Wednesday, December 31, 2008

What to do with the Guantanamo prisoners?

In this photo, reviewed by US military officials, a detainee, name and facial identification not permitted, is transported by Navy personnel into a building within the grounds of the maximum security prison at Camp Delta 2 & 3, at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba, REUTERS/Brennan Linsley/Pool

The German newspaper Der Spiegel interviewed an Obama advisor about what is likely to happen to the people currently locked up at Guantanamo.

Bruce Riedel is a Brookings Institution guy, a CIA veteran, and an advisor since April 2007 on South Asia and terrorism. He called the prison "a very costly mistake" and reiterated the new administration's intent to close it down.

But, asked about efforts to persuade European countries to take custody of some the detainees, he revealed more about what kind of "mistake" he, and presumably the new administration, considers the prison to have been. Among the prisoners are several with Chinese nationality who cannot be returned to China because the US believes they would be abused. He hopes a European country will take them -- but he issues a warning as well.

SPIEGEL: Are you thinking of any particular group that Europe could accept?

Riedel: The Chinese prisoners would be particularly suitable. They cannot go back to China, and they are not as serious a threat as others -- for example, the Yemenis.

SPIEGEL: Do you really consider the Chinese inmates at all dangerous?

Riedel: No matter how dangerous these people were when they came to Guantanamo, after six or seven years in prison, they have a very serious motive for revenge. ... It is a very difficult business finding a place for those people. In the end, even the Bush administration thought along those lines. But we have some very dangerous people here, made more dangerous by six years in prison. We cannot simply let them go, but it gets more and more difficult to legally hold them. ... [Emphasis added.]

Our rulers' gulag has made monsters, possibly in reality, certainly in the nightmares of officialdom.

1 comment:

Anne Vis said...

I think I already saw a couple of countries who would be willing to help out, if I remember correctly Spain and Portugal being among them ... Great post, happy new year!

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