Up to 7 Gitmo detainees may be released in US

Posted on April 25, 2009


An LA Times front page story tells us that the Obama administration is making plans to admit up to seven Chinese Muslims, all part of a Muslim ethnic group called the Uighurs, directly into the United States. I’m going to quote you the same part of the article that Hot Air highlights:

Some former U.S. officials have said government information indicates that the Uighurs may pose a danger if released. But other officials and human rights organizations insist they pose no threat to Americans…

Not long after being granted access to TV, some of the Uighurs were watching a soccer game. When a woman with bare arms was shown on the screen, one of the group grabbed the television and threw it to the ground, according to the officials.

It’s important to note that the Uighurs “admitted that their purpose in going to Afghanistan was to receive military training to fight Chinese rule over Xinjiang.” They were captured in Pakistan, and it’s claimed that they don’t view the US as a direct enemy, but still hold very strict cultural views, as evidenced by the TV anecdote.

The reason being given for the release is so that other countries will be more willing to accept Guantanamo detainees. But what’s troubling is that China actually wants these people back (presumably to imprison them), and the Obama administration is acting unlikely to hand them over. Whether they are directly opposed to the United States or not, it seems clear that regardless they are militants that, with or without supervision, should not be living freely among the American populace (suburban Virginia is a possible destination being speculated on).

Administration officials are complaining that political opponents will try to “smear” the Uighurs and unfairly portray the situation of the detainees. Sorry, but concern is only natural. It’s no different than when prisoners from domestic prisons are released into society – people are going to be wary. Downplaying those fears as mere political opposition is disingenuous to say the least, and it might be important to consider that one of the entities concerned is the Department of Homeland Security.

But beyond that, the move, along with the just-announced release of interrogation photos, seems itself an ill-considered move designed to show how much more “enlightened” the current administration is than the past one. The question still remains: if a Chinese Muslim held at Guantanamo Bay with weapons training and wanted by the Chinese government moved next door, would you break out the potato casserole? Or would you keep one eye peeled? I have very deep concerns about this move, and the administration is taking an unnecessary gamble just to look good.

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