Well, as we mentioned before, the 17 Uighurs (Chinese Muslims) awaiting release from Guantanamo continue to be caught in the middle of the Bush administration’s constant power grabs.
Last Tuesday, District Judge Ricardo Urbina ordered the administration to release the Uighurs into the United States. His reasoning: the government had cleared the men for release years earlier, but could not find a country willing to accept them. The United States’ insistence (later disproved) that the Uighurs were terrorists made these nations skittish about opening their borders to them. As a result, the U.S. must be willing to accept them in place of no other alternative.
Following Judge Urbina’s order however, the Bush administration filed an emergency appeal to the more conservative DC Circuit, claiming that the precedent of ordering the release of potentially dangerous detainees into the United States was too dangerous. The problem with this theory however, is that it creates an obscenely perilous (as we put it earlier) catch-22. This administration detained citizens abroad, often based on flimsy evidence of terrorist ties, and placed them in a system with no safeguards to protect the innocent. As a result, there are no procedures in place to ensure the quick release of any detainee deemed innocent.
Well, the DC Circuit didn’t seem particularly moved by this fact and ordered a stay on the Uighurs’ release so that they could consider the administration’s appeal. Meanwhile, President Bush continued to push the State Department to find another country willing to take the prisoners. Now we come to the latest contradiction. According to the New York Times, the State Department has complained that the administration has made it almost impossible for them to convince any other nation to accept the Uighurs by fighting so hard to keep them out of the United States.
It seems that the Bush administration’s refusal to accept any oversight in the perpetration of its War on Terror has created a legal black hole larger than anyone had previously imagined. And its refusal to admit its mistakes now means that 17 innocent men are stuck in legal limbo.