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