Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Gitmo Woes

There's a theme recurring in the administration lately, between the Foley scandal, the David Kuo book , the run-up to the midterm elections, and now Guantanamo Bay: You broke it, you bought it:
U.S. allies impede Guantanamo releases: report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Britain and other U.S. allies have demanded closure of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but have also blocked efforts to let some prisoners return home, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

British officials recently rejected a U.S. offer to transfer 10 former British residents from Guantanamo to the United Kingdom, arguing that it would be too expensive to keep them under surveillance, the newspaper said, citing documents made public this month in London.

Britain has also staved off a legal challenge by the relatives of some prisoners who sued to require the British government to seek their release, The Washington Post said.

While all British citizens in Guantanamo were freed starting in 2004, Britain has balked at allowing former legal residents of the country to return, the newspaper said.

Germany and other European allies, which have spoken out against Guantanamo, also have balked at accepting prisoners from the facility, the Post said.
Couple of reasons spring to mind, of course:

1) Bush's arrogance and continued blind obedience to failed policies (which might be changed once the Baker report is digested, three years too late).

2) Al Qaeda: by spreading out "terrorist prisoners" (since they haven't been tried, much less convicted, we have to assume innocence) to other nations, those nations are now at risk of being perceived as more accessible targets for terrorist activities. Not that they aren't already, but you know, when you see a hornet's nest, the last thing you want to do is throw a rock at it.

3) Keeping them on Cuba means keeping them out of contact with any potential allies in country, in order to foment internal strife.

A little on this last point: the last three terror plots, including the notorious 7/7/05 bombings in London, have all been overseen by nationals of the countries they were to occur(ed) in. By spreading the prisoners around, you have created instant local celebrity for these prisoners, and attempts to impress them (and by extension, Al Qaeda) with terror activities.

This convocation of circumstances force the US to have to plead negotiate with other countries to take people back they really don't want, and probably didn't want in the first place but had no choice, since they had entered legally.

Keep a careful eye out on the papers over the next few days to see just how far Bush will be forced to drop to his knees concede in order to clear Gitmo off the national agenda by Election Day.

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