Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Politics, real and imagined

Funny how differently folk can respond to the same news story. Here's the story.

Guantanamo Bay prisoners who have been cleared for release but are still being held have had their names released by the Justice Department, overturning a 2009 decision to keep their identities secret as their transfers were negotiated.

The names of 55 prisoners who are awaiting transfers to other countries were made public Friday, after human rights organizations lobbied for the information.

Though men listed have been cleared for release, some as early as 2009, they remain at Guantanamo because of difficulties in finding them a willing host country or concerns about their return to their homelands, Agence France Presse reported.

“We did not expect this,” Omar Farah, a lawyer for the Center for Constitutional Rights, told the Associated Press. “This is an important development.”

“These men have now spent three years in prison since our military and intelligence agencies all agreed they should be released,” ACLU senior staff attorney Zachary Katznelson said in a statement, Agence France Presse reported. “It is well past time to release and resettle these unfairly imprisoned men.”

The Justice Department said it agreed to release the names of the prisoners in question because “there is no longer a need to withhold from the public the status of detainees that have been approved for transfer,” the Kuwait News Agency reported.

There are currently 167 men imprisoned at the Cuba penitentiary, many of them believed to be Yemeni, according to Politico.

So in the real world, we have 55 prisoners, roughly a third of those still held in the Guantanamo bay Gulag, who were cleared for release anything up to three years ago. That means there was insufficient evidence against them for even the minimal standards of the "War on Terror" to justify their continued imprisonment. There is still no sign of their actually being released or anything wiompish like that: they're Muslims after all, so will probably remain political prisoners until they die. But now that their names have been released, overturning President Obama's culture of secrecy over the camp he promised to close but has left untouched, it is clear to the entire world that there are at least 55 (and let's face it, probably 167) wholly innocent political prisoners being kept locked up purely because of their religion. if the embarrassment this causes leads to something decent being done about them, that is excellent. But at least now official religious prejudice has 55 human faces.

In Tea Party world, on the other hand, President Obama is releasing 55 Muslim terrorists NOW. And according to Fox News (!) a released Guantanamo detainee was behind the murder of US Ambassador Chris Stevens. No evidence for that, of course (hey, this is Fox News!).

You have to give these losers credit for trying desperately to shift attention from the disgrace to America represented by 55 innocent people who have been kept shackled in an illegal dungeon for up to three years because their god has the wrong name. Ooh, let's pretend they'd committed some crime. Ooh, let's pretend they're being released. Ooh, let's try desperately to link them to a terrorist attack that took place when they were in jail halfway round the world. Oooh, let's pretend we give a shit about freedom, democracy, law and order, or any other American values.

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