Guantanamo: Eternal Prisoners

Whenever some new, invasive measure is introduced in the name of public safety or national security invariably, someone will say something about how the innocent have nothing to fear. So it was Gitmo – this would be a place where those thought to be Very Bad Men (are there any women in Gitmo?) would be sent to face a kangaroo court justice. Of course if you were innocent, you’d be cleared and sent on your way. No harm, no foul.



In a CBC News item today it comes out that several Uighur detainees have been turned down for asylum by the Canadian government. I find it significant that they are Uighurs as the current Conservative government seems to have a soft spot for anyone running afoul of the Chinese government (not a bad thing, mind you) – as the Uighurs often do.

In another case, Mr. Ahmed Belbacha is being forced to return to Algeria after having been cleared of any wrongdoing at Gitmo. Algeria has its own problems with Islamic militant groups and therefore may arrest and torture Belbacha anyway. The mere fact that he was picked up an sent to Gitmo seems to be the only evidence they need.

How many people are going to face this kind of fate? How many were just truck drivers or tourists or whatever who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. It is not a crime to travel to Pakistan or anywhere else that gets labeled as a terrorist hot spot. And yet it appears that once you are put in Gitmo, you are, in the minds of too many, forever a terrorist.


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