Judge orders five detainees released

Friday 21 November 2008

A federal judge has ordered five Guantanamo detainees released because the case against them is weak. I was disgusted to hear the details of this case. When the men were first captured, the Bosnian government thought the case was too weak against them, but handed them over to the U.S. anyway. We tossed them into Guantanamo, and argued that they shouldn’t be allowed to challenge their detention. In June, the Supreme Court decided they had that right, and now the government drops the primary case against them, resorting to lesser charges of planning travel to Afghanistan to train as terrorists, but the judge rules that even that case is too weak to be supported. Meanwhile, they’ve been held at Guantanamo for seven years!

I’m glad these men are having their day in court. Too bad it’s taken this long. We should be strong enough as a nation to allow anyone to plead their case.

Comments

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Michael Kohne 7:28 PM on 21 Nov 2008

This administration has NEVER believed that our constitutional freedoms should really apply to everyone. They have acted as though the constitution was optional. The whole detention thing was just one aspect of their overall disregard for the things that make America great. With luck, the new administration will have different views.

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Nate 9:50 PM on 21 Nov 2008

I agree 100%. The Constitution should apply to everyone. Just because someone is not a citizen or isn't on our soil, doesn't mean they shouldn't have the same rights as a 5th generation American in Boise. Holding people without a trial is unconstitutional and anyone who allows it should be punished under the law.

I just can't understand people who try to argue that it's ok not to give the people in guantanamo a trial. If there's no trial, how can anyone say they've done anything wrong? The whole "national security" thing is bullshit. Saying that to give evidence would be to break national security is a ridiculous excuse. If we can have witness protection programs and trials of minors that don't disseminate information, I'm sure we can do it with wiretaps on terrorists. And you know what? If not, then they deserve to go. One of the bsic rights of this country is innocent until proven guilty. Prove it, bitches.

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Ned Batchelder 6:12 AM on 22 Nov 2008

I'll disagree just a bit here: the Constitution doesn't apply to everyone. But common decency says that if you have a weak case, you admit it and let people go. We want the moral high ground here, and simply from a purely tactical point of view, holding suspected terrorists for seven years with no process to try them is a really great way to produce some really pissed off enemies if you don't eventually convict them.

Who was the guy at Justice who reviewed this case and thought, "We don't really have enough evidence, but since we don't have to go before a judge, let's just hold on to them for a few more years"? How does he sleep at night?

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Michael Chermside 7:03 PM on 23 Nov 2008

I think that the root of the problem was a fear of being wrong.

I can't imagine a personal maliciousness that would lead some "guy at Justice" to have a personal vendetta against these men, so I presume it was nothing personal about the individuals, but rather a blanket policy that no one imprisoned at Guantanamo should be released, except perhaps to the care of another government that offers to "deal with them". At least, that's my impression of our current policy.

And why not? I think that some of those in power are afraid that if any Guantanamo prisoners are "let go", that the public or the "liberal media" will start to question the entire operation. They fear that there would be a backlash, and that some who SHOULD be kept locked away for the public safety would be set free. Ultimately (I think) they fear it will be discovered that they were wrong.

Always try to admit when you are wrong: it is amazing how powerful it is to be able to say "I was wrong on this one... how can I learn to do better next time?" And seek out people who SAY you are wrong, and listen to them -- it's one of the best ways to learn something.

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